Stanley Clarke – Modern Man

I bought this a few weeks back on vinyl, from Good Times

Click on the cover to listen to the title track.

I bought his self-titled album a while ago, and liked it so much that I wanted more. So, when I saw this I bought it, no questions asked.

Unfortunately though it is a little disappointing. It is supposed to be a jazz fusion album, but to me it sounds more like a mix of disco and funk, and in fact it came out in a still very disco 1978. There are plenty of horns, disco-guitars, and various singers, along with piano and Stan’s funky bass playing. But, it just doesn’t do it for me, as much as I like Stan and disco, the two just don’t go together for me. Reviews on the Interwebs are also quite mixed.

The vinyl, cover, and insert are all in minty condition, all good there. It is a Japanese pressing.

I do like the cover though, Stan was a cool customer back in those days.

Stan’s best album cover.
This one is cool, too.

I am sure though this is just a blip in the Stan catalogue, so I shall continue seeking out more of his albums, those two above albums especially.

Stan has a great website, check it out.

Music count 2018: 105
Total vinyl count: 22

Saturday Night Fever

Not only is this an interesting and amazing film, but it also has one of the best film soundtracks around, which is why I snapped this up a few weeks back when I found it.

Six of the seventeen tracks on this double-album are Bee Gees tracks, pretty much all of their major hit songs with tracks like “Stayin’ Alive”, “Night Fever”, and “Jive Talkin'”. Other bands include Kool & The Gang, K.C. And The Sunshine Band, David Shire, and The Trammps. The film score tracks by David Shire though are not that great, they let down the album a bit, but the rest is pure disco gold.

The vinyl is is excellent condition and the cover is not too bad and includes the “obi” (the strip on the cover) which seems to be advantageous to have whether buying or selling a used record here. I got it for around 800 yen.

Fave track on the album is the 10 min 50 sec version of “Disco Inferno” by The Trammps.

Next, I want to find the “Staying Alive” soundtrack.

Music count 2018: 104
Total vinyl count: 21

Heavy Metal Britannia

This is another of the Britannia series of documentaries, the previous one I watched was Synth Britannia, which I wrote about a couple of posts back.

In this we follow heavy metal from it’s very early beginnings in England with bands like Budgie, Deep Purple, and of course Black Sabbath. There are plenty of interviews with many people including Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson, Lemmy, and Ozzy. And there is plenty of interesting footage and photos.

I learned a few interesting things such as how the term “heavy metal” was coined by William H. Burroughs in his “Naked Lunch” book. Steppenwolf then used it in their song “Born To Be Wild”. However, to check the story on the interwebs I came up with this article which tells a different and not conclusive tale.

I also learned that it was Judas Priest who started the whole leather, gun belts, and plenty-of-studs look that defined how a heavy metal band should look. And I learned that many of these heavy metal chaps are quite nice fellows who just love what they do…always the best way to be. Rob Halford is a very likeable fellow, and Ozzy is just plain funny.

Rob Halford

Definitely a must-watch for metal fans, and an education for those who know little about one of the happiest forms of music there is (I can attest to that).

Date watched: October 28th
Score: 9/10
Film count 2018: 71

Van Halen – Fair Warning

This was an album I had my eyes on for a while, but I passed it over for other albums such as the Abba album I bought a while ago. But, finally I succumbed and it has been in my collection for a few weeks now.

I am not a huge fan of Van Halen, but songs like “Jump” and “Hot For Teacher” are just too catchy to not like. This is their fourth album and does not have any tracks that most people would know unless they are V.H. fans, although “Unchained” is quite familiar.

It came out in 1981, three years before 1984 which is the album that had aforementioned songs and made Van Halen super-duper-stars. This album though is a very Van Halen-sounding album and has some good tracks. I just find it to be a decent but not essential listen. I am listening to it as I type, and I am actually getting into it as I bash on the keys, so perhaps I am warming to it.

The record and album cover are both in near-new condition. It is a Japanese pressing.

I am getting behind in my record posts, I have at least four more to write about, so I will get onto that.

