Howdy folks and thanks for reading the ol’ Sorry State newsletter this week. Can you believe we are almost through the first month of the year already? Here at SSR the time has been flying by as usual. So many great records coming through, new and old, it is impossible to keep up and play them all as much as I want. Such a problem to have, right guys?
With such extensive knowledge and understanding of all things punk coming from my amazing colleagues here, I feel that they always have your bases covered. Therefore, I try to throw some different stuff at you. Much in the same way as Rachel does. I think the two of us share an interest in the odd and weird but also in the old school pop and mainstream stuff of mid-twentieth century music. We are both big fans of our Bargain Bins here. So, this week I was working on some more of the Veola McLean collection. This week’s batch contained more Gospel albums, some Nina Simone albums, lots of guitar-based jazz and a nice sprinkling of common and obscure soul and funk titles. All great stuff. Some cheap and some expensive. Those locals will see a lot of this hitting the bins this and next week. I’ll also be endeavoring to keep topping up the bargain bins so make sure you look below and at the counter display.
I was struggling to think of anything to write about this week, as my mind has been occupied by some personal shit. Blah, blah, blah. However, on Monday this week I made time to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. My DJ partner, Matt Pape, put together a thoughtful and interesting show for Worldy honoring Dr. King. I would recommend taking a listen. He did a nice job mixing vintage speeches with music and spinning appropriate and related sides in-between. He and I unfortunately are observing Covid protocols right now whilst the surge is on and he is in recovery from his surgery. Looking forward to getting back together and doing our show live together again.
From the Veola McLean collection, we have several great records of MLK speeches and there have been a whole bunch of very informative and interesting records she had on all things civil rights and Black American history. Definitely check out what we still have left if you come by shopping. I played one of the MLK ones that I also own a copy of, and it is that that I would steer you towards this week for my pick. It’s titled …Free At Last and was released on Gordy, the Motown label. One side has his “I’ve Been To The Mountain” speech from April, 3rd 1968 and the other side has a sermon titled “The Drum Major Instinct” that he gave in February earlier that year at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. It is such an incredible piece, proving beyond doubt how great an orator he was. He sums up the issues plagued by America and the world at large so brilliantly and even provides his own eulogy, which will literally bring you to tears when you hear it. If you have not heard this sermon or even if you have before, I encourage you to take a listen. In this time of false idols and self-serving politicians, his words ring just as strong now as they did that back day.
1968, the year of Dr. King’s assassination, was the year of my birth. I chose quite a time to come into the world. The air was thick with revolution and unrest, not unlike the present. Sad how we have made little progress in so many areas of our society. However, it was also a fantastic year for music. While I was listing some of the Veola records, I put on a compilation she had called Billboard Top R & B Hits. It has some of my favorites on it including cuts from The Delfonics, The Temptations, The Impressions, The Miracles, James Brown, and Marvin Gaye, among others. It finishes with one of my all-time faves, The Dells doing Stay In My Corner. What a class song. A rerecorded version of a tune they cut three years before. The held note at the end is spine-tingling.
My final listening enjoyment that I wanted to share with you is a record that Veola had from Muhammad Ali called Ali And His Gang Vs. Mr. Tooth Decay. It’s a novelty record for kids that was aimed at teaching good dental and eating habits. It features Ali along with Howard Cosell, Ossie Davis and Frank Sinatra. There is a story about Ali and his gang fighting the evil Mr. Tooth Decay that is funny and entertaining. Unfortunately, the copy we have is kinda beat up, but the cover is cool and you can listen to it on-line, which was what I did. I grew up in the era when Ali was champ and in my opinion he was and will always be the greatest. Any opportunity to hear him is one worth having. You should listen to the story if you have some time and want a laugh.
Alright, that’s all I got for you. Plenty to investigate should you feel so inclined. Thanks for reading and take care of yourselves. Until next time - Dom