Mon. Apr 15th, 2024
See, at least one (boyish) woman!

My visit to the Box Hill Record Fair got off to a rocky start because the trains weren’t going. Track maintenance or something. I had to drive most of the way. It was a pity, as I was looking forward to a nice leisurely train ride to the venue, which was at the Box Hill Town Hall. What can I tell you about the suburb of Box Hill? Well, it used to be Little Italy, now it’s Chinatown, which has given the place a new energy it sorely needed. There are some big new skyscrapers towering over it thanks to all that Chinese money. It’s also a place where I used to work (for the tax man, no less) not long ago, during the covid era. The job quickly became a work from home gig when some employees caught covid. Oh, it’s also the town where a certain Kpop singer spent her formative years. I’m talking about Blackpink Rosé. Yes, our very own (although she was born in New Zealand). When I was working there I often thought about her walking those very same streets, hanging out in Box Hill Central after school. Hey, there’s little Rosé, gonna be a big Kpop mega star someday.

I’ve been to the record fair many times and it always seems to be the same (except for that time it was held in the basement). It’s in the same old ballroom/cinema with its proscenium arch and stage at the far end, a relic of older, grander days. My older brother remembers seeing bands there back in the 1970s – Chain and the Masters Apprentices. Wow! The same vendors set up their stalls in the same spots, which makes it easier to head for your favourite spots. And I’m pretty sure it’s the same people, mostly guys, who come to this thing. Though quite a few women do show up.

…I pay my five dollars at the door and join My People in the big record splurge. There are, of course, lots of cds, dvds and other media for sale, but the focus is on the 12 inch long player made of vinyl. I head for my man Eddie’s rockabilly stall and do not find any of the Buffalo Bop cds I was hoping for. Go to this earlier Diary entry for a roundup of my original game plan. While I’m perusing the Sixties garage rock and classics crate Eddie slowly sidles up to me noticing my interest in a Jimi Hendrix album. He gives me a long spiel about how it was recorded about four days before Jimi’s death and is a lost collectable. I know he’s just schilling for a sale, because I’ve made it to the end of his stall where the sixties stuff is, and my next move is to move on. It’s a desperate ploy, and it fails. Although it’s a mildly interesting story, I’m not interested and am frankly annoyed at his hard sale technique. He knows it and says, “I’ll stop talking now and let you get back to it.” I used to visit Eddie’s stall at the old Croydon market all the time, and I do here as well, and I swear, he never recognises me. I guess it doesn’t help that I’m wearing my Twice Ready To Be baseball cap.

Most of the vendors leave you alone to do your thing, but you know their eyes are boring into you and they’re trying the old Jedi mind trick on you. You will buy my merchandise, you will buy much of my merchandise (they wave their hand ala Obi Wan). I swear, sometimes it works. Why did I buy that Peter Gabriel live dvd? I find I always have to exercise some will power at these things. There are so many items I think I want, the urge to spend is so great I really have to control myself. For the most part, I did. I managed not to buy that Little Feat live album, or that Judie Tzuke album, one of the few I don’t have (the one with the awful cover – maybe that’s why), or those McCarthy albums that Tim Gain did before he formed Stereolab.

Sometimes it’s the punters who do the talking. You overhear some nice conversations about bands and concerts and other music gossip. One old fellow said to his mate, “They were the first band I ever saw live.” He was holding up an Easybeats album. There are a lot of ‘old fellows’ here and you’d be surprised what they’re into. One vendor made the mistake of thinking one such fellow wouldn’t be interested in the hardcore black metal albums he was rummaging through. He was wrong. The guy knew his stuff and reeled off a bunch of said genre bands he was interested in. “I like the ones with the female singers,” he added. I bought a nice Candlemass album myself from that vendor. The prices were so damn low. That’s one of the amazing things about the fair, the merch can be ridiculously cheap or ridiculously overpriced.

