Sunday April 19, 2015
The only holiday I like is Record Store Day. Like "Read a Book" day, it is the one holiday where you can surrender your passion to a common cause - which is to keep the local record store open in your neighborhood. If you don't have a record store in your neighborhood, then that means you live in a place that has no importance whatsoever. People are fed many ways. I think most people would consider a 7/11 or Trader Joe's as an essential business to live nearby. I, on the other hand, would prefer a record store than a shop full of food. You eat, but then what? Music has a lasting presence in one's life, and therefore I feel it is much important than a good meat department.
There are those who complain loudly about the negative aspects of Record Store Day, which is hysterical, because there are none. To stand in line in hopes of getting that specific piece of vinyl that is being released that very day is part of the pleasure as well as the disappointments in not obtaining the sacred item you're in line for. One wonders while standing there, if there is a possibility of not getting that specific record. Of course it is, because perhaps the store forgot to order that product, or due to its limited edition status, so there were not enough copies to go around. So yes, I was disappointed when I didn't get the Serge Gainsbourg collection of his soundtrack work - but it was a sense of failure with a great deal of anticipation and adventure attached to it.
I must say it was a shock to me that I found four copies of the "Charlie Feathers" 10" album of his King recordings in the bin. Originally issued on 7" 45rpm and 78rpm format. This collection is a must if one has even the slightest interest in rockabilly music. The guitar work of Jerry Huffman is like a series of switchblade cuts on one's body. When I put the needle on this record, I hear human misery. So yes, music to me is like putting a mirror in front of my face - it has to represent the inner and deeper feelings in my soul. Food just keeps me going till the next meal, but music like Feathers, keeps me fed on a spiritual/sexual plane that can't be denied. Rockabilly music is all fucking, violent death, cheap liquor, and desires being mis-placed at the wrong place and time. Satan's favorite music. And one is dying just to taste the bottle that Satan had his diseased mouth over. After playing these four songs, I feel like spitting the blood out of my mouth.
On the same trip to the record store, I found another great 10" album by Chris Barber and his jazz band. The album is called "Jazz Sacred and Secular." Barber is a British trombone player, and is one of the key players in the Soho London music scene of the 1950s. He was famous for having Lonnie Donegan in his band, who later became the figurehead that in a certain fashion, started the British Invasion in the early 1960s. Shuffle genius and architect to the do-it-yourself type of music, he made a major presence on a lot of British musicians. The beauty of this recording is that it is like listening to a well-received long distance call. Although from the UK, it reached out to New Orleans. Chris Barber actually spent time in New Orleans, and that one visit had a profound effect on his whole life. This 10" disk is a combination tribute to Duke Ellington as well as the New Orleans life. The mood is happy, but of course, it has traces of deep sadness. Music unlike food serves on different levels. If you taste food and it's too bitter or sweet, one may choose to spit it out. Music, on the other hand, is a texture that one craves for - due to its emotional responses within the grooves of the record. Barber's version of "Black and Tan Fantasie" is originally from Harlem, but here it is placed in Soho, London. Even the British spelling of Fantasy gives this recording a sense of being placed out of the storefront window, looking in, and just absorbing the goods in the store although you're outside. The sense of location changes, but nevertheless they are real places - and each place has a vision or a history. Even if it is made-up, it is still real, because what you're hearing is a place that is imagined or desired for.
A bad day is a world without a turntable and a good pair of headphones. I live in a very dangerous world - although it is in my imagination, I have the music to back-up that landscape of desire.