Today’s Playpen topic is a reader request (thanks, Russ!) that I thought would be fun.
I was listening to one of my favorite albums the other day “Marscape” by Jack Lancaster and Robin Lumley (Brand X). It’s an instrumental album from the mid 70’s based (obviously) on a trip to Mars. I’m sure it was inspired by the Viking 1 and 2 missions in the mid 70’s. Anyway, it’s a cool album that I still enjoy and the interesting thing to me is that it was basically just random chance that I found it.
I was searching the cut out bins at Peaches in the mid 70’s when I came across the album. It has a cool cover painting of the Martian landscape and that, along with the track titles, were enough to get my teenaged dollars (probably $2.99 or so). Took it home, listened to it, and found that it was just to my tastes. So much so that I still pull it out now on occasion.
I’ve had a few others like that. Jan Akkerman (guitarist for Focus) had an instrumental guitar/stringed instrument album which I also found in the cutout bin. But I knew of Akkerman because I liked Focus, so that one wasn’t as much of a stretch.
Anyway, this got me thinking. What are some albums/artists that you discovered almost by accident that you still enjoy today? I wonder what others have found?
I will start, because mine is such an easy choice. When I was a college DJ hosting a weekly radio show, I’d show up an hour early to go through whatever new records had been sent to the station for promotional purposes. Mostly, it would be a mix of things I’d been anticipating along with crap I wasn’t, but every once in a while I’d find a record I knew nothing about.
Like, one week, this one.
This was obscure at the time, obscure enough that I discovered later it was actually a re-release of a 1972 compilation. I asked around, to see if anyone else had listened to it and got nothing but blank stares. (Three weeks later, the same people were walking around telling me how great it was.) Anyway, to start my show that day, I slapped the first side on a turntable, dropped the needle, heard The Electric Prunes’ “I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)” and played the rest in its entirety for my first set. I did the same thing with the remaining sides over the next few weeks.
It’s still one of my very favorite albums that I play regularly to this day.
Share what you’ve got in the comments. Rock on!