Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Early symptoms?

I buy records. Those black things. Vinyl (and styrene sometimes). You knew that. Not particularly unusual, and vinyl as a music medium is refusing to die, even making a bit of a comeback. Nevertheless, in this day and age my affection for vinyl puts me in the minority. Those of my children’s generation, and indeed many of my contemporaries, may mark me down as being a bit weird. “Ah, so you are a record collector”, they will say, checking to see if I’m carrying an anorak. I will reply, “Well, no not really”.

A record collector in my eyes is someone who splashes serious cash to satisfy their vinyl habit. The sort that remorselessly hunts down the first press. The sort that has to have that single by that obscure Garage band that was released on pink vinyl but then hastily withdrawn at the last minute because the band realised how naff it looked so there are perhaps only two in existence. The sort that develop a fixation on a particular artist and have to own everything they have ever had anything to do with, good or bad.

I have never thought of myself as a record collector. I just buy what I like. I have a fairly scatter gun and impulsive approach, and I’m not close to needing to re-mortgage the house to fund my habit.

On the other hand I do seem to spend an inordinate amount of time nowadays trawling the web and ebay for records. Also I now find it impossible to walk past a charity shop – I have to go in and have a quick rifle through whatever records they may have lying around, mostly Mantovani of course, but you never know. I don’t actually buy much, but, if nothing else, my fondness for digging is showing signs of developing into an addiction.

Then last Friday I took what could be possibly construed as the first step towards becoming a bona fide record collector. I bought a record that I already possess a copy of. This was not an accident (as in not along the lines of buy it, get it home, then find I already have it, doh!). Neither was this a record bought to replace a scratched and beat up copy. This was a conscious act of buying a record that I like and already have a copy of simply because it was on a different label. Is this the start of the slippery slope to full blown vinyl addiction? My wife thinks I’m already there. But this record only cost a £1 – that’s less than a latte to go, or half a pint of Marston’s Pedigree – so I don’t think I will be checking into Vinyl Junkies Anonymous yet. But, I wonder, am I just trying to gloss over the awful truth?

Here’s both sides of the said recording – Ted Taylor 1972 release “I Want To Be A Part Of You Girl” and “Going In The Hole”, a great double header. The Ronn label always says 60s to me. It started life in 1966 and unlike many record labels I don’t think it had a single design change in it’s existence, and by the 70s to my mind it had a sort of charming old fashioned look to it. Anyway by the time Ronn reached 65 it was 1972. In true anorak style the A side mp3 has been taken from my copy of the original US Ronn release and the B side from my newly acquired UK Contempo copy.

I’m constantly surprised by the great, and frankly relatively obscure, soul recordings that turn out to have secured a UK release. These singles must have sold in tiny numbers on release, and in many cases now seem to be more difficult to come by than their original US release counterparts. Contempo was fully focussed on soul and funk, and latterly followed the trend into disco territory. It was John Abbey’s first foray into the record business. Abbey had started out in the UK with black music orientated magazine publishing in 1966 with a title what would eventually become Blues & Soul. The Contempo label was launched in around 1970 I think. Subsequently Abbey and his then partner Nina Easton moved to Atlanta, Georgia and founded Ichiban Records in 1985.

After writing this I realised that Red Kelly also posted “Going In The Hole” over at the B side back in October 2006. I must have missed that one. Red’s post on Ted Taylor is an education and excellent, as his posts always are. I point you at that post for more on Ted Taylor.

Ted Taylor was prolific on the 45s front. His complete Jewel and Ronn singles releases on CD can be found here.

Ted Taylor – I Want To Be A Part Of You Girl 1972
Ted Taylor – Going In The Hole 1972

A namesake of Ted's and another example of a great soul record that amazingly got a UK release can be found by following my latest re-up link (right).


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your note very much. It sounds a lot like me...
Record collecting is a positive addiction... And you're having fun! Imagine spending your money for drugs or alcohol! :-)
If you buy records you already have, no matter... If it happens too often, it's a sign you have a lot of records and that you don't flip through them as much as you should. Record collecting is a matter of memory when you are in a used stuff store...
I enjoyed finding some Keely Smith here! Thanx!

Red Kelly said...

My wife feels the same way, Darcy....

oh well.

I still wanna know if that's our man Ted working that wah-wah, man!