Four More From 1961 Topps Sports Cars

It seems like every time I share some of these cards, I say something like “It’s been a while since I’ve shared any of these so…”

I may as well stand by tradition. It’s been a while since I shared any of these, so…


Saturday Side Trip: Track #5 From The Beatles FrankenAlbums

As many of you know by now, I’m applying the “FrankenSet” concept to Beatles albums and creating a Beatles FrankenAlbum containing the (subjectively) best song for each track number. I also have a “covers album” in the works, and voting on the Shlabotnik Report’s readers’ FrankenAlbum, and images from the 1993 River Group “The Beatles Collection” card set… like this one:

Recapping the voting from last week, I found a situation I hadn’t given any thought to prior (which shows the level of preparation I took). We had a tie between “Nowhere Man” and “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey”, each with four votes. I considered naming “Nowhere Man” the winner since “EGSTHEMAMM” was my choice, but for now I’m just going to make it a “Medley”. Feel free to talk me out if it in the comments section.

Here’s where we stand after four tracks:

My FrankenAlbum:

  1. Help
  2. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
  3. You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away
  4. Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey

Your FrankenAlbum:

  1. A Hard Day’s Night
  2. Something
  3. I’m Only Sleeping
  4. Medley: Nowhere Man / Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey

My Favorite Covers FrankenAlbum:

  1. “Come Together” by Aerosmith
  2. “With A Little Help From My Friends” by Joe Cocker
  3. “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” by The Hooters
  4. “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey” by Fats Domino

If you want to see the prior posts, you can click on the “Beatles FrankenAlbum” link at the bottom of this post.

I feel I should mention that I’m continuing to seed the tracks in alphabetical order (highest vs. lowest, second-highest vs. second-lowest, etc.)  OK, let’s start off the tournament with the “White Album Play-In” round…

White-Album Play-In Round:
“Wild Honey Pie” (Disk 1) vs. “Sexy Sadie” (Disk 2)
I completely appreciate “Wild Honey Pie” for what it is, but “Sexy Sadie” is certainly superior in any category you might choose… except maybe “Enjoyably strange tracks”.
WINNER: “Sexy Sadie”

Round One:
“And I Love Her” (A Hard Day’s Night) vs. “Your Mother Should Know” (Magical Mystery Tour)
“And” is a heartfelt love song while “Mother” is the type of fluff that Paul drifted off into in later years.
WINNER: “And I Love Her”

“Another Girl” (Help) vs. “Think For Yourself” (Rubber Soul)
Paul goes 2-for-2 in the first round.
WINNER: “Another Girl”

“Boys” (Please Please Me) vs. “Sexy Sadie” (White Album)
“Boys” is an interesting choice for a cover song, given that the original version was from the female perspective.  Changing the pronouns only makes it a slightly less interesting cover.
WINNER “Sexy Sadie”

“Dig It” (Let It Be) vs. “Octopus’ Garden” (Abbey Road)
“Octopus’ Garden” is possibly Ringo’s finest moment as a Beatle, and “Dig It”, which is just an excerpt from a jam session, doesn’t put up any sort of opposition to it.
WINNER: “Octopus’s Garden”

“Fixing A Hole” (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band) vs. “Little Child” (With The Beatles)
And it really doesn’t matter if I’m wrong, I’m right.
WINNER: “Fixing A Hole”

“Here, There And Everywhere” (Revolver) vs. “I’ll Follow The Sun” (Beatles For Sale)
You’ve got to appreciate the song where each word in the title (except “And” of course) is used in the beginning of each verse… but after listening to both songs back-to-back, I went the other way.
WINNER: “I’ll Follow The Sun”

Round Two
“And I Love Her” vs. “I’ll Follow The Sun”
I like the way Paul & John sing together on “I’ll Follow The Sun”, but…
WINNER: “And I Love Her”

“Another Girl” vs. “Fixing A Hole”
On Sirius/XM’s Beatles Channel, I found out that the line “Silly people rush around, they worry me…” from “Fixing A Hole” was commonly misunderstood as “Silly Beatles rush around…” That has no bearing on any of this, I just figured I’d mention it.
WINNER: “Another Girl”

