06 August 2009

The Jams

As recently promised, a long winded installment of "The Jams".

The "Rock and Roll Yard Sale" was a success. The kids behaved themselves, the behavior of the hipsters gave me a good couple of laughs, I ran into some old friends, and I went home with nine new records. Given more time and money, the damage could have been much worse. I saw a great deal of fancy, rare and immensely desirable records, And then I found the guy who was selling everything $3 each, four for $10. I love that guy. I only made it about halfway through his stock, and still I acquired much. I apologize if it took me a little too long to report my results, but I needed time to soak these all in.

Record shopping is often about guessing well, knowing how to tell a good record you've never heard from a bad one.

Let's start with the safe bets. Two by the Ahmad Jamal trio, the first one, "Count 'em 88" a nice thick old slab from the late fifties. I've got a bunch of his records, and they never fail. While not necessarily what you might call the "Blazing Jams", Jamal's piano always makes for pleasant listening while reading at night, or perhaps as a back drop to the sparkling conversation at the cocktail parties I would host if I didn't have kids. Not bad.

Next, a double disc set of Clifford Brown. A little more rambunctious than Ahmad Jamal. I actually discovered ole Clifford years ago by way of the song "I Remember Clifford", a Lee Morgan tune played by the rare 1958 line-up of the Jazz Messengers. Back then, I figured if Art Blakey liked the guy so much, there had to be something to it. Art was right, dudes hot.

Then we have a couple of drum-dork records. They're actually both a little weak, but as a drummer myself, I tend to get sucker-punched by Buddy and Gene occasionally. At least the Buddy Rich one has those spectacular marine pearl Slingerland music stands to match the drum set in the cover photo.

Every now and again, I gotta hand it to the free love crowd. Marianne Faithfull made some really good, really weird records early in her career. The songs on this record are almost throw-away girl pop. But Marianne's somehow spooky vibrato, coupled with a layer of harp and cello on top of the gently rocking, if somewhat standard, playing of the rhythm section turn this one into an eerie and mildly psychedelic experience. Right on.

How can you not by a record with a cover like that? Herbie Hancock on Fender Rhodes, Ron Carter on bass...neither a bad sign in 1969. I imagine this was a sexy date record in the swinging bachelor pads of 40 years ago. Goes well with Courvoisier served in a snifter of tacky proportions.

Here's one for the dancers among you. Ike and Tina kill me every time. It doesn't get better than this, and if you don't understand, than the attempts of an Italian kid who likes to wear pink pants won't help you "get it". Ike may not have been the nicest guy in the world, but dude could make a record. And Tina is "off the hook", as the kids were saying a mere few years ago.

Last, but far from least, one of those gate fold cover, over-the-top production, sex funk masterpieces that Isaac Hayes was constantly churning out in the seventies. These records are great, but I'll listen to this one rarely, because frankly, though my kids may be to young to know, the downright dirty/sexy nature of these records makes me fell a bit embarrassed. It's also what attracts me to them. But what do you want from me, I grew up Catholic.

Total haul for $23. Go find me twenty-three 99 cent downloads on i-tunes that can compare to any of these records (o.k. maybe not the Buddy Rich or Gene Krupa) as heard by way of diamond tipped stylus and wooden speakers. I dare you.


Dan D said...

Ahmad Jamal was always cited as an influence by none other than the great Miles Davis, so he must be good!

Anonymous said...

A whole bunch of cool that the digital media generation can't even conceptualize.

I have a vision of these albums scattered around a bachelor pad circa 1971. Groovy man!

Jim A said...

I'm totally gonna download some of these tunes to my iPod!

sorry, couldn't resist.

ADG said...

The Krupa and Rich albums were worth the trip. Interesting to see Rich behind a set of Slingerlands. He was a Ludwig man for a while.

Unknown said...

Nice! You totally scored! Hey I was at that Rock and Roll yard sale. It was terrific.