Sex Pistols – “The Biggest Blow (A Punk Prayer by Ronald Biggs)” b/w Sid Vicious – “My Way” (ZS-12-190) (1978)

SAM_0225CHARITY SHOPS REPORT INEXPLICABLE INUNDATION OF LOSTPROPHETS CDS

(London, England) — Compact discs by the Welsh band Lostprophets have been inexplicably inundating UK charity shops in their tens of thousands over the past month, with albums and CD singles issued by the popular hard rock group literally clogging the racks at thrift stores across Great Britain for some unknown, perhaps ultimately unknowable, reasons.

Yesterday, one regional charity director expressed concern about “the very real possibility that, at this rate, all 3.5 million albums and several hundred thousand singles sold by [the band] world-wide will soon find their way into non-profit retail outlets selling second-hand goods.”

Under normal circumstances, charity shops, used to 40 year-old tat by the likes of Jim Reeves, Eddie Arnold and Johnny Mathis or mucky early 70s Top Of the Pops and MFP compilations would welcome such a boon of major label, edgy, modern music, but many have actually begun refusing to handle any more Lostprophets discs. “I would ask all those planning to get shot of their Start Something or Thefakesoundofprogress CDs to reconsider,” announced Demelza House’s Kent regional manager Kelvin Sinclair at a hastily arranged press conference yesterday. Standing next to a 1m x 6m x 1m stack of donated “Rooftops (A Liberation Broadcast)” CD singles to illustrate his point, Sinclair reminded people, “You obviously used to like the multiple Kerrang and NME award-winning band; at this time, I would urge you to hold on to your Lostprophets CDs and you might find you come around to them again.”

“I can’t explain it,” said Edna Dunn, a volunteer at the Edinburgh branch of Oxfam. “It’s as if, somehow, everyone got a Lostprophets CD for Christmas they already had and decided to donate it.”

“Or maybe it’s because they recently broke up,” she wondered aloud.

Another volunteer, Mary O’Brien from York’s Save the Children charity, pointed not just to the sheer volume of product from the “South Wales Scene” proponents but the extremely poor condition of the items when they arrive: “Many of [the discs] have been severely marked up or had their covers vandalised in fairly shocking fashion with swear words and the lead singer’s eyes scratched out–it’s almost as if it’s been done deliberately.”

However odd this seemingly organised charity shop deluge may seem, it is not entirely unprecedented. “I haven’t seen such an influx of a single artist’s music since 1998,” remarked Bristol Age Concern clerk Margery Smitts, “when all them Gary Glitter Lps came flooding in.”SAM_0226RIP Ronnie Biggs.

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Published in: on December 31, 2013 at 9:52 am  Leave a Comment  

Island 45s

SAM_1735Ever more Island product from one week ago. Slightly less satisfying due to sound quality issues: 7″s tend to take more of a beating/are less protected than their foot-long compatriots.SAM_1736What do you do when your brand name is hopelessly out of fashion.  If you’re The Pink Floyd, getting rid of the definitive article helps. But what if you’re The Crewcuts? The Chocolate Watchband? The Heptones? At least the Heptones got away with it at least by making great root harmony singles.

Published in: on December 28, 2013 at 11:39 pm  Comments (2)  

Traffic – The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys (ILPS-9180) (1971)

Seth: We used to have a bus.                                             Munchie: In a way, the sixties ended the day we sold it. December thirty-first, 1969.

SAM_0233If this record is anything to go by, the early 70s were more 60s than the 60s. Marijuana can be the only explanation why you would let anyone else sing if you had Steve Winwood in your band; despite that, this is still a very good Brit stoner jazz-rock Lp.
SAM_1735First UK press heavy card inner sleeve above and original label below.SAM_1736Another treasure from last week’s Island Records trove.

Published in: on December 27, 2013 at 1:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Betty Davis – Nasty Gal (ISLP 9329) (1975)

SAM_0236LOCAL WOMAN “COMPLETELY UNAWARE” OF BETTY DAVIS

(Columbus, Ohio) — Looking blank when asked, local woman Irene Bean professed a “complete lack of awareness” of the music, or indeed the very existence, of funk musician Betty Davis.

“What, you mean the old movie actress?” she asked, demonstrating her total ignorance of the cult singer and her gritty soul albums.

Davis, born Betty Mabry, gained some notoriety during the mid 70s for writing and producing a series of hard-hitting funk Lps, which never quite crossed over. She retired from music following a final 1979 recording session. Precisely none of these facts are known to Bean, a part-time human resources advisor for a Columbus pharmaceutical company.

Bean also remains unenlightened about Davis’ 1968 wedding to trumpeter Miles Davis, the song he composed for her (“Miss Mabry”) and the subsequent, profound influence she exerted on his music during their brief marriage, leading the jazz great down an innovative, jazz fusion path.

“Nope, can’t say that I’ve ever heard of her,” Bean explained when told about Light In the Attic’s recent Davis re-issues.

SAM_0237Editor’s note: Yet another Island Lp from the recent bo-freakin’-nanza.

Published in: on December 24, 2013 at 1:58 pm  Comments (5)  

Booker Little – The Legendary Quartet Album (ILPS 9454) (1975)

SAM_0231A rare foray by the label into the jazz, this is a 1975 Island re-issue of Booker Little’s eponymous 1960, long out-of-print second album as bandleader. Modal hard bop influenced, it features biggies Tommy Flanagan, Wynton Kelly, Scott LaFaro and Roy Haynes and compares favourably with Miles’ quintet albums from around the same period. Little died of the blood disease uraemia shortly after this album was recorded. He was only 23.

