Monday, November 28, 2011

V/A - Rockabilly Xmas - #52

V/A - Rockabilly Xmas

Tired of Christmas and the standard "Holy Night" and "Jingle Bell" songs? Well, here's one to get your attention. Despite the title, it's not all Rockabilly, but there's a fair share of it to be found amongst the 30 tracks. There's even a "Jingle Bells" version (a good one at that) if you have second thoughts. I believe these tracks to be mostly from the 50's or early 60's. There are no liner notes and the information is a bit thin on the ground, although you get a handful of pictures of the artists and some labels.

A few of these songs are more in the novelty corner. But there's some serious Rock'n'Roll here as well. I've no idea where they've dug up these songs, I just know, I haven't even recognised one of the names on this CD. With regards to sound quality, you have to get used to some tape hiss. However, the listening experience is acceptable and the CD is great fun. Released by the good folks of buffalo bop (Bb - CD 55095).



Sunday, November 27, 2011

Jimmy Virani - Is Beachcombing In Outer Space - # 51

Jimmy Virani - Is Beachcombing In Outer Space

I don't know why theremin music is always filed in the weird and strange section. Well, in fact I do, I just don't understand it. I suppose it was (and is) always more of a gimmick, in that it's being played without actually touching the instrument. It has usually more to do with a freakshow, than actually music that you listen to, to enjoy it. This here is serious stuff.

What you get here, are nine tracks of Hawai'i standards such as "Beyond The Reef", "Sleepy Lagoon", Hawai'ian Wedding Song" or "Aloha Oe". Now, I have a soft spot for Hawai'ian music anyway, but this is digestable even for people who will not otherwise touch this genre. It came quite as a surprise to me, that a theremin can be played not to represent a cat that's being stepped on the tail. Jimmy Virani is actually playing the music and not trying his hand at avantgarde interpretations of island life. There's some fattening of the sound here with the help of more standard instruments, but overall this is a theremin album. There's nothing to rock or roll you, it's almost an easy listening bit of entertainment and clocks in at just a bit more than thirty minutes. And it has one of the most interesting covers I've seen in a long time. Released on S Car Go (geddit?) Music 001.



Thursday, November 24, 2011

Roy Black & The Cannons – Last Rock’n’Roll Show, Live 26.12.1964 - #50

Roy Black & The Cannons – Last Rock’n’Roll Show, Live 26.12.1964

For someone who loves rockmusic, Roy Black is the devil in disguise. One of Germany’s most sugary Schlager singers with a string of hits that one couldn’t escape from. As a kid, sitting in front of the TV and hearing Mr. Black singing about romance and love and the like, wasn’t my idea of good music. Even when I was ten or thereabouts, I knew instinctively, that this wasn’t my cup of tea and I’d rather listen, at that time, to some longhaired Beat or Rock band from England or the States. Mind you, I’m not talking about easy listening, I’m explicitly addressing Schlager. If you’re not from a German speaking country, you don’t know what you’ve missed. And you should be grateful that fate hasn’t brought you in contact with this genre. The others know what I’m talking about. Let’s go to the cellar and weep about our misspent youth.

What I didn’t know until recently, is, that Roy Black was, before he took up this Schlager dreck, a Rock’n’Roller at heart. Well, sort of. Here’s the proof. Six songs rescued from way back in 1964 and delivered on a 10” platter (with CD supplement of the same six songs). They are covers of standard tracks alternating between Rock’n’Roll, Blues and some crooning pointing the way of things to come. This was apparently their last show as Roy Black & The Cannons. The Cannons seem to have carved a very small niche as a band on their own, but there’s nothing to ring a bell really.

I’d like to say this release is a revelation, but truth be told, this is a mediocre affair at best. More of a gimmick than anything else. The performance is not to bad, but you’ve heard these songs better and with more verve. But of course, these bands came aplenty in those days and their skills were enough for the local Saturday night dance. Almost fifty years later, you can’t help but wonder wether they would have been bigger, had they carried on. I don’t think so, as they are lacking in almost every department. Don’t get me wrong, this is not bad per se, it’s just nothing to write home about. It gave me a moment’s thought about Roy Black and I’ve adjusted my opinion about the man just a little bit, as this release is, despite everything I said, much better, than what was to come.

The sound quality? You can listen to it, but your HiFi system will be insulted, having to play what sounds like an audience recording. Hey, I mean this was 1964 and I’m pretty sure, there was nothing like the Rolling Stone mobile unit available. And if my information is correct, these were the only six songs that could be rescued from this gig. Buy it and then sit around your fireplace, telling your grandchildren how it was in the goold old days, when music was handmade and kids did what they were told.



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wilko Johnson – Walking On The Edge - #49

Wilko Johnson – Walking On The Edge

This one is not exactly strange, just a bit unusual due to the fact that the French release has a different coloration as well as fonts not found on other releases of this single. I don’t know what the problem is with this one, but I haven’t seen another copy since I got mine a couple of years ago. It’s not that I really need a go at another one, but it’s interesting to see, that even though one is trying to dig a copy up, this is futile.

U.K. Release

French Release

Now, if(!) a copy would turn up for sale, I wouldn’t expect it to go much higher than a standard stock copy from the U.K., that is to say, you’ll get enough change from tenner to buy you an espresso and a croissant at your local coffee bar. I’m just wondering, what have the French done with all the copies that surely must have been on the market there?



Saturday, November 19, 2011

Wilko Johnson - Ecstacy/Ice On The Motorway 7" - #48

Wilko Johnson - Ecstacy/Ice On The Motorway 7"

One of the most exclusive items in my Wilko Johnson collection is certainly the "Ecstacy/Ice On The Motorway" 7" which was never released commercially, because, as folklore has it, Wilko Johnson was dissatisfied with the final mix. Seems like only a handful of these escaped. Both tracks do sound different to the versions that made it onto LP and CD and they are good ones at that. As far as I know, these mixes never made another appearance.

Here's one side of the label, because most Wilko Johnson fans might not have seen it. And to think of how I came by this beauty ... I'm still grateful that someone thought of me. This is one item I never even thought of laying my hand upon. Dreaming ... yes! But actually owning one copy? If I would have to name the rarest item in my Wilko Johnson collection, this one would take the top spot. Guaranteed!



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Viennese Record Shops - #47

Viennese Record Shops

When I'm visiting a city, the best way to get a feeling for the place, is, to check the local record shops. There's always something there, that one can't find locally at home. Some places boast a fantastic range of outlets (London for the sheer size of it or Helsinki because of the very high quality) and some you wouldn't even recommend when you'd be paid for it (Edinburgh for the record shops that look more like the local city dumps, but then you're bound to visit the place more for the whisky than anything else and then it's a very nice place).

Having just returned from Vienna and been there to a fair number of record shops, I can only attest, that the place is brimming with excellent outlets. I've never ever brought so many Free Jazz, Noise and Avantgarde records back from a trip abroad. Also the weird and strange segment is well taken care of (as well as the more normal Rock and Blues and Jazz). There are lots of independent stores with an excellent selection catering to every need in the book (new and second hand). I'm not giving any names here, but none of the about ten shops I visited was a failure. Some better than the others, sure, but always interesting and I didn't leave one place without having bought a load of albums. Vienna is not as stuffy as one might think, this is a very modern city with lots to offer to a record collector (as well as for the times one's not searching through the racks).