Fruits de Mer Records - Psychedelia, Krautrock, Progressive Rock, Acid-Folk, R&B, Spacerock and Vinyl Heaven


Other people's blogs are invariably as boring as hell to everybody bar the person who's writing it - they're self-centred, random, rambling, pointless and/or some combination of all four...

we don't like to break the pattern, so this is the Fruits de Mer Records blog...and you're welcome to it


Sid Smith is working on a feature (for PROG magazine, I assume) on the sole album by Touch, including an interview with Don Galluci; as I may have mentioned just a few hundred times, it's an album that means a lot to me - so I'm really looking forward to reading it.


Watching St Johnstone vs Rangers on TV - a proper game, not a huge amount of skill on display, the ball spends most of the time in the air, comes down with ice on it, goalkeeping is a bit flaky and the goal areas have hardly any grass on them


Mark has died after a long, long battle with cancer.
Mark absolutely loved music, he loved new bands and he loved tiny, struggling record labels; and, most of all, he loved writing - he was an amazing wordsmith, who could find more ways to describe a record in one review than I've managed in 50 years.
We often say someone will be missed long after we've lost touch with them and they've lost interest in us, Mark tried to support music and musicians right up to the very end - he leaves a huge gap that won't be filled.


...when you can have a romantic April weekend in Utrecht? That's what I've told Liz, anyway - and she's fallen for it (just don't mention the Utrecht record fair, that happens to be taking place while we're there)


After an evening of The Orb, Killing Joke, Iggy Pop and Robbie Williams (just a few of Dr Alex Paterson's anecdotes at the Troubadour), next stop was Atomic Rooster at the 100 Club, the photos showing the keyboards before and during the set; good solid versions of Rooster classics and a very good crowd for a Thursday night; they were very ably supported by the Marvin Hancox Band, who just happen to have a track on the next FdM members club compilation CD' The Half Time Orange'.
Marvin is some guitarist - Robin Trower with a Brummie accent, perhaps! They closed their set with a nice plug for FdM and a great version of 'Lysergic Vision'... and here it is as it appears on The Half Time Orange...


Picked up for £3 from FOPP and in the suitcase for the next trip - looks promising, hopefully it's packed with the kind of wry, cynical humour that I fail to achieve with the occasional 'Cod History' pieces on the FdM site


Our local high street has been half-empty for a couple of years, but I was shocked to see the number of derelict stores in our nearest 'proper' town (Kingston) last weekend.
Yes, the internet is having an impact, for sure, and phones/Sky/Netflix/etc are draining disposable budgets each month before anyone can get near a shop, but there's more to it than that - the things that people WANT are changing and old shops can't simply adapt...
tattooists and nail bars are the new jewellers
home furnishing means a big TV, Sonos and Alexa
nothing needs dry-cleaning
banks, building societies and post offices have had their day, so have bookmakers
charity shops need to reinvent or die
market stalls that sold fruits, veg, fish, meat are replaced by stalls selling instant food
big stores sell everything, specialist stores that sell the obvious don't have a role anymore
did you know only 1/3rd of Iceland's sales are frozen? (just thought I'd throw that in)
everyone needs to be somewhere (to paraphrase Bluebottle/Spike Milligan) - 'coffee shops in the day' are the 'new pubs in the evening'
As you may have spotted, I haven't thought this through, but reducing business rates in the high street is only going to delay the inevitable.


Spotted a couple that grabbed my attention - and credit card...the Neu '86 pink vinyl reissue by Gronland is only £11 via Amazon, while the truly unique/bizarre 'Mice And Rats In The Loft' by Jan Dukes De Grey has been reissued on vinyl by Trading Places (I ordered it from Juno, but have just realised that Nick at Heyday is stocking it - and it's cheaper with him!).
Update: 'Mice and Rats' has arrived - the good news is that it doesn't have the bonkers PVC sleeve + foam 'cleaning-strip' that combined to knacker every slab of vinyl they came into contact with; the bad news is that it doesn't have the bonkers PVC sleeve + foam etc...


Very interesting event at the Troubadour in London on Feb 4th - two 'Windmill' colleagues for the price of one...Kris Needs will talking to The Orb's Dr Alex Paterson, with Alex playing tracks from the past, present and future of The Orb (Kris is currently writing the story of the band).
I think I've persuaded Liz that she'll enjoy this - I will, anyway!


