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A Life in records- 10 records that have helped define my life

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  • A Life in records- 10 records that have helped define my life

    My eldest daughter is getting very interested in music and is asking me a lot about the kind of music I listened to when I was her age.
    I don't really remember being into music at 10 - but maybe I was just happy hearing music on the radio. I remember hearing John Peel play Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel and thinking it was the most incredible music I'd ever heard!
    Anway, she and I are working on a blog type thing which may or may not see the light of day
    But its made me think about LPs that have been signficant to me at different times in my life. Not so strangely there are a lot from my early years and perhaps fewer in later years as I've got more music to listen to!
    I thought I'd share some of them. These aren't necessarily the rareset records, and its very far from being a complete list - there are so many more that I could include. And no singles or 12s - that would just been too hard!
    Do any of these resonate with other people? What are your defining records?

    1. Joni Mitchell - Blue
    At school we listened to a lot of seventies stuff - Hendrix, Cream, the Who and lots and lots of Led Zepplin (in fact their first LP nearly made the cut). If it had crunching guitars and heavy drums we listened to it.
    But then my first girlfriend introduced me to this record. I'd never heard anything quite like it - perhaps because there's nothing quite like it.
    It opened my eyes to all sorts of different musics - at first other Laurel Canyon type stuff - Crosby Still and Nash etc - then other folk/songwriter type stuff - Nick Drake especially and in a roundabout way jazz
    Of course the lyrics are very sad when you read them on the sleeve - but the music is just so beautiful it transcends the desperation of some of her words
    Nowadays I don't play it very often but when I do I can't help but think of being in the sun with Rachel.
    My first, and therefore most significant, being in love record
    She also loved the Groundhogs - but that's another story

    2. The Smiths - Hatful of Hollow
    I could have chosed the JAMC (still love their first album), New Order (first three), Lloyd Cole (not so much), The Cure or even the Pixies.
    But the Smiths will always have a place in my heart that can only come from an adolesent infatuation.
    As an adult Morrisey now seems more than fainly ridiculous. But at the time he seemed to know what I (and loads of my mates) were thinking. And it was all wrapped up in Marr's fabulous guitar. My mate Simon must have spent a good part of our late teens trying and failing to play like Johnny Marr
    I can live with Mrs E not being into jazz but we had a big falling out when she said she couldn't bear the Smiths!

    3. Minstry of Sound - The Sessions Vol.1 Tony Humphries
    Like a lot of people I feel out of love with guitars when I discovered club culture
    I remember some of my mates at university trying to get me to listen to things by Ride and Levitation and I laughed at them - how old fashioned!
    There aren't many mixes that quite capture my early enthusiasm for clubbing - particularly the early M25 rave part of it - lots of 12ins that capture the feeling but few albums
    There's lots of comedown records - the Ord, KLF, Massive Attack, Soul to Soul - the remind me of that time
    But I wanted something that made me feel like I was on the dancefloor. And that it this record.
    I love the disco elements to many of the tracks - I didn't then know that disco was being pillaged as a source material!
    Hard as it is to believe now I used to like the Ministry of Sound - wild horses couldn't drag me there now.

    4. Alice Coltrane - Journey in Satchidananda
    I heard the title track on a compliation by Chris Brann/ Ananda Project and I was hooked.
    I'd listend to a bit of jazz - mainly around the Acid Jazz scene - and thought I liked jazz but this track opened my ears to the possibility of the music beyond goatee stroking on the dancefloor
    I tracked down a copy (pre internet so I'm still proud of myself for that) and was amazed.
    Its such a deep record with so much going on that I often hear parts I hadn't heard before. In parts calming and mediative, in parts busy and assertive its a very serious album.
    I am taken back to my small bedroom in a shared house, waiting for the others to be out, or watching the TV so I could listen to this 'weird' music. Perhaps my first experience of being deeply into something that no one else seemed to like!

