Summer Cranks On!

Haven’t updated the site in a bit – mostly because it’s been so crazy here… and it keeps cranking on. Check out the newest batch of unpacked records that have come in and the stacks of fresh cd’s! Thanks to everyone who’s been stopping by and loading up on vinyl, cd’s and everything else.

New Stuff 1

New Stuff 2

New Stuff 3

Also… if you missed the August 23rd dj night at River Gods in Cambridge, don’t worry – we’ll be back in October!

Flyer Aug 23

Tony Goddess – Studio Owner, Operator and Musician Talks Production

Tony Goddess, former Mystery Train employee, musician (Papas Fritas, The Rudds, The Goddesses and more), and owner of Bang-A-Song Studio is the man. Always ready to talk music, here Tony talks about some of his favorites from a production point of view. Check out his website for more info…

Here are ten records Mystery Train had in stock on 5/1/13 that I love for their PRODUCTION….along with everything else about them:

Les Paul

Les Paul “The Genius Of…”: Tape based production starts here. Sure bands had performed live and the best takes were edited together, but here are the first multi-tracked, vari-speeded, echoed, phased/flanged/chorused records ever made….I think Bill Putnam had put reverb on his mixes before Les but otherwise, you can’t say it enough. Popular record production starts here.

Sun Sessions

Elvis Presley “The Sun Years”: After Les Paul’s many innovations Sam Phillip’s “slap back” echo is the production touch that changed the world.

Dionne Warwick

Dionne Warwick “Golden Hits”: No tape trickery here. This is the opposite approach from the Sun Sessions. No jamming around looking for inspiration and covering it in echo. Burt Bacharach took his and Hal David’s deceptively complex songs and wrote airtight arrangements, hired incredible singers, players and engineers and worked their collective asses off until they captured these performances which topped the pops time and time again.

Sly Stone

Sly and the Family Stone “Everything you always wanted to hear by Sly Stone but were afraid to ask for”: This is my first time seeing this record! Seems to be an industry promo hits sampler that goes up to Fresh. The creative run from Underdog to Fresh is as innovative and musically expansive as any other in popular music: The Beatles seven years of making records, The Beach Boys from “Surfin” to “Surf’s Up”, The Stones up thru ’72. For today’s popular music the single most influential artist of all time hands down is Sly Stone.


The Jimi Hendrix Experience “Are You Experienced?”: 1967 produced the two most influential psychedelic albums of all time: The Beach Boys SMiLE and this one. At the same time Brian Wilson was exploring how deeply the studio could be used as an instrument to create incredibly vivid sound pictures through production and arranging processes Jimi was doing the same thing with only one instrument, a great rhythm section and a little bit of Eddie Kramer’s studio magic. People saw trails from Jimi’s guitar and rock music was changed forever.

Beach Boys Love You

The Beach Boys “Love You”: This is already a classic record because of the Brian Wilson chord changes and his incredibly direct lyrical perspective but the production choices are so extreme it challenges nearly every notion of what production is. Kinda like Smiley Smile did….but with synths instead of organs.


The Spinners “s/t”: Motown brought harmonic sophistication to r&b grooves first but after them the records Gamble and Huff made at Sigma Sound became the dna of disco, dance, urban, eighties pop, modern r&b, quiet storm and beyond. Sly’s influence is more singular and profound but this music’s reach is so omnipotent and smooth you don’t even notice it.


Prince “Lovesexy”: I heard Prince and the Revolution before I heard Sly and the Family Stone and was relieved to know he didn’t COMPLETELY invent his whole new thing even if he played all the instruments. How’s this for the Producer being in charge? On cd it’s one forty-five minute track–you must listen to the whole album! Luckily on vinyl all is good. Especially since “Dance On” starts side 2.

Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac “Rumours” & “Tusk”: As productions, one is the perfectly rendered passion painting and the other is the unframed, bloody canvas with every stroke visible.

Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips “The Soft Bulletin”: This record and Yoshimi took melodic pop/rock as far out as it’s gotten in this century and that that finally made them the most popular band of The Years Before Punk Broke save Nirvana is a beautiful thing!

New Signs!

So we just had local up and coming artist Jason Burroughs re-paint our signs. Originally commissioned for the shop in the 90’s, a touching up was long overdue. Take a look. Make sure to check out his original artwork on-line or in person at Art Haven in downtown Gloucester.

Psych, Folk, Joshua Burkett and Mystery Train Records in Amherst, MA

If you are planning a trip to Western Massachusetts or if you haven’t been out there…be sure to check out the Mystery Train Records on N. Pleasant St. in Amherst, MA.

Long time owner and former partner with the Gloucester Mystery Train Records owner Jack, Josh Burkett is keeping the store stocked with all the records you need. Psych, folk, jazz, soul, and everything between and beyond.

Also check out Josh’s limited run zine’s (see pictures) and his newest record: Joshua Burkett “Where’s My Hat?” (Time Lag Records).

Getting Ready To Dig Through Some Magazines…

Looking to dig through some magazines? We just got a big box of 70’s rock (and a few British 80’s) mags. Here’s a little taste…

Willie “Loco” Alexander – Boston Legend – Stops By…

Willie Alexander – a local Boston Rock & Roll, punk, garage, legend – and Mystery Train Records regular, let us take a look at some of his finds in the shop.

Willie “Loco” Alexander has been making his presence known since the 60’s in bands like The Lost, Bagetelle, The Velvet Underground, Willie “Loco” Alexander and The Boom Boom Band, and The Persistence of Memory Orchestra. A serious music lover, he’s dedicated his life to listening to exploring all types of music (jazz, Latin, hip hop, punk, and everything in between) and creating some of the most unique music we’ve heard. Not just limited to music, Willie also recently had a show in NYC of his collage work (much of which adorned the Mystery Train window previously), and put out his own zines for years.