Music count 2018: 103
Total vinyl count: 20

OMD – Souvenir

After watching the synth documentary I saw this in the recommended section on YouTube. It seems to originally have been a DVD-only release from 2007.

The story starts off with OMD about to perform in Dusseldorf at Night of the Proms, we see them backstage looking a bit nervous and getting ready to go on. They then go to the stage and the opening credits begin.

The story then goes back to their beginnings and through all of their albums, their breakup, their solo careers, then finally to their reformation. And of course we go back to Dusseldorf where we see part of the concert there.

It is all very well done and quite interesting, although this is really more for fans than casual observers. I wouldn’t say I am a fan, but I like some of their songs, so I found this quite watchable, and it is always good to learn about bands and how they go about making music. Both of them basically had no music training when they started OMD.

There were no interviews with other people around OMD, no managers, wives, or even other musicians, it was all told by a narrator and the two founding members themselves in their own words. Maybe it was done on a budget, but it all looked professionally done with no frills.

Yet another good music documentary, I may just watch another tonight…in fact I feel like learning more about Willie Nelson.

Date watched: October 28th
Score: 8/10
Film count 2018: 70

Burial

A few posts back I said I was waiting on a much-anticipated vinyl record to arrive from England, and it did so last week. I was a little worried that it might arrive damaged in some way, perhaps warped, but it arrived in perfect condition…thanks Royal Mail and Japan Post!

The record is a 12″ Burial single called Truant / Rough Sleeper, two tracks that run for a total of 25 minutes. The songs are comprised of several parts, with each part separated by a short silence, which is something I have not heard in a Burial song before. But, it is still pure Burial gold, and having a Burial release on vinyl makes it even more special.

Here is a good review which explains the record far better than I ever could.

Certainly this is the most prized record in my small collection, and it will probably stay that way.

Listen to the tracks here.

Music count 2018: 102

Beware of Mr. Baker

Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols is a radio DJ in Los Angeles and has his own weekday afternoon show. When he has an interview on the show, which is often, it is recorded on video and uploaded to YouTube. So today I watched a couple of them, the first with Simple Minds, and the second with Stewart Copeland of the Police. During Stewart’s interview he mentioned Ginger Baker, and how he was part of a documentary about the life and times of Ginger. I was intrigued so looked it up on YouTube, and was happy to find it there.

Ginger Baker was the drummer for Cream, and if you can believe any of the interviewees in the documentary, is the best drummer in the history of rock, or at least was as these days health and old age (he is 79) have prevented him from playing. It is very clear though that he was a brilliant drummer not only in rock but also in jazz which is what he was playing until a few years ago.

What is also clear is that he is a grumpy curmudgeon, quite wild, a troublemaker, terrible with money, and just a generally complicated character. The film starts off with him attacking the documentary director with his cane, causing a gash in his nose…all because the director said that he was off to interview other people about Ginger’s life, something that Ginger was not happy about at all. This Rolling Stone interview will give you a good idea of what he is like.

Jack, Ginger, and Eric.

In between the interviews, which were done at his then home in South Africa, there were the other interviews with such people as Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce (Cream’s bassist), Stewart Copeland, Nick Mason, Ginger’s son and two daughters, his ex-wives, various managers, and John Lydon (Ginger actually worked on PiL’s “Album” album).

There was also plenty of archive footage and photos from Ginger’s long and busy past. Apart from music he had a go at a cheap Hollywood action film (which looked quite bad), he was an avid polo player, he drove across the Sahara in a Range Rover, and lived in countries such as Nairobi, Italy, the U.S., and South Africa. He was also into the usual musician vices such as drinking and doing drugs.

The documentary itself is well told and made, I have no criticisms of it at all. There are some nifty animation sequences too. The director/writer/producer actually lived with Ginger in South Africa for a while and wrote a Rolling Stone article about him. He returned in 2010 with a film crew to make the documentary.

This is a must-watch for anyone who loves music, and for those who appreciate a well-made documentary, or both.

Date watched: October 27th
Score: 10/10
Film count 2018: 68