Friday, March 06, 2009

Back in the groove

With two weeks in a row working away I had started to suffer withdrawal symptoms, from blogging of course, and from trawling charity shops.

My work related travels over the last fortnight have resulted in a fair amount of hanging around in airports. There are plenty of shops in airports but even at the best of times they mostly seem to be full of fabulously expensive merchandise. Nevertheless, to date, I had always been happy to browse, and chuckle at the prices. But now good old GBP has begun to resemble a third world currency (sorry, I guess that’s an insult to those of you living in the third world) such browsing isn’t fun anymore. It got me thinking that what the airport lounge experience needs is a bit of variety, say a few charity shops and second hand shops – somewhere to dig. It would certainly make my waiting experience more enjoyable and productive – then again I would probably get so carried away I would miss my flight! (Imagine: underneath a rack of women’s skirts (large) you’ve just found two boxes of albums that show some promise (the first two albums you already have but that shows someone has your taste) and then you hear the dread words: “Mr Darcy you are delaying the flight please proceed to the gate immediately or we will offload your bags”).

Anyway I’m back home again now with no more business trips for a few weeks at least. And today, in between a frustrating and ultimately fruitless search for a replacement brake light switch for our car*, I managed to dip into a few local charity shops and banish those withdrawal symptoms – and how!

As I recounted back in January my first trawl of the year was a successful one and included an album by George Freeman on Groove Merchant, my first piece of vinyl on that label. Well, what do you know?, I bagged another Groove Merchant album today – Jimmy McGriff’s “Groove Grease” no less – for 50p! I found this in a branch of the British Heart Foundation and I can assure you my heart skipped a beat when I pulled this one out of the rack. There is grease in those grooves I thought, and, ahem!, the cover's not bad!

As I said to the two charming old ladies behind the counter as I paid for my swag (which also included a Marlena Shaw Anthology CD – another result!) – “the cover on this one is a bit racy, perhaps you had better put The Bird in a Plain Brown Bag!”

Jimmy McGriff – The Bird (mp3) 1971

Jimmy McGriff – Plain Brown Bag (mp3) 1971 (or 1974?)

As a McGriff album “Groove Grease” is unusual inasmuch as the bass on the tracks is provided by a bass guitar rather than Jimmy’s left hand. I’m a bit puzzled by something though - Jimmy McGriff discographies seem generally to state this album as being from 1971. But this copy is dated 1974. I know this album has had a recent reissue on vinyl but this one is pretty clearly an original – it has Bell Sound stamped in the dead wax for instance. Were there two releases in the 70s I wonder?

Jimmy McGriff passed away last year, you can find a good tribute to him here.

(* The one I finally bought didn’t fit and, in the end, I got the original one working again – a day gladly wasted as it led me to “Groove Grease”).


Davy H said...

You're so right Darce: airports would be inestimably improved with a few charity shops and/or second hand record stores - they'd turn out to be the 'highest yielding' in the country too.

I had the same feeling as you when I was doing all that travelling before Christmas: Zurich was all watches I couldn't afford and Heathrow T5 was all Prada and Harrods and Gucci and not a decent bookshop (even) in sight.

Jimmy McGriff for 50p! You bugger!

Mind, I did get a Gabor Szabo this week that I'd been dreaming of ever since Emmett made me fall in love with it two years ago - for 75p.

Welcome home.

Raggedy said...

I always noticed that these Gucci and Prada thingies look only half as good once they're no longer surrounded with the store (so to speak.) I just don't see what's supposed to be so special about them (except the price tag.) Kind of ridiculous actually.

But -- that bass in "The Bird" is definitely worth something.

Thanks for posting.

WZJN said...

Anyone that digs on Jimmy is alright in my book! Nice selections!