The Man with no Friends

Category: music





I purchased this today and tried it out on a Ist press. Lee Morgan on Blue Note . Mono. It dampened down , anchored the sound which is just what you need to get good mono sound quality. I paid just over 400 euros ( £325) and it is worth the money. I have played a couple of vintage Blue Note Mono pressings and they sound wonderful. Tomorrow I will be listening to my Tempo UK jazz albums and am really looking forward to it.

It is now tomorrow and I played a couple of Tempo LP’s this afternoon and the sounded great. To be quite honest I did not notice any huge dramatic difference when I first tried this record clamp. Some people make outrageous claims about record weight and I have no intention of getting in to all that nonsense but there is no doubt that depending on you system this clamp can make a difference. I have a very basic mono set up.  Rega Planar 2 ( with wood trim)  , the trim does help to damp down the sound , Rega RB 300 tonearm with Tecnoweight and extra heavy weight , metal subplatter , Denon DL 102 Mono cartridge and leather mat. The combination of these modest upgrades help to produce a very natural , flat ( blue note sound) damped down tone.




Seoirse Bodley’s Symphony for Chamber Orchestra , New Irish Recording Co. NIRC 1974. One of the rarest Irish records ever this is impossible to find. Also features pieces by Arthur Duff , ‘Echos of Georgian Dublin / Meath pastoral”. The chamber symphony is available on cd (lyric) but the vinyl is the original recording  and there is no comparison between it and the 2 later cd releases. If you have any information about the NIRC record label please get in touch – no matter how trivial it may be I would be delighted to hear from you. Also if anyone has any LP’s /cd’s by Irish Composers I would be interested in them.

You can see some other Irish classical recording from the NIRC label here.


Today I posted a video on Youtube of a Stan Tracey album , “Stan Tracey in person”. It is a mono LP and I played it using a Denon dl 102 mono cartridge. Why not follow this link and check it out. I rarely get the chance to make a Youtube video as there is always a dog barking just outside my door  all day – today was a bank holiday so the complex was quiet but I will have to wait for the Christmas holiday before I get another opportunity…..The dog has a very loud rasping bark and it literally barks all day long and there is nothing I can do about it.


I am looking for a copy of an LP record called  The Great Saturday Night Swindle. It was released on the CBS label in 1977. It was an Ireland only release. If you have a copy that you would like to sell let me know. I had a copy of this album about 15 years ago but got rid of it because the cover was in poor condition. I though I could just root around and pick up another copy but 15 years later I’m still rooting and have not  found another copy yet.


lp covers 006

I bought this LP just for the cover art. I found it in my local record shop. The group is called Dreams and I had never heard of them before but like I say I liked the cover. According to the sleeve notes the album was made up in the studio – the songs had not actually been written but just made up as the session   progressed. It made the album sound interesting but to be honest it’s a rather bland affair……’soft funk soul with nothing to make it stand out from the crowd. But the cover is something of a work of art…….lp covers 003

lp covers 001

While I was writing this  post I had the album playing on my deck  in the background and feel I have to correct my initial comment/review. Side a is indeed bland and very ordinary but side b is somewhat odd and for that reason interesting. There are two tracks  on this side which blend into each other  , Dream Suite and New York and there is a touch of the avant garde  about them – but only the slightest touch.


About 10 days ago , it was a Sunday , I was in the shower and found a lump on my hip. It is about the size of a golf ball. I’m an old guy so naturally I thought it might be cancer. The fact that I already have a couple of cancer like symptoms did not reassure  me in any way. I don’t have a doctor and haven’t  been to a hospital in maybe thirty years and am a great believer in the wise old saying , ” Ignore it and it will go away”. It has always worked in the past and I’m still here. The reason I am telling you all this is simply that this is the only interesting thing  that has happened since I last updated this blog. Now there is something important I have to say at this point – Please don’t email/message me/comment that I should go and have it checked out. I don’t need good advice and I wouldn’t take it anyhow. If on the other hand you want to make a 10 euro contribution to my funeral expenses that’s a different kettle of fish altogether……..

If , over the next few months 500 people were to read this post and send me 10 euros each I would be laughing. There  is , as it happens , a very nice phono cartridge on Ebay for just over 5,000 sterling which I quite fancy. I have an excellent Denon DL 102 mono cartridge which does everything I want it to do ( a classic warm mono sound) but it would be nice to have the Koetsu JP mc cartridge.  It’s all a matter of priorities. I like the old vinyl. I like the look and the feel of it and at its best there really  is nothing that sounds quite like it. But all this in neither here nor there and besides  I’m sure there are men of ninety  out there who are covered with lumps and are  as healthy as horses……

All of this is of course preamble to the fact that I don’t have anything interesting to say. Nothing of interest ever happens to me and I don’t do anything interesting myself  -hence this rambling blog post that seems to be heading nowhere……….I could of course lie. I could claim that I’m busy doing this that and the other………I could make myself sound far more interesting than I really am. I could , as Billy Connolly  say’s , make myself sound exotic. I could take on a new persona , start a new blog and make everyone envious of my wonderful life as I suspect some blogger do. I could be young , handsome , professional not to mention neo-liberal  and superficially cool with a dockside apartment to prove it. I could be SOMEONE. Unfortunately all of this requires effort and I’m rather lazy – so there you are.

