The Vinyl Junkie Reviews Affinity

affinity

The Vinyl Junkie Returns

Sorry for the long silence, but I took a road trip to Phoenix on a record-finding expedition.

Since I left, Silver Platters has been inundated with many new collectibles that will amaze you. During the next few weeks, I will highlight two of them at a time.

For you progressive rock fans, SP snagged a collectible, which I never saw or heard, the first and only LP from the band, Affinity. They found the first American pressing of this gem on Paramount PAS 5027, released in 1970.

This self-titled LP of the British band contains rare psychedelia and Hammond B-3-driven progressive rock. You can be transported by the seductive vocals of Linda Hoyle and fuzzy guitar gyrations on such tunes as “Night Flight,” which conjures images of the Doors at their best. The band turns to a more jazzy, horn-dominated sound on “I Am and So Are You,” which ends with a killer guitar solo. Affinity also offers an orchestrated version of the Everly Brothers’ “I Wonder If I Care as Much” and an eleven-minute extravaganza, a remake of Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.” Throughout, Hoyle sounds like a grittier version of her heroine, Grace Slick, and delivers powerful emotions as she and the band successfully bridge the gap between psychedelia of the late 1960s to the emerging progressive rock of the early 1970s.

For those of you interested in classic acid and progressive rock, please check out this item at Silver Platters in SoDo. You may never find it again!

Dr. Dave Szatmary

Author Of

“Rockin’ In Time”

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The Vinyl Junky Reviews Ripple

ripple2

 

The Vinyl Junkie

 

Just last week, Silver Platters found one of the rarer funk records by Ripple. As you remember, Ripple blasted its version of funk and soul during the early 1970s.  In 1973, they cut their debut, which contained their signature tune, the finger-snapping “I Don’t Know What It Is, But It Sure Is Funky” complete with bluesy horn breaks. You might also sample the more orchestrated “Get Off.”

Silver Platters found a very rare white-label promo version of this LP with the oversized timing strip on the front, which I have never seen before. If you collect soul and funk, please look at this gem before it quickly vanishes.

Until next week when I unearth a few more gems at Silver Platters, keep collecting and searching for the perfect record.

                

 

Dr. Dave Szatmary

Author of

Rockin’ In Time

 

The Vinyl Junky Reviews Flaming Lips

The_Flaming_Lips_EP

The Vinyl Junkie

 

I am a vinyl junkie. I admit it.  I enjoy looking in record stores for the perfect record, the one that somehow has slipped through the hands of everyone else.  With my superior knowledge of the holy grail of record collecting, I can spot perfection.  After more than a half century of scouring through record bins throughout the U.S. and the rest of the world (last month, I looked for vinyl in Istanbul), I know that I have an edge on at least the novice.

I guess that admission represents the first step to a cure, but I really don’t want to be cured.  From my vantage point, everyone should be a vinyl junkie.  First of all, music soothes the soul.  Those passionate collectors who search for the greatest music of all time, or the sounds of surprise in the words of one critic, should be lauded and not ridiculed.  Vinyl junkies seek truth through art, in this case music.  We hope to learn more about the human endeavor by experiencing the transcendence of sound, which has been crafted by musicians who in most cases suffer mightily for their craft.  We want to find the answers to some of the probing questions of all time through our pursuit.  We search for the meaning of life itself in seven-, ten- and twelve-inch pieces of vinyl.

Vinyl discs provide a medium unmatched by others.  Though compact discs surely have great sound quality, vinyl provides larger-sized cover art that can be framed and placed on the wall.  The vinyl record also offers a sound that cannot be easily replicated.  It has that analog hum, that buzz, which captures the very gestalt of a performer.  Moreover, vinyl provides a historical record of the music.  When you have a record in your hands, especially an original, you can be transported to a place in time, which no longer exists.  For example, hold an original Blue Note ten-inch record by Thelonious Monk and join the privileged few who experienced Monk during the early 1950s, when he first emerged on the scene and bop exploded from New York City.  Or lay your hands on a rare Stiff Little Fingers punk LP and feel the anger of youth during the heyday of U.K. punk.  With a record album, you become part of the times, which gave birth to the music.

I collect the music I consider to be great music in the genre of rock, jazz, soul, techno, funk, blues and other similar styles.  Others focus on different types of music or try to collect every extant artifact by a specific artist.  Others might collect Christmas records, big band albums or easy listening sounds.  Still others crave white-label promo records that came off the presser in the record plant first of all and have superior sound.  Yet other collectors, myself included, look for certain graphic artists who crafted the cover artwork of albums.  I collect David Stone Martin artwork which appeared on many jazz and a few other types of records from the 1950s to the 1980s.

I have agreed to write this column because I recently discovered the amount of rare vinyl housed in the three locations of Silver Platters.  Like me, you may have assumed that Silver Platters carries only compact discs and DVDs, given its name.  However, several years ago, the owner decided to offer new vinyl and then used records albums in his stores.  Within the past six months, he has bought a number of massive collections of highly collectible vinyl and placed it for sale in his three locations.  He pledges to continue to feed the habit of rabid vinyl junkies with rare and unusual items.  Of course, he also carries mint versions of all the classic rock (e.g. Led Zeppelin, Dylan, Bowie, Eagles, Doors, etc.) and jazz (Monk, Coltrane, Bird, etc.), which serve as the foundation of any record collection.

In this continuing column, I will feature one or two rare records that the store has just priced for sale.  I will highlight some very cool records that will whet your appetite to become part of music history and get you closer to the truth.

                A few weeks ago, Silver Platters bought the very first Flaming Lips 12-inch.  This record comes in a variety of pressings, but the store found the very first version, which the band pressed themselves in 1984 on green wax.

                If you collect, the Flaming Lips, you need this record. It represents the rarest piece of Lips history possible with only 500 copies ever made on Lovely Sorts of Death Records.  It also includes the photocopied lyric sheet.  As an original pressing, it comes with the black (not brown) border.  When you listen to this record, you will be carried to the early 1980s and the beginnings of indie rock.  You will be especially pleased with the steady, ominous beat of “Bag Full of Thoughts.”

Dr. Dave Szatmary

Author of

Rockin’ In Time

Larry Coryell “Monk Trane, Miles & Me”

 

Larry Coryell

Dr. Dave’s Reviews

Larry Coryell also offers a tasty, straight-ahead addition to his already classic catalog with Monk Trane, Miles and Me (High Note, HLP 7028, 180 gram vinyl, recorded on May 28, 1998 and released in 1999).  Coryell started by listening to Tal Farlow and Barney Kessel.  In 1965, the Washington State-bred guitarist left the University of Washington for New York City, where he joined the Chico Hamilton band and the next year formed the proto-fusion group, Free Spirits.  Propelled by the music of Jimi Hendrix, Coryell next released such screaming, hard-driving albums as Fairyland and then from 1972 to 1975 established the ground-breaking jazz-rock fusion of the Eleventh House.  After 1975, Coryell abandoned the electric guitar for acoustic experiments with John McLaughlin and Philip Catherine and even recorded an album of classical music.

This album solidifies Coryell’s reputation as a guitar master and returns him to his electric roots with his Cort LCS-1 guitar. He starts with the standard “Star Eyes,” weaving intricate lines with pianist John Hicks who sheds his avant-garde tendencies during this record date to play a remarkable hard bop with Coryell.  Adding tenor sax player Willie Williams who has credits that include Art Taylor and Art Blakey, Coryell tackles the difficult Monk tune, “Trinkle Tinkle” with aplomb, trading licks with Williams for a barn-burning effect.   He finishes the first side with the more subdued “All Blues,” an early Miles Davis composition.  He takes a tasteful, angular approach to the song, using harmonics, as bassist Santi Debriano adds some interesting bow work.

Coryell begins the second side with the Coltrane ballad, “Naima,” projecting an ethereal, beautiful quality to the song that fades from the grooves before the listener can fully grasp it. He ends with his own “Fairfield County Blues,” which he attacks with a single-note barrage and the Coltrane song, “Up Against the Wall,” a blues that Coryell assaults with the help of some greasy sax work by Williams.  On this song and others, drummer Yoron Israel supplies an artful rhythm base.  Overall, Monk Trane, Miles and Me catapults Coryell back to his master status as an electric guitar wizard and should be snatched up by anyone interested in jazz or the guitar.  Rating 8.

 

Dr. Dave Szatmary

Author, Rockin’ In Time

 

 

Rating System:

 

10 to 9   Classic album

8 to7     Great record

6 to 5     Solid effort

4 to 3    Fans will like it

2 to 0     Avoid at all costs

Kenny Burrell “Special Requests”

 

Kenny Burrell

Dr. Dave’s Reviews

Kenny Burrell and Larry Coryell, two jazz masters, have cemented their reputations with relatively new offerings on High Note Records.

Jazz guitar came into vogue after the invention of the carbon microphone and the condenser microphone, used regularly by 1927, which allowed better, more refined acoustics in the studio. Jazz bands quickly abandoned the then-widely used banjo in favor of the guitar, which could now be recorded adequately.

Innovators on the instrument emerged such as Carl Kress, Charlie Christian, Tal Farlow and others who became well-known soloists as the condenser microphone captured the subtleties of their work. Kenny Burrell and later Larry Coryell became two of the more recent innovators on jazz guitar.

