The Latin Jazz Quintet (UAL 4071) (1961)

SAM_0584The presence here of Coltrane sideman/multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy was enough to secure £1 purchase today of this piece of early Sixties exotica. In fact, Dolphy blowing in a manner suggestive of the free jazz, raises this a cut above your average loungecore pandering (the silly “Cha Cha King” excepted). Highlight: a polyrhythmic romp on Dizzy’s evergreen “Night In Tunisia”.SAM_0585

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Published in: on October 1, 2014 at 1:46 pm  Comments (2)  

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.”

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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.


Published in: on June 26, 2014 at 8:02 am  Comments (2)  

Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 – Fool On the Hill (AMLS 922) (1968)

ANOTHER THRIFTY VINYL WORLD CUP SPECIALSAM_0421Mendes is obviously a guy who knows how to play ball. Already a bona fide star in his home country, he allowed Herb Alpert to “discover” him and take credit (and profit) for this discovery. Further evidence of Mendes’ ingratiating nature comes in his crowd pleasing program selection and easy-on-the-ear arrangements. He was rewarded here with a Top Three Lp.

And yet, despite evidence to the contrary, he’s no musical lightweight; the chops and finesse he and his band bring to proceedings overrides accusations of that sort, not to mention the fact that two-thirds of this set (by the likes of Edú Lobo and Baden Powell) is sung/part-sung in Portuguese . And they still manage to capture the syncopated wistfulness of the best Brazilian pop.SAM_0422NB: The hill ‘pon which the Fool sits, at least in terms of the gatefold cover, is nothing less than a tit.

Published in: on June 11, 2014 at 1:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Laurindo Almeida & The Bossa Nova All Stars ‎– Viva Bossa Nova! (T 1759) (1962)

A THRIFTY VINYL WORLD CUP SPECIAL SAM_0419Imagine a decent enough guy calling himself a doctor because he hangs out with a doctor friend. Maybe even the doctor friend has described to him a few operations. Would you want that first guy operating on your gall bladder? Of course not.

Now, imagine a group of decent enough musicians calling themselves “Bossa Nova All Stars” just because they’ve got a Brazilian guitarist in their band and this guitarist has taught them how to play “One Note Samba”. In fact, that and “Desafinado” represent the only specific nods to leader Almeida’s home country on Viva Bossa Nova!, the rest made up of Easy-Listening musical apostasy like “Moon River” and “Lazy River”. The electronic organ makes things particularly tepid.

The enterprise reminds me of the episode of The Office in which David Brent is convinced that his old songs can easily be made au courant by “drop[ing] some drum ‘n’ bass shit on ’em“.

I would say, “I should have guessed” today as I bought Viva!, but I did guess, I just hoped I was wrong.

 

Published in: on June 11, 2014 at 12:42 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)  

The Very Best of Éthiopiques (mantcd245) (2007)

SAM_1719HIPSTER DECLARES “CDs ARE THE NEW VINYL”

(Columbus, Ohio) – Citing the lack of decent second-hand product and a higher retail profile, area coffee shop employee Claude Barnet has declared the “era of the vinyl revival” over.

“With of all these Johnny-Come-Lately overfishing,” Barnet explained, “there’s nothing worth having at any of my Thrift Stores or Flea Markets.”

“I mean, I can only look at so many Kenny friggin’ Rogers records,” he added bitterly.

Barnet also blamed the internet for allowing people to research their Lp collections and sell them at inflated prices. “I had hoped that there would be a ‘race to the bottom’,” the bearded barista recalled. “You know, with a huge stock, prices would be forced down as everyone competed for sales.” But it hasn’t panned out that way and Barnet claims record sellers are charging “like ten bucks for a crappy, used No One’s Gonna Change Our World budget line re-issue. It’s a joke.”

When you add to that new and re-issued vinyl’s increasing market share, the hipster is being squeezed out.  “And, of course, now big High Street retailers like HMV have gotten in on the act and started selling vinyl again,” complained Barnet. “I mean, Christ, you can buy Kylie Lps and ABBA re-issues these days!”

The good news is that now everyone’s getting rid of their compact discs.  “I’ve bought loads lately,” he enthused. “Including a sweet two-disc Éthiopiques comp and a deluxe Trouble Man soundtrack CD that I’d never have gotten on stupid old vinyl.”

Barnet also praised CDs’ digital clarity (“none of that awful, distracting crackle”), convenience, ability to hold a considerable number of songs, bonus tracks as well as their informative booklets and scholarship.

“Yep, CDs are definitely the way of the future,” Barnet said thoughtfully, adding, “At least until the cassette thing takes off.”

Published in: on September 29, 2013 at 11:34 am  Comments (6)  

Afro Rock Festival (2870 311) (1973)

AfroBy 1973 we’d had folk-rock, space-rock, country-rock and art-rock. And that was just the Byrds. So why couldn’t Afro Rock be the Next Big Thing? Well, if your idea of Afro Rock is a couple transplanted  South Africans playing “Louie, Louie” in as un-funky a way possible with Prog Rockers Jade Warrior, then there are very good reasons why not. Fortunately, Simba only gets two tracks.

Osibisa is the main attraction here and they sound pretty good; but bear in mind, Afro Rock Festival was produced in the UK and designed to appeal to slightly outré domestics, not Africans. So, Assagai’s psychedelic wig-out “Jabula” aside, one isn’t going to confuse Contour’s well-meaning, but tepid safari with a Soundway comp of rare Ghanaian 45s.

And Afro Rock never did become the Next Big Thing.

PS: Note how the sashaying neck beads precisely cover up the nips on both background dancers. Lol.

The only other record I’ve got on Contour (the UK budget label subsidiary of Polydor) is a collaboration between the Swingle Singers and the Modern Jazz Quartet–the nexus of which almost caused a disruption in the Thrifty Vinyl space-time continuum, such was epochal nature of the meeting. Unsurprisingly, the cover is poor compared to the original.

Afro Rock Festival came from the Etchinghill bootfair a couple Saddy’s ago at the cost of 50p.

Published in: on May 3, 2013 at 8:20 am  Leave a Comment  

R.I.P. Ravi Shankar

Yehudi 'n' Ravi Together Again For the First Time

From the 1967 Thrifty Vinyl archives

SHANKAR ENCOURAGES DRUG USE AT MONTEREY POP FESTIVAL                                                                           Thoroughly Baked Sitarist Tells Throng to ‘Get Stoned To The Bone’ During Set

Knocking back a bottle of Jack Daniels, a clearly high Ravi Shankar told his audience at the Monterey Pop Music Festival: “Whatever you got to smoke, and I mean whatever, fuckin’ spark up now! I want you to get stoned to the bone while I play.” In response, clouds of acrid marijuana smoke could be clearly seen billowing over swathes of the 55,000 strong crowd.

Previously during Moby Grape’s act, the 47-year old Indian classical musician was observed stumbling among the audience sharing bottles of wine, pulling on bongs and even huffing oven cleaner with one delighted hippie. Later, struggling to bear the weight of his instrument, he interrupted a meanering performance of “Dhun (Dadra and Fast Teental)” to lead those in attendance in a 5-minute chant of “Shit! God Damn! Git of yo’ ass an’ jam!” and honk a fattie with Tabla player Alla Rakha. “Dude, don’t Bogart,” he could be heard to say when Rakha took more than one toke.

“Seriously kids, you don’t need drugs to enjoy this,” he slurred mischievously towards the end of his set, “Just enhance it!”

“Hell yeah!” he added. “That’s what I’m takin’ about!”

Published in: on December 12, 2012 at 8:39 am  Comments (1)  

Os Bambas – O Melhor em Samba Vol. 7 (OKeh 112278) (1972)

ANONYMOUS SAMBA Lp BIGGEST SELLING ALBUM OF ALL TIME IN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE

(Alternate Universe) — It’s official. With an estimated 50 million copies sold, the Brazil pressing of Os Bambas’ O Melhor em Samba is the most popular record Lp of all time in one particular given alternate universe, one of an infinite number of possible four dimensional spheres of existence.

The 1972 album’s popularity is easily explained when you know that lively, middle-of-the-road samba music is that particular parallel universe’s most popular music genre and style. Not to say it’s without objective charm, really, but other alternate universes, our’s for example, might find Os Bambas’ O Melhor em Samba generic with little of the verve and delight of the previous decade’s alternate universe Bossa Nova; which, as it happens, is exactly the same as our universe’s.

But no, not there, not in that solitary spacetime. There, the collection, otherwise known as The Best in Samba Volume 7 by the Unsteady, went gangbusters, remaining in its charts for 741 weeks from 1973 to 1988, giving it a longer chart run longer than any other album in that universe’s unique cosmology of manifold events making up everything both perceived and perceivable.

Much lore surrounds O Melhor em Samba in that lone space-time continuum’s history. For example, there exists an amusing, but apocryphal, rumour about O Melhor em Samba soundtracking that universe’s movie version of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (which stars Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman). The story was started in the late 1980s when marijuana addicted alternate universe university students noticed that, if synchronised just so with the movie, George throws a fruit bowl at Martha just when the song “Alô , Alô  Taí Carmen Miranda” begins.

Published in: on September 2, 2012 at 2:53 pm  Comments (2)  

Deodato 2 (CTI 6029) (1973)

Eumir Deodato gets his fair share of kudos (“All-time classic funk jazz masterpiece…no home should be without this album!” according to the fine people at Sounds of the Universe) and opprobrium (Rolling Stone called his work “striding, chichi elevator music”). Guess what? They’re both right. Bearing no trace of his Brazilian roots, the Creed Taylor-produced Deodato 2‘s lengthy broiling rhythms are regularly broken up by horn blasts of light melody, all intricately played with the speed and indulgence of a prog rocker. “Super Strut” hits this mark most satisfyingly, while Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue” is not the blaspheme it appears on paper. Guitarist John Tropea is given especially free reign.

As if the inclusion of “Nights In White Satin” wasn’t enough of a signifier of jazz’s pop audience courtship, the note offering a “same-size reproduction of the cover [of that hunky Deodato], without type, is available for $1.50” from Creed Taylor is. It’s like a freakin’ Bobby Goldsboro album!

I got this (and the ARS record) at two different Ohio Thrift Store shops at opposite ends of Columbus when I spent a long laugh-filled afternoon last week driving around with good friends Jovan and Phillip. We must have hit about 5 stores. While these two Lps represent the sum total of the haul that day, it was, of course, time very well spent.

Published in: on August 22, 2012 at 9:45 pm  Comments (4)