I have often thought of getting myself a box and going into the city center and standing on it at the corner of St. Stephens Green and Grafton Street. I imagine myself with arms raised just  like Peter Finch in Network.….telling everyone who passes that we are all going to hell , that everything is pointless – or whatever else happens to come into my head. I could stand there with my longish grey hair and unhealthy complexion  shouting whatever rubbish comes into my head. Young people would stop and video me on their mobile phones and put me up on Youtube.  I might , if I shouted loud enough and talked enough rubbish go viral…….And of course , I could report what happens  each day on my blog. I actually think I would be quite good at this. But even if I was hopeless I probably would be regarded as an eccentric or a CHARACTER. There used to be a lot of such people wandering around Dublin in the old days.  One of the most famous was a man known  as BANG BANG. He was really famous , everyone , every school child knew of BANG BANG even if they never saw him. Back in the 50’s and 60’s Dublin buses had an open platform at the back and BANG BANG would hop on to this platform if a bus slowed down and point a big key he used to carry with him at the passengers and go BANG BANG. The passengers would pretend to be shot or shout back ” You missed”. Then when the bus pulled up at traffic lights he would jump off and get on another bus.

There was also a man called Johnny  Forty  Coats because of all the coats he used to wear. He didn’t do anything , he just had lots of coats on him. And yet another man was  called Hairy Lemon. All these men were nothing short of legends and are still remembered fondly by Dubliners  to this day.  I have always wanted to be legend and after all it would be something to do , wouldn’t  it. Let me know what you think.


lp covers 009

This is the cover of a psych/religious/born again  album called , ” So confusing and so very clear. It is quite rare. lp covers 007

It is one of those albums that is worth buying just for the cover art…..’though the music is first rate. The record was a private pressing and would have had a very modest print run. It did not sell in its day but is now quite sought after. This girl would be in her fifties now. ……It really is a very nice piece of montage…Give the image a click to have a proper look at it.


A few weeks ago I picked up this Demo record – Wonderous Place by Billy Fury . It looks pretty much unplayed , apart that is from the couple of times I have played it. As a record collector it really made my day  to find this.

billy fury 003

 Fury had a tragically short life. He was ill and was  not expected to live beyond childhood.  The B side of this record is blank although I did actually play it……It retains it’s original sheen and is in beautiful condition.

billy fury 004

Fury had several hits in the mid to late 50’s but by the time the Beatles released their first record in 1963 Fury’s star was on the wane. Like many other early rock n roll stars he was more or less written out of the history of rock. This had a lot to do with class. Fury was a working class boy and by the mid 60’s more and more young people were going to college , becoming middle class and adopting middle class class prejudices. Fury and many others were a reminder of their working class roots – something that these middle class kids did not want to be reminded of. The sixties were not quite as liberal as the sixties generation like to think or have us think. This situation remained up until about ten years ago when rock historians began finally  to acknowledge his contribution to the birth of british popular music.  Bill Haley suffered much the same fate and Haley is still out in the wilderness.  Someone should write a thesis on Haley….he really was written out of history.  Even today ageing rock stars looking  back to their roots develop total amnesia when it comes to Haley.  There are many theories as to when or how Rock ‘n Roll first started but the truth is that without Bill Haley it might never have existed in the first place.  There are a whole army of folk who will tell you that Big Joe Turner’s Shake Rattle and Roll is THE REAL THING but they forget that if Haley had never recorded the song they probable wouldn’t have ever heard Joe Turner’s name.

       Bill Haley died a more or less forgotten man.  Towards the end he  would phone people up in the night  or the early hours of the morning , people he had met briefly at some point in his career just to talk about the old days….He might not have met them in 40 years….Some studio engineer  who might just happen to have been in the same studio that Haley was recording in would wake up decades later at 2:00 am to hear a voice say , – ” Hello , this is Bill Haley”……..

   Elvis Presley , Bill Haley ……..Billy Fury – we will never see their likes again. They just  don’t make legends like that any more.


About three weeks ago I picked up a Philips AG 9014 Valve Amplifier. I bought it for 20  euros in a local flea market here in Dublin. When I got it home I  hooked it up to a couple of Warfdale speaker and it worked but only just as there was a lot of crackle and distortion and various other noises. I left it in for a complete service with The HiFi Hospital and got it back a couple of weeks later after handing out 230 euros…………but I have not been able to play it yet as it requires 800 ohm speakers. They told me in the HiFi Hospital that it was a good quality machine – they actually described it as ” a beautiful piece of equipment”  so I’m happy………..but its a drag to have to wait until I can pick up some 800 ohm speakers.

I’ll post a video on Youtube as soon as I get the speakers ( philips 9710}.   And by the way, I don’t mean to sound cynical but who needs friends when you’ve got a good valve amplifier ? After all , if I had a friend he might covet this little beauty and perhaps even steal it…..  You can rely on a  good oldschool  valve amplifier  but can you rely on your friends ?…………

………….  am I right or am I right ?

ag 9014

%d bloggers like this: