STRANGE THINGS

This week I noticed that Vinyl Connection was about to turn four. There have been a few stutters, but we are still spitting out regular posts on everything from 60s folk to twenty-first century electronica, from funked up Miles Davis to European Prog. Along with periodic celebrations of album cover art, of course.

Vinyl Connection has never cuddled Kylie Minogue, rocked with the Rolling Stones, or been in Dire Straits. Yet despite spending precious little time in the broad middle of the popular music highway, a persistent band of fellow travellers have chosen to wander the winding VC path, and for that I’m most grateful.

The week’s second realisation was how obscenely profligate I have been in buying music this year. One hundred and twenty sunsets into the year, the VC catalogue has grown by an album a day. It’s a bit scary.

Still, I thought it might be fun (and not in any way a pathetic attempt at justification) to share some acquisitions from the first third of the year. Best to do it now, as I’ll probably go on an extreme vinyl diet from here on in. Stranger things have happened.*

17 INTERESTING 2017 ACQUISITIONS

1.  Kate Bush — Before The Dawn  [2016]

Ms Bush’s 2014 concerts sold out so quickly it broke the internet. The luckies who scored a ticket received a lavishly produced and impeccably staged conceptual art rock-theatre piece. This huge set records the concerts over eight sides of vinyl. It is a lot of music. The repertoire is drawn from Kate’s later albums—no Wuthering or Babooshkering here—and features lots from 2005’s Ariel. Given how strong that album was, the selections are no bad thing. Playing is outstanding throughout, the sound is extraordinary for a live recording and the album packaging is lavish and interesting. Immersing yourself in the Bush of live ghosts is a mesmerizing experience.

*

2.  New Violin Summit  [1971]

Some would know the original Violin Summit album from 1967, featuring four master violinists including veteran Stéphane Grappelli and a young Jean-Luc Ponty. This follow-up changes all the players bar Ponty and delivers an exciting fiddle-driven dose of jazz and jazz fusion across four sides. As I wasn’t blown away by the first Summit, it was a half-hearted extraction from the browsing shelves…until the other players caught my eye: Drums—Robert Wyatt, Guitar—Terje Rypdal. Say wha?

This Sons-of-Grappelli Fest would entertain anyone interested in the violin in a jazz/fusion setting. When the cache and intrigue of Robert Wyatt’s participation is added in, New Violin Summit becomes a bit special.

*

3.  Emmylou Harris — Wrecking Ball  [Deluxe Ed. 2016]

I know many music-collecting fellow bloggers love the deluxe re-issue lark and revel in the alternate or rare tracks included. For myself, I’ve drifted away from this particular aspect of completism, not because I have any criticism of my colleagues but because there simply isn’t time to get through what I already have (and continue to buy, see current article). So I um-ed and ah-ed about this three LP re-issue of 1995’s Wrecking Ball… until Nonesuch had a sale. The generous reductions tipped the balance and I’m very glad. This re-issue is a gem. The alternate versions are alternatey enough that you hear something new in each song, while the bonus tracks enhance an appreciation of both Ms Harris’s gifts and the Daniel Lanois production. Fabulous.

*

4.  Albert Ayler — Spiritual Unity  [1965]

A classic of ‘spiritual jazz’ I had to dig quite deep for, but am kind of glad I did. Albert Ayler’s style is about as far from Kenny G as it is possible to get while inhabiting the same universe, yet the album, for all its squawks and challenging dissonances, has a certain beauty consistent with the sub-category ‘spiritual’. I hope I grow into the music.

*

5.  David Sancious — Transformation (The Speed of Love)  [1976]

What a joy this discovery was! I knew the name Sancious (he was a member of Springsteen’s E Street Band) but had nothing by the keyboard player as leader. This is a prime slice of 70s jazz-rock. Propulsive in parts, romantic in others, the keyboards (including lots of analogue synths) are forefront throughout, which suits these ears just fine. Loved this one.

*

6.  Richard Pinhas — Reverse  [2017]

7.  Public Service Broadcasting — The Race For Space  [2015]

These releases rub shoulders alphabetically and musically, sharing electronica connections and a high invention index (albeit in very different ways). Both are marvellous and deserve individual presentations. Two more for the ever-expanding ‘Posts To Write’ list.

*

8—10. Grateful Dead

Dick’s Picks Volume 1  [1973] / Dick’s Picks Volume 3  [1977] / Dick’s Picks Volume 4  [1970]

The Grateful Dead wrote the book on archival concert releases, a substantial chunk consisting of the Dick’s Picks series (36 multi-disc volumes). At the last Record Fair, a chap was selling his vinyl re-issues of these live recordings. Of course one box would have sufficed, but I suggested a price with a reminder I’d be lugging home 5kg of Dead rather than him. He agreed.

What’s the sound part-way between a yelp of pleasure and a sigh of resignation?

