In amongst the newer stuff, there are a couple of older albums which are very special to me, and which I am only now buying on CD. I have never owned a vinyl copy of either of them. Steely Dan's Can't buy a Thrill (1972) was their first album, and the first one I bought, on a double cassette with Aja on the flipside. It's a New York album: they were an East Coast band at the time, although by the time of their big, immaculate breakout hits like Hey Nineteen and Babylon Sisters, they were far more strongly associated with LA. It's still one of my favorite albums of all time, although I could say the same about pretty much any Dan release. I bought it in 1985, shortly after journeying to Newcastle to start my degree studies. In my mind it's now indelibly associated with those first few months at university, along with the chart hits of the time - Grace Jones, Waterboys, and so on. I owned a record player, but did not take it with me to Newcastle so for a period many of my music purchases were on cassette. Later I found a few friends who were able to tape records for me so I switched back to vinyl, but that came later. As these were mainly goth/punk friends into Bauhaus, I had to endure their ridicule with my propensity for laid-back American rock. I was right, though.
In that same period I also bought Talking Head's Fear of Music, which is again a New York album, this time from 1979. To me, seven years isn't remotely enough time to account for the radical differences between these records. Can't Buy a Thrill, brilliant as it is, is an album that has the early seventies written through it like a stick of rock. It's jazzy, laid-back, borderline stoner - you could imagine the Dude listening it in between his Creedence tapes. Fear of Music looks and sounds like something from another century. Look how modern that artwork appears even now, how sleekly minimalist. Was there any period of music more convulsive than the interval between these two records?
Anyway, here are my two trusty cassettes from 1985 - they both survived the big Fenham flat burglary of 1987, you'll be gratified to hear, although much of my tape collection didn't - along with the two CDs I bought last week.
So fifty quid manhood is a moveable, even transoceanic feast?ReplyDelete
Indeed! It's always good to find you fit into a pre-established marketing demographic.ReplyDelete
My one defense is that I don't have a local record store, other than Tescos, which doesn't really count. So I tend not to buy anything for weeks at a time, and then splurge when I'm in town.
Wow, you lived in the 'nam, back when it was scary... you'll be delighted to hear that Fenham is now mostly rehabilitated, but with distinct patches of shadiness.ReplyDelete
Yes, I could hardly believe it's been over 30 years since Joy Division released "Unknown Pleasures', and wow, isn't *that* an album cover of its time?ReplyDelete
Hmmm, interesting mix of music there! What year is the Peter Gabriel album from?ReplyDelete
Pete: Wingrove Avenue it was, right at the end. I don't remember losing much other than a coat or two and a briefcase full of tapes; by far the worst thing was that the burglar knicked our gas meter. It was quite a common thing then, to get at the 50 pences. The gas board thought we'd done it and were slow in sending someone round. Then they decided there was a leak in the system and refused to reconnect us until the landlord had lifted the floorboards so they could get at the pipes. This in January 1987, which was a very cold month with heavy snow.ReplyDelete
Daen: Unknown Pleasures is a great album in all respects.
Larry: the Gabriel album has just been released; it's a set of covers.ReplyDelete
Interesting and incisive post. Though I'd suggest that Talking Heads' later music is some of the most overrated ever, there is no denying the radicalness of FIM--or that it is their NewYorkiest record.ReplyDelete
If it weren't for Remain In Light's uncanny first side, I might have even suggested that the quality of Talking Head's music actually varies directly with its NewYorkiness.
Never really was much into Steely Dan, but the booklet that came with Citizen was great . . . .
You'll be glad to know that (finally) "The Name of the Band is Talking Heads" has been released on CD, remastered and with some missing songs added.ReplyDelete