Albums Classic Rock

Chuck Berry On Stage (NPL 28027) (1963)


  • You never know when Montovani records are going to come back in fashion–they were popular once, why not again? So buy, buy, buy every time you see one and then, when they’re going for silly money on the eBay, you’ll be laughing with the market cornered.
  • All Beatles vinyl is very valuable. If you see a used Beatles record, band or solo, no matter the condition, buy it, then sell it for at least £100 if it’s a single or £400 if full-length Lp.
  • Ruminate bitterly on all the records that you were too ignorant to know the value of when you used to go to thrift stores and yard sales as a kid. Those ones that have slipped through your hands like so much gold dust. Yeah, think about it.
  • If you like a record, chances are it’s worth big money; especially if you like rare, expensive mint condition singles that are highly sought.
  • There’s always a “bump” in market value of his or her music when an artist dies. Consider “arranging an accident” for a singer whose records you own, then watch their value soar.
  • Don’t be shy about bargaining with the Oxfam sales clerk. Charity shops expect you to haggle, it’s part of their culture, and they’ll respect you more for it.
  • Remember that one record you had as a kid? By what’s-his-name on that one label with the picture of the thing on it and the sleeve with that design on. If you still had that, I bet you could sell it and retire. Probably.
  • If you see them going cheap at a boot fair, buy the publishing rights of a popular 70s singer-songwriter. Afterwards, compose a preposterous “libretto” utilising those songs with Ben Elton. Of course then you’ll have get yourself a new calculator to count all the money rolling in as your musical sets attendance records in London’s glamorous West End.
  • Make sure to provide the volunteer behind the counter at your local chazza with an estimate of how much you will be expecting to receive at online auction for that impossibly rare Northern Soul 7″ you just paid them 50p for so they know how much to charge next time they have that exact same single.
  • Charity shops always need more Mat Munro and Andy Williams Lps. You can canvas older relatives for their’s or, if you see one at a boot fair, pick it up, never mind the price, and donate it to the next thrift store you go to.
  • There’s no-one friendlier, less territorial or more happy to share than a crate-digger at a boot fair, so go ahead and start flipping through the back of the box of records he’s looking at. He won’t mind as you start pulling records out to look over. Fair’s fair, you got to them first!SAM_0319This week’s find in Hythe. Despite the odd, near-bootleg sound quality of noted scatologist’s Chuck Berry On Stage, I thought, as I half-listened while doing chores, that Chuck had hired a proper band for this date. Turns out the thing’s bogus–studio recordings with added audience racket. Interesting song choice though.
Albums Soul

Four Tops – Reach Out (1967)

SAM_0310My abiding memory of the Motown 25th Anniversary Special is of the “battle” between the Four Tops and the Temptations.  As I remember it, Tempts won hands down with the Tops reduced to repeating “sugar pie honey bunch” desperate to keep up.

Youtube reveals a slightly more nuanced story.

At first, the two bands seemed on level footing, the Tops landing a first blow that, in perhaps any other competition, could have been a knockout: “Reach Out I’ll Be There”. But was it wise to lead with their greatest ever, most dramatic hit? The Tempts are certainly more than equal to the task, parrying that mighty hit with “Get Ready”. Already, the Temptations’ stage moves demonstrate more flair, the choreography better thought out. Nonetheless, right back come the Tops, Levi Stubbs in fine voice belting out “The Same Old Song”; but is there a faint trace of irony there, already capitulating to a lack of variety? Next comes a flurry of rapid jabs, each group trying to outdo the other: “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”, “Baby, I Need Your Loving”, “My Girl”. Bam, bam, bam. At this point, we notice something wrong. Stubbs joins his rivals to sing a few lines from “My Girl” and his group doesn’t get a chance to respond before the Temptations unleash “I Can’t Get Next To You.” What do the Tops respond with? No quite literally the same old song, but its doppelganger, “I Can’t Help Myself”. Oh dear, things look bleak for Stubbs as co. Temps delivery the powerful hook, “I’m Losing You”. Desperate now, the Four Tops try a feint “sugar pie, honey bunch” yet again, camply angled dancing.

Even if there’s no “Bernadette”, no “Standing In the Shadows of Love”, there’s no doubting the winners here.

SAM_0311On the Reach Out Lp, a virtual greatest hits (here on £1 EX+ mono), Stubbs dominates, his commanding growl mowing down all that dare stand its way. Gentler performances are handled by the other three Tops and, however competent, simply can’t compete. This is the major problem with the Four Tops: Levi Stubbs’ voice is perfect, but limited and, unlike the Temptations, can’t stretch to the mellower material, “My Girl”s, etc.

To quote, it’s the same old song.

Albums Jazz

The Modern Jazz Quartet – The Sheriff (HA-K 8161) (1964)

SAM_0313When will this deluge of MJQ records cease? Well, at least as long as I keep finding VG+ condish mono editions for a pound, as I did today… 
Consistency is paradoxically both the major strong point and drawback of the MJQ, though informed critics generally regard post-1960 Modern Jazz Quartet albums as inferior to those prior. With a pleasant hints of Bossa rhythms, The Sheriff sounds pretty good to me; such is their aforementioned consistency that, at least to the cloth-eared dilettante, the difference between good and great MJQ Lps is incremental and not one of giant steps, so to speak.
Albums Jazz Soul

Up Pops Ramsey Lewis (275 006) (1967)

SAM_0308Nice find of 60s fave Lewis on Cadet in Hythe last Saturday. An Lp recorded around the peak of his Modernist regard and the very definition of Soul Jazz, Up Pops elegantly jazzes up soul hits of the day without compromising either stream. “Party Time” is probably the best known of the tracks here. My only criticism is that several of the performances are truncated and could’ve easily been faded later, showing Lewis, et al. stretching out a bit more. Otherwise Ta-a-asty!SAM_0309