Tag Archives: 45 r.p.m.

Two Summer Saturdays

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It’s been quite a nice summer here in this patch of the UK. June was lovely – sunny and warm and very little rain. I suppose that’s not good news for farmers, as their crops have been water-starved, but I enjoyed the weather immensely. I don’t know whether I’ve got a form of S.A.D., but I always feel better in sunshine.

The past two Saturdays have been quite nice as well and I spent both (mainly) outdoors for most of the day.

On the first of August, I went to the Oxford Record Fair – I hadn’t been in quite a while (maybe six years?). A co-worker mentioned that it was coming round and I thought it might be good to check it out again. I’ve been buying most of my music off of eBay, so it’s a treat to do a bit of crate-digging, particularly as all of the record shops in central Oxford have shut down, with the exception of the Truck shop on Cowley Road.

The Fair has moved to the St. Aldate’s Parish Centre building (it used to be held monthly at Oxford Town Hall) and it seems to be on every-other-month now. I managed to get out of bed at 8 a.m. on a Saturday, which seems an achievement – well, to me, anyway. It was about 9:30 a.m, when I found the Parish Centre and texted my co-worker to say I’d arrived. He said he’d probably be another hour. From the street I could see a few of the dealers’ tables, but as the official start time was 10, I waited outside. A car pulled up to the kerb and a bloke walked out to talk with the driver. I gathered, from the conversation, that the driver was one of the dealers who was a bit late. I asked him, after they’d finished talking, if it was O.K. to go in, even though it was early. He said it was fine, so I texted my friend, then headed inside.

The space was a bit smaller than the room at the Town Hall, but there were still about 12 dealers with tables set up. Loads of vinyl to be had – so I started with the tables closest to the door and had a look through the boxes. I found a few LPs that I thought I might buy, but I wanted to have a look at some of the other tables.

I made my way around the room and spotted some other goodies. One dealer had a nice first U.S. press of the “Zabriskie Point” sound-track, as well as a sealed copy of Bong‘s “Stoner Rock“. I was seriously tempted by those, but again, I was only on the third table or so and an hour had gone by. My co-worker showed up, but he was looking for his own finds, so we just said “Hello” in passing. A guy from Leeds was down and he had a table of soul, funk, reggae and dub. A lot of the sleeves were pretty beat-up, lots of ring-wear and sticker removal tears. He had some good stuff, though, with lots of U.S. pressings – I found a reissue of Cymande‘s first album, still-sealed. I remembered the song “Dove“, which The Amorphous Androgynous used on a few of their Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble radio mixes (which seem much better than the official releases, to me). I decided to buy that, along with a sealed reissue of The Rotary Connection‘s final album, first released in 1971, called “Hey Love” (credited to ‘The New Rotary Connection’). I also found a Lonnie Liston Smith LP called “Renaissance“, a U.S. press (on RCA), to boot. I’ve got Lonnie’s “Astral Traveling” on disc and I like his mix of spacey, psychedelic jazz and vibe-y funk, so I decided to take a punt on it. The sleeve’s got some wear, but the LP itself is in really good condition and it’s a promo copy.

I found a copy of The Rolling Stones‘ 1975 double-LP compilation, “Rolled Gold“, for £2 (with a really nice sleeve) – turns out the LPs are in pretty bad shape – lots of skips, particularly on the first record. Luckily, I found a minty set on eBay for cheap, so I’ll have to sacrifice the ones I bought with the sleeve, to the gods of recycling. One table had bootleg LPs of high-priced ones (The Velvet Underground & Nico mono, Floyd‘s mono pressing of “Piper At The Gates Of Dawn“, etc.) priced around £10 to £15, but the sleeves looked cheap – you could tell they were photo-copied scans of the actual sleeves, so I didn’t bite. I did buy a nice original copy of Be-Bop Deluxe‘s “Futurama” (on UK Harvest with the laminated sleeve) and Roxy Music‘s second LP, For Your Pleasure (with the laminated sleeve and the ‘pink rim’ Island Records label). My co-worker had to leave after a couple of hours, but I stuck around as another friend was due to show up. I had another go-round and bought the deluxe 2-CD release of Julian Cope‘s excellent 1991 album, “Peggy Suicide – it’s out-of-print now and I’ve seen copies on eBay for £20 to £25. I got it much cheaper, so that was a nice find! I also bought the first two Byrds albums, “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Turn Turn Turn” on CD (the Columbia reissues, with the bonus tracks). I’ve been meaning to get those for years and finally decided to pick them up.

