The Beach Boys – Holland (K54008) and Mount Vernon and Fairway (A Fairy Tale) EP (K54008/7) (1973)

SAM_1466LOCAL SNOB CITES HOLLAND BEACH BOYS’ BEST LP, IMPRESSES NO-ONE 

(Hilliard, Ohio) – Speaking loudly at the Nike Sports Lounge, area book catalog writer Amram Patel called the 1973 Beach Boys album Holland “far and away the [band’s] most consistent Lp”. “Despite its fairly tortured creation,” bellowed Patel, who’d had several Rum and Cokes at this point, “Holland hangs together real well.”

Others, however, were quick to dismiss the 33-year-old’s assessment. “Freakin’ Amram showing off,” is how one friend characterised Patel’s critique. “He’s like, ‘No, Pet Sounds isn’t the best, that’s way too obvious’,” Nike regular Bobby Flannel said. “Yeah, pal, it’s obvious for good reasons.”

“He gets really oppositional and precious when he’s been drinking,” added Flannel.

According to Patel, Holland sounds like the legendary California band still had something to prove. “It was the last record they made,” he slurred, “before completely capitulating to Mike Love’s money-spinning, oldies self-parody.”

“The only thing I wish,” burbled Patel, his index finger jabbing the air and neck lolling “was that, you know, the Mount Vernon and Fairway sequence had been included in the album’s running order, as the originally envisaged centerpiece. If [the other members] had tossed Brian that bone, he’d’ve been a lot more, like, involved in the album’s production and it wouldn’t have turned out as mediocre a record as it ended up, even with ‘Sail On[, Sailor]’ and ‘Funky Pretty’ which are really good, an’ if the rest of Holland had been that good, then maybe the Beach Boys could’ve had a proper second career instead of another 40 years of God-damn ‘Fun, Fun Fun’ ‘n’ that shit.” He contradicted himself several more times as the rant proceeded to get less and less coherent.

At press time, Patel was sobbing silently, his head laying over his folded arms resting on the bar.

SAM_1467Editor’s Note: Another excellent find last Bank Holiday. This copy of Holland includes the Mount Vernon and Fairway EP in its original cover, which I’d never seen before. In fact, while I recognised the 7″ itself, I was initially convinced someone had housed it in a Flying Lizards picture sleeve or something, so at odds with the rest of Holland’s aesthetic is the stoner-with-a-magic-marker look of the single.

Published in: on May 8, 2013 at 8:49 am  Comments (3)  

Neil Young – Harvest (1972)

Not the actual cover, but one 12" x 12" section of a fold old contained inside.

Not the actual cover, but one 12″ x 12″ section of a fold out contained within.

Danger Quoting, Being Quoted By Singer/Songwriter MUSICIANS WARNED ABOUT ‘THE CURSE OF NEIL’ BY LOCAL STONER 

(Columbus, OH) — Musicians were today being warned  by area pothead Jeff “Sativa” Bernstein not to make any references whatsoever to Neil Young. While totally baked on Maui Wowie, Bernstein identified what he called a “curse” associated with Young and has made it his mission to advise “all musician not to allude either by name or lyric” to the Canadian singer-songwriter .

“Think about it, like, just for a second,” Bernstein burbled, eyes darting to and fro. “[Lyrnyd] Skynyrd disses ol’ Neil and the next thing…Bang!…half of ’em die in a plane crash.”

“Same with [Kurt] Cobain, man,” he went on, oblivious to the fact that he was late for his south campus pizza delivery job. “He quotes ‘Hey Hey, My My’ in a [suicide] note and sure enough, he blows his head off with a shotgun.”

Speaking from a reclined La-Z-Boy, the lank-haired hippie continued, “That’s some seriously freaky-ass shit.”

Citing Richard Nixon (“Ohio”) and the Beach Boys (“Long May You Run”), Goldstein also pointed out that the veteran rocker can actively curse a subject as well. “It wasn’t but a year or two after ‘Ohio’ that Tricky Dick has to resign ’cause of Watergates,” he explained. “And all of the Beach Boys have either drowned, got cancer, went mental, gone bald or had their daughter screwed by one their cousins.”

“The ‘Curse of Neil’,” he added ominously, shaking his head. “It can’t just be coincidence.”

Lyric sheet. Fold out of the above.

Lyric sheet. Fold out of the above.

