Happy new year. Happy new February. Happy new records. Yes, lots of them, all here and all being heard on the Trunk turntable. Actually this is a little bit wrong, as late last year the Trunk turntable decided to stop working. Made in about 1965, the Trunk turntable has behaved itself for somewhere between 15 and 20 years without even a teeny weeny murmur. It's an old Thorens and is very reliable, clunky and hardworking. Then all of a sudden it started squeaking. Then slowing down. Then not going around at all. Luckily there is a man with a shop who has the right kind of brain for this sort of thing, and he is currently performing all kinds of re-greasing and things like that with screwdrivers and stuff and is hopefully going to fix it up proper like. Although it is taking a few weeks, which in tech speak means a few months. In the meantime it have borrowed Joel's deck which is very nice indeed.
It came as a surprise, finding out that olde Karin Krog had made two singles with Don Ellis. It also came as a surprise when an old record collecting chum of mine decided to sell his entire record collection - some twenty years of heavyweight, manic collecting all gone in a matter of weeks. A few years ago he would have sold his granny for a rare slice of jazz or drummy sample thing, then all of a sudden a complete U turn. He phoned me up as he knew of my Krog crush and asked if I wanted to pay #30 for it. I said #20. Apparently there is another single Krog and Don did together but he didn't have that one, and I haven't got it either. A very fine two sided single this. Very fine indeed.
THIS ALBUM WITH BUMS ON:
This can be either viewed as a rather unpleasant, extremely hairy image, like my mum wouldn't pick it up. Alternatively, it can be seen as a joyous union of man and woman. Musically it's neither.
JAMES NEWTON HOWARD'S AUDIOPHILE ALBUM:
A few weeks ago I had to DJ at a very good boozer in Hoxton. When I got there I noticed around me that people were wearing unusual 80s spectacles and really meaning it, which I found entertaining. Then I sort of forgot about it but on my way home saw a leggy, possibly 6ft tall young woman wearing the same style of glasses and looking absolutely stunning. The next day I came across this record, pressed by Sheffield Labs, and noticed a similar glasses phenomenon happening on the back of the sleeve, but none of the people are quite as attractive as the girl I saw on the way home the night before.
There are at least two albums called Clouds. I like this one. There are no pictures of clouds on it, which is also something I appreciate. If I was to try and categorise this record it would be quite hard as it's all sorts of things. Quite good would be the easiest way out.
THE MARSHA HUNT SINGLE ON VERTIGO:
This was in a box in Stand Out / 101 for four quid. It's good. When not involved with music Marsha Hunt wrote some very interesting things apparently. And back I the day when big hair really meant something, she had really, really big hair. She's like our version of Betty Davis, but with a far more inferior fan base and even more inferior reissue programme.
A LONG TRACK BY HERB GELLER:
Bugger all is what I know about Herb Geller. And this album has such a peculiar, pastel shaded cover - it looks like an 80s casual jumper by Gabbichi - that I nearly gave it away in a box of old crap I was taking down to Help The Aged. But I was stopped and told that it was something quite good. I listened to side one and I didn't really like it. Then side two kicked in with this long modern sounding track all about "the power of a smile" and I decided to keep it and listen again quite a lot. I've even noticed the subtle use of jazz and electronics here. I listened to it non-stop while painting two troublesome doors in white emulsion. Never judge a record by its knitwear is the moral here.
THIS KAY STARR LP WITH WATER DAMAGE:
Could it have been a flood? Possibly a fallen vase of flowers? Maybe some lager or jazz juice? Could a jilted lover have thrown it into a fishtank? Talking of jilted lovers, I was in Flashbacks in Islington the other day and they had a record - a classic slice of Wu Tang madness - marked up as "unplayable" on the counter. I was so intrigued that I had to have a look, and someone at some time had taken the record out of the sleeve and carved lines into it, and made it look like an abstract clock. So each side had about 12 long, deep scratches in it, all running from the outer edge of the record to the edge of the label. Such savage damage could only be the work of a jealous lover I reckon.
THIS TELEMUSIC ALBUM:
Currently this is being really enjoyed on Sundays as it just goes plink, and then plonk a few seconds later for most of the album. It changes near the end of side two though.
