Wednesday, March 21, 2018


I've just completed another reorganisation of my vinyl horde. Long overdue it was too, Mrs Darce had been giving the record room (formerly the dining room) some increasingly pointed looks lately. Now, at least for a while, the random piles have been sorted and filed, or moved out. It got worse before it got better as it entailed a fairly fundamental reorganisation. There is once more some genre separation, and my long standing desire to keep records I acquired in my “youth” separated from more recent acquisitions has finally been abandoned. So, I suppose you could say the collection has become more and less integrated at the same time! Makes things much easier to find though.

During this enjoyable exercise (you don't have to play records to enjoy them if you are a vinyl nerd) quite a few albums surfaced that I had forgotten about, and a fair few I have probably never played before!

As an example, this album by Amina Claudine Myers has, I estimate, been in the collection for about four years now and I think has had only one previous play. It has had another two plays now in the last few days and is finally fully appreciated.

Amina has released a total of eight albums since 1979, but I suggest has been well under the radar. As a child she played the organ and sang in and directed church and gospel choirs. She then moved into the jazz world and has toured and played with the likes of Archie Shepp, Arthur Blythe, Sonny Stitt and Charlie Haden among others. She has also been involved in various theatre productions.
The album Amina admirably showcases her many talents: composition, arranging, vocals, and,last but not least, keyboards.

So where have I filed this album in my new regime? It's difficult. It could be argued that she is a singer-songwriter; there is a flavour of soul and gospel to her work; and she also almost approaches classical music at times There is a strong jazz element to her work though and so she has taken her place in the contemporary jazz section, which in my collection really encompasses everything 70s and beyond that has a jazz leaning.

Reading more about her just now I learnt that it is Amina's birthday today (just). So, Happy Birthday Amina.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


This blog continues to stumble along and today has reached the ripe old age of 12. Something of a dinosaur in the whirlwind that is the internet and “soshul “ media now.

If the blog stats can be believed then a few people still drop in. But the numbers have dropped off markedly, with another dive in the last couple of years. Then again, my posting frequency has dropped off too. It seems, like many things, the blog stats are not quite as good/believable/revealing as they once were. The complexity nowadays of internet routing and server location may have something to do with it I suppose, but the link and referring stats seem to be of little use. I sometimes go to a blog or site that has, so say, linked here and often find the blog has no evident links here, and is usually not even music related.

To my few regulars and any of you who continue to drop by I say thank you. It is nice to think you do, and it continues to keep me going.

The 45 I present on Feel It's 12th birthday is one I picked up at the local record fair earlier this year. I had gone only with the intention of catching up with a friend and perhaps just idly browsing. I wasn't feeling the urge to buy (I often don't nowadays at mainstream record fairs), but found a new (to me) dealer who had a few boxes of interesting Soul stuff. This 45 wasn't cheap, but was a good deal anyway.

Almost nothing is known of Alice Clark. She has left us with a recording legacy of just three high quality singles and one rare and highly sought after album, released in 1972. The 45 I'm featuring was her first, and amazingly it also actually got a UK release (on the Action label). Typical of mid to late Sixties Soul 45s it has an upbeat dancer on the A side and a deeper slowie on the B. If you are a regular here you will know the deep and soulful ones are really my bag, and so it is the B side of this 45 that seems particularly apt to share on this blog's birthday.

PS: Happy Birthday Candi Staton.

Friday, March 02, 2018

White stuff

So here we were in our little corner of the UK thinking it was a bit nippy but wondering where all the snow was, and was it really that bad elsewhere? Then at about 3pm yesterday, right on cue (the weather forecast is remarkably accurate nowadays), it started snowing - properly. So we no longer feel left out. Plenty of snow now, and cold enough I think. Let's try not to get carried away though when talking about the “beast from the east”, it might “feel like” -13C, or whatever is being quoted at the moment in places, but back in 1982 (I think it was) the mercury told us it was actually -21C in these here parts. I can't help thinking “feels like” temperatures are just one more weapon in the newsroom hyperbole armoury now.

This is quite a cool (in more ways than one) picture my daughter took at 1:30am last night, no flash or fancy metering involved. We were both struck by how light it was. There was certainly no moon beaming down. But there was a vaguely orange wash over everything. Another sign of the times – light pollution reflecting back off all the snow.

A brief cast around for a suitably apt track to play for this snow event drew a blank really. I've settled for something by Danny White (Geddit? Groan), and with artistic licence let's just imagine the light pollution I referred to was the moon beaming down.