Sunday, 25 March 2012

Jonathan Richman 'Sings' and plays guitar sometimes

Two very Sunday morning LPs today,

Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers by Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers - Bought second hand for the bargain sum of £1.50 (!) this has always been (and will always continue to be) one of my favourites. Sounds as fresh and innocent today as when it was released back in 1976. I've seen Jonathan live a few times and it's always an event, no more so than when he agreed to play 'Party in the woods tonight' for our daughter, Helen. Just to be awkward though I think this may finish a close third behind 'Back in your life' (which I only have on cassette - shame!) and 'The Modern Lovers Live' (which I have on vinyl and will be featured when I find it - probably in the boxes in the loft!).
The sleevenotes state - 'Jonathan Richman 'sings' and plays guitar sometimes.'

Streets I have walked by Harry Belafonte - A Japanese LP bought for £1 on which Harry sings songs from around the world, including Waltzing Matilda, This land is your land and Sit Down (nothing to do with James, this is 1963!). Just one of the best voices ever.

Soundtrack to this post - Mona Lisa by Nat King Cole

Friday, 23 March 2012

No quality control !

Here goes with next batch...........

Strangeways Here we come by The Smiths - Their last but not their best (although apparently both Morrisey and Marr think it is!). 'Girlfriend in a Coma' is the high point - but maybe only in my mind!
Systems of Romance by Ultravox - In the days before Midge when Ultravox were a essentially a punk band (this is still 1978 remember). Listened again to this today and not as good as I remembered it. This is, however, a building block on the way to Metamatic by John Foxx (which I will probably find in a few weeks) - one of the best 10 electronic albums ever!
After Dark by Kitty Wells - Just an amazing album with a cover that screams '1950s America'. When the label states 'Vocal with Instrumental Accompaniment' you pretty much know what you're going to get. Laura Cantrell recently released an album called 'Kitty Wells' dresses and I can confirm that Kitty is wearing a very pretty pale blue one on this cover.
Fly by Yoko Ono - Everyone should hear this album once. Brilliant and unhinged in a way that people like Lady Gaga can only dream of. Features the classic 'Don't worry Kyoko (Mommy's only looking for a hand in the snow)'. When I put this track on the record player this morning it frightened the cat!
And as it was World Poetry Day this week I thought I'd give a snippet from 'Mindtrain';
shining the clouds
shining the trees
shining empty buildings
shining my mind
thought of killing that man
thought of killing that man
and dub dub train passed through my mind
and dub dub train stabbed through my mind
pain, train, pain, train

Sentiments I think we can all identify with!
If John had still been around it would have been John and Yoko's 43rd wedding anniversary this week  - sadly they only actually made it to 11.
Soundtrack to this post – Beetlebum by Blur, Green Onions by Booker T & the MGs and Please don't let me be misunderstood by Nina Simone

In no particular order

So here are the first LPs grabbed pretty much at random - there's not a great deal of quality control in my collection, but I guess one man's 'Superstition' is another man's 'Ebony and Ivory'. It would be a bit dull if all of these records were great - often it's the embarassing records in a collection that make it interesting!
Here goes!!!........
Equinoxe by Jean Michel Jarre - with the imaginatively titled Equinoxe parts 1-8. This is one of my orginal 'box of 50' records from 1978 and if my memeory serves me correctly it was bought from Grattans Catalogue (remember when Kays and Grattans catalogues had an LP section - wow!)
6 Original by Devo - Inhabiting the strange middle ground between EP and LP this 6 track record on yellow vinyl claims to contain a 'slice of assorted singles for seventeen minutes from Devo!!' Sounds as fresh (and crazy) now as it did 34 (!!) years ago. I bought this second-hand somewhere, but have no memory of when or where!
Love and Dancing by The League Unlimited Orchestra - Owned and cherished since new (1981 - when else could it have been!). Essentially a fantastic Human League remix album that owes a huge debt to Kraftwerk and Giorgio Moroder. I own this on vinyl, cassette and CD - how sad is that!
Going Deaf for a Living by Fischer Z - Fischer Z made some fantastic albums, sadly this isn't one of them. Although it does include the excitingly titled 'Four minutes in Durham (with you)' - at least it's exciting if you live in Durham. Roger Whittaker apart, Durham doesn't loom very large musically. I paid £3 for this apparently - hmmm!
Night full of tension by Robert Gorl - Not so much mine this one - this one actually belongs to Susan and it's a 1984 LP on Mute Records. A former member of D.A.F. (who can forget hearing 'Der Mussolini' played loud at Heroes in Sunderland?) and friend of Annie Lennox who turns up on this LP singing in a strange German accent. Electronic music with an atmospheric German vocal was pretty big in 1984 - sadly, with the exception of Kraftwerk, not as popular since then! One of the few things I got from failing a German A-level was a love of music like this.
Talking Book by Stevie Wonder - My appreciation of Stevie has developed fairly recently and this album (bought for 49p at Help The Aged shop) includes some classic Stevie tracks. Also features both Jeff Beck and Ray Parker Jr - but not at the same time!
The Springfields Sing again by The Springfields - A very unusual album and if you've ever seen 'The Mighty Wind' you'll never hear this album in the same way again, particularly 'Lonesome Traveller'. Difficult to believe that this is the same Dusty as the one who recorded 'anyone who had a heart' - it's still great though!
I get my Dusty appreciation from my Dad, so I was listening to Dusty on our radiogramme long before I had any records of my own - in fact if I close my eyes I can still smell those valves warming up!
Soundtrack to this post Autumn Almanac by The Kinks and Empty Shell by Cat Power

Episode 1 - The spare room

I'm planning to blog my vinyl collection. It could be a big job!
I'm going to start with the LPs in the spare room and then move on to the ones that have lived in boxes in the loft ever since we moved into this house 12years ago.
I have lots of LPs (hundreds , maybe thousands – a bold claim but I’ve never counted them since I was 13 when all of my LPs lived together in one vinyl case) and along the way I aim to get them into some sort of order, maybe even sort out the ‘proper storage’ I’ve been threatening all these years. I may even catalogue or alphabetise them (although I’ve always had a slight mistrust of people who do this!).
Many of my records have been cherished and played regularly during the 34 years since I started collecting (I use this word loosely, I’m more of a gatherer than a collector!), but there are also hundreds that I just ‘own’.
I am embarrassed to admit that there are lots of records in my collection that I’ve never even listened to (‘Blue’ by Joni Mitchell and for example) and many that I never want to hear again (I have no idea how I managed to amass so many Toyah singles!).
I have more singles than I have LPs, but they can wait for another time – maybe even another year!
So let's start with the LPs from the spare room.
(Soundtrack to this post - I am the Fly by Wire)