Jean Bennett Sings

I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “Who She?” The answer is, I don’t know. I just happened to be flicking through my records in order to catalogue them, and this one appeared…

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It was part of a bag of records given to me by a friend. As you can see, at some point during its life, it has been used as a chew toy by a mischeivous puppy, which means the vinyl really doesn’t fare much better. Due to its condition, and the fact I’ve never heard of Mrs Bennett, it almost went into the big green charity shop in the sky (aka, the wheelie bin), but something’s made me keep hold of it. There’s a mystery surrounding it. I can’t find anything about her. At all. A few places have this record for sale on the internets (no, I’m not on the lookout for a replacement copy), but there’s no information on the lady, at all. the record doesn’t have a date on either, so I’m not even sure how old she would be now. If she’s still alive, that is, which I hope.

Somewhere in https://www.google.com/maps/@51.5826862,-0.1463365,3a,75y,20.98h,92.72t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sDBtocSjrFBTRvG3YytBotA!2e0!5s20160501T000000!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en”>this terrace of unassuming, yet incredibly expensive houses, is number 76, the registered address of Nevis Records. Doesn’t really look like the type of place to be churning out platinum discs by the skipload, but let me give you the spiel on the back of the record…

This album by Jean Bennett has been made in response to the many demands from her fans. It contains many of the songs for wich Jean is known so well.

Lancashire born and living in Blackpool, Jean’s popularity is nation wide.

The expert opinion of Nevis Records producer Jim McLean and the musical direction by Nicky Welsh has combined to make this a Jean Bennett Classic.

Right you are, then. I’ll take your “expert” word for it. Now, the stylus on my record deck is broken anyway, so I’m going to play myself a couple of tracks. I’m not too bothered if I hit a canine-induced crater. Track 1, “On Mother Kelly’s Doorstep” is a no-go. the teeth marks are too deep to even attempt it, so let’s start with Track 2, “Bless This House”…

One thing that strikes me straight away is that this record is badly manufactured. It’s off-centre, which means everything’s wobbling about, making it sound off-pitch.

I played that side to the end, and although not my cup of tea, it was acceptable. There are probably worse ones out there. Either way, I’d love to know what happened to old Jeano, and if there are any fans of hers still out there… and can anyone explain those clothes she’s wearing?

Here’s the track listing for this album…

A
1. ON MOTHER KELLY’S DOORSTEP
2. BLESS THIS HOUSE
3. MARTA
4. IF I WERE A RICH MAN
5. SUNSHINE OF YOUR SMILE
6. MATCHSTICK MEN

B
1. PEOPLE (WHO NEED PEOPLE_
2. WHAT I DID FOR LOVE
3. IT MUST BE HIM
4. LOVE IS ALL
5. SALLY
6. FOR ALL WE KNOW

UPDATE 4/2/2017 – 2016 imagery for the houses, couple of typos fixed

Music was my first love…

Judging from many of the posts on the site, you can’t fail to notice that I’m a bit of a collector when it comes to music. I’ve mentioned how it all began quite a few times. I was 11 years old. Daddykins came into possession of an old record player, and gave me a few old record to play on it. Really old records.

I obviously wanted something more “my style”. A fun day was held at the now-demolished Queens pub. One of the stalls was selling records. I bought one. It was “Secret Garden” by T’Pau. I also bought an album, but I won’t tell you what it was.

No siree, I will not mention, at all, that the first album I ever purchased was “Ten Good Reasons”, by Jason Donovan. No, I’ll never do that.

Anyway, since those fateful purchases, I have allowed my music collection to grow massively, to the point where it can barely be contained in the walls of Mercuryvapour Towers. Something I have always struggled with, is the ability to actually *tell* what I have, never mind know which tracks are on which CDs / albums / records.

I’ve made attempts in the past. Firstly, these were on paper, and pretty pointless, as I only had about 20 records. I probably did one on my Amiga, definitely did one on my old green screen 8086 PC, using Dbase III. I promptly forgot the password for the database, however.

My record collecting started to grow during the 1990s. I began to earn my own money, and promptly discovered the flea market and car boot sales. I collected a lot.

