A DAY IN THE LIFE (OF A TURNTABLE)

Today I thought it would be fun to dig a little deeper into the collection and spin some albums that haven’t seen the turntable for ages. Years. In some cases, decades. The only rule was to wait until (at least one side of) the record finished before choosing the next.

8:30 am

We had friends over last night for Friday pizza. First visitors at the dining table for many months. Wine was imbibed, conversation conversed, and probably another bottle or two discovered their internal emptiness. So this morning, I’m starting with something gentle.

Guitarist Anthony Phillips was a member of Genesis at the beginning, but didn’t take to the rock lifestyle. At all. So he reclused himself with his guitars and proceeded to create lovely music, mostly on his own.

This album is the fifth in the Private Parts and Pieces series. Twelve compositions for 12-string guitar each depicting a month of the year. It’s not all quiet and wafty—April has some strident chords, for example—but the overall tone is one of bucolic reverie. Lovely cover by Peter Cross (check out Augustus).

9:00 am

Acoustic is good, or so my head told me. Guitar is good too. The virtuoso guitarist of Dutch band Focus was Jan Akkerman. His solo album from 1973 is one I had on cassette in the mid-70s and I do recall picking up a secondhand copy of the LP late in that decade.

Tabernakel is an unusual beast, an album built around Akkerman’s arrangements of lute pieces by English Renaissance composer (and lutist) John Dowling, and other early music composers. In amongst the stately music is a lively arrangement of the Focus piece “House of the King” that has strings… plus Tim Bogert on bass and Carmine Appice (drums) from US heavy rockers Vanilla Fudge. This is followed by guitar solo—“A Galliard” by Anthonie Holborne (c.1545 – 29 November 1602). An unusual album.

10:00 am

With coffee, a lift in pace. I probably work through the Steelyl Dan catalogue every couple of years or so. This morning I pulled out Katy Lied, possibly because I was sporting a Dan tour t-shirt. But you can’t argue with an LP that opens with the one-two of “Black Friday” and “Bad Sneakers”. And side one closes out with the strange but wonderful “Doctor Wu” featuring a super alto solo from Phil Woods.

Side two opens with the unsettling “Everyone’s gone to the movies” which is too successfully sleazy and sinister for my tastes. But the triple-time version of “Your gold teeth II” restores the groove, lifted by a superb guitar solo. The guitarists listed on the cover are Denny Dias, Walter Becker, Rick Derringer, Dean Parks, Elliot Randall, Hugh McCracken and Larry Carlton. ‘Nuff said. “Chain lightening” struts, “Any world (That I’m welcome to)” melancholiates. Finally, the jerky quirkiness (or is that quirky jerkiness?) of “Throw back the little ones”. It’s a bloody good LP. But then, they all are.

10:45 am

In a direct neural flow from those bountiful SD guitarist credits, I pulled out a Larry Carlton album. This would be an LP purchased perhaps a dozen years ago, that received the requisite two spins, then disappeared to the shelves where it languished between Wendy Carlos and the Carpenters. 

Missed bits of the first couple of tracks as Ms Connection mix-mastered up a birthday cake for some old bastard of her acquaintance. But despite the cast of excellent musicians and top notch playing, I found this rather bland; it never seems to get out of a canter. 

12 noon

Contemporary multi-disc sets are a bit of a con, really. Cashed up complacent boomers like your correspondent happily drop a ton on a four LP boxed set of the ex-guitarist of ex-Pink Floyd playing live at an ex-arena. But I just love the Pink Floyd at Pompeii film; it was a regular evening watch when Ms Connection was carrying the boy. The same boy that extends upwards to my eyebrows today. Anyway, that was a flimsy yet sufficient justification for this 2017 purchase.

So sit back and get comfortably numb while we work through eight vinyl sides of David and the band doing a selection of Floydy favourites plus some presentable (if sometimes pedestrian) new material. Having said that, “Rattle that lock” is excellent—sounds like he’s really trying—and it is wonderful to hear “Fat old sun”, a Floyd concert staple circa 1970-71.

4:00 pm

Just saw this fb post from fellow Melbourne music aficionado Chris dP.

“As Saturday closes out Dragon are laying down a strong keyboard groove on this very early pre fame album. A touch of prog, some funk, a little rock- overall a great record.” 

Although I’ve never even seen the Vertigo original, I do have the Aztec CD re-issue. Been wanting to spend a bit more time with this fascinating and enjoyable album, so thanks, Chris!

Clocking off now.

What a great day’s listening. 

 

Anthony Phillips — Twelve (Private Parts & Pieces V)  [Passport Records 1984]

Jan Akkerman — Tabernakel  [Atlantic1973]

Steely Dan — Katy Lied [MCA / Astor 1975]

Larry Carlton — Sleepwalk  [WB 1982]

David Gilmour — Live At Pompeii [Sony Columbia 2017]

Dragon — Universal Radio [Vertigo 1974; Aztec Music 2009]

49 comments

  1. I only know one of the records even though most of them are kind of in that 1970s art-rock zone that I generally enjoy. Katy Lied is the most widely known of those I think? I only know Dragon’s later hits – I’ve heard their earlier stuff is a bit artist.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Universal Radio is definitely prog-related. Nothing like the hits!
      Yes, many of these were ‘off the beaten track’ Graham. I did wonder whether Katy Lied was a kind of subliminal effect of your own Steely Dan project.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Katy Lied is actually my least favourite Dan album from the 1970s – although that’s like picking favourite children really. Highlights are still great.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. True. I think my least fave album would be Pretzel Logic. Again, terrific highlights.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. That one has a couple of pretty weak tracks towards the end – I think I’ve seen Becker and Fagen comment disparagingly about With A Gun.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m going to have Steely Dan as the soundtrack to my weekend, thanks for inspiring me to play our collection of their great work again!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Jadi. That’s great! Enjoy some Dan magic!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Neat idea for a post, Bruce – that’s the sign of a good day, when the turntable gets plenty of exercise!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Too right Geoff. A rare and cherished indulgence!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Now that is time well-spent. Best journalling EVER.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Cheers A! I had a bit more license than usual, and put it to enjoyable use. 🙂

      Like

      1. You’ve got all the license in the world in these parts, brother!

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Melancholiates! I need to slip that into a future conversation. And that Peter Cross artwork on Twelve is truly fabulous. ( I went to a website of a his work–https://petercrossart.com/album-covers–to get a good view of Augustus: tremendous!) The Dan is bringing pleasure here in the northern hemisphere as well; I’ve been enjoying a shuffle play of their albums on my latest ‘quarantine walks’.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, that’s great. Becker and Fagen have music for every walking style: mooching, ambling, striding, meandering, grooving, strutting and, as used to be said ’round these parts a decade or four back, ‘Fanging it’!
      Thanks for the Peter Cross site link. Will check it out.

      Like

  6. pinklightsabre · · Reply

    Jesus that’s a good dose of Floyd in that sonic sandwich Bruce. Did I pick up it was your birthday this weekend?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Excellent close reading, Mr Pearse. I was indulged relentlessly. (And I didn’t play the final LP of Pompeii; I had a nap instead)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. pinklightsabre · · Reply

        Ha, lovely! Mine is on Monday! #50

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hey, congrats, man. Hope you find a safe and satisfying way to celebrate!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. pinklightsabre · · Reply

            Thanks! Yeah kind of doing nothing. I start a new gig and it’s a Monday! Woo hoo!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. In person or from the home office?

              Like

            2. pinklightsabre · ·

              All I do anymore is home office. Amen to that: work right next to my bed, ha! And I’m not even a porn star!

              Liked by 1 person

            3. With that beard? I don’t think so! 😂

              Like

            4. pinklightsabre · ·

              It’s coming off! All of it off!

              Liked by 1 person

            5. You’ll be able to mulch a couple of garden beds.

              Liked by 2 people

  7. Whoa, that Aztec reissue photograph of Dragon looks scarily reminiscent of the Orleans’ “Walking and Dreaming” album (though thankfully not quite as bad!). A former roommate was a huge fan of Larry Carlton, and I remember that title track, Sleepwalk, quite well. He went for a more restrained version than the wonderful original by the Santo brothers or the later Shadows version. I agree that Carlton’s effort is a disappointment, though I have to admit don’t recall much about the rest of the album. Any day that includes Steely Dan is a good one! – Marty

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m very respectful of Larry C too, Marty. And as you say, the cover of Sleepwalk is very enjoyable (in a restrained kind of way). What’s more the players are (as you’d expect) excellent (Steve Gadd amongst them). Just a bit too polite, perhaps?
      The Dragon is great if you enjoy the more unusual corners of the prog universe, btw.
      And Amen, Comrade, to Steely Dan!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I envy your time with the turntable and vinyl. I’m lucky if I get to play a couple of LPs in a row. There’s always something that pulls me away. Great post, Bruce. Keeping ’em spinin’, my friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is an uncommon pleasure (indulgence?), that’s for sure. Unworthy beast I am, I had a lot of that yesterday, including cake. So feeling pudgy and happy this morning!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Midnight Toker · · Reply

        I can attest that the cake was delicious! And of course, the company and conversation was even better. Saw Dragon at the Europa Ballroom in Essendon when they’d just crossed the ditch, still played some songs that weren’t at the pop end of the spectrum then. Mark Hunter had a fabulous presence on stage.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Now that’s cool. Remember the year?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Midnight Toker · · Reply

            Second crack at my memory in 24 hours! It’s 2020.

            Liked by 2 people

  9. Nice work just being in the room with the turntable for that long. You played a load of stuff I’d be interested in but nothing I own. Good work

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, thanks Steve. You picked up the goal – delve for my own enjoyment and share (hoping others might find some interest). As I mentioned in another reply, I had a special dispensation to indulge yesterday, and exploited it most enjoyably. 😋
      It does help that the second turntable (quite acceptable, if not the shiny beast in the AV room) is in the living area, so I could spin and write and be (vaguely) sociable all at the same time.

      Like

  10. Midnight Toker · · Reply

    but seriously, not 100% on the year, but I reckon it was ’76, maybe ’77. Reckon Jeff Duff played that night too.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I’m jealous Bruce, I’m just so stupidly busy at the moment – I haven’t listened to a single record since Thursday. A few minutes here on PC and on my phone yesterday that’s it. Not fair!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wha?! Surely that’s against the Charter of Human Rights, or the Geneva Convention, or something!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. All of the above and it’s also classed as a category 1 serious bummer too.

        Actually I’m a fake. I don’t own any records, I’m not sure I’ve ever even seen one.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. There was always that suspicion, ever since you once referred to a nice ‘liquorice plate’ you were using as a pot plant base.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. I’m pretty sure one of my parents owned a record, once, back in the sixties.

            Liked by 2 people

  12. A very nice way to celebrate.
    Happy birthday.
    Cheers.
    DD.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I just gave Jan (different album) a spin a while ago. ‘Katy’ is a regular and the Phillips needs a respin. All good choices. Dont know the last one but as usual you have me curious.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Out of interest, which Jan A?
      (The Dragon is really quite interesting, and as you say, pretty obscure. The band had several radio hits after this, with a more pop-rock user-friendly style)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. ‘Profile’ and a little of ‘North Sea Jazz concerts’. Been digging into some guitarists like Jeremy Spencer, Harvey Mandel. It could keep me busy for a while.
        I will check out Dragon. Thanks fella.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Have extracted ‘Profile’ for listening this arvo, CB. I have a nice Harvey, too. Thanks for the playlist!

          Liked by 2 people

          1. I think it was you and Fox who were talking about that early Mayall and it got me thinking of Harv. Sent me listening to ‘Cristo Redentor’

            Liked by 2 people

            1. That’s one I have too. Outstanding.

              Liked by 2 people

          2. PS. Listening to Dragon. Lots of good stuff there. Pretty consistent band?

            Liked by 2 people

            1. After this it was pretty much all radio friendly pop.

              Liked by 2 people

Comments and responses welcome for all posts: present or past. Please 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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: