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 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 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.

Spitalfields Record Stalls

I was down in London yesterday and decided to visit the record stalls at Spitalfields Market. They have them there every 2nd Saturday of the month and it seemed worth a look. I was in Oxford Street so took the tube to Liverpool St Station and walked from there, it’s not far.

I couldn’t find the stalls at first but I turned a corner and there they were. I was, in truth, a little underwhelmed. A lot of what was there was just standard stuff, no better than  what I could find locally and quite a lot of it was dross. I found an Isaac Hayes album that looked ok for £3.00, then I looked at the vinyl and saw why it was so cheap, it looked like somebody had attacked it with an electric sander. This then made me dubious of everything on this particular stall as it was only really fit for the bin as the cover was a bit damaged as well.

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Most of the other stalls were just standard fair, prices were not particularly competitive and there were a lot of 3 for a tenner crates that had little of interest in them, to me at least.

The stall in the picture above had a lot of David Bowie bootlegs on both vinyl and CD, but I wasn’t after those. The stall in the picture below was probably the best of them but the guy overvalued his stock a bit I think. I did buy three things from him though, two Future Sound Of London 12″ singles, which were a little overpriced,  and an album, which was definitely overpriced. I took a punt on it as I didn’t know much about it and it was a triple. Sometimes you have to try things as that way you can discover new things, or perhaps, the opposite, you discover things you aren’t that keen on and can avoid in the future. I’m somewhere in the middle with the album I bought, repeated listening will decide it.

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The album was ‘Full Lick’ by Satoshi Tomiie, who has been a pioneering and driving force within the global house community since the late 80’s. He has a load of stuff on soundcloud if you want a free listen. This particular album is from 1999 and what it lacks for me is intricacy, it needs to have more layers for my taste, little bits and pieces happening that catch me by surprise, but it doesn’t, it ploughs forward in a single groove much of the time, but I will have to give it more opportunity to ensnare me as I definitely paid over the odds for it and feel buyers remorse looming.

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Here are some more recent tracks from him.

I won’t be making any special effort to visit Spitalfields for vinyl again in the future, if I’m there and they are there then great but I’d do better going to a record fair in Birmingham, Coventry or Leamington Spa.

Leamington Record Fair

I visited Leamington Spa’s Town Hall on Saturday to dig my way through heaps of vinyl at the record fair. There is plenty there if you are prepared to pay for it, but I’m generally not. I’m there to pick up bits and pieces as cheaply as possible. There are albums that I most certainly would like, but paying £25 or more for something that I may, not will, but may find cheaper elsewhere is not something I like to do. It will nag away at me and I will eventually find the same thing for half the price and then be annoyed at myself were I to have bought it, so the most I have ever payed for anything at a record fair is £8, and that was this Saturday. Here is what I bought (with the exception of Roots Manuva which was an RSD purchase), can you guess the £8 album?

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Isaac Hayes – Shaft is an original 1974 release, a double, and it plays very nicely, the cover is in good condition as well. I haven’t played either of the Art of Noise albums as yet but they look to be fine. The Cult – Electric is in very good condition and I have played it and it sounds really good. Soul II Soul I haven’t played yet, it appears to have the wrong inner sleeve though. Ooh Las Vegas by Deacon Blue looks like it has been well kept, it’s a double made up of B-Sides and suchlike. Black Sea by XTC is in good condition as is Slave to the Rhythm byu Grace Jones, which plays very well indeed. The only one that is not as good as I might hope is ‘My Kingdom’ by The Future Sound of London. It has a mark about the size of a thumbprint on side one and it really affects the playing quite badly. It is a 33 1/3, 12” single with an 11 minute track on side 1, which samples Ennio Moricone so it’s obviously good, Moricone makes everything better, but that mark really bothers me so I did a little research and ordered a record cleaning kit, to see if that can sort it out, it’s this one:

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It’s not expensive at £8.87 (an odd price) but hopefully it will go some way to reviving not just this 12” single, but several others I have that are showing their age. Here is the blurb on it:

“Vinyl Revival is the world’s safest and best vinyl record cleaning solution. Our alcohol free liquid has been designed by leading scientists to exact laboratory standards. Using lab grade ingredients and equipment, Vinyl Revival has been packaged in a dust free environment, ensuring the cleanest and safest solution for cleaning your vinyl record collection. Vinyl revival is the only 2 step product in the market – a necessity which none of the other ‘garage chemist’ suppliers of competing products are even aware of. Shockingly, other suppliers are openly admitting to using both distilled water AND alcohol in their products! Please avoid putting distilled water anywhere near your vinyl! Ask us, if you’d like to know why. There has been much debate over the years about which products are safe to use on vinyl records with many claiming that alcohol (or isopropyl alcohol) is perfectly safe to smear over your beloved vinyl record collection. We, and our research partners do not believe this to be the case. This is why Vinyl Revival is completely alcohol (or any alcohol substitute) FREE and is, ultimately, the only safe product to use on vinyl records. Also, many other products we’ve tried in the market will contain detergents or other soaping agents. These, again, should be avoided because they will leave behind microscopic deposits on your vinyl surface, which will affect sound quality, increase static and also, potentially, damage your stylus. Vinyl Revival is the product of choice for audio archiving specialists and DJs around the globe.”

I’ll post about the results after I’ve used it.

So which is the £8 album?

Record Fair

What’s in the bag? (67)

Last time I went to a record fair I picked up another Joe Jackson album, What’s in the bag? (15) which I liked so when I saw this one today I thought I’d better have it, it’s a clean copy, Near Mint I’d say and it was just a couple of quid.

I’ve only had a quick listen through, with ‘Is she really going out with him?’ being the stand out track as I already know it, but, regardless of anything else, I just love that front cover:

Joe_Jackson_-_Look_Sharp!

6.5/10