Record Store Day came into being in 2007 when over 700 independent stores in the USA came together to celebrate their unique culture. The UK followed suit and 2012 saw the fourth celebration of the UK’s unique independent sector. This was the one day that all of the independently owned record stores came together with artists to celebrate the art of music. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products were made exclusively for the day and hundreds of artists across the globe made special appearances and performances. Festivities included performances, meet & greets with artists, DJ’s, in store quizzes and many other events. It was a great success
Welcome brothers and sisters to the fist installment of ‘counter culture’ a monthly delve into the world of record retailing with yours truly, generalissimo GD the busy bee.
It’s about four years since we came in from the cold into our cosy boutique and whilst it hasn’t been all beer and skittles along the way I’m full of uncharaceristically British optimism.
Vinyl sales are booming and there is some great new music about for those willing to seek it out.
I think from the first time I made the trip up to the west-end and entered Harlequin records I wanted to have my own shop. I was in awe of the hipness of it all. I’d never seen a copy of John and yoko’s Two virgins album or some of the imports that were in the racks. Everyone who worked there was supercool and I wanted in!
It was a similar story at virgin records when they were a small shop on new oxford street before mega stores and mega bucks took over and the soul went out of it. Here you could recline on scatter cushions whilst checking out the latest prog rock magnum opus with the scent of jos sticks wafting around the nostrils. One can only scratch the gulliver and wonder where it all went wrong!
Check out this clip from clockwork orange to see the heyday of the record boutique.
‘Which fuzzy warbles have you been listening to recently’
Well here at casbah mansions the girls reign supreme.
The Dum Dum Girls on Sub Pop Records just keep getting better with each new release, Likewise The Black Belles on Jack Whites Third Man Label made a stunning debut with their goth/garage album; ‘The Black Belles’.
We’re also into the acoustic psychedelic folk of the smoke faries, new Liverpool lasses Stealing Sheep and the very wonderfully talented The Trembling Bells. The ‘bells’ as we like to call them are on their fifth album already and are quickly emerging as prolific songwriters of outstanding ability.
On the vintage front we’ve noticed a huge surge of interest in vinyl. Everyone wants classic rock most notibly, Zepellin, Floyd, The Beatles, Who, Black Sabbath, AC/DC and punk icons like The Clash and The Pistols. We’re selling these bands so quickly it’s getting hard to meet the demand!
Bowie and Deep Purple albums that used to fetch £10-£15 a few years ago are now going for two to three times the amount as long as they’re mint and have got all the inserts and posters etc.
That’s probably the appeal of vinyl. How can you be satisfied with a CD or a download of Alice Coopers’ ‘Schools out’ when you can track down the original open school desk vinyl version with wrap around paper panties! No contest! That’s a good enough link to our last clip of prime time Alice performing on German t.v in the seventies with a track from the classic ‘Killer’ album whch is being reissued on vinyl this month.
That bothers and sisters is about it. Keep an eye on the shop floor in the coming months. We’re planning some changes. As I mentioned Harlequin and The Chelsea Drugstore Boutiques are our fantasy record shops.
We aim to live the dream!
‘Roll up roll up, step right this way’. Hello, bonjour, pronto, ola and welcome to Counter Culture Part Two. This month we’re revelling in nostalga for three titans of the 60’s and 70’s. The Beatles, the Stones and Big Star!
First and fab-er-most is the long overdue release of the beatles’ ‘magical mystery tour’ on dvd. Fully restored in all it’s psychedelic glory it’s a must for all Beatles heads!
It’s available as a DVD or Blue Ray on their own or as a deluxe box set containing a replica vinyl ep, a superb book with many unseen pics and of course the film itself. The extras include the original promo film for ‘hello goodbye’ shown on top of the pops,deleted scenes, complete music clips from the film and a commentry track from macca which is full of insightful and droll comments as you would expect.
The film looks amazing! If only the public and critics had seen it like this back in 1967 maybe they would have had a more enlightened view. Maybe. It’s all clearer than a clear day on blue jay way and a joy to behold!
Almost as fab is the release of a brand new rockumentary about the cult band, Big Star. ‘Big Star; Nothing Can Hurt Me’ premiered at the London Film Festival last week and charts the history of the much admired but often overlooked band.
Born out of memphis Big Star featured the considerable talents of Alex Chilton and Chris Bell. Their sound which owed much to their love of british invasion pop found itself out of favour with the early seventies public and although adored by the critics they managed only three albums before spliting up. What a band though! There can’t be many greater debut albums in rock history than ‘No 1 record’ and it’s a well deserved and overdue testament to a great band.
Go and see it if you can or scoop up the dvd as soon as it’s out!
Did I dream the headline, ‘Stones blast back with killer single’ ? Well, no apparently not, for it’s true! You don’t know how much pleasure it gives me to say those words and argue the case to any detractors. Because mick and the boys have proved everyone who thought they were way passed commiting anything meaningful to vinyl wrong!
The new single, ‘Doom and Dloom’ is a classic slice of Stones rockin and rollin riffery with a mixture of ‘gimmie shelter’ menace and ‘it’s only rock and roll’ strut!
