Book Review

Sippin’ and Spinnin’! A Review of Booze and Vinyl


AK: Hey, G-LO, do anything for Record Store Day this year?

G-LO: Sure didn’t make it to a record store. I’ll blame those damn kids of mine for missing out on the fun. How about you?

AK: I took a kid to a record store. And it was my kid. The 17 year old daughter. She’s got the vinyl bug. It’s not an actual bug cuz I ain’t paying for a de-lousing.

G-LO: Whew! Been there with the lice! Never fun. Interestingly enough, the Great Lice Incident of 2010 happened while I was at a Whisky Extravaganza, so I didn’t have to deal with it. I got lucky for once and dodged some critters. Thank god for whisky!

AK: It is THE best medicine.

G-LO: Amen, Brother! Did the kid buy any vinyl?

AK: She did. She’s not like me. I was flipping through every record in every bin in a store when I was her age. She’s focused, unlike me.

G-LO: I remember those days. I skipped my high school senior prom and went vinyl hunting on South Street instead. I mostly bought used LPs. We were crazy for vinyl back in the day. So many record stores in Philly, especially used ones. We’d occasionally road trip to a place called Plastic Fantastic in Villanova. Or was it Bryn Mawr?

AK: Here too. Big stores and little independent ones. I worked at The Wherehouse in college. Think they were only in California. But they were big time store. Fun working there. Fueled my own vinyl bug.

G-LO: God, we’re old.

AK: Yes, yes we are. But these are good memories.

G-LO: I concur. We were a bunch of music and vinyl junkies back then. So much fun.

AK: I loved flipping through the bins. Spent many days doing that. Took the kid to Amoeba Records in Hollywood for all the Record Store Day festivities. She got her four albums, and I got bupkis. And the bill.

G-LO: Ain’t that always how it goes? Ahhhhh, the joys of parenting!

AK: I used to buy lots of used and cut-outs on account of me being cheap. You’d be shocked about the prices today. Just insane.

G-LO: I don’t wanna know.

AK: No, sir, you do not. That being said, I love that she has the vinyl bug. My 1,000+ record collection has an heir!

G-LO: Or at the very least, a way to fund a month of college tuition. One word: eBay.

AK: Thanks for reminding me about the cost of higher education.

G-LO: Wait. 1,000+???

AK: Used to be 2,000+, but when Offspring #3 arrived and space at home became… scarce, I sold off about half of them. I didn’t really need a picture disc of Journey’s second album, did I?

G-LO: Yes, you did, Mr. Perry. You stopped believin!

AK: Sadly, I did. So they’re all in boxes in my office at work waiting for their triumphant return to the castle.

G-LO: I sold my 350+ collection when I got married.

AK: I would have bought them!

G-LO: Hoarder!

AK: Watch your mouth, Sonny!

G-LO: Ever see High Fidelity?

AK: Love that movie! The book is great too.

G-LO: YES! I think the Jack Black character was inspired by the guy that refused to buy my albums. All I remember is him calling over his buddy and saying something like, “Yo, Mitch! Check it out! Aqualung. Never saw that one before.”

AK: Your buyer didn’t want your Cecilio & Kapono collection?

G-LO: I kid you not. I sold many things when I got married. And 19 years later, they’ve all come back. Vinyl. Steel frame bike.

AK: What goes around, comes around. I’ve often thought how my vinyl record life and my whisky life never intersected. I fondly remember sitting back for an evening of record playing. With a soda pop or some cheap booze.  Would’ve been great to have a dram or two while reading the liner notes.

G-LO: Totally! I kinda miss album art and liner notes. Used to study those things ad nauseum. Dates. Musicians. Producers. I’d have it all memorized.

AK: Me too!  Like baseball data.  Those CD’s are not for old man eyes. The iPhone is convenient but not exactly the same as a gatefold double LP to hold in your hands.

G-LO: So true. First serious album you ever bought? And “Ernie’s Greatest Hits” doesn’t count, Big Bird.

AK: I don’t remember the first LP. But the first single was…”Bungle in the Jungle”. Jethro Tull. It all comes back to Mr. Aqualung, my friend.

G-LO: For me, I think it was Billy Joel’s “52nd Street”. Or maybe the Star Wars soundtrack? I remember saving up for two months to buy that! Donna Summer’s “Greatest Hits”. Had that too. And a poster of her sitting on one of those big old radios.

AK: $3.99 was a lot of money back then! Double albums. A bit more. I recall doubles being $11.99 in the late 70s-early 80’s. Again, you don’t want to know the price today. I wish someone could figure out how to put our vinyl love together with our boozy love.

G-LO: Funny you mention that.

AK: I’m a funny guy.

G-LO: With a face that only a mother could love.

AK: Not my mother

G-LO: Mine neither. Booze and Vinyl.

AK: Booze and Vinyl. That should be the name of a book or something.

G-LO: Guess you haven’t checked your mailbox lately. Seriously. Go check!

AK: It’s a long walk to the mail box at the end of our estate. Hold on. I’ll take a jog. Back in about 15 minutes. Unless I take the horse.

G-LO: Ride like the wind, Bullseye!

60 minutes and 18 seconds later…

AK: I’m back! Jeez, we really need to get a new horse or get a moving sidewalk, though that would probably require moving the tennis court and the Roman fountains. Let’s see, what did the mail carrier bring today? Bill, bill, bill, junk mail, bill, bill, tax lien, bill, Publisher’s Clearing House, TV Guide, bill, occupant, occupant, Reader’s Digest., Highlights, Life, Amazon, Amazon, Amazon, bill. What’s this? A book?! Booze and Vinyl? What the heck?!

G-LO: Indeed! It’s like they know us.

AK:They? Now I’m worried.  This is way better than another Christmas catalog and Target ad!

G-LO: Totally! I’ve been perusing it for a couple weeks now. Love the concept! Thirst inducing AND it has me kicking myself (which isn’t easy thanks to my bursitis!) for selling my vinyl.

AK: I love the cover! Though I’m appalled that the records aren’t alphabetized and in clear plastic covers! Ok, I was a tad anal about my collection. I’m sorry.

G-LO: Never kept my albums in plastic, but they were alphabetized by artist and then in order by release date.

AK: Good man. If you’re gonna do it, do it right. I love the look of this book. Pretty neat that the writers pair albums with cocktails and give you the recipes! Brilliant!

G-LO: I’ve tried to go digital with all things and rarely buy books. This one would lose something on a Kindle. Love the feel of the paper and the photography. So so pretty! And just the right size too.

AK: Divided up by kind of music. Good, because I don’t like all music! I’m a snob!

G-LO: Yes, you are. And you don’t drink beer. Seriously, what’s wrong with you?

AK: Spun way too many records in my time probably.

G-LO: No doubt. There are some delicious sounding cocktails in here. Nice mix of classics, riffs on classics, and a couple “Why didn’t I think of that?” ones.

AK: It’s a very well thought out concept for a book. What booze goes with what music or album? It’s a recipe for a party, dinner party, date night, or a solo night.

G-LO: Absolutely! But there is one risk, Mr. Anal Retentive Record Collector: Scratched records and booze spills on records!

AK: That’s two risks. But this is a book for adults, not pimply faced kids who are trying to fire up some cash for a sixer (as opposed to a Sixer) and a bag of Cheetos. It’s adult reading about adult activities. Insert your own joke here.

G-LO: Good point! I love background music when I’m drinking. Adds to the experience.

AK: And this is the kind of book that would be perfect to read while spinning a record with a cocktail in hand. Interesting thoughts on the vinyl and the recipes.  Plenty to give one pause… between sips.

G-LO: They got their mise en scene on fo’sho!

AK: Brother and sister writing team. Wonder how they came up with the list of records and drinks. Probably no fighting at all. Siblings love each other, right?

