Friday, August 19, 2016

Never leave me

If it's Friday it must be a double header 45. At least for a while here, and now and then, that holds true.

About time for another one.

For a long time I was only aware of Thelma Jones through her tortured and superb 1976 single Salty Tears, which has featured here before. I have since familiarised myself to a degree with her earlier output. The House That Jack Built for example is a favourite on the mod/scooter/Northern scene and is a stormer.

Until recently I didn't have any other records of hers, but now this, a copy of her first 45, is safely tucked away in the collection. Stronger I knew, it's a good driving dancer, although a little repetitive. The attraction for me is Never Leave Me. I had not heard this track until a few months ago. Something of a deep soul gem, it is right up my alley. Thelma takes it to church, although to be more precise I am sure she took it straight from church where I just know she must have been singing just before she recorded this in late 1966. A time when the slow, deep side would still take the A, with the dancer relegated to the B. That would soon change, and the trend continued to the extent that the dancer always seems to get the push now whether it was an A or a B side – as I said I knew Stronger but it has taken nearly 50 years to hear Never Leave Me, and now it will live up to its title. Thelma Jones is one helluva singer who deserves to have a deeper catalog.

PS: Mrs Darce and I are off to Canada for three weeks next Friday. I will try and fit in another post, although packing panic may well set in. So this may be the last post until later in September.     

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Atlantic flossing

It has been gruelling at the car boot sales lately. 2016 is rapidly turning into the “ is now” to 2015's “they think it's all over...”.

It could just be me. I don't seem to be able to get up quite as early as I used to so I may miss most of the worms. My lack of any real finds leads to dejection which leads to apathy and ends up with me not going so regularly. I am getting more choosy maybe. Oh, and of course I haven't got the space for any more records anyway – not that that has stopped me before!

But I am hearing the same story from other vinyl hunters. We grumbled about 2015 and we are shaking our head over 2016. It's a vinyl desert out there.

I found myself bottom feeding last Saturday. Why do I class it so? Firstly, I missed the start of the booter by a good 30 minutes – first of all I had to overcome the apathy mentioned above, then I had to overcome the traffic. So if there were any records the chances were the best had gone. Certainly, and predictably, vinyl - of any description - was hard to find. Secondly I found myself on a known dealer's pitch looking through every last single he had on offer in a couple of boxes. It was odds on it would be a ragbag of well known rock and pop in questionable condition he just wanted to offload. But I needed to look through some records. So I did, and I was pleasantly surprised to come away with seven 45s for the grand sum of £1.50. Included in this seven were The Hollies, The Troggs, Nancy Sinatra, Ronnie Lane, and the Mo-Dettes which were representative of the spread of much of the singles in the boxes.

The other two 45s to make up my seven 7s were these two slabs of funk goodness on the UK Atlantic label – both released in 1973 and certainly atypical of the rest of the material in the boxes. They are not particularly rare, and the artists should need no introduction, but I am very happy to have found them, and they have gone a little way towards restoring my faith in trawling the car boots.

In fact I think I may already have this Betty Wright 45 on its original US Alston label. But there is always a little thrill in finding a superior slice of funk/soul on a UK label, and it always leads me to wonder how few copies it probably sold when it was released. Be sure to listen all the way through and not miss Betty's impressive shriek at the end.

The Dr John track I remember hearing on the radio when it was released – John Peel, Alexis Korner would have undoubtedly played it, probably Emperor Rosko too – a time when I had yet to appreciate the mightiness of New Orleans funk. And it's a Promo, and that big A gets me every time.

For the picture I thought I would lay this brace of Atlantics on a bed of shells very recently collected from a Portuguese beach (yes, I will collect anything!).

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Psst. Look, nearly a month has gone by again without a post.

Yeah, well I was away for the annual fishing weekend (very enjoyable lakeside, although Glastonbury itself was very low key this year). Then there was our hols in Portugal (I can thoroughly recommend Lagos).

Plenty of time in between for a spin or two though?

Well, those Euros and Wimbledon got me goggleboxing.

Yadda yadda yadda. You'll be trotting out the “it's summer, garden sunshine needs to be enjoyed at this time of year” line next.

Ha! Chance would be a fine thing.

Go on, let them know you're still feeling it, let them know you care.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Feeling bad

It's been a bad week. 'nuff said.

Mel & Tim - Feeling Bad  1970

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Hokey cokey belly buttons

Here we go then.

Quite why we, the Great British Public, are being entrusted with a simple yes no vote on something that could significantly effect our future, and our childrens' future, I have no idea. Then again, it could turn out to be of little significance. There's the rub, after all this campaigning we still have little or no idea, do we, really? 

By the way, that question is not designed to spark a political debate, I don't do politics here. It is a good excuse to play a Willie Hutch track though, and I have a feeling Willie had something else on his mind when he recorded it.

Willie Hutch - In And Out  1982       


Friday, June 17, 2016

I'm playing Reggae - come out sun, you know you want to.

Go away clouds. I thought some reggae might help to coax the sun to come out, and stay out!

Reggae is always difficult to find “in the wild”, so I got excited when I found half a box of it at a car boot sale recently. My excitement was tempered somewhat when the seller proceeded to check them all on Discogs before naming a price! This is the first time this has happened to me. In a way I could sort of accept what he was doing- he is evidently a dealer and his stall is effectively his shop. Nevertheless it sort of takes the fun out of the digging process. In the end he quoted prices I was in most cases willing to pay so came away with a handful of 12” and this early '80s compilation of full length Mighty Diamonds releases from, mostly, the late 70s.

I have waxed lyrical about the Mighty Diamonds before I think, I saw them live only a few years ago and they have beautifully sweet voices. Add to this the fact that I noticed a track on this album was Danger In Your Eyes and it became a must buy.

Danger In Your Eyes has been a long time reggae favourite of mine ever since I heard John Peel play a version by Judah Eskender (aka Yabby You aka Vivien Jackson) on his programme back in '77 or'78. (I still have that on a John Peel mixtape). I am a little confused by the history of the song. It seems it was originally recorded by Don Evans & The Paragons but its recording date is a bit of a puzzle. The original (?) issue was on Coxsone I think. On the label it states 1966 but I think the Coxsone 45 was released in 1976, and I can't find any concrete evidence of an official 1966 release.

The Mighty Diamonds version dates to around 1978 (again, I think – dating reggae releases is notoriously difficult) when it was released on the Gussie Roots label - on this release they were to modest to refer to themselves as Mighty. It is a more laid back version than Judah Eskender's but I like both equally. (On its original 45 it was backed with a reimagined version of Fools Rush In which is also on this compilation and also gorgeous).

Thursday, June 09, 2016

First (technically)

I have been told of not one but two new record shops that have opened in my neck of the woods during the last couple of months. As they keep saying, vinyl is making a comeback.

I visited one of these on its opening day at the end of April. A friend had mentioned an ex colleague of his was opening a new record shop, he was going along to the grand opening and would I like too as well. Yes, of course. Although I am, I suppose, a bit of a vinyl nut I am, frankly, not tuned in to the local vinyl grapevine and hadn't picked up on either of these new ventures so I was thankful my friend alerted me.

Arriving at the shop it turned out I know the owner through bumping into each other and engaging in general record b*llocks talk occasionally at a local car boot in the last couple of years. All I can say is good luck mate - you are very brave. The shop is Longwell Records in Keynsham (that's K-E-Y-N-S-H-A-M).

I picked up a couple of things out of the yet to be priced bin which I'm very happy with, one of which was this great comp from the early 00s - JohnnyOtis & Friends - Watts Funky.
If you are a regular here you may remember I have posted more than one Johnny Otis 45 in recent years and I have become a huge fan of his, especially his largely obscure late 60s & 70s funk, jazz, and disco infused productions.

On one level at least this album could be said to be the first record ever bought in Longwell Records. I asked Ian, the shop owner, to tuck it behind the counter while I continued to browse, although a lady did beat me to actually handing over readies for something. Talking with another record hound at (yet another generally fruitless) car boot recently he said that Ian apparently did not quote Watts Funky as the first purchase though. From his point of view I suppose he's right as he would have been focussed on the record that put the first takings in the till. I would maintain that it is at least a moot point. 

Down home....

A groove, and love the keyboards....