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RECOMMENDATIONS - December 2009

 

It’s very nearly Christmas and so it’s time for a brief list of top album that will be aired and repeated throughout the festive holiday period. This list includes some old faves and a number of new faves that may not turn into old faves. Only time will tell.

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CHA CHA CHA:
I bought this as I’d never seen such amazing legs on a cover. It’s also one of the most beautifully produced albums sleeves I’ve ever seen in terms of the reproductive techniques and colour overlaying. Musically it possibly sucks but this has remained at the front of the Trunk pile for weeks now. I always knew I was a record man, I’m now a leg man too, especially if they’re on records.

 

THIS EXOTIC ALBUM:
Written by Michael Magne, this must be one of the first album sleeves to feature a 3D sticker thing, picturing a pair of hands playing the bongos. How cool is that. And what a magnificent beast of an LP, all classic weird exotic numbers about beaches and coconuts and that, all played in the oddest fashion, with weird SFX, bird calls, screams, shrieks, it’s more a Halloween album that a summery exotic album, which is why I listen to it in December.

I KNOW WHAT HE WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS:
Yes, I want a record. With bosoms on the front. But really, the best thing about this is the festive coloured wax it was pressed in, all holly green and santa red. Very clever indeed.

 


BURL IVES SINGING ABOUT ANIMALS:
Horses from Demerera, Whales that eat pork chops, numbers about cats, ponies and crocs too. Yes, this is wild baby, wild. Strangely enough I met a Pomeranian dog yesterday called Butters. There’s no song about it on this album, but there might well have been.

 

SCIENTIST AND VAMPIRES:
The title of this album is just waaaaaaaaaaaay tooooooo long to be repeated here, but I remember this album quite well from the past, and started listening once more in October (Halloween again), and I’m still listening. There is a great fidgety number on this album which is so simple it makes me a bit sick.

 

MOON WIRING CLUB:
This works somewhere along the lines of that Antique Beat by the Clerkenwell Kid. It’s a very interesting record (well it’s a CD but it exists in physical form which still counts) with even more interesting artwork if you ask me. It’s like spooky children’s books and old sweet wrappers all together at the same time.

 

A BRIAN CLOUGH RECORD:
There was I in a record shop, which just happened to have a sports records box. It’s not often you come across one of those so I dived in and swam about in bad hairdos and hairdon’ts for a few minutes, only to resurface clutching this remarkable little fabulous thing. Brian singy-talks on this record and it is awful, but it exists, which is joy enough. All I have to find now is my old Notts Forest mug, but I think my mum threw that out in about 1984.

 

THE STUDIO G FORGOTTEN ALBUM:
No surprise that this little feller has been left out in the cold. He looks rubbish, and musically he is most of the time. Except that is, for the track that is called something like funny rock, or rock funny. I was put onto this by Andrew from Superthriller, and he played it on my radio show. I then thought to myself I needed a copy real bad, and then as soon as that thought was gone I really couldn’t be bothered to even start looking. Then a copy turned up down the road for three quid and against my better judgement I bought it. And I still can’t remember the exact name of the good track.

 

ROCK, GENTLY:
Way before he told everyone he was a homosexual, the fabulous Rock Hudson made quite a camp record. This was after all the camp films he’d made with Doris. What I like about this session is the use of the Stanyan Strings, Rod McKuen’s default violin posse. Here they supply Rock’s withering vocals with a strangely aggressive accompanyment, turning his edgy voice into something sour and strangely attractive, a little like the lemon sucky bit after tequila and salt.

 

SONNY’S CRIB:
This is a rare Blue Note album. I don’t own it, but I do have the CD. I’ve never really taken to it, but Mrs Trunk now has, which is completely unexpected. I now have to keep this album near the music trolley at all times as Mrs Trunk finds it musically as refreshing as a Gin and Tonic. She’s off booze at the moment but is happy to drink down this whole album early each evening. We’re now also looking for a musical alternative to crisps, so she has something to snack on after the album.

