Monday, 16 April 2007

Give and thou shalt receive

“I love charity shops. You can give money but get something for yourself too.”

I found myself uttering these words, without thinking, on a recent visit to an Oxfam in Woodseats near Sheffield. It really is true, and I don’t mean to sound selfish. One mans rubbish truly is another mans treasure and pleasure. I take any opportunity to browse through smelly old boxes of vinyl usually comprising of Val Doonican, Cliff Richard best ofs, Simon and Garfunkels Greatest hits, Singles by Erasure and the Eurythmics and flippin’ Frankie goes to Hollywood. The amount of times I’ve flipped through almost generically sleeved compilation LP’s of James Last could only be rivalled by the amount of said records available in any one town. Over the last two weeks I have had a minature spree and have harvested the following slices of vinyl delight from the fields of unwanted 12’s and 7 inches.

In no particular order other than the one in which they are piled on my desk next to me:

The Pink Panther Theme (and Baby Elephant walk) (7”)

There comes a time in the life of every man when he desires to hear that tune off the hilariously calamitous film about a pseudo French spy (although rare, this condition also occurs in some females). There are many times, often in one day, when aforementioned man has the urge to whistle that tune. I am now privileged enough, courtesy of the ‘Strings for pleasure’ and EMI, to own on 45 a copy of this beautiful recording complete with a drawing on the back to colour with ‘crayons or paints!’.

The Jam – David Watts b/w “A” bomb in Wardour Street (7”)

Basically, any teeny bopper who claims to love ‘punk (pop)’ music, should listen to songs such as these. Back in the day they knew how to do it, before music became too confined by a label, too defined by a genre and too refined for today’s sickly sweet pop charts, music made with guitars was enjoyable to listen too. All those fall out boys and girls, get a The Jam best of, it’ll be about a fiver, listen and actually enjoy music. And as a previous owner has penned on the sleeve, ‘Long live rock ‘n’ roll’.

Marvin Gaye – I heard it through the grapevine b/w Can I get a Witness? (7”)

What is there to be said? The best male solo artist Motown gave the world? One of the most well known songs from the label/genre? Yes, probably would suffice as an answer to those two questions. The first question was rhetorical and even if it wasn’t, it was answered by the ensuing queries.

Bruce Willis – Respect Yourself (7”)
I want to quote some lyrics here just to give you some idea of the gold that is contained within that beautiful sleeve… I’m finding it hard to decide…with gems of advice such as these it’s a tough choice:

“You keep talking about the president wont stop air pollution//Put your hand over your mouth when you cough that’ll help the solution”

Nice one Brucey, but how?! Maybe he’s implying that the talk of the “gentleman” he’s crooning about is contaminated or toxic. Really you need to get your hands on this, grab something hard to drink, put the needle in the groove and then sit back and listen whilst reading the lyrics on the back of the sleeve, seriously this will improve your life.
P.S. How did he get a deal with Motown? - Check out the lyrics in full here!

The Clash – Should I stay or I go (7”)

Any respectable, and indeed any disrespectable, rock/alternative/indie (or whatever they call it now) night will play this tune, and it sounds good at home too. Let’s put on our classics and ‘ave a little dance shall we?

Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody (7”)

Not a fan in general, but I couldn’t not have this. I’ll probably never sit down and listen to it as I could probably sing the whole damn thing to myself, but it may come in useful when I’m playing around mixing tunes together.

Vanilla Ice – Play that funky music (7”)

Imagine my delight at finding this jewel. Imagine my dismay when I got it home, fitted the 45 RPM adaptor, threw it on the platter and discovered that it was actually ‘The morning after (song from The Poseidon Adventure)’. Imagine my relief when I realised perhaps it wasn’t so bad after all. It’s nice to have that beautiful cover artwork though.

Fat Boys – Wipeout! Feat. The Beach Boys (7”)

The Fat Boys had a gimmick, they were boys who were fat. Along with this their collaborations on gimmicky tracks such as ‘Do the twist’ feat. Chubby Checker (see what they did there?) they did alright for themselves. Combining the Beach Boys summery harmonies with Rick Rubin’s drum kit and that surfing guitar tone they created a timeless masterpiece, although this listener is finding it a little hard to imagine their portly figures carving up the waves and wooing all the girlies. Flip this beauty over and you will find ‘Crush’n’; this time Dracula plays his organ over Rick Rubin’s drum kit AND crunchy guitar. Sounding like a sinister LL in his early days the boys come correct and display their tag team tactic rhymes, you gotta love them.

De La Soul – Say no go (7”)

Ahhhhhhhhh – that’s my sigh of relief just knowing that such a nice piece of hip hop exists. Amongst all the trash released under the guise of hip hop nowadays we can all be safe in the knowledge that De La Soul created such fun, unoffensive (although trend bucking) rap tunes. Go buy the best of if not the separate albums.

Run DMC – Raising Hell (12” LP)

If you’re like me, you may inwardly, secretly groan at the thought of listening to a whole album of Run DMC tracks. Now before you click on outlook express and let your fingers send a malicious masterpiece my way, listen to what I have to say. I recognise the importance of acts such as Run DMC and producers like Rick Rubin in the creation of this thing we call rap but it’s kinda unmusical and samey. Hmm, that didn’t help did it? Well, I honestly love this album and would hate for this album to not exist. The playlist goes ‘Peter Piper’, ‘It’s Tricky’, ‘My Adidas’, ‘Walk this way’…and well if you love it you’ll know it. Anyway, this has changed my opinion and I apologise for the heinous comments.

Afrika Bambaataa – Feeling Irie (12”)

'Oooh', I thought, 'founder of Zulu nation, there at the birth of hip hop in NYC, gotta be good'. No, it’s not. It’s utter crap. Boring 90’s dance remixes. Don’t ever buy or listen.

So having spent the princely sum of eight pounds and fifty pence (that’s £8.50 for those who can’t read words) I have procured a nice selection of music to enhance my life. I pray I will have played my part in enhancing the life of somebody less fortunate than myself too.

As an afterthought, a word of warning to the wise; Oxfam are overpriced.

1 comment:

Tom said...

Yes charity shops are awesome, i recently got Trapdoor (remember that? Claymation 80s show about a blue fellow called Berk?!) on VHS for the princely sum of £1.50. Good times.
Bruce Willis? Hahaha. Sounds as good as Mr T.'s rap about his mum. The Jam and Vanilla Slice are great too.