12 inchers Classic Rock

Bruce Springsteen – “Born In the USA” b/w “I’m On Fire”, “Rosalita” and “Johnny Bye-Bye” (TA6342) (1984)

SAM_0473I’m off to the USA tomorrow for a family vacation. I would like to post, as usual, when I’m out there, but I’m not sure of the computer situation. Rest assured, however, that I will indeed be scouring for cheap vinyl product whatever thrifty stores and flea markets southern Massachusetts has to offer.

Incidentally, the 12″ above was purchased from a boot fair in Hythe for 50p; the contentious title track has been remixed (a 7-minute “Freedom Mix” [?!] by 80s post-production moron Arthur Baker) so the drums sound even more egregious than previously and what little subtlety lay in the Viet-Nam-vet-comes-home-desparate story is mown down in completely inappropriate electro stutter; “I’m On Fire” on the other hand, might be might favourite song on that divisive, yet massively popular, Lp.

Albums Blues Jazz Soul

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 1976 (ICD 9)

SAM_0470High-calibre party music showcasing the Crescent City’s ‘R&B Spectrum’, masterminded by Allan Toussaint and abetted by a crack house band.
SAM_0469Featuring live performances by Toussaint himself along with local legends Irma Thomas, Earl King, Lee Dorsey, Ernie K-Doe, Robert Parker, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Professor Longhair, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 1976 has the feel of a revue.
SAM_0471Interestingly, the performances by King, Dorsey and Parker had to be re-recorded in a N.O. studio due to some technical glitches with the live recordings on the day. It’s possible that sponsors Schlitz (whose flagship beer [‘the beer that made Milwaukee famous’] had, by this point, lost a lot of its lustre as a result of some fairly brazen manufacturing costcutting) had ponied up for a 2-album set and so post-production was thus required. Ex++ condish double Lp, only a pound!

 Notice how I didn’t resort to writing N’Awlins at any point. 🙂

Albums Compilations Reggae

Burning Spear – Spear Burning (PSCD 033)



I haven’t been so confused since I found out that Pink Floyd was a band: you’re telling me that Burning Spear is one person? Are you sure? I’ve got, like, seven or eight of their albums. It just seems like a weird ‘stage name’, especially for a reggae artist. I mean, don’t they usually go for American tough guys or anthropomorphised rodents?

Okay, say you’re right, how do you explain the photograph of a trio of men of the back of my copy of the Marcus Garvey? It lists their names right there! And it doesn’t say Bob Smith, Ted Jones and Burning Spear, it says “Rupert Willington, Delroy Hines and Winston Rodney”.

Burning Spear. No, it doesn’t sound right as a man’s name. When he shows up at the pub is it like, “Hi, Burning, come sit down and join us” or when he’s picking up his dry cleaning, does the bloke behind the counter say, “Extra starch in the collar Mr Spear, just how you like it”? No, it’s all wrong.

Yes, I know Bunny Wailer’s mother called him Neville Livingston when he was born, but that doesn’t prove your point that Burning Spear is one man’s name. If anything, it weakens your argument. Think about it: if one of those guys was adopting the band’s name for his own, wouldn’t it have made more sense to be known as, say, Rupert Burning-Spear or Delroy Burning-Spear?

Tell you what. If we’re ever at a party and this guy is there and you introduce us, “Burning Spear, dad. Dad, Burning Spear” and he acts like that is, in fact, his moniker, then I’ll believe you. Until then, I say Burning Spear is what the band is called.

Inner tray artwork
Inner tray artwork

Editor’s Note: I got this second-hand for only £3. An excellent Pressure Sounds comp of BS singles and dubs, I’d say it ranks right up there with Spear’s proper albums (which can sound a bit clinical sometimes), with the versions providing contrast to the vocal takes, Rodney’s voice being an expressive but limited instrument. There are a couple of other vocalists involved, too.