NB: One of my earliest ever thrifts. From the Goodwill in Mount Vernon, Ohio. Still sounds great.

Detail of the gatefold.

Detail of the gatefold.

Published in: on March 28, 2013 at 10:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Eric Clapton – 461 Ocean Boulevard (RSO De Luxe 2479 119) (1974)

Crapped OnBy the mid-70s, after decade’s worth (more of less) of comet-like brilliance, British rock royalty found itself in the unfamiliar, contradictory surroundings of middle age. So they turned professional. Records like Who By Numbers, Venus & Mars, Black & Blue, Walls & Bridges, Soap Opera and 461 Ocean Boulevard all demonstrate a triumph of likeable mass entertainment product over willful primativism and boundary pushing art. Post-Sixeventies Rock, if you will.

And then punk came and changed everything forever, not only putting paid to such middle-of-the-road goings on as the above, but laying waste to the entire Judeo-Christian/Capitalistic foundations upon which they were built, leaving the Anarchist utopia with which we’re all familiar in its wake.

I’ve been pretty hard on EC before, but this is a pretty tasty record; it certainly makes more sense than his compilations. I was tempted to write a “news” story entitled CLAPTON’S “SHERIFF” IN NOT-THE-WORST-REGGAE-COVER SHOCK, but thought that TV readers could do just as well in their minds; btw, the winner in my story was a tie between “Tide Is High” by Atomic Kitten and Bony M’s “Rivers of Babylon”.

Another pound from Red Cross yesterday.

Published in: on January 3, 2013 at 10:19 am  Comments (2)  

David Bowie – Pinups (RS1003) (1973)

TIME-TRAVELLING BOWIE TO RELEASE COVERS ALBUM OF SHITTY ARTISTS HE WILL INFLUENCE IN THE FUTURE                                                                       

Pinups Lp To Be Made Up of Latter Day Songs That Sound Like David Bowie

What would you do if you had a time machine? Travel to the future and bring back information to help civilisation, say, medicines to cure our most virulent diseases or a power source to break our crippling dependence on fossil fuels? Maybe you’d find out the results of major sporting events and selfishly make a fortune backing the winners? You might simply want to meet civilisation’s great thinkers of the past: DaVinci, Jesus Christ, Aristotle, Shakespeare or whoever discovered fire. Or perhaps, if you ventured ahead many millenia, you’d return with the meaning of life itself.

Well, if you were orange-mulleted pop star David Bowie, you’d journey forward a decade or two and reappear with a clutch of lame songs you’ve inspired for an Lp of cover versions with a twist. The time machine, a Teriberns-2000, was developed in collaboration with his Mainman management team and has allowed the former David Jones to see both how his current “Glam Rock” incarnation gives impetus to the next generation of Goth no-hopers like Bauhaus, and how his later self’s “plastic soul” and electronic collaborations with Brian Eno will directly galvanise “new wave” mediocrities such as ABC, Duran Duran and Gary Numan.

“It’s a dismal legacy,” sighed Bowie himself, “of whiny crooning and psuedo-psychology.” He went on to apologise profusely for his “dire impact” on popular music.

The quickly recorded, stop-gap Lp, done with little thought as to song arrangement and designed, as much as anything, to capitalise on Bowie’s current crest of popularity, will not only feature all of the lame-os above, but such upcoming shameless Bowie rip-offs as “A Girl Like You” by Edwyn Collins, “Party Hard” by Pulp, as well as Suede’s “This Hollywood Life” and Blur’s “M.O.R.”.

“Some of them, like the Psychedelic Furs’ ‘Love My Way’, really do sound uncannily like La Dame,” averred Mainman boss Tony DeFries of one forthcoming influencee. “A lot shittier, obviously, but still.”

Of course, Bowie’s anticipated influence extends beyond music and on to a school of cultural thought embracing cynical image manipulation that is due to be twisted as mere “style over content” and motivate many rampantly commercial artists, including one of the 80s and 90s biggest stars, Madonna; though interestingly, Bowie chose not bring back any of her songs to cover.

“The saying goes that only a few hundred people bought the first Velvet Underground record,” writes fresh-faced music journalist Clifford Snoats in his review of Pinups. “But that each one of them was inspired to start a band. Something of that same phenomenon will happen with Bowie, multiplied several fold given that he’ll shift that much more product. But what the saying doesn’t tell you is that 99.9% of those VU bands truly sucked ass, as is also the case here.”

