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What’s in the Bag? (29-39)

I mentioned in What’s In The Bag 28? that I mentioned that I bought 10 albums for £21 but it turns out was actually 11. When I am paying £20 for one album, this really is quite a bargain and they are in fine condition. Below is a gallery of the Simon and Garfunkel and solo albums that make up the 11.

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In truth, I wasn’t that interested in the solo Art Garfunkel albums but I’ll give them a listen.

So far I’ve listened to “Wednesday Morning at 3am”, one side of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and one side of “Fate For Breakfast” and they play absolutely perfectly, there is not a pop or a crackle anywhere, they sound as good as thought they were brand new.

Just because, below is “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, their final studio album released in 1970. It’s regarded as a classic for a reason, and side one is about as good as Side 1’s of an album get (and side 2 ain’t bad either).

Side one
1. “Bridge over Troubled Water” 4:52
2. “El Condor Pasa (If I Could)” (Daniel Alomía Robles, English lyrics by Paul Simon, arranged by Jorge Milchberg) 3:06
3. “Cecilia” 2:55
4. “Keep the Customer Satisfied” 2:33
5. “So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright” 3:41

Side two
6. “The Boxer” 5:08
7. “Baby Driver” 3:14
8. “The Only Living Boy in New York” 3:58
9. “Why Don’t You Write Me” 2:45
10. “Bye Bye Love” (live recording from Ames, Iowa) (Felice and Boudleaux Bryant) 2:55
11. “Song for the Asking” 1:49

I suppose I should really get a copy of “The Graduate” as well.

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Record Store Day

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Yesterday was Record Store Day here in the UK, and I did pop into town to Head, and I did buy 4 albums. None of which were special record store day releases as there was only one I wanted and I had no chance of getting it without queuing from 7am, and I didn’t want it THAT much. I did think about getting ALiFE pt.1.and pt.2 by P.I.L but it was £38 and I felt that was a little steep. There was also: ENNIO MORRICONE/MY NAME IS NOBODY but that was also too expensive, £28 if I remember rightly.

If I bought singles then there were a couple I might have been interested in, but I don’t buy them, not nowadays anyway.

I thought Head did a good job of things, there was a lot of vinyl there are the shop was busy. It was nicely displayed and I found a couple of new things to buy, so all good. In general though, I don’t need a special day for buying vinyl as I buy it anyway, but the more people that do start buying it, the more the cost will come down, at least I hope so.

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What’s in the bag? (28)

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There’s always been something I liked about Simon & Garfunkel, though I’ve never bothered to take the time to analyse quite what it is. A job lot of their albums were up for sale and I bought them, 10 albums, for £21. So, doing the complicated math, they were £2.10 each, which I though was well worth it. I’ll probably get around to posting about them all at some point but the first one I put on the turntable was ‘Wednesday Morning at 3am”. There was no logic to this other than the fact I liked the massive typeface on the cover, and possibly how impossibly young they both look.

I didn’t realise that this was their 1964 debut release, which does seem a ridiculously long time ago, and didn’t know until I just looked it up. Apparently it didn’t do very well at the time and was re-released after radio success for the track ‘The Sound of Silence’. Going back to why I liked them, it’s actually a combination of things, not least of which is the song writing, which is of a consistently high standard, but it was other things as well. I think I associated them with “The Graduate” and the whole style of that film, and I also liked that Garfunkel was seemingly rather weird.

Here’s the tracklist as released on the original vinyl:

Side one
1. “You Can Tell the World” (Bob Gibson/Bob Camp) – 2:47
2. “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream” (Ed McCurdy) – 2:11
3. “Bleecker Street” (Simon) – 2:44
4. “Sparrow” (Simon) – 2:49
5. “Benedictus” (traditional, arranged and adapted by Simon and Garfunkel) – 2:38
6. “The Sound of Silence” (Simon) – 3:08
Side two
7. “He Was My Brother” (Paul Kane*) – 2:48
8. “Peggy-O” (traditional) – 2:26
9. “Go Tell It on the Mountain” (traditional) – 2:06
10. “The Sun Is Burning” (Ian Campbell) – 2:49
11. “The Times They Are a-Changin'” (Bob Dylan) – 2:52
12. “Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.” (Simon) – 2:13

Interesting I think that they only wrote half the songs on that debut, but I suppose, at the time, it was quite the norm to have others write for you or to do covers or traditional numbers, Dylan certainly did well with the latter.

Here’s the ‘Concert from Central Park’ recorded in 1981. And below that “Wednesday at 3AM” on Spotify.

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What’s in the bag? (27)

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Explosions in the Sky is an American post-rock band from Texas, although they prefer to remove the word post. They were originally named Breaker Morant (Presumably after the Film staring Edward Woodward, but possibly after the actual person), they changed their name in 1999. “The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place” was their third album, released in 2003, and is entirely instrumental. Originally I had only a single track on a compilation that I made, the opening track of the album in fact, ‘First Breath After Coma”. I played this compilation on repeat for several week while I was working on something and, almost without actually listening to it, the track (and the others on it) grew on me at, what was I suppose, a subconscious level and I bought the whole album on CD, then played it to death. For some reason the album isn’t on Spotify, so I’ve included the opening track from youtube below and beneath that a whole gig.

