Friday, April 07, 2017

Winter blues dissipate with tales of The Big Bamboo and green spot

Blimey, the writing mojo is back with a vengeance – that must be the longest blog title ever here!


There is one car boot in our area that carries on throughout the winter. I do pay it the occasional visit but for the last two winters it has by and large been a fruitless exercise.

Last Sunday morning though I jumped in the car with slightly heightened enthusiasm as the car boot season proper started last weekend in our neck of the woods with at least one of the summer ones starting up again. I qualified my enthusiasm because generally over the last couple of years trawling the car boots (and charity shops, come to that) has been an increasingly miserable experience, with vinyl of any interest extremely difficult to come across. So the question is will this year continue the trend? And with all this talk of vinyl being back will that spur on people selling their, or their relations’, collections to hike the asking price?

Start times meant I could visit the “winter” one first and then go on to the “summer” one after. The first port of call was predictably disappointing yet again, but not a complete waste of time for a change. For the princely sum of 10p each I picked up five albums in sparkling condition all dating back to the 60s. I guess you could bracket them all as easy listening but I cast my net wide nowadays. I was very pleased with one of them in particular. Called “The Big
Bamboo” it contains 12 charming calypso tinged tracks performed by Roy Shurland and his Orchestra (with Little Sparrow on the Steel Pan) recorded live at the Big Bamboo club in Nassau, Bahamas in 1961. I love coincidences, and finding this record is one of them as our son is off to Nassau next week to start a five week jaunt around the Caribbean, mostly in a boat (it is part and parcel of his PhD course). The record has been duly copied and is now in Dropbox ready for him to pick up and listen to to get him in the mood.

I got a bit carried away chatting to some of the regular vinyl hunters so by the time I got to the next venue I had missed the initial stampede by about 10 minutes. That 10 minutes is often crucial, early birds will hoover up any vinyl worth having in the first few minutes. But as it turned out other serious vinyl hunters seemed not to be around (this possibly was because this particular booter had only just started up again after a year off), and this appeared to be borne out by the fact I managed to amass a small haul of records I am very pleased with all in all. A right old mixed bag too: a handful of jazz albums, three 78s, some reggae 45s (yes, reggae! Very rarely come across any nowadays), and several 45s from a little box that contained quite a strange mix of genres (these were in front of two boxes of dance/techno/house 12 inchers – surely the new landfill. Mantovani and Val Doonican has competition!).

I’ll share a bit of the reggae, and jazz too possibly, in subsequent posts, but today will focus on the small batch of singles I bought that were perfectly representative of the strange mixed box. There was just some really random stuff in this box. By way of example I found some household names (think Lennon, Springsteen, Dylan), a few pic sleeved 45s from the outskirts of punk (TRB, Roogalator), some that just had interesting titles (Housewife's Choice, and Christine/S-E-X, this one sung by Miss X who turns out to be Lionel Blair's sister).... and some kiddie soul. “How much?”, I asked. “50p or £1”, was the reply. There was nothing obvious to determine which of these 45s commanded the dizzy heights of a £1 asking price. I made my selection and handed them over requesting a price.

It turned out two of the singles in my hand commanded the £1 price. And how was this determined? They had a small green spot sticker on the sleeves. Now I'm left puzzled as to why someone would go to such lengths to try and squeeze out an extra 50p on just a few of these records? Of course I'm equally puzzled as to why I decided to put the Dylan one back when I was told that one was a green spotter! I know, I don't like Dylan, but I'm sure I could have still made a small profit on flipping it. I don't like Springsteen either, but I bought that one for the same reason.

Anyway, kiddie soul? Yes, that's what I said. As far as I remember now there were just two big holers (i.e. US singles) in this little box. I always get excited when I find US 45s, and I recognised the labels. Soul! So I bagged them. I knew The Eight Minutes were a kiddie group – following the Jackson Five template, except there were eight of them – but I didn't know until I got home and playd this record and did a bit of research that Leonard 'Lil Man' Kaigler was also a child singer – and he sounds almost uncannily like a young MJ. The 'Lil Man' commanded a green spot. I have no idea why. Neither record is highly prized but The Eight Minutes seems to have a slightly higher price on Discogs.

Here are both. Do you think the green spot was justified? On first hearing I said no, but now I'm not so sure. Perhaps the title, which is rather unfortunate, tips the balance. Hang on, now I'm obsessing over green spots, this is stupid!




PS. I only noticed when I copied these that they both have the same release number – 533. What were the chances? 

No comments: