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October 2006



Over the last couple of weekends I have had a massive clear up. Hundreds, possibly thousands of LPs and singles have been refiled, sorted, organised: in the case of my soundtracks all are now alphabetical, and library recordings are now all filed first by library name and then in order of catalogue number. And I can tell you now there are many, many advantages to all this. First of all I am a saddo. But at least now I know instantly where everything is, which, when doing things like radio shows and that, is a godsend. Everything also looks nice and neat and tidy which is not something I have experienced before. The other advantage for me was the suprise rediscovery of a number of LPs I'd not seen for a long while. This can either be a drag or a joy, and in this recent case both emotions were experienced as this lost booty slowly rose back into my life. During this vast clear up and organise session I also moved my turntable from large old cumbersome shelving onto an old stainless steel dentist trollley. This trolley was being thrown out onto Harley Street on a wet Sunday afternoon recently. I spotted it and immediately offered to pay for it but the cockney house clearer just told me to bugger off with it. Well I think that's what he said. My turntable set up is now like a little steel and black mobile discoteque in the front room. It's surely only a few weeks before my wife calls accuses me of being gay.

BADLY DRAWN FISH:
Yes, the undersea world of Trunk Records swims even deeper for the Autumn as a new old LP come into my possesion. This is a most lovely slice of improvised Italian sea world, with tracks all about squid, plankton, sea anaemonies and all manor off tiddly fish. The LP bristles with wet atmospheres and spooky depths and only proves conclusively that the search for classic underwater music will move onwards and downwards.

 

BARNEY KESSELL BOSSA NOVA:
Yes, I know Summer is over but there is no real harm in dragging lively bossa novas into the Autumn. I believe that everyone should own this groovy LP, issued on the Valient label. Always a cheapee, this is one of the happiest records you could ever wish to own and contrasts quite well with the sadder LPs later in this list. The version of Summertime (as pointed out by Michael from Resonance FM) really does hang onto the twangy cotton-pickin' roots of the song, instead of making into one of those happy sweet versions that happens so often. Just about all the other numbers are spot on too, each number dragging you into dancing whether you like it or not. Nice chick on the cover too.

 

TRIOS - TRISTRAM CAREY:
Originally pressed by EMS in 1971, Carey's idea behind Trios is a game PLUS live performance. It's a touch complicated so bare with me. First you need both LPs which come in the Trios folder. Then two truntables. Two players to play the turntables. And one EMS Synthi VCS3, with a person to play this too (hence Trio), oh, and three dice. The idea is you roll the dice, these dictate which recordings you play on each LP and also how you play the Synthi. There is also a book that accompanies everything which instructs you how to play and also includes dope sheets informing players how to patch and play the Synthi for each 'event'. The idea is that a live trio performance of random oddness and beauty is performed and everyone has fun. I already have fun at home which is a good thing as this live performance is never going to happen where I live, and anyway I just like sitting down, reading the funny Trios book and listening to the records on there own which, by the way, are pure and very beautiful electronics. This is one of only 250 of these sets made by EMS. Barry 7 (formerly of Add (N) to X) informed me that about 200 of them never made it to public sale because EMS warped them by leaving them next to a radiator. Nightmare. EMS by the way means Electronic Music Studio (London) Ltd and they are the worlds longest running synthesiser manufacturer.

 

FILM MUSIC BY TORU TAKEMITSU:
Considering how much film music this Japanese Lord of Music made, it's hard to find anything soundtracky on disk. On any kind of disk actually, as the Japanese rarely reissue anything on any form at all, and the last time they did the 22 CD box set or whatever it was failed to get exported anywhere becasue it was just far too pricey and all the japanese wanted it anyway. So, we have to wait for ages to find old LPs like this one. This is a small gathering of four film recordings circa 1970, all very odd, mixing disparate elements of sound and music and somehow naturally moulding them to a conhensive, non-effensive whole. Sometimes the recordings sound totally Japanese, at other times unmistakeably western. It's like he has several musical masks and wears them whenever necessary. The music by this man is never dull, unlike the work of many film composers, especially the contemporary ones.

 

CLEOPATRA - PAUL HORN:
I hate to have to say it but there is only a couple of things you see when you look at the album cover here, and no, it's not Liz Taylor's violet eyes. No, it's her large heaving breats. They are the big stars of Cleopatra the movie if you ask me, and they are also the stars of this fabulous LP cover. The art director on this LP must have thought the same as he's cropped half of Ms Taylor's head off to get them in properly. The artists here, the flutey Paul Horn, did all manor of film cover LPs and this is, I believe, the exceptional one. He takes Alex North's exotic, almost traditional Egyptian motifs for the film and gets all deep, modal and groovy with them. Like a jazz goes east LP, only less cheesy if you know what I mean. I have also just found out that this LP has been repressed on vinyl. I reckon you can find an original copy for about the same price. Anyway...

 

 

MIKE TAYLOR - TRIO:
Possibly the hardest LP to locate of all the Landsdown jazz LPs, this little beauty is one of the saddest, darkest records you could ever wish to own and hear. And in my humble opinion Mike Taylor was without doubt the true genius of all British jazz pianists (with Gordon Beck at No.2). I only say this as Trio is one of those records that once heard, has to be heard again just so you can try and understand exactly what was going on in Taylor's head. There are massive musical leaps all over the place, some catch you off guard, others just make you really think. Anything that sounds this extraordinary, ocassionally traumatic and often futuristic 40 years after it was originally recorded has to have something deeply weird going on. A massively talented composer, Mike Taylor was also responsible for writing a few Cream numbers issued on their Disraeli Gears LP and even Jack Bruce plays on some of the numbers here. The Cream connection no doubt make this LP even harder to find. You nknow what Cream fans are like, they want everything and would have hoovered up loads of these LPs back in the day, making it very scarse now. Anyway, I recently read that Taylor's trio had a lot of peculiar, out there jazz ideas when playing live. Most venues booked them once, and never asked them back as they were just too mad. Taylor dropped acid, hung out with Graham Bond and probably did even more acid. Two years after this recording Taylor's body was found washed up on the beach at Leigh-On-Sea. Here ends the history lesson for today.

