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At the Fringes

Lions Are Growing

on Wed, 2011-02-16 18:30

The Digital Domain: A Demonstration 60303
1983
Warner Special Products President Mickey Kapp (who’d previously overseen the licensing of Lenny Kaye’s “Nuggets” collection while on Elektra’s business affairs team) was inspired by late 1950s “stereo test records” to produce a disc showing off the sonic capabilities of the newly-introduced digital compact disc medium. Kapp hired legendary audio engineer Elliot Mazer and Loren Rush of Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music (who in turn enlisted The Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart to record helicopters in digital!), and arranged for Elektra to release the resulting CD, which sold a healthy 30,000 copies when not many people owned CD players.

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After Rapidly Circling the Plaza [excerpt]

on Wed, 2011-02-16 18:30

AMM/AMMusic EUKS 7256
1967
Recorded in London and supervised from Elektra’s British headquarters at 2 Dean Street, this avant-garde 2-part electronic music/”found sound” live improvisation by Cornelius Cardew, Keith Rowe, Lawrence Sheaff, Lou Gare and Eddie Prévost is one of Elektra’s rarest and oddest releases. A rather bemused Jac Holzman is pictured on the sleeve, wondering what it’s all about.

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Red River Valley

on Wed, 2011-02-16 18:30

Billy Faier & Milt Okun/How To Play Folk Guitar EKL-5001
1958
Part of the folk music ethos was a “do-it-yourself” approach that encouraged amateurs. Gatherings in Washington Square were influenced by this entry in the Elektra “How To” series.

Milt Okun went on to a distinguished career as arranger/music director for The Chad Mitchell Trio, The Brothers Four and most famously Peter, Paul & Mary and John Denver. He also founded the music publishing empire, Cherry Lane Music. You can learn more about the hugely influential banjo player, Billy Faier, at length and in his own words at www.billyfaier.com.

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Common ‘Ham’ Terms

on Wed, 2011-02-16 18:30

Ray Antinolfini/Elektra Code Course
1956
An instructional disc for aspiring amateur “ham radio” operators, created by Elektra founder and perennial-early-adopter,” Jac Holzman, (whose “handle” K2VEH was listed on the album cover).

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We Are The Champions

on Wed, 2011-02-16 18:30

Dodgers Big Blue Wrecking Crew (Steve Yeager, Jerry Reuss, Rick Monday, Jay Johnstone/”We Are the Champions b/w “New York, New York”
1981
After the 1981 player’s strike, Tommy Lasorda’s Dodgers defeated traditional rivals The Yankees in the World Series. On Nov. 1 four Dodgers entered Capitol Studios in Los Angeles, recording this single. Their moniker was appropriated from the New York Giants football team. They did appear on the “Solid Gold” TV show, but despite the enthusiasm of Dodger’s fan and Elektra president Joe Smith, Elektra couldn’t make it a hit.

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