Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Deja Vu

And so it is September again (OK, I know it’s nearly over).

I wrote about September last year. Reading that post again I was struck by how closely its themes match my current scenario: i.e. too busy to blog, and the September weather coming up trumps again following a non existent summer.

Unfortunately the general life stuff that has been getting in the way of regular bloggery is by no means all good this time around. Dad is in hospital again and has been for the last four weeks. The daily requirements surrounding visiting, supporting Mum, and trying to work out what is going to happen next is leaving little time for anything else. As I may have mentioned earlier this year, Dad is nearly 90, and has had a good innings as we say. But the various effects of diabetes have now well and truly taken hold and at the moment it is difficult to see that he will be able to return home.

As a nation we British love to talk about the weather and I have found myself describing the days to Dad when visiting him in hospital. In the circumstances talking about the weather seems sort of banal, and I am not sure he is taking in what I say, but in the end it is something to say and I like to think it at least gives him some sort of link to the outside world and a structure to the days (and it sure beats talking about the global financial meltdown).

Again this year, September, for the most part, has been a good month to report weather wise, conducting itself with a customary quiet elegance. I am not one to blow my own trumpet, but, reading it back, I was actually quite pleased with my reflections on September last year; to the extent that I cannot really improve on what I had to say then. So, if you feel so inclined, you can read what I had to say here (skip past the italics).

So what to play to go with this post?….. sing that summer song, soon it will be gone.

Buy “Live At The Bijou”

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tapping My Feet #7

DRC = my initials (say it quick and what do you get?)

0.17 = intro (to beat) in seconds
0.25 = intro (to vocal) in seconds

F = end fades
(not that I would have played it to the end, who did with 12" singles?)

117 = bpm
(not measured scientifically, just using a second hand if I remember!)

RM = ? (I'm b*ggered if I can remember what this means!)

General Johnson - Can't Nobody Love Me Like You Do 1979

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

This is why we do it

I’m sure if you ask my wife she will say that my desire to hunt for vinyl has now reached addictive proportions. She is probably right. Increasingly, for instance, I find myself sharing with my friends and work colleagues the details of my recent finds and the finer points (if there are such things) of charity shop trawling. If I took myself out of my body for an instant and eavesdropped on my conversation I wonder what I would think of myself? An anorak certainly, and then perhaps there is a fine line between that and a bore? Well, there is nothing I can do about it, the craving for vinyl has got me hooked.

One of the finer points of charity shop trawling I quickly noted was that independent shops (for example your local Cat’s Protection League shop as opposed to a CLIC or Oxfam shop) will typically ask less for records, and will also know less about what they have. So more chance of a ‘find’.

I also then learnt that second hand book shops will also sometimes have a few records tucked away. My belief is that as they are book specialists they, also, are not likely to know the vinyl gems they maybe offering for sale for less than the price of a choccie bar.

By way of proof to my second hand book shop theory I present to you Exhibit A – a single by Denise LaSalle released on the UK(!) Westbound label.

I found this in a Falmouth bookshop a few weeks ago and was happy to part with the princely sum of 50p for it. (Stupidly I only had £20 notes on me so knowing that my wife and friend were not far away, undoubtedly looking for earrings – now there’s another addiction if ever there was one!, – I phoned her on the mobile and summoned her to the shop with all speed with some small change!).

I didn’t know the Westbound imprint had ever appeared in UK form. I wouldn’t mind betting this record sold no more than a few handfuls on UK release so that makes it a relatively rare record. That is always nice to know but in the end it’s what’s in the grooves that counts and I knew that Denise LaSalle + 1973 + a title like “Your Man And Your Best Friend” meant there was a very good chance this was a slab of vintage Southern Soul. The record had no sleeve and looked a bit worse for wear but was worth a punt I thought. And wow! I was right. This must rate as one of I my best ever finds. It scrubbed up nicely after a good clean with the magic fluid and I think you will agree it is indeed vintage Southern Soul – and it’s a B side to boot! (The A side is “Do Me Right”).

Denise LaSalle, now into her 70th year, has been ever present on the soul and blues scene over the last 40 years or so. In the past soul artists recorded output was often mainly in the 45 format, with albums being thin on the ground. Not so with Denise, since her first recording back in 1967 – “A Love Reputation” – as well as numerous 45s Denise has also released no less than 32 albums (see Wikipedia). That’s pretty good going.

I have almost none of her records. It’s something I feel almost embarrassed about, and something I need to put right soon. (Scholar over at Souled On has turned me on to some more of her early 70s output in recent months).

What I do have I present to you now. As well as the aforementioned “diamond in the rough” here is her big hit from ’71 “Trapped By A Thing Called Love” on the US Westbound label – sporting a design that yet again proves that UK labels can’t hold a candle to US ones.

As I am bowled over by Denise LaSalle at the moment you also get two tracks from her 1980 album “I’m So Hot”. Both were also singles. I loved the title track back in the day and used to play it a lot in my DJing days. Playing the album again I was also struck by “Try My Love” a glorious disco burner with a whirl of strings and horns driven along by an irresistible beat with strong Moroderesque undertones. The sound would have been out of fashion by 1980 but now it sounds great again. Southern Soul they’re not, and they prove that soul music had changed beyond all recognition (disappeared really) by 1980, but they’re excellent tracks in their own way.

Denise LaSalle – Your Man And Your Best Friend 1973
Denise LaSalle – Trapped By A Thing Called Love 1971
Denise LaSalle – I’m So Hot 1980)
Denise LaSalle – Try My Love 1980