In mid 2014 I picked up Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queen’s “Cold World” from Silver Platters based solely on the cover and the hype sticker Daptone Records placed on it. The sticker read that this record contained, “Soul music of the highest caliber.” I brought the record home and spun it. I then spun it again and again. I have not been able to put this record down. I even recommended this album to at least 6 friends that ask for my help with music. They immediately asked me to buy them a copy.
Born in the 40’s Naomi Shelton is an old school gospel singer. She started her career in church choirs and moved to adapt a soul sound to gospel music. Her music is akin to The Staple singers in many ways lyrically. The production on “Cold World” is spot on with Gabriel Roth running the show. You can expect the typical slick Daptone production you have heard with Sharon Jones, Charles Bradley and the Budos Band. Many of Daptone’s house players lend a hand in instrumentation.
Though this is a soul record I would almost label it folk lyrically. Most songs describe the trials of the world and rising up above the smoke. Other songs are devotional songs praising Jesus. Although, I am not a Christian I find this music to stands up above its religious undertones. It must be said this record was recorded in Mono. That holds some significance because this album would fit in and rival any soul or gospel music put out before it.
Have you paid attention to Charles Bradley on KEXP or maybe Sharon Jones? I feel that this record deserves the same attention as either of those two artists. Surprisingly there are copies still floating around in each of the Silver Platters locations. Go pick this record up and put it on your turntable or in your cd player and turn the music up. You literally will receive a smile on your face and a warm feeling in your heart after listening.
The Vinyl Junkie & Liliput
During 1978 in the ashes of punk rock, a series of alternative, hard-edged bands such as Wire, Gang of Four and others formed to keep the edge of British punk alive in Europe. Liliput, (originally named Kleenex), became an all-female vanguard of this new wave.
The band line-up included Regula Sing on vocals; guitarist Marlene Marder (Marlene Marti); Klaudia Schiff on bass and guitar; and drummer Lislot Ha (Lieselotte Hafner). After an EP on a small Swiss label, the foursome signed to the progressive and important British cooperative label, Rough Trade, and in 1978 released their debut single, “Ain’t You.”
By 1982, armed with new vocalist Chrigle Freund, the Swiss band released their first, self-titled LP (Rough Trade 43). This extremely hard-to-find record, for sale at Silver Platters, showcases the brittle, tense, post-punk era and additionally features one of the best all-female groups that arose during and after the punk explosion. It includes such post-punk classics as “Do You Mind My Dream,” “In a Mess,” and “Feel Like Snakes, Twisting Through the Fog.”
Along with such bands as the Slits, Liliput defined female rock during the period and should not be overlooked! If you enjoy early Wire and even the more popish B-52s, you must have this record.
Author of “Rockin’ In Time”
Crashing through countless swells of riptides along his, almost decade-long journey through psychedelic-tinged rock and electronic experimentation;Jib Kidder’s newest release, “Teaspoon To The Ocean,” finds him washed up on the shores of a seemingly endless, desolate beachfront. Snapping out of his stupor and finding his long-lost sonic bearings.After sojourning in spells of spastic glitches of IDM, freeform noise rock, sunburned twangs of warped country, boisterous syncopations of sound collage, inebriated, hazy, and downright majestic drones, and even jubilant amalgamations of Middle Eastern melodies paired with raw hip hop sample breaks. His latest offer scoops up all of these disparate fever dreams, into one beguiling, wildly inventive, and altogether concise statement of rock music that, still intangible, drips elegantly downward into a pool of sheer exquisite songwriting.
What can only be described as psychedelicate, songs such as “Appetites,” “World Of Machines,” “Dozens,” among others demonstrate his process of modeling head-scratching, fragmented concepts and augmenting and contextualizing them to form a beautiful mosaics of harmony and instrumental wonder. Lay out your beach towel, pitch your umbrella and bask in the gentle embrace of these meditative grooves, as this serene masterwork is sure to satiate your anticipation of the summertime and all of the good vibes it promises.
On a recent shopping trip one time to my local record store, I saw Nina Nastasia’s album “Dogs”. I purchased it blindly not knowing anything about her. I admit I was drawn in by the minimalistic stark black and white cover. Contained on the vinyl is one of the most beautiful records I own.
Nina Nastasia is a singer songwriter from New York City. She has one of the most beautiful voices I have heard. Her impeccable melody and songwriting skills are off the charts. If you listen deeply you will notice songs written about simple life situations that often make you smile or wince with familiarity.
It is hard for me to pick a favorite song from this record, but I would say the song “All Your Life” showcases the songwriting Nastasia is capable of. “All Your Life” details the process of falling down and getting back up again. She confronts her drug addicted friends pleading for them to get help. It’s magnificent. A favorite line of mine is “Why don’t you try again? All your life you couldn’t win, you couldn’t win.”Another track of note is “A Dog’s Life.” It details the life of a dog from the dog’s point of view. It will make you smile.
“Dogs,” flows with great stamina. The songwriting seems to go from strong to stronger. Most songs are sung with acoustic guitar and minimal accompaniment such as light electric guitar or violins. John Peel called this album “astonishing”. Producer Steve Albini gives such a gushing review of this record it really puts my write up to shame. Why don’t you skip the details and give a listen to “Dogs” and find out what all the fuss is about. You will not be disappointed.
