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Sunday, 17 May 2020

Everything’s Alright Forever: The Boo Radleys - 1992

French Pressing, 1992.
Earl Collection 00003

The Boo Radleys were a true shoegazing band who were signed to the legendary Creation Records before the advent of Oasis, who basically swept everyone else on the label aside in terms of priority. I thrashed this album in the early nineties - I was totally enamored with their pedal driven sky-scraping sound and melodic sensibility. My most significant memory of this album was listening to it again and again one afternoon spent on the front porch of a rental in Mt Hawthorn sitting on a beat-up flower patterned couch with a couple of fellow mushroom-men watching the sunlight dapple and shine on the trees in the front yard. Let me tell you, it was totally appropriate music for such activities.

I bought this record second hand from Bowerbird Records in Highgate. This record store was one of those stores in which everything was a bit skewed toward the unusual. The two guys who ran the store were singular characters. One lurched about, hunched over and suffering from narcolepsy; the other always wore tight brown footy shorts with a tucked in white shirt whilst he examined some horse-racing booklet. They always sat on opposite sides of the counter. Bowerbird’s shtick was to have a permanent 50% off sale, which they’d remind you of every time you entered the place, even though you’d been there many times before. Subsequently the price tag on the inside of the album (I nearly always put the price-tag inside as a record of its cost and provenience) says $15, but I picked it up for $7.50, a bargain!

Monday, 11 May 2020

Please Send Me Someone to Love: Phineas Newborn Jr. - 1969

USA Pressing, 1969.
Earl Collection 00002

This album is very important to me because it the very album that turned me onto jazz in a big way. I had listened to jazz before, Weather Report and Miles Davis mostly, that I had appreciated rather than loved. I found it difficult to connect with, its alienness kept me apart from its vibrant, soulful inner core. Please Send Me Someone to Love was part of the cache of albums given to me by my brother Gordon in the mid nineties. A few years after that one night wrapped up in wine and hanging with my Rasta friend I spied it in a vinyl stack and something inspired me to pull it out. I listened to it multiple times that night, entranced by its rhythms and grace. Suddenly, during one night and with one album, I was ready for jazz. After that for pretty much an entire year all I bought was jazz and almost everything I listened to was jazz. The only rock music I listened to was The Stooges (almost as obsessively).

Phineas Newborn Jr is an obscure character, almost a footnote in jazz history now. His was a tragic tale, with a career that stuttered rather than flowed mostly due to a mental illness that stopped him from recording and touring consistently. That he was once considered a fine jazz pianist is strongly in evidence when you listen to this album, that and the fact that Elvin Jones preformed on the album, who by then had left John Coltrane’s Classic Quintet. If you are holding this album and are not a fan of jazz, just play it / buy it anyway and it could be the beginning of one of your greatest musical adventures. Basically jazz is an endless godhead of amazing music just waiting there for you to discover.

Monday, 4 May 2020

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars: David Bowie -1972

English Pressing, 1972.
Earl Collection 00001

I first owned this album on cassette, bought shortly after my sister, Satrup, took me to see Bowie at the Perth Entertainment Centre in 1983. This copy, the first I owned on vinyl, after having been gifted the early 1990s Rykodisc CD re-release from a girlfriend which saw me through for a while, came to me via my brother, Gordon, who generously gave me his collection of vinyl in the mid 1990’s. My brother would have been in his twenties during the 1970’s and I’m sure he would have actually bought this particular copy in England.

Bowie was my first major music crush after my pubescent self was blown away by him live on stage. What I didn’t realise was that hearing this album, and many of his others, would cause me to compare other, different, music unfavorably for many years to come. Like many teens before me I listened to this album on headphones, huddled by myself in a corner of the house feeling a connection I couldn’t quite define. This pressing is in superb condition, despite being played many times, particularly in the mid 1990’s after having rediscovered vinyl a year or two before, I would whack it on late at night after sufficient red wine had taken hold. In the throes of a breakup from the first woman that had really fell in love with, this copy of Ziggy Stardust helped to blast away the angst with a combination of typical Bowie melodrama and alien cool. Obviously Ziggy Stardust is one of the greats, but this particular album is imprinted on my soul for very personal reasons.

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Closed Groove Archive

Closed Groove has been created to act as an archival reference point for my collection of vinyl records, a collection that will inevitably exist beyond my lifetime, either together or apart. Each record contains an information sheet detailing why I loved that record (or otherwise), what was happening in my life when I connected with that record and also a little of what was happening in the world at the time. If you find one of my records and are now looking at Closed Groove, you can now see what other records I owned and what they meant to me. Perhaps you may want to track them down or you might happen upon more just from crate-digging. 

Vinyl records are a unique way to connect with the past, not only because of the music they contain, but because of who owned and loved them. This blog represents a small part of the global history of the ultimate in physical media, the vinyl record.