Published in: on December 23, 2013 at 4:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

DEB Music 12″s

Promo letter from the UK office of  label/production vehicle.

Promo letter from the UK office of Dennis Brown’s DEB imprint/production vehicle.

I’m a fan of Crown Prince of Reggae Dennis Emmanuel Brown’s (DEB, geddit?) late 70s roots productions like Visions of and Joseph’s Coat of Many Colours as well as dub albums Umoja and 20th Century DEBwise, so was more than happy to part with a pound for each of Brown’s attempts to crack the UK commercial coconut. The fact that these original DEB 12″ Disco 45s are UK press probably makes them less collectible, but better manufactured/sounding; that’s a compromise I’m happy to make.
SAM_0242JUNIOR DELGADO & RAS BUG – “Warrior” b/w  DEB PLAYERS – “Version” (DEB 026) (1979) — Extended cut by the Dennis Brown protegé, complete with toast on the first side, dub on the bee.

SAM_0245BLACK HARMONY – “Since You’ve Been Gone” b/w DEB Players – “Version” (DEB 029) (1979) – Chirpy girl group reggae. Not to be confused with the Rainbow hit of the same year.SAM_0243Ernest Wilson – “If I Were a Carpenter” b/w Ras Bug – “Brave Ethiopian” (DEB 028) (1979) – Soulful version of the Tim Hardin classic (here, uncredited), sung with great gusto by Wilson. Brown takes some cheeky writing credit for the dub/DJ cut on the flip. Produced by the label head.SAM_0241George Burrell – “Drop Me a Line” b/w “Letter” (DEB 032) (1979?) – Early Lovers rock with a very peculiar “Heroes”/E-Bow type guitar solo. “Letter” is the version.

Published in: on December 23, 2013 at 4:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

Paul Kossoff – “Tuesday Morning” (Jam) – Apple Corps Ltd. Custom Recordings acetate (1973)

SAM_0229Perhaps the most interesting collectible among my Christmas-came-early, pound-a-pop haul was this rare, possibly even unique, heavyweight test pressing for side one of Kossoff’s first post-Free solo album, Back Street Crawler, which was released on Island. There are at least six other versions of “Tuesday Morning” extant, all of which featured on the 2008 deluxe cd re-issue. It may be, as was often the case, that this represents an early mix of the 17 minute Lp version, but I’m not expert enough to tell; it certainly takes up the whole of the side.

Published in: on December 23, 2013 at 2:33 pm  Comments (1)  

Island Reggae Lps

Every so often a cratedigger hits the mother lode. Two days ago, such a cache was discovered, one which, I believe, came from a single collector. I ended up buying some 15 Lps and 12″ singles for a pound a piece and another half-dozen 7″ at 50p , mostly UK press Island Records product, all in really good shape. Over the last couple days, I’ve had a chance to listen, but, given the sheer volume of music, I will limit my comment. SAM_0227SAM_0248I JAH MAN – Haile I Hymn (Chapter 1) (ILPS 9521) (1978) — An atypical reggae album featuring four extended cuts, not originals and their dubs, but very long, hypnotic songs, full of the melismas heard in Middle Eastern music.SAM_0230JUNIOR MURVIN – Police & Thieves (ILPS 9499) (1977) — C-L-A-S-S-I-C Black Ark production, chocka with big, big chunes.SAM_0232

SAM_0234 RICO – The Man From Wareika (ILPS 9485) (1978) — Jazzy Reggae from JA legend/Specials satellite, originally issued on Blue Note in the US.SAM_0235BURNING SPEAR – Garvey’s Ghost (ISLP 9382) (1976) – Super tuff dub (rejigged at Island Studios in Hammersmith) companion to BS’ Marcus Garvey album.SAM_0247

Published in: on December 23, 2013 at 12:46 pm  Comments (2)  

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

I decided to reblog this as it’s the season and all that. Here’s a link to the chune: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prq75nBe-cQ

Thrifty Vinyl

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.

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Published in: on December 10, 2013 at 5:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Special AKA – Nelson Mandela (CHS TT12 26/TT 26) (1984)

SAM_0190MANDELA SHOCK DEATHBED CONFESSION: ‘I NEVER LIKED “NELSON MANDELA”‘                                                       Freedom Fighter Found Special AKA Song Forced, Trite

(Johannesburg, South Africa) –  Calling them close for what his family assumed would final pronouncements of love, former South African president Nelson Mandela instead whispered a shock deathbed confession: “I don’t like The Special AKA’s ‘Nelson Mandela’ and I never have.”

“Obviously, I approved of the sentiment,” he sighed, managing the merest trace of a smile. “But I always found the lyrics trite and the ‘party’ air a bit forced.”

“It’s a problem with a lot of Jerry Dammers’ music, but especially The Special AKA, that tendency towards polemicism,” continued the anti-aparteid revolutionary. “Please don’t let them over-play it on the radio when I’m gone.”

With his dying breath he allowed that, “‘Ghost Town’ was awesome,” before closing his eyes for the last time.SAM_0191Editor’s Note: A couple more from a batch of records given to me a few years ago by a friend. I’ve played it a few times today to remember the great man.SAM_0192

Published in: on December 6, 2013 at 2:28 pm  Comments (1)