photo: Leni Sinclair
This guide was originally published in Arthur No. 9 (March 2004) as one of a set of articles on the MC5 in that issue that ran over several pages (see two of the section’s two-page, 22×17-inch spreads above.)
TEN OUT OF 5
A comprehensive guide to the MC5’s recordings, for the curious, the enthusiast and the hopeless completist by Seth “The Seth Man” Wimpfheimer, James Parker and Ian Svenonius
KICK OUT THE JAMS
Halloween Night 1968, the Grande Ballroom, Detroit. First night of a two-night stand for locals the MC5, who are being recorded by Elektra Records for their major label debut: a live album. According to the Zenta calendar, which has been devised by religious personages close to the band, it is New Year’s. Zenta will never quite catch on, but the rap of its chief prophet and warm-up man, Brother J.C. Crawford, is ageless: “BROTHERS AND SISTERS! I WANNA SEE A SEA OF HANDS OUT THERE!” etc. The rabble is roused, and the band kicks off: “Ramblin’ Rose,” preposterously overdriven blues-rock, with Wayne Kramer’s falsetto vibrating like a steam-valve. Can you feel it? Hype, beautiful fucking Dionysian hype, is its own kind of electricity, and The Motor City Five, being electricity addicts, were hype kings. To dig the band was almost an act of faith, an investment in the idea that somewhere in this shrouded world there could exist a gang of strobe-lit blue-collar psychosexual freebooters and political daredevils who played like God, lived like pigs, and freed everyone they touched. Crazy? Oh no no no. The MC5 were it. They were IT. And if they weren’t it, you could be certain that nobody else was. They hyped themselves, they hyped each other, they were hyped by their manager John Sinclair and by and by it became the truth—rhetorically inflated and musically bombastic but yes, the truth. They were the only band reckless enough to play to the protesters outside the ‘68 Democratic Convention in Chicago (moments before the baton charge), reckless enough to harness the dynamics of roots rock in the service of a free-jazz mindblow. Nothing they did was effortless; the MC5 weren’t geniuses; they were, by an act of will, supercharged rockstars, and sweating, bellowing exertion is all over Kick Out the Jams, desperate showmanship, an enormous PROJECTION. They come on like vast comedians, trading lines, riffs, yells, leads, calling each other “brother,” yapping “thankyuh! thankyuh!” The scale of the projection unbalances the music—the rhythm section collapses under it, toppling into a general soup of voltage and scuttled drum-fills. At the core of the record is the astonishing triptych of “Come Together,” “Rocket Reducer No. 62 (Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa)” and “Borderline,” which taken in sequence describe the arc of a young man’s lust, from wanting to getting to the complexities of getting OFF. First “Come Together,” which is the volcanic arousal-chant—“build to a rising! Together, yeah, together in the darkness!” (Research undertaken for this writing has revealed that the line I always heard as “Let me sniff it!” is actually “Nipples stiffen.” Oh well.) “Rocket Reducer,” named after a favorite brand of glue, is the fucking song, sheer brainless priapic mastery—“I’m the man for ya bay-beh!” is the chorus—engorged self-belief, satin sleeves ballooning, spangles ablaze, just bashing away rama lama with the balls swinging like trophies, but “Borderline,” inhabits some sort of quivery-quavery threshold state: “Love is true but I just don’t know why/ I-I have to love you so/ You’re movin’ around, pushing me past my borderline’—confusion!—a staggering time signature—failing potency—eddies of the heart—plunging on lost-cocked into desire’s sunset. It breaks down to an uncanny electronic ululation from (I think) Rob Tyner, a long and lonesome “OOOOOOOOOOH…..,” crooned, nearly feminine, before he summons the band again with a panted “Hey!,” a crumping, battering climax ensues, wrung out to the drops, and we settle into the post-coital chug of “Motor City’s Burning.” Er, ten out of ten, motherfucker. —James Parker
BACK IN THE USA
A perfect album, Back in the USA is also a riddle of confusion. Partisans hail it either as the group’s liberation from the clutches of White Panther Party activist-manager John Sinclair or as their betrayal/sell-out to market forces, embodied by producer Jon Landau. Really, it’s the Five in disguise as a bubblegum hop group, but still kicking out the jams like primate warrior philosophers. Fatally misunderstood at the time, we now see how vital and intrinsically subversive this album is, and how it could have set off a bloody cultural revolution had it taken its place next to The Archies’ records in America’s playpens as was intended. Sadly, the sophistication of the subterfuge was lost on the group’s hip adherents, who read it as cynicism and abandonment. After all, to Freek America, the MC5 embodied the rock group as guerrilla cadre; a cultural invasion force drawn from the alienated teenage middle-American piss-pot. Ho Chi Mihn with a stratocaster. Their music was James Brown and Blue Cheer working through the revolutionary tracts of Coltrane and Sun Ra. The two guitars traded solos like jazzmen on the stand while the rhythm section mercilessly strafed the room. Meanwhile, their singer intoned Arkestra tone poems, boogie standards and original freek anthems. Their manager released broadsides, outlining their total assault on the culture, in their underground newspaper “Rock N Roll Dope.” Their gigs were high energy orgies of confrontation between freeks, greasers and management. They performed at political riots and teen discos all over Michigan, burning flags while doing “the camel walk” But when Kick Out the Jams, boldly conceived as a live concert postcard in the spirit of James Brown’s breakthrough Live at the Apollo, failed to break on through, the 5 conceived a different approach to their musical revolt.
Employing snot-nosed music critic Jon Landau as producer, the 5 tried to present a more concise, readable version of their highly evolved, multi-faceted, crystalline-sonic ectoplasm. In contrast to the first record’s Technicolor, collaged, bloody free-Jazz /acid-rock freakout, Back in the USA is a highly taut rock ‘n’ roll concept album about, well, youth life in the USA. Landau was a businessman and formalist, concerned with marketing the band as working class saviors of rock. With Back in the USA he tried to draw a circle around the Five’s origins, their fans’ teeny bop circumstance and the promised rebellion/intrinsic paradox of rock ‘n’ roll—all the collective forces which had ultimately transformed the 5 into paragons of communal living and “Rock ‘N’ Roll, Dope, Guns and Fucking in the Streets.” As a critic, Landau was a conservative who could only understand things which had gone before, so he encouraged the group to lose their politics in favor of the raucous themes of early rock. Even so, each song is a furious anthem of rebel celebration: “Human Being Lawnmower,” “American Ruse,” “Call Me Animal,” “Tonight,” “Looking at You“…all performed with lethal economy. Both a joyful rendition of teeny rock and ironical subterfuge, the record was prescient of “punk” in its schizophrenic celebration and condemnation of middle American trash culture. With 11 songs clocking in at under 27 minutes and its post-modern subversion of bubblegum, Back in the USA is The Ramones before the Ramones.
The record begins and ends with Little Richard and Chuck Berry covers respectively, which serve as bookends to the masterwork. This “roots” concept coincided with a general trend in rock n roll at the time toward nostalgia and classicist revision, as exemplified by NRBQ, Zappa’s Ruben and the Jets, The Beatles Get Back project (Let It Be), Dylan’s John Wesley Harding and The Rolling Stones’ Let It Bleed. All of these artists were forsaking the expansive psychedelia typical of their immediately previous work for the old rock, doo wop, blues and country forms which had originally energized them in their formative days. (Sha Na Na, featured at Woodstock, had already jumpstarted the ‘50s fever which would culminate in the next decade with Grease and Happy Days.)
Like Dylan’s electric conversion at Newport, Back in the USA was a two-pronged gamble. Clean and formalistic, it challenged the MC5 acolyte’s limited idea of the group while attempting a more comprehensive conquest over the unconvinced teenybop mass too freaked out by the intensity of their earlier “KICK OUT THE JAMS, MOTHERFUCKERS” attack. After Back in the USA “failed” by industry standards, its producer hawked the template of the album to his next client-Bruce Springsteen, for what would be his 1975 breakthrough album, Born to Run. The formula was the same: working class savior of rock writes Brill Building-style teen anthems celebrating Americana with a post-modern/world weary edge. Even the album covers are nearly identical! Jon Landau, it seems, had one idea. Unfortunately for the Five, neither the freeks nor the greasers were ready for that idea in 1970, let alone the teeny boppers. Now, after decades of critical debate, we can see Back in the USA not as an aberration, but as one part of the MC5’s varied ouvre—a vital facet of one of the most dynamic and influential groups of any age.