ONE QUITE UNUSUAL RECORD BY MARIO MOLINO:
Unusual is a good word to use here because this album really makes no sense at all. For that reason it might have been a soundtrack and then got passed off as a non soundtracks or experimental sort of LP. Anyway, I like it because of the cunning use of typography on the front, and even more cunning use of music on the inside.
THIS ITALIAN TV ALBUM:
While we're in Italy, may as well mention this TV themes album as I have been getting to know it quite a lot in recent weeks. It's two sides of very laid back soaring loveliness, composed and produced no doubt for tawdry 70s Italian dramas. Nevermind. Sounds real good now though, and includes one track with a sort of de-tuned guitar possibly sitar thing that a few people I know would get excited about.
ONE OF THE MANY LASRY - BASCHET ALBUMS:
From deepest, darkest Hereford came this avant garde record made by the French masters of sculptures that sing. It often makes me wonder how a ten inch record from the arty side of Paris could end up on the Welsh borders. But then that is the magic of records and their unique way of travelling around the world as well as your mind. If this sounds a bit profound or clever it is in no way meant to.
BADEN POWELL POEME ON GUITAR:
This came form a man up North. I'd bought some albums from him many years ago and thought they were good. So I dug out his address, wrote to him again, put the letter in the post and forgot about it. A year later I get an email in reply, which was unexpected, and attached to the email was a long list of records for sale. Most were £1.75, which I thought was an funny price to put on a record these days. I bought six albums from the list, and my old mate John bought 77 of them. When I got this album I realised it was very good indeed, and wondered if Baden Powell was the first to set alight to his guitar, or was it Hendrix? I know Baden Powell's is drawn in pastel on fire, but I think that counts.
MAN EATS CHICKEN ALBUM:
This album was bought very much on the blind - I like the composer but have never been that much of a fan of "Sword And Sandal" movie scores, except for Spartacus and Cleopatra. Maybe I do quite like them. Anyway, this one with the chicken man on the front is not like any of the others and instead it comes across as an exotic, warm and vaguely sexual score, hinting at girls in very little except for see-through veils and evenings on the terrace eating greasy drumsticks with your fingers. Yummy.
Derek writes: I can't but think of a post-op Severus Snape...
AN 80s MILES DAVIS ALBUM:
A few weeks ago I read the Miles Davis autobiography. According to the great man everyone is a motherf*cker, and every situation is a motherf*cker. Other marvellous revelations were that everyone was on smack, Charlie Parker was well into ladies and fried chicken at the same time, and John Coltrane used to pick his nose and eat it on stage. Having read the book and laughed a lot, I revisited many Miles Davis albums, which all sounded a bit different based on the new background information I had on board. It also prompted me to listen to this classic late album, and there is no denying that his versions of 1) Human Nature and 2) True Colours are marvellous and a touch embarrassing at the same time. There is certainly no denying how terrible his drawings are though.
THE BBC KENNY EVERETT SINGLE:
Played and performed by the Electro People, who I think are actually Kenny Everett, this slice of weird theme pop is quite enchanting. I played it on the radio and two people went mad about it. It came out of a box of 170 film and TV singles I bought, There was one in there by Sue Pollard. And on the sleeve she is wearing the same glasses as I mentioned in the James Newton Howard record above. The Sue Pollard single is the worst record I have heard in at least a decade, possibly longer.
Jez Kinsman emailed to point out that Electro People was written and sung by (Noosha) Fox. Cheers Jez.
CARL CRAIG RECOMPOSES:
Or is it decomposes. Anyway, I avoided this for a bit, and then a few people told me to go and buy it, so I did. Yes, very good indeed. Clever bugger. Lovely artwork too, so well done everyone. But I do find it hard to escape from the Bo Derek / Ravel association.
THIS DUDLEY MOORE ALBUM:
A friend bought me the Taschen book of jazz covers. In it were records I had not see before. This is one of them - I had no idea it existed, presumably only produced and pressed in the USA. The best bit about it is the way the word STEREO is debossed on the cover. Like you can stick your finger right in it.
EROTICA, THE SOUNDS OF SEX OR LOVE OR SOMETHING:
Dear Derek gave me this, along with part two in the set at Christmas. Then out of nowhere a couple of other people got in contact with me about the very same LP, one person even had one for sale. It's an interesting record, and I imagine back in the early 60s when it was pressed, it must have aroused some confusion and more than likely a bit of offense. It's like a sex field recording, all bongos and grunts and that. You get the impression people are having sex on old squeaky beds in abandoned barns. Interesting, very interesting.
