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October 2007



The top bit of each recommendations page is always the hardest bit to write. I have to think about the state of my records and the state of the record buying market as I see it. Well, at the moment my records seem alright. And the market seems alright too. But I`ve been djing quite a lot and this starts confusing my records at home. I mean that I come in, put records down, pick up others, mix them all about, bung singles over there, put others back there and so on, which has made this bunch of records more confused than others before it. I`ve also had to find music for a couple for radio shows which have made things doubly complex as there are more mini piles of records than usual, but it`s forced me to listen again to records I bought years ago that sounded less interesting when I first got them. There now follows a list of what`s hot round mine. Like what you might hear if you came round and spied on me musically for a day. One or two of these records may well get played more than once in that day.

HAROLD AND MAUDE:
This is not the complete score but that`s not the point. The point (for me) is that it is some of the soundtrack, on record. For many many years I didn`t know this thing actually lived. The grumpy camp bloke who used to work at 58 Dean Street Records told me in about 1985 that this album existed. He said he`d seen it, and it was yellow. And then he`d go na-nana-na-na. Well I now have it and it`s actually a sandy brown colour. On the reverse Cat Stevens is wearing lime green satin trousers which are dead cool. I reckon they were specially made. The album was only pressed in Japan, misses two tracks from the film, but all the same, it has a gatefold sleeve which features brown and white pictures of Bud and Ruth, the mythical black e-type hearse and I can sing along and dream of funerals whenever I wish now.

 

FILMS CLASSES X:
Basically -yes, very basically this is the music from Italian X rated films of the early 1980s. Much of it is superficial musical pap, but there is a little juice to be squeezed out here. Trouble is I can`t remember the tracks I really like or the sides they are on and have to listen again to the whole album to find them. And then when I do that, I still can`t find the tracks I like and decide I like other ones instead. Maybe it`s the period and style of music we are dealing with here that confuses me, it`s mostly naff cheese that sounds bad most of the time but really good when you`re not expecting it. The track I have found that I like today is all piano plonks, plodding dramatic stings and la-da-das sung by men. The album comes with a booklet featuring sexy pictures from the films inside, however this booklet is missing on the copy I have, which is a shame but not that much of a surprise. Luckily there are a couple of rude pics on the back. Some of the titles on this album are classic - Pussy Talk No.2, Kinky Ladies and Sexy Airlines being up there with the best of them. The chances are that this record bombed spectacularly when it first came out, which is why it`s very hard to find these days.

 

LIBAEK AUSTRALIA:
This completes a bit of a Libaek jigsaw for me. It`s a concept / excuse album all about the first fleeters` pioneering trip down under, and Sven`s visions of his new found homeland, played over six movements. It`s the unmistakable tepid Libaek sound, this time with a full orchestra. It`s like view music, and a fine album to stick on and leave. I don`t mean leave the area, I just mean leave it on. And like much of the Sven cannon, it works well in the car.

 

A DON`T DRINK AND DRIVE / ROAD SAFETY RECORD:
Last year a very kind person from the Trunk Records mailing list found a small stash of this ep in a charity shop, thought I`d like one and kindly sent it to me. I have no idea who it was, because I can`t find their original email or letter or anything, but whoever it was deserves a knighthood. This is one of the most extraordinary children`s school choir records produced in this country. Self penned songs all sung with gusto and a sublime tunelessness. This really is a magical experience, with some of the greatest rhymes ever committed to vinyl and sing-a-long-a-lyric sheet. Like this: "Don`t drink and drive, don`t drink and drive, or your head will be buzzing like a hive". It doesn`t get much better than this.

 

A JOHN FAHEY ALBUM:
I know dick all about Fahey`s oeuvre, but was shown this record by a geezer in a shop in Australia. He said it was "odd". Apparently Fahey hated it, but I quite like it. A mixture of folk blues picking and strumming mixed with an endless stream of funny abstract backgrounds, tape loops and anything else he could find. Like babies crying, or funny people shouting, or trains. It`s an intriguing but confusing start to any day. A bit like waking up in Titcut. There`s also something unusual going on with Fahey`s fingers if you look at the sleeve closely for long enough.

 

FAMILY FODDER:
This came from a record list, and it`s still a pleasure to buy from a list. Way, way better than the tedium and unreliability that can be on-line. It`s the human contact if you get my drift. Anyway, it sounded nuts when I read about it, and indeed it is. The music was recorded sometime between 75 and 79, was cut on 45 rpm which is a bit strange for an album, and includes a cover of a Syd Barrett song and also two wacked-out versions of Sunday Girl, involving a small child and some hyper fast mental decisions. This album is total mayhem, sounds very fresh and should really be heard by everyone interested in great things. I also love the rubbish sleeve. It`s like no one cared about anything and were just really honest. Perfect.