I'm not sure whether this is a new feature and a new photo, a new feature with an old photo, or an old feature with an old photo but it's good to see Maxine Peake still has her copy of the FdM 7" 'Do Not Adjust Your Set' on her shelf in this interview with PROG magazine, which seems rather similar to something she did with them in 2013. CLICK HERE to find out more


Whether you like Yes' 'Fragile' album or not, you need to check this Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab reissue out, as listed by - never mind the music, look at the price, rub your eyes, pinch yourself and look again... CLICK HERE for one way to spend your pension
Turns out there are 'only' 7,500 being pressed - and they're only $120 a set in the US, so there's some serious profit being made a long the way... FURTHER READING HERE


Haven't seen a lot to persuade me to part with my cash at the moment - couple of slightly 'dubious' live Floyd albums from Juno Records caught my eye/wallet yesterday...was hoping to see Roger Chapman at Shepherds Bush at the start of February but British Rail have decided to add two hours to the journey time on a Sunday night and I don't think I can face it.
Roll on, February.


Interesting conversations with a few bands and labels recently on the subject of where we are going with respect to physical media for music - there's a wide range of views on the future, the depressing end of the spectrum being that while people are happy to listen to music on CDs, they are reluctant to shell out much for them, meanwhile they're very happy to buy music on vinyl, but reluctant to remove the shrink-wrap, and they need an awful lot of convincing to go out and see bands live.
Hmmm - food for thought.


...or it did for club member Rich Clarke, who picked this up at his local charity shop

LAST BUT NOT QUITE LEAST of course I had to check out our local shops; the usual mix of stuff only elderly grandparents would have in their collections (ideal for me) and one of the biggest selections of James Last LPs I've seen in a long time - uniformly dreadful, but all virtually unplayed and when I found the one with 'Silver Machine' on it I had to look more carefully and I'm now the proud owner of 'Death Of A Clown', 'Crimson and Clover', 'Eloise', 'Heroes and Villans' and 'Paper Sun' as massacred by James and Co.


...this strange release on the Morgan label, which I'm sure will be unlistenable - and will remain unplayed until I'm on my own and about four pints to the good/bad


At a time when my large t-shirts don't feel quite so large anymore and I'm trying to ward off Liz's bronchitis with large doses of honey, lemon and ginger I find I'm asking myself, is honey really good for you or is it just sugar is disguise?


Not quite, we've never been away over Christmas before, but it was fun - even though it included an evening in a French restaurant full of Belgians, with a proprietor who insisted on playing the kazoo to a backing tape and a old mate singing the Welsh national anthem unaccompanied.


A little-known fact (by me, anyway), Chad Stuart from Chad and Jeremy provided the voice for one of the Liverpudlian vultures in Disney's 'Jungle Book' (thanks for that, Craig)


I was listening to Jose Mourinho on the radio the other morning and couldn't help but think his voice sounded like a cross between David McCallum playing Illya Kuryakin in 'The Man From UNCLE' and Jewish comedian Jackie Mason; then I thought - has anyone seen the three of them in a room at the same time?
Coincidence - or what?


Before I start getting excited about what's planned for 2020, I'd like to spend a few posts wallowing in the past, looking back at some of the good things that have happened in and around FdM in 2019; sorry, it won't take long....


A nice mix of the new, the new-to-FdM and the returners, I hope - 'the new' coming from the likes of Moon Goose, Hanford Flyover and a whole bunch of artists on the members club 'Deep Sea Exploration' compilation CD, the new-to-FdM including The Orb, Chad & Jeremy, The Lemon Clocks and London Underground and the very welcome returners such as Soft Hearted Scientists, Jack Ellister and The Bevis Frond.
Not bad!

2019 GIGS

An unexpected start to the 'live' year with SEN3's album launch at Ronnie Scott's, supporting the two and only Sly & Robbie; then on to the 17th Dream with The Bevis Frond, Groundhogs, The Chemistry Set and Sendelica leading the way at what must surely have been our best festival so far; and then to the Thunderbolt in Bristol, where a full-house braved the downpour for a great one-dayer.


It's not all about the music, you know - we try to come up with a few things each year that distract you briefly from our latest cock-up - slide puzzles, rubik's cubes, festival money boxes and ear-plugs, special edition bandanas and wax-melts...although I'd like the 'Absolute Shower' lathe-cut single scaled new heights or plumbed new depths, depending on your viewpoint


The are rumours that my teenage years hero Michael Moorcock's 'Elric' novels are being lined up for adaptation into a TV series; I'm sure we've been there before with plans for an epic film a few years ago, but I live in hope, along with some trepidation.


Because I've started on the scratchings and beer advent calendars the kids have bought me - I love a traditional Christmas


Just when you thought it was safe to come out of the bookshop, Andy Bracken is back...with an archive find that would have even eluded The Detectorists - it's as if the last 55 years never happened... CLICK HERE to find out more


One of my 'odder' purchases at Utrecht - a cracking LP of covers on the Damaged Goods label from 1997; little did I know that 'Parsley' is the same Parsley who guested for The Past Tense on keyboards at the Thunderbolt; small world, eh?


