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 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


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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