Oh, and also it’s really trebly. —Ian Svenonius
It makes sense. Out of the dialectic of the first two albums—the hyped, throbbing excess of Kick Out the Jams, the trimmed observances of Back in the USA—emerges the synthesis, High Time, in which the MC5 ditch the influences of their father-figures, Sinclair and Landau, and pledge themselves at last to the Goddess. “Sister Anne don’t give a damn about revolution!” is the opening lyrical shot, with the boys flinging aside their seditionary pamphlets and going to their knees before some sort of iron-buttocked Catholic Ur-mama who sneers at them through her wimple, a queen of loving punishment. They have failed to change the world (Back In The USA didn’t even make the top 100), the world indeed has begun to change them, so they come before her humbly. Her gift to the band is discipline—a groove that anchors all their freakishness in solid, primally familiar rock’n’roll. The playing is hot but precise, snappy. And they can’t stop blowing your mind: the twin divining rods of the Smith/Kramer guitars are trained on the old structures and magical spaces are found, little pockets of the future wherein reverbed interludes can occur, fantasias of brass and percussion, and Rob Tyner can ponder the prospect of a “vaccination against castration” while still keeping to verse/chorus/verse. The uniformity of vision means that band members can write their own songs, speak with their own voices as it were, and maintain coherence: everyone but Mike Davis has a song or two, and Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith has four. Politically too the stance has changed—no more the macho righteousness of …Jams, the phallic boom. This new anger is in the key of confusion. Now hooked (according to the rhetoric of the third phase) on “loving awareness,” as opposed to the “defensive awareness” of the old, paranoid days, the 5 open themselves to the general mood, which is a bummer-saturated mess. It’s 1971. But they can’t stop being funky. “Over and Over” is tired, pissed-off, helpless, a litany of futility with Tyner cracking his voice in a merciless high key, but Fred Smith’s quizzical solo takes it somewhere else, empowers it with a kind of lofty bemusement: the cycles of pseudo-revolution may boom and bust, but the 5, says the skewed guitar, will survive. Unfortunately of course they didn’t; the band fell apart before High Time had made a dent. In the words of Dave Marsh, “an album about the future by a band that did not have one,” adrift in time, a little storm of excellence, glimmering with holy possibility.—James Parker
MC5 ARCHIVAL RECORDINGS: An overview by Seth Wimpfheimer
So you already own Kick Out the Jams, Back In the USA and High Time and you want to explore the MC5 further through that vast and sprawling landscape of archival or bootleg releases. It’s a tough back catalogue to wade through as you ask yourself: “How does this one sound?” and “Is the performance good?” or “Do I really NEED another version of ‘Rocket Reducer No. 62’?” and wind up with only one answer: ”AAARRGGHH…”
It IS a daunting task because in the two decades since the 5’s first archival collection was released (1984‘s Babes in Arms), there’s been an inundation of archival MC5 material, now in the region of two dozen albums. Sometimes comprised of complete show live recordings or stitched together from several different sources at once (live recordings, outtakes, demos or early singles), it is hardly an organized body of work, especially with the extraordinary amount of material that overlaps between many of these albums. And as usual with such affairs, the sound quality runs the gamut from excellent to dreadful.
The three albums released while the 5 were together capture the band’s ceaseless evolutions about as much as three stills excerpted from what was their epic film/seven-year rite of passage only could. These archival releases fill in many previously unknown gaps of development, demonstrating that the 5 were a band tirelessly pushing themselves and their music as only the best rock’n’roll does: with defiance, intuition and passion.
This guide seeks to separate the wheat from the chaff by pointing to the location of the best moments that exist within this gargantuan stack of copious releases.
Live: Sturgis, “Dialogue ‘68”, Saginaw and Elsewhere
There are three primary sources of live material that have been recycled over ten (!) albums. They are:
1) Sturgis Armory, Detroit, June 27, 1968
2) The First Unitarian Church in Detroit, September 7-8, 1968 (referred to by its original banner, “Dialogue ‘68”)
3) Saginaw Civic Center, January 1, 1970
Luckily, the following two CDs preempt many lesser titles in both completeness and sound quality: Starship: Live at Sturgis Armory June 1968 and Teenage Lust (live at Saginaw Civic Center, Saginaw, MI: January 1, 1970.) Both are as essential as they are radically different in approach. Starship is an invaluable live document of the band three months prior to Kick Out The Jams that exhibits their “avant-rock” explorations alongside covers of artists ranging from Albert King, Little Richard, The Troggs to James Brown. Teenage Lust is a complete show with good sound displaying the band in good humor as they tear through a variety of material gleaned from the imminently-released Back In The USA album, with far greater energy. A breakneck medley of “Kick Out The Jams”/“Starship”/”Black To Comm” ends it all magnificently.
