So pleased to come across this for 50p in a charity store. I’m so excited that so far I’ve only listened to side A, I want to savour the album, save some for another day!

In many ways side A is very laid back, ramshackle at times, but there is a magic or energy to this band.  For three of the band, Hot Tuna was a side project from Jefferson Airplane and it sounds like they were having fun. The album was released in 1972, but passed me by at the time.

I first became aware of Hot Tuna in the hot summer of ’76, for they were low down on the on the bill at Knebworth that year.  Probably my favourite festival event for consistent quality, the band must have come on early afternoon, I remember the interplay of guitar and bass stirring up some interest as the sun beat down, clothing was loosened and drinks downed.  Of course, most people, myself included, were saving their energy for the headline acts and the cooler evening, seeking out any little bit of shade to be had.

Excuse the photo quality and my intruding fingers.  Happy Days!

A time to fill the gaps…


Like many, I’ve found this week’s news hard to comprehend. David Bowie had always felt a bit like an older brother to me (ten years my senior) and mortality is a hard one to grasp at times.  On the one hand, I feel so blessed to have grown up with ‘Hunky Dory’, my favourite album of his, followed by a very creative streak through the 70s, but then i rather lost touch with him – maybe it was me, getting married, growing up etc.  I had seen him at Milton Keynes Bowl on his Serious Moonlight Tour, but found the relentless ’80s production on ‘Let’s Dance’ difficult to listen to, it gave me a headache!  I enjoyed his show at 2004’s Isle of Wight Festival, freeloading from across the river – it was a great set revisiting many of his successes, but my favourite was ‘Quicksand’ from….’Hunky Dory’.

Coming back to date, it was the week before the release of ‘Blackstar’ that I stumbled upon the CD of ‘hours…’ in a charity shop. It has become ever-present listening when in the car since and has really grown on me, a wonderful album.  It reminded me of my youth, when you’d buy an LP and it required several listens before you really got it.

I’d watched the pre-release video for ‘Blackstar’ and was pondering whether to buy the CD or vinyl when the news came through. Since that day I’ve listened to tracks from it on Spotify and find them so (quite naturally) concerned with death that I find it too emotional to listen.  A little more time grieving may be necessary first and then it’s time to search out his music that I’ve missed out on along the way.


New Discoveries

Foghat outlaws

Living on a small island, I am constantly looking for new sources of secondhand vinyl.  The horrible price ticket on this album sleeve tells a tale!  One source of mine often has these sticky devils on and they won’t come off without removing part of the artwork at the same time – not good when the album may be a few quid.

This album came from another plentiful source, same silly price ticket, but at only £1, who am I to complain?  Seems I may have cut out the middle man! I picked the album up, vaguely recognising the band’s name, saw it was on the Bearsville label and assumed that this was a mid seventies American rock band.  I was subsequently surprised to find out (via Wikipedia) that Foghat was/is? an English band, formed by ex members of Savoy Brown, another blues band that I’ve heard of, but have yet to explore further.

The music is pretty much what you’d expect from the period – bluesy, boogie rock with the signs of excess often present in music of that time, 1974.  The excess is echoed in the album artwork, white suited guys in front of their own jet, replete with Foghat signage on the fuselage.  I love it, it takes me back to good times!

Good Pickings

good pickings

I usually don’t bother to look through singles when searching for vinyl, but was tempted the other day when a place was having a clear out, 4 for £1.  There’s a few that I had in my collection many moons ago, some that I’ve taken a punt on and some dead certs.  Value wise, the gem is ZZ Top’s ‘Tush’, sentimental favourites have to be ‘Schools Out’ and ‘Elected’ by Alice Cooper plus ‘The Pink Parker’, an ep by Graham Parker and The Rumour.  Looks like a new collection has started!

The Yachts


I first discovered The Yachts through a friend with good musical taste!  It was 1977 and my musical world had reached Year Zero.  They were a band from Liverpool, keyboard & guitar led new wave, with a sense of humour. ‘Suffice To Say’ was their first single on Stiff Records, although by the time they came to record their first album in 1979, the internal split at Stiff led to them joining the new Radar label.  It’s hard to find a great deal about them online, confused by there being another and more recent act with the name Yacht!  Back in the late 70’s, I saw The Yachts so many times that I made my own fan t-shirt listing the gigs on the back!  From the Red Cow to the Nashville Rooms and many places in-between; I even went for a wee at the same time as guitarist Martin Watson at their London College of Printing gig, sharing a few words as we did so!

Years later I was parted from my vinyl by lack of space/new relationship etc and this album was no longer in my collection – until yesterday!!!!!   It’s the better of their two albums, in my opinion, and I still remember all the words…..magic!

Henry Priestman, keyboards and songwriter, went on to fame with The Christians via It’s Immaterial and Wah! and is now a solo artist.  There are still a couple of tracks by The Yachts to be found on Spotify, worth a listen while they are still there.

Go Into the Light

Go into the light

Next to my deck there’s a pile of albums waiting to played; new ones (to me at least) and older discs that I’ve come across and thought that another listen was overdue.  This 12″ single was due another listen.  It’s blue and is good for lifting the blues that hang around me at times!