My other co-workers turned up and after another pass around the tables, I spent the last of my cash on two Edgar Broughton Band singles, “Apache Drop Out” and their classic cover of The Fugs’ “Out Demons Out” – both in very good shape and with the Harvest sleeves. We then were going to go for a drink and food at The Kite pub (it was about 2 p.m.), but it turns out they don’t do lunch on Saturdays. We went to The One Restaurant (I had scrambled eggs with fried tomatoes and egg-fried rice) and then to G & D’s (on Little Clarendon Street) for some excellent ice cream. All told, a great day out – bought a nice stash of music and had a lovely lunch with pals.

The following week, Pixie and I headed into town for a bit of shopping and then to Wadham College to see the Oxford Shakespeare Company‘s production of Twelfth Night. We’ve been to see their shows for the past few years and it’s always been a groovy time. The college grounds make a splendid backdrop for the plays and sometimes the scenes are held in different parts of the grounds, so there’s movement around them.

This production had a sort-of rock/goth theme in the costumes and hair styles. The cast performed the tale of mistaken and hidden identities well – in fact, it was nearly as good as the National Theatre production I saw about five years ago, directed by Peter Hall (featuring his daughter, Rebecca – who, as ‘Viola’/’Cesario’, didn’t seem to really inhabit the role). Martin Csokas was also lacklustre as ‘Count Orsino’. Simon Callow did O.K. as ‘Sir Toby Belch’. The real stand-outs were Charles Edwards as ‘Sir Andrew Augecheek’, Simon Paisley-Day as ‘Malvolio’ and Amanda Drew as ‘Olivia’.

I not quite sure what happened, whether there was an irritant in the air, or something affected my eyes the night before – but suddenly my eyes became very watery and irritated. It progressed through most of the morning and by the time we were seated for the show, I could barely keep them open. We were sat near the front, as well and I was hoping I wouldn’t distract the actors with my squinty looks, as I was really struggling to watch. Luckily, by the third act, my right eye felt much better and I was able to at least keep that one open, while covering the left one some of the time. It probably looked quite silly, but as I had no eye-drops – it was the best I could manage.

As I mentioned, though, the cast were very good and I always enjoy the musical interludes – the O.S.C. actors also seem to be fairly accomplished musicians and singers. The performances were very good – the actor who played ‘Sir Toby’, played him as a sort of drunken Irish uncle, while the actor who played ‘Malvolio’ chose a very camp style (as opposed to Paisley-Day, who played it in a sinister, arch way). The entire cast sung and played the closing song, then they moved away from the ‘stage’ area and played some more, busking for charity. We stuck around for another song and then dropped by the chemist, so I could get drops for my eyes.

We had dinner at Zizzi’s in town and then boarded the bus for home. I was exhausted from two busy Satudays, but it’s nice to get out of the house once in a while.

Hidden Gems – Obscure 45s – No. 4: Boeing Duveen

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Boeing Duveen was the trippy stage name for one Sam Hutt, a London gynaecologist, who also dabbled in the nascent drug scene in the early 1960s. He became one of the first “rock and roll doctors”, dispensing holistic cures and uh…substances, to musicians. I don’t think he’s the “Dr. Robert” of the Beatles’ song fame, however.

Hutt got psychedelicised and allegedly worked in the Notting Hill Free Clinic as well in 1967 and 1968. In between hanging out with the likes of Pink Floyd and Tyrannosaurus Rex producer Tony Visconti, he found time to record two sides of a single. Released in 1968, under the Boeing Duveen & The Beautiful Soup moniker, the single flopped but has since been afforded legendary status. The record itself seems quite rare – the last one I saw on eBay went for £260.00 – for six minutes of music!!

The A-side, Jabberwock, features freaky background screaming and Hutt singing lyrics cribbed from Lewis Carroll in an upbeat, but somewhat menacing, voice. The B-side, Which Dreamed It (and the better of the two, in my opinion) features more Carrollian lyrics, but sung in a languid Eastern style. The vocal melody is echoed by some excellent sitar-playing and there’s tabla thrown in for good measure. A true UK psychedelic classic!

It seems a shame Hutt never had the backing or maybe even time to record a full album. The Beautiful Soup faded shortly after the release of “Jabberwock/Which Dreamed It”. Hutt resurfaced later as mock country/western singer Hank Wangford and had some minor success in the 1980s and 1990s. He’s still playing to this day, as well, as…er…nude mountaineering. I don’t think he plays the Duveen tunes live, though.


Hidden Gems: Obscure 45’s No. 3 – Dave Mason

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Dave Mason was one of the original Traffic members, though I’m not sure if he was a founder, or just a recruit. He wrote the most psychedelic tracks on the band’s debut LP, Mr. Fantasy, plus the far-out single, “Hole In My Shoe“. He seemed to be the main experimentalist, while the others, particularly Steve Winwood and Chris Wood, preferred a more blues/R&B-based approach. These tensions reached a head during the making of the follow-up LP a year later, in 1968.

Dave stayed with the group through a short U.S. tour and then either left, or was asked to go. He would re-join Traffic in 1971 for a few shows (including the Oz Benefit), but never again in the studio. His first solo single was released in 1968, while he was producing Family‘s first full-length album, the classic Music In A Doll’s House.

The single’s A-side was “Just For You“, a pretty psych tune with a catchy melody, filled out by flute, tabla, Beatles-ish strings and Dave’s sunshine-y acoustic guitar strumming. This tune will become an earworm, but a delightful one. I love the way Mason stretches out the word “you” in the chorus (“you..oo-ooo…oo-ooo”) – it almost sounds Middle Eastern or Indian.

Mason is backed by Family for the B-side, called “Little Woman“. It’s a more straight-forward affair, but Rick Grech‘s sawing violin trills definitely show an Incredible String Band influence.

Surprisingly, or maybe not – given psychedelia’s waning popularity in 1968, the single flopped. “Just For You” was confusingly featured on the Traffic odds-n-sods collection, Last Exit, released in 1969 – leading many, including myself, to think it was a group composition.

In any case – it’s a great single – both ‘A’ and ‘B’-sides are quite excellent. Dave went on to have a decent solo stint, though not quite as auspicious as his erstwhile band-mate Winwood’s. Traffic carried on to 1974, then finally split for good (though drummer Jim Capaldi and Winwood would exhume the band name for the disappointing Far From Home album in 1994).

Hidden Gems: Obscure 45s – No. 1 (Angelo & Eighteen)

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I don’t know if this will be a regular feature, but I thought it’d be fun to post cool over-looked tunes.

This single, from Angelo & Eighteen, was released in 1972 on the RAK label. Both sides of the record were produced by Mickie Most, famous for being Donovan‘s producer (among others) in the late 1960s.

No-one seems to know much about the duo, except that they were part of this Canadian band in the late 60s. “Angelo” is Angelo Finaldi and “Eighteen” is Richard Tate. Finaldi has a MySpace page, but it appears he’s not updated it in quite a while. How they hooked up with Most and RAK, I’ve no clue. The A-side is called “Midnight Flight” and it’s a pretty cracking pop tune – funky bass, great guitar hook and sunshine-y vocal.

The B-side, however, mutates into a crazed, post-psych boogie-fest. Dig the screamed vocal and the two-note guitar phrase..it’s almost a completely different band. The tune has gained notoriety of late by being played on Jarvis Cocker’s 6Music show and name-checked by Noel Gallagher in an issue of MOJO magazine. I saw a copy of the record go for over £120.00 on eBay a few months ago.

You can hear the A-side at this blog: Pure Pop “Angelo & Eighteen” post

The B-side is here:

Marvellous stuff – shoulda been a massive hit. Amazing that it was released in 1972.