Albums Jazz

The Modern Jazz Quartet – The Comedy (SH-K 8046) (1962)

SAM_1616MJQ TO CHANGE NAME FOR ‘COMEDY’ LP                       Group Decides “Modern” Appellation “Ill Befits” Such Conservative Music

(New York, New York) – At a press conference today outside the Village Vanguard music club, pianist/composer John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet has announced a name change for his veteran group which, he says, reflects its by-now reactionary style. The band will henceforth be known as the Old-Fashioned Jazz Quartet.

“We feel the appellation ‘modern’ ill befits such a backward-looking musical ensemble,” he announced simply. “I mean, Jesus, we still wear suits and ties!”

“The [former] MJQ’s [musical] approach, while successful and thoroughly pleasant, has remained virtually unchanged since the late 1940s,” explained an accompanying press release, which was signed by all four current members. “None of us has reverted to an ‘African’ name; our melodies are patently influenced by Western Classical music and, despite a strong improvisational component, could in no way be considered ‘free’ in the Albert Ayler or Ornette Coleman sense–which, in 1962, is truly ‘modern’ music.”

“In basing our latest Lp, The Comedy, on picaresques first introduced by commedia dell’art theatre in Italy during the second half of the sixteenth century,” the press release concluded, “it should be apparent to even the dimmest of intellects that ‘modern’ no longer represents a sensible prefix for us.”

Lewis ended the conference by explaining that the band’s next Lp would feature another member and explore classical themes, at which point they would like to be known as the Old-Fashioned Classical Quintet.

SAM_1617Editor’s note: How many freakin’ Atlantic MJQ albums are there? Lucky for me that despite the fact that they’re relatively collectable on a collectable label, I keep finding them; this largely unheralded one yesterday at the Folkestone Oxfam.


"Sixeventies" Rock Albums

Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (1975)


by Robert Plant
by Robert Plant

The makers of the 1982 cult bildungsroman film Fast Times at Ridgemont High might as well have taken a big, steaming shit in the middle of the room and called that their movie. There, I’ve said it.

Normally, I’m pretty forgiving, especially when it comes to movies–as you know, I’m more a music guy–but there are times when a continuity error so completely ruins a movie, so completely shatters a filmmaker’s carefully constructed illusion, so completely disrupts one’s suspension of disbelief that I have to snap the thing off in disgust. So it was when I watched a DVD of Fast Times At Ridgemont High Saturday night.

Allow me to explain: “When it comes down to makin’ out, whenever possible, put on side one of Led Zeppelin IV.” So says the smooth moving ladies man Mike Damone (Robert Romanus) to his nebbish chum, Mark “Rat” Ratner (Brian Backer). Now, this is one piece of advice that I can personally vouch for–ha, ha!  Anyway, the scene immediately cuts to “Rat” and the girl he’s trying to nail cruising in his sister’s car and sure enough, they’re rockin’ to the heavy blues sounds of Led Zeppelin.

Except that he’s playing side two.

Of Physical Graffiti!

I almost threw up.

Right there, I thought, “These people don’t know what the fuck they’re doing!” I turned off the DVD and watched highlights of the West Brom match I’d recorded on BT Vision. I simply couldn’t take seriously a movie with such a grievous mistake. It fair ruined my night, I can tell you–that and our loss to Southampton!

But could this error be excused somehow? “Rat” was playing the music on the car’s cassette deck and the particular song he was playing, “Kashmir”, is the penultimate track on the first side of the cassette issue; this might constitute the “side one” of Damone’s directive. But that still doesn’t alter the fact that it would be side one of the sixth Zep album and not the fourth!

Okay, maybe I’m being unfair. Perhaps, in having the character play a song from an Lp two along from the one he was specifically asked to do, the writers are demonstrating “Rat”‘s cack-handedness, his lack of knowledge and “cool”. Certainly, he’s totally oblivious to the heavy sexual hints he’s getting from Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Or maybe it’s because they weren’t actually “makin’ out” yet and he was saving Zoso for then.

Well, maybe.

But you know what, if either were true, that would be awfully subtle writing and, frankly, gives director Amy Heckerling, et al. a little too much credit. No, I was right to switch Fast Times off; it’s a badly made film and they should feel bad for having made it.

Robert Plant is a singer/songwriter and regular contributor to Thrifty Vinyl.

"Sixeventies" Rock Albums Classic Rock Country AND Western

Charlie Daniels – Honey In the Rock (KSRS2071) (1973)

SAM_1608Proper shit-kickin’, good ol’ boy, a-pickin’ an’ a-grinnin’ Southern fried rock. And if I could think of a hunnert more corn pone, gerund-utilising-apostrophes descriptions, I would add them, too.