The internet was the “next big thing” when it came to my record / CD collecting. Ebay opened up new opportunities of “collecting”, and I’d often buy boxes of CDs / records, just to get a couple of songs I wanted. This may look like a false economy, but it really wasn’t. Every single time I bought a “batch”, there’d be CDs in there I didn’t know I wanted (as in, tracks I didn’t notice the name of), and ones I could resell to make the money back.

Someone in Italy paid £17.50 for a CD single I paid the equivalent of 20p for. Woooo, etc. I think I spent it on booze the very same night.

My collection grew, and it became clear I had no actual idea what I owned anymore. On 26th December 2005, I started the gallery. I took photos of every CD I could lay my hands on, uploaded them to the gallery, and added track listings. It was, however, just a gallery. It’s not designed to be a music collecting tool. Although it was functional, it was messy. I still have it online here, but its days are numbered.

OK, so I at least had a temporary way of cataloguing CDs, but what about records? By this time, I was in a similar situation with the vinyl. It was unorganized, and all over the place.

Whilst on jury duty in 2008, I set up plans for a database. There really was nothing better to do. I tapped my ideas into my phone, and within a few hours, had a working template for it. It’s still in use to this day, and looks a little something like this…

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Bigger picture on clicky-to-flickr, naturally. I didn’t realise I had that many Diana Ross singles either. Even I raised an eyebrow when I noticed that.

I’m 573 words into this, and I haven’t even explained why I’m telling you all this… I’ve started cataloguing it all again. In what could only be described as a moment of fever-induced insanity, I bought the “Music Collector Pro” software from collectorz. It has some useful features such as the ability to look up bar codes, cover scans and generate listings of what CDs and records you have. You can even run graphs on them…

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Of course, as you can see, this list is nowhere near complete. I have a stack of records to go through, as well as over 1000 7″ singles. I have no idea how it’s going to cope with that.

I’m also sure you’ll want to see the collection as it stands now. Here’s a HTML view of the collection as it stands. There are a number of empty images. I’ll correct these as time goes on.

I’m also sure that somewhere in Japan, Chad’s just lost the contents of his testicles after reading this utterly fascinating post.

Our new defecation station!

I do apologise for being a bit quiet since returning from Blackpool. Unfortunately, I was struck down with manflu. I have struggled on with the aid of Lemsip and several toilet rolls, and now the only lingering ailment is a chest that likes to fill itself up with green mucus every morning, meaning that I sound like a broken motorbike every time I get out of bed. I’d also like to apologise to the people who I may have infected with the afore mentioned plague. Considering I didn’t step foot outside of Mercuryvapour Towers for 6 days, I don’t think that would be many people.

Something that happened before I went to Blackpool was the installation of an “upgraded facility”. Regular viewers will remember that Mercuryvapour Towers boasts two toilets, however, the downstairs bog has been pretty much out of order since the 90s. It “worked”, but had to be flushed by the use of a bucket, as the cistern had completely gave in, and had to be sealed off. Fast forward to Winter 2011, and swollen pipes.

Now, as you can gather, the mention of toilets and swollen pipes usually means that I’ve had a rather vicious vindaloo the previous evening. Fortunately, this was not the case, however, the destruction was equally as bad, causing an entire toilet to be “written off”. The previously sealed pipes delivering water to the cistern froze, and split, causing a water leak, all over the concrete floor of the toilet, meaning the off-shot was little more than a large rectangular puddle. Grrr.

Several attempts were made to stem the flow of Hydrogen Dioxide, sadly, none of them came to fruition, and before you could say “Noah’s Ark”, Daddykins was on the phone booking a plumber. I assumed he was just going to get someone out to repair the broken pipe. This wasn’t the case, however, as he’d also ordered a new toilet to be fitted. Hurrah! I’d hinted that an extra working bog would be beneficial, after the “Lidl” incident several months ago. If you don’t know what this is, think yourselves lucky, all I’ll say is that “backups are important”…

I suppose you’d want to see what it looks like….

I’m not going to excuse the colour of the walls, or the flaking paint. This “room” has been unused since the mid 1990s. Repainting the walls and laying a carpet in there would be completely pointless. The only reason I’ve posted the photo is to show ‘Chad’, our resident troll (who oddly maintains silence in any blog post I mention him in), that the spirit of the Bangermobile is still alive and kicking.

