There’s only one course of action…

There is a moment when you are browsing, wasting time not really looking and then it hits you. The need to buy.

IMG_7390It’s usually when you find something out of place. It doesn’t seem that you should find a copy of Bob Calvert’s Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters still in it’s shrink in a thrift store in Oregon City, even if it is only the Back on Black reissue which is probably a transfer from a CD.

Of course I had to buy it, it would be unconscionable to leave a Hawkwind alumni record alone in a thrift store. So I bought it, yes it is not an original but it sounds plenty fine to me. Monty Python meets Hawkwind, gloriously over the top German accents and Lemmy’s bass thumping away with most of Hawkwind and the Pink Fairies playing away.

Of course the knock on effect is that Lucky Lief and the Longships is now winging its way to me as I write.

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My hair’s electrically aware…

I’m a collector I guess. A completist sometimes, especially if I suddenly discover I am a fan. Now I have not reached the point of obsessive yet but some days I can feel it approaching, still searching for two or three Mott the Hoople albums, a strange fit of spending resulted in the arrival of several Tull albums and now I am considering an upgrade on some of those Fairport Convention records and don’t mention the Hawkwind or Neil Young collection.

This seems to be a constant struggle. The late night buying, the attempt to make it home before the mail, the momentary shame and then satisfaction. Fortunately my wife understands somewhat this strange obsession to complete a collection.

Sometimes however it takes a wholly new tack, a desire to complete the Whitesnake prior to 1980 collection, a need to own every Faces album or any number of  needs that may just suddenly rear up late at night or early in the morning. The real problem is the almost immediate access to shopping online, then the interminable wait for the record to arrive, while you are waiting the bug hits and you buy another record/records, then the fear that they will all arrive together and someone will recognize this for what it is an addiction.

There is also walking through the door to discover a tottering pile of album mailers waiting there for you, then the decision to figure out which one to play. Which is  my greater need? The record I have never heard, the old favorite discovered at a reasonable price or the record that just became a brain fart that got bought. It could have been reading a review online that resulted in a purchase or a link from a link to a link as you came to terms with a gap in the collection that is out of your price range. So many things, so many records.

I have spent most of my life until this month having never bought a Led Zeppelin record. I bought a CD collection once but I have never felt the need to own the albums, then one day trolling in a thrift store I found III, Presence and Houses of the Holy. All of a sudden it became a mission to find the other records, but not the live one. After weeks of delving and searching and digging I had them all. I looked smugly on my collection and smiled and then realized there was one missing, not the live one but the other anomaly, Coda was not there. This became a fruitless quest. I searched I rooted in dark corners of thrift stores and used record emporiums to no avail, eventually I succumbed to the online world and before long Coda was winging it’s merry way to me.

IMG_7380And now there it sits on the to be played pile, looking at me with its baleful glare daring me to play it. There are however other records waiting to be played too and it does not have the greatest reputation as a record.

So here I am now with a conundrum, what to play, so true to form I have picked something that is not even in the to be played stack. Astounding Sounds Amazing Music by Hawkwind, the transitional album when the mayhem merchants calmed down discovered melody, hooks and irony all in one go. Of course the all pervading riffs are present as the Brock works his metronomic magic on the guitar. Sometimes I wonder what would it have been like if Brock had joined Can for a weekend.

And here we have the bigger problem.

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Here I am, I ‘m very fierce and frightening…

For years every Sunday morning I would play Seconds Out. For some unknown reason my dad hated this album. It was my small piece of rebellion  at being forced to wear real IMG_7355trousers not jeans as we got ready for church. Being only twelve this was the best I could do. Later in life my rebellions got better and more extreme but as a 12 year old singing along to the Carpet Crawlers was the peak of insolence. I think it was the synth solo’s he really hated and that damn flower song.

My precious school army surplus backpack had my name spelled out in the same writing style as Seconds Out, I have to admit that this may be because it was easily replicated with a ruler and a permanent marker for an artistically challenged pre-teen. I remember  I had to draw it out first in pencil so I didn’t mess it up, if I had I would have had to continue to wear that  backpack regardless as it had been bought and would have to do. Imagine the 12 year olds shame, having the obviously unhip writing style of a progressive rock band on his backpack in the post punk age and then  the writing is messed up. Not only is this unhip but it’s badly done unhip, the kids at school would crucify me rather than just heap the usual ridicule on me.

