Car Boot Vinyl Diaries

Car Boot Vinyl Diaries

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Golden Years part 4

I've picked up quite a few compilations over the past few weeks.  Some of them are multi-artist albums, which I'll cover in a future post, but I'll run through the single-artist ones here.

Firstly, in a 3-for-£1, singles collections from the King & Queen of country; Kenny and Dolly:
Both Sides of Dolly Parton (1978) & The Kenny Rogers Singles Album (1978)

Both released in the UK in 1978, this pair of compilations by past Glasto tea-timers really hit the spot with their melodic country-pop taking in tales of cheatin', beatin' and hard times.

For £1 was this greatest hits from the wonderful Gladys Knight & the Pips:

Gladys Knight & the Pips - Super Hits (1974)

The 15-strong album compiles hits such as I Heard It Through the Grapevine, Friendship Train and their beautiful cover of Kris Kristofferson's Help Me Make It Through the Night; the second most successful version of this much-recorded song after that by country singer Sammi Smith.

Next up, for £3, not strictly belonging in the single-artist category but essentially the work of one man, Phil Spector's Echoes of the 60s:

Phil Spector - Echoes of the 60s (1977)

Apart from his Christmas album and the odd track here and there, my record collection was severely lacking some Phil, so I was delighted to find this album of wall-to-wall Wall of Sound brilliance a few weeks ago.  It's got everything you'd expect to find; Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans, The Ronettes, Darlene Love and loads of Crystals.  It opens with the magnificent River Deep, Mountain High from Ike & Tina Turner; an exhilarating start with a quality that doesn't dip before the end of side 2.

From the same boot sale, costing £1.50, was another collection of the highest quality; this time from good old Motown:

Jimmy Ruffin - Greatest Hits (1974)

Big brother to David, Jimmy broke through in 1966 with the first song on this compilation; What Becomes of the Brokenhearted.  This was to remain his biggest hit although there are no clunkers among the 18 songs included.  David appears on final track Stand By Me:

Arizona-born Linda Ronstadt was one of the most popular and best-selling female artists of the 1970s, selling over 100 million records during her career.   After leaving the trio The Stone Poneys in 1968 to go solo, she has recorded in a variety of styles and is probably best-known for her interpretations of songs by other artists.  I picked up her 1976 Greatest Hits for £1:

Linda Ronstadt - Greatest Hits (1976)

It includes Different Drum from her days in the Stone Poneys, a cover of the Everly Brothers' When Will I Be Loved, and my favourite; her version of Neil Young's Love Is A Rose.

Another £1 find was this John Lennon compilation:

The John Lennon Collection (1982)

This was the first of Lennon's work to be released after his death in 1980, reaching no.1 here in the UK, making it the 10th best-selling LP of 1982.  Like Jimmy's album above, it too contains a cover of Stand By Me, taken from 1975's Rock 'n' Roll album.  This is the only cover, the rest being a good overview of his solo output beginning with the UK no. 2 single Give Peace A Chance up to 1980's Double Fantasy album, from which it pulls in six of the 17 tracks here.

Last but not least, again for £1, was Indiana Wants Me from R. Dean Taylor:

R. Dean Taylor - Indiana Wants Me (1973)

According to the sleevenotes, Canadian singer, songwriter and producer Richard Dean Taylor was the first white artist to have a hit on Tamla Motown.  In the UK this was Gotta See Jane, a tale of a man speeding back to the love he left, jumping red lights all the way, with pursuing police siren effects, which reached no. 17 in 1968.  The title track is similarly themed, as the protagonist, a man wanted for the murder of his girlfriend's lover, is hunted down by the Indiana police force, again with suitable sound effects.  This one reached the top spot both here and in the US in 1970.  My favourite song on the album is the Northern Soul tune There's A Ghost In My House, originally released to indifference in '67.  After becoming popular on the NS scene it was re-released in '74 and squeezed into the UK singles chart at no. 41.

Picked up any good compilations lately, crate-diggers?  Let us know in the comments below, or tweet me your pics @VinylCarBooty.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Koppy and paste

One of the many things I love about rummaging for records at boot sales and charity shops is the randomness of it all; what you find depends entirely on what someone else used to have in their record collection.  This is made up of purchases both thought-out and impulsive over the years, as well as records received as gifts or freebies during the owner's lifetime, so the range of taste and quality is wide, particularly bearing in mind that a lot of this old vinyl will have belonged to someone's late parents (hence the endless Jim Reeves albums).

Yesterday I was lucky enough to come home with several LPs, one in particular bought out of pure curiosity:

Beatles Hits - artist uncredited

Side 2 label

A single disc in a plain white paper sleeve, called simply "Beatles Hits" with no credited artist, so obviously a covers album.  But what is it like?  I had to know, so spending a pound to find out seemed fair enough.  It's on the Philips label, cat. no. 88074 DL and published in 1965.  I did a brief online search, and all mentions of the record stated that it has a plain paper sleeve and no proper cover, which made me think that perhaps it was part of a box set.  Several results suggested that it might be by a Merseybeat band called Ian & the Zodiacs who were popular in Germany during the 1960s and sometimes recorded Beatles covers under the name The Koppycats.  I had a listen to a few snippets of Koppycats material and it certainly sounds like they could be the same combo as on the mystery disc.

No releases under either band name listed on web resources such as Discogs match this record, but further digging revealed an old eBay listing that seems to shed a bit of light. The listing offered a 3-disc set called "Philips Family Music Album", with Disc 1 being the Beatles Hits record, Disc 2 a collection of songs from musicals such as The King & I and Oklahoma titled "Highlights from the Shows" and Disc 3 consisting of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite, Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty.

