Record collectors know how there slowly accumulates, around the gems and the sparkling finds, a considerable meterage of albums having an unsteady foothold on the beachhead of the collection. Those LPs plucked from the bargain bin where they rightly languished; that gap-filling reunion album that should have stayed where it was; the so-called ‘supergroup’ that was neither. Greybeard collectors will, in addition, know all too well the sigh that attends getting home with a bulging sack of vinyl booty only to find one or more are already sitting smugly on the shelves, mocking us. We kid ourselves that it’s an ‘upgrade’ or a ‘different pressing’ but that’s rubbish. Our brains are going and we are buying shit we already own.
What to do with these unloved discs? As regular readers will know, Vinyl Connection periodically takes a stall at one of the Melbourne record fairs and offers these rejects to fellow music tragics, er, collectors. I initially wrote ‘unsuspecting’ instead of ‘fellow’, but that is certainly untrue. Many have knowledge and experience far greater than my few grains of accumulated lore, all are self-determining adults and most have access to on-line music sites as they browse to check the provenance or properties of any album ever recorded. So we all deserve what we get, don’t we?
Say an album deserves to be culled. It has languished forever in the shelves or is, perhaps, a new acquisition that has received several spins where nothing whatsoever stirred in that part of the brain responsible for musical endorphins. Or perhaps it has worn out its welcome for some other reason. Whatever, it is being scrutinised and examined to decide what action will be taken… relocation from collection to crate, migration from prized to priced, movement from shelf to stall.
Here, in the first instalment of yet another new series* I will introduce you to records that are up for re-assignment and provide background and context. I’d love to know what your decision would be.
DEODATO — THE VERY BEST OF DEODATO
I’ve loved Deodato’s gently funky jazz fusion since I first heard his Fender Rhodes-driven ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ on the radio back in early 1973. The debut album for CTI (released in 1972) was the first record from that label I owned. I was entranced by the beautiful photograph and the way the image danced around the spine of the LP to its mirror-image on the back cover. Prelude was real classy in every respect; there was Stanley Clarke on bass, Billy Cobham on drums — even the strings didn’t grate.
It was a no-brainer that I’d grab his second release too, simply entitled Deodato 2. At the time I somehow missed the third and final CTI album, 1974’s Deodato/Airto In Concert. Eumir almost did too. Very soon he was off to MCA for a string of pleasant but largely unexciting albums repeating the formula laid out on those first two CTI records.
But Deodato continued to sell, and CTI saw every reason to cash in. So they pulled half the tracks from Prelude, half from 2, bunged them onto a single LP and released it in 1977 as The Very Best of Deodato. Obviously I didn’t buy it because the music was already in the collection and the release was a blatant exploitation of both artist and record buyer.
Of course I bought it.
But only quite recently and entirely because of the cover. The front cover, of course; on the back the company lazily re-used a photo from the gatefold of Prelude.
So here, in summary, are the arguments:
Crate: No musical value / shrinking shelf space
Keep: The cover art / completism
FLEETWOOD MAC — KILN HOUSE / FUTURE GAMES / BARE TREES
The week before Record Store Day 2016 found me visiting Quality Records…Plus for discussions with Mel, the affable proprietor, on my contribution to RSD festivities at his emporium of sound. You may have read some reflections here. After a productive conversation that defined the activities and times, the issue of monetary compensation shuffled into view. A suggestion was made, followed by a slightly awkward silence.
Your correspondent, glancing around in search of inspiration, sighted the relatively recent boxed set re-issue of Fleetwood Mac albums from the post-British blues, pre-Buckingham/Nicks era. ‘Just got that,’ said Mel, ‘It’s actually new’.
Well, the outer case was a trifle scuffed and marked, but the vinyl certainly appeared pristine. A new figure was proposed, including this US pressed four-album set (plus bonus ‘Oh Well’ 7” single, don’t you know) and hands were warmly shaken. I was chuffed, as I love one of those albums dearly (Future Games), like another very much (Bare Trees) and have never actually owned a third (Then Play On) despite rating it highly. The final one (Kiln House) is mediocre, but has one of my favourite Mac songs and charming hand-drawn cover art by Christine McVie. Happy days.
Now, Vinyl Connection friends might recall a feature some time ago that reviewed the six Fleetwood Mac albums from Future Games to Heroes Are Hard To Find (1970 – 1974). All were present in the collection on vinyl or CD at the time of writing. But the above re-issue acquisition doubled the vinyl copies of three titles.
In summary, under review are the old copies:
Kiln House (US pressing / Cover: Good+, Vinyl: Very Good-)
Future Games (Australian pressing / Cover: Very Good-, Vinyl: Very Good)
Bare Trees (Australian pressing / Cover: Excellent, Vinyl: Excellent)
So, folks. What would you do? Keep or Crate?