I tend to buy records in 5s. That is to say, when I am visiting regular sources of supply where I can guarantee rich diversity and low prices, I tend to buy records in 5s. One-off freak occasions, like a particularly good car-boot sale or a trip abroad, are the exception. I can get into trouble then.
Yesterday I went to this secondhand record and bookshop I’ve been frequenting, or, rather, I was on an errand that took me past it and I nipped in for five: minutes and vinyls. There’s just so many shitloads of album-stuffed racks in there that I usually look at two or three and it’s not hard to find 5 useful LPs with that restriction. I’ve long since given up that neurotic, paranoid approach to crate-digging whereby you can never leave an outlet, or walk past one, without checking every title, just to make sure they aren’t hiding the holy fucking grail in amongst the Jim Reeves and Roger Whitaker dross. This calming, this maturing, in me grew from two factors, probably: Harrison Maudlin’s take on sampling that he can build a track out of anything – Roger Whitaker being a case in point, of course, the classic 2006 Maud cut ‘Who Reg Tit Raker’ being built out of a small grabbing from the bespectacled prick’s back catalogue. And Vicki Bennett’s recent (ca 2005) flogging of all CDs and vinyls on ebay, committing herself henceforth to gathering material from digital sources. Besides, there are thousands of anoraks out there who are looking for Alan Tew’s soundtrack to ‘The Hanged Man’ or Ray Davies & the Button Down Brass’s ‘Funk In Hell’, just so they can scan the cover, slap it on a vinyl-geek fansite (www.vinylvulture.co.uk) and ‘Fnar, fnar’ about how amazing the grooves on it are. And have they yet to produce a track like ‘Who Reg Tit Raker’? I very much d-fucking-oubt it. Meanwhile their hogging all those LPs, getting into Help The Aged at 9.00am sharp to… whatever.
Anyway, yesterday’s stop-off was a good one because of one or two LPs (among my 5) that I got (sadly) very excited about. Vinyl Vulture have a small section on James Last. Before they posted it, I offered to write this, but then I couldn’t be bothered. It has most things of note on it, although it missed out his ‘Copabanca’ LP quite conspicuously. Well, one of the key James Last titles for crate-digging is ‘Well Kept Secret’ which, notoriously, features ‘proper’ fusionist/jazz rockers like Larry Carlton, Lee Ritenour and Ernie Watts. The album is generally spoken of/documented as a freak one-off (recorded in 1977). Which is why I was so excited to find ‘Seduction’ (1980) with the same cast of hotshots, supplemented here by Michael Brecker (among others). And it’s a fantastically horrible album, which makes it even more of a delight. One of the problems with ‘Well Kept Secret’ is that some of it is almost respectable. He does away with that ghastly, 4-square brass-section melody technique which he employs on just about everything he ever did. Not here, though: you can hardly make out the vain attempts by Ritenour and co to bleed some musical credibility into the plastic trousers. That said, from a sampling point of view it’s as barren as ever – you find yourself sampling drum hits and a couple of loops, before erasing them in tactically digital chunder. Has anyone ever got satisfactory results from a James Last record? They’re the musical equivalent of a blow-up doll. Not that I would know, of course, Jesus…
Anyway, the best purchase, right, in case you thought it couldn’t get any worse, was ‘Shadow Dancing’ by Andy Gibb. Now this LP I am going to sample like fuck – it’ll be a job not to just record the whole thing from start to finish and present that as your own work, just for having the perversion of thinking of it. The whole album is a misty-lensed journey through the sentiments of MOR adult relationships. No hard-ons, just hugs and understanding. With a little bit of endearing self-doubt for good measure. And the musical arrangements are just so lush – I can’t wait to get looping on those ponderous keyboard intros just so I can go ‘BzzXzschT!’ over the top of them.
Jesus, like anybody could possibly want to know this shit. And I never even talked about the Nile Rodgers-produced Outloud album ‘Out Loud’ which features a song titled ‘Kak’. I shit you not.