better let your hair hang down, so we can boogie all over town…

Zero records bought.

Twenty minutes or so before work, snow has started so I figured time to get at least one side of one of those unheard records heard. I had forgotten how much the teenager hiding within would react to this record. When I had hair this was the greatest thing to do what we called at the time dancing to, feet apart, bend at the waist and head bang, oh what a sight we must have been in the eighties, throngs of bedemined, long haired pimply teenage boys rocking their heads in unison. Who knows what the young women of the time thought.

Oh well going to be late for work now had to hear the while album…

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Come and gather all around me Listen to my tale of woe…

Zero records bought.

At present there have been no adverse affects I am aware of no shakes, chills or fevers.

For the life of me I have no idea why I never managed to get to these two records before today. There can be no real reason apart from the sheer volume of records in the way. It would be hard to deny that Ry Cooder and John Lee Hooker are essential listening. Looks like someone has spilled coffee on Mr Cooder though and scrawled all over the cover with a marker.

I’ve got time things will work out fine…

I am going to give it a go, no records in the month of February. Just writing the words is causing some sweats and shaking, however it is a good idea to detox and let’s face it, it is the shortest month. I am also ashamed to say that there are a couple of hundred unplayed records on the bottom shelf waiting to be played and put away.

I have no idea how this is going to go. I am a fairly impulsive person when it comes to buying records, late night shopping on the internet, I drive by or rather don’t drive by a Goodwill on the way home and downtown the junk shop has just turned into a used record store.

I am going to use this time to consider what I am doing with this impulsive hobby. It is fun to search out lost titles and new treasures and even new music. However lets be honest I spent most of my teen years and early twenties with about 200 records and never felt cheated. What happened that I now feel the need to own entire discographies of musicians that were of marginal interest to me in the past.

Last year I toyed with the idea of having a year when all I was allowed to buy was new releases, I then got caught in my own web of trying to decide what “new” meant. Did reissues count? Was it just new albums by new artists? This way was madness. Eventually I just went with just buying on some random magical need to buy, this may explain the lack of structure to my current collection and let’s be honest past collection. Woody Guthrie sits next to Black Sabbath on the to be played stack and they seem tone getting along.

I have already failed on the no records in February plan and it is only the 5th. Of course who could turn down the Kate Bush collection sitting there, not to mention the Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal? In my defense today I strolled into Goodwill, realized what was going on and left today. Things are looking up.

So now the attempted project only to play the newly bought stuff and not to buy any new to me records until I am done. Of course this type of resolution has cause insanity and mayhem in other bloggers. I am however strong of will and will not crumble under the temptation of the purchasing gods, and if I do I shall confess and seek forgiveness here.

So here is my first neglected purchase, Canned Heat from 1969, boogie with a slightly blurred hazy feel. I may have said before, Canned Heat just make me happy, they are no frills good time music by fans for fans and Bob the Bear Hite has a sweet voice. What’s not to love apart from that strange cover image, some sort of back to the country domestic kitchen scene from the prairies. This has almost nothing to do with the stoner LA boogie band playing the music. Perhaps it is more of an ideal that the band felt they had left behind, or it just felt like a good idea at the time.

when the night is come, and the land is dark…

I looked out across the wasteland of my yard this morning, the mud and mole hills, the scrubby grass and the creek meandering it’s way through the cedar trees and sipped my coffee. Ry Cooder was singing the Ben E. King song Stand By Me in the background from the album Chicken Skin Music and I had a sense of dissatisfaction. In an hour I would have to go to work with all the things that brings right now, trying to run a social service agency in the Newmerika we all live in.

Today however is Friday and I can put my shorts and sweat shirt on if I want to, go get lunch with my wife and hopefully make it to the weekend without a crisis.

I had turned the TV off an hour ago. Another democrat was entering the primaries and CNN was excited, the US had pulled out of another meaningless nuclear deal, this one truly so, and the tweeter in chief was just warming up for the day. The atrocity show was about to start and it would be easy to be dragged in.

“You should know I was never untrue…” was sung by Ry and I pondered what fidelity and ethics mean in the land of the free.

So today as the calming balm of Ry Cooder pervades the quiet house I can commit to trying to make someones day a little easier along with all the other difficult choices to be made.

So I found this record in the junk store, it had obviously been part of the Newport Oregon library collection, it was very important to the librarian that borrowers care properly for the records and so these helpful hints are stuck to the front.

There is a real history to library records. Personally the local library was how I broadened my own musical horizons, and I am sure this is true for many people. Also normally when you buy a used record it may have belonged to 2 or 3 people, a library record belonged to the community and may have touched hundreds of peoples hands and record players. This may cause problems for hardened germaphobes and audiophiles, for me though it connects me with the hundred of others who had sat there listening to Ry sing Goodnight Irene at the end of this album and felt calmed, happier, sadder or more connected.