Whether dropping by to give us a sneak peak of newly recorded tracks, or stopping in to hunt for some new sounds, a visit from Willie is always interesting and inspiring.

Check out his website here.

Here’s what he found and had to say (click on the photos for more info)…

*For some reason the photos of Willie with SHOW TIME AT THE DRUMBEAT LP (“Goombay music…used to listen to this with Dirty Eddie around ’61…”) and TITO RODRIGUEZ “RETURNS TO THE PALLADIUM – LIVE!” LP (“One of my heroes from my high school days when I started to listen to Afro Cuban music…used to listen to Tito with Don Alias who later left town to play with Nina Simone…”) got lost. I’ll put them up if I find them!

Barrence Whitfield – R & R Savage – stops by the shop

Barrence Whitfield – singer of Barrence Whitfield and The Savages – self described as “soulful stompin’ R&B Rock & Roll” – is a local and international legend. Barrence is one of the most energetic and raw performers you’ll ever see! An all around great guy, Barrence gave us a glimpse at some of his favorites while he was shopping.

Be sure to check out the Ace Records re-issue of the 1983 BARRENCE WHITFIELD AND THE SAVAGES debut album here.

Also, make sure you track down a copy of his most recent record “SAVAGE KINGS” released by Shake It Records out of Cincinnati, OH (and Munster Records in Europe).

Check out his website for tour dates and more info here.

Nelson Bragg – Drummer For Beach Boys and Brian Wilson – Drops New Album

Nelson Bragg – the long standing percussionist for Brian Wilson, yes, Brian Wilson, and The Beach Boys, yes, The Beach Boys – just dropped a new album: WE GET WHAT WE WANT.

Long time record collector and Mystery Train shopper, Nelson’s new album is highly recommended. On sale (consignment – all money goes to Nelson) at Mystery Train Records now.

“A modern day power pop classic!” Ryan (Power Pop enthusiast and Mystery Train employee).

Check out his site here.

Michael Gregory Sits Down For A Chat

Michael Gregory Clarity Back Cover

I recently had a chance to sit down and talk with Michael Gregory (who dropped the Jackson from his name in 1982) about Clarity (his 1976 debut album on the ESP label) and his career in general. After dropping off a few copies of the Clarity CD re-issue to sell on consignment at Mystery Train Records, Michael agreed to have a chat about his career and his debut album in particular.

Describing his early musical years, Michael said that he started playing guitar at the age of seven and was working on his own compositions at around 10 or 11 years old. He went on to describe the weekly trips to Cutler’s record shop in New Haven, CT that impacted him. He noted that when he went record shopping he was not concerned about genre but rather enjoyed and appreciated the visual aspect of vinyl with it’s stunning large format cover and sleeve art. Michael would pick up records that caught his attention – from Coltrane’s Ascension and Pharoah Sanders’ Tauhid, to records by Hendrix, Blue Cheer, and Cream, as well as Indian, Balinese, classical and avant garde 20th century composers.

It was also in New Haven that a teenage Michael Gregory met Wadada Leo Smith – and not only Wadada Leo Smith, but a whole scene of guys that would push and inspire him creatively – Anthony Davis, Wes Brown, Pheeroan akLaff (“who actually came in later years from the New York scene – it is complicated history” noted Michael), Dwight Andrews, Jay Hoggard, and Gerry Hemingway, just to name a few. Michael’s meeting and subsequent work with Wadada Leo Smith left a lasting impression though. He saw Wadada Leo Smith as a mentor, “He was an elder, he opened my mind further when it came to composed and improvised music, sound and different forms of notation.”

It was through playing with Wadada Leo Smith that he met Oliver Lake, who after a gig in Boston, MA contacted Michael to join him and play in NYC and tour in Europe. This led to a working relationship that lasted from the mid 70’s to around 1980 – in many musical forms – including the bassless trio that also included Pheeroan akLaff, which was caught on the Zaki LP recorded live at the 1979 Willisau Jazz Festival (Hat Hut Records). Michael had nothing but amazing things to say about the 70’s NYC scene. He talked with pride of the vast collaborations happening between different disciplines and the ability at the time to circumvent traditional performance venues with the loft scene blossoming (check out Michael’s live loft cuts on the Wildflowers series recorded at Sam Rivers’ legendary 70’s loft shows). He considered this time a true renaissance period for Afro-American creative music.

1976’s Clarity, featuring aforementioned avant garde figureheads Oliver Lake and Wadada Leo Smith, as well as David Murray, was Michael’s first release as a band leader and he wanted to focus on the use of interesting, unconventional instrumentation, which included instruments ranging from traditional jazz horns to Indian flutes, gongs, electric mandolin, and bamboo flute – in general a different sound conceptually for a jazz group. It is a striking record. Immediately the listener is struck by the lack of a driving percussive element, which forces the other instruments to the forefront. From quiet, gentle and at times challenging interplays between instruments, to compelling guitar textures and a beautiful vocal by Michael on the opening track, the album is uncluttered and stunning.

Michael explained, “I was playing my music, I do not choose to categorize or apply unnecessary limitations or boundaries to my compositions.” Michael also recalled that the recording felt and sounded natural. Not only did he write for that specific occasion and those players, but he had been playing in NYC and Europe with these guys since shortly after graduating high school in 1971.

Clarity has been reissued by ESP, and Michael is still actively working today as a producer and musician. You can check out his current work at his website and his MySpace page.