 

MALCOLM DEDMAN AND HIS MIXED INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC:
Another from the arse end of the Appollo Sound label. I was originally attracted to this LP by it's terrfiyingly poor cover, drawn as it is with little imagination and few ideas except for a geometric one. I have to also wonder if Malcolm Dedman is alive. His music is alert, exploratory, odd and there seems to be a lot of doubling going on - doubling recorder, doubling tambour etc. There are even touches of Medieval here, which when done well can be a joy. An intriguing LP and ripe for sampling - well that's how I hear it. I like also the fact that someone from Ealing was playing the organ and there is a delightful educated but amateur glow to this whole album.

 

ALESSANDRONI - PRISMA SONORO:
Anyone familiar with this site or my radio shows will know that I am sucker for Alessandroni, and especially any Alessandroni on his own label, SR. At last this wee beasties has come into my hands - at some expense I may add - and what a stunner we have. Some of the tracks, or at least variations of a couple can be found on the Conroy Eurobeat LPs, but this seems to be the rule for just about any Italian composer who turned out library music. They all seemed to have made about one hundred tracks, and variations of those one hundred tracks then flew all around the world under different titles and under different composer names throughout the 1960s and 70s. This LP is slightly less psychedelic than Alessandroni's weirder work, but does have divine moments of sweet chords, chorals and guitar. There is always some sadness with one of his LPs and this is a bit sad too.

 

 

SOUND IMAGES - ALAN COGGINS AND WENDY COOK:
This was one of the LPs that has resurfaced recently in the massive trunk reorganisation programme. It's a bit of a mystery to me as I have no recollection of getting it. No, I remember now, there was a funny beardy bloke at a boot sale out along the M4 a few years ago. He had some unusually groovy bits and pieces and after i bought a few things and got chatting he suggested that I went round his house mid week as he was moving and wanted to clear some more stuff. So later in the week I went round and picked up some very well priced old crap from a garage bursting at the seams with terrible vinyl. He was one of those blokes who, in his own words, could not help himself. I bought this for obvious reasons and have not listened to it ever before. As I say it reappeared in the recent clean up, and so it has now been played. It looks like this double LP was originally made as creative music for kids aged between five and nine, well so say the composers. To me it sounds not too dissimilar to a brain washing recording, like something used in the cold war to interfere with spies, like in the Ipcress File. I reckon if you played this to kids as instructed they'd go mental. I've gone a bit mental just listening to it. Before I went mental I did some investigation into it and so far all I have found is the LP for sale on an expensive website - but personally I don't think it's that valuable, it's weird alright, but not valuable. If anyone knows anything about these two creative types - Alan and Wendy, please get in touch. Their kids must be peculiar.

 

HELEN MERRILL:
Back to something a little less taxing. And it's good to report that great records are still to be had at the Spitalfields record fayre. It seems to be growing in stature too as a monthy affair, it's certainly getting busier everytime I go. And I found this last time. I love Helen Merrill and was quite suprised to find it in one of the boxes owned by the legendary George. It's not a rare record, and it's probably not one of Merrill's most desirable vocal outings but it does swing, goes all Spanish and a bit folky too at times, and always with her smokey, dry distinctive sound. There's also a mesmerising bluesy spiritual side to this album, especially on her dark and groovy version of House Of The Rising Sun. At the time the song had been made popular by Woody Guthrie, the Animals were yet to get their grubby paws on it. Had my Dad been alive he would have said that the pastel drawing of Helen on the front cover was shit.

 

PACIFIC JAM:
This may well be a first. It's 1981. Yep, a 1980s record. I think maybe even Southern Freeze may get on to these pages shortly. But this is possibly a first from that terrifying decade to reach these here pages. Basically it's Airto, Flora and their gang moving their jazz sound into territories unknown at the time. It's the sound of authentic jazz funk, later copied to death. But this may well be the early squeaks, whistles and wobbles of the movement. As they play I can immediately see them, the whole gang relaxing in pastel shades and espadrilles, with shirts wide open and a fair amount of unsightly hair. Way, way back in the early 1990s this was a big album to be seen with. Nowadays I don't reckon anyone would want it. Maybe I'm sick, maybe it's just the effects of listening to Sound Images mentioned above, who knows exactly what has brought this unfashionable sound into my home. It could be nostalgia I suppose. Maybe I'm just trying to understand where it all went wrong. I can only listen to this when the house is empty. That's what I have been told.

 

VICTOR SYLVESTER - TWIST:
This legendary band leader's version of Cerveza is only on this cute little EP. It has taken an age for me to find, and even then I didn't find it. It was donated to me recently by a good mate who understood my frustration at not being able to get my grubby mits on one. It's one of those killer tracks where everything about it is right - the rhythm, the arrangement, the instrumentation and the breaks. It is difficult not to dance about like a swingin' ballroom fool or something when it's played, which, over here, is a lot. Irresistable.

 

ONE FINAL NOTE:
Yes, these listing have been going on for a good few years now, and we are thrilled to get loads of feedback about various LPs and singles that have been included. One truly exciting event recently involved the fine teen singer - Denny Reed who sung the demon little 7' called 'Hot Water', listed some months back. Well, we thought he was dead, but he got in touch! I didn't quite understand his email, but he seemed alive and well.

 



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