    5. James Last - Voodoo Party
    In the mid 90s my work took me around the country a lot. I would drive long distances to see clients and often have to drive straight back to London. However, if I had time I'd look around the nearest town to see if there was a record shop. Perhaps inevitably I would also have a look in charity shops.
    Through looking up some of the record I picked up I discovered that I wasn't the only person doing this and that there was a forum of other people similarly hooked!
    I'd love to claim that I picked up Voodoo Party before I read about it on Vinyl Vulture- but that would be a lie - its by James Last for God's sake!
    But I did find my copy in a charity shop in Derbyshire for 50p
    Listening to it again as part of this process I was struck by what a downright weird record it is. What was James thinking??? Who was supposed to buy this kind of stuff?
    For me it sums up that period of record for me - discovering a world in charity shops that almost no one else seemed to know about. I was young, soon to be married and unlocking this new obsession seemed to fit!

    6. Jorge Ben - Forca Bruta
    So eventually my job took me to Europe. There were fewer opportunities to go digging but when I did I soon realised I knew nothing about European records.
    I was given this LP, together with Gal Costa's Legal and India and some fusion records by a client in Italy when he heard I liked records. They meant nothing to him and he was happy that someone would listen to them
    I had this on my ipod and I particularly remember looking out of plane windows as Europe floated below me and giving myself over to the beauty of the music and Jorge's voice. I've no idea what he's singing about but it sounds calming and relaxing and happy
    It was a very stressful time in my life but this record simply oozes calm for me.
    I also love the fact that it was given to me - it makes me realise how easy it is for me to become obsessed by possessions

    7. Yusef Lateef - Eastern Sounds
    Perhaps more than any other jazz LP this is a foundational recording for me
    Found in a charity shop believe it or not my 1963 copy is a prized record in my collection
    I love Lateef's playing. He can be agressive and forceful but I never feel that he is angry and his playing is generous to the others in his bands.
    His exploration of other musics does sometimes feel a little like jazz exotica but it is always heartfelt and sincere.
    What can I say about this record? For me it is his most successful combination of the many elements I love about his playing.
    When I heard this it brough togther lots of the strands of the other jazz records I'd been listening to and coalesed lots of the ideas I had been having about the types of jazz I liked.
    Its a beautiful record

    8. The Animated Egg - S/T
    By now I was firmly in a record collecting mind set and nothing reminds me of quite how badly I'd fallen into that then this record
    A pure expoloito LP using unreleased tapes by session guitarist Jerry Cole as its starting point, the Animated Egg is all about getting gullible teens to part with cash in th hope that that they would get a cheap psych experience. And they might have been lucky with record!
    Amazing panning and phasing effects transform a rather pedestrian sixties beat record into something much more freaky
    Once I discoverd the link between this and other expoloito records I set out to get them all and now I have a whole expedit cube full of LPs with Jerry Cole/Animated Egg/ The Id tracks on them
    Why do I have at least five different versions of the same record with the same songs just with different names? Not to mention all the others with only one or two tracks from the Animated Egg - or the other records which have the same covers or similar covers? Because I'm a record addict!!!!!!

    9. Dollar Brand - Mannenberg - Is Where It's Happening
    I was in a garden in Johannesburg having a braai and a few beers with some university friends of my wifes when the conversation turned to Elvis. When I confessed to liking Elvis on of the guys there jumped up and came back with some records including this one.
    It was what got me started on SA jazz
    There's plenty who are much more into the SA jazz scene than me but its a kind of jazz that I find impossible not to love. On an intellectual level I love the story and what jazz represented to people in an oppressive regime and this record is particularly important for that, and on an emotive level I love the way that US jazz styles are combined with South African styles to produce something new and fresh
    I've always found record digging in South Africa to be hard - not least because my in-laws have always organised a pack programme of lunches and dinners!

    10. Gabor Szabo - Dreams
    I thought I'd conclude with something I'm listening to now
    Not a recent purchase but one I've kind of rediscovered in my collection and now can't stop playing
    Szabo's playing is magical and evokative of a kind of unreality - a dream state?
    The string arrangements by Gary McFarland lift Szabo's guitar and push the dreamy vibe
    It has the feel of a record that will remind me of 2015

    Anyone else want to go on a trip down record memory lane?
    "Record collecting is no mere hobby, no innocuous leisurely diversion. It is a feverish passion bordering on dementia, driving those under the influence to irrational, compulsive, fanatical extremes."