The “Dialogue ‘68” concert is represented by six tracks spread out over three CDs: Power Trip (“I Put A Spell On You”, “Born Under A Bad Sign”, “I Want You”), American Ruse (“I Believe To My Soul”, “Black To Comm”) and Live Detroit 68/69 (“Come Together” along with its introduction by J.C. Crawford.) Despite its amateur recording, those two nights of “Dialogue ’68” were pretty explosive: all you need to do is listen to “Back To Comm” or the koozedelic slurping/vocal mania of “I Want You” to hear Rob Tyner in one of his most apocalyptic moments of heat, ever, backed by his truly sweaty cohorts giving it all they had…and then some.
Along with the “Dialogue ‘68” tracks, Live Detroit 68/69 incorporates two tracks from Saginaw, although here they are erroneously credited as being from ‘Westfield Highschool, Detroit’ October 1, 1969. (The 5 DID play Westfield High School on that date, but the Westfield High School in question was in New Jersey, not Michigan. The only reason I know is because it’s my hometown, this gig was common knowledge among all the older music fans in the area and there was a tape of the gig in circulation with the following set list: “Ramblin’ Rose,” “High School,” “Tonight,” “Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa,” “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” “Teenage Lust,” “Shakin’ Street,” “Let Me Try,” “Looking At You,” “The Human Being Lawnmower” and “Kick Out The Jams”…Which Tyner introduces with a most resounding “Motherfuckers!”)
The companion piece Live 1969/70 is kind of a misnomer—it actually begins with an excellent performance from ‘72 of “Kick Out The Jams” from the West German TV program Musikladen. The rest of this multi-sourced collection is of varying quality. Three tracks unique to this comp, credited to a Grande Ballroom, Detroit performance from ‘69 are “Born Under A Bad Sign,” “I Want You Right Now” and “Shakin’ All Over” while the remaining seven tracks are culled from the Saginaw show.
Clocking in with a running time of over 40 minutes, the Ice Pick Slim CD is just three tracks in length, all from different performances at The Grande Ballroom in ‘68. The album opens with an excellent sound-and-performance of “Motor City Is Burning” from their recorded October 30-31 stand at the Grande (recordings of which would comprise their first album, Kick Out the Jams. Confused yet?), followed by “Ice Pick Slim” and “I’m Mad Like Eldridge Cleaver”: both are extended free-rock workouts informed by avant-garde jazz, blues and soul in very fine quality sound.
The out-of-print vinyl bootleg Live ‘72 Kick Copenhagen (Lawnmower Records) is an audience recording and the last chronological recording extant of the MC5. At this point they were more like the MC2+2 as only Kramer and Sonic were left from the original lineup, backed by Derek Hughes on bass and Ritchie Dharma on drums. Here “Empty Heart” along with rock-bottom chestnuts like “Bo Diddley”, “Let It Rock”, “Gloria” and “Louie, Louie” get the work-out, and although only the twin guitar chassis of the original MC5 vehicle remained, the firing-all-cylinders-at-once stamina that had been fueling the band for the past seven years is maintained.
Motor City Meltdown (Liquid Sky) is one of many releases that re-jig the Saginaw set (with sound quality better than average) as well as adding four tracks from “Dialogue ‘68”—“Come Together,” “I Believe To My Soul,” “I Want You Right Now” and “Black to Comm”—that are all, of course, available elsewhere. Black to Comm has versions of “Ramblin’ Rose” and “I Believe To My Soul” of unknown origin and rough quality sound (this last named is NOT the “Dialogue ‘68” version) while the rest of the album is comprised of live tracks from both the “Dialogue ‘68” and Sturgis Armory gigs. Motor City Is Burning is comprised of live tracks from the Sturgis Armory and Saginaw gigs, with a version of “I Believe To My Soul” available only here and on the Black To Comm comp mentioned above thrown in as for good measure. Receiver’s Looking At You CD is (once again) Saginaw, but the sound quality is far inferior to Teenage Lust. Like Black To Comm and Motor City Is Burning, Greatest Hits Live is a hodgepodge that features the same versions of “I Believe To My Soul” and “Ramblin’ Rose” of unknown location and date while everything else is (naturally) tracks taken from the Sturgis Armory and Saginaw shows. Extended Versions is a mid-priced release from last year that draws from (yup) the Sturgis Armory and Saginaw shows. Sonic Sounds From the Midwest is a vinyl bootleg of the Saginaw show in poor quality.
Although Phun City, Uk is the only CD where live renditions of “Sister Anne” and “Miss X” exist, frustratingly it is also probably the worst sounding recording in the entire canon of amateur MC5 recordings. Reports of this performance by those who witnessed it were and still are universally glowing, so I’m grateful that this document at least exists, because the heat is still in there under a massive scrim of muddy sound and tape hiss. For maniacs and completists only.
Studio: Singles, Outtakes and Other Rarities
Prior to their three major album releases (and their combined three 45s for Elektra and Atlantic), the 5 recorded the singles “I Can Only Give You Everything”/“One Of The Guys” on AMG (1966), “Looking At You”/”Borderline” (1968) on A-2. In ‘69 the AMG single was re-issued with a different B-side, “I Just Don’t Know.” These five tracks are often used as fill-ins on many of these collections, and are all essential listening. All five of these tracks appear together in one place only once—on the long deleted Vintage Years CD (where, incidentally, the other four cuts are live recordings by Rob Tyner, post-MC5. Likewise, the misleadingly MC5-credited, vinyl-only Do It album on Revenge is also comprised of live performances by Tyner plus backing band, and not the original MC5.) You can scoop up four out of five of the early singles sides (“One Of The Guys” is AWOL) on Jungle’s Thunder Express CD, arranged after a six-song performance from France in 1972 recorded live in a studio at Chateau D’Herouville. They churn out a rough-hewn return to roots rock’n’roll that was still nailed down tightly even at this late stage of their career, and the sound is excellent. It also includes one of their last original songs, the title track “Thunder Express.”
Leading the pack on the MC5 archival front is the Alive/Total Energy label. Besides their superior live collections, their ’66 Breakout! release gathers all three AMG singles tracks in perfect sound alongside various rehearsals and live performances that represent what the 5 sounded like during their early garage punk phase. Alive/Total Energy have also re-released the MC5’s second single on the A-2 label, “Looking At You”/”Borderline” as a vinyl single (after years of bootlegging) and it is ESSENTIAL. If you don’t own a turntable, you need one now in order to fully experience the immense sonic boom that is their first studio release of “Looking At You”: direct from the original master with breathtaking depth (it also made it onto Rhino’s starter compilation The Big Bang: The Best of the MC5, but not so for the tempestuous, bottom heavy B-side, “Borderline”.) Also worthy of investigation on ’66 Breakout! is the inclusion of the earliest performance of “Black To Comm,” the 5’s experimental free-form freak-out centerpiece that even at this stage of the game (1966) was already a sprawlin’, searchin’ and a-groovin’ all over the place improvisation that would only grow in energy and power the more it was performed.
Power Trip was the first MC5 release on Alive/Total Energy and it is just superb: Not only are the performances excellent and sound great but also most of these tracks are unique to this disc only. The three instrumental outtakes from late October/early November ‘70—“The Pledge Song”, “Head Sounds (Part Two)” and an early version of “Skunk (Sonicly Speaking)” named “Power Trip”—are all killer 5 moments as is the extended raw, noised-out improv “I’m Mad Like Eldridge Cleaver” and the previously-mentioned tracks from “Dialogue ‘68” which are trudgeworthy, pre-Kick Out the Jams live assaults played at the same ear-splitting volume but at a fraction of the pace. Highly recommended. (Note: although not credited as such, the version of “Black to Comm” on here is from Saginaw.)
The American Ruse is comprised mainly of Back in the USA studio outtakes with and without vocals, rounded out by “I Believe To My Soul” and the totally out-there ”Black to Comm” from “Dialogue ‘68.” It may not be suitable to throw on during a party, but you can test people’s knowledge of MC5 lyrics with impromptu karaoke sessions. I’m serious: just try to sing along and you will soon have even more respect for Tyner’s vocal prowess as you realize how tightly on a dime he had those lyrics nailed—especially “Teenage Lust.”