After a few hours in I was starting to get headachy and my throat parched. It didn’t help that I had gained a cold overnight. My concentration levels for more records, more crates was running low. I was beginning to get jittery over this tyranny of choice. It was time to bail. I think I’d spent about a hun’erd an fi’ty. Here’s the tally of what I bought:

LPs

  • The Leaves – 1966 (Live/Unreleased/Original Masters)
  • Smiles, Vibes & Harmony: A Tribute to Brian Wilson – Various Artists

Singles

  • Neverending Song of Love – Delaney & Bonnie & Friends
  • Let’s Go To California – The Flowerpot Men
  • All That You Dream – Little Feat
  • I Like Dancing – Redhouse
  • Walking In the Rain – Cheetah
  • Only Thinking – Mi Sex
  • Falling In and Out – Mi Sex

CDs

  • The Collection – Bryan Ferry
  • Greatest Hits of the Outlaws – The Outlaws
  • Roses In the Snow – Emmylou Harris
  • Brian Wilson Presents Smile
  • Machine Head – Deep Purple
  • Ancient Dreams – Candlemass

DVD

Secret World Live – Peter Gabriel

The Leaves were a garage rock band from the sixties. Best known for the songs Too Many People and an early version of Hey Joe (both on the album). Not many garage bands got to make actual full length albums, so this is a bit of a rarity. There is something about the sound of garage rock, the purity and rawness of it, that’s of its time but also timeless, if you know what I mean.

Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys is The Man. He’s a genius. He’s also crazy. They often go together. This collection of covers of his songs includes Sonic Youth doing I Know There’s An Answer. Thank you, Brian.

Sonic Youth also covered the song Superstar, which was a cover of the Carpenters song, which was in turn a cover of Delaney & Bonnie. Karen sang “I can hardly wait to be with you again.” Bonnie’s original version goes “I can hardly wait to sleep with you again.” Bless her. I always seem to be getting D&B singles at these events. Previously it was Superstar, then before that it was Free the People. One of the great bands that should have been bigger than they were. Though Song of Love was a bit of a hit. I think it was Sid Griffin who described their music as the true fulfilment of Gram Parsons’ ‘cosmic American music’. It’s worth thinking about.

I’m not sure about the Flowerpot Men. I may vaguely know it, Let’s Go To California. Is it garage? I liked the fact that side A has Part One and Side B has Part Two. I’ll have fun putting the two together!

I didn’t get the Little Feat live album, but I did get this, All That You Dream, from their Hoy Hoy album. The song was covered nicely by Linda Ronstadt. There’s a great five in one collection of Feat albums you can get. I’ve got a copy.

I remember this song by Redhouse. An Australian band, I saw them play live once at my local roller disco when they had this song out. They played while we skated. A roller rink is a weird place to put on a concert, hey? I’d never seen a copy of this single before and had to have it. For the memories.

Cheetah were a duo of sisters Lindy and Chrissie Hammond. Big of hair and boobs and voice, and absolutely fantastic, in my opinion. Mentored by Aus music guru Ian (Mollie) Meldrum, they made one album and a couple of singles. In the late seventies there were very few chick rock singers doing stuff in the vein of AC/DC (they were on their Alberts label, too). Pussy rock, we needed it.

Finally got these two Mi Sex singles. I wanted them for the b-sides which are not on the albums. I am a completist. But I’ll bet the songs are good. Bought them at a nice stall called A-Z Records from Sydney. The merch, all singles, was nicely labelled, in good condition and all reasonably priced.

The Bryan Ferry collection strangely omits The Price of Love and This Is Tomorrow, but the rest is pretty choice. Only three bucks, can’t go wrong. I’ve seen Ferry solo and with Roxy Music.

The Outlaws is southern rock in the style of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Allman Brothers, but maybe more melodic. Pretty much an impulse buy. Them good ol’ boys, I hate their politics, but love their music.

I have all of Emmy’s albums, but this one includes a couple of songs not on the original LP. This was her first bluegrass album. The version of Miss the Mississippi is especially fine. Johnny Cash guests on Jordan. I used to have a big poster of the album cover that I put up on my bedroom wall back in the day. Ah Emmylou!

The Beach Boys’ original version of Smile got a release in the noughties. This is Brian’s solo version released in 2004. It’ll be fun to compare the two. Can’t believe I got this for eight bucks! Thank you, Brian.

My older brother had a LP copy of Machine Head that I used to play to death. I especially loved Pictures of Home and Never Before, but the whole album is magnificent (yes, even Lazy!). Wasn’t a really necessary purchase, but I wanted it.

And now to some Doom Metal. Candlemass are a Swedish doom metal band and this was, I think, their third album. I have the first two. I love the doom genre, and Candlemass are particularly great proponents of it. Special double disc version, with live versions. The cover art is stunning.

I’m a big fan of Gabriel-era Genesis and his solo stuff, so a dvd concert will be worth seeing. Gabriel’s concerts are fun and theatrical. See, I did know what I was doing. Jedi mind tricks be damned!

…And that’s it. Leaving the place, my only regret is not getting one of those McCarthy albums.

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