A GROOVY RECORD:
The lyrics on this killer single go something like this; groovy, groovy, groovy, groovy, groovy. Can things really get any better - I doubt it.
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:
READERS RECOMMENDATIONS: JONNY WHITE
Hi Derek. Like a lot of slightly maladjusted folk, I can't seem to stop buying records. And then taking pictures of them. So, these are for you, and your beloved readers:
First, a little disco.........
I seem to be developing a penchant for 7" singles at the moment, especially if they have nice pictures to look at. This can lead to trouble and joy in equal measure. Here is some of the joy:
1974 saw Sean Connery grow his hair, star in this hilarious Sci Fi movie called "Zardoz", and get hold of Charlotte Rampling. The 'A' side is a splendid reworking of a bit of Beethoven that reminds me a little of Deodato, while the 'B' side is a groovy song about some fellow called Amusofi. I have cropped the photo because Mr. Connery is so incredibly hairy. I could not however remove the peanut butter from his girlfriend's face.
L'EAU A LA BOUCHE:
Two cheeky 45's from Serge Gainsbourg's prolific film output. The lovely lady picture is from the EP 'L'Eau A La Bouche', a 1960 film that was part of the French New Wave. Apparently a comedy, although she looks a bid bloody serious to me. Musically we find Serge in his fab late 50's jazzy mood, singing on only one of four tracks. My French is pretty bad, but I presume the title translates as spit, gob or saliva. Nice.
The other cheeky 45 is 'Slogan', the 1969 movie that starred Serge and Jane Birkin , during which they fell in love. She squeaks, he mumbles and Jean-Claude Vannier arranges.
CRIMINE A DUE:
I don't really know what's going on here because the only info on imdb.com is in Italian. Anyway, 1964, 'Crimine A Due', sad singing and loads of beautifully tragic Italian trumpet solos. If the trumpet playing in 'The Godfather' makes you cry, then prepare to weep again, only a bit more.
JOHNNY & CHARLEY, 'LA YENKA!':
All four tunes contain the word 'Yenka' in the titles, which must be a funny dance because on the back cover there are those diagrams I can never understand that are supposed to teach you the steps. Maybe this doesn't bear repeated listening too well as the funny blown keyboard instrument that Johnny (or Charley) is holding, plays constantly and is very out of tune.
ALAN BROWN - ROCKFORD FILES:
Oh yes, how marvellous. A souped up version that I like more than the TV show original. Sacrilege maybe, but burn me at the stake, I just don't care.
OST LP for the 1970 film 'The Landlord'. All music is by Al Kooper, who played the organ on 'Like A Rolling Stone'. Great record, soul singers, funky instrumentals, mellow jazz, singery songwritery stuff and even some spacey electronics. Far out. The US version has two doorbells on the front cover that are supposed to look like breasts, but that's so immature I have had to wait for this far more sensible UK pressing to show up.
The sleeve notes of this LP state that "Turning Point are a dynamic musical group of 15 dedicated Christian young people using the 'now sound' of the seventies in an exciting and moving way." Mmmm... I am not yet feeling anything, although the photos of the rest of the group have made me laugh a little. For 50p I will try anything. Maybe that is why I have no room left for clothes in my house.
I have always loved this film and recently watched it with my 11 year old daughter. I was moved to search out Popol Vuh's LP of the soundtrack, eerie and folky with tablas, lots of lovely sitars and droning guitars. My daughter was moved to placing garlic all over the house and asking if she could sleep with Mummy and Daddy. I may be in trouble.
Derek adds: If you hear, on the radio say, The Eagles singing Desperado; in your mind or even out loud simply replace the word Desperado with the word Nosferatu for a far more pleasant Eagles experience.
He looks a bit down, but Manu Dibango's album 'O Boso' is a very happy life affirming record indeed. Should be played constantly until the recession is over.
Leith Stevens composed the jazzy tunes for this naughty doctors film 'The Interns' (1962). "The wildest music from the wildest party ever filmed!" So goes the blurb on the front cover. Yes, it may well a wild film but my wife has begged me to stop putting things on our lovefilm.com list just because I like the music. She has a point... we have watched a lot of rubbish as a result. Sorry Dear.