Stratford Record Fair

I went to Stratford Upon Avon record fair today and it was pretty big, there were certainly a lot of stalls there. I wandered around for about 90 minutes, speaking to absolutely nobody as I did some crate digging and, sadly, finding nothing that I really wanted. The more I go to record fairs the less I seem to find and, to be honest, I’m enjoying it less and less.

The problem for me is that there are certain records that I’m looking for and, more often than not, I don’t find them and when I do thy are often more than I am prepared to pay. An example today was Alpha Centuri by Tangerine Dream, I nearly bought it but it was £20 and didn’t have a gatefold sleeve. I can go on to discogs right now and get a near mint gatefold copy for £10.99 plus shipping, so why buy the one at the record fair?

It’s also often quite annoying. The whole front of a stall was blocked by people and I waited patiently to get to the one crate I was interested in, then I waited less patiently and after 10 minutes I went to another stall, came back 10 minutes later and the same guy was still microscopically checking every album in the crate even though he didn’t seem to have any intention of buying them, he was on a rather odd mission it seemed. So I never looked in that crate and left wondering if it was the one that held a record that I might buy.

There was another stall that had a lot of records, all in yellowing plastic sleeves containing quite ordinary records that were listed as mint despite the ringwear and scuffed covers. Perhaps they were mint when he got them and he has been carting them around record fairs for decades.

I am less and less inclined to go to record fairs, which is a shame, but I think there’s a much better chance of finding something good in a used record shop than at a fair.

Record Stores In Istanbul

I was in Istanbul, Turkey, last week and before going I did a bit of research on record shops there, of which there are a decent number and from what I know the prices are pretty good, with the conversion from GBP to Lira being quite favourable. This is taken from the Istanbul Guide:

Jammin’s Vinyl Records

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In a calm corner of Şişli away from the frantic crowds, Jammin’s offers “vinyl records & friendship.” This indicates the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere in the shop, where you’ll probably want to sit and enjoy a cup of Turkish coffee with owner Cem Ülkü. The shop focuses mainly on foreign records from the 70s and 80s, although Ülkü also has a love of the Turkish psychedelic era – notice the illustrations on the walls by Burak Şentürk, who illustrated the Barış Manço song “Nick the Chopper” for the Anatolian Rock Project.

Analog Kültür

Located at the end of one of Istanbul’s coolest streets, Analog Kültür is a welcome addition to Istanbul’s record store scene. Run by vinyl enthusiast and DJ Kaan Düzürat, it is an intimate space, brimming with old and new, Turkish and international classics. A mixing desk is built into the counter, flanked by two Technic 1210s, from where the shop’s staff and visiting musos select an eclectic playlist. Whether you’re a serious collector or casual browser, pop in here and you may find it difficult to leave.

Lale Plak

Lale Plak is located in Tünel Square at the very top of Galip Dede Caddesi, a street sloping down from Tünel to Galata that is known for its music shops. Hakan Atala, the owner of Lale Plak (which has existed for over 50 years), keeps an extensive stock of records in his store including iconic 70s Turkish singers such as Barış Manço or Ajda Pekkan, as well as (Western) classical music, and world music. The records at Lale Plak are all new, not second hand, and signed jazz records are available for purchase.

Mono Plak

Mono Plak is a vinyl shop specializing in folk, rock, jazz, and vintage Turkish music. Located in the pretty district of Çukurcuma, on a street parallel to the Museum of Innocence, Mono Plak has a carefully selected batch of records organized by genre. From The Grateful Dead to Aretha Franklin, Black Sabbath to the Talking Heads, or the Rahbani brothers to Zafer Dilek, there is a wide variety of Eastern and Western classics and rarities from past to present.

Mandala Müzik Evi 

Mandala Müzik Evi, in the Aslıhan Pasajı in Galatasaray, which is also a great place to hunt for second-hand books, will be familiar to fans of the movie Issız Adam as the place where the main character, Alper, first meets his love interest Ada. (She is looking for a second-hand novel, he for a collector’s item LP.) With Mandala’s extensive second-hand collection there is a good chance that you, too, will find what you are looking for (musically speaking, that is.) Mandala’s stock, divided more or less equally between 33 and 45 RPM, focuses on 1970s music, both Turkish and foreign.

Zihni Müzik

The Asian side’s answer to Aslıhan Pasajı is of course Akmar Pasajı in downtown Kadıköy, long known to students as a place to buy course books and English-language readers. Zihni Müzik is located on the basement level of the passageway. The store has one of the biggest collections of LPs in Istanbul with around nine thousand records in stock, of which nearly three quarters are second-hand (most of the records are 33 RPM, although a considerable stock of 45s is also available).

Vintage Records

Also on the Asian side, in the upscale Moda district, is Vintage Records. The store, barely five years old, has a vast collection of second-hand LPs, and is particularly strong on Turkish pop/rock of the 60s and 70s as well as English-language classic rock. You can also find various kinds of musical equipment (amps, speakers, etc.) for sale here.

Kontraplak

Kontraplak, a new addition in the Beyoğlu area, caters to the underground crowd while maintaining a balance of well-spun classics. A record player sits in the back to explore any album you might want to further explore, and a couch rings the far wall for you to sit, relax, and take in the musical view. A surprisingly wide-range of genres are on offer, anything from chamber pop to jazz to acid techno can be tracked down here. The friendly vibe of the staff and the basement-like feel of the store bump up the exclusivity vibe, as does the collection of obscure titles that they carry.

Opus 3A

On the European side, Opus 3A in Cihangir stocks new records rather than second-hand. Its collection focuses on jazz, as well as legendary Turkish 70s pop icons such as Barış Manço or Ajda Pekkan, with some rock and classical music as well. Most of Opus 3A’s records are 33 RPM.