 

PEREZ PRADO TWIST:
This came form the same box as the Cha Cha Cha leg one, and it’s one of those very annoying all the tracks sound the same kind of records, made worse by Mr Prado’s trademark growl / howl at the end of each track. However there is one slight saving grace, and that’s a version of Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White that’s played in a very peculiar way, so peculiar in fact that it sounds like it’s a cut-up, either that or a broken mic was used in the original recording.

 

UNA BELLA GRINTA:
Duba, the bloke who runs Cinedelic came over a month or two ago. He left a copy of this with me, it’s superb early Italian swinging jazz with a waltz thrown in for good measure. It is possibly the best cinematic jazz I have heard all year and it seems to get better every time you listen. It’s also very well repackaged. So well done everyone.

 

A MUSIC AND MOVEMENT RECORD I DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT:
Derek found this. He’s great.

 

CHRISTMAS GREETINGS FROM AFRICA:
Made by an 11 year old piano player, this is a mad slice of strange tourist recording. It includes his version of the Schubert improvised thing, and more interesting for me a lullaby which would keep most people awake and sweaty, followed by a good piece of wierdy jazz that’s not a million miles form the King Sunny Ade sound of the early 80s, but without the electronics. The flower on the front of this record scares me slightly, it’s more like a triffid that a welcoming African bloom.

 

THE YURI GELLER ALBUM:
His musical timing is sublime, which makes this hilarious album even more hilarious. I started listening to this because I had to write it up for Mojo. At the same time I started to investigate Geller on line and came across the marvellous James Randi and his endless quest to show up Geller as a fraud. The Jonny Carson Show with Yuri is really worth looking at, so are the numerous other Randi revelations. As for the music, it really is a unique self indulgent mad thing, and his lyrics are quite extraordinary too. The Day, his apocalyptic number is a great example. Apparently it’s a day when yellow turns to red. And green turns to purple. Now that’s a bad day.

 


WIDOWS:
Believe it or not this large slice of 1985 TV nostalgia was released on a 12”, which is total madness if you ask me. The main theme by Gerard Kenny is unbelievably bad (as is the leather jacket and tee shirt combo he sports on the back), but this does have a very short bit of Stanley Myers on it which is alright. I used to fancy one of the Widows, I think it was the old one on the right*. More importantly this came from the now legendary Mike Read record collection sale. I got this from one of the buyers who was there and actually bought some things. Apparently this 12” was one of the better pieces up for grabs.

* Noooooo! - Derek

 



READERS RECOMMENDATIONS

If you have a record that you are enjoying at the moment, please write up a brief explanation of it, scan the cover in the style established on these pages (at 300dpi), and submit it all to:

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JONNY WHITE

A Happy Christmas to one and all! As it is almost a certainty that my nearest and dearest will yet again fail to buy me any interesting records this December, I have been forced to continue getting them for myself. I suppose I am becoming increasingly difficult to satisfy. Here are some of my recent generous gifts to myself........

Francoise Hardy:
This is lovely, dreamy even. Same sexy voice, but singing in English and without that slightly coquettish 60's slant that pervades her, well, 60's records. That would make sense as this is from 1972, on the 'Kundalini' label. As far as I know, that's a type of Yoga.

 

UNDER MILK WOOD:
Recently I have been buying spoken word records. It was strangely comforting listening to this in it's entirety, a bit like having a Radio 4 play on, I suppose. Tells the tale of a mass day out in a small Welsh village with characters such as Sinbad Sailors, Dai Bread, Willy Nilly Postman and my personal favourite, Organ Morgan. Genius.

Herbie Hancock:
1973, 'The Spook Who Sat By The Door'. Thanks to 'HH' this is saved from being just another Blaxploitation soundtrack. Yes, it's a bit funky, yes there are car chase noises and yes, bits of dialogue pop up to keep us entertained, but the whole thing has an altogether darker, dirtier, scarier edge to it. The musical reproduction is also very lo-fi which adds to the gritty experience. Sounds like it's coming out of a crappy car radio.

