Much of my time recently has been taken up trying to sort my record out, rather than listening to them. There are lots everywhere as usual, more arriving by post and a surprising amount via old fashioned shopping and digging. I also hear of new old second hand shops opening up and doing well, which puts a big smile on my face. I have a feeling old fashioned digging about in amongst grubby old vinyl will continue for many years to come, whish is just great. Anyway, the following albums are enjoying rotation in the Trunk front room, except for when Bert wants to watch cartoons.
THIS CHARLIE MINGUS ALBUM:
This album dates from I don’t know when, and the music is difficult to date because this Mingus bloke manages to sound very up to date and really out of touch all at the same time. Surely these are the signs of a genius.
ALBUMS BY BRIAN “KING OF THE RING” MAXINE:
It has been a while since I had a Charity shop score. I’m not sure if this is actually one, but I was in little olde Ongar with a few minutes to spare, walked into Scope or whatever it is, and found both Brian Maxine albums in pristine condition. Brian was a wrestler, quite a good one I’m told. He wasn’t that good at singing but still managed to get a pair of albums made on EMI, both with backing by the members of Fairport Convention. I wouldn’t have believed it myself except for on the sleeve of Ring Of Stainless Steel, there they all are, listed. And you can clearly make out Sandy Denny singing once someone tells you it’s her. So Brian, you did well. Apparently these are nearly the hardest Fairport related albums to find. As are those silky pants Brian wears.
Derek writes: This is the stuff Jonny, aka Brian 'Gold Belt' Maxine. We must do an old school wrestling special.
It’s hard to resist the charisma and cheerful ivory tickling of Monty Alexander. I have loved him since I heard Jooga Booga on a pirate radio station back in about 1990. This is one I haven’t seen too often and bought it because I thought his version of the Magnificent Seven might be a lark. It’s OK but the title tune is more super. Not too sure about that bow tie though Monty.
There’s something really quite peculiar about this library record. It sounds like all the things I wanted to hear and then all of a sudden it doesn’t. Great cover too, and I feel a bit sorry for the artist who had to draw all the little lines all close together on the front cover.
PRESTON LOVE’S OMAHA BAR-B-QUE:
I vividly recall seeing this on the wall in an old record shop in Hanway Street on one of my first record trips in London. It was expensive and looked great. I never really saw another copy until a few weeks ago at Spitalfields market. It was in amongst a load of old blues record including that weird album by Dr Isaiah Ross that’s worth about two grand with a crap white cover. Anyway, I pulled this out and the small group of blues collectors expressed their opinions on Preston Love’s work. It’s funky they said. I bought it and it is quite funky but it gets more interesting when it isn’t. It has a sublime cover - that hat is superb Preston – did you buy it in Norwich? And Shuggie Otis wrote most of the songs. Not bad for someone who was about six years old at the time. The same day I bought a single by Diana Doors from the late 70s that I was less happy with.
A HEIKKI SARMANTO ALBUM:
Sometimes you can find interesting things in classical music stores. Like this. I picked it up because it looked a bit out of place, and then I realised the line up was a hot one all the way from Finland. I said “Hey baby” in Finnish to the woman behind the counter, and she offered me one of Lasse Viren’s four Olympic gold medals if I bought the record then and there.
THIS SEXY FRENCH MUSIC EP:
Difficult to find fault with the work of Legrand and Demy. What a team. All their music has this loud excited tragedy running through it, and I really like this ep because it looks stunning and the music matches that. There’s even a jazz number on here which made me click my fingers together in a cool black and white fashion.
LIFE ON EARTH:
Yes, this is one of those albums that improves with listening, and every time I do hear it I manage to hear lots of things I missed the last time I listened. It really is a multi dimensional listen in many ways. I hope people like it as much as I do when it comes out. Track 6 is a current favourite.
ANOTHER CLASSIC UNDERWATER ALBUM:
This is an Italian one, with a brilliant Jellyfish on the cover. This is one of the more dramatic sub aqua LPs I have come across. More listening is required before I can gush enthusiastically about it, but the initial listens have not disappointed. I’ll be buying a frogman suit next.
RUTH BROWN SINGING:
On this album there’s a good mambo track which is why I bought it, and now I’m listening to the other songs she sung too, many of which are excellent. She’s a good singer, but I’m not going to start collecting everything she’s done or anything. She’s popular in Japan apparently. Or used to be.
ETHEL SMITH RECORDS:
Some of the time I think Ethel is wearing a wig, Others I don’t think that way at all. I found a pair of her albums at the same time, and it was possibly a mistake buying them both. Most of the music had this quite relentless cheerful streak going through it which can be hard to stomach if you’re in the wrong mood. Torture would be another way of putting it. Unusually for a musician, she has two heads, which I find quite attractive.
SOME DENNIS BOVELL:
Every now and again I will dip into classic 80s dub. It reminds me of Aldershot. Anyway, this album’s cover has been burned into my mind every since I saw it in the 80s, and it appeared magically to me a few weeks ago in a reggae crate, saying buy me right now. So I did. I’ve been told that the chap sitting at the spaceship controls on the front of the album is not an astronaut, but a Rastanaut. Well he would be wouldn’t he.
