On Recent Vinyl Rotation: A Record Fair(ytale).

Once upon a time, in the middle of spring, when the trees were blossoming and people strolled happily on the sidewalks, it was heralded in the city that a record fair will take place nearby. There were stories and rumors told of endless boxes of discs of black gold and the most marvellous sounds captured in them.

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So early in the morning, when dawn started brightening the sky, I set out for my quest to find some of those long sought treasures.

Over 50 vendors and merchants from all over the country got together, people were lining up, waiting eagerly for entrance and music was blasting merrily from the speakers.
I waited in line, excited of what I might find inside. What treasures will be hidden there? I asked myself. Will I find something, for that I left no stone unturned in the recent past?

So I went up to the first vendor. Crates sectioned into different record labels always let my face light up. He had a splendid, but also very pricey Jazz selection where I could easily have spent all my budget at once. But I just thought: “Brace yourself!” and dug deeper into the crates. And then, at the end of the Folk section, there was one record and a fragile voice whispered: “Grab me”:

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Nick Drake – Bryter Layter (1970, Island Records / 2008, Island Records)

A record which is enchanting on its own. Nick Drakes fragile voice floats perfectly and elegantly over the subtle instrumentation and draws you into another world. If you love Folk, soulful music, any kind of music: this one is a true classic. It did not receive as much recognition back in the days as it deserved, being designed to be his second, more accessible album, but it only sold 3000 copies. This one should be cherished more and it brightens up every day.

So, I picked up the first breadcrumb and followed the trail deeper into the forest of crates ahead of me.

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The vendors came in all shapes and forms: The great friendly ones, which you see at every fair and always have a nice chat with them, the little sharks that want way too much money for mediocre goods, or the most cunning type, which seems to appear more often nowadays: they try to sell you rotten apples coated in gold – counterfeits labeled as official pressings. Of course, a keen eye can tell them apart easily (a second press of Alice Coltrane’s Journey in Satchidananda still in shrink? Yeah, sure), but it’s annoying nevertheless.
I started to concentrate more on the World sections, which are always pretty meager, but I never give up, making my way through endless spines.

Mirror Mirror on the wall, who had the most interesting compilation of them all?
And there it was:

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Psych Funk 101 (2009, World Psychedelic Funk Classics)
If you love Psych, Funk and Folk, glazed with a big serving of obscurity, here might be the perfect compilation for you:
It combines hidden gems from all over the world from 1967-1980: Turkey, Nigeria, South Korea, Iran, Italy, Lebanon…
Heavy Psych alternates with neck-breaking drum breaks so funky that James Brown would have instantly have leaped to his feet.

On the stand next to it, not even sure what I was looking for in that crate, a cover suddenly caught my eye:
Beaten and covered with dust, but glimmering golden, I was instantly mesmerized by it even though I did not know anything about that rose:

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The Savage Rose – In The Plain (1968, Polydor, German First Press)
Plain is probably the last word I would describe that record with – it’s awesome Psychedelic Progressive Rock, entwining Jazz, Blues and Classical – the band consisted of classically trained musicians – flavors into it. The exotic childlike yet raspy voice of the singer Annisette instantly bewitches you. It’s a powerful psychedelic ride and just a perfect blind buy.

I started getting a bit weary and less excited while digging through mediocre stuff. But then there was a vendor where I found three marvellous treasures. And I said the magic word with a smile: “Discount?” And the face behind the counter changed, but we agreed to a great deal and I could take those three treasures home:

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John Coltrane – Kulu Sé Mama (1969, Impulse!, French First Press)
John Coltrane is joined here by Pharoah Sanders, Cecil McBee, McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones as well as Juno Lewis. Lewis wrote the beautiful poem which appears in the title track and is a soulful and spiritual hommage to his mother. The records casts great astral and atmospheric vibes and is a splendid, sometimes underrated gem.

McDonald and Giles – s/t (1970, Island Records / 1977, Polydor)
This record was on my want list for quite some time, but I have never seen this in the wild at all so I had to grab it instantly. A Psychedelic Prog gem of the former King Crimson members, featuring heavy drums, great sax play, and insanely funky vibes. I highly recommend to check out the needle drops for this beauty.

Norman Connors – Dance Of Magic (1970, Cobblestone, Promo Copy)
I had come to value Conners as a great Jazz drummer with his participation on Sam Rivers – Hues and several Pharaoh Sanders albums.
This is the first one he made as a leader and features an illustrious cast: Herbie Hancock, Gary Bartz, Cecil McBee, Airto and much more.
An amazing Spiritual Free Jazz outlet with heavy African and Latin flavors.

I started wandering around rather aimlessly, quite satisfied with the treasures I had found. On one of the last crates, there suddenly was an album, very plain in sight, but my heart started beating a bit faster. Could that be an original pressing? The sticker said 10€, so it couldn’t be. I have a repress back home, and never saw any of them in the wild.

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Hansson & Karlsson – Man at the Moon (1969, Polydor)
It’s the last album by the Swedish organ player Bo Hansson (right, the guy you may know from the Music inspired by Lord Of The Rings) and Jan Carlsson made together. What I always loved about their work together is the pure combination of organ and drums, which is minimal but beautifully hypnotizing at the same time. Man At The Moon is basically their most experimental jazzy outlet.

I examined it closer and could not believe my luck because the record looked pristine and was, in fact, a UK first press. The vendor apparently had no idea what it was but could guess from my reaction that it was worth way more (in fact, around six times more).
I gave him the paper, he gave me the goods – rather reluctantly because it dawned on him that he made a mistake – and I tried not to run as I moved away, not believing the steal I have made there.

With a big smile on my face, I went home, spinning all the glorious records, of which you hear needle drops of in the video below.

And the records (hopefully) lived happily ever after in my collection.

The end.

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