Billy Preston – “That’s The Way God Planned It” b/w “What About You” (Apple 12) (1969)



Hmmm, let’s have a look at today’s headlines: Jihadi veterans of Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan join callow foreign idealists on frontline of Aleppo…Reports suggest as many as 2,000 workers involved in fight at Foxconn factory in China…Former England football captain John Terry has retired from international football, blaming the FA for making his position ‘untenable’…Shares in the sports chain JJB Sports suspended as investors refuse to stump up any extra cash to save the company…Report on global warming warns of global food insecurity as Persian Gulf, Libya, and Pakistan expected to be hardest hit…Woman pronounced dead at the scene after branch falls during wet and windy weather conditions in London…Steven Gerrard says Liverpool have not been good enough this season but believes it is not time to panic yet….

No worries though, that’s the way God planned it. That’s the way God wants it to be, apparently.

I had a US copy of this sans picture sleeve, and so couldn’t resist the UK version with cover art of this quite good George H. produced gospel. Especially for 25 pee.

Published in: on September 24, 2012 at 9:10 am  Comments (3)  

George Harrison – All Things Must Pass (STCH 639) (1970)

By common consent (but not actually) the best Beatles solo album*, All Things Must Pass promises and delivers on a grand scale. That the scale tends to overwhelm the quiet Beatle’s voice is one of the record’s main faults.

However, I don’t care to review George’s first proper solo album, rather, I want to discuss a peculiar phenomenon I, and perhaps I alone, associate with the Lp, viz. the way the tempo of various songs seem to slow down and speed up.

Between the ages of 11 and 18, I cleaned the second floor of the Dowds-Rudin office building. For my pocket-money, I mopped, waxed, vacuumed, cleaned sinks, toilets, &c. I had a tick list and could, as long as I did everything on the list, take as long as I wanted.

Usually, I gave myself a long break, which consisted of fetching a large Sprite from the lunch counter at SS Kresge’s downstairs, returning to my dad’s studio office (yes, I got the job through nepotism) to pore over bound volumes of late 60s/early 70s Rolling Stone at length while listening to either No Dice by Badfinger, Harvest by Neil Young or All Things Must Pass on a vintage solid state console. All three Lps (and likely the record player) had come from the local Goodwill. My copy of Pass was slightly warped giving it a slightly lurching feel, enhanced by the extensive use of George’s slide and Pete Drake’s pedal steel guitar. I assumed it was a unique fault.

And yet, years later, I sensed this same warped effect, though perhaps not as pronounced, on my 2001 CD re-issue, especially on “Awaiting On You All” and the title track. I thought maybe this was some sort of aural hangover. But when listening this morning to yet another second-hand boot faired vinyl copy (without the poster, dammit!), the characteristic wooziness reared its head. The records are in VG+ condish, not warped, nor did the Lps cause the tone arm to wobble at all.

So…am I unlucky? Is it in my head? Or was this a designed effect**?

*that would be Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band, by several kilometres.

**I’m not counting the novelty song, “It’s Johnny’s Birthday”, on the Apple Jam disc, whose mechanical tempo changes are obvious and deliberate; however, this does suggest the variable-tape-speed card was in the deck.

Published in: on September 19, 2012 at 8:33 am  Comments (11)  

“You’ll Never See My Face In Kansas City” The Malefactors of Great Wealth/ The Black Swans (2012)

While we were visiting him in Brooklyn this summer, my friend and former bandmate, JP Olsen was keen to share his new multi-media project. Responding to a confrontational 40-year old performance art piece entitled You’ll Never See My Face In Kansas City by Chris Burden and hearing in the title of Burden’s work “a song…in search of a writer”, JP’s project turned out to be a lilting, roots rock 7″ vinyl split single with mutual friend Jerry DeCicca, an ambitious video diptych representing both songs and…a balaclava. You can read more about this cool enterprise’s genesis and revelation, and buy related products, pretty much right here.

But what if there were further responses? Responses that took ideas about the “competing desires for notoriety and privacy that mark our present cultural moment” suggested by Burden’s work into absurd and dystopian territory.

This is where I come in.

Spurred by my friends’ initiative, I conceived my own little multi-media project comprising a short science fiction story, an electronic ballad and a video. First, the story. Originally envisioned as a short, humorous New Yorker “Shouts and Murmurs”-style piece of shaggy doggerel, I found, like the man who tried to drink out of a spittoon, things just strung together and I couldn’t stop writing notes, going off on tangents. The storyline spiralled out of control and not only couldn’t I stop, the work becoming unwieldy, I couldn’t start. A solution presented itself with the notion of the old-time magazine serial: I could compose the story in bite sizes and publish in real-time à la Charles Dickens. The whole shebang could be continuity edited as I proceeded. And what better vehicle than Thrifty Vinyl? After all, the original vinyl was given to me for a none-thriftier zero dollars and zero cents.

So, I will challenge myself to turn pages of confused notes into a perverse but readable and entertaining satire; though in how many segments, who knows. I will continue with “normal” Thrifty V posting as well. Given their progeny/contingent status, the electronic ballad and video will necessarily follow. The story is called, “You’ll Never See My Face In Kansas City”.

___________________________________________

YOU’LL NEVER SEE MY FACE IN KANSAS CITY

Prologue

By 2089, “being a celebrity” was officially the world’s most dangerous job. The intense love, envy, hate or a combination of the three engendered by the well-known conspired to make stalking the full-time occupation for vast numbers of the New United State of America. As often as not, the results were lethal and the numbers of famous people were fast running out. The populous of the NUSA, dependent as it was on celebrity culture for its entertainment, its advertising and its governmental administration, began to weary of the severely depleted supply and the economy suffered accordingly. A radical solution was required.

Thirty years previous, America’s Civil War bicentenary celebrations had been hijacked by radicals who, correctly sensing a powerful marriage of unrest and inertia motivating the people, divided up the country along to racial and religious lines. American Jews and Muslims, who had worked together to orchestrate the new Civil War, made up the Eastern United States (EUS); white Mormons took the Midwestern United States (MUS) as prophesied by founding father, now cyborg president-for-life, Mitt Romney; black Protestant Baptists achieved a high standard of living in the Southern United States (SUS) by reintroducing slave labor in the form of compulsory full-time child employment; Latin-American Catholics, who despite huge numbers (their population was greater than all three other countries combined), had only wildfire and earthquake-ravaged California to call home. On account of the latter’s shabby performance in the new Civil War and their country’s designation, citizens of the Western United States (WUS) were known as “wussies”, yet considered themselves lucky since they were nearly called the Pacific United States.

Tace Greenaway, vice-president of the MUS, addressed the assembled US presidents and their executive committees at a conference in Kansas City, the capital of MUS. “We need a radical solution,” he began redundantly. “Fortunately, the near ubiquity of plastic surgery has given us a perfect way out.” He went on to outline a plan that would allow only celebrities to have “faces”, the rest of the population would have only facial orifices modelled on the masks from Pink Floyd The Wall.

There was understandable outcry from the assembled delegates.

“Celebrities will be bigger targets then ever!” shouted one amidst the rabble.

Greenaway waited for the officials to settle down. “I have thought of this little obstacle,” he calmly started. “These celebrity ‘faces’ will be detachable, allowing our celebrities to lead normal life when not busy entertaining, selling or governing.”

“But how could we sell such a plan to our people?” called someone else.

“A simple six-words interrogative. Who Wants To Be A Face?”

There was cacophony as the 90-strong group erupted in barely contained debate.

Finally, the SUS president, Jackie Jesson spoke up. “What is this bullshit?”

“A good question, Mr. Jesson, and one that deserves an answer,” replied Vice-President Greenaway. “This bullshit will be the greatest reality show our countries have ever known.”

Published in: on September 18, 2012 at 8:16 am  Comments (4)  

“The Beatles’ Movie Medley” b/w “I’m Happy Just To Dance With You” (Capitol B-5107) (1982)

An artifact from perhaps Capitol Records’ lamest Beatles cash-in*, Reel Music, a compilation of songs heard in their various films. Even the title pun reeks of desperation. Unsurprisingly, the only Beatles song as yet unissued on CD, “The Beatles’ Movie Medley” was inspired, at least in the commercial sense, by the wretched US No. 1 “Stars On 45”, a disco medley of several 60s classics, including several by the Fabs.

The one redeeming aspect of this affront is the fact that it featured on the booth-jukebox at Mount Vernon, OH’s LK family restaurant where my friends and I would play the b-side as loud as possible while we had our late night coffee and pecan pie. I still remember its code: B4. True.

*Let’s see: Rock and Roll Music, Beatle Ballads, Love Songs, The Beatles Story, Rarities, 20 Greatest Hits, Love, Yellow Submarine Songtrack, Let It Be…Naked…hmm, there’s a lot of competition. And that’s even discounting the whole song reshuffling hoo-ha whereby US Capitol, during the 1960s, contrived to release half again as many Lps, using the same number of songs, as their UK counterparts. The company shamelessly compounded this aesthetic folly recently by releasing volumes one and two of The Capitol Albums on 4-disc box sets.

Published in: on September 14, 2012 at 3:53 pm  Comments (1)  

Another Side of Bob Dylan (1964)

Dylan hated the title, Another Side of Bob Dylan, feeling it obvious and trivialised his previous work. He was, however, unrepentant about a change in his style: “There ain’t no finger-pointin’ songs [on Another Side]. I don’t want to write for people any more. You know, be a spokesman. From now on I want to write from inside of me.” But people wouldn’t let the “protest” tag lie, judging by this June 1967 MAD cartoon from the feature “Comic Strip Heroes From Real Life.”

Another slightly tortured rationale for posting: having tried and failed to get to grips with Dylan, a friend, tired of the cult of Bob, sent me his copy of the excellent Another Side gratis. It came, apparently, from a market stall in Carlisle and cost a mere £2.

Published in: on September 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm  Comments (5)  

Sade – Promise (1985)

As you read these words, what does the voice in your head sound like? Does it sound like your voice? Your voice as it sounds like on tape? Can you change the voice in your head? After you read this sentence, re-read it in the “voice of God”. Was your voice a lot deeper with echo on it? Did you lower you chin, put a scowl on, mouth the words? Now re-read this sentence as a stereotypical male gay, with sibilant Esses. Now as a stereotypical urban African-American. As Asian reporter Trisha Takenawa. As Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. Is the voice in your head a homophobic racist?

Does the voice in your head tell you to do things? Do you have different voices to tell you different things? A voice filled will bonhomie to congratulate yourself on a job well done, say, or a stern voice to help you concentrate. What about the voice that tells you to do bad things? Is that voice ever so sly? Of course, you’d never actually do these bad things, would you? Well, maybe you’d do the not-too-bad things…like spit in the corner of a public toilet…or buy Promise by Sade when you hardly listen to her first album…or, maybe, things you know you’d never get caught doing. That would be okay wouldn’t it, if you’d never get caught. What voice are you reading this in now? Does the voice sound scared as you think about all the really bad things you’ve done that nobody knows about?

Don’t worry, you probably won’t ever get caught.

Published in: on September 12, 2012 at 9:15 am  Leave a Comment  

Paul McCartney – All the Best! (1987) and Wings Greatest (1978)

Collecting money. Collecting knowledge and experience. Collecting books one has read. Collectors – kings of numismatics, chocolate-wrapper millionaires. Collecting fame – one more poem, one more rôle. Lists of women. Boyfriends in reserve. 

The notches on a sniper’s gun. Collecting suffering – look what I have been through and endured! Travel. Chasing vivid impressions. Discoveries, conquests, economic growth. The one who has hoarded more is better, grander, more cultured, more intelligent, more popular.

And amidst this universal hoarding: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit.’ – Andrey Sinyavsky from Unguarded Thoughts (1965)

Double-sided poster included in Wings Greatest

When I found these two Macca comps over the past year, a pound each at the Lyminge Garage Safari and Canterbury Red Cross respectively, I already possessed: the latter on cassette; a CD of Wingspan, which includes every song on both records; 7″ or 12″ singles of each track (multiples in some cases), bar “Pipes of Peace” (which I own on its parent Lp).

