Car Boot Vinyl Diaries

Car Boot Vinyl Diaries

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Living To Music February 2013

Join in if you can, alone or with friends, this Sunday at 9pm with Greg Wilson's Living To Music worldwide communal listening experience. This month's selected album is Shuggie Otis with Inspiration Information (1974).

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Blowin' Hot and Cold

This snowy, blowy Sunday morning called for something warming to get the circulation moving, so I dug out two of the very few jazz albums I own and wiggled my toes to the groove.

The first on was Hot & Heavy by Herbie Hancock, bought for 50p at a local chazza:

Herbie Hancock - Hot & Heavy (1984)

My first encounter with Mr. Hancock was in summer 1983 when I was eight years old and he released the groundbreaking breakdance anthem Rockit.  His lengthy career as jazz pianist, composer and bandleader has included membership of the Miles Davis Quintet and recordings on Blue Note in the 60s, and moves towards funk and electronic music in the 70s and 80s.  His eclectic tastes have led him to dip his toe into many other styles including classical, pop, soul, R&B and hip-hop.  I can't find much info on this album, although it appears to be a collection of early 60s sessions recorded around the same time as his soundtrack to the 1966 movie Blow Up.  Many of the tracks were included in an album called The Blow Up Extra-Sessions:

Next onto the turntable was this, bought on eBay for about £3 last year, partly for the great cover:

Jimmy Smith & Wes Montgomery -
Jimmy & Wes: The Dynamic Duo (1967)

Master of the Hammond B-3 Jimmy Smith joins jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery for their first outing as a duo (before The Further of Adventures of Jimmy and Wes later that year from the same sessions).  Although this UK pressing  is from 1967, it was released elsewhere in '66.

The two musicians complement and propel one another wonderfully on tracks like 13 (Death March) and James and Wes, while the big band treatment does little to detract from their command on Down By The Riverside and Night Train.  My favourite, however, is their take on the classic Baby, It's Cold Outside, where the interplay between the boy (organ) and girl (guitar) is just sublime.  Here it is - and dig those sleigh bells too!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Little Boxes

Pete Seeger
Folk musician, songwriter and activist Pete Seeger was born in 1919.  Son of a composer/musicologist father and concert violinist mother, Pete began to learn to play the five-string banjo aged 17 after hearing it for the first time at a folk festival. Sleevenotes from this record I got from a car boot sale state that,
"In the late thirties Pete took a banjo and set out across the USA.  He visited every state and heard the five-string banjo played a hundred different ways to the accompaniment of a thousand different songs.  He assimilated many banjo styles, learned hundreds of songs, and built up a repertoire of ballads, work songs, dance tunes, play parties, union songs and blues..."

Pete Seeger - Archive of Folk Music (1965)

Since then he has become a giant of American folk music and is also well known for his activism on the environment, civil rights and peace.  I found this LP at a boot sale for £2.


Side 1
1. The Carpenter
2. Three Courting Songs
3. The Greenland Fisheries
4. Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues
5. Paddy Works On The Railroad
Go Down Old Hannah

Side 2
1. Road To Eliat
2. Ariran
3. Die Gendaken Sind Frei
4. Bayeza
5. Kisses Sweeter Than Wine
6. In The Evening When The Sun Goes Down

Pete formed the Almanac Singers (which at one time included Woody Guthrie, the Dustbowl Troubadour) in 1940 and then the Weavers in 1950.  He later became a central part of the 60s folk revival, gaining attention with songs such as Where Have All The Flowers Gone; Turn, Turn, Turn and his no. 1 cover version of Malvina Reynolds' Little Boxes.

