Friday, 7 August 2009

Vinyl Revival: Six O'Clock Shuffle (1986) and I Said That I Loved You (1989)

Psychedelic acid trash metal group The Acolytes played regularly in and around London from 1987-1991, crossing paths with many interesting groups along the way.

One on occasion at the Fulham Greyhound, they shared the stage with The Wigs, who also coincidentally included a cover of Love's "Seven And Seven Is" in their set.

My mate Kev delighted us with the information that the band were previously known as The Obvious Wigs and had marked the change of name by releasing an album named "The End Of The Obvious".

Though I never tracked down a copy of the album myself, I did locate a copy of their "Six O'Clock Shuffle" 12", as well as buying the "I Said That I Loved You" 7" at the aforementioned gig.

Listening back to them, they sound as exciting as ever - a great example of a band who could capture their live sound on vinyl.

"Six O'Clock Shuffle" 12"
"I Said That I Loved You" 7"

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Best Hip Hop Anthems Ever

At the time this was the double CD of hip-hop tunes I'd been looking for. Nearly every track is a classic, from Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and Sugarhill Gang early 80s experiments, through Public Enemy and NWA to then current stars Coolio and Warren G (although not the version of "Regulate" which features the Michael McDonald sample which Chris Morris used to play - whatever happened to that version?). There was even a new discovery for me, "I Got Five On It" by Luniz.

The only disappointment is sound quality. It's poorly mastered and the tunes seem to fade into each other.

This was almost a perfect compilation, but I'm afraid it has to go... that's how I'm livin'.

Friday, 31 July 2009


A fast-paced first person shooter with levels based in strange settings like Egyptian Pyramids, I played this a lot when I first got my PS2.

When it was stolen along with my original unit, I played the replacement copy rather less (possibly still smarting from having my saved games stolen).

Time to split...

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Vinyl Revival: The Stairs and Asphalt Ribbons

Found a "great lost album" I'd never listened to: Mexican R 'n' B by The Stairs, which sounds like early Stones and late 60s West Coast psychedelia - right up there with The Las in terms of "how didn't they make it?" There are some great Stairs clips on YouTube, including the single Weed Bus:

I've got a couple of their 12"s as well, so I might pick up the missing one... which isn't why supposed to be I'm doing this. Happily I've identified 44 12" singles I don't need...

...although two of them are Asphalt Ribbons' album Old Horse, so might have to make that 42 (one's a white label). This is the least rare - and therefore valuable - of all their output which also included three 12" EPs before they became Tindersticks. I never made it along to the gig listed on the accompanying bumf as I wasn't all that impressed. Live and learn...

Maybe that's why I never made it in the music biz.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Vinyl Revival: Seven Singles Deep by Icicle Works

Maybe I should've kept my mouth shut about my new turntable and USB phono stage. After mentioning it at the pub last night, I received my first request: "Do you have that Icicle Works compilation with all the 12" versions on it?"

It so happens I do and I proudly recalled listening to it only last week. Net result: agreement to produce a digital copies for my turntable-less friends.

The Icicle Works are one of my favourite bands and this album collects the extended versions of their singles, from their biggest hit "Love Is A Wonderful Colour" through the singles off their first two albums, to my personal favourite "When It All Comes Down".

I only saw the group perform twice - at The Marquee, Wardour Street and Camden Palace - but they were fantastic both times and Chris Sharrock remains one of my favourite drummers. He plays for Robbie Williams these days, but I did manage to see him play with both The Las and The Lightning Seeds in the intervening years.

As for the digital copy, the capture was straightforward and my friends were most appreciative.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Rega Planar 3 turntable

I've finally taken the plunge and upgraded my turntable.

After months, maybe years, of pondering over the Linn LP12, I noticed a Rega Planar 2 in my local secondhand shop. Because I wasn't quick off the mark, it was soon gone. When likewise missed out on a nice-looking wooden Dual deck, I realised I'd have to get more serious.

Online reading led me to conclude the LP12 was a bit overpriced for my requirements. Watching eBay for several months I saw plenty of secondhand Regas around. The Planar 3 began to look like a good deal, particularly when combined with the Rega RB300 tonearm. With the original packaging, the going rate is around £200.

After a couple of disappointments, I held my nerve and secured one for four pounds over my target price (couldn't let another one escape for the sake of such a paltry sum).

A major upgrade to my previous unit, I decided the only "weakness" I read about - "it's a deck for rock fans" - probably counted in its favour for me. A replacement Rega R100 stylus from Musonic and I'm listening to vinyl as I've never heard it before on my own system. And this from a 25 year old turntable. I'm happy.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Vinyl Revival: 50 More All-Time Children's Favourites by Wally Whyton

One Christmas my sister and I both received LPs from my parents. I was given "Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet", featuring edited audio highlights of an episode of each television series, the former with additional storytelling from Scott Tracey himself, Shane Rimmer.

My sister was given 50-More-All-Time-Childrens-Favourites by Wally Whyton. As a fan of Gerry Anderson I felt I'd got the better deal, but it was Wally's folk style nursery rhymes which made a more lasting impression. With my own daughter approaching two years of age, I'm looking around at musical CDs for small children. These seem to come in two types: overly sickly Disney collections or R'n'B pop interpretations by over-earnest X-Factor losers.

Listening back to this album now, I'm surprised how much I recall. The assertive female of "Where Are You Going To My Pretty Maid" who rejects the advances of a gold-digging male is impressive. Wally's unaccompanied singing on "Rain, Rain Go Away" is less so, dropping as it does several semitones towards the end (presumably studio time was at a premium in those days.)

But the biggest shock caused me to nearly drop my tea: side 1, band 2, song 2: "Taffy Was A Welshman", an anti-Welsh song I don't recall hearing in the thirty-plus years since this album was last played. I think we'll have to leave that off the compilation I'm making for my daughter.

I've now found the first volume on eBay. Slightly worried about "Ten Little Indians"...