Monthly Archives: October 2009

(1974 Album) Man – Golden Hour of Man

The Golden Hour record label was a budget offshoot of the Pye label, and – at least as I remember it – tended to concentrate on novelty compilations by has-been singers or TV actors trying to be crooners.

Man had been signed to the Dawn record label – also a subsidiary of Pye – in 1968 to what now seems like a ludicrously unfair deal where the band would receive a mere 0.75% royalty rate on the sales of their recordings.

Needless to say, this probably didn’t constructively persuade the band to conjure up their ‘best’ material.

“Golden Hour of Man” is no more than a shoddy repackaging of the group’s first two albums; the whole of “Revelation” plus all but three cuts from “2 oz of Plastic with a Hole in the Middle”

As if to highlight just how little Pye Records thought of – or knew about- Man, the label actually managed to miss off the strongest cut from “2 oz…” the badly named but impressive “Spunk Box

There’s little on this album for me to recommend otherwise. Man’s glory years were certainly from 1970 onwards, when they were signed to United Artists. Once again, I probably bought this album based entirely on the price, misguidedly believing that it would provide me with the same listening pleasure as the band’s other releases which I was enjoying.

I wonder how long it would take me before I cottoned on to the fact that, most times, it’s on a budget label for a reason?!


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(1974 Albums) Classical Albums

Can you see what Emerson, Lake & Palmer did to me?

Yes, courtesy of budget labels MFP (Music for Pleasure) and (I think it was) Hallmark, I stuck my proverbial toe in the murky waters of classical music, snapping up Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition“, Dvorak’s “New World Symphony” and Tchaikovsky’s magnificent “1812 Overture

It would be years later before I expanded my ‘classical tastes’ further – courtesy of, strangely, my accountant who listened to no other genre – but for a 16-year-old with a musical sense for ‘all things” I don’t think I did too badly for starters did I?

The Mussorgsky purchase was most certainly based on my love for ELP and their interpretation of “Pictures…”. I guess I needed to hear the source of Mr Emerson’s inspiration?

I think the New World Symphony came about because it was featured in “Soylent Green“, a film I had seen the previous summer. Specifically the scene where old-timer Sol (a stupendous acting performance by Edward G Robinson) – in what has otherwise become a desolate world – offers himself up for euthanasia and before ‘departing’ is treated to great food, pretty visuals and a soundtrack of his choosing.

As for the 1812, I have no idea why it may have fallen across my radar in 1974. Maybe it was played at a TIBS meeting? Whatever the reason it remains a stunningly broody piece of music, culminating as it does with those booming canons.

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(1974 Album) Various Artists – Bradley’s Roadshow Live

I’ll openly admit I had to look this up, not knowing what the hell my entry referred to.

“Bradley”? “Live”?

A google search eventually managed to jog my memory as what album I bought. I remembered the sleeve when I saw it…. but absolutely nothing else whatsoever.

Further research informed me that Bradley’s Roadshow was a concert album showcasing some of the peculiarly diverse acts on the short-lived Bradley Record label, which was an offsoot of the more famous ATV music publishing group.

Apparently, the acts on this album were Paul Brett (a guitarist), Hunter Muskett (a folk-rocker) and Kala (a prog-rock act). No I haven’t heard of any of them either.

I have no doubt in my mind that I bought this album based on the retail price of just 95p – indeed, I may have even bought it cheaper from the clearance bins near the front door of Jack Hobbs’ record shop in Eastleigh.

If Jack Hobbs were still in business I suspect there would STILL be copies of this album gathering dust somewhere on the premises.

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(1974 Album) Focus – At the Rainbow

Once again I fell for Holland’s finest prog rock export.

Focus at the Rainbow was, as the name suggests, a recording of a live performance by the band at the Rainbow Theatre in London’s Finsbury Park.

The sleeve was another of those die-cut affairs that were all the rage at the time, cardboard flaps opening left and right to eventually reveal…, actually I can’t remember!

It may have been the first live album I ever bought.

If it was, then it kicked off a lifelong disinterest in live recordings. Unlike many other music fans, I have never really embraced the notion of “in concert’ albums and in all my years of buying records or CD’s I have amassed just the merest (one) handful of them to listen to.

This may be surprising to some of my readers. I just reckon live versions of songs are never anywhere near as good as studio originals, no matter how much ‘energy’ is exhibited. Plus there’s that whole “audience joining in” rubbish which has never struck me as listenable.

I know I’m in a minority with this point of view. On the upside however I have never, ever had to invest in dodgy bootleg recordings of my favourite artists – something which a lot of my ‘musical’ friends feel is necessary to their collections.

So, in 1974 I bought “At the Rainbow” and I’ll bet it wasn’t played more than a half a dozen times before I got rid of it.

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January 25th / 26th / 27th 1974

• “back to Normal lessons + Back to work”
• “At work stock taking”
• “Went to Ch”

So, after two gruelling weeks of mock exams – broken only by some religious retreat rudeness – it’s back to the ‘daily grind’ for this particular 16-year-old teenager.

School lesson have returned to their usual mundane ubiquity, and I’m back at Lancaster & Crook stacking shelves, sweeping floors, serving customers and going out on that bloody delivery bike. It’s the supermarket’s end-of-year stock taking too – such a pleasant chore/bore.

I went to church too. Not, I’m guessing, for any religious purpose, but probably to see if “Angela” was there and if I couldn’t drag her off to some vestry somewhere for a bit more grubby fumbling.

Let’s face it, I was already beyond saving.

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January 24th 1974

“Played T.Tennis in aft”

There’s another reference to some kind of ‘sporty exercise’.

I almost had to sit down when I read it.

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January 23rd 1974

“TD2 -> Easy”

Ooh, a day of cocky nonchalance about the exams!

What’s the betting it blew up in my face?

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January 22nd 1974

“last nite went to see Canterbury Tales – dirty but boring”

I vaguely remember taking “Angela” to this movie at the Regal in Eastleigh.

Remember that scene in “Taxi Driver” where DeNiro’s “Travis Bickle” character takes Betsy (Cybil Sheppard) out on a date to a porno movie in New York and she is throughly appalled by it all?

Somehow, I get the feeling that Angela may have responded to “Canterbury Tales” – and thus me – in an entirely similar manner.

Whilst its true that Geoffrey Chaucer’s original 14th Century collection of stories is something of a slog to read, I think its fair to say that Italian director Pasolini’s interpretation of 8 of them could be considered a ‘travesty’. Poking fun at social graces, the film includes scenes of sodomy, incest and more, all presented with copious levels of nudity.

For a ‘boyfriend’ I must’ve been a real bloody prize.

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