Real Music

In the Bag of Nails, we shall not be using a CD player. As I did in my last pub, I shall be putting in a record player somewhere, and allowing people to leaf through a selection of my own personal vinyl collection. This page is here to give you an idea of what kind of music selection you may expect, if you visit the Bag of Nails. Daytime music shall veer towards Billie Holiday, Robert Johnson, and maybe Iron and Wine and other similar musicians. In the evening, and especially towards the weekend, the music might get more varied and lively. Of course all music has to be reasonably pub friendly, and I shall be on hand to ensure customer DJ's stick to this remit.
Rather than messing up the journal with talk of my new vinyl acquisitions, I shall post them on this page. 

August 1st.

I picked up these four albums the other day for a pound each. I didn't really know any of them much apart from the Led Zep, which i think we all know. The Talking heads is quite late, (88) and maybe is not theior best album. The only song that I could name from it is Blind. I have only played it once through and I have mixed feelings about it. At times it does delve into African beats and rhythms an awful lot. Perhaps not one to keep. I really am not into the Beach boy's as much as most of my friends want me to be. I like pets sounds without having to actually own it or listen to it, but they have been a massive name in music, and thus I should represent them in the pub to some extent. If this album really gets on my tits too much, I'll let it go as well. The Simple minds is the most interesting of these. I had heard that their earlier stuff was not bad at all, so I took the plunge here. It sounds similar to The Pop Group, although the unmistakably unlikable voice of the lead singer is not disguised much by the synths and wonderful 80's drum machines. 

  Somebody yesterday asked me to elaborate on my record collection, which I shall do. It's big, heavy, takes up a lot of room, and is almost without exception worth less now than what I paid for it. Over the years I have acquired a lot of records from local charity shops, and various assorted means, for usually not a lot of money. Sometimes I have got complete bargains, like the Sam Cooke or Johnny Cash, Folsom Prison album, but of course I have bought some real duds as well. One of the most memorable was a Skids album, which looked in good nick, but I obviously neglected to even check the record, because when I went to play it for the first time it looked either as somebody had shot it with an air rifle, of someone with very thin stilettos had trampled over it. The vinyl had two or three small, triangular holes completely missing out of the record. It was possible to play the last track on each side, but I cannot pretend that I got any kind of bargain there, not matter how little I had paid for it. 
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  These days the charity shops are much more clued up about the value of vinyl, and the goalposts have moved a little. It's more likely now to see records in these shops overpriced and often costing more than you could purchase them on ebay for, in better nick. I have not bought that many singles or albums from the internet, but all of them have been in excellent condition apart from those Stone Roses singles that I replaced because I thought I had lost. Now I have duplicates of two Stone roses singles, which visually look fine but sound horrible and muffled, and you only find this out after you have put them on. Bargain, that. Thanks mate.
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  Bristol is still blessed with enough record shops and stalls to keep most addicts perfectly hooked in and most of them are reasonably priced, even if you know that you'll never be finding the next Velvet Underground acetate lurking in amongst those Jim Reeves long plays.
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  I'm not an organised person by nature, and over the years my collection has never been categorized in any fashion apart from splitting the 45's from the 33's as one of my decks throws a tantrum if you try to put and fast spinning disc onto it. Because of this and other reasons, my collection has always been split up to some extent and so today for the first time since I only had a single box, of LP's, I have gathered the entire collection together to photograph it.
My whole collection as of July 11. I should have put a cooler single on display at the front to persuade everybody what a hip and trendy kind of guy I am. Unlike the deeply unfashionable type who still listens to Michael Jackson.

On the left is John Cale (of the Velvet Underground) and Terry Riley. It's a pretty avant garde record, but still pretty pub friendly apart from the prolonged high pitch whistle at the end of one side. Gotta watch out for that when I play it in the pub. The Bill Haley is a mono repress of a classic Decca album, and one of the freebies from the Bridge Inn last week. It's pretty battered but plays just fine, and is great, simple music.

Both of these are well known and also fairly self explanatory. I have had the ACDC album for ages, but for some reason I have only started playing it very recently. I do love Talking Heads, and really ought to listen to the much more than I do.

This Decemberists album is really good. Sort of electro/gypsy/folk. And my story of buying it should be a lesson to all record company bosses about how to face the future. While using some naughty filesharing, I was browsing somebody's shared music folder and came across a track title I like. I took it and like the song, and subsequently the whole album. Three weeks later I bought the album on vinyl and not long after bought tickets to go and see them live. Without that software the band would never have had any of my hard cash.

Things such as The Selecter are a good staple to any pub record collection, and as such do get played quite a bit. The Robert Johnson is just excellent, and contains I think half of everything that he ever recorded. In the 'Nubes this did get played a lot, but it's difficult to overplay Robert Johnson. 
Two from Lou Reed here, although the velvet underground does feature John Cale of two tracks. It's essentially an out-takes album released in the 80's but there are some proper gems included on there. Berlin was one of Reed's more coherent albums of the 70's and has some dark themes running through it. While both of these are pub-friendly ,just about, you would have to pick your moment carefully.
This Sam Cooke album was an utter bargain at only a pound. It includes his stunning hit, A Change is Gonna Come.' which must rank as one of my all-time favourite songs. The blues compilation is one of many such compilations that I have bought from Plastic Wax records, and contains a wide selection of such music.
I only recently started to listen to the Rev Gary Davis, and I honestly could not recommend it more. Just stunning blues from the sixties. His very best stuff is unbelievably difficult to get on vinyl, so I console myself with this mighty ragtime live album.
The Thermals, are excellent American punk rock, and just excellent live. It's pretty unlikely that you'll here this album play when the pub is actually open, but if you pop your head around the door in the morning while I'm doing the cleaning or cellar, there's a good chance that you'll here it. Not all of my records shall be out in the pub, not downstairs at least, and come Friday and Saturday some of the more precious ones will be taken to a safe place. Therefore on nights that I know will be raucous, records such as this Supremes one may be more prevalent.
This Massive Attack album is really good for listening on a Sunday afternoon over a good pint of stout, after you have just stuffed your face with plenty of roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding. I must confess this Beatles record is one that I have probably never actually listened to all the way through, and is likely heading towards the charity shop pile.
Malcom Middleton is another artist who almost whispers into the microphone. He sings about how miserable it is to live in Glasgow and how every girl hates him. I think. Anyhow essential afternoon listening material.
Big Bill. What I would do without him, I just don't know. It's a toss up who is the better bluesman between him and Gary Davis, so I'm just happy that I have music from the both of them. I went to see Beethoven's Ninth performed at the Albert Hall once, and I was the most powerful piece of music that I have ever heard live. No other performance that I have heard has even been close, apart from the White Stripes.
Yes, this is the Johnny Cash Album with the famous Nine Inch Nails cover on it. Yes the album shall get played a lot in the pub. If you don't like Johnny Cash's music then frankly you probably won't like my pub.

Dexy's Midnight Runners were actually the very first band that I was ever in to. Listening to Geno with my sister in our father's car in the front drive because we had no other working tape deck is my first memory of listening to music. This Bob and Earl is a charity shop cracker. I just love all the price stickers from Woolies on the cover, down from 25p to 19p and finally to 15p. Bargain.

Yet another Johnny Cash album, this time the best live album ever recorded, live at Fulsom Prison. During the recording you can here the prisoners cheering, and whooping when he sings of Cocaine Blues and of course the utterly famous line now, 'I shot a man in Reno.' Groundbreaking.

This Cure album is one of thier best, and probably friday evening material, while the soft tomes of Iron and Wine are much more likely to be heard on lazy Saturday afternoons, contrasting to the city life outside.
Just look at the photo of Wilson Picket here. How much more confident and full of himself could a man be. And he has every right to be, when he possessed such singing talent. This album kicks off with a cracking version of Mustang Sally, and includes other classics such as Everybody needs Somebody to love, and Knock on Wood. Full of energy and soul, this is at the centre of my collection. The Hot Hits I bought primarily for the 'daft' version of Paranoid. Good fun.

The Kills are great AND the lead singer is married to Kate Moss now. What more can I say ? Come in on a Friday or Saturday night and dig out the album. This other record is proof that Acid Jazz is not actually a music genre, but rather a specific record label. Some good stuff on here, some bullshit.
This JJ Cale album is just genius, and I'm not changing my mind, no matter how much my friend Jon tells me how banal and rubbish it is. It is the most lazy, dreamy, Saturday sunny afternoon watching the world go by record that I have heard. I cannot say the same about the Rod Steward record, but I can say that it's the only decent album he has ever made.

When Rooted Records on Gloucester road finally gave up the ghost, and became online only, they had a big box of records that they were giving away fro free. And thus I have a pretty extensive collection of Noel Coward recordings. An occasional change of pace and tone.
This Pogues record is in my opinion one of the best from the British Isles in the whole Eighties. A masterpiece in combining traditional music with modern styles, with some excellent songwriting form Shane MacGowan. If you really hate Irish music and I'm in a Pogues mood, then I might find some earplugs for you. 


  1. Gil Scott Heron looks like Alexander O'Neal!

  2. Real Music on Real Vinyl in a Real Pub? Man, I don't know you but I love you already! :-)