So here’s a possible way for you to clean your 78 rpm Shellac Records, it seems a little rough, but they’re tougher than you think. I filmed and put this up on my Instagram account a while back; it seems to me that it may prove useful for someone, if I re-post the link here. You can view it here, without leaving Musical Traces.
Use warm, verging on hot water in a bowl mixed with not too heavy a dash of Fairy Liquid, scrub the shit out of your dirty old tunes with a toothbrush that has seen better days and better teeth, wipe off with as lint a free cloth or rag or towel as you can, rinse under the tap with cold water. Use a white cloth or whatever and look at the grime you pick up. It’s mad crazy Daddy O’s. Repeat if you think necessary. Let ’em dry really good before you play them again.
So, for years my Mum, or should I say Mom, for she is the true American of the family, an Alabama gal, would talk of Ian and Sylvia with a wry smile and a hidden laugh in her voice. I never understood the lilt to her voice as she recounted this folkladymanduo quite and yearned to understand.
Was she remembering the heady days of a Southern education at Auburn, records dropping on to the portable record player like pancakes on a Tuscaloosa griddle? Was she recalling a life unhindered by musical taste or by the demands of her new life as wife to Barry Michael and mother to her two boys Michael Cullen and Barry Christopher? Was she revisiting the strains of Ian and the mysterious Sylvia drifting upon the long corridors of her young ladies only dormitory as friend Sarah berated her for stealing yet another letter from ever missing boyfriend ‘Phillip’ to the soundtrack of a giant weather balloon being woman-handled along those same now time dusted halls of residence?
Such is the un-folk of Ian and Sylvia.
I always got the impression that Mom had once thought them rather fabulous, in an early 60’s preppy U.S.A. folksie way; that they were artistes akin to those used to base ‘A Mighty Wind’, the comic feature film mockumentary outing about Frat-Folk that Spinal Tap’s creator Christopher Guest had made, and I had seen. And they are.
I also postulated that my Dad who was a folk dedicate and hardcore lover had ‘re-educated’ her tastes somewhat with a bigoted bias against all folk second handers … people like Ian & Sylvia would not have impressed my old man, a man taught Banjo by Peggy Seeger and taught musket shootin’ by Doc Watson.
I’m going to tell you about a fantastic tune on this Lp in a moment, but first I need to tell you that the Lp, the Stereo version of the Lp on Vanguard VSD-76269 is a hotch-potch of confused versions of trad folk music, chanson and pop moozack and as such it’s much more Peter, Paul and John Denver, than Clarence Ashley and Bob Dylwot, and much more Wanksy than Planxty.
However there is a tune on here… a bona fide tune, a tune to drop, a tune to impress the rest, a tune to test the best.
Catfish got der Blues?
On side two and in an Velvet Underground-ish stylistic triumph is a rendition of Catfish Blues, where the session guys groove out and Sylvia rocks the mic. The guitarist takes a drug riddled ride on the riff and though Sylvia is obviously sober, it sounds like the session players were out late last night and may possibly have dropped an Owsley.
So you got to check it, the Lp is probably worth all of 25 cents, but this tune, overlooked as it obviously has been (fuck you should see how little it goes for on Discogs), is worth all of that 25 cents on it’s own.
You heard it here first… Catfish Blues here on their collection of ‘The Best’, originally on their Lp. So Much For Dreaming on VSD-79241 (Stereo). So lick it from the top, to the very last drop, .. well track 4 side 2 anyway.
Final credit goes to Uncle Jack Brown for sending this Lp to me in the U.K., such is my international renown as record collector and musically fuelled auteur or as that Joe Boyd might say, musical ‘Eminence Grise‘, . . . the toss pot.
Do not sell at any price by Amanda Petrusich – a book review
Let’s all get this straight from the start, I bought this book, I was not invited to give my opinion on it, but in the true tradition of peevishness, pugnacity and of irascibility I shall.. so nah!
I shall speak in perpetuum of the interminably un-ending indulgence of this writer’s fondant fancy froufrou, this lady’s lace work of metaphor and of the hyperbole of hype. The replacement of anything corporeal with the mere sweaty glaze of insignificancy.
There is something bothersome about the way in which this stripling (yes I’m downwardly ageist) seeks to engage with the very real world of the record collector. Seeking as she does to share in its glories and it’s potholed routes to discovery. Yawningly. In the terminating pages making reference to the fashionistas disposition for the veracity of the ancient and actual, as opposed to the fraudulent and counterfeit age of the binary digit, she I believe exposes herself for what, perhaps she is, a being lost in the porridge of ‘Bang on Trend’.
There is nothing to this book, it is smoke and mirrors, vapour lifts off it like the fog on page 192. There is no substance, no grit, no spunk (to coin a truly American use of nomenclature). It’s all chit-chat between occasional highlights of actuality, of record rooms and real people. The distance the writer takes to travel between these moments of joy are as tedious to me as no doubt the miles she assures us she travelled in pursuit of the substance of this padded pillow of a book were, to her.
Takes One To Know One
As you get into the real thing, real collecting and you just are, simply, a real record collector, you see lots of odd shit. People think you’re cool, people aspire to be like you, you see middle-aged guys wearing T-Shirts with Record Deck representations on, but who don’t own an actual player, and who have placed their platters in the attic. In short you learn how to recognise others that really truly and honestly share your interest. Amanda Petrusich claims on a number of occasions within the book that she is thrilled by the acquisition of an item or two, and of missing out on some Charlie Patton tunes on Paramount and other … stuff. I’m sorry, I know it’s churlish, I know it’s bad of me, un-generous and I feel like a schmuck saying it, but I don’t buy it, it doesn’t ring true. She’s a dabbler, and a dabbler can’t have the kind of insight into record collecting that it requires to write something a record collector should read about record collecting.
It’s notable that all the endorsements on the rear of the dust jacket are by other writers, not one is visible from a collector of tunes.
Are there any redeeming features?
Not really. She writes well, it’s just that this was in essence a short article for a magazine of momentary dabblers, not a book for people who want a serious insight. It doesn’t give that, it just scrapes a bit of dust off the surface of the record (metaphor alert) and plays the first bar, before removing it from the turntable; instead of cleaning it thoroughly, playing it, inverting and then re-equalizing the RIAA curve to something akin to the original mastering, playing it through filters to remove as much top end hiss and low-end background as possible, reading on its history, digitizing it and finally cataloguing it by matrices.
It feels like a quick fix, a soundbite, and thusly a product of the present generation. No wonder they struggle to comprehend the depth of the ‘groove’. I can’t help but see with sadness the writer’s work as representative of this present generations’ struggle towards a clear vision of the ‘real’ and of the past as obscured by the ongoing Tsunami of phone Aps, social networking, online content and data management.
A collection with nattering of my favourite, most important, signposting collected tunes over the years, stuff that reminds me of days of yore, or were really important moments in learnng about ‘stuff’ or were given by friends, or mean something or.. or… or..
Well you get the picture…
Tracks may include..
1.Dread A Dread – Johnnie Clarke
2.Jump Nyahbinghi – Wailers
3.Can’t Take What happened in a West – Big Youth
4.Train to Zion – Linval Thompson and U-Brown
5.Every Knee Shall Bow – Barry Brown
6.Solid Foundation – Congos
7. Satta A Massagana – Abysinnians
8.Fighting Against Convicton – Bunny Wailer
9.Pity The Children – Cornell Campbell
10.Don’t Let Me Suffer – The Concords
11.Fat Boy – Bunny Brown
12.Version ’78 Style – Glen Brown & King Tubby
13.Mr Babylon Man – Sugar Minott
14.Chuck It – Demon Rockers
15.On The Other Side – Gladiators
16.Dance In A Parliament – Cocoa Tea
17.Goombay Rock – Blind Blake
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Essential Singles and Lps available from Japanese label
I really don’t know why I haven’t yet told anyone and everyone I can about these revive/repressed singles from Japan, Dub Store Records have got their grubby mits on the Master Tapes from Federal records and are turning them into gold dust again, pressing up Rocksteady and Ska gems for us to purchase.
They’ve been doing it for sometime, I’ve been buying them myself for some time and they were around for a good while before I did, but I’m telling the World now, sorry I’ve been remiss, derogation of duty, 50 lashes, go to Jail, do not pass Go… blah blah blah..
The quality of the vinyl pressing is second to none and the quality of the music, well let’s just say it’s some of the best music EVER to have been recorded in Jamaica… fine stuff. They’re a little more expensive than usual, but that’s what you pay for quality.
In 1966, Merritone label was founded as a subsidiary of Federal Records when Ska beat was slowing down its tempo to take a next musical form called Rocksteady.From sons of Ken Khouri, Paul and Richard, engineers at the Federal Records to even employees at their pressing plant – all whom involved at the label forwarded Merritone productions in a body.They recorded many songs under Merritone label. However, those only appeared on vinyl records in limited quantities in Jamaica and a small bunch of titles were released on Island label in UK. Some of the recordings never saw the light, some became hardly known and many of them now considered being ultra rare records. Thus the label became a mysterious Rocksteady production in the Jamaican musicology.
The label name is originated from Winston Blake’s sound system, Merritone. Federal Records, which was the largest record company of the time in Jamaica, often used young talented people like Winston, who knew much about trends of the fraternity for promoting their new materials. Interestingly, Federal Records used even the sound system name in this case.
Although Federal Records is known for compositions arranged by Ernest Ranglin, Trinidadian guitarist Lynn Taitt and the Jets were in charge of the Merritone recordings. Lynn Taitt took a prominent role as a forerunner of brand new Rocksteady sounds as he produced like Hopeton Lewis’s ‘This Music Got Soul.’
Merritone recordings were undoubtedly collectives of veteran musicians at Federal Records, high-technology recording facilities, traditions and proud of the record company. Many would still describe the sound so unique, elegant, sophisticated and authentic like no other.
As a part of “Story Of Federal Records – Tribute To Kenneth L. Khouri” program, Dub Store Records proudly presents 40 singles from master tapes.
Just out from Soul Jazz, most recent purveyors of all that is Studio One related in the UK (music and otherwise) comes this coffee table booky wook, collecting some of the covers from Studio One’s catalogue for your viewing pleasure, though if you collect the Lps, you’ll have a significant amount of the artwork already.
No surprise there then?
It’s nice to have and there are a few you may not have seen before, such as the Tabernacle Gospel Lp covers or the Sri Chimnoy Lp (now legendary as a rarity) but there isn’t a lot here to stun an enthusiast for the label. Frankly that’s been the case with most of Soul Jazz’s output of Studio One material musically and so it is visually, also.
They (SJ) I think have missed a complete trick, in that on occasion they mention the sleeve notes and quote from them, they could have included many more, for the quirky nature of them are well-known and often amusing or enlightening. Including the cover of the Lp Pirates Choice (which has never it seems been reproduced as anything but a muddy turdish greeny brown of a poorly registered example of what NOT to do if you are a Litho printer) seems odd too. There are more Lps they could have chosen from, with more to offer the viewer, casual or otherwise.
I hoped for more
There is no logic or rhyme to the choices made and to the inclusion of some of the more recent Lp covers, which have little or no individually distinctive style whatsoever.
The forward by Steve Barrow is little more than yet another introductory level run through of Jamaican music history, though generally accurate for all that and still an engaging read for the newly converted. Though it should be mentioned that no Mento was ever to my knowledge released by Tewari on Down-Beat, only on sister label Caribou.
This 3CD collects well over three hours of bona fide sound system classics that were instrumental in shaping Jamaican music as we know it today. Quite who played what first is, like the mystery of the island’s first sound, lost in the mists of time, and in truth,who cares… ‘when music is this nice you gotta play it twice!’
Every tune on the release is known to have been played on a Jamaican Sound System at one time!
Yes every tune on the triple cd release is known to have been played on a Jamaican Sound at some point, and this issue doesn’t just comprise the known massive hits of the time, like Wynonie Harris’ – Bloodshot Eyes, but includes many tunes that took years to track down, tunes that weren’t attributed to their original artistes until people more knowledgable than I discovered them. Some tunes that until this release were more widely known by their sound system nicknames, the self penned titles found on labels where the original titles had been scratched out to prevent other rival Sounds finding out what the hell you were spinning.
Released on the 20th of June.
I recently spent a number of hours in the company of Mr Phil Etgart, one of the World’s most respected collectors of Jamaican music, who compiled and researched for this release, penning the excellent and extensive sleevenotes. You can here the interview I conducted with him at his home in Southern England on the Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio Podcast. This post though is intended to whet your appetite and to alert you to the release of this fine collection.
This fantastic release charts the Shuffle Blues tunes from the USA that profoundly influenced Jamaican music in the early days of it’s creation and as such is essential listening for any lover, not only of just plain old good music, but in this case records that were without doubt played in Jamaica, by Jamaicans before the island even had it’s first record pressing facility!
The tunes included on the release are as follows:
LOUIS JORDAN SALT PORK, WEST VIRGINIA
LOUIS JORDAN REET PETITE AND GONE
JACK McVEA TWO TIMIN’ BABY
FELIX GROSS WHAT’S YOUR STYLE, BABY
GENE COY KILLER DILLER
GENE PHILLIPS ROCK BOTTOM
JOE LIGGINS DRIPPERS’ BOOGIE (PART1)
GENE AMMONS JUGHEAD RAMBLE
KING PERRY GOIN’ TO CALIFORNIA BLUES
TODD RHODES PAGE BOY SHUFFLE
CALVIN BOZE SAFRONIA B
EDDIE CHAMBLEE EVERY SHUT EYE AIN’T SLEEP
GRIFFIN BROTHERS, THE RIFFIN’ WITH GRIFFIN
HAROLD LAND ALL STARS, THE SAN DIEGO BOUNCE
JEWEL KING 3 X 7 = 21
JOE LIGGINS LITTLE JOE’S BOOGIE
TEDDY BRANNON MIXIN’ WITH DIXON
T-BONE WALKER HUSTLE IS ON, THE
ARCHIBALD STACK-A-LEE (PARTS 1&2)
RAY-O-VACS, THE MY BABY’S GONE
CHARLIE GONZALEZ I’M FREE
GRIFFIN BOTHERS, THE (FEATURING MARGIE DAY) STUBBORN AS A MULE
JACKIE BRENTSON INDEPENDANT WOMAN
JAMES WAYNE TEND TO YOUR BUSINESS
JIMMY McCRACKLIN LOOKING FOR A WOMAN
MARGIE DAY & THE GRIFFIN BROTHERS BONAPARTE’S RETREAT
WILLIS JACKSON LATER FOR THE ‘GATOR
WYNONIE HARRIS BLOODSHOT EYES
ROY BROWN TRAIN TIME BLUES
ZUZU BOLLIN WHY DON’T YOU EAT WHERE YOU SLEPT LAST NIGHT
LESTER WILLIAMS I CAN’T LOSE WITH THE STUFF I USE
BIG JAY McNEELY BIG JAY SHUFFLE
LOWELL FULSON GUITAR BOOGIE
ROSCO GORDON NO MORE DOGGIN’
LITTLE WILLIE LITTLEFIELD KC LOVIN’ (AKA KANSAS CITY)
LLOYD PRICE LAWDY MISS CLAWDY
SHIRLEY & LEE I’M GONE
L’IL SON JACKSON GET HIGH EVERYBODY
JIMMIE LEE BLUE AND LONESOME
LYNN HOPE HOPE, SKIP AND JUMP
PAUL BASCOMB MUMBLES
ROSCO GORDON TOO MANY WOMEN
LESTER WILLIAMS BRAND NEW BABY
DAVE BARTHOLOMEW COUNTRY GAL
HAL PAIGE DRIVE IT HOME
AMOS MILBURN ONE SCOTCH, ONE BOURBON, ONE BEER
SMILEY LEWIS LITTLE FERNANDEZ
MELVIN DANIELS NO MORE CRYING ON MY PILLOW
SONNY KNIGHT BUT OFFICER
JIMMY LIGGINS DRUNK
FLOYD DIXON HEY BARTENDER
BB KING YOU UPSET ME BABY
MIKE GORDON0 WHY DON’T YOU DO RIGHT
EARL CURRY ONE WHOLE YEAR BABY
EDDIE CHAMBLEE LA! LA! LA! LADY
CHAMPION JACK DUPREE DRUNK AGAIN
JIMMY McCRACKLIN BLUES BLASTERS’ BOOGIE
BILL DOGGETT QUAKER CITY
SMILEY LEWIS REAL GONE LOVER
CHARMS, THE LING, TING, TONG
GENE & EUNICE KO KO MO
BOP-A-LOOS, THE SOUTH PARK MAMBO
JOHNNY ACE PLEDGING MY LOVE
OSCAR McLOLLIE CONVICTED
LLOYD LAMBERT HEAVY SUGAR
T-BONE WALKER T-BONE SHUFFLE
SHIRLEY & LEE FEEL SO GOOD
BARBIE GAYE MY BOY LOLLYPOP
CLARENCE ‘FROG MAN’ HENRY AIN’T GOT NO HOME
SMILEY LEWIS SOMEDAY (YOU’LL WANT ME)
SONNY KNIGHT CONFIDENTIAL
ROY WRIGHT YOU PROMISED
BIG MAYBELLE I DON’T WANT TO CRY
DONNIE ELBERT HAVE I SINNED
LARRY WILLIAMS HIGH SCHOOL DANCE
FATS DOMINO I’M IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE
DOC BAGBY DUMPLIN’S
ETTA JAMES PICK UP, THE
DAVE BARTHOLOMEW SHUFFLIN’ FOX, THE
BOBBY DAY OVER AND OVER
DOC BAGBY YOU’RE SO DELIGHTFUL
LLOYD TROTMAN TROTTIN’ IN
BIG JAY McNEELY THERE IS SOMETHING ON YOUR MIND
JOHNNY ADAMS I WON’T CRY
DONNE ELBERT WILL YOU EVER BE MINE
… in fact over 80 tracks chart sound system classics on this three cd set.
Go buy your copy for under a Tenner Now!
tracing musical lines, talking music, recording, album art, rare records, reviewing, discographies and information