Rare Car Boot Violinists – Kogan and Oistrakh

One of the joys of car-booting is you never know what you might turn up. The charity shops have long since armed themselves with discogs and ebay, so much so that some even put comments on their LPs quoting the latest price and matrix number straight off the net.

Car boots have slightly more freedom but even there the chances of coming across mint copies is slight these days. I started to buy classical lps out of interest and a fascination with the particularities of label variations and hard to find guides for the genre. I have come across a couple of ‘holy grails’ but not quite as holy as required for the top-end collector….usually in the far-east these days.

Last year I found a couple of collector pieces by Leonid Kogan and David Oistrakh but neither was mint enought to sell. Still just the fact that they appeared gave some hope ( who knows how long until car boots are common again) for future trawls.

The best find was this album by David Oistrakh on Columbia. Before even playing it I had worked out it was not the top dollar item which was the first edition 1960 Columbia blue label as above. Currently going for a £1000 dollars plus if mint. Mine was the less sought after Red semi circular label edition from 1965 as below. That in mint condition has gone for £100 online but here the rub.

It looked pretty good before cleaning and placing on turntable but within a few grooves the dread click of a probable needle drop could be heard. I tried to clean it away but to no avail. Shame as it a very good record and as with all Columbia and Decca sixties vinyl it otherwise perfect and very low background sound. But a pop is a pop to a collector in South Korea so my car boot payday was over……better luck next time….

About a month later I again found a rare record but thsi time I bought it knowing it not in good enough nick but still a quid fine for a rarity.

This time it was a Leonid Kogan LP. Another name to search for in classical…for some reason it violinists which fetch highest prices. Maybe they simply did not press as many copies as major orchestral works so that why rarer.

The LP I found was Kogan’s Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. Again a sought after LP in mint condition (£180 +) and this time it had a Columbia dark blue label.

Mine showed wear and tear even at car boot and sure enough when got home although playable not a selling item at all.

So potential profit £1200..actual profit zero but that not the point. I now listening to a very good Lp for a pound and learnign not just about classical music but rare records and it sounds great.

Shame about the clicks but there you go…happy hunting folks.

Sinatra Capitol LPs – the Grey Label search

Original Capitol grey label first pressings of Sinatra in MONO

The Sinatra Obsession

The Fascination become an obsession. Through reading avidly on the Steve Hoffman forums ( he remasters for Capitol) where such matters are discussed in immense detail I have come to an understanding of the following…..

The best MONO pressings of Sinatra’s fifties Capitol recordings are those issued on the grey labels as above. Finding mint copies of these items is almost impossible as the ceramic cartridges of players back in the day wore the vinyl to shreds..mostly..but occasionally I come across them and see if I got lucky. Yesterday I found three Sinatras on grey and a lovely Judy Garland Lp ‘Alone’ (see below) . The Garland has obvious wear and all the Sinatras are not pristine although they are all playable. I also have later stereo versions of Come Fly With me (1962 Alan Dell stereo RP 1984 ) and Songs for Young Lovers ( Capitol Orange label 1970s RP again stereo).

Sinatra recording Only The Lonely – Note tall stand hard right is one of the two tall stereo mics the rest of mics are MONO ones close ups for the instruments. The feeds went to two separate control rooms to tape.

I did a brief comparison playing the MONO on a mono deck and stereo on stereo and sure enough all the comments true. Ignoring a good deal of wear surface noise it was obvious that the recordings indeed of the same performance but from different mic and tapes as it was the practice with these early stereo experiments to mic stereo high in the gods on booms right/left and close mic drums etc with more mics for mono mix. On Come Fly With Me the difference striking with real kick bass to the drums that simply nothere on the ‘brighter’ stereo recording.

The definitive descriptions of these events are here along with hand drawn descriptions of the microphone placements.


Also there is a book about his recording sessions here:


Three slightly worn Sinatra Greys.

So having fallen into the rabbit hole of detailed recording techniques what next….for now I have an awful lot of Sinatra to get through….then Nat King Cole….

