Ultimate Collection #4

8-20-10                    

Gruppo Sportivo (Ultimate Collection #4)

For the 4th title in My Ultimate Collection, the 3rd album by Gruppo Sportivo, “The Buddy Odor Stop – Buddy Odor Is A Gas” (1979) is an obvious choice.  I acquainted myself with Gruppo Sportivo at the time of their debut album, merely because I could see Robert-Jan Stips’ name on the cover (as producer).  I had been a huge Supersister fan for most of the 70’s.

If I choose the original LP of The Buddy Odor Stop, it’s a glorious original Dutch pressing, with custom labels, a heavy inner-sleeve and a sticker included.  If it’s the CD re-issue, it includes an additional album, the original Dutch version of their debut, “10 Mistakes” (1977) – so I will be going with the CD issue (but I will also probably keep one of the several versions of the Buddy Odor Stop LP that I already own) – “10 Mistakes” is great, too – but this entry is just for “Buddy Odor Is A Gas”.

If you’re familiar with Gruppo Sportivo, you already know about their fun and clever English-language pop music from The Hague in The Netherlands.  GS main-man Hans Vandenburg came from the Leo Unger group.  Yes, I went to the trouble to seek out “Run To The Sunshine” (1974) by Leo Unger, just to see what Hans Vandenburg looked like, pre-Sportivo!

I started visiting Holland in 1979.  Even on that first visit, I made the journey to Aad Link’s office in The Hague, “Rock In Waterland” (Trekweg 8!).  I visited Holland many times between 1979 and 1992, and Aad was always very nice to me, finding me stuff from the groups he worked with: Supersister, Gruppo Sportivo, The Nits…I was once given a bunch of Gruppo Sportivo posters – which I promptly lost while riding the trains around northern Europe!

So, the pop songs on “The Buddy Odor Stop “ are perfect; perfect Sportivo, perfect pop songs.  I love every one of them; there’s no telling just how deeply engrained this album is in my psychological make-up.  It’s beautiful stuff.  It always made me sad that this album didn’t seem to be very well received at the time of it’s release – no US issue, no big tour…the original group fell apart and Hans re-grouped in 1980 for “Copy Copy” (goodbye Josee and Meike!).

But in my universe, this is one of the best albums of the 1970’s and certainly my favorite album of 1979 – and easily my favorite album from Hans Vandenburg / Gruppo Sportivo.  If I could take this album with me when I leave, it will have been all worth it.  Someone on Earth created the near-perfect pop album – in English, in Holland, in 1979.  Go figure!

I think it is safe to say that My Ultimate Collection cannot be ranked accurately.  I think at some point any title in the “Top 10” has been my favorite record of all time…but I keep listening, and something else gets my attention.  But I most certainly return from time-to-time to pretty much everything that’s near the top of my list.

Ultimate Collection #3

8-16-10

Ultimate Collection – Title #3

Still hard at work on deciding about “My Ultimate Collection”.  Of course, this collection will include LP’s as well as CD’s – shall I also include DVD’s (or videotapes/laserdiscs)?  I mean, I do have to physically store everything in “My Ultimate Collection”, and have it readily available to myself.

So, I am pausing a bit as I decide what the 3rd title of “My Ultimate Collection” will be.

When I submitted my ‘perfect scores’ for titles in Gnosis (the record rating website), I think I immediately added more Frank Zappa, but I may not do that here.  A good choice would be Split Enz “Mental Notes” – the re-mastered WSM Australia CD of it, though an original NZ White Cloud LP would be more aesthetically pleasing – I guess at this juncture in my narrative, I will have to decide which formats / versions of each title to ‘keep’.  For my #1 choice (the 3rd Zappa album), I will be permanently keeping at least 5 versions of this title, while for my #2 choice (John Cage), I will keep only 2 versions, the original 1959 2LP boxed set and the 1992 2CD (the world’s only CD issue).

But if I do stick with having “Mental Notes” be my choice for #3, I will need a White Cloud NZ LP, a Mushroom Australia LP and the WSM Australia CD (which is a re-master).  So, 3 titles into “My Ultimate Collection” and I already have 10 pieces, if I keep all the desired versions!

When I hit 25,000 titles last month, initially it wasn’t too hard to find stuff to get rid of, to keep the list from swelling too badly.  But I can easily see that (with what I found in San Francisco over my birthday) I am not going to be able to strictly keep the list to 25,000 titles only.  Yes, I will be selling some titles from my permanent collection at the next Claremont swap meet in September; and, yes, I do take stuff to trade-in at Amoeba Music.

I saw Split Enz play the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach in about 1976/7.  I am sure someone out there can find a gig-ography and tell me the exact date, I must check my LP’s and see if I still have the ticket stub!  But seeing them live sealed my interest in this band (they had a mellotron).  A short while later, a wise older-than-me record collector told me about the original version of “Mental Notes” – what I had heard was the US / UK version, which is known as “Second Thoughts” in Australasia.

So, prog fans – you need to hear this album.  It’s wonderful British-inspired Antipodean 1975 keyboard progressive rock with really good songs and vocals.  It is because of this album that I visited New Zealand so many times in the 1980’s, trying to track down all the pieces of this album, trying to meet some of the people responsible for making this amazing record.  It’s why I care at all about Split Enz.

Ultimate Collection re-cap

The initial details of my “Ultimate Collection” are still over at my previous blog.  For continuity’s sake, I will recount them for you now, as the list resumes here next week.

U.C. #1 – Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention – “We’re Only In it For The Money” (1968)

U.C. #2 – John Cage / David Tudor – “Indeterminacy” (1959)

These are my two favorite titles, and the start of my “Ultimate Collection”.