Albums Reggae

V/A – 20 Reggae Classics (TRLS 222)

When I first lived in England during ’85/’86 the three albums I listened to most were Roxy’s Stranded, a fairly comprehensive budget label Kinks 2Lp ’60s greatest hits and a cassette of Trojan’s 20 Reggae Classics. Well, recently, I was missing populist late 60’s/early 70’s ska/raggae stuff, having not replaced it as I delved headlong into the connoisseurs’ world of Soul Jazz/Blood & Fire/Pressure Sounds/etc. re-issues. Finding the vinyl version today, I wasn’t even going to bother posting it since it’s such obvious stuff, especially in this country.

I changed my mind, however, as I listened to it this evening and was reminded of the reasons why I love pop music and that this is THE BEST COMPILATION ALBUM EVER MADE.

Albums Americana Blues Folk Uncategorized

Jerry Silverman – The Art of the Folk-Blues Guitar (XTRA 1096)

A 1970 British re-issue of a ’64 US Folkways Lp by Transatlantic Records, Silverman intones paradoxically didactic instructions on the performance of a genre most requiring of intangible feel in a lilting Bronx/American Jewish burr all the while illustrating his points on his axe. It is both less and more interesting than it appears: there’s nothing particularly weird about this record, even taken out of context, but as my technique is pretty shite, it might come in handy as originally intended.

This cost me a quid today at the Folkestone Flea Fair on Rendevous Street where my son and I had a stall. I grossed around £30 while the boy pulled in around a C note. Harumph.

Albums Soul

Otis Redding – Otis Blue (1966)

Unassailable soul music from the master only 60p at a Boy Scout charity stall in Etchinghill Bootfair. Shame it’s warped and the first three songs on boths sides don’t play. Damn.

One day you will be mine Otis Blue

Albums Country AND Western

Jack Barlow – Baby, Ain’t That Love (Dot – DLP 25923) (1969)


based on interview with psychologist Prince Asbo conducted 28th July 2011.

Mr. Barlow’s perception of events is likely to be significantly influenced by a long series of confused, cumulative and traumatic family and social experiences. He makes repeated fantastical claims, with details both banal and surreal, in a rich Basso Profundo voice full of a kind of corn-pone sentimentality. Barlow asserts by way of explaining/excusing his larcenous behaviour that his “Papa didn’t give me no love/He didn’t care if us kids went hungry” and that “He didn’t bother to take me fishin'”. He alleges that his “Momma tried to kill [him] three months before he was born/And daddy killed himself one sunny Sunday morn.” Whether or not his testimony can be trusted is open to question as he later claims that a man named Andrew Irvin shot and killed his “hot-headed Papa” (whom he later refers to as an “uncarin’, no good dad”) 20 years ago “up on Tucker’s Hill.”

As a result of his very vivid fantasies, his fight or flight responses are immediate, frequent and rapid (Barlow admits that he’s “gotta a lotta Devil in [him]” and further offers that the “devil [has] listed [him] as next of kin”) suggesting that he perceives threats within many everyday events. His ability to rationalise, predict and infer remains compromised by his arousal levels which affect higher order thinking: frequent trouble at school (“for some strange reason I was slow in school”) and difficult, borderline abusive interactions with teachers (who he claims “stood him in the corner and called him ‘Fred the Fool'”) have no doubt exacerbated feelings of rejection and bitterness towards authority figures in general. “Ain’t that love?” he asked rhetorically after listing a series of rejection both familial and societal. “I can’t give what I never had,” he says he says of his uneasy relationships women. “And I’ll hurt you if I can.” Certainly, he is an unrecontructed sexist: “Shut your mouth woman”, “Get out of my way woman”, and “Let go of my shirt-tails woman” are frequent rejoinders.

Clearly (if understandably) sociopathic, Barlow has lived a nomadic adulthood moving from Texas to Utah to Alabam’ to Memphis to Nashville to Nebraska and finally to Alaska–all the while chasing “elusive dreams and schemes”. And when he “didn’t find it [the elusive dream] there, we moved on”. It was in the latter location where Barlow suffered another cruel fate: the loss of his child. Though not specific on details, he tells that it happened near a bogus gold mine.

While several pathologies are in evidence from this interview, he shows some capacity for remorse, saying, regarding his marital infidelity: “My conscience is slowing [sic] with my head bowed low” and “We [he and his lover] did some things we both knew was wrong.” Barlow’s perceptive self-diagnosis is a “case of the Birmingham blues”

In light of these findings, immediate institutionalisation is recommended until such time as Mr. Barlow can be re-integrated into society, a scenario which seems unlikely at this point.

