I’ve been struck a thousand times or more…

Psychedelic man.

Let’s start here.

It’s as good a place as any.

I came to the spiritualized party late. I attended a Spacemen 3 gig sometime in the late 80s bought some twelve inch singles sold them to a record store by the train station in Southport. Walked away and never looked back.

In the late 90s I was six thousand miles away and careering down Burnside in Portland Oregon having lost at pool, drunk too much cheap beer and whiskey when I was dragged into La Luna by Matt for the gig. Those were the days it seemed you could buy a ticket on the door for any gig, how things had changed pre-pandemic.

About halfway through the fog I realized I’d seen that singer before and the Spaceman 3 connection was closed.

It’s not as crazy. It’s intense it’ll break your mind on some days and I’m glad I fell through the door of La Luna. Who knew really.

So to the music, there’s mellotrons, an accordion, a choir and some spacey not so jammy and long songs of reflection, it’s an easy slide into the latter half of the night, it’s not going to keep you up unless you listen to the lyrics closely then you may have to take some time to decompress.

Damn that was 24 years ago it seems.

The to be be played pile…

It’s become a problem, it keeps getting bigger longer and may be a little out  of control. The relative cheapness of used vinyl if you are willing to search and it being garage sale season and the joy of low bidding on eBay has resulted in this problem. Also more driving for work the last couple of weeks has taken me past new thrift stores that call out to me as I pass by.

I think this is a 1st world problem and may explain why as a teenager I was a tribal music listener. Most teenagers financially being in the 3rd world although privilege wise firmly routed in the 1st. I find myself buying records that as a younger person I would have sneered at, hence the Sky album I picked up yesterday and two Firm records and the Big Country as well as The Knack. These are all albums I would only have listened to if forced to a number of years ago, or if they were accompanied by the fairer sex.

Maybe this maturing of my listening is caused by a mellowing with age or the apparent increase in disposable income has allowed me to wallow in my addiction and ignore the tacit agreement I had with my beloved that I would slow down the buying of vinyl. More than likely however I am more secure in my willingness to listen to the more pop section of the world. Mainly as it is no longer really pop but has achieved some more respectable that may include the word classic in it’s title.

Unlike most addicts I have not hidden my problem as it is hard to sneak in with new albums when your wife is sat right there. So in the last week here is the haul in all it’s glory and shame for all to see, there are a few missing as they are no longer in the to be played stack having moved to the  listened to and filed away. I do have to wonder if there are some I will never listen to again however.

Somewhere only in my mind and not really in reality are in the to be sold or given away file. They include the duplicates and the inferior copies sonically as I have to admit I have not allowed me to go down the rabbit warren of which issue I have as that way lies madness. It was however very nice to pick up those Pentangle albums.


You are living a reality I left years ago…

Over the last two weeks I have been finding many a Crosby, Stills or Nash album as I rummaged around various thrift stores and garage sales. All of them are in excellent shape the last one I found was a copy of the Crosby Stills and Nash album which as far as I am concerned should be in any collection. I found it at the amazing House of Records in Eugene,house of records it is in almost mint condition and for only $5, I am going to be honest and say I have no idea which version or pressing it is but it sounds great. It is also the only album I found in a record store.

House of records was a lot of fun, we got there 15 minutes before it closed and that may have been lucky for the wallet. It is literally a house that is jam packed with records, most reasonably priced and all looking good.

I have no idea where this treasure trove of Crosby, Stills and Nash albums came from. It is not like I found them all in one place, so it was not one collection turning up all at once.

csnyI am finding that the Crosby and Nash albums may be my favorites right now. Crosby’s slightly odd approach to songwriting has always been fun and Nash has always had a pop sensibility that was easily overlooked because of his band mates obvious rock talents. Although I have to admit to  a soft spot for Stills vocals.

The weakest album so far has been the Stills Young band album which is not really surprising even thought it does contain Long May You Run.