Pete today

The Archive of Folk Music put out this collection in 1965 using songs transferred from their original 78s ("Electronically Stereotized" - why?).  Their "Statement of Purpose" printed on the back cover is rather dismissive of the then-current folk boom:
"With the current renaissance of folk music there has come a proliferation of so-called "folk" recordings.  Most of these efforts are rather slick and facile popularizations of either traditional tunes or "composed" folk tunes.  Though pleasant, these are not folk music".
Fair point, I guess - I wonder what they'd make of Mumford & Sons and the like today?!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Golden Years part 3

It's been a while since my last proper post and there's no excuse really other than laziness, but I'll try to explain it anyway: during the last few months of 2012 I amassed a lot of music.  I got lots of CDs and records for my birthday and for Christmas, plus I had a bit of birthday money which got spent on music too.  Of course I continued to go to boot sales at the weekends, and found plenty of irresistible bargains at those.  With the usual end-of-year best albums lists floating around all over the place my Spotify listening increased also, meaning that I rather overwhelmed myself with music for the latter part of the year. Ongoing chronic pain made for a pretty grumpy Christmas too, so what with one thing and another this blog got a little neglected, something I aim to put right over the coming weeks.  To this end, this post is about some of the best-of comps I picked up towards the end of the year.

First is The Golden Hour of The Lovin' Spoonful's Greatest Hits, £2 from a charity shop:

The Golden Hour of The Lovin' Spoonful's
Greatest Hits (1974)

Folk-pop group The Lovin' Spoonful described their songs as "good-time music" and they had their greatest streak of success in 1965-6, with nine US top 20 singles and three top 40 albums.  Their best-known hits are probably Daydream, Do You Believe In Magic and of course Summer In The City; their biggest single which reached no.1 in the US and no.8 in the UK.  A change of producer and other personnel in 1967-8 led to their eventual split in '69 but they left behind a large, if often overlooked legacy, 24 examples of which are in this collection.

Next up is The World of Amen Corner, an eBay bargain at £1.99:

The World of Amen Corner (1969)

Welsh rockin' popsters Amen Corner began life playing blues/jazz inflected music but experienced their greatest success when they adopted a more commercial sound.  Their first smash hit came in 1968 when Bend Me Shape Me reached no.3 in the UK, and their biggest single was 1969's If Paradise Is (Half as Nice) which scored the top spot for two weeks.  They disbanded later the same year.

Continuing with the 60's theme, next is Hollies' Greatest which cost £2 at a boot sale:

Hollies Greatest (1968)

Manchester group The Hollies released a staggering 67 singles between 1967 and 2005, 28 of which entered the UK top 40. This collection of fourteen songs contains those that included founder member Graham Nash and was released after he left the band in 1968. It was their most successful album, topping the UK chart for six weeks.  After quitting The Hollies Nash formed supergroup CSN with Steven Stills and former Byrd David Crosby, which leads us to my next hits compilation:

The Byrds' Greatest Hits (1967)

This is a collection of songs from The Byrd's heyday in terms of charting singles, with eight top 50 US hits (the highest positions coming from Eight Miles High, Mr.Tambourine Man and Turn! Turn! Turn!) and three album tracks, all taken from their first four LPs.  Unsurprisingly it was their biggest selling album of all, although it didn't chart in the UK.  It's been re-issued several times over the years - this original UK mono release was bought at a boot sale.  I already own all of the tracks on various albums but at just £2 I couldn't bear to leave it there!

Last of all is Canned Heat Cook Book (The Best of Canned Heat) bought for £2 at a boot sale:

Canned Heat Cook Book (The Best of Canned Heat)

Like The Byrds, Canned Heat formed in California in the mid-sixties.  However, their sound is that of the South; a bluesey, swampy, Southern-fried kind of rock.  Their two biggest hits, Going Up The Country and On The Road Again were both covers/re-workings of blues numbers.  These both appear here along with eight other songs from their first four LPs, often referred to as their "classic period" as the line-up has gone through dozens of mind boggling changes over the years since then.  A version of Canned Heat still tours to this day.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Living to Music January 2013

Join in if you can, alone or with friends, this Sunday at 9pm with Greg Wilson's Living To Music worldwide communal listening experience. This month's selected album is The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.