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

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

Hey now, freeks! The 13th Annual Hartford Record Convention took place this past Sunday in the hallowed halls of the Hartford Civic Center. It was a gorgeous day outside...which may account for the extremely low attendance! I remember just four or five years ago (this was my tenth convention)...you had to fight your way through the crowd and wait about ten minutes just to get to a table to check out the import CDs. It was a ghost town this year, even at peak hour (1p.m. to 2 p.m.). I suppose the suffering economy is to blame also--only the hard-core muso-geeks like myself dared spend what little extra cash they had on CDs and vinyl. I noticed a *large* number of bootleg VHS vendors this year also..what the dilly? Everyone knows it's all switchin' to DVD in the next five years (although I hope CDs stick around for another ten to fifteen)--who's going to buy a bootlegged concert on VHS, which will wear out with a high number of "plays"--when you can wait and the same show will eventually turn up on DVD? To be fair, there were a few bootleg DVD sellers..and one guy had The Beatles 1970 "break-up" film, Let It Be, on DVD..but he was asking $25.00 for it and I wanted some other CDs, so I didn't buy it--plus, I figured with George's passing and Sir Paul back out on the road--Apple Corps should be getting an official DVD release of "Let It Be" out sometime (soon?).
I came across a few choice items..mostly bootlegs, of course--there weren't really *any* import dealers there this year, which I found a bit disturbing--but then..the convention does tend to attract a largely baby boom crowd who want the latest Springsteen or Dylan concert on disc and would give you a puzzled look if you mention Super Furry Animals or Gorky's Zygotic Mynci...of course, most of the dealers are like that as well. I remember last year asking a boots dealer if he had any Mogwai...he stared at me for three seconds and said "I don't know what that is." I said "They are a band from Scotland." "No...no I don't." was his reply, with a confused look on his face. Nice. As always..it's classic-rock heaven..and I found a couple of cool Pink Floyd boots..one is a show from the Fillmore West in 1970, a 2-CD set with a stunning, furiously-played Astronomy Domine that clocks in at 9 minutes (!) as well as a slowed-down Grantchester Meadows that manages to top the definitive live version of that song...the one from the Sept. '69 show in Amsterdam (well worth seeking out--you can score a copy of that show quite easily on E-Bay)..the Fillmore West show is called Interstellar Encore, if you want to find that on E-Bay also. The other was a Syd Barrett-era collection of rarities...mainly Top Gear and other BBC sessions...the highlights are a decent version of the elusive Vegetable Man..a Beeb session for Apples and Oranges...and an early studio session for Interstellar Overdrive. Whomever compiled the liner notes must've shared Syd's penchant for LSD, because the track order is *all* messed up--that's a small complaint, though..because this is actually pretty good quality for some of these tracks--which have a notoriety for being poorly bootlegged in the past.
I also scored a January 1970 show by the one and only MC5 at the Saginaw Civic Center in Michigan. The boys were in fine form and the boot includes a lot of their best tunes...Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa...Ramblin' Rose...Human Being Lawnmower. The best is saved for last, though, with a *grand-slam* medley of Starship into Kick Out The Jams into Black To Comm..a ten-minute wall of guitar and drums and vocal exclamations..it's mixed a bit low..so it doesn't have quite the powerful surge of the "Kick Out The Jams" record, but if you turn it up a notch, it's *nearly* better. This boot is called Teen Age Lust, and it *is* available on E-Bay, because I checked it out the day after the convention. I couldn't leave without a Beatles bootleg, so I bought one called Pepperland..a hodge-podge of Sgt. Pepper's..-related tracks. Some are taken from the Making Of Sgt. Pepper television special..which feature George Martin talking about the studio time and playing back the master tapes, so you can hear individual voices and instruments..it's fascinating to me..'cause I'm a studio-wonk, but it's probably not for everyone. The rest are clips from Kenny Everett's radio show in London in 1967, when "Pepper" was premiered on the BBC and a few of the Fabs showed up to comment..and the first disc ends with a "long" version of All You Need Is Love, where you hear them setting up for the historic satellite broadcast...playing the tune..and about a minute after the actual fade-out on the record..very cool. Speaking of The Fabs..I found a rare Mary Hopkin bootleg, taken from a television production featuring Mary in Osaka, Japan in 1970. She sings a few Beatles covers, a Joni Mitchell tune ("Both Sides Now") and her early hits ("Those Were The Days", "Goodbye", "Temma Harbour"). There's also some goofy interview segments where Mary is asked what she thinks of Japan and how she takes care of her hair...it's silly, but her Welsh-accented voice was so cute, I like those segments anyway. Well worth the price! Lastly, I was surprised to see a Porcupine Tree 2-CD set..taken from NEARfest in 2001. NEARfest is an annual prog-rock gathering where the prog-musogeeks show up and discuss how Magma's records differ from Ange's and the last time any of them had a meaningful relationship with a woman--other than the female record-store clerk they harass while buying the latest Spock's Beard CD. Anyway, it's a good set..high quality (possibly soundboard?)..and Steven Wilson even has witty banter between songs. The tunes are all from Stupid Dream (P.T.'s 1999 album) or Lightbulb Sun (from 2000), with the exception of Up The Downstair, Voyage 34 (Part1) and Radioactive Toy. I bought some used discs too: Rory Gallagher's "BBC Sessions", Quicksilver Messenger Service "Happy Trails", Procol Harum's "Home" (with bonus tracks) and The Boo Radleys' "Lazarus" EP.
I received more E-Bay stuff in the post, too..but I'm nearly "typed-out" for this post--but I'll get to that next time..'till then..crank up yr stereos for me--and beware of "Graffix-Madness", kids!!