To go along with our Good Records feature we got Jonny from Good to give us a Record Check of his own. Some unusual and unexpected picks…
Herbie Hancock – Stars In Your Eyes – Columbia
Herbie’s electric period is dominated by the clumsy scratches of “Rockit”, the frog-belch bassline of “Chameleon”, and the space aged free jazz experimentation of “Crossings”, “Mwandishi”, “Flood” and “Dedication”. This cut is all sophisticated subtlety though; the bubbling synth just shuffling along and leaving plenty of room for soaring voices and strings while the two-step rhythm keeps it moving. Classic.
UGK – Ridin Dirty – Jive
The fact that this southern rap classic was pressed on vinyl at all is a miracle; much of its contemporaries were CD-only. So it makes the fact that most of those pressed are clean copies a little more forgivable. I’ve never seen the dirty version (it does exist), but it almost doesn’t matter – rather than substitute lame backwards-style effects or car crashes or beeps or whistles, Bun and Pimp recorded substitute lyrics, at virtually no cost to the cohesion of their verses. It’s basically like having a rare and secrete alternate version of the best Texas rap record of all time.
The Defaulters featuring Charles Hancock – Gentle Man b/w Clark Darke and The Defaulters – Disco Dennis – P.D.J.S. Records
By far the biggest seller for us on this past April’s Record Store Day wasn’t some lame major label back-catalog regurgitation, but a one-off compilation by The Numero Group of recordings made at one small studio/pressing plant in Ohio called Boddie. Primitive new wave, deep harmony soul, heavy funk, genesis-era hip-hop, wasted proto-metal, the only string through these disparate sounds is the room in which they were created. I managed to get a hold of this beautiful sweet soul ballad after hearing it on that compilation, but little did I know that the flip – a hokey lo-fi dancefloor number called “Disco Dennis” – was dedicated to stalwart left-wing Congressman (and former nightclub kingpin, apparently) Dennis Kucinich. Who knew!
Stan Hubbs – Crystal – Companion/Gloriette
What to say about this record? The party starts off with a keg of homebrew, but by the third song the shrooms have kicked in and you’re tripping balls; its ending comes suddenly in a swirl of feedback. The 2-part, male/female coke-haze harmonies recall late-era Fleetwood Mac. A harpsichordic synth preset sits front and center, sounding like some kind of damaged flower child forced to wander through the proggy 70s wilderness until she finds herself at an octagonal hippie compound on the outskirts of Camp Meeker. Echo-laden guitar licks drop in unannounced. The words hang loosely, with few plans and fewer hooks, equal parts youthful exuberance and jaded skepticism, the worn buzz of a thousand doobies and mournful rememberances of a time that has already passed.
Yabby You – Conquering Lion – Micron
Deep. The ice grills from Yabby You, neé Vivian Jackson, and his compatriots on the back of the jacket are all you need to see to know that it’s not a game; Augustus Pablo and the Aggrovators provide the tough-as-nails backing tracks. The title tune, Jackson’s most well known (due to its chanted refrain of “ayoooouuu… yabby yabby yoooouuuu…”) bears the unlucky distinction of having been stolen from him in a studio session by another artist, and pressed to vinyl before he could release his own. But Jah smiled on Yabby, and his version shot to the top of the charts.
Broken Glass – Rather You Than Me – Citysound
Love this little one-off 45 out of Boston. The singer recounts his night: first at the bar, where some dude tries to test and gets laid out. He meets a chick, and takes her home, but not without the provision that she must do what he says once they get there or meet his bad side. A sleazy, laid back funk groove augments the singer’s nihilist deadpan. Bad vibes never sounded so good.
Various – Coincidence Vs Fate – Les Disques du Crépuscule
This is an obscure compilation of new/no-wave made for the Japanese market, circa 1984, by the Belgian label Les Disques du Crépuscule. It starts with A Certain Ratio’s “Shack Up” and goes from there, at times sounding entirely contemporary with what many rock bands are doing right now. It’s lovingly notated in languages I don’t understand, and includes several inserts. The notes on back proclaim, “This is a record made in Japan. It is designed for the Japanese market. It contains songs which appear on other releases in other markets. We’re not saying don’t buy it. But if you do don’t complain.”
Television – Adventure – Elektra
This record comes and goes all the time here in the shop, but one day last month I got the distinct feeling that I’d never really, you know, listened to it, man. I’d always opted for its more lionized brother, Marquee Moon, leaving it alone on the shelf like some kind of bastard stepchild. So I decided to drop the needle on this well-worn classic and try to approach it with some fresh ears. When the main riff on “Days” dropped, I knew I had fucked up; nothing that makes you feel this good should be made to collect dust. The first side began to fade out, and in the middle of the deceptively light, victory lap-sounding coda of “Carried Away”, I shed a single, jangly tear for the years of deprivation I’d unwittingly caused myself. The softer edge cuts just as deep.
Raw Dope Posse – Listen To My Turbo – Show Jazz
A perfect example of hardcore hip-hop. The beat is manic: Mantronix-inspired rapidfire snare programming, some bells, a spliced telephone busy signal, a scratched horn break, and the vocal science is delivered with utmost swagger and precision. If this came out yesterday, it would still sound ahead of its time. Still a tough pull after all these years..
William Onyeabor – Tomorrow – Wilfilms
Onyeabor was a successful businessman in Nigeria and built himself his own recording studio, seemingly outfitted with every synth, drum machine, and cutting edge recording device available. He pressed his own records, and allegedly made his own movies. On vinyl, he was extremely prolific – and this LP finds him in my favorite style of his, a spaced out disco vibe that doesn’t quit. Quite desirable and never turns up except in Nigeria – a unique Good Records NYC exclusive.