A great little Christmas gift for vinyl obsessives - 'Pop Trumps' is a joint venture between RRPG's Ian Shirley and Jonny Trunk of Trunk Records; check out the Trunk Records website.
A brilliant idea - I've got my set - and it would be churlish of me to mention the FdM 'Cardiology' cards that Andy Bracken designed many years ago (but I will anyway).


I'm not sure what was more damaging - two days at a record fair with 500+ stalls, or three days in a bar with 500+ beers and Steve Hallam - either way, I'm now in recovery but will bore you with a few highlights over the next day or two.


A review in the latest issue of Shindig begins, "there is something about the FdM operation that has never sat all that well with this writer. Their slogan pretty well nails it: "It's as if the last 40 years never happened".
...and I was beginning to think maybe I should be changing it to 50 years.


We got into Utrecht early on the Friday trade day and were able to watch the whole place being set up as stalls gradually filled with cheap reissues, expensive originals, dirt-cheap '2 euro' boxes, and basically so much vinyl it would take several weeks to browse the lot; by 1pm on the Saturday, it was packed and became a bit too much like hard work - and the queue at the bar became unacceptably long so, in the long tradition of News Of The World reporters, we made our excuses and left - FdM tote-bags overfull and wallets over-empty.

UTRECHT - Kafé België

Our refuge for the three days we spent in Utrecht was the Kafé België - over 500 beers in bottles and plenty on tap. We did our best to put a dent in the list of beers on offer - and of course had to include a couple of bottles of Krab.


Another curry-induced dream the other night - this time I was taking a selfie with a circa '68 Johnny Hallyday, replete with headband (him, not me).
Much as I like his session with The Small Faces from the period, I haven't played the resulting album for at least a year, so what the hell was he doing in my dream?
...things have since taken a definite turn for the worse as I dreamed I was DJ'ing and played two tracks by Simple Minds.
Simple-bloody-Minds - what have I done to deserve this?


Many thanks to DJ Marrs Bonfire - first for spinning the vinyl at our Thunderbolt gig - and then for sending me a wonderfully off-the-wall one-off CD compilation, to be enjoyed in the comfort of my own padded cell


Really enjoyed the acoustic set by Jacqui and co on Sunday in the Stag & Hounds in Bristol - a lovely way to recharge our batteries after the Thunderbolt gig.


I read on facebook that Morrissey is currently on tour in the USA, selling signed copies of his albums for $300 a time; but he is taking it one, bizarre step further and selling other artists' albums - also signed by him - for $300 a time.
Is this the most ridiculous thing you've heard since the last most ridiculous thing you heard?


Although I spend much of my time on facebook sharing the word about Fruits de Mer and FdM artists, I do stop off to appreciate some of the great music that's there to be enjoyed - this morning I happened upon Yusef Lateef's 'Morning', Ry Cooder and V.M. Bhatt's 'Delta River Blues', Sabbath playing 'Paranoid' in Birmingham in 2012 and the original video for The Damned's 'New Rose'; not a bad start to a Sunday.


Stored away for our next holiday, 'Psurroundabout Ride' is a double CD that pulls together everything the boys from XTC did in their psychedelic disguises; yes, I'm the old git who sits next to the pool with a hanky on my head and a CD player at my side.


So England will be playing their World Cup final on Nov 2 as a warm-up for our Thunderbolt gig - could a perfect start to the day, it'll certainly be a long one, a game this big has to watched aided by at least a couple of pints.


The bizarre dreams continue - mainly fuelled by retsina on this occasion - I won't go into detail, you'll be pleased to hear, but suffice to say they involved Madonna, two members of Pink Floyd calling round for a roast lamb dinner and Steve Howe advising me to use a white onion as a handy substitute for a roach when rolling one.


I'm about as non-political as you can get, and the unbelievably appalling crop of party leaders we have across UK, Europe and US at the moment only encourages me to bury my head deeper into the sand - but I did come up for air long enough a few weeks ago to raise a smile when the BBC's political editor Laura Kuessenberg announced Boris Johnson's brother Jo's resignation in order to, "spend less time with his family".


While I'm preparing for the November releases and the Thunderbolt gig, I thought I'd do a quick add-up to see whether I've delivered on my promise to Liz to slow things up a bit at FdM Towers in 2019...

By my reckoning, there have been:
15 LPs - totaling about 9 hours of music
5 CDs - about 5 hours of music
12 singles and lathe-cuts - about two hours of music

I have a feeling that's less than in 2018, that's what I'm telling Liz anyway, but I can't find the add-up I did a year ago - which is probably for the best.


Saw this on youtube and was reminded that I quoted the lyrics from it in my degree thesis on the rise of the technocracy; to be fair it was over 40 years ago and I was naive and full of crap - I now have bouts of IBS


Not the interview, you can blame Mick Dillingham for doing it, and Dom Valentine from 'I Don't Hear A Single' for suggesting it in the first place, but me sharing it...
click HERE for an attempt to make Fruits de Mer's history sound vaguely interesting, rather than just vague.