*

11. Klaus Schulze & Pete Namlook — The Dark Side of the Moog Vol. 1–4  [2016]

Four CDs plus a bonus disc. Klaus Schulze produces product in quantities verging on the overwhelming. Have enjoyed parts of this, but am yet to spend sufficient time with the set to make any incisive assessment. Pink Floyd fans might get a smile out of the disc titles (though the music has nothing to do with the UK progressive behemoth):

1:  Wish You Were There

2:  A Saucerful of Ambience

3:  Phantom Heart Brother

4:  Three Pipers At The Gates Of Dawn

*

12. XTC — Transistor Blast  [1998]

One of those late night internet purchases that somehow finds its way into your cart when you are searching for something else. I did get the something else (Grayfolded, in case you were wondering, a unique album up for its own ‘Curiosity Corner’ post).

This 4CD box has two studio sets for the BBC and two live sets from 1978/79 and 1980. Full of youthful energy (not to mention piss and vinegar) it will delight fans of the early, punky XTC.

*

13. Eden — Erwartung  [1975]

Seems like only yesterday when you could take a punt on some interesting looking LP for a few bucks and delight in its wonderfulness or shrug philosophically if it was a dud. I bought this album on the above premise, but for six times what it would have cost a decade ago. Have other things gone up in price by that much? What did a litre of petrol cost in 2008? In dollars or deutschmarks? Machts nichts. This is a very pleasant slice of German symphonic prog from a band I was unfamiliar with. Some parts remind me of Eloy, others of Novalis, even some Yes seasoning. Most enjoyable.

*

14. Grateful Dead — July 29 1966  [Record Store Day 2017]

Another expensive live Grateful Dead set. Just what I needed.

*

15. Dick Hyman — The Age of Electronics  [1969]

Stoked to get a clean copy of this early moogsploitation LP. Mr Hyman was a pioneer of synthesisers and this album brims with invention and good humour. Great cover too.

16. Bruton Music — Cocktail Time  [1979]

The swag of library LPs from a charity shop not long back are providing great entertainment. Another idiosyncratic sub-genre to collect. Or is that idioticidiotic. Hm. Time for a cocktail.

*

17. SOUNDTRACK — Stranger Things  [2016]

Bought on the recommendation of JHubner—he who keeps abreast of new releases in the electronic arena with dazzling thoroughness—this collection of incidental music for a television series is, on the first couple of listens, quality electronica. And it looks terrific, even if you haven’t seen the show (as I have not, and probably won’t. It could be creepy).

*

That’s it. There probably won’t be any ‘acquisition’ posts for at least a year as I’m totally committed to that vinyl weight loss program. Don’t look like that. Stranger things have happened.*

* But not many

*

35 comments

  1. My My, I wonder how you get the money not to mention the time to consume all that.
    D:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A part-time job as an embezzler helps with the purchasing. And of course, I don’t eat. 🙂
      But time is always a problem, isn’t it? Perhaps I could give up sleep as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s some tasty acquisitions here Bruce. I’m quite interested in the XTC and that moogsploitation. Got a taste for it now.

    Glad Stranger Things didn’t disappoint.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Reckon a Moogsploitation Society is imminent, JH. Thanks for the encouragement with Stranger Things, btw.

      As for the XTC, it is really very good. The live-in-the-studio stuff has energy and immediacy and hearing the band live is a treat, given how early in their career Andy Partridge pulled the plug (sorry!) on live performances.

      Like

  3. Bruce, I bet you’d get a kick out of the show, Stranger Things. Scary, but in a fun way. The guys who created it clearly love 80’s films. It was a big hit over here. As for the additions to the VC collection, thumbs up on the Kate Bush and David Sancious (both of whom Augenblick has celebrated). I was intrigued by your mention of the original Violin Summit recording; I don’t know a lot of Stéphane Grappelli’s music, but have always enjoyed his collaborations with Django Reinhardt. And I’m curious, too, about Cocktail Time…wondering if it’s akin to Esquivel’s Space Age Bachelor Pad Music. And I hope it doesn’t lower your opinion of me, but I have *never gotten* The Grateful Dead (although that artwork on #14 is pretty great)….Congrats on your fourth anniversary! It’s been a privilege to surf the vinyl grooves with you (despite some spotty attendance along the way).

    Like

    1. As we don’t have any streaming or other fancy TV services, I’ll have to await the appearance of Stranger Things on free-to-air. Probably would watch it – I was being a bit cute in the ‘scary’ comment.

      Grappelli with Reinhardt is the motherlode of ‘gypsy jazz’ and indeed central to jazz history generally. For me, the music you refer to is the highpoint of M. Grappelli’s career. There’s a nice LP he made with Oscar Peterson, however, which I might review somewhere around 2030.

      In the meantime, thank you for your support for VC, and in particular your insightful and thoughtful comments. It truly does keep me going.