“Sexy Sadie” vs. “Octopus’s Garden”
The first four songs on my FrankenAlbum were all John Lennon songs. I’m going to break the John streak right now, eliminate the last John track and go with Ringo… because right here, right now, Octopus appeals to me more.  Like with so many of these choices, there’s a good chance I’ll feel differently in a couple of weeks.
WINNER: “Octopus’ Garden”

Championship Round: “And I Love Her” vs. “Another Girl” vs. “Octopus’s Garden”

I didn’t know what to say about this round, other than to announce the winner…

WINNER:  “And I Love Her”

Cover Version FrankenAlbum

I got caught with my pants down for Track #5, because I didn’t know any cover versions for the “track #5” songs.  After auditioning a bunch on YouTube, I decided to go with Phish’s recording of “Sexy Sadie”.  It doesn’t really stray from the original, but I enjoyed it the most out of what I found.

In researching cover versions, I found a reference to Paul being a fan of Esther Phillip’s version of “And I Love Her”, so I’ll include that as well

I’m very much looking forward to hearing your suggestions for a cover track.

And now it’s voting time!  Which of these Track #5 songs would you put on a Beatles FrankenAlbum?

Saturday Side Trip: The Beatles FrankenAlbums, Track #2

Last week I started with the concept of a Beatles “FrankenAlbum”, an album made up of parts of other albums. I went through the first tracks on all of the original Beatles albums picked what I think is the best track and allowed you to vote on your own Track #1.

The winner of last week’s poll for Track #1 was “A Hard Days Night”, which took 40% of the votes.  You may remember that “A Hard Day’s Night” was one of my finalists, but I went with “Help”.

In this post we’ll be running through Track #2, and you’ll be voting again (if you want to, of course).  I’m also upping the ante with something I thought of shortly after the first post… more on that later.

As with last week, I’m doing this in tournament format, starting with a play-in to see which track will represent the “White Album”. I’m also giving this post a visual element by inserting images from the 1993 River Group “The Beatles Collection” set.

White Album play-in round:
“Dear Prudence” (Disk 1) vs. “Yer Blues” (Disk 2)
Do I pick the song John wrote about Mia Farrow’s sister, or the song John wrote which kicks ass and name-drops Bob Dylan?  Decisions… decisions… But I think Mia edges out Bob.
WINNER: “Dear Prudence”

First Round
“Misery” (Please Please Me) vs. “Dig A Pony” (Let It Be)
‘I Dig A Pygmy’, by Charles Hawtrey on the deaf-aids! (ha ha ha)  Phase one, in which Doris gets her oats.
“Dig A Pony” is just a better song.
WINNER: “Dig A Pony”

“All I’ve Got To Do” (With The Beatles) vs. “Something” (Abbey Road)
Do I even need to justify this one? This is even with “Something” wearing thin for me over the years.
WINNER: “Something”

“I Should Have Known Better” (Hard Day’s Night) vs. “Dear Prudence” (White Album)
The hand-wringing over the White Album track was for naught, because neither track stands a chance against one of my favorite Beatles songs. “I Should Have Known Better” may prove to be a tough track to beat.
WINNER: “I Should Have Known Better”

“I’m A Loser” (Beatles For Sale) vs. “Fool On The Hill” (Magical Mystery Tour)
Can an album track beat a well-known song? You betcha.
WINNER: “I’m A Loser”

“The Night Before” (Help) vs. “With A Little Help From My Friends” (Sgt. Pepper)
Another tough battle, but “The Night Before”, while a favorite, isn’t particularly notable in any way and I’ve got to give Ringo some love.
WINNER: “With A Little Help From My Friends”

“Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” (Rubber Soul) vs. “Eleanor Rigby” (Revolver)
Both songs were very experimental for their time, (sitar for “Norwegian Wood”, a string quartet for “Eleanor Rigby”). If you don’t care for my “Norwegian Wood is just a better song” argument, then I’ll fall back on “Eleanor Rigby only has one Beatle on it” argument. Maybe it’s because I’ve heard the song countless times over the years, but I almost prefer the Anthology version of “Eleanor Rigby” which has the quartet but no Paul vocals.
WINNER: “Norwegian Wood”