If I didn’t own one already I’d be strolling down with a slightly camp hand on my hip to the nearest record boutique to purchace a copy. (hopefully vinyl will be forthcoming).
The stones will be lumbering into Greenwich town towards the end of november to play two shows at the 02.
To commemorate this auspicious occasion I’m declaring Sunday the 25th of November ‘Stones Day’ in the shop! There will be dressing up, non stop stoned sounds and a cornucopia, which by the way the dictionary describes thus; ‘a symbol of plenty, consisting of goat’s horn, overflowing with fruit and flowers’! of stones records and memorabillia to stimulate even the most jaded of palettes.
Here’s to the strolling bones, mick and keef. They should be running this country instead of all these crappy people we’ve got now! Mick for chancellor and Keith for P.M. What could go wrong!
I must just give a quick mention to a fantastic new book called, ‘Pop: Design, Culture, Fashion 1956 – 1976. It’s out now and a must for students of all things groovy!
Black Friday is a sort of mini Record Store Day that they have in America.
So the day comes to Casbah Records on 23rd November tool!! Everything is import and very limited, check a list below and come down to our shop!! Happy Hunting!!
‘Hallelujah’ L. Cohen/J.Buckley 7″ single £12
‘Duquesne Whistle’ Bob Dylan 7″ single £10
‘Screaming for Vengeance’ Judas Priest LP £25
‘Reservoir Dogs Soundtrack’ LP £25
‘Scepter Studios Acetate’ Velvet Underground LP £25
‘Why Doncha Do Me Right’ Frank Zappa 7″ £12.99
‘Big City After Dark’ Link Wray 7″ double pack £12.99
‘Plastic Factory’ Captain Beefheart 7″single £8
‘Abba Zabba’ Captain Beefheart 7″.single £8
‘Upon the My-O-My’ Captain Beefheart 7″ single £8
‘Echoes’ Gene Clark 7″ single £8
Yuletide fellicitations to one and all. A time for joy, celebration and good will to all men, especially if that means me! Welcome to a festive counter culture, where our cup doth run over with contentment after our ‘stoned sunday’ event. Thanks to everyone who made it down to the shop, especially the two japanese super fans whose enthusiasm was very infectious and most appreciated. I know you enjoyed the gig because you came back on monday for more!
There’s no prizes for guessing who was toper-most of the glamour-most in the dressing up department.
Yes, it’s a big floppy hats off to our very own Fumie C Kikuchi. She’s was Bianca, Anita and Marianne all expertly rolled into one shiny, sequined package Well done that girl. Respect to ‘Brown sugar’ next door as well, Marsha hunt eat yer heart out!
I’ve been obsessed by the stones since the magnificent new single, ‘Doom and gloom’ was released and I’ve been pretty much immersed within a stones bubble. Album after album and dvd after dvd, everything from ‘Come on’ to ‘Exile’ , ‘Crossfire hurricane’ the superb ‘Performance’ and back again.
Before I draw a line under my stones habit take a look at this famous promo clip for ‘Jumpin jack flash from 1968.This is the group at their swaggering strutting best. All you closed -eyed, mic- hugging, self-loathing indie bands take note. This is rock with the roll and it’s why we still love ’em fifty years on!
Always a time for reflection I thought we’d take a quick look at my pick of the year. In no particular order we have the wonderful Rodriguez with ‘searching for the sugarman’ the soundtrack to the equally wonderful film on the same name. I was lucky enough to go and see him at the roundhouse last month and he really is a lovely fella and a cool performer.
Jack white came roaring back with his first solo record since the white stripes split. ‘Blunderbuss’ does what Jack does best, pounding punk-blues that blows your soaks off. I’ve loved the Soundtrack of our lives for many a year. So I was sad to hear that they’re calling it a day and ‘Throw it to the universe’ will be their closing statement. Full of stonesy vibes and retro rock chic it’s a stonking finale. The best thing to come out of sweden since Freddie Ljungberg Pulled on an Arsenal shirt!
Howlin Rains’ ‘Russian wilds’ took me by complete surprise. I didn’t expect to hear a stone cold classic when the needle touched down. Fantastic songs, great musicianship.A touch of psychedelia meets west coast rock with a dash of santana. What’s not to like? Well possibly the beards…?
I’m diving off piste with the next two selections. I’ve always been partial to some old skool hip-hop. I love the humour and the musical references of classic funk and jazz. De la soul’s ‘First serve’ has got both by the truck load. It’s a return to the style that made ‘3.foot high and rising’ such a breath of fresh air with musical skits and alter egos, hilarious lyrics and infectious grooves.
The Quakers, a hip hop collective on the stones throw label are similarly groove-tastique. There’s some amusing observations and razor sharp social comment which come thick and fast over some fat beats and cool samples. Anyone who name checks Ravi Shankar, John Coltrane and uses dutch prog band Focus’s ‘Eruption’ as a back drop gets my vote every time.
