Albums Compilations File Under POPULAR: Male Vocal Outernational

Robert Wyatt – Nothing Can Stop Us (18-8614-1) (1988)

SAM_0437GUEST ACCIDENTALLY SAYS ‘DEFENESTRATE’ AT WYATT DINNER PARTY                                                       Awkward Silence, Sidelong Glances Follow Unfortunate Remark

(London, England) – “I’d only had a couple glasses of red wine,” claims an embarrassed Aisa Richie. “But it was enough for a ‘Freudian Slip’ nightmare.”

Richie then recounted how he said the word “defenestrate” at a party thrown by Robert and Alfie Wyatt. “After dinner, we were still all sitting round the table and I was doing an amusing party trick gag which involves manipulating a tea towel so it ends up looking like a trussed-up turkey”

“Anyway, at the piece’s denouement, instead of saying ‘Allow me to demonstrate’, I said, ‘Allow me to defenestrate’.”

“There followed about three absolutely agonising seconds of silence while people surreptitiously looked over at Bob to see if he’d heard; he was classy enough to look impassive, so no-one was really sure.”

“Well, I was wishing the floor would open up and swallow me, but quickly finished the trick, which received polite, muted laughter, at which point everyone swiftly moved on to other topics of conversation.”

Richie’s wife, Rachel, had been in the toilet when the unfortunate incident took place, but knew something was wrong by the pained expression on her husband’s face. “Without explaining, he quietly told me, ‘We need to leave as soon as possible’,” she said. “I figured it was serious, so I didn’t question it.”

“About 25 minutes later, even though it was only about 9:30, Aisa said something like, ‘Well, we’ve got a really early start tomorrow’ and made the move,” recalled Rachel. “[Aisa] then revealed the whole story on the walk home–I was so ashamed!”

In fact, neither Wyatt nor his wife had heard the offensive word and laughed when they were told what happened. “If I had a nickel for every time someone said ‘defenestrate’ in my presence due to parapraxis,” the ‘Canterbury Scene’ drummer joked, “Well, let’s just say I’d make money from that than my solo albums!”

Alfie Wyatt reported that she was going to call the Richies to set their minds at rest, saying, “I wondered why they left so early, I thought it was because [fellow guest] Paul [Weller] audibly farted when Aisa was performing his shaggy dog story.”


Editor’s note: I got this used copy of the US edition of Nothing Can Stop Us a while ago; in fact, since it includes “Shipbuilding”, while the UK version doesn’t, it’s the more desirable issue. What a thoroughly great (properly) indie record of cover versions, though: Monk, Costello, Eubie Black, Ivor Cutler, Trad. Folk, the song choices reflect the eccentricity of the artist whose “technical inadequacies” (according to Wyatt’s liner notes) are “entirely deliberate and reproduced as evidence of my almost painful sincerity.” His recast of Chic’s “At Last I Am Free” is one of the most beautiful, poignant things ever recorded.

7 inchers File Under POPULAR: Male Vocal Folk

Bobby Darin – “Reason To Believe” b/w “The Girl That Stood Beside Me”

SAM_0424Darin was a swinging cat in the 50s, and yet his transformation to 60s hipster still made sense; witness, his cover of Tim Hardin’s “Reason To Believe” on the A of this single. The folky flipside must be one of the weirdest things to come out of that weird time. What is that Velvet Underground racket in the background? Hear here.

I’m a sucker for Atlantic stuff, ‘specially if it’s only 50p.

Albums File Under POPULAR: Male Vocal

Frank Sinatra – Trilogy (1980)

From the Thrifty Vinyl 80s Archives SAM_0396SINATRA’S TRILOGY LAUDED AS TRIPLE ALBUM

(New York City, New York) — Critics and fans alike were yesterday hailing veteran crooner Frank Sinatra’s new release, Trilogy, as a 3-album set.

“Yeah, he really did it there on a whole three records,” explained one music writer. “All three of which were capable of electrically reproducing the sound of Sinatra’s singing when played on a turntable hooked up to an amplifier and speaker system.”

Music lovers on the other side pond have also been quick to celebrate Ol’ Blue Eyes’ first record in nearly six years, with at least one Brit calling it a “treble album”.

Others have heaped praise on Sinatra’s Reprise Records “comeback” as containing a full complement of songs and music commensurate with the vinyl triad included in the collection.

“What can I say?” gushed another fan. “Literally a trio of 33rpm discs!”

“Amazing!” she added.


SAM_0397Editor’s Note:  As if in answer to an earlier question, The Clash and Frank Sinatra. A pair highly unlikely in 1980 to make ambitious, indulgent 3x Lps, but it happened. Both were seen as “events” at the time, both merited lead, if mixed, reviews in Rolling Stone, but only one was listened to by me and a Senior year girlfriend on 8-Track during afternoons after school at her place.

There were at least 20 Frankie records in Demelza House today, mostly the Capitol sides, which I don’t really love. However, I was intrigued to re-hear Trilogy. Coming in a sleeve heavy and wide enough to accommodate not only the discs themselves, but three inner sleeves thicker than most 12″ single sleeves, three normal inner paper sleeves with in-depth liner notes and a further paper insert detailing the scores of musicians who played on the records, it was quite the deluxe piece of self-mythology.

