Here are some albums I’ve been enjoying recently.
YMO (Yellow Magic Orchestra) – After Service
Alfa Records, Japan 1984
Live double LP set from Japanese electro-pop solid state survivors, featuring Ryuichi Sakamoto.
Hatfield & The North – Afters
Virgin Records 1980
Odd afterthought compilation from Canterbury scene English proggers, featuring chunks of the two studio albums plus a couple of live cuts and a single a/b. Get the studio albums first.
Sun Araw – Ancient Romans
Sun Ark Records, USA 2010
One of those bandonyms where an artist disguises their solo-ness with a band name. This is a modern neo-psychedelic space-song two-LP trip from prolific Californian Cameron Stallones. Did he choose the band name so his albums sit next to Sun Ra? Or to avoid proximity to Sylvester?
Paul Horn – Inside The Great Pyramid
Mushroom 1977 / Kuckuck 1983
Ancient Rome to Ancient Egypt. But this time, the musician is actually there. Flautist Horn explores sound, space and lots of existential eon-echoes in this fascinating album of a man sitting in a tomb with his flute.
John Coltrane – Africa / Brass
Impulse! 1961 / DOL (Russia) 2015
Travelling south from Cairo, solo flute expanding to storming ensemble. This Coltrane classic is starting to push the boundaries. Exciting, stirring stuff from an ensemble that includes McCoy Tyner on piano and Elvin Jones on drums. Boo-hiss to DOL; an OK pressing but inadequate liner information. Watch out for any eastern European re-issues – caveat emptor.
Charles Cha-Cha Shaw – Into Morning
Folkways Records, USA 1976
A sometimes challenging but ultimately rewarding spiritual jazz album from this little known trumpeter. Art Blakey Jr on percussion. This release is something of a rarity, being a jazz album on the famous Folkways label.
John Lee Hooker – Burning Hell
Riverside Records 1964 / DOL 2014
Some uncertainty about the details of this fabulous album. According to Allmusic, it was recorded in 1959 but not ‘officially’ released until 1992. This is Hooker honouring his roots; just him and his guitar, focussed and passionate in that uniquely laid-back way. Essential (even if you have to get the Russian re-issue).
Beggars Opera – Waters Of Change
Vertigo 1971 / Repertoire (Germany) 1995
Until I win the lottery and can afford an original Vertigo vinyl copy, this Repertoire re-issue of a strong early 70s prog album will do fine. Keyboard player and mellotron artiste Virginia Scott contributes fine analogue textures and co-writes four pieces. Really rather excellent.
After more than three years of weekly posts, some 200 albums featured, and over a quarter of a million words cranked out, the Vinyl Connection blog batteries are depleted. The thrill, as BB King observed, is gone.
Those curious to stay in touch with what’s spinning at VC headquarters are invited to ‘Like’ the Vinyl Connection Facebook page. If you want to dip into Vinyl Connection’s past, the menu down the right side has some helpful categories.
Cheers, for now.