[vinylsighting] From punk scrawls to duck calls...

Bootleg Sparks!


Welcome back to VinylSighting, where the celebration continues with a random sampling. I wracked my feeble, heat-addled brain for a while trying to uncover some sort of theme to build upon, to unite this disparate little troupe, before I realized that what interests me rarely crashes to reality in a series of sortable columns. Hence, we have (the first?) punk from Chicago, a British opera about drama in transit, a giant of classical piano choosing not to feature his piano playing, freestanding Attractions, and a quick lesson in inter-species communication.



Nabbed at the Rough Trade shop on Portobello Road in London, this 1978 UK-only single is, according to its creator and the members of Cheap Trick, ground zero for Chicago punk. Prevailing mono(lith)culture tells that punk is all buzzsaw guitars, hurtling tempi, and gruff vocals, but this adenoidal plaint is a handy reminder that punk’s umbrella is (or was) way, way larger. Fantastic, urgent stuff that still manages to be nimble and melodic. JIM SKAFISH (rhymes with “grey-dish”) made a great neurosis-charged debut album for IRS, too, that’s well worth a spin.

Gerald Moore

Listeners know MR. MOORE, CBE, the great British classical pianist, as a superb accompanist to great lieder-men like Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau…I was shocked to find this disk wedged in between the requisite Dan Fogelberg and Helen Reddy LPs in an Allston thrift store. Here, he expounds in wit, words, and musical examples on how the accompanist — long a thankless role played by many by rote — can enhance and elevate a performance. Part instructional, part audio-book, part comedy (comma dry comma British).


The Attractions

And speaking of accompanists…it’s probably just me, but the older I get, the less moved I am by Elvis Costello, and the more charming the admittedly slight ATTRACTIONS solo projects seem. Not nearly as pretentious and self-consciously clever as Mr. MacManus’s work, their little clutch of singles (and one LP) are modestly engaging on their own merits and more charming than expected, reluctantly thrusting one of the great supporting combos into the spotlight.

The Transports

Folk iconoclast BELLAMY left us too soon, taken by his own hand not long after his 47th birthday. He left behind an array of recordings, few more cherished than this ballad opera of love and colonial red tape affecting two star-crossed English convicts sentenced to be transported to Australia. Bellamy reportedly carried it around for some time before a label agreed to mount it, with a cast of Brit-folk luminaries and an elaborate booklet cradled in its gatefold sleeve…this copy is actually signed, too, which I didn’t realize when I bought it.

Instructional 78 found in a garage in Maine. Before putting the duck call to your lips, you must first visualize, internalize, and realize. Be the duck, be the duck… then hopefully kill the duck.

Brad San Martin is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter in the Boston-based indie-pop trio One Happy Island, who will be performing two free sets at the Boston Handmade Marketplace in Union Square, Somerville, on Saturday, July 30th, starting at 3pm. His newly-minted VinylSighting blog is a welcome addition to On The Download, despite the obvious shortcomings of not being able to download a vinyl record.

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