Well, that’s it, the Olympics are over. The world comes down with a heavy thud. All there is to do now is apply Brasso to the medals and wonder whether the line-up of the closing ceremony was meant to be an Awful Warning to the athletes about what happens when you take drugs. Dunno about you, but I thought the film of Lennon performing Imagine was not appropriate. Doesn’t he sing about imagining no countries? What had just taken place? A sporting competition in which countries vie to top the medal table. Not that I’m knocking the Olympics, I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would, and London didn’t even get blown up while it was on. And now there’s a hole in our lives that the football season won’t adequately fill. Luckily, as of today, the new issue of Record Collector, no 405, is out! I am not suggesting it is the next best thing to the Olympics – it’s much better than that! You will know it by the presence of Jimi Hendrix on the cover dressed like an extra from Sgt Pepper. We also meet Gentle Giant, Edwyn Collins (the most admirable man in rock), Joe Walsh, talk to producer-engineer legend Ken Scott about The Beatles and David Bowie, share the memory of Victor Spinetti, and we select 500 great reggae records – 10 for every year Jamaica has been independent. There’s also stuff on the genuinely shocking VDO, some outrageously rare Elvis records, plus Dexys, Robert Cray, Paul Heaton, The Distractions and Modern English. OK, OK, I know buying RC will not fill the Olympic void. But reading it might just let you forget it for a while.
Mid August – just 62 King Crimson releases to go until Christmas! Probably. They’re the hardest-working men almost in showbiz. The latest is a 40th anniversary edition of Larks’ Tongues In Aspic, remixed by Robert Fripp and Steven Wilson. In the past couple of months there has been Travis & Fripp’s Follow, and the DVD-Audio format edition of Live In Argentina, 1994. What’s up with Fripp and co? Don’t they know there’s no point in releasing records anymore? Aren’t they aware that the only way they should be going is reforming something resembling the original line-up and touring In The Court Of The Crimson King note for note? Clearly, either they are wrong or the rest of the music biz is. My money is on the rest of the music biz; not hampered by major labels dragging their lumbering feet, Mr Fripp has got it right: get your music out there, and keep it coming.
I thought I was back in St Peter’s youth club, Walthamstow, in 1972 on Saturday when I went to a do called Skinheads Don’t Fear in London. I was going to take some records along myself but I was afraid the big boys might take them, not that I need have worried! The reggae you’d usually expect was played, but in a break with current trends, other music of the era got an airing, including Slade, who sounded twice as noisy as anything else. How did they force such a racket onto a scrap of black plastic? It’s uncanny. Also occupying my ears at present is Ace’s fab Have Mercy! The Songs Of Don Covay collection, which is an education; I know Mr Covay is a genius (and so does Mick Jagger, let’s face it) but I wasn’t aware he’d written Letter Full Of Tears (Billy Fury’s version is on it), and The Staple Singers’ fabulous This Old Town. Talking of which, here’s a slightly strange but oddly compelling video for the latter. I am not sure, but I think the lady may eat the camera at the end.
Thank you for reading this, and supporting RC,
Have a great week
Ian McCann, Record Collector Editor