Category Archives: Vinyl

Have Some Sympathy And Some Taste

Since the evening of 8th May 1984 I’ve considered Benjamin Franklin a liar, he said “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Why?

Well, immediately after Vyvyan proclaimed “to the station!” the bass started and one of the Devil’s own (aka Lemmy) launched into “Ace of Spades”. It was then I knew that Franklin was a liar and for the last 31 years (and counting) I’ve been proved right as the third constant in the world has been down and dirty rock n roll courtesy of Mr Kilmister.

I’d been following Motorhead for a couple of years and this was post “Fast” Eddie Clarke but it was this performance that showed me that Lemmy was not just a fallen angel he was also a rock star.

Recently however it looks as if ‘m going to be proved wrong after all as the underworld is doing its best to reclaim Lemmy – presumably just to ensure that once again the Devil has all the best tunes (obviously Heaven has the best choreographers).

The good news is that he’s not going to go down without a fight. Despite having to give up the daily bottle of Jack Daniel’s and the speed he’s still hammering out the music both in the studio and on tour (I’ve tickets for February 2016 – only 18 weeks and counting). The latest release “Bad Magic” is everything that you’d expect from them plus, for extra kudos, their version of “Sympathy for the Devil” – and they play it pretty straight and loud, presumably as it’s a paean to their ultimate boss…..

Motorhead – Bad Magic (2015) – Vinyl

  • Victory or Die
  • Thunder & Lightning
  • Fire Storm Hotel
  • Shoot Out All of Your Lights
  • The Devil
  • Electricity
  • Evil Eye
  • Teach Them How to Bleed
  • Till the End
  • Tell Me Who to Kill
  • Choking on Your Screams
  • When the Sky Comes Looking for You
  • Sympathy for the Devil

Rate – 4/5

Listening Since Day One

CDs – 27, Vinyl Singles – 16, LPs – 18, Downloads – 5, Cassettes – 1

Total Tracks: 636, Time: 47h 53m 34s

Oh My Jesus

Playing this vinyl and actually thinking about my record collection resulted in a ‘road to Damascus’ moment, one that shook my musical beliefs/assumptions to the core (in an earthquake in Kent kind of way).

In an earlier post I covered a Led Zeppelin compilation CD and stated “Whilst I have a preference for earlier Led Zeppelin there’s nothing wrong with any of the tracks on this album.” Now, while I still stand by that statement, there does comes a time in everyone’s life where you have to take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror and decide whether to make a stand for what you really believe or continue hiding behind a mask for the rest of your days.

I’ve looked in that mirror and I’ve decided that I find the mask suffocating and it’s time to take it off.

So, what I’m about to say will be sacrilegious to many but it’s the truth and I can’t go on living a lie.

Here goes……….I like the idea of Led Zeppelin – a group of four virtuosos where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, extending the blues into modern rock music and forging a new path, stories of excess that can only be dreamt of by those that came before and after them, concerts that rewrote the meaning of improvisation for rock bands with no two performances ever being the same – more than I enjoy the reality.

I like many individual tracks but a lot of the music doesn’t hit me like I think it should, a lot of it is pure aural bombast, albeit of the highest order – or is that the point and am I just missing it?

Where it does all come together for me is on this album and it’s the only Zeppelin album in my collection that I return to on a regular basis. It’s a mix of new tracks and cast offs from previous sessions and that might be why it works for me – from the haunting “In The Light”, through the spontaneity of “In My Time Of Dying” ending up with the epic that is “Kashmir” – it delivers on so many different fronts.

Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (1975) – Triple Vinyl (2015 Reissue)

  •  Custard Pie
  • The Rover
  • In My Time of Dying
  • Houses of the Holy
  • Trampled Under Foot
  • Kashmir
  • In the Light
  • Bron-Yr-Aur
  • Down by the Seaside
  • Ten Years Gone
  • Night Flight
  • The Wanton Song
  • Boogie with Stu
  • Black Country Woman
  • Sick Again
  • Brandy & Coke (“Trampled Under Foot”) (Initial/Rough Mix)
  • Sick Again (Early Version)
  • In My Time of Dying (Initial/Rough Mix)
  • Houses of the Holy
  • Everybody Makes It Through (“In the Light”) (Early Version/In Transit)
  • Boogie with Stu (Sunset Sound Mix)
  • Driving Through Kashmir (“Kashmir”) (Rough Orchestra Mix)

Rate – 5/5

Listening Since Day One

CDs – 23, Vinyl Singles – 16, LPs – 17, Downloads – 5, Cassettes – 1

Total Tracks: 555, Time: 41h 44m 36s

I Wanna Be Yours, Pretty Baby

Now I’ve always thought that you can either have a great vocalist who can play some guitar or you can have a great guitarist who has a passable voice. I could never think of someone where the two came together.

