As I listen, I sense some of the same icy grandeur of Eno and Lanois’ earlier ambient gem Apollo and Bowie’s Low; however, technology had moved on from the previous work and the feel is somehow less resonant, less moving. Enjoyable nonetheless (especially the Satie touches) and only a pound from Hythe chaz.
This soundtrack to Paramount’s Three Tough Guys composed, conducted and performed by Isaac Hayes features more jazzy blowing than other 70s black action film music I’ve heard. Given that Hayes (who also starred in the film) is generally considered in possession of a pretty weak solo catalogue, it is a surprisingly engaging listen; better than the overly-lauded Shaft soundtrack I would have said. Rhythm by The Movement, strings by The Memphis Symphony Orchestra. 8/10.Gatefold, nicked at the top, otherwise NM condish, it cost one a pined when out thrifting yesterday with the elder of the two junior Asbos.
James Bond reclined in the swan shaped paddle boat, pumping the pedals leisurely up the Seine. The casual Left Bank observer could be forgiven for mistaking him and his companion for another romantic couple enjoying April in Paris, not the pair who saved the Eiffel Tower from destruction.
“Now that we’ve given Dr. Gateaux-Noir his just desserts,” here Bond paused to smile at his pun, his left eyebrow arched slightly, though his eyes remained heavy lidded–the effect was devastating. “What can I give to you?’
“Just a penis,” replied Mimi Bonne-Arse in a comically French accent.
“I beg your pardon?” Bond was shocked.
“A penis is all I ask of you,” she cooed, again the accent was ridiculously thick.
The smile was wiped from the agent’s face. His brow went from arched to furrowed. He’d saved the Eiffel Tower and, by extension, the Free World from the clutches of the evil Dr. Gateaux-Noir with this woman and now he felt like little more than a piece of meat.
Miss Bonne-Arse sensed his unease. “Just make me ‘appy, James and I will make you ‘appy.”
At last Bond understood: “a penis” = ‘appiness. “Oh yes,” purred the agent, “I will make you very, ‘ow you say, ‘appy.”
And as the two lovers paddled down the Seine past Notre Dame, locals watching the swan shaped paddle boat would swear that there was only one lone man travelling slowly with the most beatific smile they’d ever seen.
Editor: A rare Thrifty Vinyl outside broadcast, I got these three Barry soundtracks from 4 Paws animal welfare chaz in Scottsville, Virginia. Sorry about the old joke.
Jesus H. Jumped-Up Motherfucking Christ on a stick! Again with the Brian Eno Apollo Lp! How many times do I have to tell you to turn that Goddamn ambient racket down! I can’t even fucking hear myself think with that strident, haunting drone and in-your-face, atmospheric onslaught!
It’s so fucking peaceful and zen-like, I’m gettin’ a freakin’ headache over here.
No, I don’t care that, through a combination of tender, wistful melody snatches and a dense pad of lush background tones, Apollo evokes the wonder and majesty of space travel and the corresponding enrichment of the human experience, while at the same time darkly alluding to the first manned mission to the moon’s twin existential difficulties, i.e. the possible mortal consequences of error on a personal level and the recognition of the Earth’s relative insignificance at the cosmic level. Not when I’m trying to watch Monday Night Football.
Anyway, it’s not even music–it’s just noise. It’s all texture and no tune. Not like in my day. Back then, if the milkman couldn’t whistle it, it didn’t go on the album, even if it was a perfectly judged aural portrayal of the Apollo astronauts’ awe and scientific coldness, a kind of ambivalence perhaps unique in the history of our species.
And what’s the deal with the innovative use of the steel guitar on side two, ironically evoking country music? Is that supposed to be some sort of comment on the Apollo mission’s American genesis? I don’t know, you tell me.
Whatever. My house is not a Goddamn discotheque and Eno’s “mood music” is putting me in a bad mood. Just turn that shit down before I turn it off–permanently!
It’s no wonder kids today are going deaf.
