VINYL HUNTER-GATHERER GOES SURFING

Lovely seaside holiday. Not as many hot days as one might have wished for but on the upside, fewer occasions to squeeze into the wetsuit and do an impression of a beached whale. Or one of those waddling penguins that look way, way cuter than a middle-aged man in neoprene.

The Kongwak Sunday Market is a must for any visitor to this part of Gippsland. For Vinyl Connection it is less about the hand-painted candle holders, tie-dyed sarongs and organic cacti than it is about records. So Kongwak was the first (and indeed, second) port of call for this vinyl hunter-gatherer. But there were also acquisitions in Wonthaggi and Korumburra. Lucky we were only away for two weeks, or a trailer would have been needed.

A few jazz LPs to start the ball rolling.

Being a big fan of jazz-rock guitarist (and Steely Dan session man) Steve Khan, this album from 1985 was seized without a moment’s hesitation. That it boasts a Folon cover adds a tasty cherry on top.

Early George Benson, both 1960s and early 1970s, is really worth investigating if you are a fan of jazz guitar with a side serving of funk. This is a re-issue of a 1971 album. Hoping I haven’t re-purchased it, misled by a different cover.

Another jazz re-issue, this one from pianist Paul Bley. Originally 1968. Looking forward to (cleaning, then) spinning this one, as Mr Bley is a very interesting artist.

Bit of live Crusaders from 1974. Can’t wait to hear what they do with ‘Eleanor Rigby’ across 12+ minutes!

Flautist Paul Horn has appeared in these pages previously, hanging out inside the Taj Mahal. This fusion of Renaissance, jazz, rock, and psychedelic music has to be at least as good as the cover. Doesn’t it?

It is possible I bought this 1972 Tom Scott LP because of the die-cut cover. But I’m not admitting it.

At the Kongwak Market, Rob The Record Man told me the sad story of this LP. For those not heavily into Australian jazz of the 1970s, this collaboration between guitarist Bruce Clarke and keyboard player Maryan Kenyon (dig those flares) is on the collectible Cumquat label. It was priced, Rob told me with a grimace, at $45. Until, he added, a customer dropped it on the gravelly asphalt underfoot, inserting several small pieces of stone into the vinyl. “No damage done,” said the punter cheerily. The price is now $15, Rob whispered. I checked. One side does look pretty fucked. I offered $5. He declined.

Sometimes records stay in your mind, a clear indication that you should not have hesitated. So I went back the following Sunday (there were a couple of further titles that stayed in the small corner of my mind labelled ‘Records’) and offered $10. OK, Rob said ruefully. I grinned broadly*.

Why? Because I have an Australian World Record Club pressing of the album and there is a memoir post to be written on Vichyssoise.

* And even more broadly when I opened the gatefold sleeve to find both musicians had signed it.

As part of the endless 70 FROM ’70 series, I wrote about Brief Replies, a 1970 LP from Ten Wheel Drive. In the process I discovered I liked it more than expected. As a result, purchasing this, their final long player (from 1973), was not a difficult decision.

Ken Hensley was the keyboard player for Uriah Heep for their first decade, making a major contribution to over a dozen albums. He died on 4 November 2020, aged 75, with his posthumous album, My Book On Answers being released in March 2021. I think I bought this as a tribute to the organ/synthesiser player featured on a couple of albums I loved in my late teens.

Sydney band Electric Pandas released but one LP, Point Blank, in 1985. The single ‘Big Girls’ was a ripper, and is the only song of theirs I know. Singer/guitarist/songwriter Lin Buckfield went on to work very successfully in TV production.

Two observations. Firstly, the red star was on the cover when I bought it.

Secondly, a mature bloke like your correspondent would never make a comment on the level of cuteness of Ms Buckfield circa 1985, and would, furthermore, never be influenced by such considerations in the purchasing of a vinyl record. OK?

At the time, I considered my enjoyment of the two singles from this LP as something of a guilty pleasure. Nerts. They are wonderfully catchy synth-pop songs. Thanks to the championing of Robert Palmer by J. (aka Jim Dead), I happily added this one to the ever-swelling holiday record bag.

Having fronted one of the most progressive and interesting psychedelic-surf-rock bands of the late 1960s / early 1970s, Lindsay Bjerre departed Aussie legends Tamam Shud (temporarily) and went solo with this odd mixture of pop, chanson, and electronic ditties. As I write, I’m struck by the lovely symmetry of this cover with the Maryan Kenyon / Bruce Clarke LP.

Pianist/Composer Steven Halpern was a pioneer of New Age music in its new-iest and age-iest form. He wrote a book on the healing properties of sound and soundtracked it with several albums. This is one of them, which presumably promotes the healing properties of astrology too.

Absolutely no idea what this is, but couldn’t resist it. The credits say ‘Directed by Elliott Randall’ (of Steely Dan fame) and it includes his piece ‘I Am Not A Synthesiser’.

The biggest ticket item in this post, Where Fortune Smiles is a 1971 jazz album featuring John McLaughlin, Dave Holland, and reed player John Surman. Have this British release on CD and it is pretty challenging stuff, but the LP is one I’ve never seen ‘in the wild’ before, and includes the original insert.

Finally, a benediction from Pearls Before Swine, a folk outfit I’ve known about for decades but never listened to. This is their third LP, from 1969.

For now, I’ll spare you the CD purchases.

Comments on the album covers, the music and musicians, and the illness we know as record collecting, are all welcome.