Deform Müzik

Another record store in Cihangir is Deform Müzik owned by Ozan Maral and Tayfun Aras who are also known as the DJ duo Deform-E. The store’s second hand stock is a mixture of all kinds of genres including 50s and 60s soul and funk or rock as well as Turkish and international records.

Vinyl events in the city:

Deform-E and vinyl market Kadıköy’s favorite hipster bar, Arkaoda, frequently hosts the owners of the Deform store who spin their products in the DJ booth as the duo ‘Deform-E.’ Vinyl markets are also set up in the garden area where a selected collection from the area’s best shops come together for fingers to browse through.


A lot to go at there, much digging to be done. I went to none of these. My three days in Istanbul were for work and I saw the inside of hotels, motorway and the inside of offices, absolutely nothing else of note, I may as well have been in Coventry for all the culture I soaked up. This was a major disappointment to me, but there just wasn’t any opportunity to go exploring. I am back in April and need to try and get a flight back on a Sunday instead of a Thursday so that I can have some time to wander in the city and go to some of the shops above. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Rugby Record Fair

I took a very quick trip to Rugby Record Fair at the town hall today in-between washing the car and doing some food shopping. It’s a small fair so that was OK. I did manage to find some things that I wanted so it was a quick but successful trip.

The first thing I bought was a Catatonia 7″ – Strange Glue which is a nice red vinyl complete with poster that I will never use.

I have entered a Catatonia 7″ collecting phase, this only makes 3 but they are quite cheap and I like them, so that’s good.

I picked up a couple of Stanley Clarke albums, which were also cheap at £4 each. I do like a bit of Stanley Clarke and they are generally not expensive so whenever I see one, or two in this case, I’ll get them.

There was a stall with new, sealed albums all at £10 but there were only a couple I was interested in, and I only got one, which was Odelay by Beck. I’ve been meaning to get a copy for ages so this was fortuitous.

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Finally, a bit of XTC. I used to have 3 or 4 XTC records but I sold them at some point and now, like many other people, I find myself looking to replace what I sold. The only one I had before today was Black Sea. The ones I got today I only had on CD though so this is a first time having the actual LP’s. I watched, for the 2nd time, an XTC documentary the other week and it got me all enthused again. I bought Beeswax – the B Sides just so that I could have both as, even when I had it on CD I only actually listened to the Singles album. They were great songwriters though so I will give it some time.

Loads of tracks I could have chosen for these, but this one is just brilliant writing from the Murmur album, So this one it is.

Record Store Day 2017 (5)

As I’ve never been up very early on RSD before, usually arriving just before lunch, certainly never queueing, I had never before witnessed the phenomonen of hunting in packs. There were at least three people doing so, shouting across the racks to each other, “There’s a ‘Pineapple Express'”, “Yeah, got it”, and suchlike. It’s a jolly good idea really, as long as you don’t find that more than one of you want something and there is only one left. Perhaps there has to be some bargaining before heading to the till.

I’m pretty sure that there were some people in teams, each with a list, each covering one of the two shops taking part. This is also a good idea, and one I would do myself if I had anybody to do it with. Vinyl buying is a pretty solitary affair for me. Most people I know seem to think it’s all a bit ridiculous, and I can see their point, but most of those people didn’t grow up with it, perhaps don’t understand it’s attraction for me, and probably have a secret Barbie collection or somesuch and have failed to make the connection.

Some of it is nostalgia, there’s little doubt about that, but it is also the physical object. I have several streaming options but what is mine? I have paid for the right to listen to something digital, not something I can hold, or cherish, or enjoy in a more tactile way. I can listen to almost anything I might want to, and do when out and about. Quite often though, I will find something new to listen to and if I find myself starting to like it, I stop listening to it and go and buy a vinyl copy if one is available. That is a bit ridiculous but it makes sense to me.

There’s also music that just isn’t available to stream, such as an album I received a few months ago by ‘Life Garden’, it’s not on Apple Music, Spotify or Amazon Music, I can only listen to it on vinyl, although there are a few tracks on youtube. The thing is, I really like this album and it’s lack of instant availability seems to make me like it more. It has an exlusivity that makes it more appealing and though I would like to send a whatsapp to a friend with a link so they can hear it too, I can’t, there’s nothing to send and for some reason that is a good thing. Same with the RSD release by ‘Future Sound Of London’, I listened to all six sides yesterday but it isn’t available to stream and that does make the listening experience all the better I think.

I do wonder if, like movies, there should be a delay between physical releases and streaming, so an album is physically released and can’t be streamed for 3 months or so. It seems a good idea to me although I know it will still be ripped from CD and distributed one way or another. I can’t be bothered with all that anymore, since the capacities of phones have increased I don’t need to fill an MP3 player up with ripped CD’s or downloads, it’s too much hassle, just download to listen off line, it’s easy.

I’ve managed to listen to a lot of records over the last 3 or 4 days, which is great as I have been having trouble finding the time for the last four months, however, I now have a chair outside by the back door and I can listen to records whilst simultaneously throwing things for the dog to fetch so that he can run excitedly back with them and then refuse to give it back to me to throw again, that’s his thing, he’s very possesive over sticks and balls.

I’ve been critical of RSD before and some of those criticisms are still valid. Record shops are doing pretty well nowadays I think, with RSD having been a big part of their resurgence, but for some of us RSD is pretty much every week but that loyalty and spending isn’t rewarded on RSD itself. I’d like to see some kind of loyalty card, perhaps a phone app, upon which you can rack up points over the year and those points decide where you are in the queue, not just how early you manage to get out of bed once a year. So the initial queue is formed based on the loyalty points and then everybody else queues as normal behind. I’m not saying it’s a perfect system but it could work, as long as it was clear beforhand that it would work that way.