Kenny Burrell began his career in Detroit during the bop era and played with most of the jazz greats including John Coltrane, Donald Byrd, Billie Holiday, Stanley Turrentine, Elvin Jones and many others. He first recorded in 1951 with Dizzy Gillespie and became a mainstay of the fabled Blue Note and Prestige stables during their heydays of the mid 1950s to the mid 1960s.  He continued to record dozens of albums during the next three decades with mixed results.  Some of them captured the bop passion of Burrell while others were subtle to the point of somnolesence.   In 1978, the guitarist also joined the faculty at UCLA.

In Special Requests (and Other Favorites): Live at Catalina’s (High Note, HLP 7252, 180 gram vinyl), recorded in November 2012 and released in 2013, Burrell captures his former glory.  He starts with Benny Golson’s often-recorded “Killer Joe,” which features the veteran hard-bop tenor sax of Justo Almario and the driving piano of the much-neglected Tom Ranier.  Burrell adds some tasty licks to the hard-bopping festivities.  He continues with Freddie Hubbard’s beautiful ballad, “Little Sunflower,” which showcases Almario’s flute.  Burrell ends side one with “The Summer Knows,” a tasteful, Spanish-tinged gem in the hands of Burrell and pianist Ranier.

On side two, Burrell chooses the standard “Make Someone Happy,” which allows him to unleash a single-note attack along with saxman Almario and pianist Rainer. He follows with “Bye Bye Blackbird,” which Burrell and his colleagues turn into a hard-bop romp.  He ends with “In a Sentimental Mood,” a classic by Ellington who named Burrell as his favorite guitarist.  Burrell turns the song into a blues bonanza.  As with the other tunes, bassist Tony Dumas and drummer Clayton Cameron provide an able and steady rhythm section.  In all, Special Requests shows that Kenny Burrell can still deliver after more than 60 years on the scene.  It stands as one of his best albums along with his earlier Blue Note and Prestige dates.  Rating:  8

 

Dr. Dave Szatmary

Author, Rockin’ In Time

 

 

Rating System:

 

10 to 9   Classic album

8 to7     Great record

6 to 5     Solid effort

4 to 3    Fans will like it

2 to 0     Avoid at all costs

Joey Defrancesco”Plays Sinatra His Way”

JDefrancesco

Dr. Dave’s Reviews

The Hammond B-3 organ swept jazz during the 1960s and early 1970s. Originally manufactured in 1935 as a less expensive alternative to the pipe organ in churches, the B-3 fittingly became the instrument of choice for a series of jazz artists who projected a soulful sound.  Headed by Jimmy Smith, a cadre of Hammond B-3 specialists contributed heavily to the “soul jazz” of the 1960s and included “Brother” Jack McDuff, Richard “Groove” Holmes and Jimmy McGriff.

Joey Defrancesco continues the B-3 tradition. He  got his start at the age of 5 in Philadelphia, playing the Hammond B-3 organ in the style of his hero, Jimmy Smith.  He won a Thelonious Monk International Piano competition and then joined Miles Davis on the road.  During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Defrancesco almost single-handedly resurrected interest in the use of the B-3 organ in jazz.

For this date, oddly titled Plays Sinatra His Way (High Note Records, HLP 7105, 180 gram vinyl, recorded August 5, 1998 and released 2004), Defrancesco elicits the help of soulful sax veteran Houston Person and gutsy guitarist Melvin Sparks.  He kicks off side one with a greasy, bop rendition of Cole Porter’s “I Get a Kick Out of You.”  He follows with a blues-inflected “Teach Me Tonight,” which features the smooth, soul-drenched, bop-driven tenor sax of Person and a rather restrained Sparks on guitar.  He completes side one with “What’s New” with Person’s full-bodied sax and Joey D’s solos, which atypically sometimes degenerate from his single-note approach to grating, carnival-sounding chords.

Side two begins with “Witchcraft,” featuring some swinging, bop-infected work by Defrancesco, and represents a highlight of the album.  The earthy, breathy sax of Houston Person makes “Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me” soar with help from the organist who adds bluesy, remarkable improvisations to the swinging mix.  The set ends with a version of “Angel Eyes,” which again showcases Person’s gritty saxophone and Defrancesco’s blues-based, rapid-fire solos.  Byron Landham anchors the band with his steady drumming.

Engineered by the legendary Rudy Van Gelder, Plays Sinatra His Way demonstrates the vitality of the B-3 for jazz improvisation and will surprise the organ-phobes.  In the hands of Joey Defrancesco, the B-3 becomes a vehicle for jazz creativity.  Rating:  7

 

Dr. Dave Szatmary

Author, Rockin’ In Time

 

 

Rating System:

 

10 to 9   Classic album

8 to7     Great record

6 to 5     Solid effort

4 to 3    Fans will like it

2 to 0     Avoid at all costs