This is a record I shouldn’t have, that I didn’t find, a record that, in some round about way, found me.
I’ve spent far too much of my life alone, in badly lit rooms, sifting through records. I can’t help it, if I see a box of records, I’m there, elbow deep in unwanted vinyl. And I’m always reminded of something the science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon said: It’s true that 90 per cent of all science fiction is rubbish, but then 90 per cent of everything is rubbish.
There’s an ocean of bad vinyl out there, and the tiniest stream of good stuff. But that tiny stream is pure magic, it’s why we build boats and rafts, it makes the ocean worth wading through.
Fifteen years ago, in Springfield Missouri, at a Saturday flea market, I was going through a soul destroying box of Queen, Elton John and Fleetwood Mac albums. All the great 70’s dinosaurs. The records I hated as a kid and exhaust me as an adult. I flipped through them until, at the bottom, I pulled out a copy of Van Morrison’s Tupelo Honey. It’s an album I love and I thought, if nothing else, I could give it to my sister. I didn’t even check the condition, I just paid the one dollar and left.
I didn’t give it to my sister. I carried it home to Wales, filed it away with my other copy of Tupelo Honey, and thought no more about it. Five years later, looking to thin things out, I took it off the shelf, opened it up, and found, stuck in with the 12 inch record, a single. I pulled the single out and found ‘Freedom Mountain’ by Turley Richards.
Now I’ve always loved Turley Richards. His record ‘Train Home To Mama’ was the first track I posted on Jeb’s Jukebox. I had, or thought I had, everything he recorded. Until ‘Freedom Mountain’, through no fault of my own, found its way to me.
My friend Tony Smith once said to me that you mustn’t mess with The Junk Store Gods. If there’s something there, something they’ve put there for you, and you ignore it, they’ll cut you off. It’s good advice. Tupelo Honey was there for me to take and I took it. And was rewarded with ‘Freedom Mountain’.
So play it loud and play it often. Play it for Turley and play it for me and play it for The Junk Store Gods. And then play it again.