I came to Ian McNabb via my love of Neil Young. Crazy Horse backed Ian McNabb on sections of his ‘Merseybeast’ album, which I love. Further delving into his back catalogue unearthed more gems, including his album ‘Head Like a Rock’.  The original version of ‘Go Into The Light’ is on that album, as it is on side B of the single. Side A of the single is a 7.20 dub workout of the track, with Jah Wobble replacing original bassist Roy Corkill for the dub mix.  ‘For You Angel’, another dub track, sits on side B.

What makes the single and album so good is the funky approach and in particular the drumming of one Tony Braunagel.  He’s played with many people over the years and I believe is in demand as a session man, but for me he was part of one of the finest bands I have ever seen live – (Back Street) Crawler.  This is a real feel good sound, so glad I listened to it again!

The Single keeps you on your toes though – 45rpm on side A, 33rpm on side B!

Warp Factor!


I could kick myself – a real rookie’s mistake; yesterday I hit some boot fairs and picked up a couple of bargains for a pound each, but then called by a collector’s place and selected Robin Trower’s ‘Long Misty Days’ for three quid. I carefully checked the disc for scratches, then paid my money.  When I got home, Side A sounded pretty good, but when I flipped it over, the needle was bouncing on the lead in, the disc was dished and had one hell of a warp – why hadn’t I checked?  A quick Google came up with a range of solutions which either seemed very expensive (various disc straightening equipment) or a variety of short clips on youtube involving ovens, the heat of the sun and manipulation of the disc in an effort to correct the warp. I plumped for the hot water in the sink and then put the warm disc warp side down onto the deck with a third full brandy bottle to apply some gentle pressure for a few hours (the spindle very neatly sat in the dimple at the bottom of the bottle).  The warp decreased slightly, but not a lot.  I’d read about using disc clamps and tried using some blutack to hold the the warped edge down- it worked after a fashion, but the sound wasn’t great.

Conclusion:  One disc by the rubbish bin and a mental note to check for warpage on all discs!

Grown Up Music

gerry mulligan age of steam

I’m usually busy on Sunday mornings, but life changes and I suddenly find myself free alternate weeks.  A lovely morning found me down on the seafront for the start of the Cowes-Torquay Power Boat Race, for what seemed to me a kind of adult playtime for the very wealthy.  I couldn’t help wondering about life as the giant beasts roared past against the background of Fawley Oil Refinery, plenty of waiting for the event to start, then over in a flash!

Strolling homewards I diverted to peruse the local monthly boot fair and chanced upon a couple of jazz LPs, of which this was one.  The sun was so bright that when I checked the condition of the vinyl, there seemed to be scratches everywhere, but only light surface ones.  On checking at home, the vinyl looked and sounds pretty much perfect.  The morning’s theme of dirty power is echoed by the album cover, but the music itself is cool jazz;  Recorded in 1971, it finds Mulligan playing with an extended band, but there is space within the recording and this highlights the quality of the playing. Perfect for a Sunday morning!

An Old Friend

After the musical putsch of 1977, my record collection was largely growing through the purchase of punk/new wave singles. Gradually these bands also released albums and it became clear that I had a liking for energetic power-pop type bands.  Along the way I stumbled upon Split Enz, active in the early 70s, but having a resurgence in the late 70s/early 80s and today was able to reacquaint myself with their album ‘Waiata’.  Known for their stunning hair sculptures and wacky/art school type music, I fell in love with this band for a while and many albums passed through my hands ( life has led to cycles of collection and disposal!).Waiata

With the passing of some 34 years since the release of this album, my body has regenerated 4.5 times and I wasn’t sure if I’d still feel the same about it.  I’ve aged, or matured(?), and my musical tastes have gradually changed over that hiatus.  I needn’t have worried, I was soon singing and humming along to some old friends.  I won’t be rushing around looking for all their back catalogue, but this was a nice reminder of past times.

I saw Split Enz one winter in London in the early 80s, I remember the gig for two reasons – the heating had failed and it was freezing in the venue, but the band put on a cracking show.  Of course we all ended up overfed on Crowded House in subsequent years, but at that time the Finn brothers et al produced some interesting and very enjoyable music.

Smooth, Laid Back…

Having known Herbie Hancock from earlier ’60s recordings on Blue Note and his excellent Columbia release ‘Head Hunters’, recorded in 1973, and having liked what I’d heard, I was in a slight quandary as to whether to buy his album ‘Sunlight’ when I found it in a charity shop.  Dating from 1978, gone are the cool Hancock album covers of the past:

HH Sunlight

Recast as Medallion Man, this cover screams “Disco!”, although the image on the back has some redeeming features:

HH Sunlight back

The vast array of equipment hints at the serious musicianship underlying this recording, even if there is what some may consider some overuse of the new toy, the vocoder!

Now Disco never rated that highly in my book, yes I used to have a Chic 12″ single in the late ’70s, but that was as far as things went.  So it was with some trepidation that I sat down to listen to the thing.  Note I was sitting down, not dancing!

I was amazed to find that I knew the first track, ‘I Thought It Was You’, I can only assume that it was a single at the time and it snuck into my sub-conscious, laying dormant for that deja vu moment 37 years on!

Actually, it’s not a bad album.  The last track, ‘Good Question’ stood out on my first listen.  It’s the kind of album I’ll play when I need something to wash over me, vaguely good time and upbeat.  If I’d had coverage on my mobile phone I’d have been put off by the reviews on rateyourmusic.com, but hey, I’m happy to add it to my collection.