Monthly Archives: August 2004

A superb, legendary record day! For years I’ve read on the exotica list about people who come upon large collections and are able to find a bunch of amazing records all in one place for not too much money. Well it happened to me! I met a guy on ebay when I bought a record, and today I went to his house and bought 80 more! Mostly great and obscure late 60s and early 70s UK-issue easy listening. Some very nice stuff. I’ve only listened to about 10 or 15 records so far, but they sound great. I’ve been making notes and will review them here.

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Oddio Overplay

Congratulations to Katya on the launch of the new Oddio Overplay. The site is basically a celebration of music, and in particular, music transmitted over the internet. There’s a huge volume of links to sites hosting mp3 audio, presented in a variety of interesting ways, such as annotated lists, mp3 playlists featuring audio from all over the web, and collections of radio stations. There’s also artwork, an accompanying blog, and information about audio players. The site has been around for a while, but this redesign has definitely helped its focus. I contributed a track to the compilation celebrating the relaunch. Now I see that it’s the first track, I wish I had spent some more time on it, but I don’t think it spoils the compilation too much!

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It’s time for a long-overdue hitlist. When Calle from Sweden came over to see Marcos Valle play, he brought with him a CD compilation for me, containing several nice tracks. We also talked about music a lot and he alerted me to Francoise Hardy’s La Question album from 1971. I had heard about this before, but perhaps because its title is so generic sounding, it had never stuck in my head. It’s a great album.

Viens – Françoise Hardy

• The opening track on La Question, this starts off sounding very like a song from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ Henry’s Dream. Strummed guitar, slightly funky drums and lots of strings. Yes, the production on this record is much nicer. But unlikely as it sounds, there’s a genuine similarity.

Pa Regnbuevej (Make It With You) – Birgit Lystager

• I got to really appreciate this tune via Ronnie Aldrich’s great stringy/piano easy listening version. Birgit sings it in Danish with an equally lovely arrangement.

O Trem Azul – Anamaria E Mauricio

• A track from Calle’s compilation, this one really knocks me out. Nice early 70s arrangements, great vocal performances, and a stunning composition.

Sunny – Os 3 Morais

• This is from an early release (their debut?) from 1967, which I had never heard before. It never quite continues after the heights of the wonderful harmonized introduction, but is pretty nice all the same. The album also includes a great version of ‘Moonglow’.

Pandora’s Golden Heebie Jeebies – Association

• Apparently this is from their Renaissance album. This really irritates me, because I owned that album for several years before giving it away last year, and I’m sure I never heard this track! I think my 25-cent copy of the record was in just poor enough condition to stop me really making the effort to get into it. That’s a great shame, because I missed this superb psychedelic pop number, which has some wonderful Beach Boys style harmonies towards the end.

Berimbau – Luiz Henrique

• Luiz never fails to delight, and this vocal version of Baden Powell’s famous song is great. The English lyrics used sound different to ones I’ve heard before.

A Taste of Soul – Les Baxter

• This came from an unexpected treat – a previously unheard-by-me album of Les’s from a period by him I really like – the late 1960/early 70s. This is the era of Que Mango, and this album, called Million Sellers (perhaps ironically, since the tracks all seem to be never-recorded-again originals) sounds pretty much just like that, except a bit less tropical. So it’s all nice brass/strings/drums, very bouncy and hip. It’s all cool. This and a couple more of the tracks really stand out. I will have to make a ‘Hip Baxter’ compilation some time. It would stand nicely alongside overviews of his exotic work.

I know you love me not – Julie Driscoll

• From a charity shop purchase, I recommended this over at musical taste. A dramatic Scott Walker/Dusty Springfield style ballad with unusual vocals and a superb arrangement.

R Walter – Changeover A (Conroy Library 1974)

• A short little interlude with brass, organ and big beats. Nice chord sequence.

Boys Keep Swinging – Associates

• The obligatory lone post-1974 track! My pal Robert has made us big Associates and Roxy Music fans, and I actively sought out this early Associates cover of one of my favorite Bowie songs. Billy Mackenzie sounds very sincere. The instrumentation is very plain and well done.

Grass Roots – The days of Pearly Spencer

• Being the age that I am, I knew this mostly via Marc Almond’s version. The vocal effect on the chorus is bizarre! It’s like an over-the-top telephone effect. The song is a little goofy but very enjoyable.

Always you – The Sundowners

• I put this on a compilation recently, and perhaps I’ve played it too much, but it really is a winner. A Roger Nichols song that was recommended at musical taste by eftimihn.

Airport love theme – Magnetic Sounds

• I bought an album by these people when I was in Brazil. This is on the follow up. I thought the first album was funny, but this is the funniest track I have ever heard in my life. What’s even better is that the musical backing is the ‘Airport love theme’, which is a tune that I’m very fond of. The whole point of the group seems to have been to do low-budget ‘Je t’aime’ cash-ins.

