Another day wasted trawling a useless German 'Flea Market'. I counted yesterday's as my eighth since arriving here. Eight flea markets and a consistent hit rate of zero. Times like these, as well as asking myself why I bother, I also wonder where all the records have gone? Obviously they are still changing hands on Ebay and CDandLP (Avoid) but things do seem to be more stilted than ever. After much beard rubbing I put this down to the age of many of the more seasoned collector as well as the fact that thanks to modern technology and constant advancements in the field of medicine, people are living longer, much longer than ever before.
Anyway, desperation sees me pull something from the racks, I played BIG YOUTH before making my way to a particularly average Sri Lankan restaurant last night so this seems to be logical progression.
The production on Ken Booth's 'Everything I own' is much cleaner than you might expect. There seems to be room for everything which is saying a lot when this is for a large part orchestrated with strings and a brass section as well as backing singers. There's a lot going on here and it all works.
I am playing devils advocate here but maybe what is needed to genuinely stimulate the market is some death. In theory that would mean that the posthumous piles and piles of records would eventually find their way to charity shops or used dealers. Otherwise what we have is a situation where NICK DRAKE's 'Bryter Layter' goes for $318.00. What the fuck, it's been re-released at least four times now. Let it go, more importantly, let me get a 'pink rim' Island copy for less than seventy quid. Unless a good twenty or thirty dealers in their late Seventies die sometime soon things are only going to get worse.
There are fewer records out there than ever before, everything half decent seems to have found a home, leaving nothing much beyond the odd 'place holder' or 'player copy' finding it's way to the walls of local dealers. Not to say you can't find pretty much everything if you are willing to pay but for myself and many others financial reality and commitment mean that parting with three figures for an old piece of plastic wrapped in cardboard is tough, very tough.
There is an organ low in the mix that stabs away over the bass and without that the only thing that could possibly pigeon-hole this as a 'reggae' record would be Ken's voice. That and the fact that it's on Trojan. The one pictured is a Euro press, I posted it because the artwork was that much clearer and here you get the full benefit of Ken's sparkly gold shirt.
I am guessing that this is what our good friends at Dub Vendor would call 'Soulful Reggae'. Whatever it is that I really like it. Some of TOOTS AND THE MAYALS later work and a lot of what JIMMY CLIFF put out in the Seventies also falls into this category. Anyway, whatever the officianados call it, it's great and it's just a shame that as a movement it was so seemingly short lived.
Anyway, the title track plods a little but is a highlight, Willie Lindo's guitar work shines through out the album. 'Evil Girl' is great with just the tiniest hint of Moog squeezing it's way through the brass every now and again. Well worth a punt.