It certainly seems like the kind of thing that manufacturers of record players would have given away with their products fifty years ago as a promotional item* - something for mum & dad plus some slightly dodgy-sounding pop covers for the kids - so although all the information I have is unconfirmed, it does seem most likely that Ian and his Zodiacs a.k.a. The Koppycats knocked out a dozen Fabs tunes for their label, who also happened to make electrical equipment - very handy!

I seem to remember that at the back of the crate of records were a couple of old box sets, but as the rest of the contents were mainly Charley Pride and Mrs. Mills LPs I didn't get that far.  Next time I'm at that particular boot sale (hopefully in a fortnight) perhaps I'll seek out the seller and see if I can find the rest of the Philips Family Music Album so that they can be reunited.

It's not a brilliant set of covers, by the way, but not bad either.  Since there's little about it online, I've digitised it for posterity.


Side 1.
1. I Want To Hold Your Hand - 0.00
2. Can't Buy Me Love - 2.25
3. I Should Have Know Better - 4.34
4. Love Me Do - 6.46
5. All My Loving - 9.12
6. She Loves You - 11.15

Side 2.
1. From Me To You - 13.25
2. Please Please Me - 15.17
3. I Feel Fine - 17.15
4. No Reply - 19.40
5. Baby's In Black - 21.47
6. Eight Days A Week - 23.55

(*thanks JQW of The Afterword!)

Monday, 11 August 2014

Listen To The Rain

Last weekend's car booting was rained off, but luckily the records I'd bought the week before were still in my bag, uncleaned and unheard.  So, out came the vinyl cleaner and down went the needle and the rain was forgotten.  First out of the bag, costing £1 was You Broke My Heart In 17 Places by comedienne/actor/writer Tracey Ullman.

Tracey Ullman - You Broke My Heart In 17 Places (1983)

The first of her two albums on Stiff Records, it's a collection of covers by a variety of artists such as Doris Day, label-mate Kirsty MacColl and Blondie, in a faintly comic retro-bubblegum style.  It's a hugely enjoyable record, even though Ullman herself who of course went on to have an enormously successful TV career in the US, is said to be "dismissive" of her phase as a pop star.

Top track: MacColl's They Don't Know which features Kirsty on backing vocals.  It reached no.2 in the UK singles chart and no.8 in the US, while the album made no.14 over here. Look out for Macca in the vid.

Next up, also £1 was Diana Ross and 'Diana'.

Diana Ross - Diana (1980)

Her most successful solo LP of all, selling ten million-plus, this 1980 release was written and produced by the chaps from Chic; Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, who with the 'Chic Strings' also played on the album.

Diana allowed friend and DJ Frankie Crocker to hear a preview of the record, after which she suddenly got the jitters about releasing the work, claiming that Chic were about to "ruin her career".  This was in the wake of the 'Disco Sucks' movement, and Diana may also have had concerns that she was being used as a vessel for just another Chic album, in the manner of Sister Sledge.  Nile and Bernard were of course devastated by this claim; they'd written every song especially for Diana and believed that their classy style of disco was just the thing to give her career a much-needed boost, but Motown demanded the tapes back and the album was remixed by engineer Russ Terrana and some of the vocals were re-recorded.

The horrified Chic boys had little choice but to allow the new Motown mix to be released, and in his autobiography Le Freak, Nile says that he didn't agree with original engineer Bob Clearmountain's reassurance that "Guys, they can't mess this record up.  The songs are so good it doesn't matter what they do to them".

I agree with Bob.  The Motown mixes are different to the Chic ones, but don't really suffer much.  They're more punchy in places and some of the longer instrumental passages are shortened, but although I slightly prefer the Chic originals, the version of the album released in 1980 is still remarkable.  Both are available together as a Deluxe Edition, so you can make your own comparisons here: Diana Ross – Diana (Deluxe Edition)

                                              Outer and inner sleeve.

Top track: I'm Coming Out - either version!

Finally, once again costing £1, and bringing dazzling sunshine to a drizzly day was He's A Friend Of Mine by the wonderful Edwin Hawkins Singers.

The Edwin Hawkins Singers - He's A Friend Of Mine (1969)

When co-founder of a California youth gospel choir Edwin Hawkins and his 50-strong ensemble privately recorded an album in order to raise funds (1968's Let Us Go into the House of the Lord) he wasn't expecting radio play of track Oh Happy Day to result in a smash-hit single.  A record contract with Buddah Records led to many albums in subsequent years, both before and after the departure of star soloist Dorothy Combs.  It's impossible to pick a single Top Track from this album of eight joyful, uplifting songs, but this is the most appropriate given yesterday's weather:

Keep right up to date with Car Boot Vinyl Diaries on Twitter @VinylCarBooty and listen to me playing a selection of my finds at

Friday, 8 August 2014

Episode 7 of the Cloudcast online!

The newest episode of the Car Boot Vinyl Diaries cloudcast has been uploaded to Mixcloud and features vinyl treasures from Bob Dylan, The Elgins, Tramline, Wings and loads more including a great long song for the Boot of Loot.

Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, 4 August 2014

Winner of 3rd Super Summer Giveaway!

As I predicted, this was was the most popular Giveaway of all.  Last night a name was drawn from the hat and the winner of a boot-sale copy of Stevie Wonder's fantastic Innervisions album is Paul O'Farrell.

I'll be in touch via Twitter Paul, so you can claim your prize!