 

Record Store Day 2017 (4)

I was back in town on Sunday and popped into the Record Shop just to see what was left from RSD. I picked up three things, two of which I meant to get on the day and one which was a bit of an impulse buy to be honest, this being:

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Field Music ‎– Tones Of Town
Label: Memphis Industries ‎– MI074LPX
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Limited Edition, Yellow
Country: UK
Released: 22 Apr 2017
Genre: Rock
Style: Pop Rock, Indie Rock

Tracklist
A1 Give It Lose It Take It 3:56
A2 Sit Tight 3:02
A3 Tones Of Town 3:05
A4 A House Is Not A Home 2:36
A5 Kingston 1:54
A6 Working To Work 2:51
B1 In Context 3:37
B2 A Gap Has Appeared 2:01
B3 Closer At Hand 2:29
B4 Place Yourself 3:02
B5 She Can Do What She Wants 3:06

I like it, but didn’t need it, I think I was seduced by the yellow vinyl.

The ones I’d originally intended to pick up were:

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Faust (7), Ulan Bator ‎– Untitled
Label: Bureau B ‎– BB263
Format: Vinyl, 12″, 45 RPM, Limited Edition
Country: Europe
Released: 22 Apr 2017
Genre: Rock
Style: Alternative Rock, Experimental

Tracklist
A1 –Faust (7) Serendipität 5:03
A2 –Faust (7) Dialog 4:34
B1 –Ulan Bator Bâton-Rouge 5:16
B2 –Ulan Bator Sakura 4:54

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Richard Pinhas, Camera (10) ‎– Camera / Richard Pinhas
Label: Bureau B ‎– BB264
Format: Vinyl, 12″, Maxi-Single
Country: Germany
Released: 22 Apr 2017
Genre: Electronic, Rock
Style: Krautrock, Space Rock, Experimental

Tracklist
A –Camera (10) Saftwehr
B –Richard Pinhas Dronz 5 – Hamburg

The last one, with the Richard Pinhas track was as a result of this: Richard Pinhas ‎– Reverse. As the tracks on the album are Dronz 1 – 4 and this seems to be an extension, the give away being that it’s called Dronz 5, I’m smart at spotting stuff like that.

Finally, I did a bad thing, sort of. I found a copy of ‘Four Calendar Cafe’ by the Cocteau Twins online and ordered it. There is a slight feeling of having copped out by not getting it on the day and buying it from somebody who seems to have only bought it to sell it, although, at £13 above the sticker price which includes shipping, it’s not a bad buy at all. Most of the others I’ve seen are twice the sticker price without shipping. It hasn’t arrived as yet but this is it:

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Cocteau Twins ‎– Four-Calendar Café
Label: Mercury ‎– 5735405, UMC ‎– 00602557354058
Format: 2 × Vinyl, LP, Album, Reissue, Purple
Country: Europe
Released: 22 Apr 2017
Genre: Electronic, Rock
Style: Alternative Rock, Downtempo, Ethereal

Tracklist
A1 Know Who You Are At Every Age 3:38
A2 Evangeline 4:29
A3 Bluebeard 3:54
A4 Theft, And Wandering Around Lost 4:30
A5 Oil Of Angels 4:37
B1 Squeeze-Wax 3:48
B2 My Truth 4:32
B3 Essence 3:01
B4 Summerhead 3:37
B5 Pur 5:02
C1 Mud And Dark 3:40
C2 Summer-Blink 3:09
C3 Bluebeard (Acoustic Version) 2:53
C4 Three Swept 3:36
D1 Ice Pulse 3:45
D2 Winter Wonderland 2:49
D3 Frosty The Snowman 2:55

The D-Side isn’t going to get much play time from me to be honest, not a big fan of Christmas songs.

So that is RSD 2017 pretty much done for me. I did see quite a number of items on the day that I could have picked up that are demanding ridiculous prices online right now, but I don’t really regret missing out on turning a quick profit. Although I have succumbed to buying one, and am thereby part of the fuel for the whole practice, I do feel the ones I might have picked up just to sell may have caused somebody who really wanted it to miss out, yes, the same as I have in the past, but two wrongs don’t make a right I guess, or something like that.

Record Store Day 2017 (3)

IMG_4868I queued at Head Records in Leamington Spa for just under an hour, which was absolutely fine, it really could have been worse. I have a problem with my neck, which means that standing up like that for an hour is rather painful, and I can’t take medication for it as if I do I can’t then legally drive, so I was pretty relieved to arrive at the front of the queue and finally get inside. It is really quite traumatic being in the queue, slowly approaching the entrance and watching people who have already been in leave with their albums as one of these people may be carrying the last copy of something you want. It is also a bit of an eye opener, I was genuinely surprised at some of the folk and how much they’d bought. One guy brought a helper to carry the stuff, she didn’t even go in the shop, just waited outside for her partner to come out and help with the carrying, I think he had somewhere in the region of 50 albums, which a conservative estimate would be in the region of £1000 worth, which is crazy and I immediately thought, ‘Re-Seller’ which may not be entirely fair, maybe he saved all year for this event, but I couldn’t possibly imagine why anybody would want 50 of the albums released, at best I might want 8, and that’s a stretch to be honest. Perhaps my tastes are less wide ranging than others, but 50, it seems a lot.