G-LO: Some do. Some don’t. This book ain’t their first rodeo. Lots of drinks and record spinning is my guess.

AK: Booze can be inspiring. All in the name of research!

G-LO: Until you get poo-faced.

AK: Ick

G-LO: Exactly.

AK: Quick! What are  your five desert island discs from the book?

G-LO: “London Calling”, The Clash. Buena Vista Social Club. “Kind of Blue”, Miles Davis. “What’s Goin On”, Marvin Gaye. “In the Wee Small Hours of the Evening” by The Chairman of the Board.  You?

AK: Jeez! That was fast!  Hmmm.  The Cars first album, Pogues “Rum Sodomy and the Lash”, The Doors first album, Sinatra, AC/DC “Back In Black”.  Wish Frank could’ve done a few covers off that one!

G-LO: Respect! Ask me tomorrow and I’ll have five different discs for ya.

AK: I hear that! Quick! Five cocktails from the book to go with your choices.

G-LO: Whiskey Smash! Godfather! Aviation! Suffering Bastard! Old Fashioned! BOOM! Yours?

AK: Old Fashioned, Gin & Tonic, Whiskey Smash, Smoking Martini, Manhattan! BOOM!

G-LO: Yowza! I really like cocktails.

AK: Ok, Disc Doctor, why’d you choose those records?

G-LO: It was about mood. Chilly and rainy day. Making picks while on the train. They just spoke to me.

AK: This is the neat thing about a book like this. It promotes conversation. Just like whisky!

G-LO: Plus, those discs are legit.

AK: Mood really is a factor. Weather too. I’ve been on a Cars thing since they’ve been getting some buzz again after getting into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

G-LO: Absolutely. Two weeks ago I was all about Jack White and all of his music permutations. Tonight, I’m all into Tom Waits.

AK: The only part of a song I can play on a keyboard is from “Moving In Stereo”.  Here, I’ll show you… oh, wait… never mind.

G-LO: That’s one more song than I can play.  I have zero musical talent.

AK: That Pogues album is so Irish. There’s pain, drinking, and pain, and drinking.

G-LO: Ever hear Lewis Black and his bit about the Irish?

AK: No

G-LO: Name three albums that you would add to the book. Go!

AK: Mark Lanegan “The Winding Sheet”. Metallica “The Black Album”. Rush “Permanent Waves”. Now you!

G-LO: “Rain Dogs” by Tom Waits. “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd. “Exile on Main Street” by The Rolling Stones.

AK: We’re on a roll! Thinking about our friend, Rob Gard. Didn’t he say something like “no cocktail should have more that four ingredients, and one of those has to be ice”?  Those are my kind of cocktails. Not too complicated, yet tasty.

G-LO: Sounds right. The Darlingtons must be friends of Rob. Turn to pages 12 and 13. Me thinks I’m gonna have a 2 ingredient cocktail.

AK: This is my kind of list! Fifty plus cocktails with 2-3 ingredients! This is my language considering my limited bar and language skills. Rob and the Darlingtons would get along famously!

G-LO: Totally! These crazy Booze and Vinyl kids live in Philly.

AK: WTF? In your ‘hood! Booze and Vinyl party at The Barthenon!

G-LO: Apparently! They had a couple of events for the launch last week and the week before. Damn kids and work got in my way! Two questions… Whatcha listening to? And, whatcha drinking?

AK: I got three answers.

G-LO: Show off!

AK: I actually have the Cars on. And I’m killing a bottle of Creative Whisky Co. Islay bottling.  And my third answer is “C”.

G-LO: “C” is how I passed tests in college. It was also my final grade more often than not.

AK: As long as your above sea level, it’s a-ok. What’s playing there and in the glass in front of you, maestro?

G-LO: Rain Dogs. Cause it’s raining.  Be right back with a drink!

AK: I’ll be right here.

G-LO: Smokin’ Hot Ginger rides again!

