Sunday, January 13, 2008


In my previous post I featured the first vinyl album I ever bought. Except that I bought two at the same time so I had two ‘firsts’. Also I explained that technically they weren’t my first ever albums (you can refer to my previous post for the explanation on that point). With me so far? Hope so, because I am now going to feature the last vinyl album I ever bought. Except that again I am going to mange to feature two albums, with purchase dates about 16 years apart!

“What is he banging on about this time?” I can hear you saying. Let me attempt an explanation.

As the 80s wore on my passion for music subsided somewhat (reasons were the usual ones I suspect - marriage, kids, enough other things to spend money and time on). I didn’t stop buying altogether but didn’t buy much, really. CDs had become the format of convenience, but vinyl still got the juices flowing, so every now and then I would still buy an LP. By 1992 though CDs sort of took over completely, and the records got shifted upstairs, out of sight, and in all honesty, for some years at least, pretty much out of mind. At this stage then I would say my first age of buying vinyl came to an end. So some 21 years (or thereabouts) after I bought “Motown Chartbusters Vol Six” and “Electric Warrior” I wandered into Bristol’s Rival Records (that’s what the price sticker on the cover says) and bought my last ever vinyl LP – Ronny Jordan’s “The Antidote”.

The Antidote” was Ronny Jordan’s debut LP. Ronny was born in North London and started playing guitar at age four. Wes Montgomery was an inspiration, particularly “West Coast Blues”, and later George Benson would also be an influence. Ronny was very much at the forefront of the acid jazz scene, and is still a very active musician, touring, and has released another six albums since his debut. When I first heard a track off “The Antidote” I thought it sounded very cool. Now I think it sounds of its time. It’s a mix of jazz/rap tracks and straight ahead insrtumentals that I guess fall into the smooth jazz category, although I’m not sure that that term had been invented in 1992.

Back to my record buying habits. From 1992 vinyl abstinence lasted as much as 10 years I think. Then I discovered charity shops and ebay, and rediscovered second hand shops, and my vinyl preference was rekindled. The records I buy now are invariably not new releases and are mostly second hand. This new phase of vinyl buying I refer to as the ‘afterlife’, and in my mind is completely distinct from my ‘first age’ back in the 70s and 80s. In this ‘afterlife’ the last LP I bought is of course the most recent and that would be Otis Clay’s “I Can’t Take It”, which the postman left on the doorstep last week.

Scholar put up the title track a few months ago and it blew me away. Research proved that it was never released as a single so I had to hunt down the LP. This LP was released in 1977 on the reactivated Cream/Hi label. The sound is classic Willie Mitchell. In 1977 As well as the Cream imprint, Cream were releasing LPs on the Hi imprint with two different number ranges HLP6000 and HLP8000. It seems that the 8000 range were all LPs of material previously available on Hi, whereas the 6000 range were new releases. “I Can’t Take It” is HI HLP6003 making it new at the time. Except for the Star Wars effects on "House Aint A Home" (which, amazingly, work - only Willie could pull that off) it sounds like the material could have been recorded earlier in the 70s and had just been lying around (criminally) unissued.

Of course by the time you read this I probably will have been buying again, so Otis Clay will no longer hold the joint title of ‘last ever vinyl album bought”!

Ronny Jordan – Get To Grips 1992
Ronny Jordan – Summer Smile 1992

Otis Clay – House Aint A Home (Without A Woman) 1977
Otis Clay – Keep On Loving Me 1977

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