Him: Hey

Her: Me?

Him: Yes. I’m talking to you.

Her: Please! I don’t know you.

Him: It doesn’t matter. where are you going. can you tell me?

Her: What for?

Him: I want to go the same way. It’s going to be great to be together. It’s going to be wonderful.

Her: Oh no

Him: Let’s fly together. You and me. Up in the sky.

Her: No. No.

Him: Are you very afraid? Let me hold your hand. I knew it. They are cold. Very cold.

Her: Leave me alone, please

Him: No, I can’t. I just can’t. But to blame your lips, or your eyes ????

Her: No, please

Him: Let me hold you in my arms. Please. Let me hold you. So

Her: No

Him: Let me tell you about love. How love, you, me and not else besides. besides.

Her: Besides what?

Him: one kiss. One night. One kiss?

Her: No, No

Him: Please, Please

Her: No, No

Him: One kiss, please

Her: No

Him: Stay in my arms. Tell me you want my kiss. Tell me please!

Her: No, No

Him: Please

Her: Yes, Yes!

Him: Please

Her: Yes! Yes! YES!

Him: Kiss me!

Her: Yes! Yes!

Funky Robot – Dave “Baby” Cortez

• I was unfamiliar with Cortez’s funky work before. But this is pretty cool. Ok, maybe not really cool, but it’s so contrived that I find it rather charming.

Mr. Lucky – Jimmy McGriff

• Fantastic – Mancini in a funky early 70s style! The whole album (Groove Grease), in spite of its slightly humdrum looking tracklisting, is actually fantastic – all of it in the same organ/bouncy beat style. I get a kick out of the sound of 1960 (or was it 61?) being played in 72.

Afro Mania – Preson Epps

• This was recommended by our old pal tinks at musical taste a few years ago. Quite hard to come by and extremely cool – a bongo/groovy guitar driven track with some nice whistly /flute sounds. It’s basically all one big blues jam, with very little variation. I don’t mind though.

Yummy, Yummy, Yummy – Rita Chao

• I had to put something on from the oriental volume of Girls in the Garage. This is very cool. I don’t have the inlay, so I can’t say where Rita comes from, but she’s very enjoyable to listen to.

Until next time….

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So my summer gig adventures are now over.

Last night was Lee Hazlewood. It was a wonderful experience to see him in person. He had a band of about 10 musicians, all filling out and just about achieving various classic sounds from throughout Lee’s career. As he took to the stage, they played a nice pastiche of 13-era Lee, with funky beats and nice horns. Lee sat on a stool and told amusing stories. The material was a mix of old and new; old mostly. A particular highlight for me was ‘For one moment’. He played a medley of ‘hits’ – ‘sugartown’, ‘some velvet morning’, ‘summer wine’ etc. While he was playing ‘sugartown’, a girl near us in the audience leapt out of her seat and did some cool gogo dancing at the front. The musicians were great; a few of them were from Stereolab and the High Llamas, and they clearly had great reverence for the material.

Last Wednesday I saw Brian Wilson’s ‘Smile’ tour. I think he played for 5 nights, and this was definitely a big commercial tour, with keyrings, mugs, t-shirts and everything. The guy selling cheap bootleg t-shirts outside reminded me of trudging up to Brixton Academy in my youth, and the mass of people reminded me of the Madness ‘Madstock’ gig from 1992. The feeling was that the Beach Boys are so famous that lots of people just went because they heard the name and thought ‘legend’. I heard quite a few people asking about the Smile album as if they imagined they could pick up a vintage pressing! None of this mattered, and the show was stunning. The musicians were outstanding, and their professionalism and devotion to getting just the right sound was even more impressive than that of Lee Hazlewood’s entourage. The opening half featured Brian singing with the group gathered around him like a campfire. There was a bongo player sat on the floor. They played a delectable selection of 60s Beach Boys tracks, including ‘God Only Knows’, which Brian introduced slightly sarcastically as ‘Paul MacCartney’s favorite Beach Boys track’. Well, it’s mine too; I can’t help it!

After an interval, the group spread out and played the entire ‘Smile’ suite. The only disappointment for me was that there was no ‘Til I die’. I guess my Beach Boys knowledge isn’t flawless, since I had always thought that this track had been intended for Smile. Then as an encore, the band came back and roared through the radio hits of the Beach Boys – ‘surfin USA’, ‘Barbara Ann’, ‘Help me Rhonda’ etc. None of these songs ever did too much for me, but it was a fun occasion. At this point most of the audience was on its feet clapping away. I could see very little from my £ 35 seat (the picture above was taken at an extreme zoom setting!), but it sounded pretty amazing so I didn’t mind.

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Brian Wilson was great. I will give a more full report along after I see Lee Hazlewood tomorrow night. In the meantime, here’s some recent vinyl purchases.

Alzo & Udine: 'C'Mon and Join Us' (LP; Mercury; 1969)
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This album is just too much fun; I had to get hold of a copy. Discovered via that amazing Musical Taste site. The title track is wonderful - a latin-bee gees -funk style jam, and at least three or four of the other tracks are essentially the same song. But that's not a problem.

Billy Pepper and the Pepperpots: 'Merseymania' (LP; Pickwick; 1964)
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Rubbish exploitation album. Cool cover though, and probably the earliest Pickwick budget album in my collection.

Blossom Dearie: 'That's Just the Way I Want to Be' (LP; Fontana; 1970)
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One of those albums that somehow sounds better now I have the original LP. Very nice late 60s pop/bossa; far more varied than I remembered it. Most well known for the storming percussion on the final track, 'I like London in the rain' (an appropriate song for today, incidentally).

Chappel AV Series: 'Dance and Pop' (LP; Chappell; 1986)
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'This disc features dance and pop music based upon the styles & sounds of the mid 1980s' Pretty cool stuff! All tracks are written and produced by Steve Jeffries

Chappel AV Series: 'Sea/Water' (LP; Chappell; 1986)
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Chris Payne: 'Drama/Horror' (LP; Chappell; 1985)
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D. Farnon/R.Walter: 'Soft Sounds & Gentle Movements' (LP; Conroy; 1974)
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A great album that got me enthused, probably for the first time, about library records and production music. The first side is by Dennis Farnon, and has nice strings and gently groovy basslines. The second side is by 'R. Walter', and is more percussive, with that great open snare sound and some groovy tracks. Fantastic stuff, and with that added psychological bonus that since hardly any of these were pressed, I feel like I really have something rare and unheard here. That's probably bollocks, but hey...

Esquivel: 'Latinesque' (LP; RCA; 1962)
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I kind of wish I had the beautiful original US release of this one, but I'm happy to have any at all. And this later UK pressing seems to be of a high standard. This was one of the few Esquivel albums I had yet to pick up (well, of the reasonably common ones, anyway), and it's very cool - the classic zu-zu vocals and wailing brass are there, and I still haven't grown tired of them.

Isaac Hayes: 'Truck Turner' (LP; Stax/Pye; 1974)
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Very cool soundtrack double album. Nice to have some solid funk like this on vinyl.

John Fox Symphonic Orchestra: 'Pomp and Glory - the best of Edward Elgar' (LP; Sonoton; 1985)
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Half of this is 'condensed' (ie popsong-sized) arrangements of Elgar. The other is synthesizer versions of the same arrangements. I've only listened to it once, and I don't know when I'll listen again. But I couldn't leave it in the charity shop, could I...

Jorgen Ingmann: 'Min Ballon/Katten Og Musen' (45; Metronome; 1962)
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I bought this because the cover looked kind of cool and one of the tracks was a Billy Mure composition. But it's a kind of chipmunk style novelty record and hasn't exactly been stuck to my turntable.

Julie Driscoll/Brian Auger: 'Jools/Brian' (LP; MFP; 1967)
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This album seems much too groovy and cool to have been found in a charity shop, but that's what happened. It also seems too cool for the MFP label. It's a mixture of Julie Driscoll's late 60s dramatic pop ballads (with a bit of a Scott Walker/Dusty Springfield flavour) and Brian Auger/Brian Auger Trinity organ tracks, which are mostly smoking soul style instrumentals.

Very nice stuff! Shame my copy is more or less trashed. But dig the way my cover still has someone's 60s wrapping paper attached to cover up the price!

Michel Legrand: 'Violent Violins' (LP; Mercury; 1964)
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I coveted this UK reissue of Michel Legrand's 'Plays for Dancers' LP for years, mainly because of its very cool cover. Fisheye effect, a sparkly catsuit, S&M, a cool 50s atomic style font; this one has it all!

The LP is quite cool (I actually already have the US issue). The famous compiled tracks, 'Digue-ding' and 'Come ray and come charles' are the standouts, but it's all good fun.

Richard Anthony: 'Richard Anthony' (LP; Pathe; 1966)
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Surprisingly groovy and enjoyable French 60s rock'n'roll album, with originals and also cover versions of Dusty Springfield, Rolling Stones, and Holland-Holland-Dozier tracks.

Stanley Black: 'Festival in Costa Rica' (LP; Decca; 1961)
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Nice early Stanley Black album. It's 50s style sanitised Latin easy listening music. The album includes 6 Lecuona tracks and is really quite enjoyable.

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