Babes in Arms was the very first archival MC5 album, and although in the past 20 years a lot of it has been re-issued with better sound resolution, the alternate take of “Shakin’ Street” and the blaxploitational wah-wah moves of “Gold” (an outtake from the film soundtrack of the same name) have never been available else, AND they still sound great.
Okay. After all this razzmatazz, probably the best place to start is with the recent Human Being Lawnmower: The Baddest and Maddest Of MC5 CD, which collects many of the best moments off previous Total Energy releases along with the best sounding live cover version of Ray Charles’ “I Believe To My Soul” ever, a brilliant sounding “flat mix” of the A-2 version of ‘Borderline” and a poignant Sonic Smith acoustic demo of “Over And Over.“ Rounding it all off is J.C. Crawford’s “What Is Zenta?” and well, what more could you ask for? (Besides the tracks they left off Kick Out the Jams, the pre-Landau run-throughs at Elektra of “Human Being Lawnmower,” “Call Me Animal” and “Teenage Lust,” I mean…)
If you dig “What Is Zenta?”, then Music Is Revolution is a must to check out. Although there is no music, for those with an interest regarding the MC5’s White Panther Party affiliation it is very insightful–it’s 30 spoken-word tracks made in the late ‘60s/early ’70s of White Panther members and associated revolutionaries rapping and so forth. (Contact: Book Beat Gallery, 26010 Greenfield, Oak Park, MI 48237 or thebookbeat.com)
Archival Recordings Discography
* = Recommended
* ’66 Breakout! (Total Energy NER3023-2) 1999
* Babes in Arms (ROIR RUSCD8236) 1998
Black to Comm (Receiver RRCD185) 1994
Do It (Revenge MIG5) 1987
Greatest Hits Live (Purple Pyramid CLP0429-2) 1999
* Human Being Lawnmower: The Baddest and Maddest Of MC5 (Total Energy 3032-2) 2002
* Ice Pick Slim (Alive 0008) 1997
Live 1969-70 (NKVD NKVD01) 1991
Live 72 Kick Copenhagen (Lawnmower MOW11) 1990
Live Detroit 68/69 (Revenge MIG8) 1988
Looking at You (Receiver RRCD193) 1994
Motor City Is Burning (Trojan 06076 80213-2) 2001
Motor City Meltdown (Liquid Sky KT005) 1996
Phun City, UK (Sonic SRCD000040) 1996
* Power Trip (Alive CD0005) 1994
Sonic Sounds From the Midwest (Clean Sound CS1014) 1988
* Starship: Live at Sturgis Armory June 1968 (Total Energy NER3018) 1998
* Teenage Lust (Total Energy NER3008) 1996
* The American Ruse (Total Energy NER 2001) 1995
The Big Bang! (Rhino RS79782) 2000
* Thunder Express (Jungle FREUDCD71) 1999
Vintage Years (NKVD NKVD02) 1991
Music Is Revolution (Book Beat) 2000
* “I Can Only Give You Everything”/“One Of The Guys” (AMG 1001) 1966
** “Looking At You”/“Borderline” (A2 333) 1968 **
* “I Can Only Give You Everything”/“I Just Don’t Know” (AMG 1001) 1969 (reissue with different B-side)
ABOUT OUR GUIDES
Ian Svenonius is the acting chairperson for the Rock N Roll Comintern and an auxiliary member of the group Weird War.
James Parker lives in Boston, Mass., with his wife and son. He wrote Turned On: A Biography of Henry Rollins and once held the position of official astrologer to the Spice Girls Fan Club.
Seth Wimpfheimer is a rock’n’roll writ(h)er. Also known as The Seth Man, he reviews lotsa Rock albums on Julian Cope’s Head Heritage site (headheritage.co.uk) as well as for Cool and Strange Music and New Gandy Dancer magazines. He has so far published two issues of FUZ magazine (copies are available for $8 apiece/$12 for both issues so send cash, or money order to in US dollars to: Seth Wimpfheimer, P.O. Box 1211, Mountainside, NJ 07092-0211.) He also owns three copies of one of the best albums ever made: Alexander Spence’s Oar.