Monday, 31 January 2011

Charity Shop Discoveries Jan 2011

The great British charity shop is a wonderful thing. Not only do you get the satisfaction of funding many good causes but you can also pick up some great music, often very unexpectedly. Over the last two years while re-building my beloved music collection, these shops have allowed me to buy back many CDs that I used to own for bargain prices, that I would've paid £10 for when they were first released. But just as importantly, shops like these accept donations from many different people, so the music on sale can often be very diverse, so it is possible to find a classic Bowie LP or a rare Jesus And Mary Chain 12" in amongst the Jim Reeves records....

Melksham now only has 3 charity shops compared to the four it had last year, and the one that closed down often sold some good stuff... in fact once I spent £30 in there on what can only be described as a treasure chest of records from the Manics, Primal Scream, Pulp, Edwyn Collins, Suede and others. The Dorothy House shop in Church Street has always been good for the occasional lucky find, and this week was no exception....

It must have been a couple of months ago that I was listening to Steve Lamacq's 6Music show and hearing an old track by a band called Space. And no, this wasn't the group of Britpop-era scousers who sung 'Avenging Angels' and 'Female Of The Species'. The track in question was a 1977 track called 'Magic Fly', which was apparently rather a big hit back then, but not often remembered in this day and age. So when i found a vinyl copy of the 'Magic Fly' LP for 75p I couldn't believe my luck.

The title track itself is probably the centrepiece of the album, and it is wonderful. Sounding like Kraftwerk doing the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever, or like a disco taking place on board the Star Trek ship, 'Magic Fly' is the sound of French space-disco, and the rest of the album is just as interesting. The unfortunately titled 'Velvet Rape' is a prog-funk ballad, 'Carry On, Turn Me On' is sexual disco (with some awesome synth sounds) while 'Fasten Seat Belt' and the title track sound way ahead of their time, bringing to mind an early version of Daft Punk perhaps. A great record, even if parts of it do sound like an intergalactic porn soundtrack.

Also purchased were volumes 6 and 9 of 'Motown Chartbusters', a Ray Charles greatest hits LP, 'The Big Wheels Of Motown' and a cruelly defaced copy of 'Lee And Nancy', the 1968 LP from Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra. And even though some fool had scrawled all over the back of the sleeve, this was a record I HAD to get. I knew this record had received a lot of critical acclaim over the years so I decided to find out for myself how good it actually is. Now I can see why the album is so well loved. Two sides of dreamy, mysterious and lush 60's pop, with country and easy listening vibes, this record is just lovely to listen to. The production by Hazlewood himself is fantastic, and the arrangements (by conductor Billy Strange) are superb. The contrast between both voices add an extra brilliance to all of these tracks, including the best version of 'You've Lost That Loving Feeling' ever and a rendition of 'Jackson' that is even better than Johnny Cash and June Carter's. 

The other record i bought was 'Daltrey' by Roger Daltrey, which i seem to remember buying randomly from a car boot sale many years ago when i must've been about 10. The record didn't seem t bring back any childhood memories (except for the sleeve), so obviously the songs can't have made much of an impression on me back then. And compared to all The Who stuff I've heard in the years since, I can sort of see why, even though 'Daltrey' is a good album. God bless the charity shop.

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