Thursday, October 25, 2007


Going through my not-as-vast-as-I-wish-it-was elpee collection recently, I discovered that there were way too many albums innit that I have snatched up ever since I first started picking the things up at flea markets and the like o'er the years (starting in 1972 with the acquisition of the 77 SUNSET STRIP soundtrack for a mere ten cents!) that I just haven't had the time to play as of late. And by "as of late" I mean perhaps the past fifteen or even twenty years, this '82 flea market find being amongst the batch. I remember snatching this budget twofa of the first couple Soft Machine albs up at the once-spiffy Hartville Ohio flea market (a place which I must say built up my collection mightily back when the bulk of it consisted of such then o.p. rarities!) along with a copy of Sparks' KIMONO MY HOUSE, ignoring the reams of Roxy Music/Eno albums there as well as an original copy of the first Soft Machine with mangled gadget cover that would be worth a pretty penny in minty condition, and although I pretty much felt that the pickins were generally slim back then (but hey, I was hoping for original Red Krayola and Count Five albums to just come leapin' at me...boy wuz I let down!) little did any of us realize that the goings were gonna be a lot harder w/regards to any tidbits of musical mayhem once the years went on and all that was left in these once-bountiful flea market bins were the likes of THE VOICE OF FIRESTONE Christmas albums with Julie Andrews and more copies of SING ALONG WITH MITCH than your poor heart could stand!

And sooprize sooprize but alla them years later both of these early Soft Machine excursions held up even w/a BLOG TO COMM sense of aesthetic wonder firmly in place and no half-baked excuses to be made for the music's general "worthiness" in sight! And that's despite organist Mick Ratledge's tendency to get into a proto-Keith Emerson progressive rock solo on "Hope For Happiness" and Robert Wyatt's at-times annoying whine which, like sandpaper as a quickie substitute for toilet paper, you have to get used to. The debut remains the best from this early (1968) period despite the fact that pivotal member Kevin Ayers is pretty much kept in the background, though his presence on "We Did It Again" and "Why Are We Sleeping" do set the stage for the man's rather stellar (at least until the late-seventies) solo career. Too bad he bailed out before VOLUME TWO which still ain't no turdburger even though the lack of Ayers means that Wyatt's even more in the forefront which could become a pain if you tend to weary of this cripple commie's pataphysical moosh rather easily. Still, both albums do a pretty tasty balancing act twixt late-sixties English proggoid sounds and avant garde jazz, making Lillian Roxon's exclamations about how the UK popsters thought they were too jazz and the jazzbos too rock when in fact these guys were an avant garde jazz group in rock & roll clothing a lot more realistic than I'd ever give her credit for in a millyun years!

Those interested in more...check out some of the early live recordings legit or not if you can. Wait for a report from me on the early demos LP once I dig it out of my collection, while Wyatt lovers should be sure to pick up his early solo platters and Matching Mole with some trepidation but whatever you do, please ignore the guy's myriad assortment of interviews where he blabs about everything from America to music in general with a Marxist rose colored rear-view mirror firmly in place! I guess the guy and his Spanish revolutionary wife got the daughter they truly deserved!


parabells said...

lotsa luv from Austin. Great ta hear bout yer necro luv affair with the Softs disc! I even dig the proto prog of latter softs!

parabells said...

oh yeah.. check out my blogerama for some rare softs including a nice tape of a live '68 show in Maryland!