Stuff That Came Out of Speakers Today #61: “It Was 50 Years Ago Today …”

(I know, I know — UK release date.)

My current Sarge Pep vinyl is a replacement for a high-school copy that got lost in the shuffles (the undeniable tip-off is that it has a plastic inner sleeve). But I got it (I think) because I heard future LP editions would curtail the fold-out inner graphics, not because I played it all the time. Or even regularly — on the renewed turntable, this copy sounds as pure and pristine as brand-new. Since Sgt. P has become such a deathless cultural phenomenon, artistic assessment is irrelevant. But I will say two things: on June 1 (US release date) I will play some of these tunes in what I consider a superior format — The Beatles/1967-1970 anthology — and try to make it “Stuff That Came Out of Speakers #64.”

A Rare Thrill From the Vinyl Stacks

Usually when I come across an item I did not remember I owned, it’s an ominous indicator. If I forgot this entirely, how good can it be?

Well, on rare occasions, it can be all-out terrific.

I’m playing and putting away vinyl from the treasure boxes reserved outside the warehouse. One such life-enhancer is Julius Hemphil’s masterpiece, Dogon A. D. — sounds the best ever with the revamped turntable. I hold Hemphil just a few shades of genius behind Ornette (they went to the same high school in Texas) and his version of free improv has his own streaks of blues and soul, every time out.

So I’m putting Dogon into its place in the main vinyl shelves and — hello? what’s this? — Julius Arthur Hemphil and the Jah Band, Georgia Blue (Minor Music, 1984)????:

I didn’t remember this existed, let alone that I had a copy.

(That it includes “Dogon II” is the ultimate kicker.) A very fine concert record — a gift from Spring.

Beyond Elvis (Maybe Even B.B.), This Is My King

King Sunny Ade’s “Juju Music” (Mango, 1982) changed my life. But now, doing a straight-up comparison-listen with The Best of the Classic Years (Shanachie, 2003 — drawing on recordings made from 1967 through 1974), I can’t avoid hearing how watered-down the old LP is. Esp. regarding the abbreviated length of the jams. Never be without it, of course.

Number of King Sunny CDs in the collection: 14.

Stuff in the Air That Came Out of Speakers Today #50 (Vinyl Edition)

(mostly new, a bunch from New Zealand) (these are all first run-throughs)

Peter Jefferies/Jono Lonie, At Swim 2 Birds (Flying Nun, originally released 1987). Like the cult Surrealistic novel it’s named after, this is both wonderful in patches and overall rather too subtle for its own good. But it tickled me. Tricky, tail-eating little experiments featuring piano and guitars that never overstay. Too bad I know zilch about Peter Jefferies’s earlier outfit, This Kind of Punishment.

Milton Marsh, Monism (Manufactured, reissue of Strata-East, 1975). Whulp! — Another avant-big-band a bit in the Chicago mode, that I had never heard of. But Milton Marsh is a local and I was hypnotized enough by a first past that this is a strong candidate for one of my reissues of the year. Here’s some scoop.

Doprah, Wasting (Arch Hill). Supposedly in the Portishead mode, updated. Thing is, good trip-hop had snips of coiled barbed wire running underneath somewhere — this succumbs more to the persistent New Zealand tendency of mutter-whisper/mutter-whisper. The beats wake up on the second side and spooky begins to arm-wrestle somnolent. I’ll be back. But it would be unseemly to, you know, hurry back.

Boogarins, Manual (Other Music). Tough call, but I’m less psyched by this LP than I was by an earlier track this pair did that fit with the modern-LSD moods of the first half of this year. Will have to revisit.

God Bullies, Mama Womb Womb (Amphetamine Reptile, 1989). Woo-woo from Kalamazoo, collage-rockers in the manner of the Residents, but full of wild ‘n’ woolly punk rather than grunt-prog. Yeah, it’s a bit downhill after the band and album names — often amusing, never transcendent. Still, way out of print and I’m not getting rid of it.

 

Well, Still Can’t Get Rid of Any Dizzy Vinyl

Went through the Gillespie section and didn’t even try to determine if there were any LP/CD duplications in my various libraries. Not least because I do want the analog sound.

Saw him perform once. At a club that’s as gone as he is. He was close to 70 and sounded weary as often as he sounded dizzy. But did sound dizzy sometimes and I can still remember one solo that confirmed in my mind that this wasn’t a sort of bucket-list show but a worthy audience with a master.

An Evening of Vinyl Calm from Tommy Flanagan

Tommy Flanagan

Trio and Sextet (Onyx, rec. 1961)

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Tommy Flanagan and Hank Jones

Our Delights (Galaxy, 1979 –piano duets)

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Flanagan/Mraz/Jones

Confirmation, (Enja, 1982)

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In the finest possible sense, a player who makes jazz sound like the most civilized music ever created. Relaxes and increases awareness at the same time.

(Ghod, I love this revamped turntable.)