Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The beautiful game

It is perfectly feasible (accepting Spain have an off day) that this year’s World Cup semi finals will be a private party – only South Americans in attendance.

This, by Sarah Crompton in the Telegraph newspaper today, was an excellent article:

"... Alongside everything that was so depressing about England's ejection from the World Cup, the desperate ugliness of their play was perhaps the most unbearable thing...."

Fantastic, and so true. That sums it up for me. I think just about EVERY team in the finals has seemed more adept, and made the game look prettier, than Eng-ger-land.

Cedar Walton – Latin America  1980

Friday, June 25, 2010

R.I.P. Garry Shider

I’m a bit late on picking up on this: the Telegraph obituaries yesterday had a write up for Garry Shider who lost his recent battle with cancer at only 56 on June 16th. The Daily Telegraph obits page is usually awash with brigadiers, wing-commanders, professors and the like so it was somewhat unusual to see an entry for Garry Shider. Someone at the Telegraph obviously has a good appreciation of the true talents in popular music. Vocalist and guitarist Garry was a key member of the Parliament/Funkadelic cosmic ride in the Seventies. You may not think you knew him, but if you have ever sung along to “One Nation Under A Groove” you were singing along with Garry.  

Back in 2007 I wrote a guest blog entry for Scholar at Souled On... It featured a number of tracks that have the repeatable ability to make me cry (for reasons various and unexplainable). I had this to say about a Parliament track that featured Garry Shider on vocals.             

As 1976 was coming to an end Parliament released “The Clones Of Dr. Funkenstein”. It was the follow up to “Mothership Connection” and has somehow always remained under that album’s shadow. For my money though “Clones” is at least its equal. The funk is looser, the feel is more laid back, horn arrangements to die for abound, and there are some great vocal performances (for example just check Gary Shider on the track featured here). To my mind the more stripped down feel reveals a melancholic undercurrent on many of the tracks. Cut through the invented on-the-one-cosmic-science-thang world of Clinton and his cohorts and what you have is a really soulful album. The soulfulness struck me on first hearing, just after its release. Back then I wasn’t aware of the group’s history and previous incarnation as The Parliaments. Now of course it all makes sense.        

Parliament – Getten’ To Know You 1976

R.I.P. Garry Shider.

(Excuse me while I have another little cry).

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

My latest addictions

Listened to Finewine's latest Downtown Soulville show earlier where he finishes with Gene Ammons "Jug Eyes".  
Now I can't stop playing it. A stellar track from a stellar line up: Ammons, George Freeman, Idris Muhammad, Ron Carter, Harold Mabern. From the 1970 album "The Black Cat".

I don't know about jug eyes but I've certainly got bug eyes as I more and more feverishly try to complete our Panini World Cup sticker collection by swapping on ebay. It is totally addictive, as is listening to "Jug Eyes".

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Where was I?

For a while there I thought that was it for Feel It. A short (and very sunny – yippee!) holiday got me out of the habit very quickly and I started enjoying leaving the computer alone and doing other things. I found I had no urge to play, record, scan, research, compose, post. The weather had a lot to do with this mini hiatus – for a while there it was gorgeous. Also there was a “needs must” in the garden - the hard winter we had resulted in some casualties that needed replacement, but also has seemed to do other plants and shrubs we have a power of good and they have needed some chopping back already.

Interacting with a new (to me) computer had also dampened the blogging urge too I think. It's silly really, this computer has the same operating system, the same applications, most of the same files
(or, at least, the important ones; and the rest of them available on portable hard drive if I want them). Nevertheless I don't feel at home with it yet. I'm still restless with it, I still have the urge to
play with the start up process and various other geeky and largely worthless activities which seem to constantly deflect me from doing something useful with it.

Anyway, a whole two weeks since the last glimmer of life hereabouts, I found myself thinking once again of blog posts (whilst doing the washing up!).

So by way of easing myself back into the groove I will offer up to you one of my latest boot sale finds.

This weekend just gone was the first time I had ventured into the junk strewn fields of England for a few weeks. Sunday proved a largely fruitless search for vinyl as I hit no less than three car boot sales. I had to keep going until I found something worth buying. Even so, it was a meagre haul – three 45s, what proved to be an uninspiring reggae 12” and, just to cheer me up a bit, a German cheese-fest easy listening LP with a scantily clad lady on the front (and back) cover - “Tattoos Aktuell” no less. During my increasingly desperate scavenge around the first two venues I had wondered whether the dealers had been particularly active and bought up every piece of vinyl in sight and a conversation with one seller reinforced this thought. By the time I visited his pitch he had about 30 LPs on show but he told me that he had arrived with about four times as many. The sale was advertised as starting at 8am for buyers, he had arrived before 6am (!) and had been immediately surrounded by dealers who bought just about everything he had (!!). I kinda knew this was the form at car boot sales, but I wasn't really sure that record dealers were that active. But now I know - 6am!! the early bird catches the worm, and I'm useless in the mornings.

Of course it was a long weekend in the UK, and what do Bank Holiday Mondays bring? Among other things more car boot sales! Yes, I snuck out again on Monday for another one, this time with some success. This particular venue doesn't start so early and I managed to get there before many of the sellers had set up. So it was I found myself rubbing shoulders with some of the dealers – a vulture myself. God! You've got to be quick and have a sixth sense for which boots may contain vinyl – or I suppose just be brazen and ask and poke your nose in people's cars even before they've got their seat belt off! Something I'm not comfortable doing. Anyway, I turned round and there was this pile of albums (they hadn't been there a minute earlier I'm sure) – a bag and two boxes full. Already there was a guy in amongst them – like a pig in a trough! He was riffling through the records in the bag at an astonishing rate with one hand whilst his other hand was resting on some of the records in one of the boxes so as nobody else could look at them. Fortunately he only had two arms (and evidently wasn't double jointed so couldn't bring his feet and toes into play!) so there were some albums still free of his clutches. For a fraction of a second I thought of asking if I could look at them (you can tell I'm new at this game!) but I was also aware of a couple of other people moving in behind me, so I dived in and grabbed a handful of albums. In this first grab I found 1st press copies of The Beatles “Abbey Road” and “Sergeant Pepper”. Diving back in I managed to pull out an early Dusty Springfield album (turns out it maybe not so early and I have it already in its original guise), The Monkees “Headquarters”, “Lightnin' Sonny & Brownie” (no need for surnames surely) and - drum roll - my favourite of the bunch:

an early Coxsone compilation album from 1968 - “Blue Beat Special”. (Look at that label! A great shade of blue and in spanking condition - not bad for a 42 year old record).

I handed over £6 for the lot and walked away very happy. The guy who got in first also walked away with about half a dozen albums I think. I heard a guy behind me say “looks like all the good stuff has gone”. The whole episode was over in about three minutes.

The weekend's digging was a bit of an education. It seems the records are there, but can I be hardnosed enough to mix it with the dealers? and can I get up early enough?!

Like the “Blues & Soul” compilation album featured recently, despite a bit of scratchiness every track on “Blue Beat Special” is – er – special, making it difficult to choose what to play. Here are two to give you a flavour.

Alton Ellis - Let Him Try 1968

Soul Vendors - The Whip 1968