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 the spectacular reissue of Ray Charles’ classic live album In Person – or choose from a slate of super-limited releases pressed exclusively for Vinyl Me, Please. The store is open, and Team VMP is 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 December, I closed out 2023 with Hound Dog Taylor’s blues-rock rager Natural Boogie. Here’s a look.
For the Love of Vinyl, DO NOT BEND
If you’ve been tracking the release slate of Vinyl Me, Please, you already know Hound Dog Taylor’s Natural Boogie is not the Essentials selection for December. That honor went to Herbie Hancock’s afro-space-jazz masterpiece Sextant. And that album is truly one of the cooler Essentials picks of 2023. It is, however, a wildly experimental albut that likely wouldn’t get a ton of spins in my house these days. So a swap seemed in order
In all honesty, I may still be tempted to go back and grab VMP’s pressing of Sextant at a later date because, well, it’s a genuinely intriguing piece of work, and the vinyl geeks are generally raving about the pressing online. That being said, my interest in Sextant is in no way a case of buyer’s remores. Quite the opposite is true, in fact, as I’ve been legitimately blown away by the November Classics pick, Natural Boogie.
I’m even more thrilled with the selection as I’d never even heard of Hound Dog Taylor or his 1974 opus prior to my swap. I have no other explanation for that fact save to offer that I’ve historically had a bit of a blindspot in my sonic palette when it comes to the blues. Thankfully, VMP’s Classics track has been helping me fill that void in both my musical knowledge and my vinyl collection.
Suffice it to say, Natural Boogie has already become one of the jewels of the blues releases in my collection. That’s in no small part because Natural Boogie is the hardest-rocking blues album in there. By “hard-rocking” I mean in the way that the likes of The White Stripes and The Black Keys have been rocking over the past couple of decades. And yes, listeners will hear the influence of Natural Boogie in damn near every blues rock album of the modern era.
Though those bands (and many others) have run with the rock-heavy Chichago-style Blues Hound Dog Taylor reveled in throughout his career, few have ever captured the rambunctious energy on display in Natural Boogie‘s 11 tracks. It seems unlikely any ever will as Taylor’s gritty, yet virtuosic playing and primevil vocal style are as singular as any in the time-honored anals of the blues scene. They’ve arguably never been more engaging than they are throughout Natural Boogie.
If you’ve never heard either, I can confirm with all confidence that Natural Boogie is as solid a starting place as any album in Taylor’s catalogue. Likewise, I can confirm the album has likely never sounded as good as presented here by Vinyl Me, Please. Check it out if you don’t believe me.
Some of my favorite album covers offer more abstract images that merely allude to the sonic wonders within. But sometimes a “straight no chaser” sort of approach can be every bit as effective. And the joy Mr. Hound Dog Taylor displays on the cover of Natural Boogie runs through every single track within.
And any blues lover will geek out over that classic Alligator Records logo.
As for the back cover, there’s loads info back there. There’s also a Vinyl Me, Please Classics foil stamp that ensures one and all know this album has been vetted and deemed worthy.
A look at the hype sticker accompanying this copy of Natural Boogie confirms it’s worthy of that stamp indeed.
There are a few more vital stats about this pressing of the Hound Dog Taylor classic on the OBI-strip as well – not to mention an excerpt from the Natural Boogie listening companion booklet.
For the record, the booklet fronting an interview with Alligator founder Bruce Iglauer is a legit must-read for any fan of the label or Hound Dog Taylor’s work.
Just FYI – there’s another booklet inside this month’s box, and it puts the final touches on VMP’s 10 year celebration by delivering an original artwork nodding at every single alubm Vinyl Me, Please has ever released. Yes, that’s every bit as cool as it sounds.
Anyway, since we’re here to unbox the vinyl, we may as well have a look. As with every Vivyl Me, Please Classics release, black is the color of choice. And you’d better believe it’s as bold as the music it contains.
This one is set to bring some blues-breaking smoke to your deck too, in case there’s any question.
Give Vinyl Me, Please a Spin
How’s it sound? Like Hound Dog and the HouseRockers are literally sititng in your living room and, ya know, rocking the damn house.
I’ve said it before, but old school blues rock has been a bit of a blindspot in my musical expertise. As such, whenever the cats at Vinyl Me, Please tab a blues record on any of their tracks, I always try to give it a look, if only to broaden my musical palette. That is, after all, the whole point of joining a record club in my humble opinion. And I cannot thank VMP enough for not only plucking Natural Boogie from the Alligator Records vaults, but wrapping up in a package that so beautifully feeds by blues-starved soul.
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!