Editor: I first heard this around ’84 when I baby-sat a friend’s record collection while he spent his Junior year of Kenyon abroad. Later, it was one of the first CDs I bought and if ever a piece of music needed to be experienced with digital clarity, it’s this. As with Spirit of Eden, the crackle of the thrift store vinyl can be a bit distracting.
“Mr. Hayes?” Jerry Goldberg poked his head in his boss’s office/composition room to deliver some good news. “Joel Freeman sent a letter confirming your involvement in the soundtrack of his new film about a black private detective called Phallus.”
“Excellent,” Isaac burred. “Does he give any specs?”
“A few. Shall I read them?”
“Well, Joel says here he wants it to sound like fairly smooth soul music, nothing too syncopated, with a few Bacharach moves. You will want to use strings and wide-ranging musical colorations on some tracks to presage the disco movement by half a decade.”
“I can do that.”
“He also says he wants it to sound nothing like your brilliant southern soul work for Sam & Dave, et al.”
“Finally, he’s included lyrics for the ‘Theme from Phallus’ which he’d like you to tidy up as you see fit.”
As he spoke, Jerry handed a sheet of paper to Isaac.
This is what it read:
Who’s the African-American private investigator
That’s physically attractive to a variety of women?
You’re darn tootin’
Who is the man
That would demonstrate bravery for other African-Americans?
Are you understanding what I’m saying?
Who’s the gentleman that isn’t afraid
Of any impending disaster?
That’s exactly right.
Understand, Phallus is a d-amned–
(Reconsider that phrase)
But I’m discussing Phallus
(Then we can understand what you’re saying)
He’s a multi-faceted character
But no one understands him other than his good-lady wife
After he finished reading, Isaac set the paper down on his desk, leaned back in his chair and said, “Needs work.”
“But I do like the Greek-inspired, stereotype-fullfilling name,” he added brightly.
Editor: In what must surely be the greatest twist of logic ever to grace Thrifty V, I include the above Lp on the grounds that I exchanged it (and others, more of which later) at the used records stall in the Hythe Malt House for albums I’ve thrifted (including some featured here).
R.I.P. Robin Gibb
The ultimate charity shop album?
“The next time I see a clean copy of the Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack album, I’m going to buy it,” I grandly announced to my youngest son last Sunday; he and I were watching Family Guy whose music is by Walter “Fifth of Beethoven” Murphy and I was inspired. Who would have guessed that only two days later my scheme would be seen to its completion apon alighting the cafe of the Lord Whiskey Cat Sanctuary? Well, it was probably a safe bet: the album sold something like 15 million copies in its first year of release, going on to total 40 million world-wide at present.
While I already have the relevant BGs music on the rather lovely 3Lp Greatest, I have never owned SNF. I say never, in fact I did possess a 3M reel-to-reel version, taped from my friend Tim Tharp back in the day. Along with the track listing, I remember denoting myself as “producer”. I had recorded it, you see.
As it happens, the Brothers Gibb outshine nearly everything else on this double Lp, with only The Trammps’ “Disco Inferno” (all 11 mins. of it!) and “Open Sesame” by Kool & the Gang measuring up. Though not produced or played by the band, session singer Yvonne Elliman’s “If I Can’t Have You” and “More Than a Woman” by Tavares both counts as a Bee Gees songs since they were written B., R. & M. Gibb.
That fact that I couldn’t even remember the other songs, despite playing the record a lot in 1978, goes some way to demonstrating their worth. “Boogie Shoes” falls short of KC & the Sunshine Band’s slight standards being a poppy 12-bar blues more akin to T-Rex. David Shire’s instrumental contributions pale in comparison to just about anything found here, let alone the toothsome stars of the SNF soundtrack. Their presence disrupts the album’s flow, even if they make the point that absolutely anything could “go disco”; this point is better made by the aforementioned Beethoven pastiche.
Alluded to earlier at club Thrifty Vinyl, we have a mixed result then–but at least Rick Dees’ “Disco Duck” didn’t make the final cut.
