A collection of posts from my original weblog...or the inscrutable rantings of a madman...could be both...

Monday, March 25, 2002

Spring is upon us once again, fellow musos..though it doesn't feel like it in New England...the past few days have been blustery and quite cold for this time of year..nevertheless, Happy Spring Equinox, Gang!! I've been busy buying and selling on E-Bay..as usual..I've actually sold 7 discs so far...out of posting 13..so my ratio is half n' half...not bad, right outta the gate. Some things that didn't sell are inexplicable to me--"Caravan & The New Symphonia", granted it's the real old re-issue, from '92--so I suspect that everyone who wants it has got the mini-LP release *or* the 2001 Decca re-master..ah well, I may re-list it in a couple of months. T.Rex "Electric Warrior"..c'mon folks, this one's an absolute classic!! But there again..just re-issued in mini-LP format and a 2002 re-master with "works-in-progress" bonus tracks--I guess that was bad timing on my part--trying to sell the old re-issue from '91.
I've also got a bunch of discs in the post from auctions I won, like two of David Bedford's records...Star's End, from 1974..and The Odyssey, from 1976. Bedford was a scenester kicking around England in the late-60s when he met up with Kevin Ayers, who had just left The Soft Machine and was looking to form a new group to record his solo compositions. Bedford was a good keyboardist so he got the gig filling out the piano seat and rattling the ivories. Also recruited were legendary hipster saxophonist, Lol Coxhill and a young kid fresh from a folk-rock act with his sister..a virtually unknown (at this point) Mike Oldfield. Ayers named the band "The Whole World" and they played numerous live dates and had time to cut two albums and various BBC Sessions. Oldfield left the fold to record his stunning debut opus, Tubular Bells, and Ayers split the band up a short time after. Bedford helped Oldfield out on his first couple of records..then was paid in kind when Oldfield showed up to play guitar on "Star's End". It's a bit like that haunting Ligeti music in the "psychedelic star gate" scene in 2001--except it's not a choir, it's woodwinds and brass making the strange, otherworldly noise. Oldfield chimes in with his fluid, trippy chops toward the end of "Part 1" (yes, it's one of those progressive albums where each composition takes up a whole "side"--back in the L.P. days, of course). "Part 2" continues the "space journey"--like a Tangerine Dream album from the same era (Rubycon, Stratosfear)..you don't quite end up where you started. I have to do some further listening, because I've only played it a couple of times so far..but it's safe to say this album is probably for hard-core proggers only, 'cause I don't think anyone else would have the patience to sit through the whole thing. It has a big dynamic range, too, not as much as say, Talk Talk's "Spirit Of Eden"..but close. I brought it to my "contingent" gig and played it on the store stereo. There were parts you could barely hear..then suddenly Oldfield's "space guitar" would roar in and I would have to keep adjusting the volume level.
Bedford followed "Star's.." up with an orchestral version of "Tubular Bells", which also featured Oldfield on guitar. That was released in 1975, shortly after Oldfield had released his third full-length, Ommadawn. Bedford then returned (somewhat) to his keyboard-playing roots for "The Odyssey"..which (yep, you guessed it) is a symphonic prog approach to the Classical Greek epic poem by Homer, recalling Ulysses' (or Odysseus, as he was known in ancient days) journey home to this wife, Penelope, after the Trojan War..and the difficulties he faced along the way. The Coen Brothers made an American Depression-era adaptation of the story in their film, O Brother, Where Art Thou. I've only listened to the first few tracks so far--but it does remind me a bit a Rick Wakeman's "Journey To The Centre Of The Earth" or "Six Wives Of Henry VIII"--keyboard-dominated and grand-sweeping trills...that's good or bad, depending on your taste. After that, Bedford released another space-themed album in 1978, Star Clusters, Nebulae & White Horses, which I'm in the running for on E-Bay (fingers crossed...) I believe it's an album of music he composed for a couple of BBC programs..the first, obviously about the galaxy..and the second..no, I don't think it's about heroin trafficking..it has to do with the famous "hill-carving" in England. "The White Horse Of Uffington" can only be seen from the air, much like the carvings found in the Andes Mountains. The Uffington Horse is also pictured on the cover of XTC's English Settlement album. After that..I lose the plot of Bedford's activities..as far as I know, he still made records in the 80s and 90s--I just don't know any of the titles..I think he did some arranging for other artists too. Both "Star's End" and "The Odyssey" are out-of-print. They do show up on E-Bay once in a while, but be prepared to dig in for them..it gets a bit nasty among the progheads for these two. Awlright, I'm outty..I'll post agin' soon, ya long-hairs!! Peace Ay-owt!!