And then I discovered George Thorogood going full throttle on the guitar and singing. And you know what? It didn’t change my view at all………

Thorogood is a great guitarist who sings to this best of his ability and that’s all we can ever ask of someone, none of us can do anything above the best of our ability.

The first slab of vinyl here is the debut, eponymous, release that introduces us to his take on the blues. Mainly an album of covers the stand out track here is John Lee Hooker’s “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” which is merged with another Hooker track, “House Rent Boogie”. The talking blues delivery suits Thorogood’s vocals and allows his guitar to do the business, live this is a killer track……………..

Nine years have passed by the time we get to the second slab of vinyl and in the meantime Thorogood’s star has ascended and he’s recorded the track that he’s probably most famous for “Bad To The Bone” (a classic that’s on every playlist I ever produce). Given his playing ability and the reputation of his stage shows I was expecting much more from this live album than it actually delivers.

It’s not for lack of trying on the part of Thorogood or his Destroyers it’s just that the recording comes across as a bit ‘flat’. The two big tracks (“One Bourbon…” and “Bad…”) are here but the live mix isn’t that good, the guitar and voice have no real separation – with “Bad…” this is one of the few instances in rock music when I actually prefer the studio version to the live one.

There is also a bit of an issue with quality control (imho) with Thorogood and band not only playing a cover of “Alley Oop” but allowing it to be committed to vinyl……… This song was original recorded by The Hollywood Argyles in 1960 and was a novelty hit. It should have been left there, no one needs to hear any version of this ever again (unless you really want to – if so hit the ‘play’ button below and be transported back to ‘quality’ prime time viewing from the 60s)

It’s not fair to leave any post with that as the final video so here’s one of George Thorogood and the Destroyers revisiting past glories with “Bad To The Bone” from a few years ago.

George Thorogood and the Destroyers (1977) – Vinyl

  • You Got to Lose
  • Madison Blues
  • One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer
  • Kind Hearted Woman
  • Can’t Stop Lovin’
  • Ride On Josephine
  • Homesick Boy
  • John Hardy
  • I’ll Change My Style
  • Delaware Slide

Rate – 3/5

George Thorogood and the Destroyers – Live (1986) – Vinyl

  • Who Do You Love?
  • Bottom Of The Sea
  • Night Time
  • I Drink Alone
  • One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer
  • Alley Oop
  • Madison Blues
  • Bad To The Bone
  • The Sky Is Crying
  • Reelin’ & Rockin’

Rate – 3/5

Listening Since Day One

CDs – 21, Vinyl Singles – 16, LPs – 16, Downloads – 5, Cassettes – 1

Total Tracks: 514, Time: 38h 07m 50s


Cute In A Stupid Ass Way

If you have the good fortune to be taught by an inspirational teacher you find, as you grow older, that they have left an indelible mark on you. You may not think of them for years on end and then something happens and suddenly you remember them with such clarity it’s as if they’ve always been with you.

I was out with my good friend Mr B and Mr F last night and after a few drinks we were reminiscing about our teachers from 30+ years ago. After working through the key players who helped us build up relevant, and irrelevant, knowledge that is forever stuck in our brains (“the Sierra Nevada a block of igneous rock sloping gently to the west” – why did I ever need to know that?) we came across a collective space in our memories. There was one teacher who had been so ineffectual that he’d left an indelible blank. Like trying to capture a dream on waking the more we thought about him the more his name slipped from our grasp until, fuelled by further drinkage, the name Mr Atwell revealed itself.

Trying to remember his name had caused us so much aggravation that I agreed to record it here for posterity and as insurance against future moments of brain fade. So here it is once more – Mr Atwell.

We then moved onto the TV series ‘The Tomorrow People’ – not the awful US version that is briefly blighting our screens but the original UK series from the 70s. Cue opening credits –

Then Mr F reminded us that they used travel by ‘jaunting’. That’s right, whilst shows like Star Trek would have phasers, space ships, use tractor beams and have instructions to “Beam me up, Scotty” – we had the very English Tomorrow People based in a disused London Underground station with their computer (TIM) using bracelets to jaunt from place to place.

I don’t know if I’ve ever really used the word jaunt, after all I don’t live in the 1950s (having said that I am going to the Isle of Wight tomorrow……….). The closest I would have come to using it is in referring to someone wearing a hat at a jaunty angle, probably someone like Handsome Jack.

Handsome Jack is one of the names used by Scott Walker during ‘Jackie’ the opening track on his 1968 album ‘Scott 2’. Did you see what I did there? You thought all this tripe was just thrown together? Well it is but sometimes the tenuous links will appear as if by magic…

Scott 2 is an undeniable masterpiece as Walker continued moving away from chart hits (with The Walker Brothers) as he followed the path of musical freedom. An album of covers and some original Walker compositions, the matching of voice and orchestration means that this is more a collection of aural vignettes than the traditional pop songs he had been known for.

All human life is here as the darker side of experience is mixed with the occasional promise of hope and the album is all the better for it, as it gives a chance to discover – Jackie who moves through life from gigolo to ‘procurer of young girls’ and beyond, Billy who floats away like a balloon, the soldier losing his virginity in a mobile brothel, the Amorous Humphrey Plugg, a paean to the girls from the streets and the hope that Scott’s beloved will still be waiting for him in Spring.

Everyone should listen to this album at least once………

Scott Walker – Scott 2 (1968) – Vinyl

  • Jackie
  • Best of Both Worlds
  • Black Sheep Boy
  • The Amorous Humphrey Plugg
  • Next
  • The Girls from the Streets
  • Plastic Palace People
  • Wait Until Dark
  • The Girls and the Dogs
  • Windows of the World
  • The Bridge
  • Come Next Spring

Rate – 5/5

Listening Since Day One

CDs – 21, Vinyl Singles – 16, LPs – 14, Downloads – 5

Total Tracks: 492, Time: 36h 20m 20s

It’s A Bitter Pill

I bought this album when it first came out in February (limited edition of 200 in “Two High Greens” colour vinyl fact fans) and since then it’s been sitting next to the turntable as I’ve been too nervous to play it. The previous album by Blackberry Smoke blew me away (see here) – what if this one didn’t deliver????

I eventually summoned up the courage to play it last week and as the first track kicked in I had a flashback to 1976 – I was trying to convince my mum that the new Queen album “A Day At The Races” was amazing and just as good as “A Night At The Opera” whilst deep inside I ached (as only a 12 year old can) because I knew I was trying to fool myself.

Unfortunately it’s the same here, this isn’t a patch on “The Whippoorwill”, it feels as if they’re trying too hard, they’re no longer good ol’ boys enjoying themselves they’re too busy trying to match what’s gone before. Now that’s not to say that this album’s a bust, there are still some good tracks, but some (like “Let Me Help You (Find the Door)”) just don’t feel like they belong whilst others (take a bow “Rock and Roll Again”) sound just a bit too derivative.

I’m hoping that this will grow on me but initially this has to be rated as a 3 – Good but not Outstanding.

Having said all that I do love the track “Holding All The Roses” and I still want to see them live……………..

Blackberry Smoke – Holding All The Roses (2015) – Vinyl

  • Let Me Help You (Find the Door)
  • Holding All the Roses
  • Living in the Song
  • Rock and Roll Again
  • Woman in the Moon
  • Too High
  • Wish in One Hand
  • Randolph County Farewell
  • Payback’s a Bitch
  • Lay It All on Me
  • No Way Back to Eden
  • Fire in the Hole

Rate – 3/5

Listening Since Day One

CDs – 21, Vinyl Singles – 16, LPs – 14, Downloads – 5

Total Tracks: 480, Time: 35h 36m 33s