Creedence Clearwater Revival – Cosmo’s Factory (LBS 83388) (1970)

CCRCFThings have not been well in Asbo Towers. The capitulation of my turntable’s left channel a metaphor for a communication disconnect so apt as to seem calculated. And yet, it’s true. With increasing self-flagellation the only sensible option in the face of irrelevance, hopelessness and crushed dreams, I sit down, drink(s) in hand, to cue up Creedence Clearwater Revival’s fifth long-player. A warm sense of ease (and relief) washes over me. What a fantastic record: people creating something worthwhile. Would that we were all so lucky. This is why, say, “Hi Ho Silver Lining” is such an abomination: You get to make records and come up with something like that? You should be ashamed. But Cosmo’s Factory is another matter.

The other day some slavering BBC radio music critic ventured, on the death of R. Manzarek, that the Doors were the best American band of the 60s. Now I really like the Doors, but really. As if. At the time, my mind immediately sprung to the Byrds and the Velvet Underground, both of whom exude more elegance than Morrison’s group. After listening to CCR, so generous of spirit and dynamically balanced, I am tempted to revise my list. True, the drummer can be a little stiff backed at times (particularly on the 2/4 sections), but when they’re in the groove, there’s no-one on AM radio to touch them.

In an article about Otis Redding, Jon Landau wrote: “Musicians see themselves in different ways. Some, the rarest, are artists prepared to make any sacrifice to preserve the integrity of their art. Others are poseurs who adopt the artist’s stance without the art, who therefore appeal to the segment of the audience that likes to think of itself as being serious but isn’t. And then there are those performers who see themselves as entertainers: they make no pretense of aiming at any particular artistic standard, but are openly and honestly concerned with pleasing crowds and being successful.” While Landau suggested Redding belonged in the latter camp, I would argue Creedence (at least at their peak) should join him; and, incidentally, without being particularly pejorative, VU and the Doors fitting snugly in the first and second groups respectively.

In conclusion, I recommend all Thrifty Vinyl readers* buy Cosmo’s Factory immediately. And isn’t that cover image perfectly banal?

*Disappointingly and inexplicably, readership is less than half of what it was in January of this year, if WordPress stats are to be believed. Indeed, following a precipitous drop in February, despite best efforts to regain ground, at least initially, you’d have to go back to December 2010 to see such low numbers. All of which, along with the summary abandon-ship of one of the founder writers, has left your correspondent a trifle deflated.

Published in: on May 27, 2013 at 6:29 am  Comments (9)  

The Doors – Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine (8E-6001) (1972)

WeirdRIP Ray Manzarek

Fans who’ve moved on to more “mature” forms of music have a tendency to sneer at the Doors’ musical pretensions and its lead singer’s delusions of poetry. However, I have no such qualms, embracing the band’s over-reaching as demonstrative of the anything-goes spirit of the times. Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine* was the Doors’ second best of, the first to be released after Jim Morrison died. An artful curation, it cherry picks lesser-known works, such as “Peace Frog/Blue Sunday” and “Horse Latitudes” in favour of more obvious choices like “Touch Me” and “Hello, I Love You”. The latter having appeared two years before on the (mostly singles) anthology 13, one assumes Weird Scenes was designed, in contrast, to make the case for the Doors as rock innovators, not pop stars. The inclusion of L.A. Woman outtake “(You Need Meat) Don’t Go No Further”, previously available as the b-side of “Love Her Madly”, and “Who Scared You”, which was “Wishful, Sinful”‘s flip makes the present compilation that much more collectable; however, I don’t think Morrison is the singer on the Willie Dixon track and neither are masterpieces.

Thrifted years ago in the States.

* the title is a lyric from the band’s Oedipal drama, “The End”; it’s probably no accident that it sounds like an EA Poe short story to me.

Published in: on May 21, 2013 at 7:40 am  Comments (5)  

The Beach Boys – Holland (K54008) and Mount Vernon and Fairway (A Fairy Tale) EP (K54008/7) (1973)

SAM_1466LOCAL SNOB CITES HOLLAND BEACH BOYS’ BEST LP, IMPRESSES NO-ONE 

(Hilliard, Ohio) – Speaking loudly at the Nike Sports Lounge, area book catalog writer Amram Patel called the 1973 Beach Boys album Holland “far and away the [band’s] most consistent Lp”. “Despite its fairly tortured creation,” bellowed Patel, who’d had several Rum and Cokes at this point, “Holland hangs together real well.”

Others, however, were quick to dismiss the 33-year-old’s assessment. “Freakin’ Amram showing off,” is how one friend characterised Patel’s critique. “He’s like, ‘No, Pet Sounds isn’t the best, that’s way too obvious’,” Nike regular Bobby Flannel said. “Yeah, pal, it’s obvious for good reasons.”

“He gets really oppositional and precious when he’s been drinking,” added Flannel.

According to Patel, Holland sounds like the legendary California band still had something to prove. “It was the last record they made,” he slurred, “before completely capitulating to Mike Love’s money-spinning, oldies self-parody.”

