The Light of the World – Round Trip (ENVY 14) (1980)

SAM_0638Giles Peterson may have time for this sort of thing, but I’m afraid I don’t. No question about the band’s chops, but cheery jazz-funk ain’t my bag. This only cost me a pound last week at the thrift store, so I don’t feel too aggrieved, but I still had to listen to the Wailers’ Burnin’ Lp straightaways after just to get the taste of LOTW’s oh-so-tasteful take on “I Shot The Sheriff” out of my ears.SAM_0639

Published in: on February 2, 2015 at 9:39 am  Comments (3)  

War – All Day Music (UAG 29269) (1971)

SAM_0282War’s second post-Burdon Lp features “Slipping Into Darkness”, replete with the spooky intro not heard on the Greatest Hits edit. Likewise, both “All Day Music” and “Nappy Head” are longer here than on Greatest Hits and Platinum Jazz respectively. Only an over-excited, noisy live take on “Baby Brothers” fails conceptually. One pound = nice price today.SAM_0283

Published in: on February 5, 2014 at 4:09 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)  

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

Published in: on August 4, 2013 at 10:13 am  Comments (5)  

The Temptations – A Song For You (STMA 8021) (1975)

TempsI kept waiting for the duff track and it didn’t happen. Nearly a decade and a half (and five significant line-up changes) into their career, A Song For You proved that the Temptations could keep up with trends while retaining their identity, demonstrating what a durable and malleable brand the group had become. The story goes that Mr. Gordy himself helped midwife the record, making sure that the band got the best chunes going–the effort paid off big time. A US R&B #1 album (and Top 15 US pop), featuring two US R&B #1 singles (and another Top 10), Song is literally a game of two strong halves; side one brings a trunk of stripped-down, aggressive funk while side two features brooding, emotionally resonant ballads. Both approaches work with the former belying the Temps veteran status and the latter acknowledging maturity without succumbing to it. Inexplicably, this album garnered only one and two stars respectively in the first two Rolling Stone Record Guides. WTAF?

Another of Saturday’s less-than-a-pound-apiece batch from Hythe. 
SAM_0032
It wasn’t total victory; though the vinyl’s in pretty good nick, there’s a tuck-in flap missing from my top loader copy.

Published in: on June 24, 2013 at 8:55 am  Leave a Comment  

Spiders Web – I Don’t Know What’s On Your Mind (F-9517) (1976)

SpidersCarole Kaye, bassist on innumerable Gold Star Studio seshes (Wilson, Spector, ad infinitum), along with titular hubby, produces hyper-professional 70s funk album à la War, etc. on Fantasy ripe for beat samplin’. Given the times, it often notches surprisingly high on the BPMs (more a ’79 Euro-disco tempo/feel, I would have said) but it’s at least one killer single short of classic status. The overall songwriting and singing are relatively undistinguished, so despite top drawer playing, no particularly strong band personality emerges.

“Reggae Bump” is particularly pointless; it’s funny, contemporary JA guys would have killed for the budget/facilities at SW’s disposal, but the creative problem solving which informs and enhances so much of 70s reggae would have been totally mitigated, as is the case here for the most part. Still, not bad for 50p at the same bootfair as what the De La Soul, Beach Boys and CCR Lps came from.

Sorry, but this must be the homeliest rhythm section in all of Christendom.

Sorry, but this must be the homeliest rhythm section in all of Christendom. What must their kids’ve looked like? And also, where’s the possessive apostrophe in the band’s name?! It’s stuff like that which keeps me awake at night.


Published in: on June 14, 2013 at 10:15 pm  Comments (2)  

Animal Magic 12″ EP

DSC00450

Found this little nugget in the same pile as the Pigbag records, at the Cancer Research on Fishponds High Street. I suspect they all came from the same previous owner, as this is another nice example of that early eighties post-punk-funk thang with a strong Bristol connection.

Animal Magic’s EP is a tidy four-tracker released on Recreational Records, manufactured and distributed by Revolver, who’s phone number is included on the sleeve. Its been a while since I saw the old 0272 dialing code. Most Bristolian music lovers will remember the Revolver Records shop at the top of Park Street as an oasis of good alternative music.

I’d never heard of the band before (I was only 13 years old in 1982 when this record was released and not well versed in local indie-funk activities). There’s a nice picture of Howard, Mark, Mark, Gill and Rob on the rear sleeve…

DSC00451

I’ve been quite charmed by their scratchy, urgent tracks. I particularly like the way the horns sound a bit out-of-tune, in a good way, similar to the semi-dissonant arrangements of more industrial-tinged groups like A Certain Ratio and 23 Skidoo.

I was wondering whatever happened to them all. There doesn’t appear to be much information about them out there, but thanks to Bristol Archive Records, their music does live on in the digital realm.

Published in: on February 28, 2013 at 1:03 pm  Comments (6)  

PIGBAG 12″ Singles

DSC00457

Known to the general public as one-hit-wonders, responsible for the #3 smash “Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag” back in April ’82, here we have the two significantly less successful singles that appeared either side of it, during the same year and on the same label (Dick O’Dell’s Y Records).