At the door, waiting to be let in, I tried to spy what was left on the shelves and was pretty
sure that two of them had already sold out. In the queue I’d watched a video the shop had posted showing the shelves and there was now a black space visible where I wanted there to be two albums. Here is that very video:

I arrived to both disappointment and delight. One of the five things I was hoping to pick up was already sold out, this being ‘Four Calendar Cafe’ by the Cocteau Twins, I had thought it might but was still holding out a little hope that there’d be one left. The delight came from there being one copy of ‘Milk & Kisses’ by The Cocteau Twins left, which was the first thing I picked up. One of five achieved, one definitely missed so three more possibilities to get. I mooched about for just a minute and then wnet to the next aisle, which was pretty rammed making looking on the lower shelves rather tricky, however, there was another of my 5, The Future Sound Of London – ‘Environments – Views’, a triple vinyl that was actually less money than I thought it would be and a numbered edition, which I hadn’t realised either, so things were looking up, two more to go.

The main album that I wanted of the two remaining to get was ‘Frengers’ by Mew, a run of 1500 in clear vinyl, pretty much like last years re-issue of ‘And the glass handed kites’. I couldn’t find it. I looked twice and the damn thing wasn’t there, so I did something I don’t normally do and asked. The member of staff who helped me was Molly, which I found out from their Facebook page. She dived into the crowd, went to the bottom shelf where I’d alredy looked twice and re-appeared with a copy. I thanked her both verbally and with a thumbs up as that cheered me up no end. Thanks again Molly. I was so cheered that I completely forgot to go for the fifth album, ‘Citrus’ by Asobi Seksu, but that’s OK as I was 50/50 about it.

On the way to the till I saw a copy of ‘AZD’ by Actress and picked that up as well, I almost had the week before but was undecided, however, I read some reviews and it scored highly, so now was as good a time as any and I had 4 new albums.

I then left the shop without looking for some of the 45’s and a couple of 12” singles I’d thought about getting as my neck was bloody killing me and I’d only been in there 10 minutes. I headed to the bottom of town and Seismic Records. I figured that it would still be busy but that the queue would have died down by now, I was wrong. I just couldn’t do it, not without medication, so I headed off to visit my Mum for an hour.

On the way home I drove past Seismic thinking I could park up and pop in, but the queue was the same size as before and I gave it a miss. A shame because I like that shop and IMG_4873want to support it, however, there were plenty of others doing just that already so that was OK.

When I arrived home the first thing I played was the Cocteau Twins, which held a little surprise for me as I didn’t know it had been pressed on white vinyl, so that was a bonus. I watched a youtube video a couple of days ago, one of those top tips on buying vinyl ones and it stated that coloured vinyl is a bad idea as the quality is lower, which I almost commented on as it’s bollocks, but I held back. I had listened to a podcast which had a guy on who had worked in pressing plants for years and he had said the exact opposite, with black vinyl you can get away with re-cycling offcuts and contaminants are not so much of an issue as they are hidden by the black but with coloured vinyl, single colour in particular, you can’t get away with it so they are generally as good as and often better than black. Anyway, I like coloured vinyl, I like black vinyl too. Picture Discs are a different prospect altogether though, they are crap. ‘Milk & Kisses’ came with a second disc of the singles from the same period which is really nice to have. I remember well seeing both albums on the racks when they came out and I do regret not buying them at the time. I had this idea in my head that by going to a major label the band had somehow sold out and that the music had suffered for it, I was entirely wrong of course but they did release a Christmas single which I also saw and never bought, which is a shame as I would have made a big profit if I had and would have had no problem selling it (it was ‘Frosty The Snowman/Winter Wonderland’ in case you wondered). The two albums had been selling for about £150/200, I wonder if those prices will be sustainable now these re-issues with extra tracks have become available.

Here is a bit of ‘Milk & Kisses’ playing on my own deck.

On RSD 2016 I was hugely disappointed to not get a copy of ‘and the glass handed kites’ by Mew, although I did manage to get a reasonably priced copy about 6 months later, but picking up ‘Frengers’ today was great as it has an online price of £50-£60, sometimes more. I have never really been able to understand why Mew aren’t huge, though for many selfish reasons I’m glad they aren’t. The album closer ‘Comforting Sounds’ is one of my favourite tracks and listening to it on vinyl today has been great. I think I got the last, or only copy but am not sure as I didn’t even see it on the shelf. Here is a little snippet of ‘comforting sounds’:

I sort of collect The Future Sound Of London which goes back to the Cocteau Twins as Elizabeth Frasier sang on the ‘Lifeforms’ single (which is really a mini album) and which I bought when it was released. About a year and a half ago I listened to it again, and not just for the Elizabeth Frasier bit, and found that I liked the whole of it more than I had remembered. This led me to picking up other bits and pieces when I saw them, although some are rather expensive, the ‘Lifeforms’ album and ‘Dead Cities’ being good examples, usually over £60 a copy. Recently I’ve been buying their series ‘Environments’ which is seven albums (although numbered 1-6 and then a 6.5) which has Environments 3 not available on vinyl when the others are, annoying. So this RSD triple was a must. I’ve yet to listen to it apart from the bit you can hear below, I’m looking forward to the rest of it.

Finally there’s the non-RSD album by Actress – ‘AZD’ which the reviews were absolutely right about. It is wonderfully crafted and after only one listen I’m loving it. Part of the reason for this is the album ‘6’ by FP-Oner, which I received from That Special Record as part of my subscription, I didn’t like it at first but with repeated playing it really grew on me and there are parts of the Actress album that remind me of it so I had a point of reference right away, which I hadn’t really had when listening to ‘6’ for the first time.