 

ON A MONDAY:
Regardless of the weekday this is a great little record. Sort of draggy funky folk, but with funny bits going off all over the place. Crazy, experimental production by John Cameron who, as we all know, pops up all over the place doing very interesting things. It also looks like this little single was half inched from the BBC archive a few years ago. Lots of singles like this were, apparently.

 

HOLY SHIT IT`S A FALL RECORD:
I had a Fall record a long, long time ago. This is a different one, and has The Hip Priest number on it, which was used in Silence Of The Lambs. All of a sudden, I`d say at the beginning of the year, a good few people I knew started raving about The Fall. One of the regular listeners to OST runs the Fall forum on line. Michael who works at Resonance goes on about them all the time. Everyone knows that Mark E. Smith = The Fall, and apparently if he came and sung at your house with your granny playing the bongos that would also be "The Fall". You gotta hand it to him. I`m expecting complaints either about that slight Fall quote or something from odd Fall fans. We will post any that come in.

 

 

CABARET TIME WITH RUSTY GOUGH:
I have followed the career of Rusty Gough with some interest. Afterall, he is in one of my favourite films, David Wolper`s version of Willy Wonka. He plays an Oompah Loompah. This single was Rusty`s musical debut, and it`s possibly his only solo record. And here he`s in a show-off mood. The front cover shows Rusty posing in amongst a managerie of instruments. Apparently he can play 32 of them. On vinyl, many of the 32 are put to use, mainly on his long and enthusiastic rendition of The Music Man. This is the song where each verse you introduce an instrument, and then play it. Drums, sax, organ, piano, trumpet, even the bagpipes are ruthlessly and systematically murdered by little Rusty here. What a joy. This is of course a signed single. The rare ones are the unsigned ones.

 

SUGAR AND SPICE:
The Jumping Jacques are the oddest vocal harmony group you could ever come across. Weirder than Sammes, odder than the Double Six, they have a manic side to their recordings that is almost unbearable and could possibly break you if you were not mentally prepared. Masterminded by this bloke called Monsieur Jacques Hendrix they made a couple of records, but I think this was the only one that was pressed in the UK. The best way for me to describe it is imagine listing to a nice normal old vocal harmony record and then sniff some Amyl nitrate. I know lots of people who have had this album for yonks. I have never seen it for sale until recently, and so I bought it and I`m pleased I did. I think the woman on the front has got a big head.

 

FOLK WARM AND GENTLE:
Moira Kerr was a shot putter for Scotland. Weird that. In between international competitions she made a couple of records. The other one has got Alan Price on it and a slightly groovy version of California Dreaming. This album I think I now prefer, mainly because I found it in a charity shop in deepest Essex. I reckon it got there because a dealer I knew who bought the Ray Horricks record collection gave all the shit looking records to a charity shop in Essex. And this is a Horricks production. There is something very honest and quite humble going on here, and she does have a fine voice. There is one track I really like called Donna Donna, trouble is everytime I hear it I think it`s Kebab time. Which spoils it somewhat.

 

BARRY MILES AND SILVERLIGHT:
Many many years ago I used to listen to this album and laugh my head off at the total anarchy of it all - not just in the sound, but also in the way these guys were seriously dressed. Like cosmic space jazz pilots or something. I recently found a British pressing of this mental record in London, in a #1 box, with the original price of #4 scribbled out. The record still sounds way, way out, possessed even. And those clothes still make me titter. I may even get a light blue vest made with a cloud and glittery lightning strike embroidered on the front, wear it and see how long it takes for me to get beaten up in Dalston.

 

THIS BILL EVANS ALBUM:
A few weeks ago I was in the car listening to Resonance FM and this bloke was talking all about the crossover area that jazz music and classical share. He played a good few examples from this grey sonic field, and this track by Bill Evans called Peace Piece really caught my ears. I had to rush out and find it immediately. As someone who has been listening to funny old jazz for a long while I cannot believe I`ve never heard this sublime thing in the past. It`s so perfect and so simple, and isn`t quite jazz really and isn`t quite classical. It sounds a bit like that cat on youtube who plays the piano. I was talking to a guy in a classical record shop about Peace Piece a few weeks ago and he said that that kind of jazz made him physically sick.

 

STACCATO:
Derek bought me this fat slice of classic crime jazz on a visit to America recently. What a guy. I mean Derek, not Bernstein or Cassavetes. But it`s not all brassy crime jazz as you might think, and has some delightful, sad and thoughtful bits which are very special indeed.

 



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