It was community property. It’s a little sad that it’s days of being passed around are over in some way, I am sure the Newport library has moved on to CD’s now. The other thing to ponder is what journey it took to get the three hour drive inland? How many hands did it pass through heading east from the coast? A truly well travelled record, and with very little damage.

So this is real life? You’re telling me…

It is hard to admit an affection for a band from Manchester. Yes this is a ridiculous bias I have, it is based on years of football rivalry and reinforced animosity towards anyone at the other end of the East Lancs Road. These are the petty centers of my stunted adolescent brain reinforced by my uncles and aunts over the years.

However I do have a deep affection for Magazine, maybe it was the keyboards or the choppy staccato guitars or Howard Devoto’s eccentric vocal style or the uncompromising lyrics.

It may also be the fact that Definitive Gaze is one of the best songs ever written. Don’t tell me you can’t hear a mix of Hawkwind, Bowie and some sort of post-punk prog rock goings on. So this evenings entertainment has been Play by Magazine, live and well in Australia.

I can nowadays admit to enjoying several of Manchesters poptastic bands starting with the Hollies, I am still however struggling with Steven.

the wrong jeans…

My Dad taught me about Levis. Being from Liverpool in the 50’s and 60’s jeans apparently were important. He and his brothers would steal Levis from the ships importing them to England and then redistribute the wealth. They wore them for work, never to go out. They were utilitarian, not decorative. The kids they sold them to may have felt differently.

These were the shrink to fit variety, the most comfortable jeans in the world, cotton that fits to your form, not the pre-shrunk acid washed bleached stuff we know today. These were the pants of Guthrie and Dylan, Brando and Dean, the work wear of railway men and miners, prisoners and farmers. Made from raw cotton and riveted for strength.

There is the relentless customs/traditions/myths and rituals of shrinking the jeans. My Dad took me through all this, sitting in the bath, towel drying and then wear them wet until they dry and don’t wash too often if ever. The inevitable roll of cotton at the end of your leg, some would go with a broad roll, my dad insisted that your fold should no the more than an inch. He would sit there with his rolled up cigarette, his D.A. haircut and white t-shirt, skinny and lean and go through this so seriously, set by step.

I have never bought any other jeans than shrink to fit Levis. It’s a connection to my Dad in some strange way. Now I am not saying I do all that sitting in the bath tub shit still but some of the other stuff I still go along with. My wife thinks I am crazy not washing my jeans too much and never letting them near the drier and “why do you roll them up when you could buy them pre-shrunk to fit?”

I say all this because it is my Dads birthday. For 25 years now I have lived on a different continent from him. Sometimes things fade away, memories roll into each other and become confused, muddled forgotten. There is however that serious day when my dad sat me down and explained how to make your jeans fit. That lived on with me, especially as I work my way through difficulties with my own sons. They don’t wear Levi’s maybe that is the problem at it’s core.

Out of interest, as I walked down the street the other day I was accosted by this thing called a vintage jean shop. The world has surely lost its head, what normally would have been the rack in Goodwill is now a boutique stop for hipsters looking for their hip hugging vintage jeans. Of course two doors down is the used record store that caters to aging rockers looking for a clean copy of some obscure relic of the vinyl age…

All in all, it is all as it should be and I still wear my jeans too baggy according to my wife, however what does she really know about the secrets of raw cotton. Somewhere in my dads closet is a pair of Levis that must be 40 years old, they will never fit me or him again, they may however fetch some cash at that hipster store, that however may be a step too far, come the day I may frame them as art, a relic to a fading practice and an afternoon with an old cast iron bathtub in the back yard and the indigo dye staining my skin as I shrank my first pair of Levis. The other kids at school bought their jeans pre-shrunk, I am not sure we bought ours but we had to work to make them fit, after all my uncle Jimmy still worked on the docks.

say the right words and I’ll be coming through…

Suddenly for some inexplicable reason I had a deep and insistent desire to hear Architecture and Morality by Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark. The odd thing is that I had never owned the album when it first came out in 1981, in fact it was supposedly the type of music that I despised, cold clinical and heaven forbid it was pop music.

As often happens when these needs arise I manage to find a way to fulfill the need. This time in the form of a complete set of the first 6 OMD albums in the brand new local used record store emporium. Obviously some floppy haired ex-student teacher had turned in all their vinyl for a few dollars allowing me to buy them all for $30.

Now they are all American versions or reissues without the cool die cut sleeves of the originals. After over 30 years of not listening I am not too surprised to say the album is pretty darn good. I had obviously been missing out in the eighties with my insistence that prog rock was what we needed to hold on to.

At times while listening I do have flash backs to the days of youth club discos. It’s all very nostalgic here this evening, memories of serious young men staring at self-conscious young women dancing. Maybe if we had all not been so caught up in our own posing we could have danced together and been happier.

I just discovered that ZZ Top were big fans so my rocker cred is intact.