Grubby Dub Surfaces

15 07 2013

Everyone knows that ARC has the BEST interns in the American League, and today’s All-Star is Arlo, who, while inspecting classical LPs for surface worthiness, discovered some booklets stuffed inappropriately in inappropriate sleeves.

DubPoet_scan 1smlWho could have have thought to place these very pricey items (going for up to $125 online) into totally trashed Bach variations?  And why did they choose to snack on Jerk Chicken over the only illustrated page of ‘Inglan’?

DubPoet_scanSmiBut we’re glad to have them, and lucky that Arlo checked before he chucked.

If you’ve listened to the recorded versions of Linton Kwesi Johnson’s dub poetry, the righteous rhetoric tempered by tasty licks, you know how glad we are to have found these.  As Wiki claims, “In 2002 he became the second living poet, and the only black poet, to be published in the Penguin Modern Classics series.”

But I prefer the wax.  Here’s a list of the LKJ LP recording here at the ARC.

• A cappella Live  (Lkj, CD 016, 5”, compact disc, 1996)
• Bass Culture  (Island, UK, ILPS 9605, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1980)
• Bass Culture  (Mango, USA, MLPS 9605, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1980)
• Dread Beat An’ Blood  (Heartbeat, USA, 01, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp   , 1981)
• Forces of Victory  (Mango, USA, MLPS 9566, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1979)
• Forces of Victory  (Island, UK, ILPS 9566, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1979)
• In Concert With the Dub Band  (Rough Trade, Rough78/LKJ 006, 12”, vinyl disc-LP)
• In Concert With the Dub Band  (Shanachie, USA, 43034/5, 12″, vinyl disc-2Lp, 1985)
• LKJ in Dub  (Mango, USA, MLPS 9650, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1980)
• LKJ in Dub  (Mango, UK, RRCD 34 / (510 170-2), 5”, compact disc,1980)
• LKJ in Dub Volume 2  (LKJ, UK, LKJ LP 009, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1992)
• Making History  (Mango, USA, MLPS 9770, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1984)
• Reggae Greats Linton Kwesi Johnson (Mango, USA, MLPS 9786, 12”, vinyl disc-Lp, 1984)
• Tings An’ Times  (Shanachie, USA, 43084, 5″, compact disc,1991)

There are a lot more out there – feel free to stuff a few into a Bach folio and send ’em on down to the ARC…

Revolt Into Style

8 03 2012

Looking around the ARC for some interesting things to show visiting fashion students from FIT I picked up Revolt Into Style, by a typically pompous and penetrating Brit, George Melly, in 1970.  The title by the way was later a song by Bill Nelson, a Glasgow record label, the headline over an endless number of music articles, layered upon political and pop stances taken before and after it’s publication, and now available as a Faber reprint.  Here’s a few very nice fashion statements:

“Hapshash and the Coloured Coat” is the curious trade name of two young men called Nigel Waymouth and Michael English. They are musicians in the avant-garde pop idiom, but also, and it is this aspect which is relevant here, poster designers. They are cool, polite and very beautiful to look at with Harpo hair styles, unironed marbled shirts, tight trousers, loose belts and two-tone Cuban boots. I talked to them in their house in Notting Hill and within a few sentences felt, as is usual when in conversation with the Underground, that I had tumbled into a world where time operates at a different speed.  [p. 136]

And on Mary Quant and husband-bankroller Alexander Plunket-Green:

“They opened Bazaar in the King’s Road, Chelsea, on a comparative shoe-string in November 1955. They had no business experience but a lot of flair. Mary Quant’s genius was to stylize the clothes of the poor but imaginative art students, to throw a custard pie in the face of every rule of what up until then had constituted British fashion, to spell ‘chic’ as ‘cheek’.

She was lucky in her moment. She and Plunket were at the centre of a small social group which became known as the Chelsea Set, and whose parties and general way of carrying on had won the total attention of the gossip-writers of that period. Quant’s clothes received an extraordinary amount of publicity. She was seen and rightly as a concrete expression of something new. The Chelsea Set carried on in the classic smart upper-class way reminiscent of the ‘ Bright Young Things’ of the 20s. It had many of the same traits : a tendency to tease the lower middle classes by showing off and to patronize the working classes.”  [p.145-146]

Noticing the intriguing and elaborate “Plunket-Green” I said, “I know a Plunket-Green.”  So I called Sooze Plunket-Green, Nile Rodgers’ right-hand woman, and sure enough, from that side of the family, Mary Quant a makeup mentor in her youth.

