Thursday, August 21, 2014

Bad news for roots vinyl collectors

There's more bad news for collectors of original 50s and 60s vinyl in the newly published Record Collector Rare Record Guide (the 2016 edition no less). Prices of many rock and roll and pop records from that time have been tumbling for several years and the latest guide shows a continuation of that trend. Meanwhile, values for progressive rock, psychedelic, some reggae, jazz  and punk, and Northern soul have held up or increased. The revival of  vinyl in the form of reissues and new product doesn't seem to have affected the values of original collectables that much, so far as I can see.
The gradual decline in values of original rock and roll records is vividly illustrated by Joe Bennett and the Sparkletones' two HMV 45s from 1957 which have declined from a peak of £250 each for mint copies  in the 2006 edition to £100 in the latest book. Unfashionable artists such as Brook Benton, Brenda Lee and Connie Francis have seen a drastic reduction in the number of their records making the list at all, not helped by the decision to increase the lowest value for LPs in the book from £12 to £15. Only one 45 by Brook Benton now qualifies for an entry (plus two with Dinah Washington).
Meanwhile there have been dramatic increases in values for other artists. The first pressing of Led Zeppelin I now weighs in at £1500, compared with £500 in 2006. First pressings of the sought after stereo version of the Beatles' Please Please Me LP has doubled to £6000. Interestingly the book is still the same size, but it is now bunged up with valuations of minor variations of promo records by more modern bands such as the Manic Street Preachers and Radiohead.
I'm sure a close inspection of my own collection would show quite a steep drop in the overall values. But there's some good news for some of the records that I've acquired over the years which I thought might be worthwhile investments. My most valuable LP is the Parlophone LP We Are Everything You See by Locomotive which now comes in at £1000, compared with just £200 in 2006. Most valuable 45 appears to be the pre-Who Zoot Suit by the High Numbers, which is also now rated a £1000 disc, compared with £350 in 2006. I continue my searches at car boot sales and charity shops and who knows what might turn up!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lauren and Robin RIP

There have been a couple of high profile deaths this week of people who, although not musicians,were major stars and definitely worthy of a mention and the raising of a glass on The Vinyl Word.
I was quite a fan of Lauren Bacall, whose early films with Humphrey Bogart showed her at her smouldering best.Her husky voice and sultry good looks meant that she made an unforgettable film debut in To Have And Have Not and followed this with three further movies co-starring with her soon to be husband - The Big Sleep, Dark Passage and Key Largo. Later films included How To Marry A Millionaire, North West Frontier and Murder On The Murder Express and remained a major movie star until her death, aged 89.
Much has been written about the depression suffered by Robin Williams which eventually led to his suicide at the age of 63. He was certainly a funny man and an impressive actor, first in Mork and Mindy and later in such hit films as Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting and Mrs Doubtfire. Yet there was always a manic edge to his performance which seemed on the verge of exploding into something uncontrollable. He will be missed.
There have been a couple of deaths in the music world which deserve a mention as well.
Henry Stone, who was 93, may not be a household name, but many of the soul and disco acts that he recorded and produced in his Miami recording studio are. His career began in the late 1940s and in 1951 he recorded a young Ray Charles on St Pete Florida Blues, before having success with The
Charms' Hearts Of Stone, released on De-Luxe. His own labels included Dade (with Latimore's early recordings), Alston (co-owned with Steve Alaimo, which had success with Betty Wright's Clean Up Woman) and Glades, which enjoyed success with Timmy Thomas and Latimore's biggest records.. His most successful label was TK which had enormous disco success with former warehouse worker KC and the Sunshine Band. Stone was known as the King of the Transhippers through his Miami-based Tone distribution company and had an arrangement with Jerry Wexler, who wrote a glowing tribute, which is covered in full in John Broven's Record Makers and Breakers.
The Vinyl Word also raises a glass to New Orleans-born drummer Idris Mohammed, who was 74. Although primarily a jazz man, playing with the likes of Lou Donaldson and Pharaoh Sanders, he made his first mark by playing drums on Fats Domino's 1956 hit Blueberry Hill. And, following prompting from my son, comedienne Dora Bryan, whose sole contribution to the world of music was the dire All I Want For Christmas Is A Beatle in 1963.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Music and sunshine at the Summertime Swing

Laurie London was just 13 when he had a smash hit in the UK and the USA in 1957 with He's Got The Whole World In His Hands. After failing to find an equally successful follow up, he gave up the music business and disappeared from public sight for decades. But now he is back, looking well, singing strongly and with a nice line in humour in between numbers. Laurie was one of the stars of the 10th annual Summertime Swing, located in the gorgeous grounds of Saint Hill Manor near East Grinstead, the UK headquarters of the Scientologists, which took place on a beautifully sunny day. Backed by the excellent seven piece swing band the Jive Aces, as were all the acts, Laurie began with Take The Hand Of A Fool and followed with Hank Williams' Cold Cold Heart and This Little Light Of Mine, before finishing with his 1957 smash. In between numbers he amused the crowd with jokes about DJ for the day Mike Read (the son of Tony Blackburn, he suggested) - see photo below - and members of the band. Very good he was too.
The Jive Aces are the instigators of this annual one day event and they provided the audience with some great swing tunes, including All The Cats, Beyond The Sea, Ain't Misbehaving and the self-penned La Dolce Vita. They were supported by musical theatre star Cassidy Janson and guest trumpeter Antonio Socci and their enthusiasm and humour made for a great afternoon's entertainment.

First guest act on stage were the East Grinstead Ukelele Club who, Mike Read said, had travelled literally yards to be with them.
Also on the bill, and putting on an excellent show, was Woodies favourite Vince Eager, another artist whose career began in the 1950s. He kicked off with Such A Night and followed with Gumdrop, It's Only Make Believe and Mean Woman Blues. Highly enjoyable.

Further musical entertainment was provided by Ray Gelato, whose swing act fitted perfectly with that of the Jive Aces. His set included Whisky On the Shelf, Nosey Joe, Dean Martin's Everybody Loves Somebody (a duet with Cassidy) and I Want To Be Like You.
Here's another photo of Laurie London.
Nick Cobban.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Dave Williams goes Into The Blues

I'm looking forward to reading the new book by Dave Williams entitled IntoThe Blues. This is his second effort and, like his first book The First Time We Met The Blues, it's sure to be a laugh from beginning to end. Dave is a life long blues fan (no clue in the titles of his books then!) and has met numerous blues men and women over the years. His interest goes back to the early 60s when he first met the likes of fellow blues author John Broven. As well as his many trips to the US, he's also travelled extensively elsewhere and is a keen angler and cricketer. According to the sleeve notes subjects include childhood, travel, cricket and fishing and the book comprises 13 'tall man tales' recalling musical adventures and the characters encountered en route.
He threw a launch party last night which was very enjoyable and included a live band, with Bill Moodie on harmonica and Dave adding some additional vocal interjections. (see photo below)