A belated Happy New Year to you all.
This should be a time for looking forward but I always find myself in a contemplative mood and looking back, thinking about the passage of time. It probably has something to do with my birthday being on New Year's Eve.
In recent days I've been digging deep into my collection and have pulled out a few albums I haven't played enough down the years. When you have 1000+ albums an equally large number of singles I suppose that statement will actually apply to most of my records!
I thought I had featured The Bar-Kays 1972 album Do You See What I See? before here, but a quick trawl through my old posts seems to say not. If in fact it has featured and I have bent your ear with the following musings before, I apologise.
In line with my contemplative mood there are a few things worth saying about this album. In my teens a friend of mine had a copy of this album. Those were the days when department stores used to have racks of cut outs, and I think that is where he probably found his copy. He was very artistic and it was the cover that probably attracted him to it. Of course we only had pocket money, or a Saturday shelf stacking job (in my case) to provide meagre funds for record buying then, so we couldn't afford to buy much, especially blind. I shudder to think what we passed on in those racks back in the day. Anyway I remember listening to this album at his parent's house a few times and it stuck in the memory.
Fast forward to 2004. That was when I joined the ebay hoards and I thought it was time I started acquiring some of the albums I had loved down the years but never owned. This Bar-Kays album was one of the first records, if not the first, I ever purchased on ebay. When I bought it I probably played it maybe three times at most and so for the last 10 years at least(!) it has been filed away in the collection unplayed – until today. Even so, ever since I first heard it at my friend's house back in the Seventies, it has been one of those records that has been with me in my mind, every now and then popping into my thoughts, or jumping onto my mental jukebox. It's funny how just certain records can do that, specific memories give some a helping hand I suppose.
And now here we are in 2016. I understand the vinyl revival continues apace. Apparently the biggest selling home audio product on Amazon this Christmas was a $50 all in one turntable. Most of these have been bought by, presumably young, people new to the wonders of vinyl I would guess. So a whole new generation will be buying their first records. The format kind of demands the music contained is listened to at home, and in the case of albums, straight through. No listening on the move through headphones, no constant skipping and shuffling the virtual collection. Maybe such behaviour will cause a few more records to be lodged in peoples' memory for the long term, just as this Bar-Kays album has in mine.
Do You See What I See? has great packaging – incidentally probably one reason why people are flooding back to vinyl – a gatefold sleeve of thick card, matt finished, with striking artwork. The artwork documents many of the big themes and questions haunting America in the early Seventies and hints at the tone of social consciousness that courses through many of the tracks on the album, although there are some killer ballads, in the simpler vein of love, on the album too. Here are two tracks to give you an idea.