“Male pop fashion was a different case. Admittedly by the late 60s it had assumed its place as parallel and almost inter-changeable with its female counterpart; but at the beginning it was more of a genuine pop manifestation, a general upsurge rather than the work of any one man.

The Teddy Boy style of the middle 50s I have already described early in this book as an example of how pop culture operated in its primitive days. It is perhaps worth repeating and stressing, however, that what made it significant was that it represented one of the first successful attempts to establish a male working-class fashion with a symbolic rather than a functional raison d’etre.

Yet not all the elements that fused together to make up male pop fashion came up from the tribal life of British working-class adolescents. The other principal source was based on the East End Jewish tradition of good tailoring, as exclusive in its way as Savile Row, if based on a different premise: the necessity to reveal conspicuous expenditure rather than to conceal it.” [p.148]

The above revelation could easily describe the styling and stance of inner city youth in America at this time, both Italian and African Americans.  And just for fun and my absolute final fashion statement of the year …


3 03 2012

Grad students from FIT will be visiting the ARC next week to get a tour and look at some fashionable things from our collection.  So we thought we’d pull a few covers by groups who have a strong or ever-so-weak link to clothing, style, mode, fashion and fabrication. These students in Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice, will be presenting a symposium @ FIT on Saturday, May 5, “Two-part Harmony: Music and Fashion.”

Monday night was an opening of “Youthquake! The 1960s Fashion Revolution” by another group of grads @ the FIT Galleries.  The show is beautifully mounted, Eurocentric and London specific.  If you’ve ever seen the poor clothing displays at some other institutions – ill-fitting and badly draped – you can appreciate the care.  The Bob Dylan face-dress is a revelation.  With an emphasis on Mod, what people wore here in the States is only lightly touched on, with nary a tie-dye in sight – let alone a Velvet Underground all-black beat leftover.

This is not a survey of my sixties: long hair, flowers in your hair, Afghani coats, embroidered Indian shirts, Amerindian fringe, macramé, granny dresses, granny glasses, peace signs, bra-less, boas, beads, bellbottoms, headbands, sandles, guitars, sitars and some rockabilly beat-girl skiffle styling.  Or some Rockers to battle those Mods.  But they do mention Françoise Hardy (THE “Ye Ye” Girl), display some extraordinary leather boots and Beatle booties, and offer a loop of fab vintage pop shop footage.

I would recommend a viewing of “Comic Strip” by Brigitte Bardot and Serge Gainsbourg for French TV, (worst jumpsuit ever by a major designer – you do the research) and a little more about the music that accompanied the look.  But this is a fine overview of Eng-a-land Swings and the kids who made designers pay attention to the street, be it Carnaby or Haight.

Click on any cover to see the slideshow…

ARC Beatles LP worth $125,000?

9 02 2011

At the end of January Goldmine magazine published a list of recent auction sales, and we noticed that we had a few of the featured items.  The headline of course is the Beatles first US LP on Vee-Jay, selling for $125,000.00

There was a lot of follow-up online chatter, some claiming the record was fake, the auction was fake, that the buyer will never pay up, you’ve gotta be kidding?, etc…  The Goldmine link be here.

So is our copy the real deal?  Probably not.  Ours not sealed.  But anyone can shrinkwrap these days.  The kicker is that ours lacks a shadow to the left of George, a sick-making pinkness to the skin, and a too-crisp fab-four outline.  There were so many bootlegs issued in the 70s, we think ours falls into this category.  But we do have an authentic mono version.  I know because I bought in 1963 at the Record Rendezvous; still has the $2.99 sticker on it.  This hovers between $3,000 – $12,000, depending on the weather.

Speaking of which, the lingering bleakness of the season has got me down.  Maybe that’s why we’ve been posting a lot of fluff and fun on the blog.  So how do we cure our blues?  Catalog blues LPs, of course.  So, below is a bit of substance to let you know that we actually are saving some interesting things here at the ARC.  All of these came our way in January – blues, blue-ish and R&B discs.  A good start to the year, I think.  It’s harder and harder to get the early stuff, but the list contains some nice reissues or later editions from the 70’s and 80’s, and of course foreign discs with dubious provenance, welcome for their attention to forgotten artists.   By the way we have also added quite a few blues CDs in Jan., and these are out-of-print and therefore, strangely, often worth more than the LPs.  But CDs are ugly, unlovable little things.  So no more hokum, uh, except for this…

• Duster Bennett.   Bright Lights …  (Blue Horizon, UK, 7-63221, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1969)

• Billy Bland.   Blues, Chickens, Friends and Relations  (Ace, UK, CH 222, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1987)

• Ruth Brown.   Brown, Black & Beautiful  (S.D.E.G., SDE 4023, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1990)

