Friday, February 26, 2010

Emmylou Harris

I was digging through the bins in a local record store and came upon a stash of signed Emmylou Harris and John Prine albums, mostly inscribed "to Bob" in one way or another. While Cimarron is not my favorite Emmylou album or album cover, it was the only Emmylou record that was signed but not personalized. I don't really have any doubt about the authenticity of this autograph due to the fact that I was able to review multiple obviously-authentic items from this same collection. I think I paid only three dollars for this record--one of the advantages of buying LPs from a store that doesn't appreciate country music!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Kay Starr

I found this beautiful 1958 RCA Victor LP in a bargain bin at a local record store. The condition isn't perfect, but it's not too bad considering its age. Earlier this month, I mailed it out to Ms. Starr for her to sign and I just got it back. Overall, I'm happy with the way it turned out.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hank Locklin

In September 2008, I emailed Hank's wife Anita, asking if Hank would sign a record if I mailed it to her. Hank was bed-ridden and recovering from a fall, but she said he could probably sign it. Hank passed away five months after signing this album and I wonder if it was the last piece of memorabilia that he signed; you can see from his signature that his condition was rather frail.

At the bottom right you can see where Anita wrote the date on the day that Hank signed the record. Ordinarily I don't like autographs to be dated, but because this may be the latest existing Hank Locklin autograph, I don't mind it's presence.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Marvin Rainwater

I wrote a letter to Marvin Rainwater in 1999, telling him how much I enjoy his music and asking him to sign this LP cover. He sent me back the signed cover, a signed 8x10, two CD-Rs of his music, and a note explaining the significance of the guitar in the photo. I thought it was really cool that he took the time to put together a nice package for me and relate that amusing anecdote about him accidentally cracking Red Foley's (beautiful) guitar. Aesthetically, I would have preferred the inscription without the side-comment, but the unique way he signed it made for a more memorable interaction with this under-appreciated artist.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ray Price

Ray Price signed this for me in the late 90s after a show at the Birchmere Music Hall in Alexandria, Virginia. His voice has held up nicely over the years and he put on an outstanding show. Another Bridge to Burn is not my favorite album cover (or song), but it's nicer looking than many of Ray's other albums and there's plenty of light-colored space for an autograph. I think the best cover for signing is his first LP Ray Price Sings Heart Songs.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Jim and Jesse

Jim and Jesse McReynolds signed this LP at a North Georgia fairground in the mid 90s. When I handed them the record, I suggested that Jim place his signature over his guitar and Jesse place his signature over his leg. Perhaps they would have done this anyway, but who knows. I really like the way this one turned out. While the music on the album isn't exceptional, I think this is their most attractive LP cover.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mike's Rules of Etiquette

1. Never ask an artist to sign more than three items. Asking artists to sign a stack of 15 LPs or CD covers is obnoxious to fellow fans and disrespectful to the artist who a.) wants to meet other folks and b.) doesn’t want to be exploited for your monetary gain.
2. Never show up outside a venue for a show you did not attend and ask for an autograph.
3. Never collect autographs for the sake of adding to your collection; you should admire and respect the artists that you ask to sign stuff for you.
4. Once you get your item(s) signed, thank the artist and leave his or her immediate presence, allowing other fans to have their time with the artist. If the artist wants to continue talking with you, he or she will walk over to you later.

Mike's Aesthetic Guidelines

The following guidelines fall into two categories: those that apply to the LP and those that apply to the autograph on the LP.

The LP

1. The LP should have an attractive design and feature the artist's likeness. Records from the 50s and 60s are usually more attractive than those from later decades.
2. The LP should be in decent condition: there should be no ring wear or stickers or price tags, and the record should not be a cut-out/remainder (no cut corners, punched holes, or notched spines).
3. The LP design should be light enough in color that an autograph made with a black sharpie stands out clearly.
4. The LP should be an original pressing or at least look basically the same as the original pressing.
5. The LP design should be void of excessive lettering, which can distract attention from the autograph.
6. The LP should be a legitimate release and not a repackaging of hits.

The Autograph

1. The autograph should be bold and clear and exemplary of the artist's signature. It should not be smeared, nor written with an overly dry pen, nor written sloppily.
2. Autographs on LPs more than ten years old should not include a date; a recent date on an LP that's several decades old looks out of place.
3. Personalizations are a matter of preference, but non-personalized signatures have broader appeal.
4. There should not be any mistakes (i.e., corrected letters) in the autograph.