Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hey Norton!

Life in Cooperstown has taken me to odd places. The lack of a 9 to 5 job has freed me up to pursue other interests. My involvement in local concerts has led to encounters with Paul Simon and Roger McGuinn. The burgeoning writing career (hopefully some developments on that in the near future) resulted in a gig as music editor for ragazine ( and, in 1 1/2 hours, a phone interview with Graham Parker.

A few months ago, I had lunch with Jon Weiss, formerly of The Vipers, creator of Cavestomp, sax dude for The Fleshtones. As we reminisced (I was a big fan of the '80's garage rock revival), he asked if I knew Norton Records. I didn't then; I do now.

I headed over to their site ( as soon as I got home. Paradise! I was home. Esquerita, Gene Vincent, monster mags, boss descriptions and the coolest vibe this side of Piscataway. As is always my lot, I percolated on my first order for weeks, trying to decide what to get first, balancing volume and cost.

Here's what I chose:
2 Esquerita LPs, one a Capitol reissue that Jeff G., my old Binghamton roommate had and I taped (and still listen to). Another, Vintage Voola, a compilation created by Billy Miller and Miriam Linna, the brains behind Norton. Miriam was the original drummer for The Cramps and has the largest vintage paperback collection around (the kind of hoard one would expect). Billy is singer for The A-Bones and started Kicks magazine and Norton with Miriam.

2 Gene Vincent reissues, Bluejean Bop and Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps.

1 Johnny Burnette and the Rock 'n Roll Trio
1 At Home with Screamin' Jay Hawkins

How are they? I don't know because my turntable is awaiting a new cartridge. So, as I sit typing, Gene Vincent's happy face beckoning from the floor to my left. Yet, I can't stop poring through the print catalog. There's so much to get: 45 split-sided covers of old Stones songs, Bo Diddley reissues, and on and on. I should wait until I can actually play the records before I order more, but that should be in a week or two, I hope. It's pretty lonely without vinyl.

Thanks Jon for the tip. Thanks Billy and Miriam for existing. So sorry it's taken me this long to get on board.

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