Albums Funk

Slave – The Hardness of the World (Cotillion SD 5201) (1977)

After all these years I’m still always hopeful of finding a buried treasure, a five-star quality album, not necessarily valuable, especially one heretofore unknown to me; I suppose it is what drives most diggers of crates. But that hope dims like a 2am coal fire when confronted with elpees like The Hardness of the World by Dayton, Ohio’s Slave. A senseless and boring Prog-Funk album, with all the negative connotations that implies and the worst excesses of both genres (all chops, no chunes, fussy arrangement, etc.) cancelling out any good in either. Maybe they were exciting live.

Call it Career-Choice Funk by people who literally ask God to bless them “for having such wonderful parents”.

12 inchers New Wave

Television – Prove It/Venus (12 inch, green vinyl)

Good day car booting in Yeovil yesterday – resulting in a pile of Prog/funk and this green monster of a disc from 1977.  Television were/are one of my favorite bands from this period by far – and if you have not already worn out a copy of Marquee Moon – then man what’s wrong with yah.  This disc brings 2 tracks from that LP in to wide-grooved loudness – essential listening !!   If you like this please go and grab yourself the first 2 LPs – the Eno Bootleg (if you can find it) – all the Tom Verlaine solo stuff – and then on an associated sort of link Blank Generation from Richard Hell …   that should annoy the neighbors !

Albums File Under POPULAR: Female vocal

The New Petula Clark Album (Pye NPL 18118) (1965)

Pet is no Dionne let alone Dusty, her phrasing can be pretty four-square and her tone can lean towards the pinched. A patently spurious title for a disc over 45 years old, the record under consideration (purchased today on the green in Hythe for 50p), is proficient, likeable enough and contains a couple kernels of goodness, e.g. “Heart”, but this is basically goosed-up crooner music designed to make an older generation comfortable with rock ‘n’ roll and I simply can’t get worked up about it.


Special Guest Mix This Week…


Albums Americana Soul

Cate Bros. – In One Eye and Out the Other (Asylum 7E-1080) (1976)

To look at ’em, you’d expect a strictly country-rock affair, but the Cate’s second album is an updated southern soul record in the funky Memphis tradition with only a spice of C&W. Warmly sung, subtly produced by the MG’s Steve Cropper* and ably assisted by “Duck” Dunn and a coterie of LA session guys, In One Eye politely echoes better known acts on the 60s Atlantic, Hi and Stax-Volt rosters  as well as future employers The Band, lacking only a truly killer song or two behind those percolatin’ grooves. Still, with its surreal chant, the title track could have been an AWB-style “Pick Up the Pieces” hit.

I spied this record maybe a year ago at the Mind charity shop in Cheriton, but it was £3 and I wasn’t goin’ out like that even if it was supposedly marked down from £7. A further reduction to £2, however, secured purchase.

*who also handled the desk for Hard Candy (Columbia CS34259), a 1976 pop/soul gem by Ned Doheny, recently purchased by me as a vinyl re-issue from Honest Jon’s which, after initial disappointment, I’ve come to absolutely adore. Like In One Eye, instruments are played by the cream of LA sessioners (various Eagles, Tower of Power horns, Linda, etc.) and sound like what they sound like, while use of synths and keys keep things fresh. Polar opposite to the Cate Bros’ soul man delivery, Doheny’s feather light, affectless songs and voice (think Todd R., Paul Simon or former label-mate Jackson Browne) are arranged so cunningly and deployed so artfully, that it becomes impossible for the pop fan not to be won over. Asylum Record’s first signing, Doheny’s not-so-secret weapon is his songwriting (one of which is a co-write with AWB’s Hamish Stewart), which, though deceptively breezy, is by turns sharp, witty and charming; it features some of the same sort of language and natural musical surprises as the the aforementioned Simon’s work. Doheny was nominated for the coveted Free Pass award at Soul Spectrum blog.

NB: This footnote has kindly been brought to you by our sister publication Retail Vinyl.

Albums Electronical

Jordan Fields Presents Moments In Dub (Mo’ Wax MWR 155LP) (2002)

Electronical disco/house album driving down a similar freeway to the one Etienne d’Crecy frequents. The kick counts four, handclaps on the even numbers, mellow synths and soul-y vocal samples wash over to pleasing, almost poingnant effect. At time of issue I’m guessing it was played in Next stores, but not Gap (on one hand) or Urban Outfitters (on the other); you know, hip enough, but not so hip it hurts.

Though thrifted by me two weeks ago in Folkestone, someone once paid the bargain basement price of £2.99 for this at the late lamented Richards Records (in Ashford or Canterbury).