A Maracas makes it home…
For years I have felt like I wasn’t really ‘a real’ record collector, whatever that is. I always felt in someway that my collection of music was too out of focus, visited too many musical shores and sailed onwards to others without exploring the lay of the land enough, I take it you get the musical Genre vs. Landscape metaphor… yaaaawnn…
Today all that seemed to change with the arrival of my new baby, namely –
MENTO SHELLAC 78rpm LORD POWER AND HIS CALYPSONIANS MAMBO LA-LA MARACAS RECORDINGS M20001 13 X A
MENTO SHELLAC 78rpm LORD POWER AND HIS CALYPSONIANS SPECIAL AMBER CALYPSO MARACAS RECORDINGS M 20001 13 X B
This is one of the rarest of all Mento recordings, to this date I know of only two other people who have a copy, Al Kaatz in America and someone who supplied the makers of the cd Boogu Yagga Gal with it for their restored digital sound and an excellent cd release here in the UK, possibly Richard Noblett. (Though if you are reading this and you have a copy, let me know, perhaps we could start the ‘Maracas Owners Club’?)
The Rare Record Guide for the UK prices this record at just £12 Mint! Perhaps whoever advises them on the going rate of such items is looking to convince the UK Record Collecting community that this is a fair price, in order that they can finally obtain a copy without paying ‘big’ money for it.
I have long admired collectors like Bob Hite of Canned Heat, Robert Crumb and Joe Bussard, but I’ve only a few 78s and until recently didn’t have anything I could play them on. I always wanted to join the old boys, the real collectors, those people who delve back past the 45rpm and the Lp into history, who own, not just recordings, but artifacts, pieces of audible archaeology that need care and love and preservation.
I had wondered years ago if I would ever see a copy of this Maracas tune, having fallen in love with the music first (Boogu Yagga Gal) and then the artwork of the label and when I saw it on eBay as a Buy It Now Item, I knew I wanted it and was prepared, probably, to buy it at whatever the quality, just to say I had it. It’s one of the earliest 78s ever produced in Jamaica and contains two absolutely storming tunes, fast tempo hardcore Mento stormers! Why no one else had seen it on eBay I have no idea, it was a miracle.
I had to spend an hour cleaning it, the seller really hadn’t done a lot for his money… but, though the tops of the grooves are very very scuffed and the record looked terrible when I received it, the actual grooves are in good condition, and once clean the deeper parts have a nice gloss, the tune plays well, and I was dancing around the room to it, ‘Special Amber’ has got some of the best blues note Banjo playing you will EVER hear!
I feel responsible for this record now, worried that it’s a fragile little child and might get broke…