JONATHAN RICHMAN AND THE MODERN LOVERS
It’s Time For…
(Rough Trade, 1986)
When The Modern Lovers Mark II (or III) broke up at the end of the ’70s, Richman laid low for several years, before returning with a trio of albums that showed him fully reinvigorated: Jonathan Sings! (1983), Rockin’ And Romance (1985) and It’s Time For… All three are long out of print; Richman apparently holds them all in low regard. Produced, like its predecessor, with the lightest of touches by Andy Paley, the last is the pick of the bunch. Showcasing Richman’s love of early rock’n’roll and doo-wop, it’s nostalgic without being sentimental, as warm and true as an old valve amplifier. Opener “It’s You” is plausibly one of the ’80s’ most gorgeous recordings; “Corner Store” a paean to vanishing times to rank with his seminal “Old World”; “When I Dance” is the singer at his most magical.
EXPECT TO PAY: A high-end £50
The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl
Astonishing to think that, save some stuff on the Anthologies, there is no Beatles live material available on CD. And not just because this was a band that famously forged themselves on the live circuit – this is The Beatles, after all, the biggest cash cow in music history. Things never seem to go smoothly with the Fabs’ catalogue, though, and the long and winding story of the original release of these recordings is fascinating, involving abortive attempts by Phil Spector, much dust-gathering in Capitol’s vaults, and, finally, a heroic salvage job by George Martin. While Martin’s selection (from two shows in August ’64 and August ’65) is scarcely a hi-fi listening experience, it’s still revelatory. Clearly audible among the soprano screams and general hysteria are 13 raw, R’n’B-weighted tracks – including a searing “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” – that proved what a spookily tight, breathlessly exciting live act they could be. Great between-song patter, as well…
EXPECT TO PAY: £10. It did hit No 1!
St Dominic’s Preview
(Warner Bros, 1972; Polydor, 1997)
Morrison had posed with then-wife Janet Planet for the cover of 1971’s bucolic Tupelo Honey. By this follow-up, the marriage was deteriorating, and he sounded more magnificently restless than in years. While continuing the mixture of radio-friendly R’n’B (the belting “Jackie Wilson Said”) and jazzy Celtic folk-rock (“Gypsy”) that had characterised recent albums, St Dominic’s… saw Morrison also reach back toward the beat visionary ground of Astral Weeks on questing epics “Listen To The Lion” and “Almost Independence Day”. Morrison here dubbed his sound “Caledonian Soul” and on the glorious title track, you hear what he means. Warners started to reissue their Morrison titles in 2008, but the project seems to have stalled. In a 2009 Q&A with Time magazine, Morrison, who has had issues with his old label over ownership of his back catalogue, was asked, “When will we see your out-of-print albums in stores?” His ominous response: “There are no plans right now.”
EXPECT TO PAY: A reasonable £20