Saturday, September 04, 2010

Singles Scene #15

Waterford: I talk a lot about Vinyl. The glory of the black plastic, spinning away at such or another speed, creating marvellous, analog music. Magic. img040But part of the fun of records was they didn’t have to be made of vinyl. You could, and they did, cut the grooves into a thick piece of paper, protect it with lacquer and it would work. It would suck, quality wise, but it worked. You could put a record in the cereal box, or McDonalds could give out Alf records on their happy meal box.

Waterford is in South-West Ontario, one of those towns that dots the area West of Brantford South of London between Lake Erie and Lake Michigan. It’s tiny with two beautiful old churches and a one block downtown. Alice Street runs off the downtown, along the waterfront, and in a big old warehouse on Alice is the Waterford Antique Market. It’s a standard antique market, with multiple vendors selling various pieces of old junk: furniture, phones, books &tc. Waterford Antique Market is actually fairly large for the size of the town it’s in. Of course, it’s got records.

LP’s there’s always LP‘s, and lots of them. But they also have a nice collection of 45’s. Among them, an odd shaped cardboard recording of The Greater Evangelistic Crusade of Toronto (from the Billy Graham team) from 1955. It appears to commemorate their CNE crusade from that year, including a picture of a packed grandstand. I have little interest in the music, but it’s a gem from a collectible standpoint. As well, there was a 45 of the National Anthem, an “extraordinary recording [that] was made especially for the 1976 Olympic Games and via satellite broadcast was heard by more than two billion people around the world.” Complete with gate-fold 45 cover and pull out picture collage. Again, a nice piece for a Canadian music collector. On top of those two, a few others were amongst the pieces: April Wine’s Just Between You and Me; Alannah Myles’ Love is; Rock and Hyde’s I Will.

img041Sadly, as happens at these stores, prices are affixed to the records with stickers. In some cases, right on the playable part of the record. Granted, the records were only $1.00, but slapping a sticker on them does harm. The stickering massacre includes the cardboard Greater Evangelistic Crusade recording and the sticker which is not coming off without damaging the record itself. Fortunately, everything was ½ off when I got to the counter, which means my $7.00 worth of records (I picked up a couple of non-Canadians) was obtained for $3.50.

On further review: the cardboard record works, but it is, in fact, a 78. I don’t have the capability (actually, not true. I have a new USB turntable that, supposedly, has the ability to record a 78 at 45RPM and speed it up. I have no idea how, though).

Oh Canada comes in Instrumental, English, French and Bilingual versions. It’s a pretty standard, end of the broadcast day version, and I have heard it innumerable times. If I ever get an ice rink in my back yard again, and get some hockey going, there is no need to invite The Nylons to sing - we have an anthem. Otherwise, this will likely sit in my collection unused.

Rock and Hyde were Bob Rock and Paul Hyde, the soul of the Payola$, post Payola$. One of my favourite albums of the time, the time being 1987. It’s easy to remember why. I Will is the second single on the album, the stunning Dirty Water being the first and better received. But this is good, up tempo pop song. Lots of 80’s style keyboards, but Bob Rock went on to be a metal producer, and it has that bit of an edge.

img039The b side, What Children Say, is different. Keyboard used to create a different sound, and typically bright lyrics, I like this a lot after not hearing it for years. Sadly, the record itself is not in good shape. It is warped heavily, causing the needle to wobble around. The sound however, does not seem affected, and it’s a wonderful listen.

I was a big April Wine fan in 1981 when Nature of the Beast came out. Just Between You and Me is very familiar to me as a song I heard a million times, but also as a song I heard on the radio yesterday. No surprise here. By 1981 April Wine had figured out their sound. It was layered, clean and polished. They were pros, and this is a good example of everything that was good, very good about April Wine, but also everything that was wrong with them. It’s a nice guitar ballad, with solid musicianship, good tune, nice lyrics, what can be wrong. Yet at the end of the day, it’s a little too polished. A mistake, a wrong note wouldn’t hurt.

Big City Girls is the other side of April Wine. An up tempo rocker with a boogie rhythm and lyrics suggest something or another of sex. I saw these guys live a number of times in this era, and they were always a fun band. This is one of those fun songs, and listening to it now I can see Brian Greenway and Jerry Moffat bouncing on the drum risers to it.

Love Is was Alannah Myles first single of her debut album. I remember this album well, and even played this song in a band at one time. It is a good solid rocker, complete with great lick, thick bass drum driving the rhythm, and a chick that can flat our sing. The complaint stands that the album, and song, may be overproduced, but 21 years later, Love Is still sounds pretty good.

Another up-tempo number, Rock This Joint is weaker, but not a lot so. On an album that featured Love is, Lover of Mine, Still Got This Thing and the spine chilling Black Velvet, Rock This Joint suffers by comparison. But for a lot of other artists, a lot of other albums, this may have been a hit.

A guy walks into an antique warehouse in the middle of nowhere, and comes out the other end with 3 good rockers, that all have pretty good b sides, plus a national anthem and a Billy Graham cardboard 78 for less than 5 bucks. A good haul, a good day topped off with a good listen.

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