Sailor - A Picture In Sound Of The Royal Navy, BBC Records and Tapes 1978 , £1.00
Well shiver me timbers me old hearty matey
young Jim Jim Jimmy Jim Jim me lad. Ahoy for a seafaring voyage
to far off places and fine adventures,
though in practice it may include not having any aeroplanes on
your carrier, random events of flooding, getting shot at,
burned, being run aground by the captain, sunk etc.
Or, at least, to a random selection of pieces from the BBC archives ruined by having sound effects recorded on Royal Navy ships pasted on top of them. Track 3 is "Missile, where a basic set of commands are given which ensure that the 'hostile' (aircraft) is engaged and destroyed by the ship's Sea Cat missile." This operation is performed to the accompaniment of Veni Creator Spiritus, sung by the Monastic Choir of Hauterive Abbey Switzerland. Let's hope God's on our side eh? Close inspection of the front cover shows the varied sides of the Navy life, which you can see in greater detail by clicking on it. The chap who says 'affirmative' 0.75 of the way through sounds rather like Peter Tuddenham doing Orac.
Plus points for having Theme One by George Martin (the original 1967 Radio 1 Theme) and Adagio from the Radiophonic Workshop.
While we're on the subject of Ronco, does anyone remember that stunning Ronco product, made as ever in brown plastic, the Ronco record-o-vac-o-matic? This was a wedge shaped lump of plastic with a slot down the middle and bits of felt attached either side of the slot. Inside there was a couple of D size batteries and a toy motor attached to a plastic centrifugal vacuum sucker which could move about 2ccs of air an hour when externally wired to two car batteries in series. You put quality Ronco anti static record cleaning fluid on the nasty felt bits and put your record in the slot. This then rotated somehow and proceeded to cover the surface in the coloured water and glue dissolving off the felt bits while simultaneously scratching the crap out of it. A cunning corporate ploy to sell more Ronco records, I'll wager.
Anyway...Despite being recorded with the grooves terribly close together as usual, this particular album by "The Conmeister" has excellent renditions of many timeless favourites. Yes, The Poor People Of Paris makes an appearance again, A Walk In The Black Forest etc etc. Not to be missed this one, for it will provide many hours of listening pleasure.
Poor People Of Paris
The ultimate compare and contrast tune, as it is present on a great many of these instrumental albums. I wonder if there are any lyrics to it?
Old Pianna Rag
Due to its very steady beat and fairly well repeated nature you can make great loops of this for comedy radio bed music by...
a) Looping it using some digital editing program like Cooledit Pro and recording it onto a minidisc.
b) Recording it onto 1/4 inch tape at 15ips on an EMI BTR3 and making one of those great big 24 bar loops that runs all the way round the studio supported by Newcastle Brown bottles and recording the resultant loop onto a scabby old Aristocart with as much cart tape in it as you could wind on it without inducing cart tape Autumn Leaf syndrome.
A pocketful of dreams eh? And I assumed it was just the way he was standing. Not purchased because of its musical qualities, nor to stare wistfully into those dreamy eyes, but because of the pant-kackingly hilarious graffiti on the front. What, you can't read it? I'll scan it sometime and put a bigger picture behind the one above, though it doesn't take too much imagination to guess the jist of it. Strangely, came with a laminated cover. Is that ex-Radio Glen manager Spotty Dave S. on the left there? No it's not, but the similarity is uncanny:)
Jeez, 'fraid so, it's another dolly bird with big knockers on the front. She's just dipped her toe in a crocodile infested swamp and is wobbling a tad on her stiletos, while still maintaining that elastic band enhanced smile and those glazed over eyes. I didn't have very high hopes for this one, which just goes to show that you should never judge a crap record by the inaness of its cover. This is a real jem, and none of your boring old Kaempfert so frequently seen on later compilation albums of dreary, slow, over stringy Sleepy Shores performances, Oh no! Here the man is on form and packs in the up-beat tracks and chucks a couple of slow ones in just for variety. The title tune Swingin' Safariyou will surely recognise, Wimoweh is of course the same tune as done by Tight Fit some years back, but did you know that Zambesi is on here too? You know, the one re-done by some band in the 80s? (wearily - "Yeeas") Well here it is in all its big-band glory. Worth actually buying new on CD, if it's out.
