Part three of it’s not all about vinyl, we take a look at some of the CD’s I managed to find while browsing at a local second hand shop. For anyone who feels motivated to go second hand shopping after reading, I would like to briefly explain how these shops became the perfect hunting ground to find the jewel amongst the jewel cases. To my knowledge, at least in the Netherlands most cities, towns or even villages have at least one or two of these second hand shops and often also sell music. CD’s in particular as most of the Vinyl on offer isn’t that great. This has to do I think with the popularity of Vinyl. Pressing plants are far and few between today while the format grew in popularity especially under the younger generation. This in turn sparked the second hand Vinyl market with many new younger collectors tracking down originals. Therefore almost everyone has someone in the family or group of friends to point out that those old records sitting in the attic could be worth something. So they usually don’t end up in your local second hand shop but either on an online auction site, one of the many bulk buyers/collectors or your local record shop. The Vinyl that does end up in the second hand shop is the stuff no-one is waiting for, either mass produced church or classical music. Off course there is always one or two Vinyl records that slip through the net, but mostly they are snatched away by the personnel who work at the second hand shop themselves and see all new arrivals coming in or the few enthusiasts coming to these shops to press their luck. For CD’s it is the other way around as the common perception I feel is that CD’s, even if they are out of print for years, are not as collectable or desired. Also the fact that CD’s are easier to store for they are smaller and have a long(er) lifespan means that there are lots of them around collecting dust and often do find their way to the second hand shop. The Vinyl format is very much alive and new releases are readily available as well as a huge number of second hand Vinyl going back to the thirties if you will, but the CD is often seen as a dying breed. All this to say that although it is always good to go through the Vinyl bins at your local second hand shop, my trip to Dalfsen serves as proof here, in my experience the CD section is often more promosing and dirt cheap. If you are looking to stock your (physical) collection with a good number of titles or want to discover some new music without being too picky, this is by far the cheapest way to go. If you happen to find an album that you really like you can always reconsider purchasing them later on Vinyl or another format to your liking. Don’t think that everything is perfectly stocked according to genre and artist, you have to put some elbow grease into it and leave no stone unturned.
St Germain – Tourist
Probably Ludovic Navarre most appraised release to date, but it is actually through his release together with trumpeter Soel that I came to know his moniker St Germain. House and Techno is not particularly my field of expertise, but then again you can’t really consider this to be a record that stays within one box. So, when I came across the white minimalistic cover with the small Blue Note label I was quick to take the opportunity to have a go for next to no money. The backside held another reason to buy for me as one of the guest artists to appear on the album is guitar maestro Ernest Ranglin. After listening, I was presently surprised by the relax grooves and all the influences these grooves take shape after. Deep House, Downtempo, Acid Jazz, Trip Hop, Desert Blues, it is all there and mixed in a brilliant way to be much more than just background music to warm up the party. There are a couple tracks that anyone who witnessed the birth of the 00’s will remember, but for me to listen to the album as a whole was the first time and certainly not the last. Not exactly the rarest of items, but as the common rule dictates rare doesn’t necessarily translate into something good. If you are looking for some sunshine don’t look any further, you have found your medicine.
Not nearly written about as much or appraised in the same vein as Tourist, but St Germain’s 2015 album is also a true excursion for the senses.
Billie Holiday – Lady Day
Going through the Jazz section, in this case pretty neatly categorized, I stumbled on this Japanese pressing which on this side of the ocean doesn’t turn up that often. According to author George Avakian, his surname funny enough is written phonetically as A Vak Ian in the 29 page booklet, this compilation includes only the cream of Billie Holiday recordings between 1935-37. A time when Swing offered a fresh new take as opposed to the often static Jazz of a few years before. Seeing that the recordings date back almost 90 years, the CD holds up well with the usual background noise which in this case only adds to the charm. It will never be one of my best sounding CD’s, but the real treat is Billie Holiday’s poignant delivery and the absolutely stellar musicians. “Summertime” brought goosebumps on my skin, balancing on the edge of bitter and sweet and brings about a feeling of melancholy that always does the trick for me. Close your eyes and let Billie Holiday take you back in time.
Ruben Gonzalez – Introducing…
Somewhat 20 years ago people all around me, mostly the generation ahead of me, started to talk about Buena Vista Social Club on small gatherings and birthday parties. At the time, I was completely oblivious of it’s existence. In retrospect the album deserves all the credit both musically as well as in support of Cuban music globally. With so many great players joining the project and the commercial success that followed it was only time before it would produce a wild array of offspring including some dedicated to the excellent individual musicians such as Ruben Gonzalez. This is exactly what Introducing… is about. To showcase Ruben Gonzalez dedication and love for Cuban piano. Having played with all the big names of the rich Cuban music tradition, such as Arsenio Rodriguez, the music runs through his veins that in turn seems to take over control whenever he is near a piano as after all these years he doesn’t own one himself. Most of the tracks are spontaneous interpretations of Cuban standards in different styles apart from track 4, 8 and 9 which are Ruben Gonzalez’s own compositions. The years might have affected Ruben physically, suffering from arthritis, it didn’t diminish in any way his enthusiasm for playing his beloved piano and most surprisingly his technical ability to play.
Minor Threat – First Demo Tape
Just as Techno and House aren’t necessarily my field of expertise neither is Hardcore Punk. However, the album cover with First Demo Tape written in bold grabbed my attention. Checking the release online, I quickly discovered it was the original 2003 release on CD and decided to take a shot in the dark. The 8 track First Demo Tape fires it’s ammunition faster than an automatic riffle and before you know it the show is over. From what I could find the band was very influential in their time even if the band itself was short-lived (three years to be exact). They proved that with a healthy doses of DIY attitude you can run your own independent record label and stay true to what you believe in. Not a keeper for me, but an excellent present for my brother.
There were some other CD’s that I took a gamble on and ended up on the discard pile after only one go. That is the hazard of the job I guess, but they will live to see another day as I’m sure I can swap, trade or sell these at some point in time. Four totally different albums which it also the beauty of setting aside your preference just a little and keep discovering!
Nice, I enjoyed Tourist and loved Ruben Gonzalez! Great albums.
Glad you enjoyed both albums. Thanks for the support!
Hane Tourist on vinyl (as well) 😉
Have Tourist on vinyl (as well) 😉
Maybe I will follow you soon. Luckily they are not crazy expensive!