There was so much good music this year, we’ve already mentioned The trembling bells album with bonnie prince billy, the Black belles self titled debut and of course the Stones. But I’ll finish up with my reissue of the year which was ‘Mcgough and Mcgear’. In 1967 two thirds of scaffold went into the studio with Mike Mcgears brother, one Paul McCartney and with the help of some very special friends including, Dave Mason, Graham Nash, Viv Prince and most extraordinarily Jimi Hendrix came up with this pop-art curio. The album is a mixture of poetry and spoken word but it’s the two musical excursions that have sixties aficionados lathering up. ‘So much’ could have been an outtake from the ‘Magical mystery tour’ and the fabulously titled ‘Ex art student’ is a sitar drenched wig-out with beatle-esque harmonies and blistering guitars. No egos on show here just a good time record and a beautiful paisley snapshot from a less complicated time.
Thanks for you time and a happy new year.
GB the busy bee.
Hi everybody and welcome to a frosty 2013. How long has this winter being going on for? Since September I’d say. It needs to get it’s hat and coat and make like a melted snowman! And it’s not just the weather that’s a tad on the gloomy side. Sadly there’s been another death on the high street and it’s looking pretty terminal for poor old HMV, the last major record shop chain in the country.
I can’t say it comes as much of a surprise. HMV have been losing their mojo for the last ten years or so.
Since the music product became secondry to dvds and games you could see the writing on the wall!
Maybe Richard Branson could come to the rescue in his white hat and save a few flagship stores. The bearded one loves being a public hero and apparently he’s got a few bob as well!
I found this rare clip of a very young Richard in a youth centre giving a girl advice about abortions.
I wonder if that’s where he got the idea for the name of his company.Just a thought! There’s also some interesting footage of his early mail order business in full swing and his views on cut price records.
It looks like record shops in general are going to be a more niche affair in the future. This wouldn’t be a complete disaster as long as every town has somewhere for the more enlightened members of society to go to buy their music without having to go online. I strongly believe in the high street alternative as a place to go and touch and feel, (don’t titter) and chat about music to like minded individuals.
I saw a great cult British film from 1969 at the NFT called ‘I Start Counting’. It stars a teenage Jenny Agutter living in a typical english new town, stevenage probably it usually is. There’s a scene halfway through the film that shows Jenny’s character searching for her friend in the local record shop. About 9.30 minutes to be exact.This illustrates that even the most mundane of outposts in the united kingdom had groovy looking hang-outs where all the cool people could be found on a saturday morning.
If most record shop owners look to achieve this then there’s good reason to be optimistic.
About the same time this film was being made Britain found her self in the middle of an ecconomic downturn, not helped by the Americans declining to lend any assistance in retaliation for Harold wilsons’ government refusing to send British troops to Vietnam.(still, forgive and forget agh).
The early 70’s was for many a period of austerity, hard times and general doom and gloom, (bit like now then?). The difference being back then we had glam rock and the mighty Slade in particular to cheer us all up. BBC4 recently screened a Slade night special with all manner of titbits from the black country boys. Looking over the classic footage it only went to reaffirm in my eyes what a great pop band they were and how much we could do with noddy and the lads giving us the old pursed lips and thumbs up from our t.v sets.
‘Slade in flame’, we know had some great tunes but there’s much more to appreciate in there, not least dare I say it, their sartorial choices. Noddy’s grandad tank top with scarf,(recently acquired by yours truly) Dave Hills’ burgandy cord trousers with bomber jacket? Nice!
BBC4 is the best channel on tv. Fact! This week sees a new series based around the era of the classic album, and yes you guessed that’s the 70’s. I’m looking forward to Danny Bakers introduction which sets the scene. Having recently read Dannys’ autobiography there’s no one more qualified to wax lyrical on all things that glitter,the legions of grey coated Pink Floyd fans that waited in line for the first copies of Dark Side of the Moon to be sold and the joys of that icon of the age, the gatefold sleeve.
We are ladies and gentlemen in safe hands. Groove on!
Welcome everybody, we’re back again, this time with a spring in the step. The blossom is on the trees, the sun is peeking through the clouds and excitement in is in the air. This year’s record store day is on the horizon. Saturday April the 20th is the date for your diaries. As ever we’ll be throwing ourselves into the event with a energetic enthusiasm, which only the mighty of spirit can hope to match! Hopefully, this time around we’ll have some live music to look forward to and a competition with prizes to keep you all interested. After all though the wheels of commerce need to keep turning it’s not all about cash, (was it me who said that?) It’s also about the chance to celebrate the fact that record shops are very much alive and kicking and you the public enjoy using them. So we hope to see you all in April for a day of fun, frivolity and rocking of the Casbah!
As soon as the V&A announced plans for a major Bowie exhibition last year the excitement level at casbah HQ has been steadily building, then out of the blue came the news that the Jean Genie was about to leave the bottle and release a new album. It’s been a long time coming but suddenly Bowie fans have their cup full to the brim and frothing over with joy and anticipation!
A classic video. Musically and sartorially. Those stripey socks and that bomber jacket are the business! Come on, “let yourself go” you know i’m right!
