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  • Rare 45s

    So I was chatting to this bloke at a booter, and he gave me a copy of his video about the Northern Soul scene, which proved very interesting. One Ian Levine described the provincial scene as like George Bush to the Saddam Hussein of the London scene (I think he meant this as a definite good thing rather than the lesser of two evils).
    Anyway, many of the DJs interviewed complained about record collectors DJ-ing and showing off their rare records to each other, but then went on to brag about the scarcity of their own 45s. Some claimed to own records of which “there are only 3 or 4 copies in the world”. This raises two questions: How do they know? And why are there so few? Surely all records had a print run at least in the hundreds and, even if nobody bought them, surely the band and their grannies would have cherished their copies.
    This also reminded me that one of the explanations given for why Liverpool was at the forefront of the UK music scene in the late 50s/early 60s (think Cilla Black), is that there was a ready supply of US records arriving in the form of ballast on ships. Is this true?
    It ain't shakey

  • #2
    This sounds very typical of a record collector/DJ. Some Northern Soul and 'Deep Funk' collectors live in in a world of their own. Granted, some records have become very scarce indeed, but all this talk of known copies etc - it's all applicable to their world. Only three known copies in their world, with which to impress other inhabitants of their world... Of course there are more. I think this rabid delusion can be applied to all obsessive collecters - male of course, and probably with reduced social skills.

    I'm sure there would be a psyche case study on this, if it were remotely important or relevant to society...
    http://wakeupanddie.com
    http://weirdgearnyc.com
    http://makethingsmatter.com

    Comment


    • #3
      When they say "3 or 4 copies in the world", or whatever, they mean 3 or 4 copies known. This is not to say that others don't exist out there somewhere but are yet to be tracked down by collectors. Quite a lot of northern records fit into this "super rare" category, many of which have been sought after for up to 30 years or so.

      I've heard that the ballast thing was a bit of an urban myth if only because cross Atlantic traffic wasn't using the Liverpool docks that much by the early 60s. Certainly everything I've heard / read suggests that US 45s only really started turning up over here in any great number towards the end of the 60s / early 70s.

      An alternative theory put forward is that this emerged in the North West owing to the presence in the area of a large US Air Force Base.
      Endless Tripe

      Comment


      • #4
        I've heard people explaining that the Liverpool docks story is a myth (and that records came in through Manchester instead) just as many times as I've heard from equally credible sources that the story is true. In short I've decided not to believe either side of the arguement and put it down to the notorious competition between Manchester and Liverpool - the Manchester ship canal being a prime example of how deep that particular rivalry runs

        On the relative numbers of certain 45s, I've always taken it with a bit of salt. Perhaps a better way for it to be expressed it that they only *know* of x number of copies existing. That lack of context to their claims can be traced back to the enormous arrogance displayed by some 'name' djs and their unstinting ability to express something as a 'new discovery' without any real research to back it up. A 'new discovery' to them maybe..... but as we've all found ourselves with this, there is always someone out there who has it or heard it before you !
        Matt Hero

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        • #5
          the ballast thing is true, I believe, although I think it wasn't just Liverpool, so the second part of the argument might be open to debate.

          as for 3 known copies, well, fuck knows. I guess 'known' is the operative word, as it indicates that it only applies to a relatively small circle of people, which, in the world of record collecting, is certainly what we're talking about. For instance, how many people are there in the world, willing to spend more than £400 on a funk 45? Not very many, and if you are a dealer in that scene (not 'funk scene', but 'record dealing to people with loads of money scene&#39, you probably know all of them. And if only one of them has record x, then I guess that's where those kind of claims come from. For instance, I have heard it said that there are only 3 known label issue copies of Prince Busters 'Linger On' in the UK, and all of them belong to named individuals: the reggae scene at that level is pretty tight and pretty closed, people are very competitive about tunes, and, like the funk scene, people are very interested in who bought what etc., so I guess that the statement is likely to be true as far as it goes. But its a fair bet that there are probably a few old gents sitting at home with their old records who have one.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by [b
            Quote[/b] (Nick Cope @ Feb. 02 2004,12:11)]I think this rabid delusion can be applied to all obsessive collecters - male of course, and probably with reduced social skills.
            sounds familiar