“Getting Up” (which peaked at #61 before quickly disappearing in February) is great: spiky, spacey, synthy post-punk Brit-funk of the highest caliber. Totally of-its-time and all the better for it. Of the two b-sides, “Giggling Mud” is perhaps even better, adding discreet dub-echo fx to a tight-but-loose funk jam, whilst “Go Cat” begins with a wonky rendition of the Top Cat theme before descending into a wild jazzy improv session. At one point someone shouts “Mine’s a cider!”, in true West Country fashion. You gotta love it!

DSC00456

Released in the wake of “Papa’s…” surprise success, “The Big Bean” just scraped into the Top 40 in July before swiftly disappearing back whence it came. Now recording at Abbey Road, and featuring steel drums, the track has a more luxurious sound which seems to predict the onset of ‘World Music’ that would rise to prominence later in that decade. Even the sleeve design has more of a mid/late-80s look about it. But what it gains in production values, it inevitably loses in terms of urgency and what might be termed ‘bite’.

B-side “Scumda” is a more interesting proposition. Revolving around a repetitive piano figure, dense percussion and some half-decent attempts at mimicking bird-calls, the track suggests an update of Martin Denny’s ‘exotica’ sounds, which (if I recall correctly) were quite in vogue with many artists in the post-punk mileau of the time.

Published in: on February 26, 2013 at 12:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Celluloid Presents Disco-Rough

DSC00454

Hello (says he, peeping his head sheepishly round the door at Thrifty HQ).  I’m the fella that started this blog a few years ago. Remember me? I was the one who posted all those stupid easy listening and K-Tel records.

Well, it seems that I haven’t posted anything here for over a year, so I thought it was about time I got my thumb out of my ass and did something about it. It’s not that I haven’t the time to blog, but I haven’t really been on the vinyl hunt much in recent times, so haven’t had much to report. But going through some records in my stash recently, I realised there were quite a few interesting artifacts I had yet to document here. So here’s the first of (hopefully) several new posts from Yours Truly.

So, what we have here is the splendidly titled ‘Disco-Rough’ compilation from Celluloid Records, released in 1982.  Only six tracks on the platter, but at least you get a reasonably decent, loud-ish pressing. Celluloid was established by the Frenchman Jean Karakos in Paris, so perhaps its no surprise that the record opens with the minimalist rockabilly of Alan Vega’s “Juke Box Babe”, which (it still amazes me to say) was a bit of a hit in France. Vega’s tremulous Elvis-Iggy delivery is up there with some of his best vocals, and the track retains the relentless repetition associated with his work as one half of Suicide, although here he trades in Martin Rev’s synth-noise for the guitars of Phil Hawk.  Not my idea of ‘Disco’ in any shape, way or form, but a welcome opener nonetheless.

Another name that might be familiar is that of Material, who contribute two tracks. “Secret Life” is their pulsing synth-disco ‘classic’, whilst “Upriver” is a mash-up of latin percussion, funk horns and southern-blues-rock, with a nice twangy guitar that puts me in mind of some mid-period Captain Beefheart.

The remaining tracks are filled by lesser known acts Elli &  Jacno and Mathematiques Modernes who each contribute some perfectly listenable alternative dance music of the era. Quite pleased with this purchase.

Published in: on January 31, 2013 at 11:18 am  Leave a Comment  

WAR – Greatest Hits (UA-LA648-G) (1976)

What Are They Good For?IRONIC COVER VERSION ONLY SONG ENJOYED AT LOCAL BAND’S GIG

(Columbus, Ohio) — None of those in attendance enjoyed any of the recent performance by local punk band Chuckberry Breakfast at Ace of Cups. Apart, that is, from a cover version of War’s “Low Rider” that subverted both the song’s original intent and the audience’s expectations of the band.

With even the band’s friends and acquaintances calling the north campus club show “dreary”, “remarkably unoriginal” and “full of obvious moves”, all patrons who were bothering to pay attention singled out the encore, “Low Rider”, as far and away the high point of the show. Not that onlookers thought the band were bad musicians per se, they just felt that each member seemed intent on performing with as little imagination as possible, deploying cliché after cliché.

“I guess they’re tight and played with ‘energy’,” sighed one of the Ace’s bartenders. “But it was really one of those ‘sound and fury signifying nothing’ situations. Other than that thing they did to the War song at the end. They really should do more songs like that.”

Candy Sexton, the girlfriend of Chuckberry Breakfast lead singer Curtis Paul, claimed she spent most of the band’s half-hour opening slot smoking out back on the patio, only coming in for the last song. “They practice at my house, so I already know how lame they are, except for ‘Low Rider’, which, even though it’s meant to be a joke, is way better than the rest of their shit.”

Headliners Nobunny were likewise dismissive of Chuckberry Breakfast’s performance: “Other than a kinda cool take on ‘Low Rider’,” complained Nobunny main man Justin Champlin, “it was super half-assed.”

“Learn how to write a f*ckin’ song before you start performing in front of people,” added the leporid underground star curtly. “Seriously.”

Reached for comment after the concert, Chuckberry Breakfast bassist, Jonah Petersen, called the show a “watershed moment.”

“It was the first time we played an all-original gig, apart from that goof at end,” he shared proudly. “That’s the old cover band mentality we definitely want to get away from.”

Published in: on January 21, 2013 at 7:59 pm  Leave a Comment