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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]