“And I mean could-suck-the-chrome-right-off-a-tail-pipe sucked,” he added. “Spandau Ballet’s ‘To Cut a Long Story Short’? Seriously, what the fuck is that?”

As to what else the future will hold, Bowie would not be drawn, apart from saying that he would “sell a shedload of piss-poor albums in the 80s and then marry a Somoli supermodel.”

Published in: on November 16, 2012 at 8:49 pm  Comments (6)  

Mott the Hoople – Mott (1973)

It is a curious thing about certain pop groups that, if you were a member of the exclusive club which followed them when they were à la mode, you can brook no criticism of them later in life. I think this is particularly true of bands that cultivate arty eccentricity. If, however, you didn’t belong to the cult, these same idols can seem shrill and contrived. Even with all the boxes ticked, some groups, I can’t think of any offhand, simply come up short. Oh, they may have flourished for a time, capturing the zeitgeist (or at least some subculture), perhaps feeding on the crumbs of greater talents. Maybe even there was even a genuine connection with the true believers, the ones at the gigs, the ones who followed the band around, who subscribed to (or wrote for) the fan club. If there’s a ringing choir still in thrall to their adolescent fanaticism and loudly championing them in grown-up rock magazines, the listener coming to these kinds of records late will find them particularly disappointing. Ultimately, apart from maybe a song or two, they just doesn’t translate beyond the faithful and, with the passing of a few years, their records are revealed as a hollow echo of themselves.

I’d be interested to know if Thrifty Vinyl readers can think of any examples of this phenomenon.

Published in: on October 24, 2012 at 3:40 pm  Comments (8)  

The Best of the Faces (RVLP3) (1977)

NEWS IN BRIEF

NEW CDC REPORT FINDS DRUNKENNESS CHARMING, CHASTISES NEGATIVE MEDIA IMAGE

(Atlanta, Georgia) – Far from being the heath and social risk so often portrayed in today’s media, alcohol abuse is actually quite endearing, even charming, a Centers For Disease Control and Prevention-sponsored workshop at the downtown Atlanta Hyatt Regency conference center heard yesterday.

The controversial CDC report, entitled “Stop Judging and Start Chugging”, noted that people who drink a lot show increased levels of over-confidence, political opinion emphatic-ness and finding themselves amusing. In addition, the report went on, other people “simply like them more when they’re drinking.”

“For many, many years now negative media stereotypes have done untold damage to the self-esteem of our nation’s ginhounds, whiskey sponges and winos,” announced report co-author Jamie Tan. “All too often the American booze jockey is the ‘bad guy’: Watch any TV drama and I bet you if there’s a scuzbag boyfriend, a wife beater, a child molesting step-dad or a skid row bum, he will be a drunk.”

However, the report indicates that such portrayals were not always the case and cites “sixeventies” UK rock band the Faces as an example of the kind of positive role model to which today’s dipsomaniacs should harken. “The is hope for every lush,” Tan continued, “in the ramshackle performances, boozy camaraderie and ‘lads will be lads’ misogyny all heard songs like ‘Had Me a Real Good Time’ and ‘Miss Judy’s Farm’.”

“We would all be a lot happier if we behaved more like the Faces,” concluded Tan amid enormous cheers and glass clinking.

NB: Double Lp cost me a quid at recent Great Chart bootfair.

Published in: on September 7, 2012 at 1:30 pm  Comments (1)  

Santana (CBS 32003) (1969)

THE FABLE OF THE CRASH PAD HIPPIES & THE SANTANA RECORD

Hippie #1: What do you see when you look at this album cover, man?

Hippie #2: A scary-ass roaring lion, man.

Hippie #1: Okay, like, listen to the album, yeah, and tell me what you think.

Hippie #1 makes his friend a cup of tea (one sugar) and puts the album on; Hippie #2 listens to it, nodding his head appreciatively.

Crash Pad Hippies

Hippie #1: So, what do you think, man?

Hippie #2: Way cool, man. It’s propulsively rhythmic, yet not overbearingly so. Instruments weave in and out of each other in a kind of jazzy, proto-world music stew, the percussion keeps things from getting leaden. Carlos’ lead lines are stinging and he doesn’t embarrassingly overplay like on those jive duets records that shifted a gazillion copies at the turn of the century [Supernatural (1999) sold 27 million units–ed.]–no, here it sounds like a proper, dynamic band. The singing’s fairly characterless (apart from Janis, I think that’s typical of these San Fran jam bands), but it certainly doesn’t jar with the music. The production is rich, especially for the times. In some ways, it represents the ultimate fulfillment of the “Sixseventies” Rock promise (along with the Band, of course), even if a couple of the dudes went on to form Journey.

So where’d you get this record, man?

Hippie #1: There was a stack of Lps left by the toilets at the Wincheap bootfair, including the first five Santana records–well, I’m not proud, so I picked ’em up. None of them were original vinyl or gatefold sleeves, but, you know.*

Anyway, you’ve listened to the music, look at the album cover and tell me what you see now.

Hippie #2: Whoa, man, I’m freaking out. I see two men standing looking at each other with a little guy standing in-between them and another man standing over them and, whoa, two women, in ecstasy apparently, and two dudes with acupuncture needles in their faces and, oh my God, a topless Africa princess with her arms folded wearing a head wrap à la Erikah Badu.

That’s so cool. Is that the music that has opened my eyes?

Hippie #1: Yeah, that and the acid I put in your tea.

And the moral of this fable is: Always make your own tea when you live in a crash pad.

*the part about finding the records was true.

Published in: on May 25, 2012 at 8:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Slade – Sladest (Polydor Deluxe 2442 119) (1973)

Believe it or not, I do consider “the library” when I buy my used records, e.g. I had no Slade, like Slade when I hear ’em on the radio, found a hugely popular Slade best of for cheap: job done.

So perfect was their design and execution, that, like God, if they hadn’t come along, someone would’ve had to invent them. And yet, away from the concert hall, public house, football terrace or party–in short, anywhere there’s people ‘n’ booze–shouty, lout-y and proudly working-class Slade sound out-of-place. Home listening for review purposes just don’t cut it.

My Sladest comes complete with a hype-y, but thoughtful and reasonably well-written booklet. But let’s be honest, lads, even if you’ve got Gered Mankowitz to take your picture, no amount of soft focus was going to help, was it?

Published in: on February 5, 2012 at 1:38 pm  Comments (2)  

Creedence Clearwater Revival (LBS 83259) (1969)

True pop artists with their hearts in the garage, Creedence Clearwater Revival sounds a lot bluesier on their debut than later, more popular singles. Yes, John Fogerty’s yowling style singing can be an acquired taste (especially mixed as high as it is), but there’s no doubting his and his band’s committment to rocking in the most focussed way imaginable and in contrast to the flightier members of the San Francisco scene detailed in extended notes by Rolling Stone Consulting Editor Ralph J. Gleason. Not that the band is immune from the extended jamming prevalent at the time and place, “Suzie Q” lasts almost 9 minutes and features two choral breakdowns and lots of piercing lead guitar (again, very prominently mixed). As with the Velvet Underground or Neil Young, the overall effect is of a rather simple majesty.

This first UK Liberty issue comes from Saturday’s Lyminge Jumble Sale haul and, though I’ve been on the lookout for ever, brings my CCR collection to a precise total of one.

Published in: on January 23, 2012 at 9:13 am  Leave a Comment  

Robert Hunter – Tales of the Great Rum Runners (Round Records RX-101) (1974)

Q: When is a Grateful Dead record not a Grateful Dead record? A: When it’s a Robert Hunter solo album.

Hunter is, of course, a Dead lyricist of longstanding being responsible for many of their best-loved songs and the presence of several key members (Garcia, Hart, the Godchauxs), not to mention distinctive San Francisco graphic artist Rick Griffin who designed the cover, ensures this 18th century piratical concept Lp has the look and feel of an ersatz Grateful Dead album, albeit one with a pronounced Folk/C&W vibe and most traces of psychedelic mischievousness removed. Vocals were never the Dead’s strong suit and so, as with his employers, Hunter’s Dylanesque tenor (once deepening to baritone) shakes and cracks whenever tested. Though I’ve got at least two Dead albums and seen them a couple of times (and even Bob Weir’s RatDog once), I’m no DeadHead; still, this is an affecting album released on the Grateful Dead Records solo record subsidiary label, made with care and attention that I was happy to thrift.

Published in: on January 6, 2012 at 9:51 am  Leave a Comment