Never been able to find a copy of Stan Tracy’s jazz suite in good condition until recently, when I bagged a near pristine copy for far less than I was hoping to pay. But I think the stallholder was mental. Anyway, what a complete treat this album is – like a sort of depressing cheerful thing which is possibly the way Tracey was feeling at time, bearing in mind his enormous and slightly odd habit at the time.
THE FEMALE BUNCH:
This soundtrack single is total trash. I mean it’s rubbish. Really bad, However the single has been hanging around my deck for somewhile as I believe the cover art is worthy of further studying. I mean just look at that lovely horse.
Yes, been listening to this quite a lot. It has to be the first example of a film where all the cast and crew credits are sung in a song and then put on the album, which is a really great idea. There’s also a most interesting spooky track on here, which kind of fits in with small parts of our current musical times. Well that’s what I’m told, and now I can’t remember who told me. Talking of spooky, my wife reckons we’ve got a smoking ghost in the bathroom.
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:
Well it's been a while now since these pages were thrown open to the general public, and apart from one plucky individual (Tom), no one bar myself has bothered to come up with even one little record they are liking. I used to think it was a little lazy, but now I am of the opinion that plain rudeness is at the root of all this. Shame on you all! (Except you, Tom).
Today I am writing to you at 4pm from the comfort of my own pyjamas, and am currently enjoying, or at least listening to the following records:
STANLEY TURRENTINE. Bought it for the title track really, a fantastic nine minute (and a bit!) interpretation of " Don't Mess With Mr. 'T' ". A touch slower than the original, but really very good. I am a bit of a sucker for a cover version anyway. Just to think, if he'd been called 'Stanley Currentine' we may never have heard this, and he might still be out there looking for a tune called " Don't Mess With Mr. 'C' " to work his jazz magic on.
MOSES. Now this has to go into the vast category called "underated". Because nobody seemed to want it and cheap copies were lying around looking sorry for themselves wherever I went, I followed the herd and ignored it. Until I saw one for £2 and took it home. What a pleasant suprise: atmospheric, spooky, even a little groovy on the bonkers tune "Israel", and lots of wordless vocals to boot. I can't help thinking that if it was the same music, but to a rubbish Italian western, then everyone would want it.
RUBBISH ITALIAN WESTERN!:
Now this probably is a rubbish Italian western (well two. I'll explain in a bit) but I'm not going to actually bother to try and see it to find out. One side is the Armando Trovaioli music to the film 'I Lunghi Giorni Della Vendetta', on the other is the Piccioni soundtrack to 'Sartana'. Both are standard spaghetti stuff really (but I like spaghetti), although as one might expect, the Piccioni stuff has a little extra pizzaz and two really good jazz waltzes..
ROXY MUSIC - COUNTRY LIFE:
Yeah, OK, it's totally mainstream but the music is stunning. Brilliant pop, I love it. Every tune is great. I bet you've all forgotten how cool it actually is. I had. And the cover.... could it be termed 'gateau au fromage nouveau?'.
Derek writes: Yes some cool songs & the soaring guitar at the end of Out of the Blue is great.
Not a very good library record. Well side one is OK. Well, actually if I were to be totally honest there are about 3 good Ray Davies tunes on here, one called 'Action Line' has a particularly nice loud fuzz(ish) guitar thing going on. I bought them from an Italian bloke in South London who claimed to have found a large box of library records in a market for 50p each and then sold them for large sums on ebay. I thought that sort of thing didn't happen anymore. I must get out more........
Funny soundtrack this. Odd songs, mock baroque (and some rock), and some dailogue from the film, set in 'swinging London Town'. I think it's 'a grower'. Each track has a brief explanation on the sleeve about where it features in the film, and therefore we have such gems as "Mock Baroque" : to which our hero makes light-hearted party conversation while eating chilli con carne, and "Persian Version", in which our hero's leitmotiv is subjected to eastern influences. Oh, and Pete Murray turns up as himself. Nice.
There is a Japanese flutey/recordery instrument called a 'shakuhachi'. It is all over this record along with bits of percussion plinking and plonking, sounding a bit like someone has just dropped bits of wood and metal on a particularly hard shiny floor in a building with lots of hard surfaces, no soft furnishings and no curtains. I am feeling chilly, yet strangely relaxed.
Well if you like 'Bitches Brew' then you will probably like this too as it comes from the same Miles era of jazz/rock fusion and tracks that take up whole sides of vinyl. It seems to be the original soundtrack to a film of Jack Johnson's life (first black heavyweight boxing champion, 1908). I for one would be intrigued to see how Davis' intensely dense, modern music marries itself to a pre-WW1 period movie.
This actually IS the record, pressed onto an A3 piece of card and called 'The Singing Postcard'. Helmut Zacharias is responsible for the under-whelming tune entitled "Boogie fur Geige". 'Fur' should have 'umlauts' but I can't find them on my keyboard. Considering it's probably been through the post it doesn't sound half bad.
THE FINAL OPTION:
Lewis Collins was in this film. I will therefore, without having even seen a trailer, stick my neck out and say that it is a much, much better record than it is a movie. Great music, and the man only wanted £5. Bless.
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