 

A couple of library records. Lovely sleeve art eh? We all know library music can be a bit hit and miss and there seem to be roughly 3 sorts: 1) Rubbish from start to finish, 2) Brilliant from start to finish, and 3) A little of both. The lovely swirly one (Paul Piot & Co.) starts off wonderfully but 4 tracks in things go horribly, horribly wrong, and it only occasionally recovers. You know you're in trouble when a tune is described as "slow tempo rock 'n' roll featuring tenor sax" or you see the words "boogie" AND "woogie". So don't go paying silly money for it just because some fella in France says it's "rammed full of breaks and loops" and warns you not to "sleep on it".

 

The green one is happily in category 2). You may know the 'Easy Tempo' record 'Future Sound of Lesiman'. Well some of it is taken from this startling Vedette Library release, "Here And Now Vol. 2" dated 1974. Brilliant from start to finish is no exaggeration: small tight band, drums, electric bass and Lesiman himself playing repetitive, hypnotic phrases on all manner of keyboard instruments. We won't make any silly jokes about his name though, although perhaps he deserves it seeing as he chose it himself; his real name is Paolo Renosto.

 

Who's Idea Of Fun Is A Nightmare? I suppose I only bought this because it had been sitting in Record & Tape, Notting Hill for so long that it had fallen from £14 to £1. I felt sorry for it. Silly, earnest English poetry from the 70's with titles such as 'Splintered Messiah', 'Way Past My Birth Time' and 'Joy Up And Be Springful'. Now I feel sorry for his dogs.

 

Morricone:
As regular readers will probably know, Morricone is never far from the record player round my house. You can probably take your own wild guess as to the type of music to expect on this one. I was particularly pleased as I was recently outbid on ebay for it, only to get it a few weeks later for only £7. Sweet.

 


Two records that sound quite similar. The Afro Blues Quintet, and Ramsey Lewis. If I am listening to them both (not simultaneously), I can quite often forget which is which. The first one even has a bit of Lewis'  "Wade In The Water"  thrown into the middle of another tune just to confuse me even more.

 

The Ramsey Lewis LP has an excellent driving latin jazz number on it that reminds me a little of the Tubby Hayes voodoo tune. I weary of the term 'groovy', but quite frankly, it is.

 

Press Color:
I don't usually buy New Wave (No Wave?) records but was drawn to this one by the inclusion of two Lalo Schifrin covers from 'Mission Impossible'. One of those records that looks quite long, but then because the grooves are so far apart it turns out to be about 22 minutes all told. I don't actually mind: if the record is very annoying it will be over quickly, and if one happens to really like it? Listen to it again! Also has an odd take on the classic 'Fever', renamed 'Tumour'. All together now...

 

There is a new Francois De Roubaix double LP out and this single came free with it. One side has a bonkers vocal on it in which the singer intones "I want to suggest, my scat is the best", or at least that's the way I hear it. The other side has a long version of "La Frite Equatoriale". Both quite superb. The album, "L'Antarctique", is possibly the most irritating record I have ever played in that side one is 45 rpm, side two is 33 rpm, then back to 45 rpm for side three and finally side four is, yes, you knew already, 33 rpm. Musically it's great, but not entirely new at all. If you have the Barclay compilation (Vol 3) and /or some of the excellent CDs that have come out over the years then much of this will sound very familiar.

 

Nice exotica, jazz overtones, one funny guitar and a little female 'shooby dooby doo' type thing from Piero Umiliani.  Seemingly a film about attractive women in Polynesia.

 

Gone With The Wave:
Nice jazz and bossa surf soundtrack that I have wanted for a long time. This summer I will be attempting the move shown bottom right. Should be easy.

 

Henry Mancini:
"The Thief Who Came To Dinner". Splendid really. I suppose we've all been in love with him subconsciously since we first clapped ears on the "Pink Panther" theme. I have recently been enjoying his music for "A Touch Of Evil" and now this soundtrack to a film in which a thief comes to dinner and presumably steals some napkins and cutlery.  Dark, funky tense bits that wouldn't sound out of place on a 70s Quincy Jones score or even "3 Days Of The Condor".

 

King Sunny Ade:
"Hello? Hello? Guess what darling? I've just bought the most amazing new shirt!"
King Sunny Ade. Sometimes it's just nice to listen to happy music isn't it?

 

 



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