I love Spring, mainly because my birthday falls right at the beginning of it. Here are some records I have found, bought and heard a lot recently. And none have got on my tits yet.
This is the soundtrack from one of those mental novellas from Brazil. Great music, really bad music, but together making an interesting trip through terrifying south American soap opera TV.
Martial Solal plays Michel Magne:
Mr Iueke was raving about this a few years ago. Like really raving about it, but he was a bit tipsy at the time, although thinking about it I may have been the one who was tipsy. Anyway, he was raving about everything he was playing that night. Well he was right as it’s well worth raving about. The best way for me to describe it is jazz but played in a sort of avant garde soundtrack way. So just as you think you understand it you don’t. Also, according to Iueke, this is the first time J C Vannier was involved in a record. That may well be right, that may be wrong, but to be honest I don’t care. I bought this in Hastings. I was quite excited, then I realised when I got home that I already had it on a French CD, but this has the better cover.
The Jack Palance Record:
Creepy beyond creepy this one, especially the track Hannah, which if it were being sung by a non super duper film star villain of the mid 50s and 60s could quite easily be misinterpreted as a well dodgy serial killer stalker type recording, and would possibly get you followed for a bit, or better still just taken off the streets. Incidentally Jack real name was Volodymyr Palahniuk. Good job he changed it really.
The Heath Brothers album:
Never had this, never really found an original one cheap enough. But when this unusual French pressing came my way it seemed a good price and so I bought it. And now I have it I realized it’s basically a mighty fine major work of an album. Like a really big major one. And with loads of good drums and fine rhythms and lovely bits all over it. And I wish I’d bought an expensive one all those years ago because it would have paid me back by now.
Of all the exotic records out there, this is the BIG one. It turns up on line every now and again, sells for daft money and is normally in shit condition, with seam splits and overly worn vinyl. And I’ve never seen one for sale in the UK. Well I found myself in JB’s little shoppe in Hanway Street and I asked Bill if he had anything “interesting” behind the counter. He said “yeah” and pulled this out. I wet my knickers. An unplayed one! So I bought it. And then went to dry off somewhere private. It really is a magic accidental cosmic hippy bonkers concept album like no other. And even though I rarely if ever go on about mono or stereo copies of albums as I don’t really give a fig, this is a stereo. Apparently, according to Bill in JBs shoppe, Eden lived below the H on the Hollywood Hills. I thought he lived in a cave and in trees some of the time too.
Cellotape and Scotchtape:
Lots of sparse interesting rhythmic things all played in a most unexpected fashion. Good title, good artwork, just good in general with a bit of a free twist going on at the same time. Like a bloke yelps every now and again. I listen to this late when all have gone to bed.
The Great Escape:
Me and Bert watched this recently, and Bert has now become quite obsessed. So we have to listen to this score a lot now, and apart from the classic theme, it is full of some quite lovely passages. I threaten Bert with the cooler now if he’s naughty.
Nico’s Chelsea Girl:
An old girlfriend of mine used to have this album. She was bit mental Anyway, over the last year I have been pining for a copy, almost getting distant withdrawals a bit like Nico would have got from her various drug habits. Trouble is it’s hard to find an original British copy. It came out in America in 1967 and then only in the UK in the early 70s, on the Polydor Standard label, which makes it look a bit like a repress, when it sort of isn’t. And there are horrid bootlegs all over the place at the moment which makes finding a proper one even harder. This proper one turned up with an old £4 sticker on it and it’s one of those really bad stickers that won’t come off. Musically everyone should know this album, it’s beautifully miserable, maudlin, perfectly pitched and has some sublime string parts. I could go on about it nearly forever, but I’d rather finish with the fact that Nico tragically fell off her bike in Spain.
My son Bert’s best mate is called Thomas. That has nothing to do with this album at all, which is a soundtrack to possibly something set on a stage. It has one track on it which I can play over and over again, all whispy and weird at the same time.
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.
You can’t beat a bit of classic beatniky jazz. I grew up with this Mark Murphy album, and it was one of the first jazz LPs I ever bought, and it’s helps that it has a Sound Of Music cover version on there. However I’ve never located a British pressing, which is different as it has a white cover, and not an orange one. The white one also has an extra track. I might have written about this record before as I love it so much.
