Sunday, June 24, 2012

Feeling Funky

My most recent batch of purchases (off of the stalwart is a fairly mixed bag, with a few 70’s mid-price best-of compilations (read: a load of old shit) bulking out what I was actually purchasing to make the postage worthwhile.

I’d say that I’m making a mid-years resolution to better target what I buy with aim of building a more cohesive collection but I know I’d be lying to myself. I’m really only a year or so into collecting after a long break, so am just trying to cover some ground before my record collection arrives from the UK. (It currently sits on a ship somewhere in the 12500 miles betwixt Bristol and Wellington). When it arrives, my purchasing habits will likely be just as all over the place as they were before I moved to New Zealand.
Anyways, this week’s 'new' arrivals contain BT Express’s 1974 ‘Do It ('Til You're Satisfied)’ LP on Scepter Records and The Chi-Lites sixth (and eponymously titled) LP, which is also from 1974 and was released on Brunswick.

I was familiar with The Chi-Lites due to their cover of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)’. That track originally appeared on their 1972 LP ‘A Lonely Man’ but I know it from the React compilation that Norman Jaye made to support his ‘Giant 45’ radio show on Capitol. I’m a big fan of the original Marvin Gaye tune and Norman Jaye so was pretty happy all round when I picked up the ‘Giant LP’ set for a few quid in Fopp on Park Street, Bristol.

The Chi Lites LP cost me a couple of dollars due to the poor condition of the sleeve (somewhat perversely, it’s had a corner cut off it) and is a great feel-good 70’s vocal soul record, very much reminiscent of the Philly sound, despite the band actually being from Chicago. The spoken narrative style that The Chi Lites best known song, “Have You Seen Her” is used on the LP on a couple of occasions by the bands leader (songwriter, producer and lead singer) Eugene Record. (Great surname for a musician too).

When starting to collect, I took heed of some advice from Bill Brewster & Frank Broughton’s excellent book, ‘How to DJ (Properly)’ which says that when thrift shopping DJ’s should always purchase any record with the words “drum, funky or Africa” in the title (apart from Toto). The closing track of the Chi-Lites LP, ‘Stoned Out of My Mind’ has made me add the word ‘stoned’ to that list.
Another piece of advice from that book comes from Norman Cook, who says that collectors should buy any record with “one of those big bands with like eight people. Half black, half white and they all look like they take acid”. Well, the BT Express album I’ve picked up is gatefold and this is the photo of the band:

Yep. You know on the basis of that picture that this album is gonna be worth it. BT Express: You had me at hello (and your double and in some case triple denim).

I knew the title track (I think from a Danny Krivit mix album) and I have to say that the rest of the album’s just as funky. All in all a pretty successful pair of purchases - especially when one considers that the pair (which admittedly aren’t in perfect nick) cost me less than $5. Both will doubtless be spending some time on the player over the coming weeks.

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