Selection: Carolyn (Morgan)
. . .
A split-session release recorded six months apart, line-ups are the best of both worlds – piano, Hancock or Hill, trumpet, Morgan or Byrd, spoiled for choice.
Donald Byrd (tp) Hank Mobley (ts) Herbie Hancock (p) Butch Warren (b) Philly Joe Jones (d) Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, March 7, 1963
Lee Morgan (tp) Hank Mobley (ts) Andrew Hill (p) John Ore (b) Philly Joe Jones (d) Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, October 2, 1963
Selection, “Carolyn”: “Lee, who’s Carolyn??” One of those difficult questions the song’s composer Lee Morgan would probably rather not have been asked by his long-term girlfriend, who’s name happened to be called Helen. Especially when it is a tender sensitive ballad. “Carolyn? My mother’s pet labrador, sweetcakes. She’s so affectionate don’t you know? I named it after her” Helen had the last say, several years later.
The term Squares got me thinking too. In the Sixties, squares were people who endorsed conventional social, political and economic values. The very opposite of people who were hip, who espoused alternative social, political and economic values. And took drugs. Hip people, like musicians for example, used a lot of narcotics. This resulted in hip people owing a lot of money to square people, drug dealers. The money to pay for drugs was funded by more square people: record companies. And when hip musicians overdosed on drugs, they relied on more square people, called doctors, who required many years of expensive education. It clearly wasn’t easy being hip, however the contradiction has never bothered truly hip people, capable of holding contradictory opinions simultaneously.
Some Mobley-holics focus on titles where Mobley was leader, whilst others (including me) believe many of his best contributions were as a sideman. Who cares, he is just a beautiful player. The solo in Carolyn tears my heart out every time, especially on the second verse, where a repeating cry resolves tension released through a magnificent downward cascade of notes, simply beautiful. Coltrane is more exploratory and driven, Rollins is technically more accomplished, but Mobley has a gigantic heart, that shines in his playing.
Labels, run out and liner notes.
Plastylite “ear” in the run out, confirming provenance of an original Blue Note pressing.
All the right markings, including that lovely LARGE catalogue number at the top right. In record collecting circles, the catalogue number is everything. The most hip collectors speak of records only by their catalogue number. There are only eight hundred Blue Notes to memorise, how difficult can that be?
“So, what do you think of 4149 – honestly?”
“Errr.. 4149? Yeah, uh 4149!.. like, wow, err… its… really … um…cool… And you?”
Collectors Notes – a cautionary tale
After a string of bargains, I was overdue a good spanking, and I got it. Sitting for most of the auction at around £60 and only a couple of bidders interested it looked to be a bargain. I threw in a high safety bid, confident I wasn’t going to have to pay anywhere near that much. I figures £70, maybe £80. However it rang up £120 in the closing five seconds, as another bidder tossed in a “daisy-cutter”. That’s a term I borrowed from the US military, basically, a bomb which wipes out everything standing below it, down to and including the daisies. It more or less guarantees you won’t be pipped by a small margin, but you take the risk there is another bidder playing the same strategy. There was. Me.
Just happened that my snipe was a tad above his, leaving me to pay his offer as price-setter. £123. Ouch. It wasn’t like it was a twelve bidder firefight, so it came out of the blue, and I got spanked. I think the last minute bid was in collusion with the seller who was’t happy with the way the price was going, though I can’t prove it. Worse, the seller described the labels as “no deep groove”, which was a lie as it has a DG or side two, and I didn’t notice on delivery. Careless! It happens. I paid too much, I got a spanking.
No matter, it is a great record, still an original if not a first pressing, and an even greater cover. Today that cover would probably be a non-smoking edition. Hank Mobley pictured with an organic health-drink, “rich in anti-oxydants”.
You can put that CD away. Real men play vinyl.
Or at least, “hip” real men.