"Sixeventies" Rock 7 inchers Blues Classic Rock

Rolling Stones – “C***ksucker Blues” b/w “Brown Sugar (alt. version)” (SPE 4504)


(Columbus, Ohio) — Faced with the band’s varied and contradictory cultural signifiers, Clintonville hipster Cyril Hogben is not sure whether or not he should like the Rolling Stones.

“Well, for a start, they’re really popular,” explained the part-time OSU journalism master’s student. “Normally, this would mean the kiss of death for the hipster, but we’re a contrary breed and so, I could actually like the Rolling Stones precisely because they’re popular.”

“There are also some desperately mediocre lowlights in the band’s canon,” he continued. “I’m thinking of things like, “Where The Boys Go”, “She Was Hot”, Dirty Work, that sort of thing; which I could easily like because they’re so bad. Unfortunately, there are also many, many assuredly great songs and albums, which I could only appreciate with fulsome genuineness, an emotion anathema to the moral relativist.”

Further complications arise from the Stones changing sartorial style: “They dressed so fantastically trendily during their first flush of success in the mid-1960s that it’s impossible not to love (or dismiss as calculated) their look,” Hogben stated. “Likewise, they looked so ridiculously tragic during most of the 80s that it’s similarly hard not to love (or dismiss as calculated) that look.”

When it comes to the band’s behavior, hipster judgement is also vexed, alternating between revulsion, admiration and moral detachment. The average hipster just doesn’t know what to think regarding the Rolling Stones’ drug use, authority flouting, establishment embracing, misogyny, professionalism, lack of professionalism, blues championing, money grubbing and staying power.

“If only the Stones were really unpopular and bad, like, say, Mick Jagger’s solo albums,” smiled Hogben. “Ironically, those are some records I can get behind ironically.”


Editor’s note: I was given this charming contractual obligation piece about life in the big city a couple years. It is, of course, nonsense. I thought the b-side featured Eric ” ‘God’ ” Clapton on lead gi-tar, but other sources say it’s Ry Cooder.

Albums Uncategorized

Flight 404 (TBL 115) (1970)


(Columbus, Ohio) — In what he called a “tribute” to downed Flight MH17, local man Ariel Richards posted on his Facebook profile a various artists reggae Lp cover featuring an airplane.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family of the Mlaysian [sic] Airlines victims at this tragic time,” he wrote, insultingly echoing the boilerplate sentimentality of so many others in the media, patronisingly adding, “Be strong”.

Further, Richards, who had earlier admitted “breathtaking political ignorance”, called Russian president Vladimir Putin an “a*shole” for “taking out that plane.”

Previously, Richards posted “tribute” photographs on his Facebook profile of the Special AKA’s “Free Nelson Mandela” 12″ single when news of the former South African president’s death was announced as well as the 1984 Scorpions’ single “Rock You Like a Hurricane” following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami which resulted in nearly 20,000 deaths in Japan.

SAM_0463Editor’s note: This only cost me 33p at a bootfair in Hythe the year before last!

Albums Americana Wimpy Ass 70s Folk Rock

Jackson Browne – Running On Empty (AS 53 070) (1977)

From the 1977 Thrifty Vinyl Archives SAM_0458JACKSON BROWN INVENTS ‘EARTH TONE-ROCK’

(Laurel Canyon, California) – We’ve had folk-rock, jazz-rock, and country-rock, never mind a score of other -rocks. Now, thanks to Jackson Browne, we’re got ‘Earth Tone-Rock’. With a musical and lyrical colour scheme that draws from a palette of browns, tans, warm grays, and greens, the California singer-songwriter seeks to comfort his listeners after the unsettling, revolutionary popular music of the past decade.

“I suppose with my name,” the duskily monikered musician joked, “It was inevitable that I’d invent ‘Earth Tone-Rock!”

Music fans who like to be warmed by subtle observations of the human condition, a cheery, burnished tenor voice and smooth harmonically rich melody should find much to admire in Jackson Browne.

