Wednesday, 17 June 2009
The other night during the ad break in something I was half watching, an ad for "Now That's What I Call The Best Dadrock, Pub Jukebox, Classic, Driving Anthems Ever, Volume Umpteenth" or some such equally fatuous title caught my attention. Snipets of all the usual suspects were played in the 30 second ad, The Undertones, Oasis, Coldplay etc etc and also things like Free, Elton John and bloody Bachman Turner Overdrive, ffs. This got me thinking what demographic is this compilation aimed at? It can't be aimed at the kind of people who read music blogs, (I'm trying not to use the term "serious music listeners") as I don't think that this group tend to buy mainstream compilations, I could be wrong but don't think so.
Even casual music listeners, who would want to play this sort of thing in the car will probably have the majority of these tracks and the ones that they don't, are they likely to fork out 12 quid for the cd when all of the tracks will be available in a digital format from itunes, eMusic or some other e vendor.
If this cd is aimed at kids to buy for Father's Day, I think that the marketeers are seriously deluded. What kid will go out and buy a cd of tracks which they can readily get off the internet for nada?
If in a few years M gave me a compilation cd he had burned I would be much happier than him buying one of these scattergun approach to music compilations at least if he had compiled it then some thought would have gone into it.
I just don't see the point of this type of compilation. A quick search on HMV shows that there are absolutely loads of these things out there. Why?
I do see the need for specialist compilations, such as dance mix cds, obscure Northern Soul or even obscurer indie that was only ever released in limited numbers on 7" vinyl, yes but not this mainstream stuff as it is all available elsewhere and with a little bit of effort you can make yourself a bespoke compilation better than any of these off the shelf
This accessibility to music wasn't always the case. As has been written here before and on many other blogs in the pre internet days it wasn't that easy to get a hold of tracks. even just a couple of years old.
Finally I get to the point of this post.
Pre download days, it wasn't unknown for me to buy a compilation album just for one or two tracks which was quite a costly way of getting hold of music. I would attempt to root out the singles, if the track had been released on that format. This meant a trip to the Barras in Glasgow on a Saturday and searching the 2nd hand record stalls.
On one occasion I asked one of the stall owners, who sort of specialised in soul if he had It Should Have Been Me by Yvonne Fair to which his reply was "What do you want that for, your bird dumped you or something?"
Here are 3 tracks from compilation albums that I bought solely for these songs.
First up is William Bell & Judy Clay - Private Number. It was originally released in 1968 on the Stax label. The copy I own is on a double lp released in 1986 called the Originals an album full of 60s soul staples from the likes of the Isley Brothers, Sam Cooke etc. If I remember rightly this album was released on the back of the retro Levi 501 ads which at the time started us all wearing boxer shorts and lying in the bath in our new jeans.
William Bell & Judy Clay - Private Number
Next we have Bettye Swann with her cover of a Neville Brothers track Tell it Like It Is from What's Happening Stateside a sampler album of artists on the Stateside label. This album was probably the best £2.99 I've ever spent as it introduced me to a whole raft of soul artists I had never heard of before such as Irma Thomas, Z.Z. Hill & Jimmy Holiday.
Bettye Swann - Tell it Like It Is
The third track is from a soundtrack album. I first heard Tipitina by Professor Longhair when I saw The Big Easy with Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin and couldn't get it out of my head. The only way to get the song was to buy the rather pricey, at the time soundtrack cd, which is patchy although it does have a live version of the Neville Brothers doing Tell It Like It Is.
Professor Longhair - Tipitina