I can’t do that round here…

Another day another stop at the Goodwill to kill time and away I come with this weeks haul so far. The odd thing about shopping for records this way is that you pretty much take what you find. Sometimes it’s a risk on something you have never heard and other times it is like finding an old friend. This last day was odder than usual, I don’t normally listen to reggae but I could not resist the Toots and the Maytals Best Of, if only for their slightly twisted version of John Denver’s country roads and who doesn’t like a song called Monkey Man. It was also brand new and still in the shrink wrap so why not.

Burgers by Hot Tuna has always been a favorite and it would be a sin to leave a George Harrison album on the shelf.ahaul

The real find though was Nils Lofgren Cry Tough, I have never listened to Nils solo albums. Cry Tough however has proven to be a really great Rock ‘n’ Roll album with a stunning version of For Your Love mixing rock and some reggae moments. I had never really paid attention to how good a guitarist he really is.

Then there is the shame of the Electric Light Orchestra, but it looked so tempting and I have never heard anything by Savoy Brown so why not.

I did resist the Eagles and was bummed to find the Creedence albums scratched beyond hope in a strange Big Lebowski irony overload. This is the downside of the thrift store rummage, you have to really consider if something will be playable once you get it home.

So new things to listen to. A moment of pop indulgence and it is only Wednesday.

The biggest problem is that we have just moved and the rooms are so empty that they echo considerably so listening is a challenge especially if you attempt any reasonable rock out volume.

” I was once sorta…”

There is really something about a great post-apocalyptic novel. It can get you lost in the maybes out there not to mention the what ifs. Unfortunately at times someone decides to make a movie and ruins it.ThePostman(1stEd)

The Postman is a great story, David Brin did a great job convincing you that a little man desperate to survive can use an ideal in order to con his way into food, sex and supplies. At the same time inadvertently reconnect the west coast with the idea they can become a nation again. It is a big book built on the small idea that if communities can gather around an idea and communicate then society can go on, that human connection can overcome barbarism and peace is a good idea.

Then Kevin Costner came along and ruined a good story with ridiculous hero worship and gung ho patriotism. Don’t get me wrong the book can be quite bleary eyed about the USA but in a well done the little man way, Costner turned this element into the over riding them in the movie.

The best aspect of the movie is Tom Petty as a slightly deranged rock star survivalist who has the best line in the movie. It is the reply to Costner’s “I know you, you were famous.”

So at the end of the day go read the book, unless you want to see how beautiful Oregon is.

Don’t look at the carpet…

New turntable and it’s late. It was easy to set up except for the anti-skate weight which was kind of a pain to get right and recquired Michelle’s fishing knot skills.

late nightWe have been playing records all night, it must be the first time in 20 years at least since I played Low all the way through. There has also been I Often Dream of Trains and Moonmadness by Camel as well as Bridge Over Troubled Waters it got so late because the new Project turntable sounds so good.

I new I would have to upgrade from the Audio Technica eventually but what the heck, definitely worth it and I already sold the old turntable.

The cat likes the new turntable too.

Anyway just about time for bed as we have to start packing tomorrow as we move in a week after finally ditching this house for a smaller one that seems to have the same number of bedrooms but is smaller, go figure. I am expecting that the records will be the last thing packed.

Prices like that make a grown man holler…

I love the Goodwill store near my house, For some reason every week they have this incredible stack of vinyl, yes you have to wade through more Christmas albums than you want to see but you also get gems. The albums are all by the window so with the eye of the obsessed I can tell if there has been an increase in volume as I drive by and then you end up with this,goodwill this weeks haul from Goodwill, That glared out one is the Icicle Works first album which is as I  would say of it’s time, all pomp and sincerity.

Ever since my teen years I have haunted the used record store more than the new albums. Now it is in search of the opportunity to replace something missing instead of the new. The search is fun although at times I will admit to feeling a little sad as I check vinyl and consider the state of the sleeve. I also am aware of the look on my wife’s face as I walk in with my stack and proceed to clean albums and replace inner sleeves and decide where they will go.

Yes it is exciting to get a clean copy of Surrealistic Pillow to replace the beaten up one I currently have, and it is fun to find a good copy of the Beatles at Hollywood Bowl or the Nightfly but a Queen album or Supertramp can’t be turned down. I almost drew the line at Bad Company but you never know it could be better than I remember.