I do wish I’d had the stamina to queue at Sesimic but all in all it’s been a pretty successful RSD 2017 for me and I know sit in the garden, enjoying the beautiful weather and writning this up while listening to FSOL – Environments 4. Can’t complain really. I hope everybody got at least one thing they wanted.

  • featured image stolen from Head records Instagram.

RSD 2017 (2)

Still queuing. Now I’ve turned the corner and can see the front of the record shop I get to see the people before me in the queue coming out with records in bags and wonder if they just bought what I was after. 


There is still quite a way to go. In case you were wondering, I’m queuing outside ‘Head Records’ in Leamington Spa. It’s been 40 minutes, I’m about halfway. My back hurts. 

RSD 2017 (1)

Well I made the effort to get my arse out of bed and get down to Record store day, and I find myself at the back of a very healthy queue. This may mean that I don’t get anything I’m looking for but I stand a better chance than previous years where I usually rock up around lunch time.

Roots Manuva – Slime & Reason

Slime & Reason is the sixth studio album of original material by Roots Manuva. It was released on 1 September 2008 on the Big Dada label. Hip Hop Connection magazine named it Album Of The Year 2008. I picked up a copy at a record fair in Leamington Spa in the summer, which had a slightly damaged cover on the rear, although I didn’t notice it at the time, it’s one of those where the printed section has come away from the card beneath but inside a plastic cover it was barely noticeable, outside the plastic cover it looks a bit crap. The good news is that the vinyl itself is pretty nice and I didn’t pay too much for it.

I have no idea when I started listening to Roots, or why, but I do know that I like the Britishness of it, which is evident from the opening track. ‘Again & Again’ reminds me so much of what was happening in the Midlands back in the late 70’s with the Ska revival, it’s dancehall, reggae and an MC with a British voice and I think that link to the past, that sound, that feeling, is what drew me to it.

[Chorus]
Again and again and again, we come fi improve ya
(Oh hear we, oh hear we!)
Again and again and again, we bust a big groove Manuva
(Lord!)

A lot of people don’t know about Smith
How I came to the scene, and came to uplift!
Eradicatory sanctions of righteousness
Pentecostal son, coming from the heartlands
With every breath and every noun
We dare not stop burning Babylon down
With every penny, every pound
Reflective of the rebel heart and the rebel sound
Dedication to dem life and dem causes
I did dem tours and settled those scores now
I’m back at the drawing board
And I’m sketching out two plans with two crystal balls
I see the future and the culture looks corroded
Lose that chap, man. But them dudes are just posers
I don’t know where to show this
So I’m about to bring that back
Whether we chant, rap or sing that back
It go

[Chorus x2]

Anytime we chant that ting, you know we rap that ting!
We just might clap that ting, but
We ain’t on some boasting about
We gotta make moves, no loafing about!
He ain’t got no clout, she ain’t got no clout
Still they wanna come here, come run up their mouth!
They wanna know what Manuva’s about:
Check my catalogue, you’ll see with no doubt!
We don’t sell out, but we sell a tune or two
Beaten by a wooden spoon or two
But the pain that break me is the pain that make me
And the pain that take me is the pain that help me maintain
Life ting in the frame you know
We’re straight kicking the bin – it go
I don’t know where the soul is
So I’m about to bring that back
Whether we chant, rap or sing that back
It go

[Chorus x2]

Food? Well
And clothes? Well
His style? Well
His skin? well
His shoes? well
Manuv’s? And well
Well, baby, yeah baby
Oh yes, Roots Manuva, the talk of the town
So watch all the people ?sending come fi yuh the run?
Fi anywhere we go, we have the man and control
Roots Manuva is the star of the show
You know-oh

[Chorus x4]

I don’t often include lyrics, but I felt like it today. For me, that’s got hit single written all over it, but I don’t get to decide these things, unfortunately. If I were in charge I would have replaced any of the tracks in the below 2008 chart with ‘Let The Spirit’ from this album, I think it’s a better track than all of them. That’s one of the problems with singles charts in particular, it is not a gauge of quality but of how generically appealing something can be.

chart2008

Here is ‘Let The Spirit’, Am I right?

There are a lot of styles across the tracks on this album, popping up here and there, and there are a lot of catchy numbers, top among them for me being ‘Let the Spirit’ which was a single but didn’t trouble the charts much, in fact, side A & B are chock-a-block with them. C & D are a little darker perhaps, but still really good tracks,

Hip Hop Connection magazine named it Album Of The Year 2008, and they know better than me.

Tracklist
A1 Again & Again
A2 C.R.U.F.F.
A3 Let The Spirit
B1 Do Nah Bodda Mi
B2 Kick Up Ya Foot
B3 A Man’s Talk
B4 Buff Nuff
C1 2 Much 2 Soon
C2 Do 4 Self
C3 The Show Must Go On
D1 It’s Me Oh Lord
D2 I’m A New Man
D3 Well Alright
D4 The Struggle

If you liked either of the tracks above then do seek out more, Roots Manuva is brilliant at what he does.

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Record Fair: Rugby Town Hall

I went to  record fair in Rugby this morning at the town hall. It’s very impressive size wise from the outside but I went in the side and in to a rather small room that had 8 stalls. There were the usual stalls with volume at a low price but with little of interest, lots of 80’s stuff that wasn’t very good then and hasn’t improved with time. There were also a couple of stalls with some really good stuff, I could have spent several hundred pounds at these if I had that sort of disposable income, which I don’t, so I had to be rather selective.

The first thing I bought was the only Radiohead album I don’t have on vinyl, Pablo Honey, their debut. It’s a re-issue but it’s on coloured vinyl, which suits me fine as I do love a bit of coloured vinyl.

