Friday, September 25, 2015


I’m still here. Life has been full of stuff recently which has, coincidentally, included tidying up two houses and gardens in readiness for estate agents’ pictures.  

One of those houses is my late mother’s, and that has been difficult. Every ornament, piece of china, book etc is a memory; they can’t all be kept so sorting and sifting has to take place- keep, sell, charity shop, tip. A life reduced to a military disposal operation. It’s hard. In this process it has become apparent my daughter has a liking for brown furniture and has evidently been secretly coveting some of my parents’ furniture. A bureau has already been installed in her bedroom, and given half the chance more items would go into storage for the time she may be able to afford her own place!

The other house is a friend’s mum’s villa in Turkey. After nine years Wendy has decided to move back to the UK, so our holiday this year involved more tidying and sorting. For me that meant tidying up in the garden mostly – in 32C+ heat. Don’t get me wrong, it was enjoyable, and most of the time we were doing holiday things – i.e. not very much. Mrs Darce and her friend have been visiting Wendy for quite a few years now, and the husbands have been allowed the last couple of years too! The villa is in a little village called Uzumlu, it is a charming place, and we will all miss it.    

What about some music then? In the last few weeks I have still managed to find some time for a bit of charity shop trawling, car booting, and on-line buying. The vinyl has been mounting up, but with no time to listen to any of my recent purchases. There is quite a stack to get through. Tonight I have made a start, nd here is one of the first 45s to finally get some turntable time.

Tamiko Jones I knew only from a couple of late Seventies disco outings. I didn’t know she had been recording since the early Sixties and has had an interesting and “connected” life. On this 45 from 1967 she teams up with Herbie Mann and delivers some groovy goodness in a Latin vein.  Both tracks were taken from a 1967 album A Mann And A Woman and were two of three tracks on that album arranged by Joe Zawinul, who would soon after first join Miles Davis’ band and later form Weather Report and be instrumental in the birth of jazz fusion.     

Friday, September 04, 2015

Let's Play Checkers

What separates these two Checker 45s?

As far as recording studios are concerned it’s about 565 miles for that is the driving distance from Chicago, IL to Florence, AL.  

Considering the 1000 series Checker 45 releases it’s 6, and about 4 months was all there was between them when they were released in 1968.

Recently when they dropped through my letterbox nothing at all separated them because they were nestling snugly together in the same package.

You will all know by now I love the Chicago sound, and I also love the sounds that were coming out of Rick Hall’s Fame studio in the late Sixties. So how could I choose between them? I can’t, so you get both. Furthermore, I find it difficult to choose between the two sides of each of these records so, again, you get both.

Friday, August 28, 2015

One Way ticket for the feet

I found myself putting together a disco mix CD for a swap over at VG+ recently. I thought it would be made up almost entirely with 12“ singles when I started but in the end a few 7” and album tracks ended up in the mix too. It was a good exercise because it led me to rediscover a few records I had probably not played for over 30 years, since my DJing days. A case in point was the album One Way featuring Al Hudson (incidentally they released two albums by that name, this is the second of them) . A track from this album was nowhere near my initial tentative stabs at a running order for the mix CD. But the process caused me to pull this album out of the collection and put in on the deck, I thought for a quick needle skip through the tracks out of curiosity. I ended up playing it all the way through, both sides. Many – most? – Disco and Soul/Funk albums from the 70s and 80s don’t really make it as an album, often one trackers , often with an awkward mix of dancefloor business and slow – dare I say dull and syrupy – numbers. This One Way album holds up well though. The funky tracks are all strong and irresistible to the feet and the slower numbers have plenty of merit too, there is some invention and texture – more than “soul by numbers”.  Al Hudson has a good voice too. Thinking about it I was evidently a fan of Al. The band were originally known as Al Hudson & The Soul Partners and I have a few of their 12“ singles among them You Can Do It which was at the poppier end of their output and was a big hit in the UK, and Spread Love which was a killer and still finds favour. Alicia Myers was also in the group at the time of this album. This is where Detroit was in the late 70s and early 80s.   

I decided to make my Disco mix CD move through my years on the scene and I was looking for something to represent the more understated and sophisticated sounds that could grace the dancefloors as the full force of Disco waned and the 70s became the 80s. And that is how Let’s Go Out Tonite ended up on my mix CD.      

Let's Go Ou Tonite? Hmph, I'm writing this all alone at chez Darcy: Mrs Darce has gone to the theatre, my daughter and boyfriend(!) are out at a friend's, and my son and some friends have "trucked" over to Lille for a long weekend! It's just me and the cat and the rabbits.   

(Chris: you have heard this already I know so here is another track from the album J)

PS: I’m now catching up on YouTube with some of One Way’s output that I missed first time around. Good stuff.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

That number again, and some lanes

It’s time to kick start this blog again. You will understand it has been rather difficult for me (and my family) over the last weeks. I would like to thank all of you who sent your condolences and kind thoughts.