Vinyl tends to become an obsession it seems. Next I will be frequenting rummage sales and estate sales,

somebody help me I am falling…

I seem to write a lot about Progressive Rock, maybe because it is I am really going back to when I started buying records right now. I spent a lot of my teen years listening to progressive rock while my contemporaries spent time with Joy Division and Magazine. Over time I have got some of my prog tendencies under control, although I am still fascinated by the music, recently in a record store I spent time thinking about the Police, The Clash, some Stiff Little Fingers and other albums I ignored as a youth, I ended up carrying out some Tull, Genesis, Fairport Convention and Beatles, totally predictable as always.


Not many progressive rock bands can claim to have influenced punk but Johnny Rotten was good enough to cite Peter Hamill as an influence. He never managed to make Van Der Graaf Generator hip but it did give them some kudos in 1977. Of course the album he chose was Nadir’s Big Chance which was technically a solo album at the time but contained all the members of the band. Nowadays punks are appearing on all sorts of albums by those dinosaurs they were seeking to replace at the time or at least admitting that those were the albums they were listening to prior to ripping their shirts and piercing whatever piece of the anatomy they could find. Some are even delving into the concept album.

You can hear the show here:


This album must be one of the most aggressive progressive rock albums, it is consistently disturbing throughout which King Crimson at this point would only achieve in small doses and eternally fascinating. It does have Mr Fripp on one track and I have to think some of the brutal attack present on this album leaked over into Crimson.

I bought this album as a cheap pressing sometime in the early 80’s because it was on the Charisma label, home of Genesis, Lindisfarne and Monty Python among others.  I had no idea what to expect, I was expecting melodies and whimsy, some fantastical elements and beauty, what I got was songs of dark violence.

The first lyrics are:

So you live in the bottom of the sea
And you kill all that come near you
But you are very lonely
Because all the other fish fear you

The vocal was delivered in a dramatic, aggressive manner with a range I had never heard before. The major instruments were keyboards and saxes but at times it sounded like violins or the screeching of strange animals, the songs were about killer sharks,  homicidal and ultimately remorseful emperors, loneliness and disillusion and  I was dumbfounded, I played it three times straight through on the fourth time my dad complained so much I had to stop.

I spent days trying to understand the lyrics. I tried to get my head around the music, few if any guitars, violent imagery about loneliness, torture and death. It is an album that has stuck in my head since I first heard it. I have owned that cheap vinyl, the CD and mp3 it has apparently always been around since the first day I bought it.

So when I had a $12 dollar coupon for ebreggae and found the vinyl on sale I got excited as all I would pay was the postage and what can be better than that? The package arrived all nicely protected and sealed up pristine and then I looked at the label, 4 Men With Beards.

When I got back into buying vinyl I did a little research especially about reissues and this label has a patchy reputation. There is speculation about mastering from CD’s, poor sound quality. little quality assurance. Ultimately the album sounds fine to my ears, it has a warm rich sound I remember from that 8o’s vinyl and is clear so maybe I got away with it this time and at the end of the day it was $4 postage so not so bad.

Buying records has certainly got more difficult than it used to be, as usual the popularity of something is causing a certain amount of cashing in and taking advantage of the hipness of something. It is a significant investment to buy an album which it always really was as a teen as well regardless of how rose tinted we see the past. However it is more difficult to spot the good deals with so many fakes and bad pressings out there.

Guide Vocal

I am going to say, well write, this in public for the first time ever.

Duke is the best Genesis album without Peter Gabriel.

I am well aware this contravenes common opinion, we are all supposed to bow down to the glory and pomp of A dukeTrick of the Tail or the flawed genius of Wind and Wuthering, we are not supposed to raise the three piece band up as excellent. It is ok to admire the longevity of the band or their pop sensibilities but we are not supposed to prefer their output.

Don’t get me wrong I love Mad Man Moon and One For The Vine but Trick and Wind and Wuthering would have made a great album if combined without the silly songs about mice and Squonks.

Duke is a classic album, it is the first that really breaks away from Gabriel and it thankfully has no songs on it about animals.  It even has a  concept for the old progheads among us.The strange story of the funny Duke guy Albert. It is often referred to as the Duke suite and was meant to be, Behind the Lines, Duchess, Guide Vocal, Turn It On Again, Duke’s Travels, and Duke’s End. On one side of the album and the other songs on side 2.

