“Are You Now or Have You Ever Been”… a Side-ist?

OK, before we start, a word about the title. The late Scott Campbell, a remarkable musician from Tallahassee, had just released what would be his final recording late in 2016, An Old Photo, that included a great song with that title.

 

But what, you may ask, is a SIDE-IST?

 

Good question. This goes back to the glory days of vinyl (and it is delightful understanding that vinyl has come roaring back), when people often gravitated to one side or the other of a record album. Yes, of course many albums were solid all the way through, but if you “are now” or “have ever been” a vinyl junkie, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Take last night. I was listening to Argus, the third album from Wishbone Ash (1972). I was impatient with the first three songs (on CD or Spotify), waiting to get to Side 2, with “The King Will Come > Leaf and Stream > Warrior > Throw Down the Sword.” Same with Sisyphus from Cold Blood (1970); I rarely listen to Side 2. How about Paul Kantner’s Blows Against the Empire (1970)? Side 1 was fun, but usually we headed straight for “Sunrise”! (You can call it Jefferson Starship if you want.)

Dr. John, the Night Tripper’s 1971 masterpiece The Sun Moon & Herbs? Just Side 1, thanks. James Brown Live at The Apollo, Volume II (1968)? Side 2, of course, starting with “Let Yourself Go > There Was a Time > I Feel All Right.” Side 2 of Zephyr’s debut with Tommy Bolin, including “Cross the River” and “Hard Chargin’ Woman.”

 

How about it? Are you now or have you ever been… a Side-ist? Are there albums you’ve almost never heard the other side of (boy, am I guilty here)? Now that there is a new wave of vinyl in addition to plenty of reissues (and the blessed Record Store Day events), what albums do you listen to only half of?

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