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
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.
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).
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.
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.