I’ve made a big deal about eschewing my trips to the Goodwill and garage sales and sticking with purchases I’m more in control of-like trips to record stores and buying on Discogs. But this week I ventured out and sampled the bargains a couple of times. And I didn’t come away empty or unhappy. No I didn’t find any bargain classics, but I did run across some interesting titles, even one on my wantlist.
Martin Briley-One Night With a Stranger
I’m a sucker for early MTV hits. You remember MTV, the channel that showed music videos? Martin Briley was mostly a British session guitarist, and appeared in some lesser known bands, at least in the States. He did appear on several Ian Hunter albums, and toured with his band. But Briley’s biggest claim to fame was an awesome little song called “The Salt in My Tears.” With its strong, but simple New Wave guitar lines, and a seriously fun video to support it, the song became a Top 40 hit in the U.S.
I confess my love for many of those early MTV songs. I confess to squirreling away albums by Quarterflash (“Harden My Heart,” “Find Another Fool”,) Scandal (“The Warrior,””The Beat of a Heart”) The J. Geils Band (“Freeze Frame,” “Centerfold”) and lots more. It’s a nostalgia thing, which I believe drives a lot of my vinyl selections.
One Night With a Stranger is a solid record. Lots of songs about broken love, with the same distinctive guitar. You can’t go wrong with “She’s So Flexible” or “One Night With a Stranger.
Got this in minty condition for two bucks. That’s about all it’s worth, but I was pleased to find it.
Joe South–The Games People Play
Just to follow up on the nostalgia angle, the winter of 1968 was a pivotal musical period for me. I was a Seattle Times paperboy, and I was making enough money to buy a few records every month. I was also listening to a lot of music, and one of the popular songs on AM radio in Seattle was “The Games People Play” by Atlanta singer/songwriter Joe South. There we tons of great songs that were popular I remember during this time-“Build Me Up Buttercup,” by the Foundations, “My Cherie Amour” by Stevie Wonder, “The Time of the Season” by the Zombies. They’ve all stuck with me. I didn’t run across any of them at Goodwill yesterday, but I did run across this record.
Listened to it today and it’s in acceptably playable condition. There are a number of songs that really stand out. The title track is good. South also wrote “Hush” which was covered by a bunch of bands. He also performs the fairly lightweight “Birds of a Feather, which I remember being covered by Paul Revere and the Raiders. Perhaps the best little known song is “These Are Not My People,” which has fairly biting social commentary about the materialism of the wealthy.
A not untypical record for the time period with similar production values one would find on an early Monkees record, a Gary Puckett and the Union Gap album, or Herman’s Hermits vinyl-want to attract those listeners not quite ready to cross over into psychedelia or hard rock. Even so, it’s still worth a listen and keeping in my collection.
Wilson Pickett-The Wicked Pickett
This was another Goodwill find, and it was one of four Wilson Pickett records on my Discogs wantlist. Condition of the vinyl was maybe VG, and the cover was likely G+-structurally intact, but one 2″ seam split.
There are some great songs on this record. The best-known is “Mustang Sally.” But there’s some other good stuff here too. “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” is a great Solomon Burke song. “Knock on Wood” is an Eddie Floyd/Steve Cropper song covered by everybody from Floyd to Eric Clapton to David Bowie. Pickett’s version is fiery and superb. Pickett is best when he fully unlimbers his full-throated roar. He’s less effective as a balladeer. His slowed down version of the popular song, “Sunny” is a low point on the album. All in all a very worthwhile purchase.