Friday, August 28, 2009

A gourmet meal at the pasting table

This year I have quickly become a regular visitor to car boot sales in search of vinyl. Why I didn’t get into this habit years ago I have no idea. It’s got a lot going for it – the vinyl of course, but also the fresh (and often country) air, and it gets me up early on a Sunday morning. In fact I’m in trouble again with Mrs Darce as I am now setting the alarm clock on Sunday mornings. On the working days of the week Mrs Darce will naturally get up earlier than me, whereas I am an owl and always need an alarm clock to get me up. The first time the alarm went off on a Sunday for an early morning “boot” she automatically got out of bed in a panic thinking she had overslept and it was time for work. It is fair to say I was not popular when she realized her favourite lie in day had been disturbed!

Thanks to these boot sales I find I am now buying records faster than I can listen to them. I’m doing a very good job of catching up on all the albums that were on my wish lists in the 70s (and, to a lesser extent, 80s) but never quite reached the top. A lot of these fall into the general pop/rock category. But of course I’m also on the lookout for tasty soul, funk, and reggae.

For example my haul from a couple of weeks ago was fairly typical:
Rod Stewart – Never A Dull Moment (LP, with inscrutable sleeve in mint condition)
Kate Bush – Never For Ever (LP)
The Style Council – Café Bleu (LP)
Nina Simone – 1982 Charly compilation (LP)
Long John Baldry – Let The Heartaches Begin (LP)
The Equals – Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys (President 45)
Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band – Hi! (UK Piccadilly mono EP)

(total outlay £6)

Last Saturday’s haul, however, was a bit different. I spent a miserly £2.50 and only bought four records, but it was definitely a case of quality not quantity!

An O’Jays 45 from 1975 pairing “Give The People What They Want” with “What Am I Waiting For” proved to be a good honest starter. Both sides prepared to perfection.

By way of a pallet freshener I settled on David Sylvian’s “Brilliant Trees” album, his first after separating from Japan in the mid 80s. This turned out to be the only record on the menu that wasn’t black orientated. I don’t really know what genre you would place David Sylvian’s music in. I’ll just call it beautiful – in a bleak and windswept sort of way.

At the same time I chose the wine to go with my anticipated main course. A perfect accompaniment to fine food is a good glass of red wine and would you believe it for 75p I found an album called “Red Red Wine”. The cover of the album looked like it had been designed by a five year old on their first excursion with PhotoShop! Except that PhotoShop hadn’t been invented in 1969 when this album was released. The Trojan logo and the tracklisting on the back cover pointed to the fact there was obviously reggae of some form in the grooves. Tony Tribes’s original reggae version of “Red Red Wine” was listed, and most of the other tracks were credited to Dandy or Audrey. I guessed, correctly as it turns out, that Dandy was Dandy Livingstone and a bit of research has now told me that Audrey is Audrey Hall. The record itself is good quality heavy vinyl, typical of UK releases of the time and the label – Downtown – was one of a number of Trojan offshoots started in the sixties. The whole album is wonderful – the unmistakable sound of sixties reggae. Most tracks are covers, including Audrey Hall’s cover of the great Barbara Lynn’s “You’ll Lose A Good Thing”. All in all, a fine vintage.

Now for the main course. I have to say I struggled a bit with the menu at this point. In front of me on the edge of a pasting table were three piles of 45s. As I looked through the first pile there was nothing that caught my imagination. The second pile proved no better and the way they were stacked made it difficult to look through them easily. My appetite was waning, maybe it wasn’t worth looking through the final pile. But then I thought – “What am I here for? And the third pile is a bit smaller. And what I have seen so far hasn’t been totally predictable, just not in any way mouth watering”. So I carried on and there, in the middle of the pile, I found the perfect platter. I knew the track (thanks I think to Scholar from one of his older posts), I love the track, I have it on mp3, so in a way you could say I had already savoured the aromas of it cooking. But here it was in my hands, the prefect main course. And it had an extra bit of spice, because I thought this track had only ever existed on a US released album. But here it was in 45 form, and on a UK label that I had never heard of before! A record so rare it’s blue? And it was on the menu for only 50p! So it is that I have been gorging myself ever since (with no hint of indigestion) on Kellee Paterson’s (sic) sumptuous take on Barry White’s “I’m Gonna Love You A Little More Baby”.
(I have now learnt that this did get a US 45 issue - on Shadybrook, and that there is at least one other copy of the UK Mint release in circulation as Manship has one for sale at £100! – I’m happy!).

I’m off for a post prandial nap!

The starter:

The O'Jays - Give The People What They Want 1975

The main course:

Kellee Patterson - I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little More Baby 1976

The wine:

Audrey (Hall) - You'll Lose A Good Thing 1969


Davy H said...

Crikey. Such phono-gastronomy. No cheese though?? Perhaps just as well; tends to disrupt the sleep, I find.

Word verif = funted. Ah, yes.

ally. said...

i love a good booty but they're not really pedestrian friendly the rotters. the ones in town have always been decimated by dealers and keen locals by the time i get to walthamstow or heaven knows where else so i've pretty much given up. thankfully therer's preston market on tuesdays with a brilliant record stall there all day - not too cheap but still a plus when folks visiting.