Wiki describes post rock thus; “Post-rock is a subgenre of rock music characterized by the influence and use of instruments commonly associated with rock, but using rhythms and “guitars as facilitators of timbre and textures” not traditionally found in rock. Post-rock bands are often without vocals

I find a great deal of beauty in the music and they somehow manage to tell a story without the use of words. They’ve since gone on to release more good albums and have scored several soundtracks, but this album remains my faviourite as it seems to almost be ingrained in the section of my brain that take pleasure from music.

Tracklist:

1. “First Breath After Coma” 9:33
2. “The Only Moment We Were Alone” 10:14
3. “Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean” 8:43
4. “Memorial” 8:50
5. “Your Hand in Mine” 8:16

The vinyl version of the album features etchings of birds on side D accompanied by the phrase “The Earth is not a cold dead place because you are breathing, because you are listening.”

9.1/10

First Breath After Coma:

A full Gig:

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What’s in the bag? (26)

Let me state this from the outset, this is one of the greatest pop albums ever produced, possibly, until proven otherwise, THE best pop album ever produced.  That’s right, I used an upper case THE.

The late 70’s were an amazing time in music for me. What has now become known as ‘Classic Rock’ was still on my turntable, but other things were happening that were attracting me away from that. This was a time when ‘Top Of The Pops’ meant something as it was one of the few places that any music was played on TV and it was hugely influential on a lot of young folk like myself, even if we weren’t prepared to admit to our peers that we even watched it. There was a time when the miming didn’t matter, there weren’t many that cared about it at all and it wasn’t until claims were made that everybody would henceforth be playing live that it became an issue, because it was quite clear that they didn’t.  I am off on a bit of a tangent now but I’m going to go with it anyway.

The two most memorable miming incidents for me where from All About Eve and Marillion, because I saw them both happen live, not the best choice of words, but as they were broadcast. The former sat waiting for the track to start for quite a long time, not realising that for the folks at home, it had already started but wasn’t coming out of their monitors. Here’s a video of it:

All About Eve were invited back the following week to perform it again, but this time live. I think a lot of people felt rather sorry for them as it was clearly a BBC issue, and it was the BBC who were insisting on the miming not the performers. This is the following week and it’s pretty good:

The Marillion incident was rather different. There was a time when the BBC would not use the record or official release and the artist had to re-record them specifically for the show.  For the song ‘Garden Party’ they actually couldn’t use the original lyric on television before the 9PM watershed and would have to have changed it regardless, however, this gave lead singer, Fish, the opportunity for a bit of a jolly wheeze. The original lyric was; I’m punting, I’m beagling, I’m wining, reclining, I’m rucking, I’m f***ing, So welcome, it’s a party. That last one, with the asterix, was replaced with “I’m miming”, which, when coupled with the fact that, in full view of everybody watching, he didn’t move his mouth at all for this bit, was actually rather clever. Terrible quality video, go to about 2:20 to not have to endure the rest of it.

Now back to the actual topic, Blondie, – Parallel Lines. It is rare that an album spawns 6 singles but this one did, and a few were massive:

“Picture This”
“I’m Gonna Love You Too”
“Hanging on the Telephone”
“Heart of Glass”
“Sunday Girl”
“One Way or Another”

All of these are available in the video playlist below:

In an odd way some of the tracks on the album suffered from being side by side with the singles, but there are tracks that were just as worthy of receiving a 7 inch release, such as one of my favourites, “Fade away and radiate”. However, ” “Pretty Baby” could easily have been a single as well, actually, almost any of them could have been, it really was a complete album, “I Know but I Don’t Know”, “11:59”, “Will Anything Happen?”, “I’m Gonna Love You Too” (Buddy Holly cover) and  “Just Go Away” are the remaining tracks and I could see any of them hitting the top 40 at the time. Perhaps there was no reason to release more singles as the album ended up selling around 20 million copies, which is a hell of a lot.

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Listening to this album was one of those occasions that used to happen back when the world existed only in black and white, where I didn’t own this album, what we used to do was go to our friends houses and just listen to music. I’m not sure that happens much nowadays, but back in 1979 it happened all the time.  They were all over the radio anyway, “Heart of Glass” in particular, so you would always hear some of it, but sitting down and listening to the whole thing in the right order was a bit of a treat. I remember one occasion when we were out of cigarettes (not that we could afford to smoke much) and we emptied the tobacco from the butts left in the ashtray and smoked them in a pipe, at the time it seemed OK, but later I felt about as sick as I ever had, all to “Parallel Lines’ playing in the background. Kids are stupid.

I know it’s a lot of watching, but here are Blondie from 1979, live in concert ( 7/7/1979 – Convention Hall (Asbury Park, NJ)

And OGWT from 1979 (recorded in Glasgow)

I haven’t listened to this album as a whole for years, but now I have once again, including turning it over to hear the other side, it comes as no surprise to me that I loved it as much as I did as I still do, great songs, great performances, and, quite luckily, a gorgeous lead singer, which, for a young teen boy is never a bad thing.

9.3/10