MAJOR UPDATE: There’s been a change of plans with the reissue, and while I’m a little disappointed, I think that ultimately it’s the smart thing to do…
When I first heard of the possibility of a Bulk reissue I was excited, but it wasn’t ’til the mention of vinyl that I got all tingly. However, once we heard back from the label that they wanted to go through with it an ominous notion started creeping up into the forefront of my cognitive skills (How ’bout that one Karel?)…What if this thing is a huge flop? Exactly who is going to pay $50 or more for a multiple-vinyl disc set by a slack-jawed weirdo that successfully faded back into obscurity? While I suppose I could have looked at it as a “Who-gives-a-fuck-as-long-as-I-get-my copy-it-ain’t-my-dime” situation, I really did not want this to result in a boondoggle for this bitchin’ label that was willing to put out some of my old tunes.
Well, now the label has decided on a different tack…Instead of a full-blown Bulk reissue, they have proposed a more modest and affordable 20-track-or -thereabouts collection of both Bulk and Mood Elevator tracks. I have to admit, I think something along those lines makes a hell of a lot more sense and it stands a much better chance of meeting their fairly ambitious sales goals. Plus, if it does sell well enough the door is still open for a full blown Bulk reissue…although I just can’t imagine that ever making sense from the record company’s standpoint.
So again, a bit disappointed but still…The fact that a very cool label wants to put out some vinyl of my old stuff is way more than I ever expected at this point and the more I think about this idea the better I like it!
Yes, I am still buying cheap records and giving them a listen in hopes of finding something to like about them…However, with the demise of my go-to dollar record bin in the Bizarro/Wuxtry comic book shop, the pace has slowed a bit. Still, I do have thrift shops and other various sources so the vinyl collection continues to swell incrementally. Sooooo, lets see what we have this go ’round…
First up is Eric Dolphy’s Jitterbug Waltz. I had always heard Dolphy referenced as an influence on Captain Beefheart’s playing and in listening to this two record set I definitely hear that excited-goose- free-jazz sound Mr. van Vliet is known for, but there is far more going on here than honking and bleating. This record features Mr. Dolphy in a variety of settings ranging from bass and flute duo to large ensemble (which I prefer) and while I don’t really understand what he’s doing, I enjoy trying…Next we have a dude from Boston named Jaime Brockett with Remember The Wind And The Rain. This record is split between wistful, sub-Gordon Lightfoot balladry and jokey, topical talking blues wherein Mr. Brockett is trying desperately to be a young Bob Dylan. Not entirely reprehensible but there were thousands of these folkie types that came in the wake of Dylan and unfortunately Brockett doesn’t distinguish himself any better than the vast majority of these junior Zimmies…I bought The Duals’ Stick Shift for the goofy cover and the music within is entirely what I expected, which is to say, rudimentary surf instrumentals with the occasional vocal and revving engine sound…My fave of the bunch is Roy Wood’s Boulders. I’m not overly familiar with Mr. Wood…I know he was in an early version of ELO and I have listened to a bit of The Move and enjoyed it. In an earlier ‘Cheap Vinyl’ segment I praised his warped fifties pastiche Eddie and the Falcons (Which is technically credited to Roy Wood’s Wizzard I believe) and I also have a budget label “best of” collection that spans his career. Boulders covers much of the ground on these records by encompassing psychedelic-tinged folk , 50′s rock and R&B, and much more, all with an appealing whimsy and unfailing knack for interesting arrangements. Plus the dude plays ALL the instruments and there’s a shitload of them. Incredible. All the tunes have something of interest but my fave is “Miss Clark and the Computer”… When I saw a record by an (I think) all female group named “Ballgagger” I just had to lay out a dollar and check it out. As it turns out I really dig it! Ache is mid-nineties indie rock with spunky, on-the-verge-of-incompetence instrumentation and (I think) two singers, one who sings in a wispy, slightly out of tune manner and the other barks and rages. Doesn’t look that great on paper but it works for me, I’ve already spun it multiple times and will spin it more…Plucked from the same dollar bin is The Browns’ Family History. This record came in a plain cardboard sleeve with a single sheet included that has the title, song titles, and very little else rendered in a dashed-off scrawl plus a Polaroid of a rather nondescript dude. The band name/title had me thinking maybe a folky/Americana sort of thing but the grooves reveal a Velvets/Modern Lovers three piece. The lyrics are a bit on the accusatory, self-righteous side which leads me to believe the packaging is some sort of anti-capitalist statement but the band is lean and tight (really dig the bass player) and I will definitely give it a few more spins…Next up is From Here To Mother Rosa by Chris Farlowe and the Hill. Chris Farlowe is one of those names I have seen in various places without having any idea what his bag is. From what little I’ve been able to gather he is a sort of eccentric Brit soul crooner, a bit like my boy Jackie Lomax (correct me if I’m wrong) and while the singing here betrays a soul influence, the music is more in a pastoral, psychedelic folk vein with lots of piano and strings coming in and out. This is a difficult record to describe and the lack of hooks and repetition probably doomed it commercially. This is not the kind of thing I’m naturally drawn to but the disc is in perfect shape and there is a good chance I will spin it again if the mood strikes me…I almost didn’t buy it and I probably shouldn’t include it here since, like William Burroughs and drag racer Gene Snow, Gary Glitter is a despicable child molester, but dammit, aside from Slade and Suzi Quatro, nobody made big, dumb, football hooligan-inspired rawk quite like this asshole. Everybody knows “Rock and Roll Part 2″ but I prefer “Rock and Roll Part 1″ primarily because Glitter is a pretty damn good rock-n-roll singer. He even manages to breath a little life into hoary old classics like “Donna” and “The Wanderer” and, even more remarkable, he comes up with a fairly original version of “Baby Please don’t Go”! Still, it’s the big, dumb originals that are the draw and while there are only a handful, they are effective. I still hope he fucks off and dies though…And lastly? Jim Stafford. What a freak! I bought this to see if I still liked “Spiders and Snakes”…and I do! This is just a ridiculous, dated, corny record and I enjoyed listening to it. Sue me. Song titles? How about “My Girl Bill”, “I Ain’t Sharin’ Sharon” and…(snicker)…”Sixteen Little Red Noses and a Horse that Sweats”? Take that Robert Pollard!!