Friday, June 15, 2012

Staff picks: Carl

Hello all, this is Carl at Recordmania. If you're a regular in the shop, I'm the one you will usually see at the counter. My work is mainly deciding what records we should and should not buy, and setting the price for the records that we end up getting.

Here are some of my favorite LPs. They all come with a five star recommendation, for what it's worth. For my own collection I'm mostly into soul sounds, with some jazz, disco and odd bits on the side, which is reflected in this small selection. I didn't pick the rarest things – on the contrary, what you find here is stuff that is widely known but has stood up very well over the years and deserves the ”classic for a reason” stamp. Most of these are easily available on reissue if you prefer.

Wind-down time. This LP is beautiful beyond words. Mellow jazz with a mood that's like a warm blanket on Christmas Eve.

Mike's first LP after he left the Censations. Heavy, heavy soul masterclass from 1972. Combines the lyrical awareness of GSH with the musical deepness of Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield at their peak. I've listened to ”Hang on in there” a hundred times and it never ceases to amaze me.

Part spaced-out interludes, part folk/jazz/soul. ”Moves” and ”Wake up brothers” are unbelievable tracks, but this is one of those records I habitually put on and play through both sides.

Soul perfection, just one of the finest records of its kind. I remember being swept away by ”Don't you care” and ”Never did I stop loving you”, and the LP is rock solid through both sides. If you're into this early 70s sound, make sure to check Sandra Wright's ”Wounded woman” album.


Coltrane's magnum opus. I didn't really get it the first time I listened a long time ago (young and foolish!), but after some time it just clicked. This record is absolutely immense, beautiful and powerful at once. I've tried very hard to get tired of it but it just won't work. Certainly not jazz as dinner music, but give it your full attention and you will be rewarded.

Must-have 70s soul, one of the best records ever in my book. ”All because of you”, Lucky fellow”, and ”Cool out” are all-time favorites that I've put on a thousand mix tapes. This LP oozes class from the first second. Everything about it is first rate, from the songwriting and vocals to the musicianship and arrangements.

Curtis Mayfield had to be in here somewhere. I could have picked a few other Impressions albums or one of his solo efforts, but this might be the one that's dearest to me. No surprises here, just a supremely crafted LP that sounds as fresh today as it must have done back in 1969.

Recorded in the early 70s but not issued until 2011, this was probably the most played record in the shop last year. Deep, moody soul with a heavy socio-conscious message. Totally different sound to their Mercury LP with ”Hollywood dreaming”, and much more consistent. File next to Mike James Kirkland, Gil Scott-Heron and 24 Carat Black.

His best LP without a doubt, filled to the brim with exceptional tracks. Everybody likes this record, basically.

Lovelites – S/T (Uni)
This could be my favorite female group soul LP. Stunning record from A to Z, produced by Clarence Johnson (Chi-Lites, Starvue etc). I still play it regularly at home. Can't believe this hasn't been reissued, as it's also fairly hard to find.


D'Angelo – Voodoo (Virgin)
For me this is probably the best record in the past 15 years. Doesn't sound like anything else, though you can hear a Marvin Gaye influence. Modern soul in a literal sense, mixed with jazz & hip hop.

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