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by [b
              Quote[/b] (son of stan @ Feb. 02 2004,12:17)]An alternative theory put forward is that this emerged in the North West owing to the presence in the area of a large US Air Force Base.
              really? it sounds unlikely. most of the us air force bases in the UK are in the east and midlands, since anywhere they'd want to fly would usually be to the east or north. having lived up there for years i'm not aware of any US bases, now or then - anyone know better?

              a northern soul fan from manchester always used to tell me the ballast story too - it's a good story if nothing else!

              Keb Darge reckons the ballast story is true:
              http://www.bbemusic.com/features/keb_darge.html
              http://www.blaxploitation.com
              Chops for show, groove for dough.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by [b
                Quote[/b] ]really? it sounds unlikely. most of the us air force bases in the UK are in the east and midlands, since anywhere they'd want to fly would usually be to the east or north. having lived up there for years i'm not aware of any US bases, now or then - anyone know better?
                I read that in the lates 50s/early 60s, US military personnel based in the South started going to The Flamingo nightclub in London where Georgie Fame used to play. They turned the club's music policy towards the more happening sounds coming from America and brought with them plenty of records. The early mods got into this sound and moved away from modern jazz. The mods began to tap the Americans for all new releases.

                I may be way off on this.
                records - one a week mixcloud
                records - one a week soundcloud

                Comment


                • #9
                  Regarding the northern scene, nothing which comes out of there that cannot be seen, heard or sniffed is reliably true. Absolutely nothing. The entire scene is founded on myth, lies and half lies and an unfaltering predisposition for narcisism in it's love affair with itself. It must sustain this notion of romance to survive and without which, this scene, with it's unbelievable and often psychotic characters, it's crumbling dancehalls and it's utterly intoxicating music would have slid into oblivion many, many years ago.

                  Needless to say, such claims over records must be taken with as much salt as you can muster! In this scene, nothing is ever quite real or right! I guess that's why I loved it so bloody much!
                  I was raised by wolves

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by [b
                    Quote[/b] (left hand corner @ Feb. 02 2004,13:05)]I read that in the lates 50s/early 60s, US military personnel based in the South started going to The Flamingo nightclub in London where Georgie Fame used to play. They turned the club's music policy towards the more happening sounds coming from America and brought with them plenty of records. The early mods got into this sound and moved away from modern jazz. The mods began to tap the Americans for all new releases.

                    I may be way off on this.
                    no, you're right... we interviewed a lady from Berlin who'd been there through the 60s and 70s with the US servicemen.

                    here's the article. not northern soul strcitly speaking, but very interesting.

                    http://www.blaxploitation.com/a_15.html
                    http://www.blaxploitation.com
                    Chops for show, groove for dough.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The Flamingo sticks in the memory as being significant in story of reggae in the UK...
                      You freeking scientologists are all the same, quible, dribble and then demand ice creams. Ohhhhhhhhhhh.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by [b
                        Quote[/b] (theeman @ Feb. 02 2004,12:52)]
                        Originally posted by [b
                        Quote[/b] (son of stan @ Feb. 02 2004,12:17)]An alternative theory put forward is that this emerged in the North West owing to the presence in the area of a large US Air Force Base.
                        really? it sounds unlikely. most of the us air force bases in the UK are in the east and midlands, since anywhere they'd want to fly would usually be to the east or north. having lived up there for years i'm not aware of any US bases, now or then - anyone know better?
                        There definitely was one. It was at Burtonwood (Warrington).

                        I can't rremember many details of this off the top of my head. I think I probably got it from either the "CENtral 1179" or "The In Crowd" book, one of which considers the ballast theory in some detail. I'll try to remember to have a look when I get home and post tomorrow if there's anything of interest to add
                        Endless Tripe

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by [b
                          Quote[/b] (son of stan @ Feb. 02 2004,15:01)]There definitely was one. It was at Burtonwood (Warrington).