Round Two:
“Dig A Pony” vs. “Norwegian Wood”
“Dig A Pony” is cool, but…
WINNER: “Norwegian Wood”

“Something” vs. “With A Little Help From My Friends”
Ooh, an epic knock-down drag-out battle between George and Ringo! If I could use cover versions, I’d go with the Joe Cocker version of “With A Little Help”… but never fear, Ringo, you get the upper hand anyway.
WINNER: “With A Little Help From My Friends

“I Should Have Known Better” vs. “I’m A Loser”
Remember what I said before about “I Should Have Known Better”? It still stands.
WINNER: “I Should Have Known Better”

Final Round: “Norwegian Wood”; “With A Little Help From My Friends”; “I Should Have Known Better”
I knew going in to the FrankenAlbum concept that the final round was going to be tough through all 14 tracks, but maaaaan…. I’d probably have a different answer if I did this again next week, but I have to go with Norwegian Wood.

So… I lit a fire.  Isn’t it good?

What?  A THIRD FrankenAlbum?

After the first post, I had an idea for another FrankenAlbum, one made up of my favorite cover versions of Beatles songs.  For me to get through all 14 tracks, I’m counting on the fact that there are huge numbers of Beatles covers out there… I’ve yet to give thought to this past the first two tracks, so I don’t know for sure that we’ll have a palatable Beatles cover for every track. I’m telling you right now, I will pull the plug on this third FrankenAlbum before using something like “A Taste Of Honey” by the Ray Conniff Singers.  If you’re not familiar with Ray Conniff a) consider yourself fortunate and b) ask your parents/grandparents.

Since I had the idea after the first post, I’ll go back and do the first track.

Track #1 on the Covers FrankenAlbum is “Come Together” by Aerosmith… A song which, within the context of the awful, awful “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” movie of 1976, is meant to be loud and discordant… but is possibly the best song on the soundtrack (or maybe the best soundtrack song is Earth Wind And Fire’s “Got To Get You Into My Life”…?)

And Track #2 on the Covers FrankenAlbum is “A Little Help From My Friends” by Joe Cocker (which I’ve come to enjoy more than the original).

These two are pretty conventional choices, but I promise you that it will stray further afield than these two choices.

Poll time!  Make sure to vote on your choice for Track #2 on the Readers’ FrankenAlbum:

Saturday Side Trip: Track #1 From A Beatles “FrankenAlbum”

This is largely off-topic for this blog, but I’m doing it because it seems like it will be fun.  I’ll throw in some scans of cards from the 1993 River Group “The Beatles Collection” set just to keep it somewhat relevant.

Card collectors talk about building “Frankensets” where you fill a binder with cards from assorted sets numbered as if it were the same set;  a card #1 from one set in the first pocket, card #2 from another set in the next pocket, etc.

In a moment of daydreaming, I decided to apply that concept to Beatles albums… To make one 14-track album out of the 12 Beatles Albums by selecting the best first track, the best second track and so on up to 14.  I’d be excluding the post-breakup albums (Anthology, Hollywood Bowl, Love, etc.), the half-soundtrack “Yellow Submarine” album, and the “Past Masters” collections of singles and EP’s.  This admittedly leaves out a lot of great songs (“She Loves You”, “I Feel Fine”, “Day Tripper”, “Paperback Writer”, etc.), but the competition will be fierce enough as it is.

This is clearly an objective exercise, so I’ll tell you up front where my Beatle tastes lie:

  • The period from “Help” to “Revolver” as the absolute pinnacle of Beatledom.
  • Sgt. Pepper is a bit overrated and overplayed.
  • Over time I’ve grown to generally prefer John over Paul… Partially because some of Paul’s bigger songs had a limited (although very large) number of listens in them, and I’ve passed that point for songs like “Yesterday”.

Fear not, there’s also going to be a poll at the end of each post, plus the comments, so that you can let me know what an idiot I am for picking a particular track.  At the end of all this, we’ll have two different FrankenAlbums:  “Yours” and Mine.

I’m going to choose my tracks in a tournament format.  First, I’m going to do a sort of March Madness “Play-in” matchup between the two disks of the “White Album”. After that, I’m matching the tracks up as if they were seeded by release date. So, Track 1 from “Please Please Me” (the first album) goes up against Track 1 from “Let It Be” (the last album);  “With The Beatles” (2nd album) goes up against “Abbey Road”… you get the idea. Then the winner of “Game A” goes up against the winner of “Game F”, “B” against “E” and “C” against “D”.  At the end of that round we’ll have three tracks from which I will pick the “winner”.

Now that this is out of the way, let’s get to today’s matchups. The first track is a tough one, because we’ve got four title tracks in the competition and you know those tracks are going to be big songs.

White Album Play-in Round:
“Back In The USSR” (White Album Disc 1) vs. “Birthday” (White Album Disc 2)
Right off the bat we’ve got two well-known Paul songs. Both songs are worthy, but I’ll go with the slightly-less-fluffy Beach Boys homage/parody.
WINNER:  “Back In The USSR”

First Round:
“I Saw Her Standing There” (Please Please Me) vs. “Two Of Us” (Let It Be).
“Two Of Us” is one of my favorite songs off of the “Let It Be” album, but I can’t in good conscience go against “I Saw Her Standing There”.  One two three FOUR!
WINNER:  “I Saw Her Standing There”

“It Won’t Be Long” (With The Beatles) vs. “Come Together” (Abbey Road)
Very little deliberating on this one.
WINNER:  “Come Together”

“A Hard Day’s Night” (A Hard Day’s Night) vs. “Back In The USSR” (White Album)
In the end, I have to go with The Beatles being The Beatles, and not being The Beach Boys.
WINNER: “A Hard Day’s Night”

“No Reply” (Beatles For Sale) vs. “Magical Mystery Tour” (Magical Mystery Tour)
This was a tighter contest than you might think, but in the end the more famous track wins out.
WINNER: “Magical Mystery Tour”

“Help” (Help) vs. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club’s Band (Sgt. Pepper)
Help is an all-time favorite, whereas Pepper is a song I’ve grown a bit tired of over the years. For many people this would be a hard choice, but not for me.
WINNER: “Help”

““Drive My Car” (Rubber Soul) vs. Taxman (Revolver)
Another tight contest, but I can’t resist the snark and George will need all the wins he can get.
WINNER: “Taxman”

Second Round:
“I Saw Her Standing There” vs. “Taxman”
…But Taxman doesn’t make it past the second round. Both songs have great count-ins, but “I Saw Her…” is more iconic.
WINNER: “I Saw Her Standing There”

“Help” vs. “Come Together”
As I mentioned, middle-period Beatles (Help through Revolver) is king in my book.
WINNER: “Help”

“A Hard Day’s Night” vs. “Magical Mystery Tour”
In a matchup of movie title tracks, Hard Day’s ebullience wins the day.

Championship Round:  “I Saw Her Standing There”; “Help”; “A Hard Day’s Night”
Oy, this is tough… But I’ve got to go with “Help” over the other two…. Especially if we cheat and include the ‘James Bond intro’ that was on the U.S. Album. I know it’s soundtrack music and not anything the Beatles actually performed or desired to be on their album, but I grew up with that intro always leading into “Help” and it’s *my* FrankenAlbum, so there.

And now, here’s your chance to be heard. You may, of course, express your disdain and incredulity over my pick in the comments, and you can vote for your own track.  You have one week to vote (if I’m setting this up correctly) and I’ll share the winner in the next post (which hopefully will be next Saturday, depending on how quickly I can turn these things around).



Trying To Break A Custom Funk With A “Super Value Fun Pack”!

You may have noticed that I’ve been kind of quiet with the customs lately.  It’s mainly from lack of time, but underlying that was a simple case of “writer’s block”.  I didn’t really have anything I wanted to “say”, so nothing came out.

