Monday, May 5, 2008 2:38:00 PM
The best laid plans, and all that, and I never got around to putting together the separates system, though I got something else that could be used with it.
Number one son did con me into "going halves" on a big, bomb-shaped music player on the specious grounds that it could be used as a practice amp and speaker (it can) for his bass playing (he hasn't). Since then I think I have used said "bomb" about 6 times as it has taken up permanent residence in his bedroom. I do use it at least once a year - it's that enormous white monstrosity I bring to MidCon each year for the pop quiz.
One of the few times I did get to use the bomb at home was to plug my turntable into it just to prove the damn thing worked. I think I listened to one side of one album before the bomb returned to number one son's bedroom. No matter, the plan was to sort it all out when I moved to Hertford, which we did about 18 months ago.
Of course, it then took me about 6 months to buy a mini-hi-fi system with Aux-in socket, then about another 3 months to get the turntable out of the garage and hooked in. Bloody thing only played through one channel. Checked the leads to the speakers, they were fine. Checked the cartridge, that appears to be fine.
Thought for about 2 minutes about finding someone who can fix turntables and decided it was not worth it for a £90 turntable.
A few more months passed until I had the bright idea of checking for second-hand turntables on eBay. Last month I bought one for 99p and though it runs a bit fast (the Spencer Davis Group sound like the Ramones) it does the job and I can now listen to my ancient record collection again.
Ah, the ancient record collection. Where is that, exactly?
Up in the loft, as it turns out, though it is now sitting in the corner of my living room, next to the stereo system.
So, I now have the chance to listen to some albums I have not listened to in about 20 years. I thought it might be a good idea to revive a popular idea from my fanzine editing days and do a list-based music article.
KEEP OR DUMP?
The Unexpurgated Fiendish Vinyl Collection[/B]
The Allman Brothers Band - The Allman Brothers Band
This is the debut album from the Allmans and stands comparison with any other debut album I have in my collection, OK, I don't have that many debut albums, but from people operating in a similar field to the Allmans I have offerings from Led Zep, Santana and Free.
The Allmans are probably best known for "Jessica", the theme tune to Top Gear. Along with Wishbone Ash and George Harrison they lay claim to having pioneered the twin-guitar sound where the guitars play the same lead lines but in different octaves.
Anyway, "Jessica" is more typical of their later period mellow Southern rock sound; on the debut album, we get high energy blues that is likely to find favour with fans of Cream, Fleetwood Mac (Peter Green era) and Santana.
If memory serves the line-up featured two drummers (one also a congas player), two guitarists, a bassist plus Greg Alman on keyboard and vocals. The sound is steamy and bluesy, driven by a fat organ sound and the constantly shuffling percussion - sort of like a non-Latino Santana.
The album starts off with an instrumental, "Don't Want You No More" (a Spencer Davis song) which uses the old Green Onions riff (not that Green Onions was the first song to use it). That segues into the bluesy "It's Not My Cross To Bear" where Greg Allman, who looks about 14 on the album sleeve, gives a commendable impressions of a 20-stone "done everything, seen everything, wished I hadn't" black geezer.
The music drives along, with the two lead guitarists swapping solos and occasionally joining up for their signature harmony guitar sound. Duane Allman does the slide guitar bits, and it sounds like dragging a buzzsaw across your emotions (florid and pretentious? Moi?), and Dicky Betts does the more mellow, cleaner lead lines.
Side one ends with a powerful, thumping rendition of Muddy Waters's "Trouble No More" and then it's up to change the record over and play side two. Vinyl keeps you fit.
Side two only has three tracks (side one had four) and with about 16 minutes per side you'd be right in thinking that the tracks are a little on the long side, but they never outstay their welcome, and you get the idea that the songs have been well honed and are being played with passion; after all, no one outside of the south of America had probably heard of these guys when they recorded it, but they soon would, especially when Eric Clapton came calling to enlist Duane to play in Derek and the Dominos.
Keep or dump? A very definite keeper. I think my brother gave me this album and I can only surmise he had another copy of it, because I can't imagine any fan of blues-based rock ever relinquishing ownership of this LP. 9/10.