Heart Of Glass:
There are these Popol Vuh nights at Shorditch church at the moment. The bloke who organises them asked me to do an OST Show just based on Popol Vuh. No worries I said without sounding too Australian. I played lots of Popol Vuh soundtracks and have started listening to things I was fairly unfamiliar with, like this one. I’ve not seen this film. Apparently it’s all about a small town where the glassworks shut and the town starts turning all bad and sad. A bit like when Starbucks opens on your street. I talked about this last night with Stuart who is a writer. He says everyone in the film has been hypnotised. I will be up the DVD shop later I reckon. Stuart also told me that Shorditch Church is in Oranges And Lemons.
Interesting this, it’s a sort of soundtrack to a film all about the clothing industry – sweatshops in particular. There’s a track about a prostitute on this too, but I’m not too sure she’s wearing any clothes. Lindsay Cooper is the artist here, and she’s well worth looking up. Weird connections with all sorts of important people and bands and the bassoon.
The Second Jumping Jacques Album:
I’m really not sure if this is actually the first or the second JJ album, but it’s the second one I have bought. I’ve listened to it a bit, and it sounds just like the other one I have, except there doesn’t seem to be one of those really mental ones on there that makes you think you’re playing the album at the wrong speed. At the moment it’s an alright album this one.
This is a rare Duke Pearson jazz album that looks like an easy listening album. Basically it has a very pretty girl on the front, and a pretty typeface. It couldn’t look less jazz. But it’s actually a killer trio session from 1961 that is way ahead of things for that era, but was only pressed in the UK in 1968. It’s the sort of album you wish to find overlooked or misplaced in an easy listening section of a shop but you never do. I have hoped along these lines for many years, and have not enjoyed seeing this record sell for lots of money on line. And then I found one in a jazz collection and the bloke thought it was an easy listening record. It gave me the same feeling that I had yesterday when I found a fiver on the floor of the Stoke Newington library. This record has an odd, laid back magic that only reveals itself after several listens. Apparently the Japanese have made one of their paper sleeve editions of it now. And yes I know I’ve already scanned Jack’s eye above, and now I’ve scanned her one too.
Kenny Graham plays Moondog:
Does it really get any more interesting than a maverick British jazzer playing cover versions of Moondog in 1956, all engineered by Joe Meek in short trousers. I thought not. Well this incredible, exotic and extraordinary album is now available on Trunk Records. It’s not been available since 1957 and I really can’t understand why.
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
Hello. It seems that I am not immune from turning into my father as I get slowly older. Although I am not yet at the stage where I am lusting after an enormous black leather sofa, I am, on the strength of these current batch of recommendations, listening to more and more JAZZ: the very music that my dear old man forced upon his unhappy brood for years. Well things have come full circle and I can finally find something in it after all. Thanks, 'Jazz Daddy'! If only it had filtered through from my subconscious a little earlier on, before the world went digital and he gave away his entire record collection. I have made a solemn promise to my daughter not to get shot of my vinyl, for although she gives me weary looks and asks for 'Capital Radio' to be put on, I have noticed that she is the only school-girl I know who hums library tunes to herself...........
That has to be the coolest name I have heard for quite a while and the music is sublime: Latin soul jazz, great bossa and samba rhythms, silky and seductive with Ike's gorgeous breathy tenor sax floating over the top. Similar in style to some of Stan Getz's stuff, but more soulful. I can't stop listening to it.
DANSEZ SUR VOS FILMS PREFERES.
This French 'Philips' 10" seems to be a comp. of tunes from popular films of the day and includes three Serge Gainsbourg numbers, which is always a bonus. Looks and sounds late 50's, verges on the cheesy but it's growing on me.
Yeah baby! I have wanted this record for both the cover and the music held within ever since I found a copy amongst a slightly moist box of records at a friends house in France. No matter how many times I played it and said I liked it they didn't get the hint. What's wrong with people?
THIS GUY by DUNCAM LAMONT.
Fine easy listening from 1968, in a jazzish style. Mostly covers such as 'Ode To Billy Jo' and 'Hey Jude', the real prizes are the handful of tunes that Mr. Lamont wrote himself such as 'Thankyou, Mr. Harris' and 'Stay In My Room'. Duncan is still around: I saw him on stage at the Queen Elizabeth Hall not so long ago, alongside The KPM All Stars, being very self deprecating as he led them through one of the funkier cuts that he composed for The Sweeney. He no longer has light brown hair.
A SANTANA SINGLE.
'Samba De Sausalito' is my very first Santana record. I saw them about 25 years ago by accident and nearly fell asleep, but this 7" is nice. Lovely shuffling rhythm, all manner of drums and shakers, flutes and keyboards, yet strangely no Carlos himself flailing away at his axe, and no singing. I think that's why I like it.
THE JAZZ CRUSADERS 7".
This is NOT a version of the song made famous by Johnny & June and Nancy & Lee and I have no idea who this lot are, but they do a nice line in slightly smooth yet cheeky jazz. It could so easily be the theme tune to a mid-1970's American private eye TV show. It's perfect. (Through the centre hole we can see a hand-made rug produced by an old man from Norway.)
This is unspeakably bad really, but worth a listen and a laugh. Soppy orchestral syrup noodles along as John Wayne talks rubbish in corny rhyming couplets. Gets quite scary when he goes all political and bemoans the use of prefixes such as 'Jewish', 'Afro', and 'Italian' to the word 'American' on the grounds that it 'divides' the nation. However, there is a moment when he name-checks Louis Armstrong. What a beatnik.
BRITISH LEYLAND LP.
A very English man tells us all about what fabulous car compoments 'Unipart' make and how easy they are to get hold of. Very useful really if you were unfortunate enough to buy a British car manufactured in the mid to late 1970's. There follow some dreadful pastiche pop songs, all about how great it is to break down and be saved by a 'Unipart' dealer/mechanic. Songs in the style of The Beach Boys, The Beatles etc. Turn over to side two and..................... you can hear it all over again. Cheapos!
SANTUCCI LIBRARY RECORD.
Well after all that rubbish it's very nice to sit back and relax to a fine slice of Italian Library jazz on the 'Cenaclo' label. Nice painting too and consistently good music.
TELFORD'S CHANGE (a BBC TV single)
I never saw this programme, but I presume that this fella is Mr.Telford. It's a pleasant, sauntering little Johnny Dankworth theme tune with nice loping bass and a mellow flute melody. Starts off in a distinctly classic KPM-ish mood.
THE GURU (ost).
Sitars, tablas, some other instruments that I've never heard of and Michael York singing. Not that much to tell really, but a very nice Sunday morning record all the same.
BRIGITTE BARDOT (in case you hadn't noticed).
French EP that I have seen in the same over-priced box of records at the same stall in the same rubbish little market in an English town that shall remain nameless. Finally couldn't resist it any longer, made the bloke an offer and despite looking a little shot the vinyl cleaned up very nicely indeed. Contains four perfect, coquettishly delivered pop gems including 'Le Diable Est Anglais' (The Devil Is English).
GROOVIN' WITH THE SOULFUL STRINGS.
Top-notch collection of covers from 1967, including ''Alfie'', Miles Davis' ''All Blues'' and a superb take on The Beatles' ''Within You And Without You''. Stylistically it's, well...... soulful and stringy but a little bit jazzy too.
THE STONE KILLER.
Music from three Dino De Laurentiis movies on one LP. One side has music from 'The Valachi Papers' and 'Crazy Joe' and is a bit of a snooze, but turn it over and we find Roy Budd in fine fettle, doing what Roy Budd does best. And yes, I know that there is a proper version of this with all the music and a cool picture of Charles Bronson on the front, but it's just too expensive.
ANOTHER BBC TV RECORD.
Couldn't they have found a better photograph? Very funny Michael Parkinson Show with the great Peter Sellers regaling our host and his audience with tales from luvvie land and beyond. It is quite surreal hearing his genuine voice as I have never seen a Sellers movie in which he didn't invent an accent.