Albums Classical File Under POPULAR: Female vocal File Under POPULAR: Male Vocal

The Swingle Singers – Anyone For Mozart? (BL 7656) (1964)

Swingles - it's just fun to sayWell, since it’s you, yes; but I don’t think this is as successful as the group’s Bach pieces whose contrapuntal bounciness seems more appropriate for the application of the Swingle formula. And don’t those quotation marks in the supertitle look ironic?

Yet another rekkid from Hythe.

Albums File Under POPULAR: Male Vocal

The Incomparable Ray Charles and Ray Charles’ Greatest Hits Volumes 1 & 2


“I’m very disappointed,” claims area smart-arse

(Bristol, England) – Having thought what he had was great good fortune, self-confessed cool person Alan Rico purchased cheaply the first two volumes of Ray Charles’ ABC Records Greatest Hits within a week of each other at separate area thrift stores.

“I though, you know, Ray Charles, everyone’s supposed to like him,” reported the sarcastic, 28-year old textbook editor who already owns Tell the Truth, the Charly collection of Charles’ Atlantic releases. “And what better way to enjoy his soulful croon than a couple period compilations.”

But fate had a cruel shock in store: These post-Atlantic albums simply aren’t that good.

“There’s all these strings and backing singers, the ‘Raelets’, for Pete’s sake,” Rico said of the Sid Feller-produced recordings, using a deliberately hackneyed euphemism and crooking his index and middle fingers to indicate both speech marks and his condescension. “They just smother things.”

“So you would have thought, given my penchant for witty distain, that, having been unable to enjoy the records on a musical level, I could, you know, take the piss.” he continued. “Like, for example, saying that Elvis Costello wasn’t as unkind to Ray as the Marty Paich arrangements on these albums.”

“But actually, [the songs] are so boring and middle of the road, with a couple exceptions, that I can’t even muster the enthusiasm to make fun of them and enjoy them ironically.”

As if life hadn’t dealt Rico enough bitterness, The Incomparable Ray Charles, a Summit compilation of earlier, rougher, more R&B material he subsequently bought at an area junk shop a week later, was warped, a bit too scratchy and, therefore, tantilisingly unplayable.

“It’s like ‘God’ has it in for me,” he said over-dramatically, once again dibbing his digits, this time to demonstrate a patronising attitude to the Supreme Being.

Albums Americana Classic Rock File Under POPULAR: Male Vocal

Joe South – Introspect (EMI E-T 108) (1968)

Is that Alice Liddel and her cerebral cortex?

I’d just this week been looking something else up in my Rolling Stone Record Guide and happened to note the glowing Joe South entry, so when I found the songwriter/guitarist’s genre-hopping, ground-breaking début Lp in mono this Wednesday, I leapt. While certainly no masterpiece, Introspect is quirky and bold on many levels and the copious period touches (Dylan-style put downs, counter-culture redneck-baiting, rambling reprises, electronic psychedelic breakdowns, boogaloo beats, allusions to the Draft, extensive sitar guitar use [!] and songs called “Mirror of Your Mind”) make this a challenging, engaging and very 60s time capsule. A pop country-soul crossover version of Billy Nicholl’s Would You Believe perhaps?

South’s vocals swagger like Elvis P, his lyrics contain sly twists and not a few clichés, the man’s somewhat uneven production still manages to push boundaries; surprisingly, given his track record as a top flight session guy (Dylan, Aretha, etc.), it’s the musicianship (esp. the drumming) not keeping up with the production ambitions that ultimately keeps Introspect from being a classic. “Games People Play” was the hit.

Albums File Under POPULAR: Male Vocal

Tom Jones – Green, Green Grass of Home (Decca LK 4855 Mono) (1967)

In Mount Vernon, Ohio and it’s surroundings there were several member’s only drinking and gaming clubs.  These were often named for animals, e.g. the Elks Club, F.O.E. (Federal Order of Eagles), etc. A few blocks from my house, on the west end of the city, was the “Black” Elks Club; this was a place where the area’s African-Americans would gather.  Whenever I’d visit, my dad and I would be the only caucasians about and while I was aware of this fact at the time, I merely thought it was interesting. I was certainly always made to feel welcome. Most of the music at the Black Elks was made by black people, but the exception was Tom Jones and listening to this album, I can see how Jones was able to make inroads into the market.  His phrasing and timbre, at least at this stage in career, was not dissimilar to Levi Stubbs, his overtly stylised sexiness was quite urban and perhaps, as a proud, resentful minority citizen of his own country, Jones has a connection deeper to America’s blacks than, say, dilettantes and poseurs from Liverpool and London.

A mix of credible bellowed pop country (“He’ll Have to Go”, “Riders In the Sky”) on side one and credible bellowed proto-power balladry (“A Field of Yellow Daisies”, “[I Wish I Could] Say No To You”) and credible bellowed funk soul (“Ring of Fire” “Mohair Sam”) on side two, this was Tom Jones’ sixth album in two years. That’s how we rolled back in the day, y’see. A surprisingly enjoyable record.

I think this would have made a much better front cover.