I started to come out of the funk a little bit when I poked a bit of fun at the Topps online exclusive Throwback Thursday sets (#TSR_TBT), but then I also decided to stop focusing on my 2017 TSR set and let my muse take me wherever I might go.

I ultimately ended up with an odd assortment of customs and I was trying to think of how to present them… And that’s when I remembered a predecesor of the 21st century repack.  Back in the day, companies used to take whatever they had left over – cards, comic books, etc. – package them together at a low price and tried to make them sound appealing by throwing about words like “Value” and “Fun”.

So I came up with the idea of a “Super Value Fun Pack” and went about creating a “wrapper”:

Now that I’m done with the explanations, let’s see what’s in the Super Value Fun Pack, shall we?

Leading up to the recent NHL Expansion Draft to stock the roster of the Vegas Golden Knights, I made a decision that if any players showed up in person and put on a VGK jersey (Sorry, Canadians, I just can’t call it a “sweater”), I would make a custom out of it.

Well, a number of players did make an appearance, and I decided to use the 1970-71 Topps Hockey design because a)  It allowed me to remove the uninteresting background and b) I’d already come up with a template to use.

Deciding which player to feature wasn’t hard, because the one and only drafted player I’d even heard of before the draft was one of the guys who showed up.

While researching this card, I stumbled across a hockey oddball from the same year, and the custom which resulted will be in the next Super Value Fun Pack (ideally next week).

The one bit of momentum I’ve been able to maintain with my 2017 TSR custom set is making customs of Mets and Orioles for players who haven’t appeared on a real card in 2017. For this week’s Orioles entry in the “Dude Needs A Card” theme, we have a pitcher who appeared in 3 games before being Designated For Assignment, and who is already gone from the O’s organization. I’m talking about journeyman pitcher Edwin Jackson!

The Orioles were the 12th team Jackson has pitched for. When the O’s DFA’ed him, he declared free agency and signed a minor league contract with the Nationals… But if he makes it back to the Majors with the Nats, it won’t up his totals, because he pitched for the Nationals in 2012.

For the record his 12 teams (in order): Dodgers, Devil Rays/Rays (they transitioned while he was on the roster), Tigers, Diamondbacks, White Sox, Cardinals, Nationals, Cubs, Braves, Marlins, Padres, Orioles

Fernando Salas has already appeared in 36 games for the Mets and yet remains cardboard-free. I’m sure that’s nothing to do with his 6.00 ERA or 1.697 WHIP.

I would’ve created a custom for my TSR set, but I already had one made for my TSRchives set.

The final custom comes from a desire to have a design I could use for just about any purpose. I ultimately decided to revive my short-lived “TSR Fauxback” set from 2015. The design I came up with for 2017 is similar to my 2015 design in that it’s intentionally derivative as hell, but I can’t help shaking the feeling that I’ve subconsciously stolen it from somewhere.

Call it derivative, call it homage, call it plagiarism… Call it whatever, this is the 2017 TSR Fauxback design:

Rest in peace, Adam West.

Dollar Tree Very Pretty And The Dollar Flower Is Sweet…

…But the cards from the poor Dollar stink like Roger Clemens’ feet!

OK, that’s admittedly a little harsh.  While I was somewhat disappointed in the cards I got in a recent Dollar Tree excursion, it was largely my own fault.  Caveat Emptor and all that.

So here’s the deal.  There was recently a post over at The Five Tool Collector detailing the somewhat surprising success he had with cards from Dollar Tree.  I was inspired to check out the Dollar Tree near where I work, but they have no cards at all.  A few days later I was driving in another direction during my lunchbreak and I passed a Dollar Tree that I’d forgotten about because it’s only been open for a year or so.  Because I had other errands to run, I rushed through the purchase and neglected make sure that the repacks I wanted were from a company called Presstine.  The two repacks I bought were from another company and featured the kind of crap we all fear in a repack.

It wasn’t a complete waste, because I did get a couple of junk-waxy needs,  a couple of filler cards for some outgoing packages, plus a Tim Wallach card that goes in the “Someday I’ll send a PWE to the Tim Wallach guy” stack.

I also bought some unopened packs which were a lot more fun.