While I'm at it, let's have a bit of a rave about the recording quality on this disc. In short, excellent. Full frequency stereo, it just goes to show what you can do with valve mic preamps, recorders and 1962 mics if you know what you're doing. Of course you'll have to buy the album to get the full effect.
Spangley light effects courtesy of trees and the sun.
Ed Stewart is fresh from the wig-maker, has dropped something that is making his eyes cross wildly and is raring for rock on this record from before the era of mobile discos for kids parties. The idea being that you make some Ed "Stewpot" Stewart's party hats and some 1970s levels tartrazine loaded Stewpot jellies as detailed on the back of the attractive gatefold sleeve and then bung this record on when the kids arrive, leaving you free to light the blue touch paper, switch the BSR deck on the Ferguson music centre to repeat and run outside terribly quickly. There you are free to open a tin of Long Life, smoke a fag, and listen to the distant sounds of falling furniture, breaking glass and ritual torture coming from within. Stewpot's time on Junior Choice ("Two seven-five and Two eight-five... Radio One!" Saturday mornings in the pre- Swap Shop era) stood him in good stead for sounding bonkers-matingly enthused over playing "Tubby the Tuba," "My Brother" and "The Laughing Policeman," for the sixteen billion-zillionth time on air though here we are treated to crashingly bad cover versions of pop classics sung by a chorus of stage school children. Still, there is surely no substitute for the sideburn-tastic clinically obese grossly sweating in his spingly-sparkly rubber suit performance of Gary Glitter... Right Kids? "Yaaaaaaay!"
Introduction and Glitter
Stated as if that is intended to enthuse the prospective purchaser in some way, here they are in all their cockney barrel-boy and occasional faux Northen accentiness intense boredom horror. Chip shop boy is brushing some dandruff off his shoulder which has just flaked down from his greasy locks, as the others watch him on the monitors and laugh heartily.
Maybe It's Because I'm A Londoner - The Whole Lot of 'em
Not for the faint hearted - here are the solos. Arrrrrgghh!
Ship Ahoy - Sharon Watts
Goodbye Dolly Grey - Doctor Legg
Don't Dilly Dally - Kathy Beale
The Barrow Boy Song - Pete Beale
Daddy Wouldn't Buy Me A Bow-Wow and Ennery The Eight I Am - Lou Beale and Den Watts
Somebody Stole My Gal - Arthur Fowler
Oh Johnny Oh Johnny Oh
Dull It Isn't, The Metropolitan Police Band, Decca 1974, £1
(Wow, look who's finally bought an A3
scanner!) Edit 2020: Which became useless after about 5
years when support for XP ended, and I couldn't get Win7 drivers
for it. That's environmental progress for you. Into
Dull It Isn't? Dull It Isn't? Is this the police equivalent of irony? I thought they were usually much better at it than that... oh no, sorry, I'm confusing irony with sarcasm. You can tell there's been some desperation in the Decca creative camp coming up with a catchy title, or maybe they were trying not to be too misleading. The most interesting thing on this record is the Rover speeding round Picadilly circus on the cover. They might at least have done the Theme From Z cars. Bobbins. Probably played during interrogations to reduce hardened criminals to cowering wrecks.
Galaxy Gold, Neil Norman and his Cosmic Orchestra, Chevron Records 1980, £1
Also available on cassette
The Final Spiele Frontier...
Ahhh, crank up the 8-track and journey into space with Neil Norman and Les Baxter in his orange Austin Maxi. I hope there's room in the back.
Wanky Star Trek