Mum’s funeral took place last week and the day went well, as well as such occasions can. We had a celebrant conduct the service. He was very good. He had not been acquainted with mum but from just a one hour conversation with us, and one draft to which I suggested some minor tweaks, he built up a picture and his resulting words were accurate, appropriate, and delivered with sincerity. In the service he recounted my mum’s relationship with the number 13 – she was born on the 13th September and spent her early years living at a house numbered 13 (unusual in those days, as it was often left out of street numbering? – it is in our road for example). As my mum’s condition deteriorated last month I was fully expecting her final hours to be on the 13th, that wasn’t to be though, at least not quite, mum passed away 13 hours into the 14th. At the funeral service there were, yes you guessed it, 13 people. Fate certainly did take a hand there I think, there were two other people – recent acquaintances of mum – who we were expecting to attend. We had not met them before but my mum’s next door neighbour told us she saw them at the crematorium in the car park on the morning of mum’s service. Our only conclusion was that they attended the wrong funeral! How do you do that?

We chose Penny Lane as the exit music at the service. Mum always liked the Beatles, she felt a certain affinity to them I think, growing up, as she did, on the Wirral not too far from Liverpool. She bought many of their early singles and they got lots of plays by mum – and a young me too – on the Elizabethan Pop 10 (a sort of Dansette style record player) in the house. I am now left with that house; a house that was my parents’ home for more than fifty years, and my childhood home too. Now it is very much a house on memory lane. 

Anyway, returning to the subject matter of this blog – i.e. music. The songs featured here don’t in any way stir strong memories of mum or my childhood, however, thoughts of the number 13 and trips down lanes brought to mind Blue Magic’s mid 70s album Thirteen Blue Magic Lane. I don’t have this album but I do have a few Blue Magic singles, and the B-sides of two of them were featured on that album.        

Monday, July 20, 2015

RIP Mum 1926-2015

Mum passed away last week. She was peaceful in the end, at home, and I was by her side.

Around ’74 - ‘75 mum would have heard this track, and the album it comes from Last Days And Time, a lot around the house as it was (and still is) a great favourite of mine.

Something approaching normal service should return hereabouts soon.    

Friday, July 03, 2015

Parish Notices

My Box account seems to be screwed up. It is not doing its monthly bandwidth limit reset so downloads are not possible. Anybody else had this problem? Anybody know of any good alternatives to Box nowadays? For now I have done the simple thing and created a new account. The Andy Butler track link has been updated in my previous post so should be fully functional now, as should others posted from now on. Unfortunately, unless my original account sorts itself out older track links will be available as stream only.


On an altogether more serious note I will tell you that my mum has recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She has not been well all year and since the diagnosis a few weeks ago her decline has been frightening, and rapid. Mum is 88 and has had a good and full life but in all probability this month will be her last with us.

I am sure you will understand that in the circumstances posts here will be thin on the ground for a while.      

Friday, June 19, 2015

Take Me - I'm free!

Here we go again. I’m listening to a really good mix put together by Larry, Mr Funky16Corners. I’m about six tracks through and I’m already thinking I need some of them on vinyl, you know, my very own copy.  Right, let’s get searching. Time to open up a few tabs: Manship – what silly price will he be asking? Any copies listed on t’bay in the UK? What about the ‘ogs? Track two: which one is that again? Andy Butler – Take Me.  Andy Butler! Hang on, I think I might already have this one. It is worth a look in the boxes, after all they are pretty well ordered now so it should be easy to find if I do have it. I pad up the stairs, open up cabinet S (for Soul, I just made that up), take out the A-B box (lots of Bs), riffle through – it was on Ray Charles’ Tangerine label wasn’t it? – and… voila! 

I really must learn to spend more time searching my own boxes rather than trawling the internet for more records!    

I think I bought my copy of this 45 near the beginning of my second phase of record buying, probably close on 10 years ago now. My love of soul music had been rekindled by some early ‘00s contemporary artists such as Angie Stone and Jill Scott, and then, slightly belatedly, I discovered on-line fan sites such as Yoni’s Soul Of The Net and fledgling blogs such as Larry’s Funky16Corners, and also the wealth of old records for sale on ebay and other on-line emporia.

Andy Butler had three releases on Tangerine in the late ‘60s, this one being the first. That is just about all I know about him. Except I did stumble across this comment, evidently from a musician contemporary of Andy’s,  on a YouTube entry: “ Butler is none other than Andrew Butler from the Five Dutones. He was the lead singer on "Shake a tailfeather". I recorded on several of their songs when they were with One der-ful records. After the Five Dutones disbanded Andrew went on his own. I still communicate with him frequently. Andy's most recent ventures was with the Coasters and the Rivingtons.”  
Apart from that, hard facts regarding Andy Butler remain elusive. What is true though, as demonstrated on this track, is he had a fine voice.

A bit of wear on this 45, I’m afraid – call it patina.