So I was hanging out with my friend Andy last night and he and his partner Lisa spend a lot up of time up in Idaho (long story). Anyways, Andy is a consummate digger, especially with thrift stores and he was saying, “hey, I have this LP for you that I always see in the thrift stores up there. It’s this really bad, private press lounge album.”
(Note: in most cases, all you need is two out of the three terms – “really bad” + “private press” + “lounge album” – and the third is implied)
Andy continues: “The singer is terrible but her backing band does this version of the Tower of Power song “Squib Cakes” and…
At this point, I interrupt him: “wait…are we talking about the BJ Coulson record?”
Clearly, you can see why Andy and I are friends.
Here’s the deal: I first saw this LP…maybe 10 years ago?…on the wall at the Groove Merchant and given my well-known weakness for cover songs, I instantly filed it away in memory. However, as private press ski lodge lounge LPs are wont to be, this is an obscure release (perhaps not by Idaho thrift store standards but still) and I’ve seen it pop up on the radar no more than 2-3 times since then. Andy’s correct: by any conventional standard, this is a pretty “meh” album – it’s mixed poorly (like most private press lounge LPs) and Coulson is…well, you can hear for yourself. But her backing band – which unfortunately isn’t credited at all – does do a pretty decent 7 minute workout on “Squib Cakes,” including that opening breakbeat which is surely about 99% of the reason why anyone would spend more than $5 on this. They also do a cover of Bill Withers’ “Kissin’ My Love” which is easily one of the more anemic versions I’ve ever heard (sadly).
Speaking of private press LPs…by coincidence, earlier that day, I got in a copy of Primo Kim‘s To Be Near, a 1972 jazz album out of Seattle.
Another case where the vocals don’t win me over but the band (lead here by Kim, along with Mike Sullivan on bass and sax, Zane Rudolph on guitar and Bart Tunick on drums) is working for me. “Right Turn” is a solid post-bop cooker and “You’ve Gotta Lotta Love to Give” reminds me of “Listen Here” (until the vocals kick in).