                          I can't rremember many details of this off the top of my head. I think I probably got it from either the "CENtral 1179" or "The In Crowd" book, one of which considers the ballast theory in some detail. I'll try to remember to have a look when I get home and post tomorrow if there's anything of interest to add
                          my bad, you're right. i always thought Burtonwood was a RAF base. looks like it was a USAF base after WW2 and for a few years after that, then the RAF took it over, so who knows? in that case it's as likely as the ballast story.

                          ladyboy mentioned a record shop we know that used to get his stock from UK forces radio stations around the world, so the same must have gone for US forces.

                          visions of skies full of US transport planes full of 45s of 'Impeach the president' or 'Do I love you'...

                          interesting that it was the largest air base in europe at one stage and was mainly used as a ferrying station for frieght and transport... hmm!

                          http://www.south-lancs-aviation.bravepages.com/raf_bur....ory.htm
                          http://www.blaxploitation.com
                          Chops for show, groove for dough.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by [b
                            Quote[/b] (dr kraken @ Feb. 02 2004,12:03)]Some claimed to own records of which “there are only 3 or 4 copies in the world”. This raises two questions: How do they know? And why are there so few? Surely all records had a print run at least in the hundreds and, even if nobody bought them, surely the band and their grannies would have cherished their copies.
                            There are records which never got further than being test pressings or demos etc, such as Frank Wilson's 'Do I Love You', of which it's claimed there are only 3 copies of the original pressing known (one of which was infamously sold for the largest amount ever paid for a 7" single, £15,000). The theories as to why are manifold, but for whatever reason(s) the release was shelved and there are 3 copies known to survive from the original run.

                            There are also records which will have had a very small run of pressings, and perhaps never made it to/out from the distributor's warehouses. The funk 45 Salt 'Hung Up' being a classic example. Myth or otherwise, Florian Kellar claims on funk45.com that the whole pressing seems to have originated from a single boxfull of a 100 or so, discovered in New Orleans in the early 90s. As has been stated earlier, this kind of story can only add romanticism, and of course cynicism to any scene, but it seems more than ironic to me that this 45 has also been sat atop the user-voted top 10 on that site for nearly two years now.
                            Let him have the lot for £2.00 - we were only going to throw 'em out anyway...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by [b
                              Quote[/b] (theeman @ Feb. 02 2004,15:18)]
                              Originally posted by [b
                              Quote[/b] (son of stan @ Feb. 02 2004,15:01)]There definitely was one. It was at Burtonwood (Warrington).

                              I can't rremember many details of this off the top of my head. I think I probably got it from either the "CENtral 1179" or "The In Crowd" book, one of which considers the ballast theory in some detail. I'll try to remember to have a look when I get home and post tomorrow if there's anything of interest to add
                              my bad, you're right. i always thought Burtonwood was a RAF base. looks like it was a USAF base after WW2 and for a few years after that, then the RAF took it over, so who knows? in that case it's as likely as the ballast story.

                              ladyboy mentioned a record shop we know that used to get his stock from UK forces radio stations around the world, so the same must have gone for US forces.

                              visions of skies full of US transport planes full of 45s of 'Impeach the president' or 'Do I love you'...

                              interesting that it was the largest air base in europe at one stage and was mainly used as a ferrying station for frieght and transport... hmm!

                              http://www.south-lancs-aviation.bravepages.com/raf_bur....ory.htm
                              Yes, just googled this myself.

                              It was their supply depot for Europe with warehouse space of 3 million sq ft.

                              At that time, they shipped over absolutely everything from back home for consumption by the guys stationed overseas, so it seems likely that records would have passed through.

                              It seems to have been in use in some form or another by the US miliatry until the early 90s...

                              BTW there's loads of credible accounts of why certain records are genuinely rare (pressing faults affecting most of the run, most of stock damaged or destroyed, stock unsold then vinyl recycled and so on....)
                              Endless Tripe

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