Good things comes in 12 inch packages. Delivering limited edition vinyl pressings of new and classic albums directly to your doorstep, VMP operates under a simple philosophy: The Album Lives! With a carefully curated catalog of new and hard to find releases, the subscription service is more than just a record club, it’s a lifestyle choice for folks who wish Record Store Day could happen every month… in their living room.
Here’s how it works. You send Vinyl Me, Please some of your hard-earned money (a 3-month membership will set you back about $119) and they send you one carefully selected album they feel is Essential to any record collection. Yes, it truly is as easy as it sounds. You even get FREE SHIPPING. Each custom pressing (often on colored vinyl!) also comes with killer extras like original artwork and informative listening companion booklet.
You’ll have membership privileges in the VMP store too, which means you can grab a copy of previous VMP selections from the archives – including their heavy-hitting VMP Rock pick Stooges Raw Power – or choose from a slate of super-limited releases pressed exclusively for Vinyl Me, Please. The store is open, and Team VMP are dropping fresh new selections to their stock every single week. Do not miss out.
Word to the wise, while the store is open to the public, most of the more covet-worthy stock is only available to subscribers. Members are privy to reduced “Members Pricing” as well, so joining the club definitely has its rewards. If you’re peckish about relinquishing control of your record collection to complete strangers, know that VMP’s Swaps Program is in full effect. That means you can flip any VMP pick you’re not interested in for a past featured album from any track (including Essentials, Country, Classics, and Rap/Hip Hop). My advice? Don’t overthink it. Do your turntable a favor and sign up today.
As for October, I decided to get funky Fania style with the Vinyl Me, Please Essentials pick of Acid by Ray Barretto
For The Love Of Vinyl, Please DO NOT BEND
I like to think I don’t have many blindspots in my musical knowledge. But I freely admit that I know next to nothing about salsa, boogaloo, or really Latin music in general. That being the case, the name Ray Barretto was one I’d never heard prior to Vinyl Me, Please tabbing his 1968 album Acid as the October Essentials album. But after giving this one a spin, it’s a name I’m absolutely gonna get more familiar with.
It will probably take a minute for me to begin my deep dive into Barretto’s vast discography, however, as I’m really not ready to move on from Acid just yet. Frankly, I may not move on at all as I’m legitimately blown away I am by the album, which has already received multiple spins in my house, and is destined to receive many many more in the coming days, months, weeks, and years.
Still, I feel like we need a little bit of a primer for those unfamiliar with Barretto and his work. So I’ll give you the Cliff’s Notes version that Barretto was a composer and percussionist who made his name slapping the skins as a session player in 1950s and ’60s, contributing to works for iconic labels of the jazz era like Blue Note, Prestige, and Riverside. He started his own outfit Charanga Moderna in the early part of the ’60s, scoring his first hit single in 1962 with the Latin classic “El Watusi.”
After doing a little label-jumping, Barretto signed with then upstart label Fania Records in 1967. A year later, he dropped Acid on the Fania loving masses, and charted a path to becoming one of the label’s first legit superstars. The album was also the first where Barretto leaned fully into the boogaloo sound, which blends R&B and afro-beat with more traditional Latin rhythms and instrumentation. And yes, that mix of styles is every bit as fascinating as it sounds.
As for the eight tracks that form Acid, Barretto and his band work in and out of salsa-tinged swingers, and hip-shaking soul stunners with unfathomable ease. The obvious standouts to my ear are “Mercy Mercy Baby,” “A Deeper Shade of Soul,” and the album’s title track “Acid.” But there really isn’t a single miss in the mix here. So if you give Acid a go, you’ll no doubt find a few favorites of your own. You’re just as likely to find yourself fighting the urge to shake your rump to the beat – though I’d urge you to simply give in and and get down with these oh-so tasty grooves instead.
Like Acid itself, the album’s cover art is fiery, and soulful with just the slightest touch of psychedelic energy. And VMP dropped some lovely little spot-glossing in the lettering there too.
Yes, Team VMP went with the Mono pressing of Acid. And yes, the sound positively booms when you set it to spinning.
There’s loads of info on the back cover, by the way, including a full list of Barretto’s bandmates, and a few kind words about the album from Pete Bonet.
And I gotta say, the red VMP Essentials foil stamp really pops against the gray background.
In case there’s any question, the hype sticker confirms this pressing is very much worth of that stamp.
There’s some pretty important info on the OBI strip too – including an excerpt from the Acid listening companion on the back.
If you’re curious about the booklet, I can confirm that if you’re anything like me, and knew absolutely nothing about Ray Barretto before spinning Acid, Gary Suarrez has penned a damn solid introduction. Here’s a look.
As with every Vinyl Me, Please Essentials pick, Acid does indeed come with an art print. And this particular print from Clay Conder ranks among the wilder from the VMP vaults.
Just FYI – that print’s beauty is matched only by the smoky orange disc accompanying it.
This bit of Fania fire will bring some serious smoke to your deck too.
Give Vinyl Me Please a Spin
How’s it sound? Trust me when I say this Fania beauty is full fire for real. And you better believe it’s been burning up my deck since the day it arrived. I’m still pretty surprised by that fact too as Latin music historically has just not been my bag. Nonetheless, I’m beyond happy that I opted nog go swap Acid this month. I’m even more stoked to check out more of Ray Barretto’s conga-fueled oeuvre. I have no doubt you’ll feel the same if you add this Vinyl Me, Please stunner to your collection.
A big THANK YOU to our friends at Vinyl Me, Please for sponsoring this subscription. Don’t forget to check out the Vinyl Me, Please website and sign up to get some choice wax delivered right to your door each and every month! Be sure to check back next month to see what vinyl treasure Team VMP sends our way!