Thursday, September 27, 2012

File under whimsy?

What’s that hiding in that mutilated sleeve? 

As promised here is another 45 I was very happy, and surprised, to find at a local boot fair recently. A lady was selling a few boxes of singles at 3 for a £1. I bought £3 worth, including this one. The boxes contained a very unusual and eclectic mix, certainly not something you normally find at boot sales. It transpired her husband works for a local second hand record shop, one in fact I rarely visit now as, in my experience, I have rarely found anything worth buying and they seem to be equally rarely willing to buy anything off me! (I am not alone here either, and I wonder where they get their records from!).

Anyway, by offloading at a boot sale I think they missed a trick with this one. None other than Mr Allen Toussaint had a lot to do with this record. The credits tell you he arranged it, they also tell you he wrote it – Toussaint often used his mother’s name, Naomi Neville, in writing credits around this time – and he is undoubtedly playing piano on it. The ALON label was a vehicle for much Allen Toussaint output in the early to mid Sixties. Hold a mirror up to the label name and of course NOLA appears. (Try and scan it though and the results are not good – as Ana-B has already pointed out).

The record sounds somehow familiar to me. It’s possible I suppose that I have heard it before here. Back in 2006 I was relatively new to the blogging game and Home Of The Groove was an early destination for me. Reading the post (again?) and its comments I learned that this track, or at least its basic form, was originally used as the backing track for Benny Spellman’s “The Word Game”.

It is a very difficult to categorise this record by The Stokes. To me it sounds like it would not be out of place as background music to a TV series of the time, something a bit tongue in cheek or a bit skewed - The Avengers for example. Hey! maybe, that’s where I heard it before? Anyway, I like it a lot and I think I will file it under “whimsy”. The sleeve it came in sort of lives up to the whimsical tag too!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Catching up

This year the boot fair season has, generally, been a disaster. The weather of course has been the main problem. Many washed out weekends; and if it wasn’t raining the fields in which most of these events happen remained too saturated, which led to more cancellations. On top of that my experience has been that even when I did manage a trudge around a damp field there were hardly any records to be found. On more than one occasion this year my swag bag remained completely empty, something I have not been used to before.

This all changed a few weeks ago though, and the record room (the dining room actually, which is now subject to very little dining being as it’s full of records and pets!) is now seemingly awash with boot fair, and charity shop, finds. Just like buses, the vinyl seems to have all come along at once since September started.

Not much of this vinyl has been in the genres I stick to here – i.e. soul, funk, reggae, and jazz - but there has been some.

Where to start?

Two weeks running I have picked up bargains (50p or less) at boot sales from sellers I knew, or discovered, were established record dealers/traders. This ”Curley Moore” 45, for example, I bought from a guy I know to be a dealer who also has his own website selling soul and funk stuff at reasonable (but not cheap) prices, and I’m sure this 45 could have featured and sold for much more than 50p on his website. Occasionally I see him at a local boot fair knocking stuff out at no more than a pound. He has apparently got about 10,000 records in a lock up somewhere so I suppose now and then he has to have a purge, and I guess it’s inevitable that a few pearls will get mixed in to the more general run of the mill bits he is trying to clear.   

He, of course, may not think this 45 is a pearl, and his friend who seems to always accompany him at the fairs certainly didn’t know it, although I think he suspected it shouldn’t have been nestling in a chirpy chirpy cheap bin. Damn, the titles are clues enough!

Even if it transpired that the grooves of this 45 contained rubbish it is certainly worth 50p for the label. Look more closely at the label though and it becomes clear this 45 has a NOLA pedigree – a certain Mr Eddie Bo(cage) is all over the credits and has most certainly has more to do with this 45 than Curley Moore hence my use of the quotation marks above . Dropping the needle confirms that what’s in the grooves is far from rubbish, but also not funk in the classic sense. Two sides that are, I think,  actually more akin to freakbeat than funk, but they really hit the spot. On the A side it’s Eddie Bo playing the organ and in so doing adding the funky icing to the freaky cake.

Another 45 with another NOLA legend hiding in the credits next time. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Waiting over...

As last month wore on, a combination of nothing to do at work and more disappointing weather left me feeling distinctly listless. If you are (or should that be were!) a regular around here you will have experienced a consequence of my ennui – the longest period of inactivity for Feel It since I started this little indulgence over six years ago.

But then September began and brought with it, as is so often the case, better, calmer weather. Quiet days, mellow light - my favourite month was acting true to form. The boredom is still present at work but it seems that September serenity has driven away the listlessness and left me with at least a blissful ennui.               

Waiting over…
So it was a week or so ago I was ready to contemplate another post here. Then I realised that something else that had been bugging me – and that I had initially put down to my general restlessness – was a real problem. My records didn’t sound quite right – some tinniness/distortion in the higher frequencies… that appeared to get worse on the inner tracks of an album. Was that possible? A quick bit of Googling confirmed that the clues were there, and entirely consistent with the stylus on my record playing machine being worn out. Let’s hope no lasting damage has been done to those records played in recent weeks. A new one is now installed and the difference is clear.
So now I have been able to play again an album I acquired a few months ago and share it with you.

I have realised recently that Denise La Salle is one of my favourite soulstresses, and when I’m feeling a bit low her voice acts as a sort of comfort blanket. Denise has had a long recording career. It is difficult to keep the quality high all the time when one is so prolific and Denise’s catalog has some highs and lows I think, but one of her early albums “On The Loose” is definitely in the top quality bracket. Strong tracks abound, including “Your Man And Your Best Friend” a track I featured here as a 45 B side a couple or so years ago. The only really false step is a cover of “Harper Valley PTA”, which should have been left in the can. Two tracks for you to enjoy:  “What Am I Doing Wrong” has Denise sounding wistful and mellow, and “Breaking Up Somebody’s Home” is one I always knew from Ann Peebles’ version, and didn’t know until I bought this album that Denise had written it.    

Denise La Salle – What Am I Doing Wrong 1973

Denise La Salle – Breaking Up Somebody’s Home 1973

Buy “On The Loose” on a twofer with her debut “Trapped By A Thing Called Love”.

PS: On the inner sleeve of this album is written:
Maximus ‘77
1st Prize.
I would love to know the story behind that, but guess I never will.

PPS: Waiting over…
The car boot season has been generally disastrous this year… until a couple of weeks ago. More of that anon.