Recommendations Archive



As usual it has been an entertaining year for finding and buying records. That's probably because over the last 100 years lots of people have made very interesting records and many of them are for sale all over the place all the time. Over this year I think a lot of vinyl has got cheaper, I've found LPs for a fraction of what they used to cost, but then again in the same week had to pay average or higher than average prices to get something I need to get naked with. I have also gone back to exploring musical areas I had loved once and forgotten as other curious areas of sounds have popped up. And in the last few months I've been enjoying the delights of wartime and post war music, especially when the songs get kinky. It's been like the Blitz round here, and what I have found interesting is the simplicity, creativity and effectiveness of some of these very old recordings - if you play them out in the right kind of venue (like a morgue for example), people will go with it. As for buying music this year, it has come from all sorts of different places, from shops, on line, worldwide, very local and recently at an interesting auction. But I have realised that trading / swapping records is still something I am not comfortable with at all. I also had to download a track this year and I felt quite dirty afterwards. There now follows a list of some records that have been heard a lot round these parts. Like more than once.


For various reasons the list of recommendations this season is quite short. I won’t go into exactly why.


Recently a most unusual jazz collection arrived in London. The whole collection had been bought down in Cornwall (from the deceased collector's quite difficult wife apparently) and was brought back to a small record shop in olde London Town. A feeding frenzy of sorts began and continued over about two maybe thee weeks, with word of the collection reaching all levels of jazz heads, dealers and collectors across the capital and beyond. I don't have the money or extreme jazz knowledge of some of these characters, and so over four different visits to the shop, managed to buy some really great records for £3 or £4, and some not so great for about £15, and something quite superb for a bit more. The pricing policy of the shop was interesting; if it was a repress, a mid 70s LP or later, £3, £4 or £5 was the ticket price. Everything else was marked up according to American Goldmine guides and / or a bit of imagination. So no ebay, no popsike, the shops's good old fashioned philosophy was and very much is still to buy it in, sell it quickly, move on. Many of the under priced period pieces (like rare Tempo LPs) bought by heavyweight dealers ended up on ebay, fetching in many cases four figure sums. Madness. And it started me thinking. But not for long. And it also started me really listening to jazz almost non-stop. I got strangely addicted. And I also began heavily researching ears in dead wax, and phrases like "no Inc no R". All very interesting. Some of the records I bought from that collection now feature in this list. like this first one. That's because I'm still listening to it. And it was three quid. Which is the best three quid I have spent in a while. That's if you don't count the Walnut Whips in M&S, which are currently at 1.99, reduced from 2.99.


At the beginning of the year I briefly got into MP3s. Like really got into them. I'd had to buy an iPod in about June to listen to the Ivor The Engine cues as they were all transferred from the reels to MP3s. Yeah, I thought, I love this modern techy stuff. Wow, I thought again, 4,000 songs or something like that all in a tiny black plastic box the size of an old Casio calculator. Wow I said again. Two months later and I've grown out of it, and much prefer vinyl again. Maybe this is just a phase, maybe I really do love MP3s and really hate vinyl and the break down of my relationship with the black wax will take years to crumble and fall away. But there really is something quite instant, quick fix and invisible about MP3s and I'm not sure I like it that much. I might have changed my mind in another decade when there's a cheap laser gun thing that plays all my vinyl just by looking at it and converts in into any new fangled format I want instantly or something. But even then it's going to be hard to replace (yes, here we go again) sleeve art, funny vinyl odour, well you know what I mean. And while I have not been hearing my ipod, these are just some of the LPs I have been listening too. Many of them are not available anywhere as downloads, which in a snooty selfish way I think is a good thing. I have also just noticed there are a few pictures of mouths here, which is an accident, but a smiley happy one none the less.