What kind of sickness is this?

Published in: on September 9, 2012 at 10:46 am  Comments (2)  

The Rolling Stones – Aftermath (LK.4786) (1966)

The Rolling Stones – Aftermath; original UK mono edition (LK 4786); red “unboxed” Decca logo; matrix nos. XARL-7209-5B/7210-1A.

So it’s come to this. Not only do I have to buy my own birthday Lps, I have to “pay” for them using records I’ve thrifted. It’s sad, but the Age of Austerity has really begun to bite.

Speciously included in the Thrifty Vinyl canon because, despite the fact that this particular copy of Aftermath retailed for approximately 50 times more than 90% of the product featured herein, it actually cost me nothing since I exchanged chazza records (several formerly of this parish, and, really, not that many of them) in trade for it at Rock Bottom Records in Whitstable.

I won’t comment on the excellence of the Lp as a whole except to say it’s top drawer stuff, but the sound is worth a mention. I only have Aftermath on a cassette I compiled in the early 90s conflating the (quite different) US and UK editions, plus timely single As and Bs, using the first CD stereo re-issues, so that’s all I have for comparison purposes; even so, I can tell they nailed this mix, it sounds fantastic, i.e. like what it’s supposed to sound like.

Published in: on September 9, 2012 at 8:20 am  Comments (3)  

The Best of the Faces (RVLP3) (1977)

NEWS IN BRIEF

NEW CDC REPORT FINDS DRUNKENNESS CHARMING, CHASTISES NEGATIVE MEDIA IMAGE

(Atlanta, Georgia) – Far from being the heath and social risk so often portrayed in today’s media, alcohol abuse is actually quite endearing, even charming, a Centers For Disease Control and Prevention-sponsored workshop at the downtown Atlanta Hyatt Regency conference center heard yesterday.

The controversial CDC report, entitled “Stop Judging and Start Chugging”, noted that people who drink a lot show increased levels of over-confidence, political opinion emphatic-ness and finding themselves amusing. In addition, the report went on, other people “simply like them more when they’re drinking.”

“For many, many years now negative media stereotypes have done untold damage to the self-esteem of our nation’s ginhounds, whiskey sponges and winos,” announced report co-author Jamie Tan. “All too often the American booze jockey is the ‘bad guy’: Watch any TV drama and I bet you if there’s a scuzbag boyfriend, a wife beater, a child molesting step-dad or a skid row bum, he will be a drunk.”

However, the report indicates that such portrayals were not always the case and cites “sixeventies” UK rock band the Faces as an example of the kind of positive role model to which today’s dipsomaniacs should harken. “The is hope for every lush,” Tan continued, “in the ramshackle performances, boozy camaraderie and ‘lads will be lads’ misogyny all heard songs like ‘Had Me a Real Good Time’ and ‘Miss Judy’s Farm’.”

“We would all be a lot happier if we behaved more like the Faces,” concluded Tan amid enormous cheers and glass clinking.

NB: Double Lp cost me a quid at recent Great Chart bootfair.

Published in: on September 7, 2012 at 1:30 pm  Comments (1)  

Elvis Presley – The All Time Greatest Hits (PL 90100 [2]) (1987)

“Elvis was a hero to most/But he never meant sh*t to me, you see/Straight up racist that sucker was/Simple and plain/ Motherf*cker, him and John Wayne” – Public Enemy “Fight the Power” (1989)

I don’t know if Elvis was racist, it wouldn’t surprise me, but he did as much as anyone to bring black American culture to the world, even if inadvertently.

I have the Sun Sessions on cd, a tasty double cd Gospel comp and the Complete 50’s Masters cd box set, but it’s nice to have Elvis’s most popular forty-five UK 45s, covering the King’s chart reign from 1956 up to 1980, in one double Lp place. Picked up for £1 in the great Great Chart boot fair haul of last Bank Holiday Monday.

And, before you ask, “Old Shep” is not included.


Note to Lp sleeve designers: Don’t use the memorabilia-scattered-around-a-desk look for your inside gatefolds, it’s a cheap trick and a cliché.

Published in: on September 6, 2012 at 10:12 am  Comments (1)