“The only thing I wish,” burbled Patel, his index finger jabbing the air and neck lolling “was that, you know, the Mount Vernon and Fairway sequence had been included in the album’s running order, as the originally envisaged centerpiece. If [the other members] had tossed Brian that bone, he’d’ve been a lot more, like, involved in the album’s production and it wouldn’t have turned out as mediocre a record as it ended up, even with ‘Sail On[, Sailor]’ and ‘Funky Pretty’ which are really good, an’ if the rest of Holland had been that good, then maybe the Beach Boys could’ve had a proper second career instead of another 40 years of God-damn ‘Fun, Fun Fun’ ‘n’ that shit.” He contradicted himself several more times as the rant proceeded to get less and less coherent.

At press time, Patel was sobbing silently, his head laying over his folded arms resting on the bar.

SAM_1467Editor’s Note: Another excellent find last Bank Holiday. This copy of Holland includes the Mount Vernon and Fairway EP in its original cover, which I’d never seen before. In fact, while I recognised the 7″ itself, I was initially convinced someone had housed it in a Flying Lizards picture sleeve or something, so at odds with the rest of Holland’s aesthetic is the stoner-with-a-magic-marker look of the single.

Published in: on May 8, 2013 at 8:49 am  Comments (3)  

De La Soul Is Dead (661 111) (1991)

SAM_1464A remarkable day at the Mersham Cricket Club boot on Bank Holiday Monday. First up, De La Soul Is Dead, an item that was on the vaunted Thrifty Vinyl “list” and one I almost picked up as a re-issue a couple weeks ago–sorry 4 Men With Beards, but I only paid 50p for my EX+ copy. Though it’s not whacked-out as Pedro Bell, I’ve included a detailed image of the rarely seen cartoon on the inner sleeve. Simply click on the illustration and magnify for maximum enjoyment. SAM_1465

Published in: on May 7, 2013 at 7:34 am  Leave a Comment  

Chuck Berry’s Golden Decade (6641018) (1967)

SAM_1451Just completed the Golden Decade hat-trick yesterday. Unfortunately, my turntable’s on the fritz (something to do with the integral attaching leads) and I can’t enjoy just now.SAM_1452Also included in my copy was all manner of Berry ephemera including the relevant page from Rock Dreams and a couple clippings from a 1972 Melody Maker. Fun.

Published in: on May 5, 2013 at 11:49 am  Leave a Comment  

Afro Rock Festival (2870 311) (1973)

AfroBy 1973 we’d had folk-rock, space-rock, country-rock and art-rock. And that was just the Byrds. So why couldn’t Afro Rock be the Next Big Thing? Well, if your idea of Afro Rock is a couple transplanted  South Africans playing “Louie, Louie” in as un-funky a way possible with Prog Rockers Jade Warrior, then there are very good reasons why not. Fortunately, Simba only gets two tracks.

Osibisa is the main attraction here and they sound pretty good; but bear in mind, Afro Rock Festival was produced in the UK and designed to appeal to slightly outré domestics, not Africans. So, Assagai’s psychedelic wig-out “Jabula” aside, one isn’t going to confuse Contour’s well-meaning, but tepid safari with a Soundway comp of rare Ghanaian 45s.

And Afro Rock never did become the Next Big Thing.

PS: Note how the sashaying neck beads precisely cover up the nips on both background dancers. Lol.

The only other record I’ve got on Contour (the UK budget label subsidiary of Polydor) is a collaboration between the Swingle Singers and the Modern Jazz Quartet–the nexus of which almost caused a disruption in the Thrifty Vinyl space-time continuum, such was epochal nature of the meeting. Unsurprisingly, the cover is poor compared to the original.

Afro Rock Festival came from the Etchinghill bootfair a couple Saddy’s ago at the cost of 50p.

Published in: on May 3, 2013 at 8:20 am  Leave a Comment  

“Last Night A DJ Saved My Life” – Coldjam featuring Grace (BWR39) (1990)

DJ

LOCAL DJ FAILS TO REVIVE DANCEFLOOR HEART ATTACK VICTIM LAST NIGHT                                                     Latest Disco Tragedy Leads To Calls For Mandatory Disc Jockey Life Saving Training

(Huddersfield, West Yorkshire) — “I couldn’t think,” recalled a stammering Huddersfield disc jockey DJ Smile when confronted with the prostrate body of  Jayne Watson lying on the dance floor at Gaunt Street night club Mr. Huddle’s yesterday evening. It was apparent that Watson had suffered a heart attack, but no one, least of all the DJ, was able to save her. The tragedy has led to appeals from some Labour MPs to compel DJs to attend life-saving courses.

“If a DJ can save the life of one woman,” said Labour leader Ed Milliband, “DJ CPR legislation will have been worth it.”

But the Conservative minister for Culture, Media and Sport Hugh Robertson labelled the proposals, “typical Labour Nanny State-ism” quipping that “DJs should stick to bangin’ chunes, not bangin’ chests.”

Published in: on May 1, 2013 at 1:51 pm  Leave a Comment