One of the fun things about being an impulsive buyer of cheap second hand records is looking back over the collection and seeing some of the stranger little detours that have occurred over the years. Such as...
Lena Lim – Golden Voice of Lena Lim Vol. 6 (Amigo, 1970?)
Bought in a charity shop out of curiosity (and for the sleeve) in the hope that it would be along the lines of Singaporean beat-popster Rita Chao, but sadly not. Lena has a nice (“golden”?) voice but the songs are on the whole slightly forgettable, despite the presence of Singapore’s top Shadows-style backing band, the Stylers. There is, though, a great and strangely enunciated cover of Tom Jones’ immortal Delilah.
Sounds of Judson (Prestige, 1979)
The appeal of this record (another charity shop purchase) is hard to explain; basically it is an aural prospectus for Judson College, Marion, Alabama (the USA’s ‘fifth oldest women’s college’; www.judson.edu ) and consists of a virtual tour of the College and its grounds and facilities, with hockey cheers, choir rehearsals, the school song, interviews with staff members etc. According to the sleevenote by Betty L. Campbell of the music department, ‘this record captures sounds of Judson in permanent fashion. It reflects a day, a year , special times and people. Everything recorded was made at an actual event, with nothing rehearsed.’ Which is why it is valuable; or pointlessly boring, depending on your point of view.
Buster – Buster (RCA, 1977)
Basically a too-late cash-in on the Bay City Rollers, this limp glam-pop album sports two good songs, Saturday Night (not the Rollers one) and Sunday. It is also the home of the weakest cover of Born To Be Wild imaginable.
Andres Segovia – Masters of the Guitar (Decca 1956)
Bought (along with King Crimson’s In the Court of the Crimson King, Free’s Tons of Sobs and Pete Sinfield’s Still at a church coffee morning (50p each, near-mint condition!), this ended up being the album of the day that I listened to the most. Segovia plays works by two of the great composers for guitar, fellow Spaniards Fernando Sor and Francisco Tarrega. It’s a beautiful and atmospheric record.
The Indo-British Ensemble - Curried Jazz (EMI 1969)
This excellent album was bought on the strength of the (dubious) name & cover. It is basically a late-60s fusion of modern jazz with traditional Indian instruments (notably the sitar). Lovely music that deserved better than the rather silly, kitsch treatment it received from EMI. Kind of glad it didn’t get it though.
Black Widow – Sacrifice (CBS 1970)
Bought in a second hand shop for a pound because of its notoriety-value, this may be one of the earliest Satanic rock LPs, but it’s also pretty boring semi-progressive, semi-jazzy hippy rock. Even the cartoonish demonic illustration in the inner sleeve is kind of stupid.
Still, Black Widow did make some good music, I would recommend the bonus 10” with their recent See’s The Light Of Day reissue for some excellent late 60s occult nonsense.
Rahul Dev Burman – Yaadon Ki Baaraat OST (Polydor, 1976)
Judging by the sleeve (and the music), this album is the soundtrack to the Bollywood equivalent of a James Bond-meets-rock 'n' roll movie. It’s excellent stuff, very 60s for the 70s, with much reverb-drenched guitar and unearthly high-pitched vocals. Many of the tracks are just some fragmentary, very westernised guitar riffs, mixed with more typically Indian elements. Bought with a lot of other Bollywood soundtracks in a charity shop, this was by far the best of the bunch, with the Mehbooba soundtrack (far less western-inflected) a close second.
Jobriath – Jobriath (Elektra, 1973)
This (and the follow-up Creatures of the Street) turned up for £1 each in my favourite record shop at a time when I had just read (unfavourable things) about Jobriath but really wanted to hear him, this was a few years before the Morrissey-championed reissues of his music were released. I was pleasantly surprised; once you get over the not very easy-on-the-ear Elton John-meets-Mick Jagger twang of Jobriath’s voice this is a good album, with some great campy, flamboyant glam songs. Eddie Kramer produced the album and Peter Frampton is a somewhat unlikely guest star. By contrast, Creatures has two good songs and lots of forgettable stuff.
Bugs Bunny – Bugs Bunny Comes To London (MFP, 1973)
I bought this in the hopes that it would be in some way similar to the all-time classic Spin A Magic Tune, which is full of great funky songs with wah-wah and brass. But sadly not so. There is one semi-decent mod-ish/Carnaby Street/swinging London/beat tune (which makes me wonder if this was actually recorded in the mid-60s) but otherwise a lot of limp forgettable crap. Which is only as it should be.