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I know Radiohead have issues with the song ‘Creep’ but I was quite surprised to see this one has 154 million views on youtube, which suggests it might be quite popular.

From the same stall I bought ‘Kiss Me’ Kiss Me’ Kiss Me’ by the cure, not in the best of condition but OK. It’s one of my favourite Cure albums so it’s nice to get it. They had quite a few but the prices on some of them were prohibitive, at least for me.

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Finally, from the same stall I bought what turned out to be an unofficial pressing of Computer World by Kraftwerk, I had thought it probably was but its green vinyl, I was seduced for I am weak.

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I fail to comprehend how anybody could not love ‘Pocket Calculator’, just listen to it, it’s amazing.

The next thing was a copy of ‘The Pearl’ by Harold Budd and Brian Eno. I’m picking up Eno albums when I see them. I’d like the Ambient series but they are so bloody expensive.

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And sticking with Harold Budd I bought ‘The Moon & The Melodies’ A very nice copy, which is basically a Cocteau Twins album.

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It’s a wonderful album.

Finally, a copy of the soundtrack to ‘The Mission’ which is an amazing film which I highly recommend watching, not least because the soundtrack, which is brilliant, was by Ennio Morricone.

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I could have stayed longer and dug a bit more but it was so bloody hot today and the room had no air con. I was very happy with what I found anyway.

SPASMO!

The final record I picked up from the Record Fair at the Custard Factory on Saturday was the re-released soundtrack to the 1974 film, ‘Spasmo’ directed by Umberto Lenzi. There were two runs of 500 done for Record Store Day 2015, this electric blue LP with “The Mouth” cover art and a clear blue LP with “The Hand” cover art.

My copy is numbered 339 as you can see from the front cover.IMG_2482

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And what a front cover it is. Just a little unnerving. Dagored have a number of great re-releases that you can find on their site here: http://www.dagored-records.com/

The synopsis of the film from IMDB is:  Christian (Robert Hoffman) and his girlfriend are taking a walk on a deserted beach when they discover a woman’s body. A closer look proves that she’s alive. The next day Christian meets her again at a yacht party and they fall in love. Later at a nearby motel, something weird happens as they prepare to go to bed together: An intruder breaks in and starts beating Christian who accidentally shoots him with his own gun. A few hours later they find out that the corpse is missing and a series of weird incidents takes place.

Which is not a great synopsis to be fair, but, interestingly, the tagline for the film was:  Beyond “Psycho” SPASMO!

Spasmo is a film which has a rather weird, disorienting feel to it and this is reflected in Morricone’s score, consisting of a variation on three themes. The music Morricone composed for this odd film is somewhat disturbing and disorientating, as is the film itself and his use of unusual instrumentation adds to the overall weirdness.

There are some Morricone trademarks included, such as in the opening piece, Bambole, where we have wordless vocals, which always work a treat. At this point though, delightful though it is, if somewhat melancholy, there is no indication of where the soundtrack is going. Even in lighter moments there seems to be an underlying feeling that something isn’t quite right and the soundtrack does develop into a really rather difficult listening experience, which may well be why I love it so much.

Tracklist

A1 Bambole
A2 Spasmo
A3 Stress Infinito
A4 Bambole (#2)
A5 Spasmo (#2)
A6 Stress Infinito (#2)
B1 Bambole (#3)
B2 Spasmo (#3)
B3 Stress Infinito (#3)
B4 Bambole (#4)
B5 Spasmo (#4)
B6 Stress Infinito (#4)
B7 Bambole (#5)

How could I not love it really? It’s Morricone for a start, but it’s a limited run, in transparent coloured 180g vinyl with a freaky cover and a man being run over by a car on the back, It ticks all the boxes for me, just look at it:

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I covet it and I already own it! It’s a beautiful thing. If you care to have a listen, then please do, it’s probably not what you might expect:

And as a special treat for those with about 90 minutes to spare, here is the whole film, dubbed into English, but still the whole film. It’s over 40 years old now and is of it’s time, but that is not necessarily a bad thing, especially with such a great soundtrack:

Record Fair: Custard Factory, Birmingham

Yesterday I went to the Custard Factory in Birmingham for a record fair, although that wasn’t my sole reason for the trip, I did sort of time it so that I could escape the trauma of the Bull Ring for a couple of hours on my own with crates of records. I was a little disappointed when I  arrived as there weren’t as many stalls as I was expecting and quite a few were £1 and album or 6 for £10 and suchlike. This is fine, but they are generally things I’m not looking for or are in shoddy condition (not always but mostly). As I walked in I thought I’d do a quick video lap and you can see the exact point where I spotted something I wanted, right at the end where I’m about to complete the lap and veer back to the right.

This was the only stall I bought anything from. The seller had an entire crate of Ennio Morricone soundtracks and and if I’d had the budget I would have bought the entire crate. Unfortunately I was not that flush with money so I did have to be quite selective and the first I bought was the first I saw. This is it, you can see it at the front of the crate in the video:

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And here is the back cover:

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You may recognise Joan Baez who performs on the soundtrack. So this is an Italian film, or Docudrama if you like, called ‘Sacco E Vanzetti’, written and directed by Giuliano Montaldo that premiered in Italy on 16 March 1971.The story is based on the events surrounding the trial and judicial execution of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, two anarchists of Italian origin, who were sentenced to death by a United States court in the 1920s. The film’s musical score was composed and conducted by Ennio Morricone with the three-part ballad sung by Joan Baez. The film is mainly shot in colour although it both starts and finishes in black and white, and also includes period black and white newsreels.