AK: That sure is pretty!

G-LO: And tasty! Pairs well with Mr. Waits.

AK: Thumbing through this book is really fun. There are food recipes too. Boozy Honey Chicken sandwiches with honey and avocado slaw. Yum!

G-LO: Led Zep-Loin! Oh yeah! That sandwich sounds awesome.

AK: It’s a book that covers a lot of areas but doesn’t seem busy or over the top, or even unfocused. There’s some pretty easy home bar tips and hints in the back too. Too often you see all the fun sucked out of drinking by making it all too complicated. Stop being nerdy, people! Have fun!

G-LO: I agree. To be honest, I don’t read many drinks books. Especially the history ones. They get boring after awhile. But this book is like a great pop song. It has a hook.

AK: And it’s not dumbed down at all. It’s a conversation starter!

G-LO: And it’s not condescending either, like you.

AK: I condescend because I care. It wasn’t thrown together like those cheap coffee table books on the bargain table at Barnes & Nobles. Those things ARE the dumbing down of America.

G-LO:The sister of this dynamic duo teaches writing at St. Joe’s University in Philly. Go, Hawks! I wanna take one of her classes. Lord knows my writing could use some work!

AK: Sign up! You can be the Rodney Dangerfield of St. Joe’s U. G-LO stars in Back to School!  The Triple Lindy of all Triple Lindies!

G-LO: I don’t get any respect either. I’m a Melon!

AK: This book would be great on a coffee table or on a bookshelf. It’s fun reading and a fun conversation piece.

G-LO: I’ve been carrying it around in my briefcase. Reading it on the train.  Like I said, it’s just the right size!

AK: Fun idea how each album gets a “genre”, year, “when to spin”, “liner notes”, and a “before you drop the needle” note that gets a little wacky.

G-LO: Why didn’t we think of this?! And the Side A / Side B bit is priceless!

AK: It’s a book of album reviews, though they do like them all; and paired cocktail recipes. Just a neat concept. I think I was hoping for all of the songs listed per side but this is better and not so nerdy.

G-LO: For the record (pun intended), I was always a Side B kind of guy.

AK: You’re a deep cut, kind of guy.  You really were made for FM radio. Which is a dying medium.

G-LO:  Me and Casey Kasem.

AK: One, Casey is dead.  Two, more like Jim Ladd. Casey loved Top 40 and tall blondes. And not in that order.

G-LO: This book is total hipster, but without crossing the line to douchebagism. It’s an invitation.

AK: Indeed. Not sure it would get you to become a vinylphile, but if you are one, it’s a lovely reminder why you are.

G-LO: One more album for the road. GO!

AK: First Van Halen album! Owww! Or however Diamond Dave would scream it.  Now you!

G-LO: My Funny Valentine, Miles Davis in Concert.

AK: Oh, Miles.

G-LO: Ask me again tomorrow, and you’ll get a different answer.  Miles and Coltrane. Sooooo good!

AK: The best thing about music and booze. Ever-changing with the mood or atmosphere.

G-LO: Absolutely! Always cracks me up when someone asks you to name a “favorite” of anything.  It’s all about time and place.  Speaking of time. We’re running out of it and losing readers by the second.

AK: Mix in the right booze and you have a perfect evening  This is a book I’d easily give to someone as a gift.

G-LO: And then say, “Screw them! I’m keeping it for myself!”

AK: BOOM! Giving starts at home!

G-LO: The best gifts are the ones you wanna keep for yourself.

AK: Well, we have one here. Well done, Darlingtons!

G-LO: Which reminds me. I bought you a bottle of whisky.

AK: THANKS!

G-LO: Sadly, I drank it. You would have loved it!

AK: Bastard

G-LO: Yep.

_________________________________________________________________

Many thanks to Running Press for the advance copies of this book, The Darlingtons for masterminding this excellent, conversation starter of a book, and Jason Varney for creating so many beautiful images! 

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