On a recent visit to Goldmine Records, respected Melbourne purveyor of albums both new and recycled, in addition to a couple of interesting LPs I scored a little extra something in my carrier bag.
It was a calendar produced by the good folk at Rhino Records to mark—nay, celebrate—their fortieth birthday. It’s great fun for us nerdy train-spotterish types who simply love knowing things like Johnny Winter and Howard Jones sharing a birthday (23rd February) or that Kate Bush’s first tour began at Poole on the south coast of England (a town that made a guest appearance at Vinyl Connection here) on 2nd April 1979.
As I sipped the last of a very pleasant New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc last Sunday evening and toasted Clifford (supplier of the calendar), it occurred to me that the almanac would make an interesting listening guide.
So here we go… the Vinyl Connection guide to March Music, Week 1. Feel free to join in, either by listening to some of the music, responding to the questions, or adding extra almanac points in the comments below.
(Unless noted otherwise, the entires are birthdays)
Roger Daltry—1944, London
Having always been a tad ambivalent about The Who as an album outfit, I tend to reach for the best of LP rather than an album; they made some ripping singles.
Who’s Better, Who’s Best has a great selection of Who classics but, having been compiled in 1988 with Compact Disc capacity in mind, it sounds a bit thin on vinyl. Like those TV special LPs from times past that push half-an-hour per side.
There is much better sound and even more music on the 1994 boxed set The Who: Thirty Years of Maximum R & B. I’m not sure I’m up for four CDs of Townshend, Daltry, Entwhistle and Moon on day one of this project.
Got a favourite Who moment? Reveal all in a comment.
Lou Reed—1942, Brooklyn, NY
Lots of choice here, going right back to the first Velvet Underground album from 1967. I’ve always had a soft spot for the rambling, laid back VU concert album 1969. I remember eyeing it off at the record stall that appeared each week outside the Union building at Melbourne University. It was a double LP with quite a racy cover (or so it seemed to me at the time). The gig, however, doesn’t race at all. Rather it meanders through the Velvet’s songbook with relaxed intensity (but without John Cale).
Who’s a Lou fan? Solo or VU?
Alexander Graham Bell—1847, Edinburgh—Inventor of the gramophone.
It seems so hard to find the time to sit still and really listen to music these days. So in honour of Mr Bell I’m choosing an album of exceptional sound quality and committing myself to mindfully place it on the Rega for some dedicated listening.
What’s the best sounding record in your collection?
1975: As part of their Live Dates Tour, Wishbone Ash played Festival Hall, Melbourne.
Great excuse to spin this fine live recording of the twin-guitar progressively tinged rockers. The fist side, with a trilogy of fantasy-themed songs from Argus, is just brilliant.
Love this album, and all the early Wishbone Ash releases. Sadly, I wasn’t at the concert. Equally sadly, it was announced not long ago that Festival Hall, scene of everything from boxing and wrestling bouts to Vinyl Connection’s first ever rock gig (Lou Reed, August 1974, since you ask) is being knocked down to build apartments. Bit sad, really.
Who (and when and where) was your first gig?
Patsy Cline died in a plane crash in 1963.
John Belushi died from a drug overdose in 1982 (he was thirty-three)
I’m going to play the Blues Brothers soundtrack because it is wonderfully upbeat and always makes me smile. And who could resist Artetha Franklin reprising “Think” or James Brown demanding “Have you seen the light!”
Clearly I’m on a mission from the gods*.
David Gilmour—1944, Cambridge UK
You know you’re potty about a band when you have most of their stuff on vinyl and CD, or when you buy the compilations and live albums as well as the studio recordings. If both apply you are beyond hope (but welcome here).
Time for a mini-Floyd fest, featuring the rather spiffing 4LP 2001 box set, Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd. It’s rather like a Floyd jukebox.
Fun/Sad factoid: Pink Floyd released 15 studio albums between 1967 and 2014. The Vinyl Connection catalogue has 49 Pink Floyd entries.
Arthur Lee—1945, USA (Love) (d: Aug 3 2006)
Matthew Fisher—1943, UK (Procol Harum organist)
Peter Wolf—1946, NY (J Geils Band)
Think I’ll spin the third Love album, Forever Changes, one that should have been included in the 1967 series but wasn’t.
They are highly rated by rock writers, but do you love to Love? (And does your baby just love to dance?)
A fertile date for birthdays:
Micky Dolenz—1945, LA (Monkees)
Mike Allsup—California (Three Dog Night)
Randy Meisner—1946, Nebraska (Eagles, Poco)
Dick Hyman—1927, NYC (organist, early synth pioneer, soundtrack composer)
Gary Numan—1958, London (born Gary Webb)
Gabor Szabo—1936, Budapest, Hungary (jazz guitarist)
Gaz Coombes—1976, Oxford (Supergrass)
And a death:
Ron ‘Pigpen’ McKernan—1973 (Grateful Dead)
That’s some playlist. Hell, there’s a week’s worth of listening right there, and lots of albums I’d love to share—Gabo Szabo’s 1967 sitar experiment, Jazz Raga, a bit of Gary Numan or some early synth from Mr Hyman—but what I’ll fling on the turntable is the first solo LP from Mr Supergrass, Gaz Coombes. Here Come The Bombs (2012) is bursting with energy and ideas; lots of effects, distortion and songs that bounce like a kangaroo on speed. But there are smoother moments too; music that could soundtrack a late night drive through the Brecon Beacons or a hot tub cocktail party. Whatever. It’s a strong album worthy of investigation by ‘Grass fans.
* The Gods of Vinyl (who love almanacs)
Hope you enjoyed the Odes of March.