Differences…the Mono -Stereo illustration change…

Frank looks left then….
Frank looks right…

Frank also lost a track as the Kipling family ( the writer not cakes!) objected to his setting of the Road to Mandalay on Come Fly With me so it was substituted in the UK and did not reappear (it was substituted with a track from LP above) until 1984 Dell reissue.

Open Country – The crazy CBS/Sunday Times triple LP sampler 1972


I picked up this insane triple album in Nottingham for a pound…i.e. 33 1/3p per disc 🙂 The image is a woman with plastic animals all over…mad but reminds me of the later Loose early compilation below:-)

It is a Sunday Times offer from 1972 in collaboration with CBS so content and vinyl quality very good.

It all CBS related acts so you get The Byrds, Johnny Cash, Carter Family etc etc.

Amazing selection which fully listed on the discogs page.


I paid the going rate it seems £1.99 so not a collector’s item but nice none the less.

Joe South – Midnight Rainbows

Bargain of the year! This almost mint copy of Joe South’s second to last album from 1975 cost me 50p.

I have seen cover many times over the years but never investigated further.

Once I put it on the deck I realised it a keeper. There a very full and beautifully written eulogy to the man here:


This says all you need to know about his career going back to the late 1950s. I never knew he played bass on Blonde on Blonde nor that he was such a rated guitarist and was experimenting with guitar techniques and hacks way back. A new hero.

The album is astonishing and indeed Nillson and Beatlesque in its depth and variety. He had spent four years ‘missing’ following the suicide of his brother and this album was some kind of a comeback. From the sitar playing on the famous Games People Play he had been an innovator but I still unprepared for just how good this LP is.

It made me pull out a See for Miles reissue of his first album Introspect. I also found a double CD rip of the two later albums Games People Play and Joe South. All highly recommended..Southern Roots at its best.

Here the man himself on youtube in 1969 TV appearance..


DISCOGS PAGE : https://www.discogs.com/artist/325103-Joe-South

Ramblin Jack Elliott and Trailer Star

I always had a soft spot for Ramblin Jack Elliott (born Elliot Adnopoz in Brooklyn yes the original Jewish Beat Cowboy before Zimmerman 🙂 ) not only because of the obvious Dylan connection but because the early Topic LPs are beautifully designed especially the drawn ones which I copied for Trailer Star’s fake album Suit of Nettles. Spot the influence…

The artist on these Topic albums (I also have a beautiful Sarah Ogun Gunning album of the  same period) was probably the same artist but I cannot trace who it is at all.

The Elliotts have what appears to be a signature but Bosard C my best guess comes up with nothing ..

This my collection so far as Ramblin Jack has 50 releases a way to go…

In situ Lincoln 2008..note the influences..






Eve of Destruction – Barry Maguire


Do not know where or when I picked this up. Probably bought for the cover and a little familiarity with the title track. Produced by Lou Adler on his own Dunhill Records which had bigger hits with the Mama and Papas and Carole King. We are firmly in ‘New Dylan’ territory and it not surprising that fellow folkie P.F.Sloan provides a couple of tracks alongside Dylan himself. The Dylan covers are polite and pleasant. The production pure Terry Melcher or CBS studio A Johnston . The stand out is this the title track. A cold war track of unending relevance even now sadly. Maguire found religion and became a major artist on The God and Jesus circuit long before Dylan found himself ironically. Overall a novelty record but worth it for a couple of nice tracks. I once had the P.F.Sloan greatest hits which overall a better album. I believe P.F.Sloan made a comeback recently just before he passed away in November 2015. Here’s the track..enjoy.

For more on Maguire see http://www.barrymcguire.com/ he a little less hair now…


P.F.Sloan OBIT: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/p-f-sloan-eve-of-destruction-songwriter-dead-at-70-20151116

Souled American – The American Gothic


Some time back in the early 1990s I picked up a cassette tape of Souled American’s ‘Fe’ album because I liked the cover. The hint of American Gothic in photo and the typeface said it was my kind of music. Published by Rough Trade (RT131) for the trainspotters. It was a fantastic early exposure to the alternative americana universe that started seeping across these shores in mid 1990s. It coinicided with my purchasing of Uncle Tupelo and early Whiskeytown records. Yet Souled American were investigating timbres from that ‘weird old america’ of Harry Smith and Doc Boggs before any of them. They went on to release a smattering of increasingly experimental albums through the 1990s. I have 1992’s ‘Sonny’ and as of tomorrow when I return to Anarchy Records will have ‘Flubber’. It is one of the strangest musical timelines ever and only McSeeeney’s obscure emporium and a handful of online critics even acknowledge their existence. The music continues to eerily fascinate. Like a backwoods proto-punk gothic back porch melodrama hoovering up old Merle Travis and Louvin Brothers tunes then slowing them down to a crawl pace Codeine and Cowboy Junkies. Listening to ‘Sonny’s’ funereal drum-less soundscapes the whole gamut of americana-noire lights up….from Will Oldham through Drunk and 16 Horsepower to Smog, health Lambchop and on…it all starts here…essential water from the well…

More Info:




Wreckless Eric – Someone must’ve nailed us together


Not sure where I picked this little gem up. My life has touched on that of Eric Goulden at various points but we never actually met. Last night he played a blisteringly good set at The Poppy and Pint in West Bridgford, ampoule Nottingham and this songwriter’s song was a highlight on what was an almost faultless night of Wreckless Eric at his best. He previewed at least three songs from the new album amERICa which were as good as anything in his impressive back catalogue. The single was self-released on Eric’s Empire Records through which he released two(recently reissued albums on Fire Records) the Len Bright Combo Presents and Combo Time. A little later he recorded and released a friend of mine Kevin Evan’s debut (and only) 12″ on Ambassador Records ( a record that somebody borrowed and never returned sadly) and his band Ritzun Ratzun Rotzer from Leeds.

Then in late 1990s I would happily frequent the second-hand bookshops on Charing Cross Road and I found out that Eric was serving behind counter in a shop a friend Jan Buchanan worked in. I am sure he served me at least a couple of times but I never mentioned the music. It now called Any Amount of Books but I think was called something else then….my memory not great. I remember the period because my friend found out a drawing by a Japanese artist she owned worth a fortune when I told her I’d seen similar on the Antiques Roadshow. Apparently she bought a house in France with proceeds…..we had both worked at Zwemmers in early 1980s. It was a gift from original owners allegedly.

Finally fast-forward the time tape machine to 2003. I am on second ever date with a lady who became my wife. We are at Alan Tyler’s weekly Americana event ‘Come Down and Meet the Folks’ at the ‘Fiddler'(???) in College Street Camden Town watching ..yes…Eric Goulden aka Wreckless. We were both drunk so memory hazy but I think Amy Rigby was either on bill or with Eric…so we both been in relationship ever since…

I recently picked up the Len Bright Combo reissues and Le Beat Group Electrique album from Fire Records and look forward to the new album on scratchy black vinyl 🙂

I hope Mr Goulden gets the attention he deserves…recent features in MOJO and Record Collector show his amp is rising 🙂 He is a national treasure , a Hull Art School domestic Daniel Johnston with words and pictures (actually he a much better songwriter than said cult artist) and has at least a dozen first class songs to his name..maybe more. That he was eclipsed in early days was more because of temperament. He a natural artist/garage band soul without the naked ambition of a certain other Stiff Tour bespectacled songwriter.

Last night Eric talked affectionately of listening to the first ever rendition of ‘Sweet gene Vincent’ by Ian Dury at his flat……
The autobiography by EG below is probably far more entertaining that EC’s recent tome and a hell of a lot funnier ( I looking out for a copy).

Keep laughing Eric and hats off to Amy….for inspiring this late flowering of an artist….or ‘miserable old c***t’ as he called himself on stage last night……



Also available on Amazon : http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dysfunctional-Success-Wreckless-Manual-written/dp/1904316182 

Last song ended with namechecks for his inspiration ..Velvet Underground and Bobby Gentry featured…at heart he’s a fan of great music…and makes some too along the way 🙂

Thanks for a great evening.

Further info. on The Medway Scene: http://www.goldminemag.com/features/book-review-neck-muddy-medway-waters

combo1combo2 groupbook

Pere Ubu – Love Love Love (1989) 7″

I am warming to this blog…it a rare opportunity to delve into the darkest corners of my vinyl collection and retrieve strange fish like this…

After listening to Pere Ubu’s Modern Dance album from 1978 which I bought on release and which one of the soundtracks of my Art School days in London…


I considered whether I actually had any Pere Ubu vinyl and presto this came to mind.

