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.