Thursday, June 24, 2010

Andy Pratt, "Records Are Like Life" (1969)

Leaving aside the expense of actually buying records, there's two main drawbacks to having a record collection, particularly if, like myself, you went through a few years of buying pretty indiscriminately.

One; these shits take up space and are they are heavy, they are a pain in the arse when you move house you have to allow space for the collection (as a rule of thumb they will use about the same amount of space as three and a half babies).

Two - and this is related to point 1 above - you never really know that it is "safe" to throw a record away or sell it. It may seem obvious that you should just sell the ones you don't really like (and they will be many), but the fact of the matter is that a man's musical taste will mutate, mature, improve, corrupt and/or degrade over time, so much so that you can never say with true confidence that something that sounds corny, boring or pretentious to you today will not on some future occasion have you throwing down like a stimulus-deprived gorilla. Keep records or don't - either way you are likely to have something to regret.

Case in point, I originally bought "Records Are Like Life" by Andy Pratt purely because the title track was about buying lots of records and I thought I would use fifteen seconds of it in a mix-tape or something. I very nearly got rid of it when I moved overseas some years ago, but fortunately did not since, in accordance with those processes just described, it is Right Now one of my favourite albums.

This music was probably too grown-up for me until two or three years ago. With the prominence of piano throughout, it's kind of "adult-oriented progressive cocktail lounge music" though I fear that pigeon-holes it rather too narrowly. The following three selections are a good indication of the level of variety and inventiveness on this album.

Andy Pratt - Wet Daddy

For someone who hobbies as a music writer I often find it quite hard to actually describe music. The song "Wet Daddy" has a guitar in it and some drumming. There are words, emerging as sound from a human mouth in a sequence of different yet mathematically related tones. I can really only encourage you to listen and see if you can get your own head around it. The shuffling of multiple layers of Andy's falsetto is characteristic of the album, as are the cryptic and whimsical lyrics.

Andy Pratt - Mindy

Another energetic song underpinned by the skittery drumming of Rick Shlosser (his invaluable contribution to the album was enough to earn him a slightly larger font in the back cover credits). "Mindy" starts from a bossa nova jazz premise and then just subverts it into whatever Andy Pratt felt like doing.

Andy Pratt - Low Tide Island

In a total change of tone, "Low Tide Island" is a melancholic folk song with haunting, acid-tinged vocals and zero percussion.

The face of  a genius (and his mates).

The remainder of the songs on "Records Are Like Life" are also unique and superb - and if you don't feel like lurking around in record stores for an unspecified number of months or years, you can get full, legitimate downloads from  It's About Music ("where it's about music, not about web design")

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