The Pretty Things' farewell gig at the O2 will be released as a double LP on November 1st - all I can say is, BUY IT
CLICK HERE for details on amazon


Back from a wedding in Ibiza (not ours) during which we 'took in' the Elrow closing party at Ushuaia - a small affair with around 9,000 guests and small bottles of Heineken at 13 euros a time; and if you think the three photos look rather similar, you should have stood through six hours of the music.


I might have mentioned (a few times) what a thrill it's been for me to be able to have The Orb on the Fruits de Mer label. I might not have mentioned the silver disc that's been on the wall at FdM Towers for the last 20 years - The Orb's 'Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld' - bought on eBay when you could still find the occasional bargain


Paid a visit to Kingston-on-Thames' first record fair in many a year; decided against wearing a Fruits de Mer t-shirt - getting mobbed can be so wearing - opted for a Villa shirt instead, and spent a very pleasant hour or two mainly chatting to Fulham, West Ham and Chelsea fans, all of whom must have enjoyed talking to a football fan they could all look down on.
But did have time to buy this interesting 1972 Dutch bootleg.


It started with an appearance at The Avalon Ballroom festival in Glastonbury, The Honey Pot were tearing through a song from their album, 'Bewildered Jane' (on Mega Dodo Records) named 'Hadron Kaleidoscope' and one member in the packed audience was paying a little extra attention. After the set he approached Crystal Jacqueline and introduced himself as 'Django'; he went on to say that he was the designer of the control room of The Large Hadron Collider. But what really grabbed the attention of the band was his invitation to play at and visit CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, where the Collider is located. Not only was this an exciting offer it was a unique one as usually only those connected with the site are allowed to play there.
So passes have been gained, rigorous security checks checked and flights have been booked. Unlike most of these offers which fade into the sobriety of a new dawn, this offer was concrete. On Wednesday Crystal Jacqueline and guitarist Icarus Peel drive with Fenders, Moogs and Rickenbackers across France whilst bassist Andy Budge, keyboardist Victoria Reyes and drummer Jay Robertson fly out on Friday. The gig is on Saturday and will be to a potential 72,000 crowd, that is how many visitors visit the site over the weekend, but maybe not all will see the psyche pop of South West England's finest!
And yes, Professor Brian Cox is due to be there.....perhaps a guest appearance on Moog??


Better than good, in fact - Michael Rother and his band were excellent at the Jazz Cafe in Camden (Liz has become an instant biggest-fan!).
A crowd-pleasing set, full of Neu! classics, including Hallogallo, Seeland, E-Musik, Negativland, Fur Immer and Neuschnee.
I wonder if he's ever been to Cardigan...?

Postscript...he also played an excellent live set on Marc Riley's BBC 6Music show and talked very entertainingly about his musical background - worth a listen


I've had some weird dreams this year, triggered by nothing stronger than a decent bitter or curry...I've presented awards with the little one out of Ant & Dec, played a plastic saxophone on-stage with The Pretty Things and - most recently - chatted up Lisa Minnelli; Liz and I have started watching 'The X-Files' from season 1, so it'll be interesting to see whether Mulder & Scully turn up in Walton on Thames in the middle of the night any time soon.

Update - X-Files don't seem to be featuring highly in my latest dreams, although I did have one that included archive footage of a young Jeremy Clarkson presenting on TV with protruding ears and another in a craft beer pub in which a very tall barman looked down and told me that Shindig's Andy Morten was in the other bar, "wearing purple boots - you'll love them".
Drugs - who needs them, eh?


It's usually a real pleasure when new artists contact me out of the blue with recordings they'd like me to check out; of course, not everything is my cup of tea and I'm limited in terms of how much I can release each year even when it is, but everything's worth a listen...almost; when an impersonal email arrives that looks like it's been sent to the world and has certainly been fired off by someone who hasn't got a clue what Fruits de Mer is...well, let's just say there won't be an Antipodean rap appearing on the FdM label anytime soon.
(sorry, I'm still in a bad mood over the Villa's disallowed goal).


Wesley Moraes (Brazil, by way of Belgium) and Dutch/Moroccan Anwar El Ghazi gave Villa our first Premiership win in a very, very long time on Friday evening. For the third game running, we were outplayed for most of the 90 minutes but three points are three points (I got an 'O' level in maths, you know) and our season is up-and-running.
It must have been a magical evening in the Holte End.
...and i won't go into a rant about today's disallowed last-kick-of-the-game equaliser...
i could do...but i won't...


Many thanks to Mick Dillingham for giving the FdM logo a makeover - our new look will be plastered all over the website when I work out how to change it!


