Car Boot Vinyl Diaries

Car Boot Vinyl Diaries

Monday, 30 July 2012

Pull Up To The Bumper

I bought a couple of records at yesterday's car boot sale.  The first was a double album called White Boy Blues:

Page/Clapton/Mayall/Beck - White Boy Blues (1985)

Back cover


It's a collection of collaborations and jams featuring Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, John Mayall and Jeff Beck.  It's story is best explained by the sleevenotes:

"The incestuous musical situation which existed in the UK during the late Sixties has made an indelible stamp on the music of today. Groups would swap members for recordings, the looseness of the day permitted collaboration, and the prevailing atmosphere owed more to the music than to the music business. This was best typified in the recordings issued by Immediate Records, a company led by then Rolling Stones-manager/producer Andrew Oldham. Oldham encouraged his charges to write songs for one another, guest on each others' recordings, and bring their talented friends in to make records.
One of Andrew Oldham's talented proteges was a young session guitarist named Jimmy Page. Page had been guesting on records by The Rolling Stones and The Kinks, and was also playing in The Yardbirds during its latter stages. Page was given the chance to record his friends - most notably Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton - jamming in a no-pressure situation, trading licks with them, and getting co-compositional credit on most of the twelve-bar blues songs they laid down. All of these players were in the top of their form back then, and these one-take tossoffs now stand among the best of their work. 
The personnel on these tracks varies a bit, but for the most part the rhythm section of the Clapton/Page tracks consists of Rolling Stones Bill Wyman (bass), Ian Stewart (piano), Mick Jagger (mouth harp), and Chris Winters (could this be Charlie Watts?) on drums. 
The John Mayall tracks feature Eric Clapton (guitar), John McVie (bass), and Hughie Flint (drums).
The All Stars were originally Cyril Davies' group, and the one track which he is present on is one of the very few ever made, as this British Blues progenitor met an early death. However, his rhythm section of Cliff Barton (bass), Carlo Little (drums), and Nicky Hopkins (piano) was reunited a year and a half after Davies passed away to make these recordings with special guests Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. Beck and Page were not in the original band, but owed much to Cyril Davies when it came down to the popularization of the genre of British Blues. 
Santa Barbara Machine Head was a short-lived group whose members achieved greater notoriety long after these recordings were issued. Ronnie Wood (guitar) is now in The Rolling Stones, having served time as Rod Stewart's better half in The Faces and The Jeff Beck Group. Jon Lord is currently found in the recently reformed Deep Purple, where his distinctive keyboard approach always had a home. Kim Gardener (bass) played in various ill-fated bands, one of which was the legendary Creation, and drummer Twink made his mark in Tomorrow and the Pretty Things.
Lastly is guitarist Jeremy Spencer, a classic slide guitarist who distinguished himself in Fleetwood Mac, blew everybody's mind, and then retired from the music business.
Long out of print but never out of date, these are the sessions that were. There has never been a white blues explosion to equal this one, and there never will be. Never was so much talent contained in so small a space, but here are the results on two albums." 
(Jon Tiven) 

I also bought the 12" version of Grace Jones' Pull Up To The Bumper, one of my favourite singles.

Grace Jones - Pull Up To The Bumper (1985)

The remix is by Paul "Groucho" Smykle and Side Two contains La Vie En Rose and Living My Life, even though the Side One label appears erroneously on each side of the record.

Here's the video of the radio edit:

Monday, 23 July 2012

Mostly Madge

If you've read this blog in the past you may know that I find it difficult to walk past a Madonna 12 inch single, particularly her 80s ones (her heyday as far as I'm concerned, before she learned to sing).  Yesterday's car boot sale was packed and I came away with four such examples:

Madonna 12" singles.  Clockwise from top left: Into the Groove,
Like a Virgin, La Isla Bonita, Express Yourself.

I also couldn't resist the 12" version of another 80s favourite; Miami Sound Machine's Dr. Beat:

Miami Sound Machine - Dr. Beat (1984)

I've amassed quite a few twelve inch singles from car boot sales and don't listen to them as much as I'd like.  Since our new (old) car has only a cassette player in it, I thought it'd be fun to make a mixtape of a selection of 80s 12"s.  I recently bought a load of new blank cassettes at a boot sale, so yesterday afternoon I re-lived part of my early teens and did just that.  Madonna singles filled all of Side A and spilled over into Side B, which I finished with tracks by Michael Jackson, Pet Shop Boys and Kraftwerk among others.

I'm now thinking of doing something similar with my box of 80s 7" singles, but that may take a bit more effort.  Anyway, in keeping with recent sporting news, here's the Kraftwerk track playing on my vintage Dual HS 34 record player:

Congratulations Bradley and Mark!!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Peep Show

When it comes to electronic pop music, the darker the better I say.  Nothing goes together better with a sparkly synth line and cheerful bleeps than an unhappy protagonist with a tragic love life (see Yazoo, Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys).  Soft Cell's Marc Almond and Dave Ball became masters of this art with their debut album Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret, a copy of which I got for £2 at a recent car boot sale:

Soft Cell - Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret (1981)

The songs are firmly set in London's early 80s night scene, with a strong sexual theme taking in clubbing, drugs, seedy porn cinemas, sex shops and all manner of dubious relationships and encounters.  In a nutshell: SLEAZE.

The opening track "Frustration" tells of a character desperate to escape an unfulfilling "ordinary" existence, Marc wailing, "I work for a firm, but I want to burn it down" in the manner of a petulant teen.  From here, each tale (the same protagonist or all different people? - hard to tell) takes place in the seedy, bitchy and loveless world painted by Marc's drama-queen vocals and Dave's suitably cheap and often jarring synth sounds.

