When Vinyl Connection began in 2013, I knew that a cross-platform presence was important. I just didn’t know what social media was. Or were. Or are, for that matter. Accounts on Tumblr, Instagram, Linkedin and Twitter were duly created, but the only one I paid any attention to (other than this venerable blog) was Tumblr, mainly because you could post from your desktop and my phone at the time was not up to doing photos and stuff. Surprisingly, given I did little other than post photos of records taken for this blog, I slowly amassed almost 2000 followers. Go figure.
Yet it was obvious that Instagram was the pic-platform of choice, so recently I decided to “build my profile”. Follow someone, maybe they follow you. That’s the deal, yeah? Sounded slow and probably tedious. Noting Instragram has a “TV” option, I thought why not make a video, a kind of “new arrivals show and tell”. Dusting off my radio voice and using the technology seemed like a fun idea though some kind of disguise would be necessary, me being a private kind of chap.
I wrote a guide script, arranged the laptop next to the iPhone stand like a manual auto-cue and off I went. It’s over on Instagram, if you are interested, though that may be temporary. Not sure I’m comfortable with the whole video thing. But we can’t bypass VC so, for those who find the above image alarming (I’m one of them), here is the script without the Ozzy Osbourne visuals or the digressions.
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We recently watched the Austin Powers films as a family. Good fun, though like many series, diminishing returns. The DVD Extras — old school all the way ’round here — had a clip of the fictional band Ming Tea performing the song “BBC”.
It’s two minutes of glorious Sixties pastiche with Mike Myers’ Austin delivering the vocals. But what caught my eye was the band… surely that’s not Susannah Hoffs slashing at that electric guitar? And Matthew Sweet under the Roger McGuinn wig? I need that album. [A 2020 RSD release]
The 71 from 1971 project has been dribbling out at Vinyl Connection since early this year. Preparing the next batch of brief reviews for the countdown, I thoroughly enjoyed spinning Hawkwind’s second album, IN SEARCH OF SPACE. As well as a great album, it’s also an early example of using the LP sleeve as an art work in and of itself. Sadly, I don’t have The Hawkwind Log that came with the original.
Staying with Hawkwind, LEVITATION was a 1980 album featuring Ginger Baker on drums. The band also has Harvey Bainbridge (bass, synthesisers) and Hugh Lloyd-Langton on lead guitar and vocals. It’s a powerful, high quality set that, in 2018, was re-issued with the addition of a 2 LP live set, recorded at Lewisham Odeon in December 1980. I love re-releases that included contemporaneous concert recordings and this is a beauty.
Back to 1971 again. Dr John recorded his fourth album in the UK, inviting some rather impressive guests, primarily Eric Clapton and most of the Derek and the Dominos band. THE SUN, MOON AND HERBS is a great example of the good Doctor’s work. It’s also a testament to how RSD releases are sometimes really worthwhile.
This edition adds two LPs of previously unreleased material from the sessions. You see Dr John envisaged this album as a trilogy, with one record for each noun in the title. A Sun record, one honouring the Moon, and one a love letter to Herbs. The record company said, ‘No’. Much material was either incomplete or lost in the creation of the excellent single disc eventually released. The extras vary from well-polished songs to instrumental run throughs, but that doesn’t detract from the enjoyment. It’s a lovely package.
MORRISON HOTEL was The Doors’ fifth album, released in 1970. It has some strong material, including the band’s calling card “Roadhouse Blues”, plus “Queen of the Highway”.
If those are your favourite songs from the album, you’ll love the double album set MORRISON HOTEL SESSIONS, released for RSD 2021. Those two songs account for a sizeable chunk of the four sides, in run-throughs, breakdowns, playful stabs and meandering rehearsals. You’d need to be a major league Doors fan to rave about this one.
Changing tack completely, Baron are a weird — that’s W Y R D E — folk-rock band from the UK whose 2015 album TORPOR, is a fascinating and mysterious journey into pagan psychedelia. This has slowly taken root in my brain and demanded repeated listens. Spacious, misty, driving, earthy, ethereal.
Followers of Vinyl Connection will know my love of The Bevis Frond. Creator / mainspring Nick Saloman released his ‘lockdown’ album, LITTLE EDEN, in September.
Like most recent Bevis Frond releases, this is a double LP with 20 songs. I’m biased, I know, but I reckon this is one of Nick’s strongest. It touches all his usual bases: garage rock, plaintive ballads, rampaging rockers, guitar workouts… with enough great choruses and clever lyrics to provide hours of entertainment for the whole family.
You know DEJA VU, of course; the 1970 Crosby Stills Nash and Young LP that brought them all increased fame and fortune. Well in 2020 a companion album simply called ALTERNATES was released and I’m here to tell you it is outstanding. From the glorious presentation to the illuminating versions of songs-you-know-by-heart, this is a wonderful addition. My current favourite is the ten minute jam-on performance of Crosby’s ‘Almost cut my hair’ followed closely by a fragile and moving version of ‘Helpless’ by Neil Young.
There was more, of course, but these were some of the highlights.