      PS. ‘Cocktail Time’ is pleasant enough, but not quite as good as the promise of Space Age Bachelor Pad Music. Though that phrase takes me straight to Stereolab…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A lot of nice “gets” here. I am going to check out the David Sancious album. I just saw him at the Asbury Park Music and Film Festival (subject of my latest post) performing with Southside Johnny, Little Steven and surprise guest “The Boss.” David is also pretty nifty as a blues guitarist which I didn’t know until that concert. Also, the Dick Hyman looks great. I have a fun “Moogsploitation” album on an old cassette (“Everything You Wanted to Hear on a Moog But Were Afraid To Ask For”) that I would love to find on vinyl.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like a great gig. Over to read directly!

      Moogsploitation is fun. I feel a post coming on…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bruce, that’s a cover for your next Cover Art compilation…fantastic!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy Anniversary,Bruce….my,those Dick’s Picks boxes look beautiful. Like the boxes of reel-to-reel tape up in my attic. Don’t forget to spend some quality time with 5-8-77 this weekend. Second set is legendary,and rightly so…ted

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well Picked (Tee hee) Ted. I’ll certainly commune with the Dead this weekend. And the boxes are wonderful artefacts, as you say.

      Like

  6. Jealous of the Dead, they are so farrow too my reach, well right now at least as I have discovered anew my love of Taj Mahal and he has like 300 albums..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Add in Miles Davis completism and you’ll never want for a quest as long as you live!
      The Dead sets are great though. There was another one I got too but didn’t post.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They are so pricey, $100 plus depending on which one you want. I need to find a senile Deadhead liquidating his collection.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. 🙂 Should be a few of those about, especially in the Bay Area.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I can’t think of a better reason for a road trip.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Happy 4th birthday, Bruce. As engagingly eclectic as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Matt. It’s an ADHD approach to music. 😉

      Like

  8. A diverse clutch.
    Re Spiritual Unity, my spotty listening notes say NMCoT* which is as fulsome as I could get.

    Thanks – an engaging read.

    * not my cup of tea

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good on ya for giving it a whirl, DD. Pretty challenging stuff, for sure.

      Like

  9. Happy 4 year Anniversary Bruce!
    I’ve enjoyed travelling the long & winding VC road – and I think I’d quite enjoy the Kate & Emmylou sets here!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Two exceptionally talented persons. And 14 sides of vinyl in these two albums. Value!

  10. A really splendid and diverse list of goods there, Bruce. As I may have mentioned before, the Emmylou reissue is high on my list. The price (combined with postage) has seen it drop from top spot when I spot other vinyl goods. Still, easily in my top 20 albums, I reckon.

    Those Dead sets look pretty interesting too, but pricey! I assume you partake in the 30 Days of Dead each year?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. … and the Stranger Things LP has been on my list, too – again, wee bitty expensive when postage was considered (one of the local shops had it for £40!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yikes! I got mine locally. So perhaps patience and a bit of luck might get a result? Stranger things have happened. (Sorry. I can’t resist a running joke)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah, I’m hoping it crops up at a reasonable price. Perhaps the store won’t sell it, so will reduce the price. Stranger Things have indeed happened (I don’t mind a running joke).

          Liked by 1 person

    2. The Emmylou came through via a Nonesuch sale – worth signing up for their newsletter perhaps? In the same order I also got the lovely re-issue of ‘My Life in the Bush of Ghosts’ and a couple of other things, thus spreading the postage costs (which can be crippling). Fellow blogger JHubner kindly tracked down the Metavari RSD release for me at a do-able price… except that the postage US–>Aus was 50% more than the record!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, the postage from the US is often a killer and I’ve also found that to be the case (paying more for postage than the LP). Definitely more reasonable if you’re nabbing a few things.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Sorry Bruce missed this first time around. 120? wow. I thought I was bad on 43 – I clearly have a lot to learn!

    The Public Service Broadcasting is great, I love their stuff and the imminent new one from them has me worked up into a lather. They’re great live too, if they ever go your way.

    I really rather fancy that Eden album too …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just keep practicing, Joe, and I predict you’ll achieve a state of sublime over-indulgence in no time!
      Yes, I think I’ll spring for a new PSB LP too.
      Eden. Someone told me the words are heavily biblical, which kind of took the shine of my enjoyment a bit. Still, who listens to lyrics?
      PS. When you have a few minutes spare, check out Worlds in a Magician’s Hat, posted while you were gallivanting in exotic climes. Might give you a smile.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Enjoyed scrolling down to see what you acquired. All very cool and interesting. I have one (David Sancious) but I would like the others also. CB is a sucker for the “violin”stuff. Can never have enough Stephane and the like. Keep sharing the acquisitions. I keep adding but I’m not as prolific as VC. You are in a an elite class.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Elite Vinyl Excessives”. EVE is born as of this moment!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am speechless. I don’t know what to say. I’ll try. That’s beautiful!!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Your 120 in the first 120 days realization sparked me to reflect on my own recent additions. Yikes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The comment just above yours introduces a new club. EVE. Interested? 😉

      Like

Comments and responses welcome for all posts: present or past. Go on, join in!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: