Mojo Reviews Challenge #001 – The Best Of 2-Tone

Where I dig into something I’ve not heard before, from the reviews section of old Mojo Magazines, on an irregular basis.

MOJO1_DylanLennon#001 – The Best Of 2-Tone

When Mojo started in 1993, the review section was very different to what it is today. They only really reviewed 10-20 albums, and the lead reviews would cover several records as one story.

With that, the choices are pretty limited in these early issues. The ‘new’ albums are full of established classics – In Utero, Come On Feel The Lemonheads, Thirteen, Together Alone, New Miserable Experience….

So we go to the reissues. The lead review both have to do with Reggae, and it’s tight trousered younger brother, Ska. A 4 disc Jamaican overview called Tougher Than Tough, and a 4 disc box set on of the 2-Tone label called The Compact 2-Tone Story. There’s a one disc version – The Best Of 2-Tone. That’s our pick.

According to the review, the 4-disc 2 Tone set is too much, but the 1-disc is not enough. But I know so little about 2 Tone, I figured the 1 disc is the way to go. Nothing but the towering anthems.

There’s svereal big ones here. The Specials loom large – the set opens with their immortal ‘Ghost Town‘ and ‘Nelson Mandela‘. In fact, the Specials make up half the collection. There’s some ‘name’ appearances by Madness and Elvis Costello who all recorded for the label at some point, but broke out of that scene very quickly. Which sadly leaves little room for The Beat, The Selector and others.

What is clear on the first couple of listens is that this collection is a whole lot of fun. It sounds great in the car, and I’m in West London in the late 70s. Theres only ‘The Boiler‘ that brings the mood down, but the rest are all big sing-along anthems, the masterpieces of the genre that won over a generation. Fun music, and important too.

Great to have this stuff on the iPod finally. Pretty embarrassing that I didn’t have ‘Nelson Mandela‘ on there before. This world – that can fill a whole record store like Honest John’s, has always been a bit of a blind spot for me. Let’s see where this leads.

bestof_lp_front

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Continuous Hit Music: Charlie Rich – Behind Closed Doors

Continuous Hit Music – a weekly exploration of vinyl finds in 2012. Read ’em all here.

Artist: Charlie Rich
Title: Behind Closed Doors
Original Release: 1973
Label: Epic
Store: An antique shop on Richlands Rd, Taralga, NSW
Price: $5
(Original)

Amazing how I can spend money just about anywhere. Having headed to Taralga over the holidays for a wedding, some time was killed perusing one of the 5 shops in this small country town. One was a secondhand/oldwares shop. It had a box of records hidden away under some old board games and things. And even there I could find a couple of pieces worth having.

Technology is improving, and maybe one day, it will be easy and make financial sense for a small store like this to put their inventory online. Until then, there are treasures to be found. Not that this album is particularly rare either. Although the 7” of The Flame by Cheap Trick was a find. But I’ve deciding to just write about albums here.

I don’t know much about Charlie Rich really, outside of this one album, and a couple of other tracks. It seemed that when I started reading Gram Parsons and Elvis Costello drop country artist names, I went for George, Buck and Merle. But I picked up this album because everyone says it’s a classic.

Certainly there are classic songs on here. The title track is rightly regarded as a masterpiece. But it’s the little songs in this album. is about as sad a song as I’ve ever heard. Contrast it with The Most Beautiful Girl, a clear eyed love song, as sweet as ever been brewed.

The album was produced by Billy Sherrill. The man is Nashville through and through, famously distrusting Elvis Costello’s intentions when he came to Nashville to record Almost Blue. It’s 70s Nashville too – a bit croony, and a fair bit of schmaltzy strings. Sometimes it gets a bit much, and it certainly sounds dated. When Sherrill dials it back, like on I Take It On Home, it works better.

That said, you wouldn’t trade the strings or the crooning or anything for something as great as We Love Eachother. Big, sentimental and lovely – sometimes schmatlz works. It’s my favourite song on this album. Why be coy?

This seems like an American copy with an one of the more obscure Epic logos (three circles shaped like a lowercase “e”). Charmingly, it’s owner wrote his name on the back of the sleeve in pen. ‘Ray Goodlow, Dec 74”. I wonder if young Ray imagined the record would end up in Marrickville, 38 years later.