Friday, August 28, 2015

One Way ticket for the feet

I found myself putting together a disco mix CD for a swap over at VG+ recently. I thought it would be made up almost entirely with 12“ singles when I started but in the end a few 7” and album tracks ended up in the mix too. It was a good exercise because it led me to rediscover a few records I had probably not played for over 30 years, since my DJing days. A case in point was the album One Way featuring Al Hudson (incidentally they released two albums by that name, this is the second of them) . A track from this album was nowhere near my initial tentative stabs at a running order for the mix CD. But the process caused me to pull this album out of the collection and put in on the deck, I thought for a quick needle skip through the tracks out of curiosity. I ended up playing it all the way through, both sides. Many – most? – Disco and Soul/Funk albums from the 70s and 80s don’t really make it as an album, often one trackers , often with an awkward mix of dancefloor business and slow – dare I say dull and syrupy – numbers. This One Way album holds up well though. The funky tracks are all strong and irresistible to the feet and the slower numbers have plenty of merit too, there is some invention and texture – more than “soul by numbers”.  Al Hudson has a good voice too. Thinking about it I was evidently a fan of Al. The band were originally known as Al Hudson & The Soul Partners and I have a few of their 12“ singles among them You Can Do It which was at the poppier end of their output and was a big hit in the UK, and Spread Love which was a killer and still finds favour. Alicia Myers was also in the group at the time of this album. This is where Detroit was in the late 70s and early 80s.   

I decided to make my Disco mix CD move through my years on the scene and I was looking for something to represent the more understated and sophisticated sounds that could grace the dancefloors as the full force of Disco waned and the 70s became the 80s. And that is how Let’s Go Out Tonite ended up on my mix CD.      

Let's Go Ou Tonite? Hmph, I'm writing this all alone at chez Darcy: Mrs Darce has gone to the theatre, my daughter and boyfriend(!) are out at a friend's, and my son and some friends have "trucked" over to Lille for a long weekend! It's just me and the cat and the rabbits.   

(Chris: you have heard this already I know so here is another track from the album J)

PS: I’m now catching up on YouTube with some of One Way’s output that I missed first time around. Good stuff.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

That number again, and some lanes

It’s time to kick start this blog again. You will understand it has been rather difficult for me (and my family) over the last weeks. I would like to thank all of you who sent your condolences and kind thoughts.

Mum’s funeral took place last week and the day went well, as well as such occasions can. We had a celebrant conduct the service. He was very good. He had not been acquainted with mum but from just a one hour conversation with us, and one draft to which I suggested some minor tweaks, he built up a picture and his resulting words were accurate, appropriate, and delivered with sincerity. In the service he recounted my mum’s relationship with the number 13 – she was born on the 13th September and spent her early years living at a house numbered 13 (unusual in those days, as it was often left out of street numbering? – it is in our road for example). As my mum’s condition deteriorated last month I was fully expecting her final hours to be on the 13th, that wasn’t to be though, at least not quite, mum passed away 13 hours into the 14th. At the funeral service there were, yes you guessed it, 13 people. Fate certainly did take a hand there I think, there were two other people – recent acquaintances of mum – who we were expecting to attend. We had not met them before but my mum’s next door neighbour told us she saw them at the crematorium in the car park on the morning of mum’s service. Our only conclusion was that they attended the wrong funeral! How do you do that?

We chose Penny Lane as the exit music at the service. Mum always liked the Beatles, she felt a certain affinity to them I think, growing up, as she did, on the Wirral not too far from Liverpool. She bought many of their early singles and they got lots of plays by mum – and a young me too – on the Elizabethan Pop 10 (a sort of Dansette style record player) in the house. I am now left with that house; a house that was my parents’ home for more than fifty years, and my childhood home too. Now it is very much a house on memory lane. 

Anyway, returning to the subject matter of this blog – i.e. music. The songs featured here don’t in any way stir strong memories of mum or my childhood, however, thoughts of the number 13 and trips down lanes brought to mind Blue Magic’s mid 70s album Thirteen Blue Magic Lane. I don’t have this album but I do have a few Blue Magic singles, and the B-sides of two of them were featured on that album.