First to the Victoria and Albert it’self . Let’s face it dudes west London is cool. That’s coming from a South-Londoner born and bred! Here’s a few reasons why; The kings Road, the Who, Dracula AD72, Jerry Cornelius lives there,(more of him another time) Portobello Road, the Clash! On top of that you have the magnificence that is the Albert Hall and the V&A. Two of my favourite buildings in London. I especially like it when both of these venues get involved in the world of pop culture. The mixture of quality and refinement always adds a certain something to the proceedings . Check out Hendrix and Cream at the Albert Hall and all those sixties rock fans not really knowing whether to freak-out or not.
The V&A always does things with a bit of class. I admit I don’t go as often as I might, well I mean when you’ve seen one etruscan vase you’ve seen them all really! But rest assured I shall be acquiring a ticket for the bowie extavaganza very soon. Some of the costumes, hand written lyrics and portraits look fascinating. I can’t wait to immerse myself in all things of a ziggy nature. Here are some images from the exhibition to whet your appetite.
I for one have always held Bowie’s last album, ‘Reality’ in high regard. But way back in 2004/5 I think there was a general feeling that yeah, this is fine but what’s the next one going to be like,(excuse the pun). Nobody thought it would take the best part of ten years for Bowie to make another record. Well the ‘The Next Day’ is here at last and whilst it’ll never live up to most peoples expectations, this writer included I have to say that after much action on the old turntable, (yes I do have the vinyl early) I think it’s a stirling effort.
Stand-outs for me are ‘Dirty Boys’, ‘Valentine’s Day’ ‘How Does the Grass Grow’, which is Bowie doing vintage Bowie, which is fine because , well he is! and ‘(you will) set the world on fire’ which has an opening riff that dear old Mick Ronson would have loved! Some of the tracks are slow burners which after repeated plays bring forth subtler pleasures.
The best part of it all is that he’s back and we’ve got something to talk about. As with so many iconic artists of his generation you’ll miss him when he’s gone for good.
Forever linked to Bowie in his pomp were the stupendous Mott the Hoople. BBC4 recently screened ‘Mott the Documentary’ and I’m sure for a lot students of rock that know the band only for their glam era heyday it will have been a real eye opener. Their debut album is full of Dylan-tinged rock-outs, you’ve got the intense but brilliant ‘Mad Shadows’, the west- coast feel of ‘Wildlife’ and the proto -punk of ‘Brain Capers’. All this before we even get to ‘All the Young Dudes’ . With that song, which Bowie donated to the band as a sure fire hit after hearing they were on the verge of breaking up, Mott were catapulted towards the rock mainstream and fame, fortune and fights ensued. Although not necessarily in that order! After the band split up Ian Hunter, the frontman and main songwriter went on to huge solo success . Hunter was a bona fide rock star, which is there for all to see.
Not many people can carry off a velvet suit, big cross around the neck, shaggy hair and shades like he could. In fact I can’t think of anyone! Also Ian was really funny! I stongly advise you to invest in the DVD, (available in store at a very reasonable price) There are so many laugh out loud moments, not just from Hunter but from the likes of super fan, Mick Jones, Kris Needs, Ariel Bender and guitarist Mick Ralphs having a go at the swiss! to mention just a few. I’ll leave you until next time with the all time classic ‘All the Young Dudes’. “hey dudes, stand up I wanna see ya”.
Greetings pop pickers one and all and welcome to counter culture 6. Apologies for the long silence. What can I say, once a slacker always a slacker! We have been busy here at Casbah mansions, mainly with hanging around waiting for summer to start! This sort of weather plays havoc with ones wardrobe selection I have to say! But here we are in flaming June and it seems a positive age since we were gearing up for Record Store day in the shop.
Suffice to say it was a resounding success on all levels and I think everyone went away happy with their haul of goodies. I was happy withy my little bunch of 45’s to add to my collection but the item I was really excited about was the Burger Records label sampler on tape! Yes folks tapes are well and truly back and this little bad boy is the best thing that’s come down the old dust pipe in many a year.
Burger are a U.S indie label based in the sunshine state of California and warmth and joy radiate from every inch of tape. The vibe is punk/power pop/girl groups and 60’s throwbacks and it’s all a glorious pop-tastic mix. Visit their website and marvel at the likes of Ty Segall, Tomorrows Tulips, Garbo’s Daughter and The Stupid Cupids to name but a few. Summer took it’s time but it’s here at last!
Visit their website http://www.burgerrecords.org/
Once I’d got the bug I decided to have a quick cyber visit across the pond to check out all things D.I.Y.
Another couple of labels that have charmed the pants off this writer are the superb Goner and Hozac Records. Goner are very much still with us and hail from Memphis Tennessee. They’re a shop and a label and have an excellent selection of punk nuggets of yesteryore and exciting new bands such as Ex Cult! A local outfit and destined for greatness!
Following on from good advice given from Chris Munton of Forte Distribution I found the mighty Hozac records. This Chicago based label has some absolute gems on it’s roster, which we’ve been quick to order in to our little boutique.
Full of bummed-out rock.n.roll, throbbing psych and classic fuzz-punk there’s so much to enjoy here, but Peoples temple and the wonderfully named Far-Out Fangtooth are two particular favourites. Hozac has a decidedly satanic atmosphere hanging over it’s domain, albiet with it’s tongue lodged firmly in it’s cheek. There’s a love of horror and trash culture which pervades throughout and some impressive poster artwork advertising Label band nights which hark back to the golden era of hammer films. Get a load of this. It beats the camden crawl anyday of the week!