With a tip o’ the Stetson to the Allman Bros. (two drummers, a couple side-ending extended, jazzy jams), things get funky with more than a little help from an excellent bass guitarist. Daniels’ affected vocals resemble Dr. John’s, if not quite as rich in personality. This original Kama Sutra issue includes the shaggy dog novelty, “Uneasy Rider”, which gave the 1976 Epic re-release its title. I got Honey from Demelza in Hythe today for but a quid.

Some vandal has spray painted the word "fuck" on the side of the caboose. Appreciating the maturity level of musicians as I do, I expect this was the reason for its selection.
If you enlarge the picture above, you will see that some vandal has spray painted the word “fuck” on the side of the caboose ‘pon which the CDB stand. Appreciating the maturity level of musicians as I do, I expect this was the main reason for the photograph’s locus.


"Sixeventies" Rock Books Classic Rock Compact Discs

David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (30th Anniversary 2CD Edition) (539 8262) (2002) Moonage Daydream – The Life and Times of Ziggy Stardust (Cassell Illustrated) (2005)

SAM_1604A David Bowie CD drought existed in the late 80s after RCA let them go out of print and before Ryko had re-issued them.  I was working at Readmor (sic) Books in downtown Columbus at the time and daily I would see Starman comics. With Pavlovian predictability, I would sing (to myself) the “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”-style octave-straddling hook from the like-titled Bowie hit and fruitlessly resolve to buy it. But it was an itch I couldn’t scratch and Ziggy’s unavailability made him all the more desirable. A commercially shrewd move, for when Ryko did eventually re-release them (with bonus tracks!), I bought the lot in a pent-up consumerist frenzy.

I still have those editions and while their then state-of-the-art packaging, a major selling point 20+ years ago, is no great shakes, they still sound good to me and several of the bonus tracks are available nowhere else. Nonetheless, when this especially nice version of Ziggy presented itself a year or so ago at a tabletop sale in the local Methodist Church I leapt.

SAM_1605Included in the 30th Anniversary copy was ephemera plugging the deluxe edition of Bowie’s and Mick Rock’s quite wonderful Moonage Daydream, a photographic recapitulation of the Ziggy era. I tend to hang on to such googahs, especially if they don’t take up too much room. When I pull a record (or CD) off the shelf, often one of these things will fall out to enrich and personalise the experience–as likely as not I’d forgotten it was there. SAM_1606“There was a distinct feeling that ‘nothing was true’ anymore and that the future was not as clear-cut as it had seemed. Nor, for that matter, was the past. Therefore, everything was up for grabs. If we needed any truths we could construct them ourselves. The main platform would be, other that shoes, ‘We are the future , now.’ And the one way celebrating that was to create it by the only means at our disposal. With, of course, a rock’n’roll band.” — DAVID BOWIESAM_1603Alas, I did not find the limited, signed Genesis copy of Moonage Daydream for £2 at a boot fair in Newquay, but I did get this regular version there. The Psueds Corner-baiting epigram on the back of the book (cited above) sets a tone of heavy pretension and self-seriousness that permeates the tiresome, ersatz music criticism most often heard these days on lightweight radio and TV shows examining works in the official canon of best-albums-in-the-history-of-the-world-ever. I certainly don’t need anyone from Spandau Ballet telling me how seeing Bowie fellate Mick Ronson on TOTP changed his life. Nonetheless, Moonage Daydream demonstrates the thought and effort that went into creating Ziggy. With hindsight, it was a watershed and a model in this regard.

Ultimately though, it’s the music which sells the character, not the other way around, and late last night, as Mrs Asbo and I, merry and slightly weary, tidied up after a pleasant but extended dinner party, the noise of the Spiders From Mars, played at “Maximum Volume” as rich, glorious and catchy as ever it had been, inspired me.

Albums Compilations Soul

Jukebox Jam! (JMANLP 045)

JamCLASS ACTION SUIT NETS BLACK R&B COMPOSERS SOLE CREDIT, UNPAID ROYALTIES                   Tunesmiths Now Face Massive Bills, Jail Time For Unpaid Taxes

(New York) — After over half a century of injustice, a group of African-American songwriters forced to share composing credits with unscrupulous white label executives, management and performers will finally see themselves given rightful sole credit and unpaid royalties for work they did in the 1950s and 60s. Simultaneously, the surviving musicians risk massive bills and/or imprisonment for unpaid taxes.

With little savings, most of the songwriters who brought the suit, now in their 70s and 80s, will likely face incarceration for historical tax evasion as a result of their windfall. Families of those composers who have passed away destitute and unrecognised in the intervening years, are set to have their houses repossessed and assets stripped in order to cover not just debt but punitive administration costs involved in its recovery.

One Internal Revenue Service source claimed that the interest on the avoided tax alone will “dwarf” the royalty payments. “This is a great day for the IRS,” he said.

According to DJ and music historian Liam Large, artists like Otis Blackwell were “the victim[s] of a system which more often than not undercut, undermined and plain shafted the creative minds which drove and innovated the music which was by [the 1950s] making serious dollars for the big companies.”

An elated Jann Wenner said the judgement “righted a decades-old wrong” and called it “a victory over the forces of cultural oppression which have dominated not only the music industry but all of American life”.

At the same time, the Rolling Stone editor/publisher blasted what he called “these shameless tax cheats and scofflaws who think there’s one rule for them and another for the rest of us.”


Editor’s Note: From “The Hokey Cokey” to “The Hustle” everyone and his parents knows that dancing is a simulacrum of (and often proceeds on to) the sex act. My new favourite such single entendre song is “Get Your Enjoys” found on the just-got-by-me comp Jukebox Jam!, an anthology of blues and rhythm 45s released by Jazzman. Waiting now ever-hopeful for Jukebox Jam, Too! as well as, mayhap, a Fryers double Lp.

Albums Hip Hop

L.L. Cool J – BAD (1987)

The boot fair (or Car Boot Sale, as the Cornish would have it) yesterday in Mabe started at 1:30 and, having arrived at twenty past, the Family Asbo were there to join the waiting queue to get in and then to hear the klaxon sound to signal time to enter. This was followed by self-conscious laughter from a rabble suddenly cognizant of its own desperation who, nonetheless, were not dissuaded from unashamedly rushing in.LL Cool

Like public transport, you wait forever to find a Def Jam record at boot fair, then several come at once. I think this L.L. Cool J might be a bit early in the so-called Golden Age for my tastes, but we’ll see on my return to Kent in a few days time. Bigger and defferA good time for me, the Mabe Car Boot Sale–I also snagged on the cheap several Fabulous Furry Freak Brother comics, two recent Viz annuals, a couple of vintage original content Mad paperbacks and a graphic novel by Daniel Clowes–we then spent the rest of the day at a beautiful National Trust garden–a high contrast was noted.

7 inchers

“Best B-Side ever recorded – Charlie”

b-sidePrior to viewing the Barbera Hepworth gallery this afternoon, the Family Asbo settled into a well-manicured, gated garden to enjoy Cornish pasties and nectaries. I’d earlier found no luck in the St. Ives chazzas–this was a mixed blessing, for while there was nothing in the Oxfam Books and Music even remotely interesting, this meant that there was also nothing for me to get all grumpy old mannish about when a given desired item turned out to be out of my price range. It was in the garden that my elder son found the above sticker attached to park bench upon which we’d alighted.

I submit it as a talking point, and posit the Fabs’ “Revolution” as Exhibit A.

7 inchers Reggae

Lee Perry – “Merry Christmas, Happy New Year” b/w “The Perry Christmas Dub” (TRO 9095) (1986)

lee peeThe 1986 vintage does not bode well for this obviously titled Xmas opus from professional kook and religious cherry-picker Perry which I bought yesterday from the Newquay Circus Fields boot fair for fiddy pences. Again, I am currently on safari so am unable to confirm or deny its artistic worth at this time. I might just wait for Yuletide 2013 to find out.

Albums Soul

Aretha Franklin – This Girl’s In Love With You (1970)

I’m a-roving at the mo’ in deepest Cornwall. After familial obligations soaking up some sun on Chapelporth beach yesterday (my torso is quite pink as a result), we sallied forth to Truro where I managed to snatch up this little number from the PSDA for a bank busting £2.99. No way of listening to just now, but I don’t reckon it’s less than grand.Aretha a

Just a few days ago I watched a doc about super-articulate and thoroughly positive engineer/producer Tom Dowd, whose talents feature on this and most Atlantic releases during the label’s golden period during the 50s, 60s and 70s. An oddly edited film, it hedges its bets about Dowd’s involvement in the Manhattan Project by bouncing back ‘n’ forth between that work and his music career. As is the way with these things, some stories are too oblique, others too closely examined; and though he seems an altogether likeable character, everyone interviews falls over themselves to say what a gentleman and technician he is. The film was made in 2003 I think, and many of the participants have either died in the meantime (including the subject) or look much older these days.

This post was brought to you with much difficulty on a laptop on location.Aretha b

12 inchers Dance Funk Soul

Trouble Funk – “So Early In the Morning” (RC500) and “Let’s Get Small” (RC501) (1982)

SAM_0067Someone paid mucho dinero for these in 1982–my handy-dandy historic inflation calculator reckons almost £18 ($27) in 2013 money. Was it worth it? Well, these party anthems have little going for them in terms of tune, but a lot by way groove and atmosphere. So let’s say you lose on the extras, but still get by on the percentages. For music with no greater ambition than engendering the shaking of booties, this counts as a moral victory. And let’s not forget that I only paid 50p a pop yesterday for these beauties.SAM_0068