Not for me the ultra-bright, arched-back, erected nipple sexiness of Farrah Fawcett-Majors; no, in the late 1970s, my televisual crush was on Mel Martin, titular star of London Weekend Television’s Love For Lydia by H.E. Bates. As the tragic, wilful heroine, Martin was able to inspire the hopeless sort of longing destined to end in wistful bitterness. So smitten was I that I allowed her to pull the same trick a decade or so later in the TV adaptation of Len Deighton’s Game, Set, Match trilogy and I keenly felt Ian Holm’s betrayal at her hands. Yet despite such a similar and strong emotional reaction, I didn’t realise it was one and the same actress till researching the present record.
The present record being flapper-style jazz played very straight, along with a few string-laden piano instrumentals, which I purchased this morning from the Lord Whiskey Cat Sanctuary Charity shop for a pound.
I knew this wasn’t like a regular Stevie record, but still had high hopes when I relieved it from the original owner at the last Lyminge Garage Safari. I’d read that this early digital recording was something of a lost masterpiece, its reputation rehabilitated after an initially cool reception, and that Wonder himself rated it as some of his best work. But while it might work as soundtrack music, divorced from moving images, some weedy-ass synth sounds that wouldn’t scare a 5 year-old, cloying muzak and a general air of self-indulgence make this an unwelcome listen ’round these parts. Apart, that is, from “Race Babbling”, a nine-minute hidden gem of proto-house that some Balearic DJ needs to cane, if he isn’t doing so already. Spotify that one–seriously wickit!
SIR PAUL WINS 7-YEAR CAMPAINGN TO RELINQUISH RESPONSIBILITY FOR BROAD STREET Lp
Ageing 1960s rockers have been handed a major moral victory as the European Parliament is set to curtail the artists’ statutory responsibility for recordings they made in the 1980s. Among the very worst music of their careers, albums such as Dirty Work by the Rolling Stones, It’s Hard by the Who, David Bowies’s Never Let Me Down and Give My Regards To Broad Street by Sir Paul McCartney can currently be blamed on their creators for 50 years. New legislation restricts bad reviews to just 30 years meaning that critical maulings of these albums will cease sometime during the next decade. Proposals to completely expunge the albums from critical records and people’s record collections were dismissed as impractical, though a “Guns For Sh*tty Albums” bill has passed initial stages of a New York state assembly lawmaking process.
“Obviously I’m thrilled, you know,” said McCartney at a press conference yesterday. “I mean, what was I thinking redoing those Beatles songs [on Broad Street]? They were never going to have the swing and feel of the originals, were they? And, Jesus, wasn’t the ‘intolerable interference’ I sued the Beatles over because of Phil Spector’s OTT treatment of ‘Long and Winding Road’; then here I go and do the same f*cking thing! And please let’s never mind the movie itself. The words ‘vanity’ and ‘project’ spring readily to mind. Wow.”
“And what about those ridiculous white suits, ugh! I really should have laid off the herbs around ’82,” he added, shaking his head.
Clifford Snoats, rock critic, writing in the Columbus Grauniad, said, “While the four or so new songs on Broad Street are fair to middling, the feeble pun of the title, which is more suited to the Leisure section of the West Briton Post, and terrible cover are enough to dismiss the album outright. As an exercise in pointlessness, it really does take some beating. Only the hardest of hardcore Macca-philes would rate it.”
But others were more forgiving. “It’s not that bad,” argued Kent Beatles fan Eric Weiss, who bought the album at a bootfair while on vacation in Cornwall, UK. “I certainly would want to retain the right to, say, buy the album from a charity shop for a couple pounds.”
“I’ve got a cool book about the movie, too,” said the slightly sad Weiss, “that I’d picked up at another bootfair just a few months before.”
However, Weiss is under no illusions about the intrinsic worth of the album and was quick to pour scorn on Folkestone’s British Heart Foundation for charging £19 for their copy.
“Okay, maybe I’m a glutton, but what kind of stupid eejit is going to pay that?”
Buying the 7″ at Smeeth bootfair when you’ve already got the picture disc is beyond the pale and a bit shameful. We’ve all got our crosses.
This and the previous two posts are the result of today’s carried-out threat to get to bootfairs by 7am. Time will tell if I can keep up the pace.