The Vinyl Junkie
All jazz fans: If you’ve never heard of Wynton Kelly, you need to listen to him. He remains one of the most unheralded pianists of the 1960s and rates with such luminaries as Horace Silver and Hank Jones.
Born in New York City to Jamaican immigrants, Kelly started to play professionally at the age of twelve and by sixteen had earned his first R&B hit, Hal Singer’s 1948 “Cornbread.” After working with Eddie Lockjaw Davis and Hot Lips Page, in 1951 the pianist released his first album as a leader on Blue Note Records. It’s the impossible-to-find “Piano Interpretations.”
After a two-year stint in the army, Kelly came back to the scene to play with bop masters Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Johnny Griffin and many others. He served as the consummate back-up player to greats such as Dinah Washington and Billie Holiday and released his second album as a leader in 1958 for Riverside, simply called “Piano.”
In 1959, Kelly signed with Miles Davis and became part of jazz history by playing on a selection of the record, “Kind of Blue,” which also featured Jimmy Cobb, John Coltrane, bass player Paul Chambers and Cannonball Adderley. He stayed with Davis until 1963. Simultaneously, he signed with Vee-Jay Records and released four classic albums. In addition, he served as the pianist on classic Cannonball Adderley albums such as “Cannonball Takes Charge” and Coltrane’s essential “Giant Steps” and “Coltrane Jazz.”
Once he finished with his Vee-Jay contract and split from Miles, Kelly signed to Verve. The pianist cut a total of six records for the label until 1968, when he stopped recording. Two years later, Wynton unexpectedly passed away in Toronto, where he had traveled for a gig.
Silver Platters has a rare but again totally under-priced record from Kelly, his third Verve release, which seldom surfaces anywhere. Called “Undiluted,” this record features the Miles Davis rhythm section of bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Jimmy Cobb with a few added artists on side two.
Released in 1965, the record finds Kelly at the height of his powers, playing a soulful, blues-based piano jazz. It contains such gems as “Bobo,” “My Ship,” and “Out Front.” It has the label number, F-8622, an original pressing.
Give yourself a treat, and pick up this Wynton Kelly masterpiece. Sit back and let the blues wash over you.
Dr. Dave Szatmary
Rockin’ In Time
The Vinyl Junkie
Metal heads, get ready. Silver Platters has a copy of the super rare album, “Siren,” by the rocking metal band, Savatage on BLUE VINYL! It’s on Par Records 1050 in pristine shape.
Savatage formed in the death metal capital of the world, Florida, when in 1978 two brothers Jon and Criss Oliva banded together as Avatar. Two years later, they joined with Steve “Doctor Killdrums” Wacholtz, who earned his nickname from his wild, propulsive drumming. A year later, bassist Keith Collins came into the group to make the first full Avatar line-up.
In 1983, another band with the name “Avatar” threatened to sue the foursome, so they changed their name to Savatage, a combination of the words Avatar and Savage.
In 1985 early in their career, the group signed to major-label Atlantic Records, which constantly tried to push them toward a more commercial direction. Groomed by Atlantic, the outfit achieved its pinnacle of commercial success in late 1987 with “Hall of the Mountain King,” which reached number 116 on the chart and sold nearly 350,000 copies after heavy rotation on MTV’s “Headbanger’s Ball.” The record showed the band in the beginning stages of abandoning its heavy metal roots for a more symphonic direction. By 1989, Savatage had made the switch completely with the follow-up, “Gutter Ballet.” In 1993, the band experienced another set-back when guitar wizard Criss Oliva unexpectedly passed away. To date, the group has released a total of eleven studio LPs and two live ones, fueled by the energy of Jon Oliva.
But now the good news, “Siren,” recorded in 1983, presents Savatage in an unadulterated, pure form before the hooks of Atlantic Records pulled the band from its screaming, wild version of guitar-based metal. Done by the independent Par Records, the album contains the thumping, arpeggio attack of Criss Olivia on such songs as “Holocaust” and the title cut “Siren.”
If you’ve never heard this version of undiluted Savatage, get it. You may never find it again, especially in the Par blue vinyl edition.
Dr. Dave Szatmary
Rockin’ In Time
The Vinyl Junkie
I want to point you to a very rare and wonderful album that has been underpriced at Silver Platters. Hopefully, it will still be in stock when you arrive. It’s a near mint copy of Gerry Mulligan & His Sextet called the “Mainstream of Jazz” on the original Emarcy label 36101.
As the jazz cognoscente know, Mulligan helped pioneer the cool school of jazz with Miles Davis on the “Birth of Cool” album and then subsequently took his piano-less quartet, featuring the great Chet Baker, from the West Coast to national stardom during the 1950s.
This LP highlights the great, innovative baritone sax of Mulligan with a different cast of sidemen, including the sax master Zoot Sims, bassist Bill Crow, drummer Dave Bailey, Bobby Brookmeyer on trombone and either the under-recorded Jon Eardley or Don Ferrara on trumpet. The sextet bops through six tunes, including “Igloo,” ”Blue at the Roots” and “Elevation.” All of the songs were recorded in New York City between January and September 1956.
Quite honestly, it doesn’t get much better than this album, if you happen to be a fan of bop and cool West Coast jazz. If you want even more material from this session, try to find the now out-of-print volumes 2 and 3 on Japanese only releases. Silver Platters might have them on CD.
Dr, Dave Szatmary
Rockin’ In Time