Over the Christmas period I was downloading some MP3s of some of the music I have on vinyl (since all my records (and cassettes) are still buried deep in the stuff that hasn’t been sorted out since we moved). It all started because I quoted a Jethro Tull song on here and a few people said they hadn’t heard it for ages – and I realised I hadn’t either because I only had that album on vinyl. So I downloaded it.
Then I got to thinking about some of the other stuff that hides in the dark recesses of the record collection. I mentally wandered around looking at record sleeves in my mind, one find lead to another or I’d go off in a tangent in a stream of consciousness adventure. Here are some of my finds:
Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel
This was the B-side of their 1975 hit Mr Raffles (Man it was mean) that was recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon in April 1975, although the song had been a single two years earlier.
This dates from the time when I would listen to music with the lights out, candle and incense burning, sitting crossed legged on the floor. My fledgling record collection didn’t always satisfy my listening needs and this was my weird music track.
I’ve always been a lover of the weird stuff; nothing pleases me more than someone asking, “What the hell are you listening to!” Over the years as my tastes have widened African music, Gaelic Scat, Tuvan throat singing jazz and other improvisational music have all entered my music collection but thinking about it this song is still quite weird!
A Certain Ratio
From my University days this one, released on Factory records in May 1980 – it was an obscure cover version of a 70’s funk hit. Apparently it was originally recorded for £50. I was first introduced to it by the flatmate of a friend called Dominic who was on my course. They lived in the dampest house I’ve ever known in George Street, Prestwich and his name was Tony and he played synth in a band at University, which I think were called Apocalypse Jive.
Anyway it was probably the only track I ever heard by ACR – although Tony did once ask me if I wanted to go and see them and I initially said yes but then declined on the grounds that I wanted to go and see Roy Harper in the main hall at the university – did I make the right choice – who knows?
No not the lumberjack shirted, I hate myself and I want to die, here we are now entertain us bunch from Seattle. This band were part of the 1960’s psychedelic scene in the UK. The song was released in 1968 and was a minor hit reaching something like number 34 in the charts. I first heard it when a school friend called Nick Watt sent it to me on a tape. He went to Coventry Poly and used to send me tapes instead of letters!
Travels on a cloud (up on the clouds)
He's one of the good time people now
I'm a face in the crowd (I'm in the crowd)
All dressed up and laughing loud
It’s a great song with lots of phased piano and strings, probably my favourite psychedelic tune of all time. Also on the same tape was Pandora’s box by Procol Harum
While horsemen ride across the green
and Snow White still remains unseen.
Pegasus, the winged horse,
relays his messages by Morse.
And like some pirate sailor
We crossed the Spanish Main
And brought our magic carpet
to a marble staircased plain.
They don’t write lyrics like that anymore!
Liberty Records Compilation
Another one from 1968, although obviously I’m far to young to have bought it when it first came out. I actually bought this in about 1985 in a record shop in Newcastle and it caught my eye because of the rather wonderful cover. The man in the shop told me that it would have been worth more if it had been in better condition.
It has track by some of the best bands to come out of that era, some of whom are well known now but wouldn’t have been so well known at the time, artists like Captain Beefheart, the Bonzo Dog Doodah Band and Canned Heat. However the band that caught my ear was called Hapshash and the Coloured Coat another UK psychedelic band. Actually they were a bunch of poster artists who designed posters for artists like Jimi Hendrix but who got together with some musician friends and make three albums. I’m still to find this on mp3 but hopefully one day or I’ll have to get the vinyl out again!
That's it for now - another rumage soon!