For many years due to the paucity of funds available  these were the only versions of the Gabriel era songs I had heard, apart from a French copy of Foxtrot that I had inherited from cousin Tony. As I sit here listening tonight its like sitting down with an old friend. The arrangements are polished and comfortable. The playing is urgent and I have to say I find myself enjoying the version of that damn flower song more than the Gabriel version.

It’s also Sunday and I keep expecting to hear my dad bellowing up the stairs to turn off that damn song about a flower. Instead it is my wife who asks why do we have to listen to this loud music. No wonder some have a designated listening space. I however have the living room, which is strangely comforting as prior to moving out of my parenets my listening was confined to the cramped space of my bedroom. This does mean that when I take a left turn musically the family are forced to go with me, like some deranged road trip with the hitcher in tow.

All this reminiscence is because of Bruce at Vinyl Connection getting all 40 years ago with his 1977 moment. It’s here if you want a good read  1977.

I am however mystified why this album never made the cut or maybe that’s for part 2.

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Woo woo, woo woo Welcome to Earth my son yeah…

How do you figure out you’re a fan?

Is it when you realize that you own just about every album they have released apart from the mp3 only live release? And you want that.

Is it when you after listening to all of the albums chronologically decide to spend the money on the tickets for the show in December? This probably would have happened anyway.

Or is it when you find yourself sitting in the woods listening to All Across this Land and find a great peace settle on you? This is generally what happens when I listen to music in the woods, well apart from certain types of music that involve teutonic knights pillaging their way across the landscape as the peasants flee.

I guess it is when a band become the preferred listening for at least a week. Or is this just the completist collector in me?

It’s probably when you pre-order the new record and then order the soundtrack from the stage show. Or is that again just the collector?

So finally I am able to actually admit without shame I rather like that band Blitzen Trapper. Yes they are quirky, a little country, a little folk, they have created a stage play but more importantly sometimes you want to really throw your foot on the monitor and rock out with them. They are in fact perfect for the Oregon woods or to be accurate the Cascade foothills. Their vaguely folky rock is perfect for a meander by the creek and a sit in the damp fall woods.

Also any song that begins with Woo Woo Woo is an instant classic.

Any band hearkening so much back to the 70’s need to hook you up with a Zeppelin cover. If you want to see some awkward dancing take a look around 1:26.

So I am going to accept my fan status, however this pretty much makes it difficult to be objective in any way.

Her are some pictures form my morning stroll as well it’s hard to believe that somehow I managed to own this.

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I can’t believe you’re trampling me…

I remember the Royal Court Theater sometime in the late 80’s. A sweaty writhing festival of bouncing and pummeling and shouting. A deranged individual hanging from the mike stand he was riding sweat showering down on the audience.  The music loud and insistent and pervasive. The audience and band one. It was then I realized that the young woman I had brought to the gig was not going home with me. In fact she was not going home with anyone, in fact she had gone home alone and about 10 minutes ago. Or as a matter of fact almost as soon as the wild show that was Julian Cope had staggered onto the stage as his Syd Barrett meets Jim Morrison leather clad rock god persona had arrived.

For about two hours he hollered railed and gyrated his way through the show. There was no thinking, no mercy and only an ego as large as Cope could manage to pull it off. Surrounded by the worshippers at the church of Cope it was easy to forget that I hadn’t wanted to come and had only bought the tickets as a way of getting the young woman I went with to come out with me. She had however become overwhelmed it seems by the event even before it began. Of course a concert at the Royal Court in those days could be pretty overwhelming.

I never saw this young woman again, I never saw Julian Cope again either, maybe it was all a bit overwhelming after all.

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The jury is often out on Cope. He has however managed to meander his way through the pop world doing whatever he wants to do and seemingly only answerable to himself so more power to him, He has also written some of my favorite songs over his albums. If you want a crash course in his early work St. Julian is as good an entry point as any other, it does manage to be a bit more consistent than his other efforts.