In the wonderful
High Fidelity the protagonist Rob Gordon and his disturbed employees Barry and Dick trade musical top fives at the record store, Championship Vinyl. Since Alex and myself were gifted a turntable at Christmas I’ve bought a dozen or so second-hand albums and my personal top five follows (from the beginning of 2022).
Of course this is entirely an exercise in yoofy nostalgia so has been limited to music from my adolescence. I’ve decided that if an album’s from a time when I could vote, then I won’t buy it!
On state election day I went to a record fair and wandering about the tables and crates of vinyl I thought, gee what am I doing here? There’s only middle-aged and old blokes here, all nattering about rare B-sides and European pressings of obscure collectables. Then I thought, oh, hang on…
5. On a distant Sunday evening during Countdown Molly once slurred, ‘Boz is the buzz’ or something like this. Great 70’s songs, and it has an intriguing cover with a coquettish Boz on a bench at Casino Point, south of LA avoiding an assertive female mitt. Many of the songs would’ve been played on 5KA and 5AD. I probably tried to record one live from the radio onto my little cassette recorder (when it wasn’t playing the best of Little River Band) and guess that it was, ‘Lido Shuffle.’ No, I still have no idea what this song title means.
4. A school mate’s brother had this and as teenagers we’d play it while flat on the floor in his parents’ darkened lounge room, initially mocking its jazzy, beat poetry stylings. Old friend Stephen once said that it only belonged in a ‘peace room.’ And then like kids with glazed-eyes like extras in a horror-film we were lured into its world, for ever (It’s no good Jim, they’re gone). Probably not one to play at a Sunday barbeque though.
3. Another album I discovered through an older friend. I knew the artist courtesy of his work in Steely Dan and this was similarly slick with its flawless musicianship and spiky tales about life in that most foreign of lands, America. Driving about dusty Kapunda in a green Gemini we’d play air cowbell to ‘New Frontier’ as I imagine all the cool skinny kids did in the summer of ’83.
2. Ahh, Skyhooks. At the time I knew little about Melbourne but liked that there were songs about it. People usually seemed to sing only about New York, California and London, and Skyhooks made me curious about Carlton, Balwyn and Toorak. Living in the 70’s was their debut but I preferred Ego is not a dirty word. I insisted on ‘All My Friends Are Getting Married’ for our own wedding. Yeah, funny. I know.
1. Probably the most famous live album and with ample reason. There’s great songs and through the clever sequencing the mood and narrative are beautifully controlled. ‘Play Me’ is a sublime song and, ‘You are the sun, I am the moon/ You are the words, I am the tune / Play me’ are lyrical poignancy. Just before his last tour I thought given that I’d not seen Neil in concert I should get a ticket to his Adelaide Entertainment Centre concert. Within days he announced that due to health concerns he’d be retiring from performing, immediately. Poo. Not just an album but a cultural artefact. Good lord!
Honourable mentions- Late for the Sky by Jackson Browne, Glen Campbell’s Greatest Hits, and Beggars Banquet (NB- no possessive apostrophe) by the Rolling Stones.
February arrives and the dust of our hot holidays settles upon us with its foul, torturing wake. Ahead is but misery and crushing grind as winter looms with its barren hardness.
No, not really!
The year’s rhythm becomes fluid. We lift our eyes and find joy and healthy distraction. February goes very well for us, as Sherbet sang on an unreleased, or maybe even unwritten, anthem.
For decades I promised myself that I’d see Neil Diamond when he toured. I was ready to make good on this when he promptly retired from performing! For $7 this used vinyl captures him rather nicely. Dig!
The annual Fringe Festival commenced and I took the boys to Gluttony where, in keeping with the gastronomic theme, they enjoyed an overpriced can of pop courtesy of my enduring generosity. Their excitement, as the photo attests, was enormous.
Claire, or as she’s known at Ashbourne’s Greenman Inn, Clare, took me on a wonderful outing to many great places. Here we sat beneath a tree and enjoyed lunch and leisurely conversation. Which, they tell me, is the point of lunch.
Being late February we then took in a cricket match. The ACC Bulls is a great country club. In October 1954 one of their finest H.R. Meyer took 6/65 against Langhorne Creek. He was 69 years old. Our best, I wish to believe, remains in front of us. Oh, and congratulations, H.R.
The month’s final sunset was comforting; joyous; an offering of deep warmth.