|A Cabinet of Cut-price Curiosities
||[Apr. 19th, 2009|12:25 pm]
As you probably all know, I've been sublimating my anxiety and concerns about life by buying records for the last six months or so. Well, I am about to start taking things seriously again, but in the meantime, I thought I'd share with you (some of) the fruits of what I've been up to. What I enjoy the most about buying records isn't annoying bidding wars on ebay - rather it's the spirit of wandering around the city, digging in a box of crust and taking a punt or a chance on something unknown and seeing what you discover, hopefully finding something fascinating or groovy in these random encounters. I haven’t found any mad psych raers but that’s not really the point – what have consistently found is records I’ve enjoyed, that pique my curiousity or fascinate me in some way.
Some of the fruits of my exertions are in the chart below. This chart was originally for the VG+ board but I'm chucking it out here for you guys as well. All these records have in common is that I’ve found them all (bar one) digging out and about in the last few months or so, and that I knew nothing about them when I picked them up. A couple are from “proper” shops but most are from charities. Oh, and they were all cheap as chips – most expensive by a long shot was £10. It’s a bit random and all over the place, but… erm.. so am I.
I'm going to embed the chart as a playlist here and then add photos and notes below. Sorry the photos are so big, but too much HTML in one go does my head in. Anyway, I hope you enjoy some of them at least a fraction as much as I enjoyed finding them.
1. RL Edwards & the Strings of Prophecy "I'll Have a New Body" (Fissac LP)
RL Edwards is kind of the totem god of chazza shopping or me, as it’s possibly the first good thing I ever found. I know nothing about him, he seemed to be quite prolific though, as I’ve since found a reggae record by him. Who was he? Was he a travelling preacher? Something with links with a UK Church? Most pressingly, how did this electric blues sound of the Mississippi end up on a private press label out of Streatham?
2. The Edwin Hawkins Singers "Trouble in the World Today" (Buddah LP)
Found one Saturday morning as I took the long way round to get a paper. May be a bit too smooth for some, but it’s a solid gospel soul LP, with the production reminiscent of Curtis Mayfield’s 70s work. What really kills it for me is the soaring vocals of the choir.
3. Johnny Thunder - "Outlaw" (Diamond 7")
R&B with a peculiar Western theme. The flip on this ("Jailer bring me water") is great as well.
4. Vigrass & Osbourne "Forever Autumn" (Uni LP)
Nice bit of dreamy pop (pop-psych?) with added Moog from the early 70s. Strong album overall and defintely worth picking up. Features the ubiquitous Alan Hawkshaw on keys and Doris Troy on backing vocals!
5. Higgs & Wilson "Sha Ba Da" (Starlite 7")
I really love the sound of early reggae. You can hear the fusion taking place between American R & B/New Orleans boogie-woogie nd Jamaican culture. This record is absolutely perfect example – it’s like early rock and roll track, bar the vocals. The recording is a little lo-fi, but this adds to the charm.
6. The Astronauts - "Syncopate" (Trojan LP)
This is the one record in the chart that’s not a recent find. It’s a long-term loan, recently reclaimed. The friend who had it drew my attention to this track. Id guess The Astronauts was a cover-up kind of name for an African band? Strange thing to encounter on Trojan at any rate but sounds fantastic to my ears.
7. Bo Dollis & the Wild Magnolia Mardi Gras Indian Band - "Handa Wanda" (Mardi Gras LP)
Another comp track. Dollis was made "big chief" of the Magnolias Mardi Gras Indian "tribe" According to their website, "Mardi Gras Indians" aren't native americans but "black working-class groups that are part secret and spiritual society and part neighborhood social club" They put out this slamming tune in the same year, which was the kick off point for the Magnolias later career.
8. The Laggan "Rosa Luxembourg" (Klub LP)
Socialist folk put out by the Scottish Trade Union Council? Yes please! Rosa Luxembuorg was a socialist revolutionary in Weimar Germany, who was murdered (alongside Karl Liebknecht and 1200 others) by the Kaiser’s troops in 1919. I find this fascinating 'cos it shows how much Leftist politics has changed since the record came out - there's a real consciousness here that the struggles of the working men of Germany in the early part of the 20th century were part of the same struggles fought by unions and the Left back in the 70s. This historical perspective seems strangely absent now. A perfect soundtrack for storming the barricades.
9. E. Artimev & Y. Bogdanov "Voiles" (Melodaya LP)
A strange Russian LP of early Russian electronica featuring Eduard Artimev, who was responsible for the music in Tarkovsky's film Stalker. This is their version of a Debussey melody and quite beautiful in a librayesque way. The LP features several other strange sci-fi soundtracky moments.
10. Hula - "Seven Sleepers" (Red Rhino LP)
Strange little LP where industrial sensibilities collide with 80s pop. Really unusual production which reminds me more than anything else of early hip hop or Keith Le Blanc's "Major Malfunction". Features several non-vocal tracks like this one.