Back cover

Their cover of Gloria Jones' Tainted love was of course their biggest hit.  Another single from the album was Bedsitter, which describes the loneliness, friendlesness and ultimate emptiness of a life spent nightclubbing and daysleeping.

This theme of empty encounters continues in "Seedy Films" with it's story of strangers getting to know one another in porn cinemas.  "Entertain Me" rants about an unimpressed and ungrateful audience; "Entertain me, I'm as blank as can be" then segueys beautifully into self-pity anthem "Chips On My Shoulder" which has one of the best bleepy, skittering synth lines ever running through it.

The multitude of (sleazy) sound effects add an extra dimension to the music, sometimes with comic effect (Sex Dwarf).  The climax of the the album comes (steady now) with the gloriously heartbroken "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye", a towering work of bitterness and melodrama in which our cuckolded hero find himself sick of this hedonistic lifestyle and vowing to "find someone....a nice little housewife, who'll give me a steady life, and won't keep going off the rails".  Back to the "ordinary" life at the album's beginning perhaps? Well, why not turn the record over and start again?  It's a fabulous ride.

Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret reached no.5 in the UK, no.22 in the US and no.2 in Canada.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Reckless Life

I love looking for old records for many reasons.  Primarily it's a cheap and interesting way of discovering new (old) music.  It's not free like streaming or torrents, but I find when faced with the vastness of Spotify I often don't know what to listen to, or where to start when I'm in the mood for something new.  The randomness of car boot sales and the like gives me a place to start; many a voyage of discovery has begun with a dusty old LP that seems vaguely interesting and with an outlay of usually 50p or £1 it's a virtually risk-free exercise.  If it turns out to be not my cup of tea it can be taken to the local charity shop - sometimes the very one it came from!

Another benefit of crate-digging is that you never know what you are going to find.  Much Mantovani, Englebert and Jim Reeves has to be sifted through of course, but there's always the promise of something worth hearing, indeed on the rarest of occasions something worth a bit more.

A couple of weeks ago I was at a car boot sale, flipping through a box of 80's hair metal when I spied a copy of Guns 'n' Roses' Live like A Suicide EP labelled £3.

Guns 'n' Roses - Live Like A Suicide (1986)

Between the ages of about 15 and 17 I was absolutely obsessed with G'n'R and played pretty much no-one else.  The four tracks on this EP later appeared on the Lies album.  They were recorded in a studio but effects were added to make them sound as if they were recorded at a massive gig.  Of the original EP only 25,000 are said to have been pressed and only 10,000 sold, so are quite collectible and oft-copied.

Back cover

As a G'n'R fan I was thrilled to have found a copy but as a very skint woman, after a little research to verify it wasn't a fake, I came to the decision that I should try to sell it on.  It wasn't in mint condition but certainly came under the "excellent" category which is rare for   
a car boot sale.

Anyway, I'm pleased to say that it sold on an online auction this week for £69.  Not a bad margin on an initial outlay of £3!  I was sad to see it go but very pleased to make some cash for a change.  I've only ever sold two other records from my secondhand finds - both were for less than a tenner and I had zero emotional attachment to either.

The likelihood of ever finding anything of much worth again is tiny, but I certainly enjoyed the buzz of discovering and selling this one.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Midnight Rambler

I bought a copy of the Stones' 1969 behemoth Let It Bleed a few weeks ago for £5:

Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed (1969)

It has as many lines on it as Keith's face, but luckily they're much lighter so only provide some atmospheric crackle on the quieter parts.  In fact on their cover of Robert Johnson's "Love In Vain" it sounds particularly appropriate.

Let It Bleed is probably my favourite Stones album.  Although a bit patchy (Monkey Man for example being one of the weaker tracks) it contains Midnight Rambler, You Can't Always Get What You Want and the incredible sinister groove of Gimme Shelter; proof positive of the Jagger/Richards alchemy that provided the run of classic albums from Beggars Banquet to Exile.

The cover is of course iconic, even appearing on a Royal Mail stamp two years ago.  The back cover with Robert Brownjon's sculpture (featuring Delia's cake) in a despoiled state is equally good:

Let It Bleed back cover

Released in the December, the album reached no.1 in the UK and no.3 in the US.  The original Rolling Stone magazine review is here, followed by Gimme Shelter on youtube:

Gimme Shelter:

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Car Boot Vinyl Diaries - one year on.

I was busy making a mosaic of record covers from the last few month's finds when it dawned on me that it's been a whole year since Car Boot Vinyl Diaries began.  On July 3rd last, in the afternoon following a morning of car boot vinyl-hunting, I decided on a whim to start making a record of what I'd found and what I'd paid for the ever-growing stash of vinyl albums and twelve-inch's that was accumulating from the car boot sales and charity shops that I'd haunt in search of new old music.  Inspired by my big sis Vicki it took the form of a blogspot site.

Over the months the number of posts has grown alarmingly and I've learned how to make and post videos, crop photos (very basic, I know - see early posts for awful photos!) and embed YouTube videos and Spotify playlists.  For a technophobe like me this has been enormously satisfying as well as loads of fun.

I hope to keep going as long as I can, and would like to thank all viewers both regular and random.  Keep your comments and emails coming and cross your fingers for good weather every Sunday, for this is the day the British go car-booting!

Minibreakfast xxx