Before I get into the cards I got, I’m curious about something…  Is there anybody younger than I am – I’ll be 52 in the fall – who gets the reference made in the subject line?

I’ll start with the repacks.  I was relatively excited to pull a 1984 Donruss Oriole.  It’s funny, 1984 was all about Fleer for me, and I was largely “meh” about 84D, but now it’s like “The champagne of junk wax”.

Sadly, I already had this card.  Quelle dommage.

Speaking of Orioles, one of my favorite all-time O’s is Jeff Conine.  This card features him with the Marlins (pauses to spit on the ground), but it’s still a cool card of “Niner”.

A nice action shot of Mike Cameron, who was always fun to watch in the outfield.

This card is from the 1998 Score Rookie And Traded set… despite the fact that Cameron had not changed teams and this is not remotely close to being Cameron’s rookie card – he’d actually been in the 1997 and 1998 Score flagship sets.  Maybe the set should’ve been called “Rookie And Traded And Other Photos We Want To Get In A Set”.

This next card falls into the “audience participation” category.  From the back of the card, I could tell this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill 1989 Donruss card.

I went to COMC to see which 1989 Donruss set it’s from, and discovered it’s from the “Baseball’s Best” set.  I also discovered that the sole copy of it on COMC is from a seller who is notorious for selling commons for outrageous prices (although this one was priced at a low-for-him $1).  My question to you, my readers, is this:  Should I send this card in to COMC solely for the purpose of undercutting this disreputable seller?  It’s certainly not a high-demand card and I would price it solely to get my processing fee back, but I’ll admit I would take a not-insignificant amount of satisfaction if I were to stick it to this guy even just a little bit.  Whaddaya think?

Moving on to the packs.  I bought a single pack of 2015 Panini Americana just because.  I like the design of this set, but the checklist largely leaves me cold and the photos used aren’t always the greatest.  I got two cards of note, however.

I had a minor crush on Julie Gonzalo when she was on the now-forgotten TV show “Eli Stone”.  She’s better known for her roles in “Veronica Mars” and the rebooted “Dallas”.

Her Wikipedia page has a photo from the “2013 Monte Carlo Television Festival” which, judging from her outfit, was taken at the same time as this photo (and it’s a somewhat better photo).

I also got a die-cast jockey insert… three-time Kentucky Derby winner Calvin Borel (FYI, I scanned this with the scanner lid open in an attempt to bring out the die-cuttedness of it).

I saw Die-Cut Jockey when they opened for Barenaked Ladies in the mid-1990’s (Cue the Foghorn Leghorn audio clip – that’s a joke, I say, that’s a joke, son!).

The Dollar Tree also had some unopened packs which sold for a buck for each bag of two.  I bought two of these two-pack repacks.  Each bag contained a pack of 1994 Upper Deck World Cup Cards (English/Italian version), which were pretty cool.  One pack’s cards were so stuck together that I couldn’t separate them without significant card damage (and they ended up in the trash), but the other pack came out OK.  Here’s a card of Brazilian footballer Palhinha.

I didn’t know any of the players, but the photos were more interesting than in many of the more current soccer sets.

Another 2/$1 pack I got was 1992 ProSet Guinness Book Of Records, which is a neat concept but a lot of the cards didn’t translate well to 2.5″ x 3.5″.  Here’s the best of my pack.

“The world’s longest snake is the reticulated python of Southeast Asia, Indonesia and the Philppines, which regularly exceeds 20 feet, 6 inches in length”.

The last pack I got was from the 1994 Cardz “Jim Henson’s Muppets Take The Ice” mashup of everyone’s favorite Muppets and the NHL.  These are actually pretty fun cards, here’s my favorite from the pack:

The next time I pass this Dollar Tree, I’m going to see if they have any more of the Muppets and World Cup packs.  The rest I can do without (unless they get some of those Presstine repacks in).

In case you’re curious about the “Dollar Tree Very Pretty” reference, or if you just like Trini Lopez…  Full Disclosure:  Trini Lopez isn’t the original artist and may not have had the biggest hit version, but I think of Lemon Tree as being “his song”.