From the Stacks

From The Stacks: Ray Brankline, ‘Better Than the Book!’

If you live in a decent sized city, chances are local artists have dropped a few albums over the years.  I live in Sacramento, home of Cake, Jackie Greene, Tesla, Timothy B. Schmit, and ’80s pop band Bourgeious Tagg. It ain’t exactly grunge-era Seattle or R.E.M.-era Athens, but those are still some pretty respectable names.

But those aren’t the artists I’m talking about. What I’m interested are the folks who plunked down their own money to rent time at a Sacramento recording studio, chasing a dream they’d never catch. When I find albums like that in the bins there’s no question that they’re coming home with me.

They’re rarely any good, by the way, but that’s not the point. Local records are part of our regional histories, and as such they deserve to be preserved and curated. Some day I’d like to pass my collection of Sacramento albums along to a library, museum, or local school that recognizes their value and treats them accordingly.

Also: How much does this guy look like Hal “Barney Miller” Linden? And if that’s not enough cool for you, how about this: Ray Brankline is still performing nearly forty years after dropping what I’m guessing might have been his only album. Way to go, Ray!

You can start your own collection of local artists for just a buck or two. That’s not much to pay to preserve the musical legacy of your hometown, is it? Happy hunting.

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