Is it me, or does any track where the artist is listed as "...,featuring..." give you a sinking feeling before you even hear it? I'm trying to think of a recording, where "...featuring..." features in the description and it's better than dire - suggestions, please.


Not content with parting festivalgoers from their hard-earned cash, we added insult to injury by encouraging them to start saving early for the 18th Dream...

Record labels really are bastards (Nick Saloman was right)


This year's Dr. Sardonicus festivalgoers were forced to accept another free notebook when they spent excessively - a less-than-essential follow-up to our incredibly (un)popular 'Everything You Wanted To Know About Fruits de Mer' 2018 edition.

Will we come up with a third edition? You betcha.


a belated birthday present from my eldest lad - a large jar of home-pickled gherkins.
He knows me so well.


Booked Liz and I tickets to see Michael Rother at the Jazz Cafe in September. More accurately, I've booked us in for a meal at the Jazz Cafe in September - the fact that Michael Rother will be playing will be something of a surprise to Liz and not necessarily a pleasant one as she doesn't wholly share my interest in "strange music".


Finally got a chance to watch the film, on a flight home. Putting actors/characters to one side (mainly because i don't know what I'm talking about, although discovering that Queen's drummer was in fact Ian Beale's son from Eastenders was a little disconcerting), I enjoyed the 'formative years' part; but the film rushed to get to the stardom years and I was happy to be distracted by a ham and cheese toastie when the whole thing got bogged down and rather shallow/soap opera-ish wihen dealing with Freddie's personal life - but the recreation of Live Aid made for a very good conclusion.
So, a bit like the toastie - good in parts, but I couldn't stomach a second one.


a good start to July with Mojo's 'Bright Ambassadors of Morning - Cosmic Echoes From The Psychedelic Universe' - a cover-mounted freebie from some time ago that I've only just got to. Hypnotic psych-tinged instrumentals, it does verge on the tasteful/new-age at times, but it's got some excellent music on it and a heady mix of the classic and surprising...and any compilation that can accomodate Todd Rundgren and Agitation Free can't be bad. And it was free!


I was really looking forward to settling down with the 'Lullabies for Catatonics' 70s art-rock 3CD set from the Grapefruit/Cherry Red gang; initially, it had me reaching for the fast-forward button much as I did with 'Strangers In The Room'; the likes of Yes, Genesis, Procol Harum, The Strawbs, Fuchsia, Cressida shine through - but the willfully obscure/arty tracks have been rather disappointing and perhaps they should be the sources of the real fun in a set like this. Disc Two was the highlight for me, and then went downhill rather fast on Disc Three. either 1970-1972 is the sweet spot for artrock and anything before is too rough and after too self-conscious, or the genre didn't really exist and we're talking good vs bad prog. I'm back to thinking I need club member help on genre compilations worth investigating.


Are ANY of the stages given over to psych/prog bands any more? Other than Magic Bus flying the flag for the spirit of Glastonbury, I've not seen mention of anyone else; now I'm as happy to see Kylie strut her stuff as anyone, but it's a shame that it's now just one more - admittedly bloody enormous - festival.


'In Search Of Hades' by Tangerine Dream, actually. Liz's birthday present to me - although she doesn't know what it is, or why I want it (and she definitely doesn't know what it cost); and I have to wait a few weeks until I can open it - but I panicked when i read somewhere that it was already out-of-stock at the distributors. My only excuse is that I really haven't bought many albums lately.


The next Nathan and Hall and the Sinister Locals album will be on sale sometime in July - it's limited to 100 CD copies (all signed by Nathan) and you can read all about it on the band's facebook and bandcamp pages.Here are a few excerpts from it:


Dead chuffed to find both series on satellite TV and wallowed in nostalgia for many an hour while putting some of the 17th Dream special editions together; wonderful stuff, although I was surprised to find how many un-PC lines there were - an aspect I didn't remember at all.
As to what happened to them...Bolam went on to more TV series and often more serious roles (Grandpa in My Pocket, excepted), Bewes couldn't replicate his success in the Likely Lads, lost touch with his comedy partner and died a couple of years ago. Did they have a big falling out, as rumoured at the time? Who knows, Bolam says not.


It's been one of those weeks - produced 600 posters that are too big to fit inside the sleeves they're intended for, printed 100 CD sleeves that are too small for the project they're intended for, printed another 100 and forgot to include the band credits on the back cover, not to mention the fun and games I've been having with PayPal ("Pal"??); still, the one big step forward is persuading a rather fine act from the sixties to give me a track for a year-end release that makes you think the last FIFTY years never happened, never mind 40.


I've spent the last couple of days migrating from a very old i-phone 5 to a not-quite-so-old i-phone 6 (both cast-off from the missus); this might not mean much to you, but it's been a tortuous process for me, with much swearing and threats of violence along the way. I now have a phone that is the size of photo frame and doesn't fit in any pockets that I've found, but at least it doesn't run out of energy almost as quickly as I do


Villa are back where they belong - yes, they got a coach back to Birmingham this morning.
A grand day out with my lads - the atmosphere was so much better than last year, when everyone turned up with a vague, and well-justified, sinking feeling.
Despite being force-fed craft beer for about 9 hours, I lived to tell the tales - or at least a few of them (don't ask about my eldest son Chris singing 'My Old Man' at a Birmingham City fan on the tube back into central London). Now for Man City and Liverpool...
...oh bugger.


Yes, it was that sort of holiday - at least for a while, until my liver threatened to sue me for cruelty. Back to work, catching up with orders while we were away and sorting out a few more cock-ups (by me, of course).


Back to Wembley in a week or so's time for another shot at getting back into the Premiership - that's if my lad Nick can wangle us some tickets.
Having watched Man City tear Brighton apart at the weekend, it could be a case of, "be careful what you wish for..."


...another slams shut - now London's Borderline has announced that it's closing down. One of few central London venues left that catered for audiences of up to 250-300, The Borderline was home to FdM's first-ever London gig.
Even though the makeover given to the place a few years back stripped it of much of its character, it's still really sad to see the place go.


Is that a large bottle of Mantle best bitter, or a rather small woman in a state of some distress?
All will be revealed in due course.

YOU KNOW YOU'RE STRUGGLING WHEN... play catch-up on a couple of back-issues of a magazine you subscribe to and there's not one album reviewed that sounds worth further investigation and the most interesting feature is on Status Quo. I have a feeling there's a cancellation overdue and i'll go back to flicking through copies in Smiths!


Been trying to give my LPs a bit of a weeding-out lately - some appalling stuff in there that I don't remember buying or even being given; but it's also been a good excuse to move a few things into the 'FdM BANDS' section - given over to releases by artists that have appeared on the FdM label at some point but who have the good sense to release music elsewhere; a smug little grin appears on my mush every time I find something by The Orb.


...when 575kgs of double albums turn up on your doorstep on a Friday afternoon.
Astralasia, Moon Goose and 16th Dream Live - your new owners await.


Received an email overnight from the Chairman of Barclay Bank; nice of him to write, I thought, especially as he started the email with, "Hello Dear...."


Never mind RSD, I'll be heading for Reading on the 19th for what promises to be one of the biggest UK record fairs of the year.
Buying, not selling, I hasten to add.
Match report: a bit disappointing, to be honest - quite a few empty stalls, surprisingly few buyers - maybe the april Utrecht fair is keeping everyone occupied.

...and NOT MANY KETTLES LEFT EITHER maybe 20 copies left - all on a sort of pink-ish white vinyl, which isn't quite what was intended but looks very nice all the same.


My experience of this year's ebay/major label festival was to drive past Banquet Records in Kingston at around 8.30, where the queue was nearly 100 yards long; two hours later, the queue was...100 yards long.


When is a rich tea biscuit not a rich tea biscuit? When it's a Tescos rich tea biscuit.
How long should a rich tea biscuit stay rigid when dipped into something hot and wet? surely more than half-a-second?
I think I'll leave it there - probably for the best.


Much as I get pissed off when we can't persuade the Half Moon in Putney to give us a Saturday for an FdM gig because they're already fully booked with tribute acts, I'm tempted to make an exception and make a trip over there on April 13th to see Who's Who - has anyone seen them, and are they as good as their website says they are??


...or at least it did for a few of us at Guildford record fair today - a few early sightings of releases that are supposed to be appearing for the first time on April 13th, including the Sunbeam reissue of Dragonfly's LP from 1968 - a bit of a bargain at £12!


..when there's a cracking little record fair every first and third Friday of the month at Spitalfields market in London, and an even smaller fair every month in Guildford?
They're all free-entry and you won't come away with overpriced bog-standard reissues; of course, you might not come away with anything at all and there's always something released on Record Store Day to satisfy your vinyl obsession - that's if you don't mind first queueing for a couple of hours behind a bunch of people, some of whom will be heading for eBay straight after they've beaten you to the last copy in-stock of the strictly-limited David Bowie/Marlene Dietrich 7" (strictly-limited to 8,000 copies, that is).


In Janaury, Sainsbury's were stocking an N.W.A. LP and I commented that there only one album they could possibly follow it with... and they have! Two copies of 'Never Mind The Bollocks' are proudly displayed in the local shop today, just at the end of the fresh veg aisle.