Label: RCA ‎– NL 33206
Series: Cinema Tre – HKAY 34524
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Reissue
Country: Italy
Released: 1979
Genre: Electronic, Jazz, Stage & Screen

Style: Soundtrack, Experimental, Easy Listening

Next purchase was ‘Marco Polo’ which is a 1982 TV series I’ve never seen but it has a good cast:

Kenneth Marshall, Denholm Elliott, Tony Vogel, F. Murray Abraham, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud, John Houseman, Burt Lancaster, Tony Lo Bianco, Ian McShane, Leonard Nimoy, David Warner, James Hong & Ying Ruocheng.

I only know the main theme but I’m very much looking forward to giving this album a spin and hearing the rest.

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Label: Arista ‎– AL-8304, Arista ‎– AL 8304
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Gatefold
Country: US
Released: 1982
Genre: Classical
Style: Modern, Contemporary

The third soundtrack was for another Italian Film, this one called “La Banquière” (Lady Banker) from 1980 I think.

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Label: Général Music France ‎– 803 015
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Gatefold
Country: France
Released: 1980
Genre: Stage & Screen
Style: Soundtrack

Here is a bit of the film itself:

I bought this particular soundtrack for budget reasons, namely that it wasn’t expensive, but you can usually be pretty confident that there will be something worth having on any Morricone soundtrack. I wasn’t wrong, the opening track, ‘Dédicace’ is really quite lovely, so much so that I recorded the first couple of minutes as it played on my deck. It needs a little clean to see if I can get rid of some of the pops and crackles but it is very quiet at times so that does happen. Have a listen.

I have one other but I’ll talk about that in my next post.

LEAMINGTON RECORD FAIR 18/06/2016 – PART 2

I did a nice little video of my walking into the town hall, up the stairs and into the main hall, except it appears that after 3 seconds of filming I accidentally switched the recording off. I wasn’t about to go outside and do that again so I filmed a lap of the hall instead, and here it is:

Now on to other things I picked up. My music tastes are quite eclectic so there’s always a lot that I’m on the look out for and I was quite surprised to find ‘Slime and Reason’ by Roots Manuva.

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In my excitement at finding it, it’s not rare but I’d never seen it used before, I missed that the cover was a bit knackered at the back. No matter though, the vinyl plays fine and it wasn’t expensive, more importantly, it’s a great album.

I picked up a couple of Bob Dylan albums that I didn’t have on vinyl, these two:

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The vinyl needs a clean but I think they will be ok. They are both re-pressings, nothing original or rare, but I’m not bothered about that really.

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Next was Squeeze from 1978, just because it was there really and because I have a vague idea about getting more XTC and more Squeeze albums. I only really know ‘Take me I’m yours’ from this but I did have a listen to the whole album and it’s pretty good overall.

Back in the early eighties my very bestest friend in the whole wide world (he insists I call him that even though he’s really more of an acquaintance) Dave had his older brothers ( Pete) albums that we sometimes used to listen to, which is why I bought an album by ‘Greenslade’.

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I don’t remember much about them, I was more interested in ‘Gentle Giant’ but I thought they were worth a go. The album is ‘Spyglass Guest’ from 1974, it very much sits in the Prog Rock camp and on first listen I felt it started a little cheesy but it soon picked up and was much more interesting. I need to give it a few more listens to be honest.

I sold my copy of ‘Floodland’ by The Sisters of Mercy years ago and was pleased to be able to get a replacement copy for £3.75. I also had a load of 12″ singles that I sold off, but I can’t see myself replacing them any time soon.

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Finally, the last thing I bought I just spotted from afar and made a bee line for it. I’ve been listening to the Mood Mosaic albums for years but have never bought one on vinyl and there was the first one at the front of a clear plastic crate. I bought it. Of course. This does not bode well as there are 14 of them and I know I’m going to now want the rest. They are a 14 album series of lounge music, TV Themes, bits from films and other bits and pieces. It’s a bit like a mix tape that somebody with a huge record collection made for you, here’s the tracklist of Volume 1:

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01 BOB CREWE – Pygar’s Persecution/The Black Queen’s Beads
02 KLAUS DOLDINGER – Sitar Beat
03 SERGE GAINSBOURG – En Melody
04 MICHEL LEGRAND – Marins, Amis, Amant Ou Maris
05 NELSON RIDDLE – Lamento
06 GARY McFARLAND – Love For Sale
07 GABOR SZABO – Sophisticated Wheels
08 PHIL MOORE III – Batucada
09 LUIS ENRIQUEZ – Mas Que Nada
10 GEORGE GARVARENZ* – Hascisch Party
11 SHOCKING BLUE – Ackta Raga
12 CLAUDE DENJEAN – Kiss This
13 GEORGE SHEARING – Aquarius

Here’s an example of the sort of thing that’s on this first album, and it’s brilliant:

Well this should have ended here, but there may be a part 3 as I went to the record shop afterwards, my bad.

 

Leamington Record Fair 18/06/2016 – Part 1

Today was Leamington Record fair, which was quite busy as soon as it opened, probably because the Peace Festival was on just a short walk away. There were several new vendors, which is good, and I picked up a few bits and pieces from them. I spent relatively little but came away with rather a lot of records.

The first stall by the entrance door had a £1 crate and I did rather well out of that I think, at £1 each I got the following:

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My brother had this and I heard it a lot but I don’t think I ever had my own copy. It has a couple of gold stars stamped on the front so it may be a promo copy, I’ve no idea, I bought it for the songs not for any value it may or may not have. This copy is in nice vinyl condition but the cover is a bit tatty to be honest.

A1 The Steppes
A2 Time To Get Out
A3 Slogans
A4 Leaving
A5 Two Vamps As Guests
B1 Jacuzzi
B2 Hammer In The Sand
B3 The Toast
B4 The Show
B5 Sentimental Institution

 

Next up for a the princely sum of £1 was Live Stiffs. I remember this when it came out but never had a copy. It was basically a load of acts from the Stiff record label live. I don’t think this is the original release as it’s not on Stiff records but it doesn’t matter, to pick up these performances for so little money is good enough:

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Live LP taken from the “Stiffs Live Stiffs” Tour, recorded on the Rak Mobile at The University of East Anglia, Norwich, Leicester University and The Lyceum, London

Nick Lowe, Wreckless Eric and Larry Wallis are backed by a core group of tour musicians, including some members of The Attractions and The Blockheads. For example, Ian Dury plays drums for Wreckless Eric

On the last track, Ian Dury & The Blockheads are joined on stage by various other tour musicians. Track is credited to “All”.

A1 Nick Lowe’s Last Chicken In The Shop I Knew The Bride
A2 Nick Lowe’s Last Chicken In The Shop Let’s Eat
A3 Wreckless Eric & The New Rockets Semaphore Signals
A4 Wreckless Eric & The New Rockets Reconnez Cherie
A5 Larry Wallis’ Psychedelic Rowdies Police Car
B1 Elvis Costello & The Attractions I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself
B2 Elvis Costello & The Attractions Miracle Man
B3 Ian Dury & The Blockheads* Wake Up And Make Love With Me
B4 Ian Dury & The Blockheads* Billericay Dickie
B5 –All Sex, Drugs, Rock ‘N’ Roll & Chaos

I bought 3 12″ singles the first two were £1 the last one was £2:

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I don’t care what anybody thinks, this is, in my opinion, one of the best pop singles ever released, I genuinely mean that.

A1 Groove Is In The Heart (Meeting Of The Minds Mix)

Featuring – Bootsy*, Q-Tip

5:10
A2 Groove Is In The Heart (Peanut Butter Mix) 3:29
B1 What Is Love? (Holographic Goatee Mix) 4:10
B2 What Is Love? (Rainbow Beard Mix) 4:02

Anybody who may have read this blog for a while (there aren’t many of you!) will know that I love Grace Jones so when I saw something I’d never heard of which was really a bit odd and super cheap I really had no choice but to buy it. I have a really vague memory of something around this but it’s really hazy and I certainly never connected a vinyl release with it but the Sci-Fi channel had a ‘fright Night’ and Grace Jones was involved somehow. What I found was a 6 track 12″ releases by the Sci-Fi Channel with different versions of the track on it.

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1 Love Bites (7″ Fright Night Mix) 3:40
2 Love Bites (12 Dark Night Mix) 7:35
3 Love Bites (12″ Fright Night Mix) 8:21
4 Love Bites (12″ Deep Into The Night Mix) 6:40
5 Love Bites (7″ Fright Night Instrumental) 3:52
6 Love Bites (7″ Deep Into The Night Mix) 3:45

There’s an official video of it but embedding is disabled so there’s the one above. I added it to my collection on Discogs and it appears to be valued at £25, which is nice for me, though I have no intention of selling it.

The £2 12″ was another Grace Jones, I have the tracks already, but I loved the cover.

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The back cover is great as well. I’ll have to take a picture of it and post it at some point.

Also for £1 I picked up a Westworld album from 1987:

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A1 Where The Action Is
A2 Sonic Boom Boy
A3 Rockulator
A4 Psychotech
A5 Silver Mac
A6 Fly Westworld
B1 Ba-Na-Na-Bam-Boo
B2 Mix Me Up
B3 Injection 1-2-3
B4 Cheap ‘N’ Nasty
B5 Joy Rider
B6 Painkiller

I’m not sure why but I always liked them, and it is a fabulous cover. I always thought they were going to be bigger than they turned out to be and the fact that they named themselves after the film, which is one of my favourites, went some way to my rooting for them. Here is possibly their only real hit:

I then saw an album that I have seen being shown on lots of Youtube videos, Ricochet by Tangerine Dream. I heard them years ago, the father of the drummer of a band I was in had loads of them and there was one playing one night before practice when we went to pick him up. I didn’t like it and have given them no credence since that initial listening.

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Looking back I think there were two reasons why I didn’t connect with it, the first was that it just wasn’t my thing at the time and the other was, I think, that the album he was playing was a soundtrack to a film and nothing much happened, it seemed rather bland and dull to me. Regardless, I bought Ricochet and thought I’d give it a go. I’m glad I did. I’ve just listened to it and absolutely love it. Repetitive instrumentals? Yup, very much my thing nowadays. It will definitely get a lot more plays and I’ll look out for some more of their albums now. I must have passed over dozens of them by now but not anymore.

 

Next was ‘Naked’ by Talking Heads, it was £3.50 (as was Tangerine Dream above) and I’m trying to get sall the Talking Heads albums on vinyl so this was a must really. Especially at that price. I believe it was the last Studio album before they broke up.

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  1. “Blind” – 4:58
  2. “Mr. Jones” – 4:18
  3. “Totally Nude” – 4:10
  4. “Ruby Dear” – 3:48
  5. “(Nothing But) Flowers” – 5:31
  6. “The Democratic Circus” – 5:01
  7. “The Facts of Life” – 6:25
  8. “Mommy Daddy You and I” – 3:58
  9. “Big Daddy” – 5:37
  10. “Cool Water” – 5:10

The thing I have to point out is that I am still at the first stall, which, on the face of it, suggest I went vinyl buying crazy, but I didn’t, well, not too crazy anyway, I just found lots of things I liked straight away.

There will be more when I get to writing part 2 later.