Instead of doing this the band decided to integrate all those songs from side 2 into the album proper and thereby in my opinion created a masterpiece, Songs of loss alienation, confusion and love all mixed in with some serious prog leanings and no songs about mice.

FullSizeRenderDuke was the first Genesis album I bought, I remember listening to it while my Dad watched the news to realize that the band were playing the Liverpool Empire that night and I did not have a ticket. So I never saw Genesis but I certainly played this album to death.

The German pressing I am listening to tonight does not have the crazy Duke guy running around the label like my old vinyl but it does have my favorite label of all time the Famous Charisma Label. There is that cray mad hatter going round and round on the turntable all out of focus and fun. I miss watching the little Duke guy running around though.

The Collins songs on this album are truly things of beauty as well, they are some of the simplest things Genesis had played they are also not as calculated as some of the later songs after Abacab.

There you have it then the word is out, I am out of the closet, Duke rocks it is the best post Gabriel album by Genesis and I shall continue to relive my teenage fascination with this album through the wonder of second hand German vinyl. Remember now Turn It On Again.

I defy any band to produce as exciting an end to an album as Duke’s Travels and Duke’s End, they are transcendent and worth the price of admission alone.

Now I’m Just A Cosmic Man

I have loved Hawkwind since the first time I heard them. I have been l at times completely infatuated with and then at other times totally dismissive of them. The first album I ever heard was Hall of the Mountain Grill and I was captivated almost immediately. Swirling mellotron’s, thunderous bass from Lemmy and the relentless guitar of Dave Brock all crowned with Nik Turner parping away on untutored sax and violin, rock violin. It is a cacophony that only one band can ever get way with, strange dystopian science fiction lyrics sung so seriously all surrounded by driving drums and an almost punk attitude.

Titles like Psychedelic Warlords, D-Rider and Paradox and You’d Better Believe It, do not prepare you for what you are about to hear never mind Goat Willow, the cover of a space ship crash landed in a swamp can only hint at the insanity inside. hawkwind-hall-of-the-mountain-grill-non-sticker-lpIt was a revelation to me, almost Floyd but too harsh, not metal, not pop it was something I later discovered is space rock, although that term can’t really do what you find inside justice. The best term I have ever heard to describe the music is BLANGA, for a full description of what the term means go here:


For me it is that moment when the chaos settles, the beat goes on and all is well with the world, Crazy Horse can get there but Hawkwind do it almost without thought on a good day.

Hawkwind while a bunch of anarcho hippies did not have that slightly fey west coast hippy vibe, they looked like they may destroy your town when they arrived and you would feel good about it after they leave. They were more influenced by the metronomic music of German rock music such as Amon Duul, Neu and Can. They were relentless in their drive and their search for the perfect trance like moment. Space Ritual is the epitome of this but Hall of the Mountain Grill is my album.

I remember the strange days of my teen life crouched around a pye record player listening to a borrowed scratched copy of the album. Trying to understand what was going on and almost succeeding. I read the entire Hawkmoon trilogy by Michael Moorcock to this album.hawkmoon And then I got to that point in my Eternal Champion reading and I knew I had to get the album again before I started so off I went searching it out and buying it for the 5th or 6th time in my life. It is one of those audiophile 180gm vinyl versions, They have spread it over two albums and it has lost some magic because of this, they should have kept the original package. Audiophile and Hawkwind are two words that do not make sense.

The album sounds great from that 1st wash of synth and the riff to the ending insanity of Paradox but it was never a double album, it was 40 minutes of perfection and now we have extra tracks and alternate versions stretching it out.

Oh well it is still my Hawkwind, raucous and comforting, dangerous and safe all at the same time, as my friend Greg would say, it’s the dialectic man don’t you get it?

Or in the words if Dave Brock:

You think you know the answers but we don’t tell no lies
We can take you anyway thro’ seven different highs
World turned upside down now, there’s nothing else
to do, but live in concrete jungles, but they block up the views