On holiday in the USA, we saw a note-for-note live version of Led Zeppelin IV, performed by a group of eight musicians. It could have been a rather cold and sterile experience, but they played it very, very well, without trying to ape the original band (well, maybe the drummer a bit!). Other than side one of Led Zep IV being quite possibly my favourite side of a rock LP ever, two things stuck in my mind:
- the local audience seemed to have picked up the X-Factor bug by screaming every time a singer shouted loudly or the drummer hit a drum particularly hard...being an evening of Led Zeppelin music, this happened quite a lot.
- I had assumed this was a band that had worked long and hard to be note-perfect on one album and intended to tour it for ever, so I was a bit thrown when the lead singer ended the first set by saying, "don't forget, we'll be back here playing 'Dark Side Of The Moon' next month".
Bloody hell!

RSD 2019

Of course I'm going to moan about it...the older I get, the more cynical I become...but I really think it's a list that's especially hard to love this year; a Todd Rundgren box-set, a couple of psych compilations, and a late-arrival Stones 10" that I need to check out further, but I'm really struggling to get excited.
And the price of bog-standard reissues on coloured vinyl - good grief, I'd better re-think FdM prices!


The local store is now stocking a N.W.A. album; surely it'll be 'Never Mind The Bollocks' next?


Really good of Gideon Coe to play tracks from both the Elfin Bow and Touch singles on his BBC 6Music show last night, so it would be churlish of me to mention that 'Who Knows Where The Time Goes' was played at a slightly disturbing, Nico-esque 33rpm instead of 45rpm.
But then again, 'Churlish' is my middle name (sometimes replaced by grumpy/miserable/elderly).
Fingers crossed for a slightly slower re-run in a week or so.


Esoteric have announced a'50th Anniversary' boxed set of VDGG's debut album 'Aerosol Grey Machine'; it includes the re-mastered album on CD, an additional CD of rare & previously unreleased tracks, demos & BBC sessions, a 180g vinyl LP of 'The Aerosol Grey Machine' in the unreleased British gatefold sleeve design, a 7-inch single of ‘People You Were Going To’ b/w ‘Firebrand’, a book and a replica 1968 poster designed by Peter Hammill.
It all sounds rather interesting - the kind of thing RSD could be about; I was waiting for the price to be the kick-in-the-teeth - but I have to say £45 isn't outrageous; shame they couldn't have stretched to putting a bonus LP in the other half of the gatefold sleeve, with some of those rare tracks from the extra CD - it surely wouldn't have added more than a couple of quid to the complete package costs?
Still, it's got to be worth a look...
CLICK HERE for details

Youngs Winter Warmer


Paid a visit to the local Youngs pub for a final pint of their excellent Winter Warmer for the season - it disappears from mid-February until around November each year. Halfway through being pulled, the pump ran dry..."that's it, I'm afraid, we won't be getting any more"; what was worse, that last half was cloudier than a uber-trendy IPA and I wasn't allowed near it.


...not. I'm currently trying to juggle getting ready to take pre-orders for our three April double LPs, organising promos to go out for the same, lining up our July releases, starting to gather up CDs for the summer festival goodie-bags, helping kick-start plans for a November gig, 'encouraging' more artists to record tracks for a year-end CD version of 'The Three Seasons', selling our new t-shirts and slipmats, helping a new-to-FdM band get an album out on vinyl virtually from scratch in four weeks in time for a rather special gig, plus at least three more things I've already forgotten that I was supposed to be doing - but will hopefully remember before it's too late.
...and I'm sure I promised Liz that this was going to be a quieter year.

Mothers 2


Another Midlands event I can't make - Mothers 2 is a one-dayer recalling the old days in Birmingham when Mothers in Erdington was described as the "best rock venue in the world". Pete Bonner from Psychotron Records is promoting the gig, which features Soft Machine, Groundhogs, Chicken Shack, Edgar Broughton, Steve Gibbons and more - with proceeds going to Cancer Research.
FdM won't be there but there'll be some free back-catalogue singles from us to be had for early arrivers.
Find out more at

These Are The Damned


Just watched what must be one of the strangest, bleakest, most depressing early 60s British films made - 'These Are The Damned'; part Teddy Boys run riot in seaside town, part coming-of-age drama, part radioactive children held captive, part pre-apocalyptic warning, with a bit of scupturing and a bit more Oliver Reed and Kenneth Cope thrown in for good measure.
God only knows what people did after watching it in the cinema.
Altogether now..."Black leather, black leather, smash, smash, smash.."

stern meissen combo


Club member Till Wolff is trying to educate me in the joys of 70s East German prog bands, as my knowledge is pretty (ie woefully) limited; today, I am mostly listening to Stern-Combo Meißen and Electra

"A GOOD WALK SPOILED" someone once said; lovely morning, a gentle stroll into town to stock up on Poundland jiffy-bags (rock'n'roll,eh?) turns into an assault course as I have to sidestep mobile addicts with their faces stuck in their phones, oblivious to all around them, while avoiding being mowed down by cyclists who, having reclaimed the roads, now have their eyes and wheels set on the pavements. I could go onto moan about the Chelsea tractor-sized mobility scooters, parked outside the supermarket while drivers walk round doing their shopping, but I'd be getting into decidedly un-PC territory, so I'd better not

Lichfield Vinyl Night


Chris McGranaghan, who runs TOR Records in Rugeley, is also involved in running an occasional vinyl night in a local pub; ever one to try to maintain some Midlands links, I've sent Chris a supply of thinly-disguised singles from the Fruits de Mer cellar to give out on a first-come-first-served basis to fellow vinyl obsessives


Not quite the pun I was looking for, but Tyrone Mings has joined Aston Villa on-loan until the end of the season as we continue our fight for mid-table mediocrity and, as uninteresting as this might be to 99.9% of readers, I couldn't resist trying for a puerile pun

Matt Berry


Matt Berry's 'Music For Insomniacs' has been reissued on vinyl and I'm going to see whether I can warm to it (or fall asleep to it) more than I could with last year's 'TV Themes' LP, which was very progressionally put together but just felt a bit cold and calculated to me


Steve Hallam and I are planning a trip to the November Utrecht record fair - if anyone else is going, let us know! (We'll be buying exorbitant three-day tickets so we can get in on the Friday trade day while everyone is setting up, it gets pretty mad on the Saturday and all the big kids push to the front)

Mantle bitter at night


FdM's resident designer Dale Simpson was obviously planning to impress when he recycled four bottles of Mantle best bitter to create this heartwarming display.

cock soup


Sainsburys deliver again - usually it's a well-judged or misjudged vinyl release, but this was down a different aisle altogether ("...this was down a different aisle...").
OK, so it's been posted on social media many times in the past, but I couldn't resist it for 80p - it made me laugh almost as much as when Liz tripped over on our way home from a curry the other night!

George Peckham


Great to see that George 'Porky' Peckham is getting his autobiography published. George lives just down the road from me and I used to see him in the pub occasionally (although I understand he's not been well for a while); he gave me a draft to read and there are some laugh-out-loud moments from his early days which i hope made it beyond the censors into the printed edition!

kraftwerk spirit 71


Here we go again (as I start my 50th year of buying albums!) with what look suspiciously like suspicious releases - Kraftwerk live in 1975, including a sidelong version of 'Autobahn', and Spirit live in 1971
But they're both listed by Juno, so maybe they're OK?


Liz and I sneaked off to Spain for a few days after Christmas - five grandkids running riot round FdM Towers was bloody exhausting! I managed to track down one secondhand record shop after a long and tortuous wander round the back streets of Fuengirola - Liz was not wholly convinced by my 'walking tour'.
The shop was probably OK but the crates were rammed so tight with vinyl it was impossible to sort through the albums and that's once you removed the stacks of vinyl piled on top of the crates. I soon gave up - it's just not what crate-digging is supposed to be about, in my book anyway.

Haynes synth soldering iron, anyone


Liz bought me a 'make your own synth' for Christmas! she even bought me a soldering iron so i can put it together - so simple, an 8-year old could do it.
Shame none of the grandkids are eight years old.

Long Live Vinyl


As we were heading off on holiday, I picked up the latest issue of Long Live Vinyl as I don't feel I've given it a proper chance to get on my monthly reading list.
I've got to admit I'm still not won over - it seems to be more about owning the physical objects than the music/bands, and the cardboard covers put me off - I guess its the equivalent of 200gm vinyl?
BUT...there's a cracking feature by Gary Tipp on 40 krautrock albums you should listen to/own; nothing too surprising in there (although FdM club member Till Wolff will be appalled to hear I don't have the Roadelius LP that's suggested by Gary), but a really good introduction to krautrock, in my opinion


Well, not quite but Sainsbury's (I'm not on commission, it's just that it's the only shop in walking distance of home that stocks vinyl these days) are doing a '2 for £25' deal on all their albums at the moment. If you haven't got the Bob Stanley-curated 'Meet On The Ledge' double, that's a good place to start, although there wasn't a lot else in Walton - and offering the 'Best Of Cream' LP as part of the deal didn't quite work as it's only £12 in the shop to start with.

Harry Langdon Tom and Jerry


When I was a kid, US TV shows seemed to consist of not a lot, with the occasional ray of sunshine in the form of a silent film or a Tom & Jerry cartoon; that said, it's only 50-odd years later that I'm starting to appreciate quite what a genius of comic-timing Harry Langdon was (I enjoyed the more slapstick stuff), but it was heart-warming to see a couple of our grandkids settling down to watch classic Tom & Jerry cartoons on one of the myriad kids TV channels over Christmas - PROPER Tom & Jerry cartoons, not the cheap and nasty ones that were churned out from the 60s onwards.

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...hear the tracks.. the vinyl.. ..smell the fish...