Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring at last

So far this year charity shop trawls have yielded hardly anything worth buying. (I suspect more and more of them now have their own local or in-house “experts” who are cherry picking the incoming donations and selling the best through other channels, and who can blame them I suppose, they are just trying to maximise their income after all). Couple this with the seasonal absence of car boot sales – and, in truth, not much action on the ebay front either - it’s meant a relatively dull few months in pursuit of the holy vinyl.

But, just as Nature is waking up from its winter slumber, there were also signs of life on the digging front over the last few days. My interest was initially reawakened last Friday by a few scores at my most local chazza, namely a couple of 12” disco/boogie monsters from back in the day “Act Like You Know” by Fat Larry’s Band, and Dinosaur L’s “Go Bang!”; John Hiatt’s 1987 album “Bring The Family” (which seems to have lots of rave reviews on the Internet, but left me pretty cold on first hearing); and a great compilation album of mainly 50s R&B, jump blues, jazz, and doo-wop – more of which in a minute.

This prompted me to check when the local car boot sales were starting up again. Normally they seem to start with the Easter bank holiday, but with Easter being so late this year I guessed they may be starting around now - and I was right. One has been going for three week already and another started up again over the weekend. Opportune! So I hauled myself out of bed at a relatively early hour for a Sunday and kicked off my 2011 “booting” season yesterday. (Starting the car, Archie Bell’s “Here I Go Again” was the first thing on the CD player – quite!).

I came back with a few things, nothing to get the pulse racing, but I was pleased to find a copy of Steely Dan’s “Pretzel Logic” (I already have a copy but it’s cover is on the wall and the this latest copy is a US demo first issue in great condition), another Steely Dan album “Aja” which I have only ever had on CD before, and a couple of 45s (Chairmen Of The Board’s “Dangling” – oh how I love the look of that Invictus label, and it was in a dark blue company sleeve - and The Originals “Down To Love Town”).

Incidentally, I also found a pair of pictures which, for £2, I couldn’t resist. Predictable response from Mrs Darce though when I got them home: “What did you buy those for? They’re a bit old fashioned aren’t they? You’re not putting those on the wall!”.I had a response lined up ready: “Well, I thought Mum would like them anyway, I’ll give them to her.” To which the reply was “don’t do that yet, perhaps we can find somewhere to put them”. Ah ha, maybe Mrs Darce is warming to them!

From a digging point of view then, I feel 2011 is off and running now (but I had better watch the off curriculum purchases!).

The compilation album I mentioned above is called the “The Official Sampler”. Official being the record label (out of Copenhagen apparently) and the album being a selection of tracks from the various artist specific releases they had lined up. The sampler dates back to the late 80s but I don’t know whether the individual albums were ever released. The selection is generally excellent, with at least five tracks that will happily shuffle around on my ipod over the next few weeks. It has also introduced me to a few artists that are new to me. I have noticed that lately my music listening is tending to take me further and further back into black music’s history but, for example, Linda Hayes is a new name on me.

I now know that Linda was born Bertha Williams in 1923 in Linden, New Jersey (hence Linda?) and is the sister of the Platters lead singer Tony Williams. In the 50s she had a number of hits on the Hollywood label. You can read a bit more about her and pick up a compilation album of her recordings here.  

Here are a couple of tracks from the Official Sampler that both have a similar stop start structure.  

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