• Paul Butterfield.   Put It In Your Ear  (Bearsville Records, BR 6960, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1975)

• Mississippi Joe Callicott.   Blues Masters Vol. 6  (Blue Horizon, BM 4606, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1969)

• Dolly Cooper.   Ay La Bah  (Official, 6019, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1988)

• Reverend Gary Davis.   Let Us Get Together  (Kicking Mule, UK, SNKF 103, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1974)

• Fats Domino.   Reelin’ and Rockin’  (Charly, UK, CRB 1054, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1983)

• Champion Jack Dupree.   Shake Baby Shake  (Detour, UK, 33-007, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1987)

• Jack Dupree.   Blues for Everybody  (King, KS 1084, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1976)

• Skip Easterling.   Taking Inventory  (Charly, UK, CRB 1171, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1988)

• Clifford Hayes and the Dixieland Jug Blowers.   Clifford Hayes and the Dixieland Jug Blowers  (Yazoo, 1054, 12″, LP, n.d. [1976])

• Clarence Frogman Henry.   Clarence Frogman Henry Is Alive and Well Living in New Orleans and Still Doin’ His Thing…  (Roulette, SR 42039, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, n.d.)

• Jim Jackson.   The Best of Jim Jackson  (Earl Archinves, Austria, BD-613, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1984)

• Elmore James.   Original Folk Blues: The Legend of Elmore James  (United, US-7778, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, -)

• Elmore James.   Original Folk Blues: Resurrection  of Elmore James  (United, US-7787, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, -)

• Freddy King.   Hideaway  (King, KS 1059, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1976)

• Eddie Lang & Lonnie Johnson.   Blue Guitars Vol. II  (Parlophone, UK, PMC 7106, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, n.d.)

• Lightning Slim.   That’s All Right  (Quicksilver / Intermedia, QS-5062, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1983)

• Little Richard / Billy Wright / Tempo Toppers.   Hey Baby, Don’t You Want a Man Like Me?  (Ace, UK, CHA 193, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1986)

• Robert McCoy.   Blues and Boogie Woogie Classics  (Oldie Blues, Netherlands, OL 2814, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, n.d.)

• Jimmy McCracklin.   Everybody Rock!  The Best of Jimmy McCracklin  (Chess, UK, RED LP 10, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1989)

• Jimmy McCracklin.   Blast ‘Em Dead!  (Ace, UK, CHD 219, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1987)

• Bette McLaurin.   The Masquerade Is Over  (Official, Denmark, 6045, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1989)

• Big Jay McNeely.   From Harlem to Camden  (Ace, UK, CH 111, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1984)

• Big Jay McNeely and the Rocket 88s.   AZ Bootin’  (Big J, JLP-107, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1988)

• Big Jay McNeely.   Swingin’  (Big J, JLP-103, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1984)

• Memphis Slim.   Rockin’ the Blues  (Charly R&B, UK, CRB 1030, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1981)

• Freddie Mitchell.   Rock’n Roll  (Official, Denmark, 6021, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1988)

• Little Brother Montgomery.   Crescent City Blues  (Bluebird, AXM2-5522, 12″, vinyl disc-2Lp, 1977)

• Robert Parker.   Get Ta Steppin’  (Charly, UK, CRB 1174, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1987)

• Gene Phillips.   I Like ‘Em Fat  (Ace, UK, CH 245, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1988)

• Professor Longhair.   The Last Mardi Gras  (Atlantic / Deluxe, SD 2-4001, 12″, vinyl disc-2Lp, 1982)

• Fenton Robinson.   Mellow Fellow  (Charly, UK, CRB 1131, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1986)

• Ted Taylor.   Keep Walking On  (Charlie, UK, CRB 1011, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1980)

• Big Mama Thornton.   Stronger Than Dirt / The Way It Is  (Charly, UK, CDX 24, 12″, vinyl disc-2Lp, 1988)

• Ike Turner  His Woman, Her Man Vol. 1 : The Ike Turner Diaries  (Funky Delicacies, DEL LP 0045, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 2002)

• Ike Turner  His Woman, Her Man Vol. 2 : The Ike Turner Diaries  (Funky Delicacies, DEL LP 0046, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 2002)

• Ike Turner and His Kings of Rhythm [ various artists ].   Talent Scout Blues  (Ace, UK, CHD 244, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1988)

• Ike Turner and His Kings of Rhythm [ various artists ].   Ike Turner and His Kings of Rhythm Vol. 2  (Ace, UK, CHD 146, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1985)

• Various Artists.   Sun – The Roots Of Rock Volume 3, Delta Rhythm Kings  (Charley, UK, CR 30103, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, n.d.)

• Various Artists.   Rumble Chillen  (Charly, UK, CRM2033, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1988)

• Various Artists.   Rock Sock the Boogie  (Charly, UK, CR 30237, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1984)

• Various Artists.   Rootin’ ‘n’ Tootin’  (Charly, UK, RCB 1043, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1985)

• Various Artists.   Women Whiskey & Wailin’  (Charly, UK, CRB 1141, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1985)

• Various Artists.   Lyons Avenue Jive  (Ace, UK, CHD 171, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1986)

• Various Artists.   If It’s Not a Hit I’ll Eat My Hat  (Ace, UK, CHD 154, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1985)

• Various Artists.   Cruisin’ and Bluesin’  (Ace, UK, CHD 284, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1990)

• Various Artists.   Blues Guitar Blasters  (Ace, UK, CHA 232, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1988)

• Andre Williams & the Sadies.   Red Dirt  (Sonic, SR 9901, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1999)

• Andre Williams.   Bait and Switch  (Norton, ED-288, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 2001)

• Andre Williams with the El Dorados.   Greasy  (Norton, ED-248, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1996)

• Andre Williams and Green Hornet.   Andre Williams and Green Hornet in Holland Shuffle! Live at the World Famous Vera Club  (Norton, ED-299, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 2003)

• Andre Williams & Velvet Hammer.   Whip Your Booty : Rare & Unreleased Soul, Funk & Dance Jams from the Vaults of Andre Williams – 1967 – 1977  (Soul-Tay-Shus, STS LP 6349, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 2001)

• Andre Williams.   Silky  (In the Red, ITR056, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1998)

• Paul Hucklebuck Williams and His Orchestra.   The Hucklebuck  (Saxophonograph, Sweden, BP-500, 12″, LP, 1981)

• Paul Hucklebuck Williams and His Orchestra.   Spider Sent Me  (Saxophonograph, Sweden, BP-510, 12″, LP, 1988)

Boo-La La!

29 10 2010

Ah, the past.  It’s all coming back to me now.  Spirits in the air, then airmail brought this very nice memory from the UK.

This large poster was one of six placed around London in 1983 when I launched Volume, (736 page discography on punk and new wave music).  I was working out of the Rough Trade office, and doing my semi-official show with John Peel on the BBC.  Hand drawn this, calling on one-time artschool skills.

Brits like to dress up funny, but Halloween was not a big deal then.  So the idea was a costume party with music and books to hawk and a stellar group of judges (John Peel, Siouxsie Sue and Genesis P Orridge!) for best lookers.  Well I don’t remember much more than that, oh, except the bands were great and leaving Heaven at about 4 am, dressed in a latex red devil outfit, pouch stuffed with £4oo in small bills, with a bit of a buzz on, I was stopped by the police.

But that’s another story.

What I meant to say was my mother grew up in an inner city, industrial city, and her best friend’s family ran a funeral parlor.  Her best story was the time they were playing hide-and-go-seek.  Well who could resist crawling in an empty display coffin to hide?  Not my Mom.   Of course the lid came down and quilted screams did their best, but it was hours before they found her.  To this day plush interiors leave her cold.

So on this All Saints Day, in Mom’s honor, with a nod to the recently deceased singing undertaker, Solomon Burke, I’m building a musical coffin corner.

The king of emerging (from a coffin) artists will always be Screaming Jay Hawkins.  With his hand-held skull-on-a-stick and occasional upturned bonemustache. SJH put a spell on youth in the 50s. Freddie (ARC archivist) actually saw him perform, and here Fred laughs at one of Jay’s jokes in a scary 80’s LA TV appearance on Art Fein’s Poker Party.

Freddie also remembered some buried footage in one of the worst rock movies ever made (…and the good one is?), “Bop Girl Goes Calypso.” Here the Goofers leave no grave-stone unturned for a laugh, and perform one number rising from the pine.  Truly horrifying!

Now I mention Lady Gaga because to do so brings an additional 300 readers to our blog.  Like all novelty acts, she too has struck the occasional resurrectionist pose.

I could go on and on.

You see there’s CD cases, and guitar cases, a Japanese band and DJ turntable cases all shaped like coffins.  But blogs have to honor people who view the news on their mobiles, and never get to the bottom of anything, let alone a grave.

I say the ARC is not about entertainment – two bit knowledge, and too much of it – that’s what makes us spooky.  And this Halloween Mom bids you, Vichnaya pamyat! (Memorial eternal!) – that’s RIP in Ukrainian.

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