Visit their website http://hozacrecords.com/
Back in the 70’s before punk opened things up it was hard to establish a new label that could compete with the majors especially as the big boys caught on quick and drafted in young hipsters from the underground scene to run ’boutique’ labels. Keen not to miss out on the bourgeoning youth market labels such Vertigo, Harvest and Deram were responsible for signing up anyone with a few power riffs and a nice line in facial hair! Although hip as they were no one remembered to point out that four minute drum solos tucked away on the ‘long track’ on side two were not required. That said this was probably one of the most creative, fertile periods in british rock.
One of the first truly independent labels was of course Virgin Records. Founded by Richard Branson it’s forty years ago since Roger Deans iconic label design first saw the light of day and to celebrate Prog magazines’ latest issue has a superb feature on all things virginal.There was a time when no trendy students’ bedroom wall was complete without a poster of the two virgins. Now Dean has updated his timeless logo and made it availalable as a limited edition print.
Highly recommended is the new exhibition at Chelsea’s Proud gallery in the Kings Road. Titled ‘The Stones and their scene’ it’s a superb collection of previously unseen photographs of the band in their pomp along with scene faces such as Jane Birkin, Patti Boyd and Catherine Deneuve. Taken by Eric Swayne around the mid sixties there’s some stunning images all in glorious monochrome and it’s well worth visit.
Any Stones fan will of course be familiar with Mick Jagger’s first stab at acting in the british cult movie, ‘Performance’ which leads me on to a fascinating new book called ‘Offbeat’. A journal revelling in wonderfull wacky world of the British b.movie. Compiled by the good folk at Headpress we take a trip back to the time when wooden acting and wobbly sets were de-rigueur. Discussed in great detail are often forgotten gems such as the 70’s groupie flick ‘Permissive’, a sleazy look at the underground rock scene, the Paul Jones rock star vehicle ‘Privilige’ and the truly bizarre psychedelic ham-fest that was, ‘Touchables’. The author has stayed away from some of the better known cult films from this era such as ‘Psychomania’ and the afor-mentioned ‘Performance’ but it’s a must for any student of the other golden age of British cinema.
One of my all time favourites from this genre is ‘The Final Programme’. Adapted from the Michael Moorcock novel it follows the exploits of Jerry Cornelius.The anti hero to trump all anti heroes, Cornelius is the solitary ruthless hipster that lives for fashion, sex, drugs, rock music and chaos! If you ever see it on dvd snap it up without fail as it’s currently inexlicably unavailable! As the tag line for the movie goes, ‘The Future Is Cancelled!’
It’s going to be a tasty world! See you all next time around.
GB the busy bee.
Hi there pop pickers and autuminal greetings to one and all. It didn’t seem that long ago that we were all fretting about whether summer had been cancelled this year! But here we are after a long hot spell in the outfield eyeing up a stroll back to the pavillion for a well desearved cream tea.
You’ll forgive the cricketing metaphor but it is always most gratifying to get one over on our commonwealth chums. And we did that with a certain amount of aplomb I have to say.
It’s been a vintage summer for many other reasons. The Stones were at their Rockin’ an Rollin’ best at Glastonbury and Hyde Park. Great to see them back in action and enjoying themselves. Here at at Casbah HQ we had a great in store performance from French beat combo, the Travellers who rocked the joint in splendid fashion.
A big thank you to them once again. And the proms were superb as usual. I love a bit of the old Ludvig Van myself. Particularly No.9, No.9, No.9………..!!
Back at Casbah mansions we’ve been revelling in many top draw new releases. Great new albums from Queens Of The Stoneage, Babyshambles, Crocodiles, The Dirtbombs, The Julie Ruin to name but five. Also gracing our shelves are some superb new box sets from the likes of Bob Dylan, Nick Drake, The Clash and Scott Walker.
All guaranteed to wet the appetite of even the most jaded of pallets.
Whilst on the subject of Casbah we’ve decided to get rid of the Beehive logo on the front of the shop. As we and Retrobates Vintage have built up a strong identity over the past five years it seems logical to have our own names above our respective shop spaces. Nothing will change inside just look out out for a new paint job and a new colour scheme soon.
Back in August the BFI organized a gothic horror season of films to be shown on a big screen in the impressive grounds of the British Museum. I was lucky enough to get along to the first ever public showing of the restored version of Hammer’s 1958 classic Dracula. As a massive Hammer fan I was in my element all evening The setting was superb, very atmospheric and many fans had come dressed for the occasion in black and red. Including yours truly! The new print was stunning with some of the original cuts put back in. Here’s a taster, (no pun intended). Maybe next time they could go for a bit of folk-horror with ‘Blood On Satan’s Claw’ or ‘The wicker Man’.
Who was it that sang, ‘I Wish It Could Be 1965’ again? Not a question that would fox any student of the 1980’s garage/surf revival. It was of course the mighty Barracudas!
