In Glasgow we’re blessed with many excellent music stores selling vinyl records both new and second hand. One which I particularly like is the Oxfam Music store on Byres Road. They have an interesting and ever changing selection and there’s the added bonus that their profits go to a great cause.
On a recent visit I spotted that they were selling lucky dip bundles of records. Ten records were wrapped together in brown paper on which a local artist (Stewart McQueen) had drawn a sketch. For the princely sum of £2.99 you got the records, the sketch and the joy of opening the paper to find out what surprises lay within.
Alright. I’m a sucker for a clever marketing ploy, I admit it. I knew, logically, that at such a low price there wasn’t going to be anything really exciting in the collection. I knew that the odds of even finding a record I liked were pretty slim. Probably it would be ten records by artists I’d never heard of but that was part of the fun of it. Besides, for £2.99, even if I hated everything it didn’t matter; in the worst case scenario I’d just donate the records back to Oxfam. No biggie. Obviously I bought some.
Want to see what I got?
Joe Henderson Recalling the Unforgetable 50’s
Well, this title got a bit of a laugh. Unfortunately, I think I’ll decide to forget to recall the unforgetable 50’s. Frankie Laine’s The Great Years and a Golden Hour of Kenny Ball*** and His Jazzmen also didn’t quite do it for me. There was a lot of swing-style big band jazz in this bundle. I like jazz, but a person only really needs so many classic swing albums (one).
Victoria de los Angeles with the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra turned out to be very French warbling. The kind of thing I imagine Hyacinth Bucket* likes to make people think she enjoys (or sings). More swing from Benny Goodman with the Big City Swing album, and I enjoyed this more than the Kenny Ball, but I’m not convinced. Ivor Novello (His Greatest Songs) didn’t do much for me either, very operatic singing of songs I’ve never heard of. I think I’ve missed the boat on these.
Ah, ok, Holst, The Planets is an album I’ll keep. I almost definitely would never have picked it up but I think it’s pretty cool. Dixie Land Jazz by the Storyville Stompers is the jazzy swingy album of choice in this bundle (I told you there was a lot of it) so I think I’ll keep that too.
I am the Common Man by The Laggan is amazing not because it’s good but because it exists at all. It was sponsored by the Scottish Trade Union Congress and is about working class people. The singer is very Irish. It’s amazing but unfortunately unlistenable. Finally, 20 All-Time Vocal Chartbusters is probably technically a pretty good collection with things like Unforgetable by Nat King Cole and Portrait of my Love by Matt Monroe. Sadly, I just don’t like it very much. I’m tempted to hang on to it for a while anyway but I can’t explain why. Possibly I’m just becoming a horder.
So there you have it. Not quite what you could call a success, but I enjoyed listening to them all just out of curiousity and Oxfam has made a little cash (and will be able to make more when it re-sells them to the next punter). Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m of to listen to The Planets and pretend I’m in a mid-70s Sci-Fi movie.
*If you’re too young or from the wrong part of the world to get the reference, it’s from an old British sitcom called Keeping Up Appearances**. It’s… not very good.
**Thanks for the correction, LoTM.
***Kenny Ball rather than Kenny Hall, thanks for the correction Glasgow Galavanter. I need to start paying more attention!