32 comments

  1. Don’t sell yourself short next to those penguins, Bruce. Did they get to go vinyl hunting? I think not! Oh, some of those covers deserve to be in your next best/worst (mostly the worst, I’m thinking) covers post. That Tom Scott wins (loses?) for me! – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is important context, Marty. Platters over Pilchards any day!
      It’s a flea market of album covers, isn’t it? Bjerre’s is truly awful while the Paul Horn looks like Amadeus on acid.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmmm… hand-painted candle holders, tie-dyed sarongs, cacti or records. That’s a tough choice, Bruce. I tell you what, though, there’s a good chance I’d go for the latter.

    The quality of those covers have already been mentioned, but they’re some real crackers. I also couldn’t help but feel that I’d have been charging the punter for the LP he dropped… though it’s good that you managed to nab it for a reduced price. What’s the plans for it? Can it be salvaged?

    Also, I’m very pleased to see Clues. As you know, I’m awfy fond of that album (truth be told, I’m awfy fond of much of Palmer’s catalogue).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How delightful to hear from you, good sir! I guess I kinda hoped the Clues name check might lure you out of the heather. I’ll fess up: the RP is probably top of the list to spin.
      Hope you and the bairns are well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t been around WordPress for a while… I have a lot to catch up on! We’re all doing great here… all things considered. Hope you and the family are also doing grand.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. My thoughts swirled ’round when I clocked that Tom Scott LP ~> how many records does No. 2 son now have? Sure as heck he’d be wanting that one.
      Anyway a very nice swag. Also nice to get the bonus of autographs.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Do you remember Ian Neil’s ‘Music To Midnight’, DD?

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        1. Yes, butonly vaguely. That’s funny as Arch McKirdy was my intro to Jazz etc and sticks in my mind. I started listening to his programme (there you go Aunty, I’ve added the ‘me’) in bed at about ten years of age I reckon, via a single earpiece driven by a Crystal radio. That possibly explains why I have so many radios today. The latest one, a Susie-Q, is playing my latest album acquisition, ‘Jackie’s Bag’ (ex PC file) as I write.

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  3. Always nice to see the results of some serious crate digging. Can’t comment on the majority of these but welcome to the world of Pearls Before Swine, I hope you dig them. Mind you, These Things Too is not a patch on the first two albums.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll set the expectations low, Paul. 😉

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  4. I’m guessing you heard that Tom Scott album early in the seventies on Ian Neil’s programme.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, I cannot recall hearing any Tom Scott or even any jazz-rock on Music To Midnight. Fusion was not, I postulate, a style favoured by the presenter.
      As I recall, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return To Forever — purchased second-hand at Bentleigh Seeing and Records — were my early forays.
      LA Express was the first Tom Scott I acquired, possibly as late as the early eighties.
      The LP pictured here has now been cleaned and played, DD.
      I can report that it is rather good. 🙂

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  5. You got enough to last you ages! Brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s right! I cannot imagine buying anything else before easter.
      🤥

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      1. That’s fair. I haven’t bought anything in ages, although I did order the 10CD ZZ Top boxed set live on Mike’s chat last Friday, so that’ll be nice…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s a lotta Top!

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          1. Yeah! All the albums from First through Afterburner, I think. In their original mixes!

            Liked by 1 person

          2. I stand corrected: It’s from ZZ Top’s First Album through to Recycler, not Afterburner!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. As punishment for such a grievous error , you must now grow a full ZZ Top beard.

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            2. My lovely wife would kill me, she prefers a smooth chin, and I will not jeopardize smooches!

              Liked by 1 person

            3. Punishment averted!

              Liked by 1 person

  6. So that’s 2021’s quota of LPs then?!

    All I can think of is how much I want to be in Paul Horn’s band and would uniform be provided, or do I have to already be dressing like that to qualify?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course! Should take me through to the middle of 2023, I imagine. Or at least to next weekend.

      To join the Ensemble, you need only to have your own wig and strategic mole. You’d have those covered, I imagine?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Nice haul, Bruce! Maryan Kenyon (with those flares) looks like she stepped out of a Bond film. As someone who’s been teaching herself Adobe Illustrator over the last few months, I have to say I absolutely love the font used to spell out Electro-Harmonix Work Band! Lovely to see Robert Palmer’s Clues; I was just listening to some RP late last week. Loved his voice; loved his look. Sobering to think that he was younger than I am now when he died.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lovely connections, JDB.

      I love the Vicyssoise cover. How many albums* have a leak as their feature vegetable?

      Outside Wales, of course.

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  8. Man did you score. I feel your success. I was trying to turn my neighbor onto Bley a while ago (failed). Also been listening to some of the Crusader stuff. Agree on the Benson out put. Lucky to have a few but not the one you scored.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jazz being a less popular genre, I think there is a greater chance of finding interesting jazz titles (cf. rock) in the provinces. This haul certainly supports the hypothesis!
      As for the Georgie Benson, um….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. On the other hand less product also. Bottom line, you did good. I would have grabbed those.
        I know I have Bad Benson, White Rabbit and a couple other CTI’s on vinyl. Love those old albums. The jackets are built to last.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah! When we do our Nth American roadtrip, wanna focus on collecting CTIs? 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yup. Sure do. Among other things. All fun, nothing we dont want to do.

            Liked by 1 person

  9. […] the holiday post a few weeks ago—Vinyl Hunter-Gatherer Goes Surfing—there was a 1971 George Benson LP of which I wrote, ‘Hoping I haven’t re-purchased it, […]

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