My first computer-based list of albums was created on an Apple Classic. Filemaker Pro was the program, as I recall. Back then I insisted on spelling it programme. Queen’s English. The entire collection was housed in a three shelf unit made from a cut down wardrobe. When I took to the robe with a circular saw I had no idea it was made of hardwood. Old, tough hardwood. After ten minutes in I’d cut through about ten inches of wood and smoke was whisping around the blade.
At the time the vinyl count was probably five hundred records. Didn’t need dedicated storage for the CDs—they shared a couple of shelves with the music books. So it was the task of a few winter evenings to tap the entire collection into the little computer and save it on a floppy disc. The earliest print-outs were on perforated paper where you had to gently tear off the side strips. Printing a new version happened quite regularly because the document did not require three major deciduous forests worth of paper, back then. It’s over twenty years since there’s been a hard copy; I wish I’d kept one from the late 80s.
Gathering data for the spreadsheet was easy. There was the album cover and a couple of key books. That was it. It was a golden age when my eyes were good enough to read the small print on record labels and the back cover of an LP. If information was missing it stayed missing… or you took a guess. Some of the odd and inconsistent decisions made all those years ago still exist in the current catalogue because it is essentially the same document, translated from computer to computer and export from one spreadsheet to another. An archeological record of records.
Of course I know that there are mistakes and inaccuracies in the catalogue. When I encounter them and have time, they get fixed. But there has never been an accuracy audit and for the entries made over thirty years ago, I just don’t see the detail. It’s like the carpet in your family home; you walk on it without seeing.
OK, you observe, this fellow was obsessive decades ago and is probably the same today. So what? The key word in the previous paragraph is mistakes. Inaccuracies. The two key words are mistakes and inaccuracies. Mistakes, inaccuracies and unreliable data. Amongst the key issues are…
When you commit to a large project like, say, 70 Albums From 1970 (which began here), it’s worthwhile making sure your list consists of items actually released in 1970. Not 1969 or 1971: One Nine Seven Oh.
That was my response when I came to put the final few albums into Part Three of the series. I discovered no less than three albums were miss-assigned. I’m not going to embarrass myself by revealing which ones because I’d lose all respect and dignity. But it does mean that some serious revisions are needed before the next instalment can go to press.
On the bright side, I’ve refreshed my aural memory of several albums that were passed over in the first few runs. Below are two lesser known releases from 1970 that did not make the cut for the final countdown, but could have.
T2 — It’ll All Work Out In Boomland
Early this century, the Decca Record Company released a spiffing three CD set of ‘underground’ music from the progressive rock scene (1967—1975). It’s a fabulous box that placed music I already knew next to bands either entirely new to me or more names than mates. One of the former was T2, a heavy prog trio from England who released just this one album at the time. And what a powerful album! Despite the unexceptional vocals, T2 deliver a sweeping landscape of early heavy-prog features, including blues-rock jams punctuated with fiery guitar, thoughtfully structured long pieces (“Morning” occupies the entire second side) and, er, heaviness. Fans of Atomic Rooster would find much to enjoy here, methinks.
TEN WHEEL DRIVE — Brief Replies
Big brass rock bands were, um, big in the late 60s and early 70s. Blood Sweat & Tears and Chicago spring immediately to mind. New York based Ten Wheel Drive were another sizeable unit: ten players with a powerful horn section that included highly respected sax player Dave Liebman. These are bluesy, funky rock arrangements with lots of jazz influences. It took me ages to get into Brief Replies as I didn’t respond positively to the first track, “Morning much better”. Too hasty by half. A couple of things make this album special. Firstly, the powerful vocals of Genya Ravan (who also blows a mean harp) lift this way above most ‘chick singer’ records of the period. Ravan was versatile. On “Come live with me” she sounds like nothing so much as a sexy, jazz-soaked Suzi Quatro, while on “Stay with me” there is plenty of Joplinesque wailing… except I reckon Genya had a greater range and more vocal control. The other strength of the LP is that the arrangements don’t meander; things are kept tight and tidy—eight songs in thirty-eight minutes. Fans of BS&T and Janis should check this one out.
70 FROM ’70 — PART 3 (#30 —> #21) will appear soon.
There may be minor disruptions of service while Vinyl Connection moves house, including the entire music collection. Why didn’t I collect beer coasters?