Yesterday afternoon a thrift store saved my life, or from funk to bubblegum and back again….

It is curious what you pull out wading thru piles of records in charity shops….  coz I was in one again yesterday and wedged between platters by the likes of Jim Reeves, Conway Twitty, Sidney Devine and The Alexander Brothers, I pulled out some class vinyl in the form of the second eponymous Gavin Christopher album (the 1979 RSO Curtom one) For those that don’t know, Christopher was mentored by Donny Hathaway and Curtis Mayfield (hence his late-seventies signing to Curtom), played early on with Chaka Khan and other future members of Rufus, and was a quick off-the-mark industry mover on the hip-hop scene. His 1979 outing is pretty standard  soul from that era, but with a great Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson take-off track at the end, Be Your Own Best Friend. But that ain’t the only good ‘thang’ here, I like Dancin’ Up A Storm almost as much. You can groove to everything on the platter and while it  ain’t the greatest thing I ever heard, it was worth quite a bit more than the quid I paid for it.
I also picked up an album by Dawn featuring Tony Orlando, a British Bell release named after their biggest hit Tie A Yellow Ribbon – and by the time this was made, Orlando was backed by ex-Motown/Stax session singers Joyce Vincent and Telma Hopkins – and the laid back soul of tunes like Easy Evil (with the lead vocal sung by Vincent) are way superior to their hit singles (although I still love Knock Three Times)…. When an album, as this one does, carries sleeve notes by BBC Radio One breakfast show DJ of the time Tony Blackburn endorsing the band, you know there will be some turkeys included (aside from the title track try the cover of Peter Skeltern’s You’re A Lady, yuk!)… but then tracks like a medley of Runaway/Happy Together, the Alain Toussant tune Freedom For The Stallion, and the closing ballad I Don’t Know You Anymore (Hopkins is lead on that) make up for this.
I nearly always find it gets to be a bit pick and mix when you venture into the worlds of bubblegum soul and easy listening… My previous charity shop vinyl buy a few months earlier had consisted mostly of dance orientated 12 inch singles at 50p a shot (Taffy’s Step By Step, Joy’s Bloody Murder On That Dance Floor etc.), but much to the bemusement of the woman who sold me the records also included Bert Kaempfert Now! Again, with Kaempfert’s 1971 chessey easy release there are turkey’s riding shoulder to shoulder with hip-shaking covers like Put You Hand In The Hand and Proud Mary (and while the latter might not touch the Ike & Tina Turner version, it isn’t shamed by it)… And as finger poppin’ cover of Paul McCartney’s Oh Woman Oh Why reminded me, I much prefer Kaempfert’s production on the first Beatles sessions (with Tony Sheridan singing most of the leads), to their later work with George Martin at the controls…
My third buy yesterday was a stab in the dark, Classics To Calypso by The Barbados Steel Orchestra. I liked the sleeve and figured it was worth taking a chance on despite the fact I knew nothing about it. The cover seemed to credit the record company as Discovery Bay Inn of Bridgetown, Barbados – but the label indicated those responsible were Total Sounds of Kingston, Jamaica. And how could I resist a piece of vinyl manufactured at 4 Retirement Road? That said, the outer sleeve was printed in Canada…  Anyway, once I’d parted with a round pound for the plastic, I discovered why this platter looked unplayed – it was unplayed coz the hole in the centre is too small to get it on a deck! Time to get my pen knife out I guess….
I also clocked a really ugly looking 1980s thrash metal album called Pray For War by Virus, I’d never heard of it but it was on an indie label and I figured that if the vinyl was in good or very good condition I could probably resell it for at least £10 profit and possibly a lot more… But when I took the record out of the sleeve it was knackered, so I put it back. After an internet check, I can say it looks like it goes for £20 or so in very good nick, so it clearly wasn’t worth the quid I’d have been charged for the platter with the amount of damage the copy to hand had sustained….
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – – you know it makes (no) sense!


Comment by Michael K on 2009-11-15 12:10:17 +0000

Paul McCartney is a living legend, nobody does it better, he is the best!

Comment by Dave Kelso-Mitchell on 2009-11-15 12:11:18 +0000

One of my favourite music blog sites;
This gal is a serious contender.

Comment by Dave Kelso-Mitchell on 2009-11-15 12:13:50 +0000

Bubblegum was pretty moribund by the 70s in much the same way as psychedelia was finished by 67. Nobody was really thinking too hard about what they were doing before then. As soon as they became conscious of it they beat it to death. In fact I think ‘Revolver’ was the last good psych album. Dr Pepper had already ventured into the realms of prog and overkill.

Comment by Roky Erickson on 2009-11-15 13:19:43 +0000

Watch me pull an alien out of my top hat….

Comment by Dave Kelso-Mitchell on 2009-11-15 14:33:39 +0000

Dont look like no rabbit to me boy! That’s a two-headed dawg if ever I saw one!

Comment by The Fake Lady Gaga on 2009-11-15 14:36:12 +0000

Sweetheart, Gavin Christopher is one of my all time favourite recording artists and you have an album by him. This means we have something in common! Are you free for dinner tonight?

Comment by Christopher Nosnibor on 2009-11-15 14:56:45 +0000

I’ve given up on the charity shops round here… only a handful still sell vinyl, it’s all tat and it’s all knackered (largely on account of the fact that the stock doesn’t move from month to month, year to year). Oxfam are the worst, charging Record Collector book price for knackered tat or otherwise assuming that people will pay £5.99 for an LP just because. The only stuff worth buying is the load I donated after I decided I couldn’t be arsed doing eBay anymore.
Needless to say I miss the days of cheap vinyl – something Glasgow was particularly good for a few years back. Still, free CDs are a reasonable alternative!

Comment by The Real Tessie on 2009-11-15 19:44:38 +0000

Trippy can find new places for free and bargain vinyl without even trying, he smells it from miles off… he comes back to the big blogger flat loaded down with the stuff… from east London, from west London, from north London, from south London, from his trips around the UK and Europe to do lectures and readings and shows…. pretty soon there won’t be room to move in the Big Blogger Flat and we’ll all have to move out!

Comment by yardman drones on on 2009-11-15 20:15:42 +0000

Peter Skeltern..gotta love it!

Comment by The Ghost of John Lennon on 2009-11-15 20:24:24 +0000

People always ask DMC what does it mean? D’s for double dirty, MC for mostly clean!

Comment by Christopher Nosnibor on 2009-11-15 21:02:52 +0000

My place got so full of vinyl I had to move out….

Comment by Widget Swinger on 2009-11-15 22:53:13 +0000

I find the holes in all records are too small for me, I prefer to use milk bottles for the purposes of maturbation.

Comment by Russell Brand on 2009-11-16 09:39:23 +0000

Embarassingly, the holes in records are too big for me and I have to resort to tweezers for my cocky-wock!

Comment by Sandra Denton on 2009-11-16 12:33:08 +0000

Hey Russell, yo should get down on the streets of New York City and hustle yourself as a female to male transsexual – yo could make top dollar!

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Comment by oldrope on 2009-11-18 16:57:10 +0000

Last night an ebay saved my life

Comment by oldrope on 2009-11-18 17:09:54 +0000

A good day’s shopping though Trip, looks like an interesting selection – though I am unfamiliar with much of it. And also you need to be careful. If Social Services find out you are blowing the child support cash on wax cylinders again they’ll be on to you

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