No idea where I trawled it up from and by the PR notice below which not the actual release looks like a Phonogram review promo copy from 1989.

I missed out on the Sleeve art also (see below) and the completely bonkers David Thomas video with children dressed as bugs but happy to share now…

Produced by Daniel Miller of Mute I can only assume as some kind of Pere Ubu land joke..as is most of the above..hopefully..

The aural equivalent of a David Lynch movie……



My copy


Also look out for this recent FIRE Records archive release…


Unfaithful Music – Costello’s Back Pages

Oliver’s Army is here to stay….

Yesterday by chance I picked up another three of Elvis Costello’s 7 inch singles from late 70s to early 80s…..which seems to coincide with his most prolific and possibly best period as a songwriter. Yes he has delved into everything from classical to funk since like a slightly less annoying Morrisey but seems not to have suffered from the latter’s fading talents and self-obsessed verbal wankery…mostly. I cannot imagine Declan Patrick MacManus producing something as shit as Steven Patrick Morrisey’s latest ‘fiction’ if that what it is..most commentators have described it as unadalterated rubbish. No Declan is too smart, ed too wordy for that and whilst the new tome isn’t Shakespeare or even a mad poet’s take on Shakespeare (Hughes) it does look interesting. Maybe not as interesting as warts and all former band-mate Bruce Thomas’s brilliant ‘The Big Wheel’ which probably tells you all you need to know about sharing a bus with a pain in the arse lead singer..but it comes with literary affections – pace Dylan’s Chronicles use of Conrad like flashbacks- and a decent cover which usually enough to allow me to purchase in two years time when the hardback inevitably remaindered.

Not having purchased yet I can only share the cover and a reviewer at NY Times sentiment that it smart-arse but not brilliant which sadly covers about half of the singing dictionary man in a one-liner worthy of the bard himself. Declan had a voice from his father and a way with words that few equaled in the period illustrated above…sometimes he produced too much and a fair sifting needed but anything up until he shagged an Irish bird (we all do that sometimes) and dumped his family is OK. After that it spirals like a drunken Dublin drinker around pretension and brilliance and the diamonds are harder to find in the mine. Now secure and contented as only a high earning ex-pat can be and happily married to Diana Krall which has enlarged the Jazz vocalisms somewhat we have a ‘national treasure’ to adore and be depressed by in equal measure. A Singing Corbyn…always loyal to the cause (‘Tramp the Dirt Down’ for instance) but hardly a working-class hero then or now and his racist taunts in late 70s were unforgiveable from an arrogant shit which he admits to in yesterday’s Guardian feature ( promo -tie-in whatever etc….buy from Guardian at £6 off etc). He is an astute game player and proves it by still being able to tour his Wheel of Death Songs and hold on to some reins of musical power. Whether the dark horse of fate will remember him as a game-changer or not he a part of my musical landscape and for ‘Oliver’s Army’ I will always applaud him. As for the Brodsky Quartet I have it ..never played ..I mean a quartet for fucks sake…yer Dad would just laugh…..

Records 1977-1986  *****


My collection of Elvis C 7 inches……1978-1984

‘King of America’ is a brilliant album he could have stopped there and his reputation would be intact..after that ..some good songs but no album that as coherent nor as well written.

Records 1986- present ***

Spike was hit and miss….after that some pure crap mixed with moments of brilliance..North/Brodsky Pseudo Classical/Bacharach..he milked every market but nothing as good as King of America….not total shit but kind of albums you file rather than play….

Books : Autobiography/Bios/Music Books

Autobiography – nice cover shame about the title ..Unfaithful Music alone would do but Declan cant stop himself over-egging it can he…???

Also here some of the previous biographies on the man to compare Declan’s version of events with 🙂 There even the first Academic Tome….appropriate for the wordy..

Per chance Declan has also seen fit to release a greatest hits CD..a couple of sweeteners on there for the fans with same title and sleeve art…
a tad opportunistic I would say but then I not a Man out of Time…