I spent a long, hard month in Edinburgh . The weather changes every few minutes. You get four seasons in a day. My drinking was fairly irresponsible, and there was much socialising between the hours of 8pm and 5am . This, as you can imagine makes it real hard to find new music. Edinburgh has many charity shops, and most have records. These shops must provide rich pickings for the locals. But not much for me even though I tried digging on many occasions. Although I did buy an old techno LP which is mighty fine but that was from a proper second hand record shop and was delightfully undervalued. I also went to another record shop in Edinburgh, up the road from Bristo Square. It's an insane place. All the records are in those modular plastic stacking boxes. The stacks are six to eight boxes high. In fact the shop is so full of records that the walkways around the shop are maybe six inches wide and so you cannot turn around once you are in the shop. I reversed out quite quickly. Just before I left for Scotland, I was lucky enough to acquire part of a long lost TV library archive. 800 LPs in all. I’ve not had much time to start work on them yet, but a couple of the titles are mentioned below. This many library LPs will take me months and months to work through - as we all know what may seem to be crap can always turn out to have a magical oddity right at the end. Like most things in life I suppose.
FEELINGS: Yes, another one of the haul, and I have never ever owned this LP simply because it has always been well out of my reach financially and never in any collection of Library records I have found. I also missed out hearing the reissue and bootlegs, so it’s been interesting to find out for myself what all the fuss was about. Originally issued as a sexy easy listening album by the Italian label Carousello, Conroy repressed it as a library LP. Why I have no idea. It’s a peculiar mixture of wah wah, killer hip hop drums, big strings, some of it borders on quite sexy. There’s also this intense drummy sinister building one called Fearing Much, which is probably why it still goes for big bucks. Oh and I think the music is by Stefano Torrosi under two Pseudonyms. This may be a trophy LP but when I hear it I think of Heart to Heart. When they met, it was murder.
RAGING BULL - THE SOUNDTRACK: It is 25 years since this film hit the screens. All the music for this masterpiece were compiled by the director, based on his childhood growing up in Little Italy. It has never been issued until now. It is unlike this site to write about anything even vaguely commercial but there are some pieces on this CD which are simply sublime, Scorsese is the master of film compilation if you ask me. Since this CD arrived at my home and I had to review it I’ve enjoyed it almost daily, it has just fitted into my life like a missing jigsaw piece, and works especially well if I am cooking pasta or beating up my wife to be or hitting her with tables and chairs and swearing a lot and losing my temper and generally hating everything. Scorsese is a massive fan of Powell and Pressburger. They are I believe his major influence. Which makes an unusually fine link to the next recording.
TALES OF HOFFMAN - OFFENBACH : Whilst in Edinburgh , to my delight I discovered that the film festival is also on as well as The Fringe. And the three film festival cinemas were all on my rented doorstep. Therefore I revelled in much celluloid, including a magnificent Powell and Pressburger retrospective. This included films I have never seen before and also this baby - The Tales of Hoffman. Well it’s not a baby at all, coming in at 140 minutes. There is no dialogue, just sung stories, and it’s an opera ballet musical thing. I was spellbound for most of this movie, not simply from a musical point of view but also from a performance and bonkers art direction. A feast for the eyes and ears, I came out of the cinema, went home and lied down. The music, by Offenbach is weirdly familiar, and the whole soundtrack was issued on the Ace of Clubs label in 1959 as a two LP set. Once back from Edinburgh the hunt was on to find this set which I knew I’d seen years ago in an old box under a stall at Portobello but left it there as I wasn't that keen at the time. Well maybe I am ready for it now and in a funny way I must be as I found the set in London Town , got it home and it has been played nearly everyday since. When I bought the LP I had a chat about the composer - Thomas Beecham, who incidentally had a whole section just to himself in the shop. It is the opinion of the cravat and brooch wearing assistant I bought it from that he was theee man, and his conducting adds an air of subtle gentleness unobtainable by anyone else to recordings. Like Dizzy Rascal I replied
FOLK CELEBRATIONS - JEAN-PIERRE SABAR: More from the big TV library coup, this is a bizarre library label. I know very little about it except that it is called “Bagatelle”. Each Bagatelle issue comes in two colours, one of which is always black, and they all have this rude drawing on the front of naked ladies dancing. This is a green and black issue called Folk Celebrations, which by the looks and sounds of it is merely an excuse to create 12 tracks with no folk on it but instead takes influence from places where folk live. If you know what I mean. It includes Îbits from Bolivia , Macedonia , Bahia and Venzuela. It also includes the track Vai-Vai, which is so totally faultless in a warm bossa nova vocalee way I just cannot believe how totally perfect it really is.
EVEN MORE DIRTY FAN MALE: The old Dirty Fan Male CD has been redesigned. It now has boobs on the front. It will probably now not get as lost as it used to in shops. I might be wrong, but it’s too late now. Anyway, that's not important right now. We have recorded another 66 tracks, a further 66 letters with new voices. I have listened to this lots, there are some new classics to be heard. I have no idea whether I will issue it or not yet. More news may well follow.
PARTICLES - BASIL KIRCHIN: Our dearly departed musical friend has left his final LP with me. It has many elements of Basil, past, present and future. I have no idea quite what to do with it yet as I have to listen to it a lot more before we go any further and I’ve decided. Some of it is quite shocking, even for Basil, but there are elements of totally beauty there too. I am still listening and more news will follow.
TEMA AMORE: This must mean Theme Love. Yes, all about love. You see the mad thing about this TV library archive thing is that I went all the way up North to collect this large load of library records. It was a bit of a gamble as I had no idea what was going to be there, if anything at all. And when I arrived there were loads, and I mean loads of 78s. KPM 78s. Bosworth 78s. Chappell 78s. Hundreds of them all looking for a skip or a home. In amongst the piles of these were piles of 33rpm pieces, Conroys, Chappells, and then in amongst all these were some bizarre Italian LPs. It seems as if some bloke in Manchester in the early 1970s was importing obscure Italian library LPs and sending them to big TV companies as new library music they could license. This is one of those babies, still with his odd Manchester sticker on. The second I laid eyes on this baby it was indeed love. Artwork done in chalk, very thick sleeve card, all music by Alessandroni using the name Gisteri and boy oh boy what a humdinger. I am still very much in love with this baby, it has jazz, classical and wordless filmic elements and everytime I hear it I hear something else.
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