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Vinyl Word – The Smugglers

The Smugglers – In The Hall Of Fame (30th Anniversary Edition)

Lavasocks Records (originally released on compact disc in 1993 by Popllama Records)
13 out of 13 stars

By Tom Smith
Contributing Writer

Since my career working in record stores started in 1984 and is still going strong, I’ve worked and lived through a dark period of time where certain albums were released only on compact disc.

With the vinyl resurgence of the last thirteen to fifteen years, music fans have been fortunate to see many of these lost treasures finally released on vinyl.

Unfortunately, not everything that missed being released on vinyl has seen that error rectified. There are a plethora of reasons why certain lost artifacts of the ’90s have not been unearthed in record form.

Sometimes record labels are unwilling, uninterested or financially incapable of reissuing certain albums. Sometimes the record label may simply not exist anymore and ownership of the recordings may be in limbo. Sometimes these recordings see the light of day because of adventurous independent record labels that go on crusades to make this happen.

These labels act like a music Indiana Jones and go out of their way to bring us these music antiquities.

The album I’m reviewing today is one of these lost treasures, and I’m not talking about the Chachapoyan fertility idol. No, this record is more like the lost Ark of the Covenant.

Yup, I said that and I mean it because this album is that darn great, and, more importantly, this album is a key element in the catalogue of a band who, in my opinion, is one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time — Canadian, American or otherwise.

This is the band that forced me to get a passport for the very first time in my life so I could fly to Vancouver, BC to see their first show in thirteen years at the historic Commodore Ballroom.

Speaking of history, that show would also be the last ever show by the late, great Muffs.

The Smugglers routinely made Green Bay a touring stop in the ’90s and played the Concert Cafe four times.

This album opens up with “Rock and Roll Was Never This Fun,” which is a rousing rock number that I put up with “Louie Louie” by the Kingsmen, “Boss Hoss” by The Sonics and “Sooprize Package For Mr Mineo” by Supercharger.

Other songs on this album that really get my toes tapping are “Alan Thicke,” “Fun In the USA,” “Your Mom’s the Devil,” “Vancouver, BC,” “Shakedown!,” “For My Lover,” “Canadian Ambassadors,” and “Calgarians Don’t Dance.”

All the songs on this album were recorded at the late, great Egg Studios in Seattle, Washington between 1990 and 1993.

The album was produced by David Carswell (who also plays guitar and sings in the Smugglers) and Conrad Uno, who owned and ran Egg Studios.

It is also noteworthy to mention that the original cover design of the album is by the one and only Neko Case.

If this review has interested you in the history of the Smugglers, I highly recommend picking up singer of the Smugglers Grant Lawrence’s fascinating book about the Smugglers called ‘Dirty Windshields-The Best and Worst of the Smugglers Tour Diaries,’ which mentions them playing and staying in Green Bay.

The Green Bay UFO Museum Gift Shop and Records 2248 Univerisity Ave. immediately sold out of our first batch of this album, but don’t worry, we have more on order.

Live long, and writing rock and roll reviews was never this fun.

Tom Smith was the store manager at Green Bay’s Exclusive Company and currently works at the Green Bay UFO Museum Gift Shop and Records. He has a vast knowledge and a lifelong love of vinyl.

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