    Night of the Living Vinyl

  • #2
    Great read love reading charts such as this, trying to pick ten records like this always makes my head hurt but I'll have a think and give it a go. I definitely share one of yours in Alice Coltrane, that album opened up a world of hitherto unheard jazz to my ears.
    Mixes, Music: https://www.mixcloud.com/amitron_7/

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    • #3
      ace idea for a thread. looking forward to what others write. I'd have a go myself but I can't think of ten at the moment. I can think of a lot more and I'd have to include singles as well.
      "I don't want to live in the past but it's a nice place to visit."

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      • #4
        Interesting stuff. Also, I reckon you're about the same age as me Expiry and I feel like I've only just begun with this music thing... but when I read something like that I realised how long it's been an obsession of sorts.

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        • #5
          Excellent! Cathartic release?

          One for me would be Judas Priest's "Sad Wing Of Destiny". Metal still appeals to me, not that wanky coke hairspray US shit though, sadly that's where the mighty Priest went, bah.

          Augustus Pablo...
          some times play g+ with back noise,some times vg , super psyché juju lpfront sleeve is very nice vg back vg , but the top corne left is eating buy rats, ask for picture

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          • #6
            Well done for even attempting that. You've obviously put a lot of thought into it. I'll get back to you in a couple of weeks probably, with the nth version of my significant 10! Where to start?
            Everyone tear down your own little wall
            That keeps you from being a part of it all
            Because you've got to be one with the one and all
            You've just got to be close to it all

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            • #7
              Great idea, I really hope the blog comes to fruition.

              With you on the Eastern Sounds.

              An instant choice for me would be Roland Kirk's - The Inflated Tear. Jazz appeared mysterious and seemed impenetrable before I heard this. Then it all made sense. Soulful, imbued with personal joy, pain and humor; a record that was a revelation and one I never tire of.
              Things ain't getting no brighter, load ain't getting no lighter.........

              http://www.mixcloud.com/Ian_Barker/

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              • #8
                Nice selection! Hope your daughter is suitably inspired. I've started doing a similar 'autobiographical collection review' on my blog. Been meaning to mention it here in case anyone fancied a read : www.rubberfunk.net - pictures and spotify playlist and all mod cons like that
                FunkyDown
                Facebook | Mixcloud | Soundcloud

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                • #9
                  www.rubberfunk.net is unavailable or may not exist
                  To infinity - and beyond!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jakartajive View Post
                    www.rubberfunk.net is unavailable or may not exist
                    http://rubberfunk.net/

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                    • #11
                      One thing I always think about when I read these kind of things. A lot of people around about my age talk about when they first started hearing, I dunno, Rappers Delight and the like on the radio and they immediately knew that it was the future. I wish I could claim to be so cool. For me when things such as Pump Up The Volume and On a Ragga Tip filtered through to my ears I didn't understand them at all and was probably a bit scared by the unknown. I guess I caught up in the end but it was an acquired taste for me rather than an immediate realisation.

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                      • #12
                        I remember seeing James Lavelle being interviewed and claiming that the first record he ever bought was 'The Message' by Grandmaster Flash. Maybe it was, but are seven year olds always that astute? The first record I ever bought was 'Sugar Baby Love' by The Rubettes.

                        I loved this list, by the way, a really interesting read.
                        SPIRIT DUPLICATOR Est 2015.

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                        • #13
                          Yeah agreed on that.
                          The first record (actually a tape) I bought was either Rick Astley or Pet Shop Boys.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ginghamkitchen View Post
                            I remember seeing James Lavelle being interviewed and claiming that the first record he ever bought was 'The Message' by Grandmaster Flash. .
                            the operative word I reckon...

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ginghamkitchen View Post
                              I remember seeing James Lavelle being interviewed and claiming that the first record he ever bought was 'The Message' by Grandmaster Flash.
                              Originally posted by SirSlim View Post
                              the operative word I reckon...

                              "This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."

                              He's never been shy of a bit of self-mythologising, Mr Lavelle.

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