Those who require something more aggressive and nihilistic should seek out what some have called “Shocking Pink Rock” as recently exported from the UK, such as the Sex Pistols, the Clash and the Buzzcocks.SAM_0461Editor’s Note: I always liked JB back in the day, though this was the only of his records I owned. I’d lost my original copy of Running On Empty years ago, so I was happy to replace it with this one, replete with booklet (pictured), last week. SAM_0460I had the chance to see Browne around the time of this record; in fact, my 12-year-old self had misheard my friend and thought he was inviting me to see James Brown (I didn’t actually know who Jackson Browne was) and so when I asked if I could go see the Godfather of Soul, my mother said absolutely not.Unknown

In other news, years later, I ruined the song “Rosie” for a friend’s girlfriend when I explained it was about self-pollution. That’s enough Jackson Browne anecdotes.

Albums Blues

Bobby Powell – A Fool For You (CRB 1185) (1988)

SAM_0454On the back cover it sez, “File Under Soul”. And that billowy, burnt umber leisure suit suggests quite the wah-wah fest, doesn’t it. But no, this enticing Charly R&B comp of Bobby Powell’s mid-70s Hep’Me recordings is mostly a straightforward blues record.

Now I happen to like the Blues (listening, not having, obs), but for my money, the kind of blues & rhythm Powell’s trading in here peaked around 1959 with the release of T-Bone Walker’s T-Bone Blues. That’s a long time to have the élan vital sucked out of a subgenre. Not that A Fool For You is lifeless exactly, Powell is a great singer and a really good band leader, but it’s just hard to see the point of an argument that merely restates a case without taking it forward somehow. Fidelity to artistic roots is not an end in itself.

Picked up this morning at the Etchinghill Bootfair, maybe it’s a grower.

7 inchers Rockpile Related

Billy Bremner Singles

SAM_0452NOW AND ALWAYS – The World News Roundup Geared Towards Fans of Rockpile

  • The World Cup is coming to a climax with the semi-final between Brazil and Germany set for tomorrow. There is, of course, something of a pall cast over the clash due to Brazilian striker Neymar’s absence due to injury. Interestingly, while Rockpile, nor any of its members, had chart hits in Brazil, the band had a huge cult following in West Germany, appearing at Hamburg’s Markthalle convention centre on 12th January, 1980. Go Jerries, we say!
  • NOW AND ALWAYS has the unfortunate task of reporting the death of American Singer-Songwriter Jesse Winchester. Winchester’s songs, according to Nick Lowe protégé Elvis Costello, were “as enduring as resonant as any produced by his early 70s contemporaries.” Our thoughts and prayers are with Nick at this difficult time. Keep your pecker up, Basher!
  • Following the recent buildup in tension between Israel and Palestine, the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas promised that Israel will “pay a tremendous price” after eight militants were killed overnight in Gaza. We are nonetheless pleased to report that Nick, Dave, Billy and Terry are nowhere near the West Bank at the moment and, fingers crosses, will remain safely out of harm’s way. Stay safe, boys!
  • Former Afghan finance minister Ashraf Ghani is leading the race to replace Hamid Karzai as president of the embattled country, according to preliminary results. The Afghan election commission has stated that Mr Ghani won 56.44% of votes cast in the 14 June second round, while his opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, had 43.56%. Oddly, both have remained tight-lipped about who’s made better solo albums, Nick Lowe or Dave Edmunds. So NOW AND ALWAYS will have to sit on the fence for this one!

SAM_0453Apologies to Viz.


The Miracle Mets (fclp3040) (1969)

SAM_0448A day late and a dollar short, but here is this ex-pat’s Independence Day post.
SAM_0450 The team derided mercilessly at the time, The Miracle Mets celebrates in documentary style the ’69 New York Mets unlikely success in the breathless fashion of a written-off underdog.
SAM_0449This Lp was gifted to me by a kind gent as I dropped off Asbo minor at a sleepover last night.