Thursday, January 28, 2016

ABCs of My Vinyl Collection (Letter A, Part 11)

We have reached the end of the A section, at least for this round, but today's band will get more than one day's attention. Aztec Camera isn't the king of the A section because, unlike Associates, my collection is divided between vinyl, CDs and, yes, even cassettes. My Aztec Camera records are all vinyl through 'Love' and its associated singles, but my abrupt switch to compact disc in the fall of 1988 meant everything from 'Stray' onward is on the dreaded format. There is some crossover. For example, I have 'High Land, Hard Rain' on vinyl (two copies, actually), deluxe edition CD and cassette. Ridiculous... but with an explanation. It's just about my favorite record, and it keeps getting reissued in a superior fashion.

The pride of my Aztec Camera section are the two singles released by Postcard in 1981 (see top). I converted them to digital first thing, and it was then I decided to have a post dedicated to "We Could Send Letters." It's a fascinating study of a song's transformation, and it begs the question, can you tinker too much with a masterpiece? I have other versions of the song, such as from Roddy Frame's solo show from 2006 on 'Live in Osaka,' but those are on CD. So, perhaps another day. You may be wondering how I cheated and included the 'C81' version since that's from the legendary NME cassette. Well, I do have the tape, but I also have it on a fantastic 7" Domino Records included with the first copies of the vinyl reissue of 'High Land, Hard Rain' in 2013. The sleeve is signed by Frame, and the other songs on the record are "The Bugle Sounds Again" (Bedroom Demo) and the Capital Records Session of "The Boy Wonders" and "Release." So, that little bonus is why I have two copies of the album on vinyl. I converted that one right after the Postcard singles.

The live performance of "We Could Send Letters" was recorded for radio at the El Mocambo in Toronto on July 11, 1983. It showed up as a B-side to the WEA version of the "Oblivious" 12 single. More Aztec Camera next time as I continue the conversion of my 12" singles this evening. This is a good time to ask this question: Would you put Roddy Frame's albums in the Aztec Camera section or with the letter F?

"We Could Send Letters" ('C81' Version)
"We Could Send Letters" (Postcard Version)
"We Could Send Letters" ('High Land, Hard Rain' Version)
"We Could Send Letters" (Live)

13 comments:

drew said...

I left a comment last night, not sure what happened to it. Anyway, Roddy Frame most definitely filed under F. God, I love We Could Send Letters. lost my Postcard single years ago and have never replaced, as much as I love it, it is way to overpriced on Discogs and eBay.

Judge Pop said...

Another man who wisely owns 2 copies of "Hard Land, High Rain" (actually I think I joint own 2 copies together with Wendy). I've been lucky enough to see Roddy sing 'We Could Send Letters' 3 times in the last 10 years and it's always an overwhelming experience. In my all time top 10, album + song. "Small World" from Surf was played this morning on BBC Radio too.

SriRacha Shark said...

Quite simply, one of the greatest songs ever written.

I had a night out with Roddy in Manchester in 1984. What a wonderful human being.

Judge Pop said...

My band did a members' top 10 albums list a few years back and "High Land, Hard Rain" got in the list for 3 of us. Only other 2 ablums getting votes from 3 of us were "Parallel Lines" and "Swoon".

Brian said...

Hi Drew. Sorry about your comment disappearing. That happens to me quite a lot with a couple of my regular reads... especially at Adam's place. If this happens to you again, let me know. Maybe you are being blocked on the back end for some reason. I found out that's what happened to me at George's old blog, and he was able to fix it. I love this song too, Drew, in all its incarnations. Aztec Camera is a rare spot on the shelf where I feel like I have everything I want. Well, at least officially. I don't have a copy of those Green Jacket Grey demos. If I ever found a bootleg of that I would pay big bucks for it.

Brian said...

Judge Pop, I have never had the privilege of seeing Roddy. I nearly flew over for the 'High Land, Hard Rain' show in Glasgow a couple of years ago but Dad/husband guilt ended up winning the day. Your inclusion of 'Swoon' is a pleasant surprise. All three of the albums you mentioned will get a proper airing during this digital conversion. It's months away, but I wonder if any other bands from the letter P might interest you? Hope all is well with you, your family and your latest project. Oh, and Surf is perfect!

Brian said...

SriRacha Shark, Green with envy. I wish I had a moment with Roddy like that. Then again, I would just gush and make a fool out of myself. I picture asking him question after question after question instead of playing it cool and treating him like a human being. I'm even blowing it in my head right now. Pathetic. Can't even hypothetically get it right.

The Swede said...

I had the pleasure of seeing Roddy half a dozen times within the space of a week in 1993, when he was support for Bob Dylan's Hammermith Odeon residency. Bob was arguably at his sloppiest at that point, but Roddy's set was spot on every night.
I'm with Drew by the way, Roddy has to be filed under 'F'.

Brian said...

Swede, Wow! An abundance of riches. I remember those shows. Solo acoustic, I believe. That had to be intimidating in front of a Dyaln crowd. What I recall reading that I thought was odd was Roddy didn't meet Bob the entire residency. You would think there would at least be a hello at some point.

I file Roddy under F too. Actually, I asked the wrong question anyway. Would make more sense to file most of Aztec Camera under Roddy Frame, not the other way around.

drew said...

At the Paisley Abbey gig a few years ago. He said at the end that he would be hanging about to sign autographs. L asked my why we weren't hanging about and I just said I don't want to look like a knob when I would be totally inarticulate in front of him.

Judge Pop said...

If anyone doubts his current powers then listen to this version from one of the anniversary shows a couple of years back at 53 mins in. It's faultless.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4wsINiEjeE

JC said...

Not been surfing for a few days, so apologies for tardiness of these words.

Loved Roddy, then fell out of love with Roddy for a bit through the wea years, albeit there were always magical moments on even the most annoying of albums.

Fell back in love with Roddy when the hits dried up, Put him at the top of my list of heroes for the what he did to help Edwyn Collins recover and find his feet again as a live performer.

Have seen him on stage quite a few times....he's always been great value.

https://thenewvinylvillain.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/an-imaginary-compilation-album-33-roddy-frame/

Oh and F is where you file the solo stuff!!!!!!!

Brian said...

JC, we had a nice conversation about Roddy when I visited, and we have very similar views on his career. Even though there were some dips, I consider him one of my heroes too.