Mighty in word and mighty in deeds though they were as I listen to Jeremy Gluck’s impassioned vocal extoling the virtues of the Sunset Strip, Shindig, Bubblegum and ‘Pushin’ Too Hard’ I can’t help thinking that had I been the author of this tune I might well have selected 1972 as my halcyon year.
Though as I am probably more aware than most of the fabness of the 60’s I was just a babe with a plastic beatles guitar and an extensive Action Man collection.
By 1972 however,callow youth though I was I’d bought my first record with my own cash, and started a keen interest in fashion, films, football and everything else grown ups do!
I suppose everyone has that nostalga for their early teens when everything seems possible and to quote TV legend Arthur Daley, “The World Is Your Lobster”. I’m sure there will be those that get all misty-eyed about the punk scene in 77, 1980’s new romantics and acid house and all that! But I can make a good argument for my choice.
Let’s face it life was a lot less complicated in 1972 ! Only three channels to worry about, only two political parties to vote for and do I follow Slade or do I stick with T.Rex. One couldn’t do both and keep face in the classroom. In other areas of interest to me everything seemed pretty sorted. Arsenal football club were still great and largly consisted of players from not just the british Isles but from the good old smoke it’self! We had great films like ‘Clockwork Orange’, ‘Get Carter’ and ‘Dracula AD72’ to try and get into see and as for the sounds, well what can i say, Bowie, Mott, Roxy, Floyd, Yes, zep, Genesis all in their pomp!
Above all else music was fun back then. Every time I think of Wizzard on T.O.T.P’S it brings a huge smile to my face.
Fashion? The foppish frippery of the 60’s was still in vogue but with the added attraction of satin,sequins and glitter. A good look! Pan’s People, ‘Ace of Wands’, Charlie George, ‘Lift off with Ayshea’, ‘Sugar Me’ ‘U.F.O’ platform shoes, ‘Cobblers to the World’, ‘All The young Dudes’, Magpie, ‘Get It On’ marvelous! Game over, case solved!
Or is it? Wait just there! Even sad old misty-eyed fossil that I am realizes that there was a yan to the yin! Racism, unemployment, football violence, sexism, homophobia. All everyday realities for most people. But if your going to champion a particular year or era it’s pretty futile in this kind of forum to enter into a debate on social/political and economic grounds. The world moves on and people’s attitudes evolve, normally in a more civilized direction. Pop culture moves on as well but not aways for the better! That’s my point. When I argue the case for 1972 it’s based on the pop culture of the day. When Bowie, Peter Gabriel and Mick Jagger pass on it’s going to really mean something. It’s going to touch our soul deep down and make us ponder on our own mortality. A little bit of us will go with them. We invested a lot of love in those days. Are people going to feel the same way about todays stars in forty years time? I doubt it! Anyway there it all is. No one’s right no one’s wrong! But let me leave you with Pan’s people and a thought, ‘I wish It Could Be 1972 again’!
Greeting once again pop pickers and welcome to Counter Culture 8. As 2013 slips away over the horizon new seems a good time to take a look back at my musical highlights of the year. So which fuzzy warbles buttered your toast? Well no prizes for guessing what my album of the year was. Bowie’s ‘Next Day’ was a triumph. Who else could come back from a ten year hiatus with such a killer record? Taking into account all the extra tracks that came with the deluxe box such as ‘Atomic’, ‘Born In The USA’ and the superb ‘Rocketman’ it wins top billing. It was the year of the Dave! What with reissues of “Earthling” on vinyl, the five CD box set of the last five albums (all expanded), the remastered “Aladdin Sane” and the V&A exhibition it was game set & match!
Whilst talking reissues I was very impressed with the Eric Clapton box set: “Give Me Strength”. I first saw Clapton at Hammersmith Odeon in 1975, (I was very young of course). The album of the time was “There’s One In Every Crowd” which had Eric continuing with the loose, laid back vibe that was so successful on ‘461 Ocean Boulevard’!
There’s some superb bonus material this time round as sometimes these collections can suffer from fillers and long jams which can be on the tedious side. But tracks like Peter Tosh’s “Burial’ and ‘Whatcha Gonna Do” plus all the extras on the live “EC Was Here” make this a must for all “Slowhand” fans.
Also a big thumbs up to Ace Records for rediscovering the vinyl format. I loved “Nippon Girls”, a superb collection of groovy girl pop from the land of the rising sun and similarly “C’est Chic” and “Tres Chic”, a double helping of female French 60’s nuggets. All three lovingly packaged by the Ace gang.
I have to admit to being unaware of Jonathan Wilson prior to the release of “Fanfare” on Bela Union Records. But this should put him on the map. Anyone with a love of C.S.N should check this out, it’s full of superbly played West-Coast tinged acoustic rock and in my view one of the standout album of the year.
Bowie wasn’t the only ‘Old Timer’ to come up with the goods in 2013. Sir Lord of Macca chipped in with an excellent album, “New” is McCartney doing what he does the best. Melodically strong, lyrically interesting it’s very Beatle’ish but also contemporary as well. Another thing in ‘news’ favour is there’s no obligatory ‘Twee’ track to skip pass! Always a bonus.
Rise Above Records are always worth checking out. Usually the bands on the label are the Sabbath end of retro・rock but “Of This and Other Worlds” by Scotland’s Hidden Masters is probably more Moby Grape than Uriah Heep. It’s a pretty stunning effort and a real shop favourite. Next up a couple of bands who’ve been around a while and have a loyal fanbase. King Khan & The Shrines “Idle No More” has apparently disappointed some garage rock aficionados for it’s more poppy sound but hey, things move forward and this is great. Any student of-60’s rock will find much to enjoy.
The Dirtbombs 6th album “Ooeey Gooey Chewy Ka-Blooey” is if you didn’t guess a tribute to the 60’s U.S. bubblegum rock scene with a difference. Instead of covers we have a originals but in the style of 1910 fruit gum co and the lemon pipers which is right up my jolly old strasse!
Crocodiles’ third album “Crime Of Passion” is a big stop forward. They’ve taken their C68 sound and added great hooks and melodies. Check it out. This is one of my albums of the year!
Finally on the music front is the splendidly titled Star Spangled Banana! With their masterpiece of bubblegum groovieness; “Pebbles 2000”!. These guys sound like they were buried in rubble underneath pandras nightclub on sunset strip in 1966, preserved in ice only to be reawakened by some right thinking individual to carry the fight against the banality of ‘reality pop’. An unlikely contingency I’ll agree but it worked for Adam Adamant!
A quick mention to a few DVD & TV shows that have impressed me. ‘Hear My Train A Comin’ breams new life into the Jimi Hendrix story, which is no mean feat given the plethora of books and films which have previously come down the dustpipe. As the director is none other than fabs anthology man Bob Smeaten you’d expect nothing else. ‘Going Underground’ examines the same era from the perspective of the English counter culture with special reference to Paul McCartney’s involvement. Macca soaked up many influences from his dalliance with the avant-garde which would of course go onto feature on albums like “Revolver” and “Sgt. Pepper”. A little long on Talking Heads and Short of Action it is nonetheless a fascinating watch.
A big Macca style thumbs up to Network T.V. for the long overdue reissue of British Sci-Fi classic “The Final Programme”. A hip drug fuelled pop art cult classic.
Lastly, came across the cult U.S. TV show “Portlandia” whist surfing Youtube and immediately became hooked. The Vintage Clothes Store clip is a work of genius especially if you’ve ever sold in to one and The Feminist Book Shop Thread is hilarious.
Well that’s my selection, most of what I’ve been discussing is available from the shop so if anything tickles your fancy you know where to come. We always have lot’s of interesting underground releases and classic reissues along with tasty vintage stuff coming in so keep your eyes on the website, our facebook page for albums of the week, clips and links. See you soon.
Yes, it is that time of the year again R.S.D looks large and all vinyl enthusiasts up and down the nation start to check their bank balances in readiness for the big day. This year as your no doubt aware in terms of the number of releases is bigger than ever. To give you an idea of what we’ll have in stock we’re listing everything we’ve ordered HERE.
There will be some late additions not shown here but we’ll have at least one copy of everything on the list.
The Hi-Fi chain of stores Richer Sounds is sponsoring this year’s event and they’ll be at Casbah on the day with catalogues and info for anyone needing to upgrade their sound system.
We have live music in the afternoon with David Woodcock, ace keyboard man from Blow-Up Records. David will be playing and signing copies of his latest single from around 2:30 P.M.
And if that is all not enough we’ll have a competition with a prizes (please check our facebook page near or the day for details) and our very own range of bespoke badges and t-shirts specially produced for the day. Hope to see you all there.
Greetings one and all and festive felicitations to all our customers. I’d like to thank everyone who has come to Casbah Records throughout 2014 and hope you’ll all be back again soon in the new year.
Here’s a quick round up of the shop favourites that we thought were the cat’s pyjamas this year.
‘Event Of The Year’
Kate Bush live at Hammersmith Odeon.
A thrilling, spectacular slice of musical theatre. Quintessentially English and without doubt one of the greatest nights of my life!
DVD’S Of The Year.
A number of releases worthy of a mention. Firstly, ‘Hear My Train A Comin’ tells the story of Jimi Hendrix with wonderful style and breathes new life into a well told tale. ‘Supermarionation’ is the story of Gerry Anderson, the genius behind classics such as Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet. A stirring tale of British imagination and expertise on a shoestring! But top prize goes to the BFI’s box set release of ‘Out Of The Unknown’. Packed full of strange happenings, horror and sci-fi from the fertile ground that was 60’s/70’s British T.V. Totally indispensable for the cult connoisseur.
Single Of The Year.
Chrissie Hynde ‘Dark Sunglasses’
The lead single from a great album. This was a slice of perfect pop with all the hallmarks of her glory days with the Pretenders.
Reissue of The Year.
Lot’s of great stuff, including the Fabs mono vinyl box set, Dylan’s ‘Basement tapes’ , Elton’s ‘Yellow Brick Road’ on yellow vinyl.but I’m going for Ultramarine’s ‘Everyman And woman Is A Star’. First time on vinyl since the early 90’s this is a ambient techno masterpiece! Reminds me of my festival days and many a road trip down the A303.
Compilation Of The Year.
‘Electricity’ Various Artists.
A fantastic collection of totally tuetonic tunes from Dusseldorf. Gron records have hit the jackpot here.
Great cover art and not a filler in sight.
Albums Of The Year.
‘The Soundcarriers ‘Entropicalia’
Ghost Box records present another instant classic. Brilliant cinimatic vibes blended with pyschedelia and twisted folk.
The Temples ‘Sun Structures’
Impressive debut from the fey, foppish pastoral prog psych rockers.
The Black Keys ‘Turn Blue’
Kicks off like Pink Floyd and ends up like the power pop of the Rasberries! Sandwiched inbetween are some more familiar blues rock outings. A majestic record.
White Fence ‘For The Recently Found Innocent’
White Fence, aka Tim Presley and Ty segal comes at you like the vintage Who colliding with the Chocolate Watch Band! This album takes no prisoners!
Ty Segal ‘Manipulator’
Probably his most commercial album to date, this is a glam punk masterpiece. Riff-tastic all the way.
LA Sera. ‘Hour Of The Dawn’
Poptastic record by the ex Vivian Girl Kate Goodman. Out Go Go’s the Go Go’s and out Bangles the Bangles! It’s not stuck in retroland it’s just a classic girl power punk monster of King Kong proportions!
The Pixies ‘Indie Cindy’
Whata comeback! Loved this from the first time I dropped the needle down. Great songs, indeed classic songs. They are genius. Buy this album if you know what’s good for you!
The Rails ‘Fair Warning’
I’ve worn myself out telling people how good this album is! If you’re even the slightest bit interested on English folk/rock then you need this in your life. Kami Thompson and James Walbourne ooze class and style. The songwriting is amazing and it’s choc-full of instant classics. I can’t praise this highly enough. These two are on a real songwriting hot streak as demonstrated by they’re contributions to the Thompson family album that came out a couple of months back. Another winner!
Cat Stevens ‘Tell ‘Em I’m Gone’
As a life long Cat lover I was over the moon when I listened to ‘Tell ‘Em I’m Gone’. Not only is it his best album since the comeback but in my opinion it’s his most well rounded work since ‘Buddah And the Chocolate Box’ back in 1974! Praise indeed. Even the artwork harks back to the classic Island label albums of the early 70’s. Lyrically it’s most stimulating with songs about growing up in the west-end of London in the 60’s, being missunderstood by the media and of course the never ending spiritual search. A great record. If this was Dylan or Neil Young everyone would be wetting themselves!
Olivia Jean ‘Bathtub Love Killings’
Superb, well crafted punk pop from the ex member of the Black Belles. Great songs, great hooks. A bit of a sleeper I think, yet to be given the plaudets it deserves It’s on Third Man records and as ever the man himself is at the controls.
That’s it. Any problems let me know. I wont be putting anything else on until after the new year so I’ll give you a ring when I’ve got a new batch of photos to take and we can have a sort out then.
Have a great Christmas,
See you soon,
A big thank you to everyone who came down on Saturday and made it such a fabulous day. And special thanks to the wonderful Tess Parks for making the day super special. Big love and cool vibes to you all from all of us at Casbah. X
Greetings pop pickers. Here’s the list of what we’ve ordered for this year’s Record Store Day. As with most year’s there will be titles that are cancelled or don’t turn up. Also titles get added at a later date, such as The Beatles ‘Strawberry Fields’ 7″, which we will definitely be getting. So the list will not be one hundred per cent accurate on the day, but sadly that can’t be avoided. I would say that it will be 95% correct.
We’ve got the usual competition with prizes, live music in the afternoon from Chris Pope & Chords UK and a huge amount of RSD releases all to be enjoyed in our new spacious surroundings.
We’re looking forward to seeing all the familiar faces and hopefully plenty of new ones, so good luck and good digging!
View the list
Heavy Metal Magazine, with it’s vibrant fantasifull sci-fi erotica, is a collectable that seems to have an increasing allure to those interested in the legacy of taboo exploring humorously dark and sexy obscure mystery. And we’ve got a healthy collection of it. Nice Valentine’s pressie?
Heavy Metal Magazine, with it’s vibrant fantasifull sci-fi erotica, is a collectable that seems to have an increasing allure to those interested in the legacy of taboo exploring humorously dark and sexy obscure mystery. And we’ve got a healthy collection of it. Nice Valentine’s pressie?
Record Store Day 2018 will take place on the 21st April 2018.
This is a list of what we’ll be hopefully stocking for RSD this year. I say hopefully as there are always changes and cancellations to some titles. But as of today it’s an accurate guide. Excel Spreadsheet.
Record Store Day is the one day of the year when over 200 independent record shops all across the UK come together to celebrate their unique culture. Special vinyl releases are made exclusively for the day and many shops and cities host artist performances and events to mark the occasion. Thousands more shops celebrate the day around the globe in what’s become one of the biggest annual events on the music calendar.
Although there’s only one Record Store Day a year, we also work throughout the year to celebrate our independent record stores by spotlighting exclusive releases, events and special news.