Thursday, June 26, 2008

The canyon in the sky

While I was in a used record shop called Opera House in South Pittsburgh a few months ago, the guy behind the counter asked me if I was interested in old records. That was a funny question to ask since I had spent the last several hours flipping through endless crates of dusty LPs but I played along and said that I was interested. He said that he would be right back a really rare album that he was saving for just the right person.

He reached under the front counter and pulled out a sealed copy of Evel Knievel's 1974 LP. My first thought was that I hadn't seen the LP in years and never one that was still sealed. It even had a K-Mart super-saver price sticker ($3.98). My second thought was that there was no way I was going to pay the price he was going to want for a record I knew I wouldn't play more than once. But to be polite, I asked anyway. He thought for a minute and said "I dunno, how about five dollars?" Sold!

The LP was recorded right before Knievel's Snake River Canyon jump. It's not something I'll listen to a whole lot but I do like "The Ballad Of Evel Knievel" and the poem Evel wrote is a hoot. There are 2 press conferences that go on for twenty minutes each. Unfortunately, you can't hear most of the questions, only Evel's answers. There's also a canyon-sized skip on "The Ballad Of Evel Knievel" I tried to make it slightly less noticeable but it's still there. Amherst Records did not have high quality control standards.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, I apologize that this is a rare (maybe even first) comment from me, because I love Million Miles Away. It really is a pleasure. Always surprising, both when you write about something I once knew but had forgotten, and when it's something I didn't know existed. So I feel extra funny that what has inspired me to write is this: did you realize that Ballad of Evel Knievel has a skip in it (2nd verse, around 1:26).
Thanks for this great site.

28/6/08 1:55 PM  
Blogger KS said...

Yeah, that's the canyon-sized skip I was referring to in the last paragraph of the post. I really did try to fix it but it's a defect in the pressing. I can't take it back either, I doubt the Opera House has many copies in back stock.

Thanks for the kind words!

28/6/08 2:47 PM  
Blogger evr said...

When I worked for Record Theatre here in Buffalo in the late '80s, we did a lot of warehouse stuff for Amherst Records (both places have the same owner and Amherst is a suburb of Buffalo). Somewhere in a long-forgotten warehouse are pallets full of boxes of the Evil Knievel album (and "Plant Music" also). I have to assume they've probably been destroyed by now, but will have to make some calls to find out now!

1/7/08 1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi All,

Just came across your blog while googling research. I am the general manager/business affairs/co-founder/librarian of Amherst Records. My two cents is there never was more than one palet of each of Evil Knievel/Plant Music LPs. But if you really had an original unsealed LP of Evel, what is now really valuable inside is the picture postcard of Evel on his motorcycle. In fact, if you have that I would be very interested in hearing from you. email me at

17/7/08 1:17 PM  

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