Five records in the mail today! This is what makes me feel good, after a kinda crappy couple of days. I am also making my triumphant return to the world of DJing later this week – I’m this month’s guest DJ at In Hi-Fi on Thursday. I also bought the new Bjork and Stereolab records last week and quite enjoyed them – more detailed reviews to come soon.
City of Westminster String Band: 'Knock Three Times and More' (LP; Pye; 1971)
I had never heard of this record before I found it; can't wait to hear it.
Update: well, I've heard it now, and it really isn't as good as the other two COWSB records I have. Other than a highly unusual and very groovy easy listening version of 'Oh you pretty things' by David Bowie, this doesn't have much for me. Strange, when John Schroeder makes a good track, it's usually very, very good. But a lot of the time, his taste in material seems to differ too much from mine....
Frances Faye: 'You Gotta Go! Go! Go!' (LP; Stateside/EMI; 1964)
Wow, this looks to have been a real bargain. Recorded with Shorty Rogers, and featuring some rocking sounding tracks (e.g. 'comin' home baby', 'hard days night'.
John Schroeder: 'Latin Vibrations' (LP; Polydor; 1971)
Housed in a beautiful cover, and with at least one outstanding track, Paramaribo, I had extremely high hopes for this LP. I hated it the first time I heard it, but listening now it doesn't seem so bad. The first side consists of some reasonably schlocky early 70s easy listening music. The arrangements are quite good, but some of the choices of material don't really do it for me. And believe me, I'm not all that fussy! I've got no problem with hearing Percy Faith doing 'Feelings' or Ronnie Aldrich doing 'Make it with you', but John Schroeder doing 'If you could read my mind' somehow doesn't quite do it for me. One of the most inventive arrangements is saved for 'With a little help from my friends', which is a shame for me, since I'm really not fond of that song.
The second side is better than the first. It begins with a tasty version of 'Manha de Carnaval,' featuring some shimmering strings. This is followed up with an interesting and slightly beaty version of 'Moanin'. Next comes the superbly bouncy 'Paramaribo', with its catchy and jazzy piano riff, tasty brass and nice vibes. This is by an enormous distance the best track on the album. 'Sweet Unity', a Johnny Pearson original, is a nice quiet one with Latin percussion and some nice shimmery sounds. The album concludes with 'It don't come easy,' which is quite a nice upbeat easy number. The prominence of flutes in the arrangement isn't really to my taste, but it has a nice groove to it.
At the end of the day, I have to say that the arrangements don't really hold my attention quite as well as those by, for example, Percy Faith on his contemporary Angel of the morning and Black magic woman albums, so this album remains a bit of a disappointment. Great cover though!
Shirley Scott: 'Shirley Scott & The Soul Saxes' (LP; Atlantic; 1969)