……….the point of this blog is/was to record all the vinyl, CDs, etc I have but since starting it I’ve caught the vinyl bug again and the collection has started to grow at an alarming rate once more. Returning from the big smoke yesterday weighed down with Led Zeppelin, Blackberry Smoke and Scott Walker records I was welcomed home by a triple disc offering from Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. that I’d ordered a couple of weeks ago.
So drastic plastic overload calls for drastic action. No more new purchases until I’ve submitted at least a further ten posts (except for the two releases still on order and then there’s the record fair in Reading on Good Friday. Hmm maybe I should have looked at the diary before I started typing……)
When I was in my teens I used to get embarrassed at the most innocuous of things but nowadays it rarely happens although it was a pretty close thing last weekend. Looking through the cheap CDs in HMV I came across one by a group that I’ve always wondered about. I held in my hand an album that some people rate as one of the best live recordings of all time and which was, arguably, the album that ensured this group moved into the rock stratosphere. However it was also a group that I’ve always considered to be the ultimate proof that style over substance can succeed. But, I thought, how can millions of people be wrong?
As I handed over the CD to the girl on the checkout I felt like a teenager buying condoms for the first time, should I explain why I was buying it, what did she think of me for handing over such an item, could I ask her to put it in a brown paper bag?
When I got home I composed myself and pressed play……….
……..all my worst fears were confirmed – Kiss ‘Alive!’ – is full of rock sludge and inanities on a colossal scale. Maybe if I’d heard this when it originally came out and I was 11 I’d have appreciated the banal lyrics, repetitive approach to songs, run of the mill solos and attempts at banter. But I’m not 11 and the only reason I made it through all 80ish minutes was because I couldn’t believe that it wouldn’t get better at some point – believe me, it doesn’t.
It was another normal day at school, trying not to get picked on by teachers, trying not to look too bored, trying not to look too keen, trying not to get picked on by bullies, just trying to survive until the until the home-time bell rang.
Anthony leant across the desk and whispered conspiratorially “You heard the new Bowie single ‘Ashes To Ashes’? It’s crap! What the hell does ‘funk to funky’ mean???”
The following week he was in the corridor extolling the virtues of the new Bowie single and how much it meant to him. I asked him what had changed and with perfect teenage logic he replied “Nothing. But my parents don’t like so now I do.”
I bought this album originally from Simon’s the underground record shop on Oxford Street and from the first track it blew me away. Any album that could start with something as weird as “It’s No Game (Part One)” and end with something as, relatively, normal as “It’s No Game (Part Two)” belonged in my collection.
Listening to it now, 35 years later and despite the familiarity of some of the tracks released as singles, it still has the same effect. Bowie moving from a schizophrenic rant at the start of the album, working through his issues and then ending with a more accepting attitude (of things that he can’t change such as people messing around with reissues).
The problem with the reissue is that, as a sop to fans, it has four extra tracks tagged on the end and the original flow of the album is totally lost. Record companies need to realise that just because you get some free extras on a release it doesn’t necessarily make it better……it can make it worse (still 5/5 though)
David Bowie – Scary Monsters (1980) – CD 1992 Reissue
Minimatic – If This Is Love / Owner Of A Boogaloo Heart (2015) – Vinyl
Minimatic is a French DJ/Producer/Musician that I first found on BandCamp a few years ago via his A Dizzy Saved My Soul vinyl release (I’ll come to that one at some time in the future when I find it). Most of his work is released only via download and, despite having a load of downloads, that isn’t really my thing – I know I’m a dinosaur but I like to have something physical and to these ears vinyl always sounds more ‘real’ than a load of 0s and 1s.
I think this is his first vinyl release since then and, if I was a significant number of years younger, I’d play this in a club. Listening at home however the A side is a bit to heavy on the beats, this isn’t a bad thing as it makes you want to move your feet but that’s hardly conducive to sitting in an armchair on a Sunday morning………..
The B side works better in that respect, and is the side I prefer, but then again I’m not an avid Yes fan. With them it’ll probably be a marmite moment.
My first real music obsession was with Queen, ‘A Night At The Opera’ was my first album and my first concert was seeing them in May ’78 on the News of the World tour. They’ve had a place in my musical heart ever since but, if I’m honest, I lost interest in them after about 1980. Their worldwide success was still ahead of them and I still followed their progress but, for me, the spark that made them different had burnt out.
I was nervous therefore when I played Live At The Rainbow ’74 (another birthday present – this time via a gift token), would it burst my memories, my assumptions that the early years were when they showed their best work? I’d read comments complaining of modern day overdubs and drum fills ruining the music…………
If there were overdubs and fills I didn’t notice them (unless they’re on the 4LP version) and my memories remain intact. This is a recording of a group enjoying their music, discovering what’s possible, working as a team and finding how to work that rapport with the audience that was such an element of Queen live shows.
If people want to know why Queen were important and how they managed to build such a following they should ignore compilations bulked up by ‘forgotten tracks’ (‘Queen Forever’ hang your head in shame) and look here. It’s upon performances like this that reputations are forged.
Queen – Live At The Rainbow ’74 (2014) – Double Vinyl
So I guess it’s time to break the cycle of wake, work, eat, order music, sleep…………. and re-join the real world.
I was aware of John Lee Hooker for some time before I actually sort out his music, I knew of him through The Groundhogs, via Dr Feelgood’s ‘Milk and Alcohol’ and finally by stumbling across a copy of ‘Dimples’ in a Cornish record shop (can’t remember exactly where, it was next to the harbour).
In 2000 I was on holiday with Mrs P in France, just outside of Saumur, and my holiday reading included his biography. His colourful life (pun intended? who knows?) piqued my interest in his music and I found this CD in a French record shop.
I’ve listened to this any number of times and if truth be told I’m more of a blues wannabe fan than the real McCoy. When I play this all the way through the tracks become a bit ‘samey’ and I tend to zone out (this time round I don’t remember anything after about track 18………….and this was with me concentrating). However as a CD to dip into, an indication of his skill and style, and a document of music some 60+ years ago this is invaluable.