Viva la Internet: Albumlinernotes.com
Gosh, how great is the internet for music geeks? As if YouTube + Wikipedia wasn't enough to research virtually any band that mattered, there's also other great database-y sources like Allmusic.com and last.fm. And now there's this: Albumlinernotes.com. Here, site contributors have transcribed verbatim liner notes from thousands of albums across time and genre--why, you might ask?
Well, according to the site:"Unfortunately when you download from iTunes you don't always get the liner notes, so we're taking care of that for you. Our staff is up nights painstakingly transcribing useless details for your enjoyment."
Which is true; liner notes of yore list the nerdiest of details about a recording. Take for example, your download of Exile on Main Street by the Rolling Stones. You swear that's Dr. John singing and playing piano "Let It Loose." A couple of keystrokes later you've confirmed it. You'll also find out they had a dude named Amyl Nitrate playing marimbas on "Sweet Black Angel." That shit you won't find on Wiki.
Some liner notes have pretty sweet prose, too. Take for example the 3,000-word handjob rock critic Michael Phalen gives Steely Dan in the Aja liner notes. A key excerpt: "Rich with images of random violence, copulation, drug abuse, loitering with intent and other misdemeanors, this sociopathic jump tune is sure to become a classic zebra in the annals of Punkadelia." Eat your heart out, Pitchfork. They don't write like that any more.
Anyway, there are thousands of entries like that to waste time on. Internet, FTW.