Digger’s Diary: Hay-on-Wye Record Fair, 01/07/12

There’s not a lot to do in Wales except get wet. That’s not true. This isn’t a very good start is it? Let’s begin again. There’s lots to do in Wales in June, and getting wet is just one of the many exciting activities one can enjoy along with getting lost because all the road signs are in Welsh and nearly dying by being blown of a mountain top in gale-force winds. I love Wales really – Goldie Lookin’ Chain were definitely in my top ten groups of ’04 – and so I went camping at the weekend.

On the way home we decided to stop by “The Town of Books” that is Hay-on-Wye. Home to a massive literary festival every year, it spends the rest of the year being smaller than people expect and having lots of closed cafes. This Sunday, however, I was lucky enough to pull up with my entourage just as the world-famous record fair was in town. The seven or eight stalls were kept out of the Brecon Beacon drizzle by some Georgian stone structure that was probably designed to host hangings or something. I only had a tenner in my pocket, having spent most of my weekend money on disposable barbecues and Kendal Mint Cake.

What does ten pounds get you in Hay-on-Wye on a wet Sunday in June? All this l00t!

1. Billy Swan – I’m her fool – 30p

Country tinged pop. I took a punt on this thinking it might be some soul. It’s OK because it features the lyric “I come runnin’ like a dog when she calls, cos she pats me when I bury my bone.”

2. Roscoe – This Time – 30p

I have to say I don’t recall chosing this one but I was pleased to see that this slice of also-ran late 80s house was recorded in Cheadle Hulme, where my mum grew up. Look at Roscoe’s little face like he’s from Grange Hill or something.

3. Dazz Band – Keep It Live (On the K.I.L.) – 30p

It’s that ^. Pretty hot right? The EXACT same cut on both sides for some reason though.

4. Gerry Rafferty – Night Owl – 30p

That’s the front cover of this AOR bit of slickness (although the B-side wins again) but the back cover wins more. Look!

Chipping Norton what Gerry?! CHIPPING NORTON WHAT??!?!!!

5. Baker Gurvitz Army – The Gambler – 30p

Sounds kinds like early Genesis. Sounds kinds proggy. Does not sound like Kenny Rogers’ crossover hit “The Gambler”. Does sound like I’ll never play this record again.

6. J. Geils Band – Love Stinks (picture disc) – 30p

She’s got that look on her face cos of what my fingers are doing. Fascinating fact: this record was once sold in Redruth for £1.25 according to a label on it.

7. Crowded House – Something so strong – 30p

Look at the light emanating from Neil Finn’s crotch. That’s the “something so strong”. Great tune. I was reminded of the awesomeness of this the other week when I walked into pub in Earlsfield full of pissed up southern-hemisphere pumped-up rugby blokes belting this out. I was intimidated and left soon after.

8. Incantation – Chacharpaya – 30p

I though this would be cool because it was on Beggar’s Banquet. “Hey maybe it’ll be like that cool boogie stuff I have…oh no it’s pan pipe music. Not terrible panpipe music but panpipe music nonetheless.

9. Dooley Silverspoon – Game Players – 30p

It’s two kind-of-cool soul tunes that sound like you’re listening to them through a tin of soup with the soup still in it. 5/10.

Also-rans: FYC – She Drives Me Crazy (I bought it for a secret project); Duran Duran – Notorious (bought it for when I one day learn to juggle and can do a thing with that and the Biggie tune); two Nazareth 45s (bought by accident, one has a crap hair metal ballad on it – *sigh*).

Donald Fagen – The Nightfly – £2

This was exactly what I might expect from a “FOUNDER MEMBER OF STEELY DAN”. (I’m gonna put that sticker on my decks). It takes perfect cocaine music to its natural conclusion. I can imagine him sitting tensely behind the mixing desk staring at a percussionist just daring him to mistime a cowbell hit. Please check this album out and listen to it all, lots.

Ohio Players – Contradiction £2

Look it’s a lass loving a horse. What can I say about this album other than, I reckon somebody, somewhere has had this view whilst having a go at himself.

Of all the hundreds of emails I get every day enquiring about this blog, my work and inspirations, by far the most frequently asked question is “Mike, do you know what star sign(s) the Ohio Players were?”. Until now I could only have guessed but now I have some evidence. From now on, every time this question gets asked I’ll be able to answer, as this information is thoughtfully located on the inner sleeve of this fine album.

Kansas – Leftoverture  –£2

For several weeks now I’ve been singing the into to Kansas’s “Carry on my Wayward Son”. I was even singing it as I rifled through Paul young record after Paul Young record on Sunday until I chanced across the very album that song opens! Blame Greg Proops.

So that was ten quid.



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