Well here we are. Summer's here at last. Strawberries and cream. (Could the "SCENARIO" be Wimbledon????? - DC). Last time I had strawbewrries I came out in a rash on both arms. How weird is that. I've always been a bit wary of the old strawbug though, looks deadly to me. Anyway, I have been record shopping on and off. Well mainly off. The olde interweb is making things intriguing, and I have had no good charity finds for ages. As usual this selection is a menagerie of oddness found and recovered from funny places over the last few months. I like them for all sorts of peculiar reasons which may well become apparent as you read on. Also, and I believe this is important, as a direct result of compiling this Library book (see front page news) I have become obsessed with peculiar library records again. I mean there are more here than there are normally. Even the first LP mentioned is a library record, and I thought I'd kicked the habit ages ago, and it's just got worse. Oh well. Now before I go on I will dedicate this list of foolish recommendations to the glorious and charismatic Jack Kane. He wrote for Record Collector, compiled the legendary RC Price Guide and became a real chum over the last few years. He tragically took his own life recently and I have found it hard to deal with. I know it's not much of a gesture but I'm sure Jack would appreciate it somehow. Or at least take the piss or something. Anyway, on we go...
THE RAILWAY CHILDREN - JOHNNY DOUGLAS: Aaaah. This is all a little more pleasant. I had no idea Lionel Geoffries directed this endless classic. I think they are all posh kids from London who end up leaving town for the country because their dad is a spy, but I might be wrong. Anyway, I've been after this particular version of the LP, the legendary purple coloured one, for some while. I paid way over the odds for it, but trying to find one in good nick for less than a tenner is something I have always found impossible. I paid £12 pounds for this in Ealing which is dead steep. It has this great melody somewhere in it. Like a classic bit of English pastoral thematics that makes me feel all infantile but only very briefly. There are touches of naive jazz on here too. A good friend of mine's mother actually made the tree that falls down the bank that causes red knickers to be waved in the air that stop the train. Tragically this gloriously talented soul has recently died. My friend is distraught. I may well give this beautiful score away to him as a gesture and for the memories. Death is everywhere.
THE MISSOURI BREAKS - JOHN WILLIAMS: Oh Lord, another death. It was another sad day when the original soundtrack shop shut down in London Town . Yes, 58 Dean Records, later known simply as Rare Discs shut its doors to a less than appreciative public last month. Lucky for me I managed to get their old LP shelving. But I'm gutted they have shut and gone. Before they disappeared they had a big sale. I bought lots of sad old shit. I mean loads of crap for £2 each I didn't really need. This is one of those items, and I have discovered it's brilliant and I really need it. This has one of the most scrumptious melodies I have ever heard, almost painfully beautiful, and do you know, I can't even remember it now, so I'm going to have to play it all again. As the record begins you think it's a Morricone thing, and then it all changes. A very addictive sound, certainly for me anyway. And with artwork by the marvellous Bob Peak it scores heavily on my own personal record-o-meter. Wh ic h wasn't working last week.
SEVEN DREAMS - GORDON JENKINS: A short while ago I bought a huge box of show tunes. My girlfriend thought I had turned into a gay man. But these LPs were a rare bunch, unplayed and very cheap. I immediately sold them on to the cats from SUPERTHRILLER, who will no doubt turn them in to really odd new music that everyone loves. In amongst the huge box was a copy of this which I nabbed, issued in the mid 1950s by Brunswick . It's a concept 7LP, all about seven dreams. Here are three of the dream titles: The pink houseboat, the girl on the rock, the nightmare. Each dream oddity is sep a rated by applause and a big school fire bell. I think this Jenkins bloke also did some arranging for Sinatra. He is unusual.
SUPERTHRILLER BY SUPERTHRILLER: This is a great modern record that doesn't really care. I am not just putting this in here because of what is wri t ten above. It's a good LP, issued last year, and includes a picture of a bee on a wasp. Beck loves it by all accounts.
THE MILK EYED MENDER - JOANNA NEWSOM: This was also issued last year, but I have only just got it. At the moment I am not sure if I like it but my ears pricked up the instant I heard it and it's still in the important pile. I'd call it ruralish American indie folk sung by someone with a baby voice (not too dissimilar to Linda Lewis). She also plays the harp, but not in a Dorothy Ashby way. I am unsure at the moment whether her voice will start to grate over time, but that is something for once I am not worried about. I fell asleep with it on the other night and woke up to that horrid cccchhhhhrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr sound.
UN AMORE - GIORGIO GASLINI: I bought this from a jazz site and the man selling thought, or had decided there was not enough jazz on it. I think its obvious that its not a jazz LP because its a soundtrack. But Gaslini is a jazz fiend, and one of the most intriguing pianists out there. I love him. Hes great and very unpredictable. I have weird sex things hes done, odd westerns and now this, a kind of mixture of the two. Its not in the best condition but sometimes that doesnt really matter with records. In fact sometimes I couldnt give a monkeys. QUINCICASM: This is one of those cool concept LPs from the early 1970s, hence the question is it a band with no name, or an album name with no band name. Well I dont know but there is one track on here called Trent Park Song with no singing in it. Its a slowish modal jazz number. This track is superb, and just hangs on to the sound of alright and just manages to avoid being too avant garde and all a bit toss. The rest of the album is a bit toss though. There is a picture of the players on the back. They are as hairy as youd expect. This album was made in Badminton of all places.
EFFETTI MUSICALI - UMILIANI: I have always wanted an LP on the Omicron label. This maybe something to do with the fact that it's a label owned by Pierro Umiliani. Then again I am not sure. The cover art on these LPs is amazing and the sounds, more often than not are bonkers. This is bonkers. Made in probably about an hour this is exceptional electronic tinkering. This is the kind of odd LP that will be featuring in the all new book on Library Records.
HANS CHRISTAIN ANDERSEN - DANNY KAYE: I bought this in Guildford , in Surrey , in a classic shop called Bens Records. He's great Ben, I must have know the guy for 20 years, and he still looks the same age. The other great thing about Ben is that he buys thousands of LPs, all for practically nothing, and then sells everything for either £1, or £2. You have to spend a good few hours getting grubby, hands and knees, that kind of thing, but you normally come out with something super. Last time I went in I had no idea I was going to come out with this. He had about ten copies of it, all mint (no su r prises there). Martin Green who was with me at the time sneered in a what the hell do you want that for way. I bought it, and later when I got home, slightly pissed, I played it. It was only then I realised that even though I had seen the film years and years ago, I knew all the words. And then my girlfriend got all soppy about it and she knew all the words too and we ended up dancing around the front room. Anyone, like Frank Loesser, who can write such instantly hooky and memorable numbers needs to be praised often. Yes, I am sad, I am fully aware of the fact and I'm also prepared to wallow in my very own childlike sadness from time to time.
TOMORROW PEOPLE INCIDENTALS - NIKKI ST GEORGE AND FRIENDS: You can't beat ladies in the studio. And all this weird electronic concrete madness was used for that gang of slightly more evolved super kids back in the dark seventies. This is really great music. SO greta (that typo stays - ed) in fact it will be a Trunk Release. Tomorrow. You lucky people. Derek, see if you can find a sad page out there dedicated to The Tomorrow People. There must be at least one, and you've got better web taste than me. Tomorrow People Page here.
LISTEN WITH FRIENDS