Tuesday, January 12, 2010


So I have decided to risk being struck by purist lightning and review a reissue. Why the change of heart?  Have I gone soft and handed in my Record Shop Fascist membership card? Not exactly although there was a moment of realization a few days ago following a conversation on the subject. There are gaps in the records that I own, some of which will most likely never be filled because I have an idiot 'no barcode'/first press only policy (It swings from one to another to suit). This record for example - 'The Rubaiyat of Dorothy Ashby', never seen a decent copy for less than a couple of hundred dollars and that is for me crossing a line - the used car line. Shit as it might be, you could buy a used car for around the same sort of money.

Its a line I sail dangerously close to from time to time but one I never cross. Obviously the glass ceiling is dictated by my financial circumstances and were I say a particularly successful banker or similar there is no doubt that things would be different - I would own a top-opening copy of The Beatles - The Beatles with a very low sleeve stamp number. (Even though I have it on very good authority that this does not in fact count as credits in the after-life)

Anyway, so now I have caved but at 7 quid instead of 200 bucks it was hard not too. So was it worth a bending of principals no matter how spastic they were? Yes, I think it was. So what is 'The Rubaiyat of Dorothy Ashby?', what is a 'Rubaiyat'? Well judging by the sleeve it's a type of exotic possibly Eastern carpet or rug. Perhaps 'Rubaiyat' is a type of pile or finish, maybe its to do with the pattern, either way it is definitely something to do with floor covering. On the top left of said carpet we see a lady whom I believe to be Dorothy playing something Chinese. 

So what does it sound like? Honestly? It's all over the place. Not to say that's a bad thing at all but one minute we are strictly 'cool jazz' and the next Dorothy indulges in the kind of straight forward crooning that reminds me of my Gran busying herself in the garden one long Summer in the early eighties. Then out of nowhere there is a ferocious break-beat accompanied by strings and you realize why it's hard to find and who has made it so - oh those crazy beatnutz.

It's definitely a grower though I had expected it to be a bit closer to the spiritual business that Alice Coltrane was doing around the same time. 

So has this opened the flood gates? Will I bend and break, suddenly buying 'The Garden of Jane Delawney' and the first Comus album on 180Gram reissue, barcodes and all? I don't know, I just don't know, I am confused right now and I need to lie down.

I can say that 'Joyful Grass and Grape' and 'The Moving Finger' are well worth a listen should you get chance. The opening of the latter is a perfect mood setter for those late night pentagram based family nights in, it then drifts into the realms of the funky before being, no wait, more funky, I thought the strings were going to punch it in the face and tell it to behave - Obviously not. Great beginning though and not a bad song.

So who was Dorothy Ashby apart from being a friend of your mums that might work at Mike's Carpets? Well apparently she was a Jazz harpist from Detroit, I should probably have known that and had I not spent so much time obsessing over the second Cinderella album ('Long Cold Winter' FYI) as a teen I probably would, but like they say, the magic is in the journey or something and besides who can blame me? Tom Keifer could wail and had the hair of my dreams.

1 comment:

  1. You are a fucking sell-out. 4 Men With Beards revisionism next.