Either way, I wasn’t around for the bog fitting. I had just finished work, and therefore went to bed. I do know, however, the plumber got soaked suring the fitting, as the main water valve couldn’t be turned off for whatever reason.

It cost a lot less than I was expecting, and now we have two shitters. This is good news, should we ever expect guests. I can stink out the off-shot as much as I like. Nobody would ever want to go into the back garden!

Polydor 2384 107! I has it!

OK, I haven’t even started the blog, and I’ve already confused at least one of my viewers. What the hell is “Polydor 2384 107”, I hear you cry? You may remember a few months ago, I did one of my “Theme Music Appreciation” posts, where I reviewed a “BBC Themes” album I’d borrowed off Andy The Iridium Fan.

Some of the worst tracks came from another album entitled “Sixteen Small Screen Greats”, with the “Polydor 2384 107” catalogue number. I commented on how I’d like to get my hands on a copy just to hear the rest of the tracks… well, thanks to a case of finding a virtual needle in a haystack, I now have a copy right in front of me.

ATIF recently acquired a large collection of records and CDs, and I was invited over to Iridium Mansion to have a flick through and take what I wanted. The records were located in the attic, which was only partially lit. Now, for most people this would be a problem, but not for ATIF. He came upstairs to the attic, carrying a Phosco P678 streetight. It was plugged into the wall socket, and the CD/record browsing commenced…


The first photo contains streetlights, records, CDs, and a packet of Maynards Wine Gums. All this photo needs, is a pint of beer, a vindaloo and a pair of tits, and I’d had been in heaven.

Very quickly after a short flick through the CDs and records, I found that the original owner of the records and CDs was an avid theme music collector, which means that there was a lot of old 1980s TV theme vinyl in there, and some of them were brilliant. There was a load of the re-recorded variety, but several were the “genuine article”

Aside from the afore-mentioned Ronnie Hazelhurst LP, I pulled out a number of different albums, including “The TV Hits Album”, released on Towerbell Records, volumes 1 and 2. I had downloaded these particular albums (naughty naughty) as horribly compressed and scratched MP3s, so I knew the tracks included were genuine. The vinyl on these, as with all of the records, is mint, so I now have a copy of Su Pollard’s “Starting Together” to call my own… that is, if my record player’s stylus wasn’t running low on sharpness.

Speaking of Stylus, there was one of the theme albums released under the “Stylus” record label. I’ve had ‘bad’ records from this company in the past, where the tracks are either edited down, or re-recorded, so I wasn’t expecting much. I slapped it on the turntable, and played Track 1, the “Cagney And Lacey” theme. It’s a piece of music I like, but have never been able to track down the version used on the programme. I pressed play. The turntable sprang into life. The sax intro plays…. it sounds almost genuine. The main theme kicks in, and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It’s the exact version used on the programme, even down to the seldom-noticed xylophone / glockenspiel / whatever percussion instrument it is, barely audible, 40 – 52 seconds into it. Any re-recording would have lost this entirely. There’s also the piano buried back there too, just like every good 80s TV theme.

Er, anyway. there is a reason why the C+L theme is almost impossible to track down on CD… it’s because it was recorded in mono, and it’s 1′ 15″ in length. Every version commercially available on CD is re-recorded, made longer and recorded in stereo. Don’t tamper with the classics, eh?

My plastic-browsing was brought to a temporary, yet abrupt halt, when the streetlight providing our illumination, suddenly went phut, and plunged the entire attic (and the rest of Iridium Mansion) into darkness, with the only illumination coming from the red-hot, yet slowly cooling arc tube. Within seconds, bellows of “ANDREW!” came from downstairs… Now, there could be a couple of things that caused the leccy in his house to trip. His parents seemed to think he was toying with something, but at the time I knew he wasn’t, he was sorting some photos at the time. My opinion wasn’t asked, so I kept out of it. Should it be needed in the future, when the lights went out, ATIF was looking at photos. I was looking at CDs, Neither of us were holding screwdrivers. Bit late now, but still, Awwwwkward.

For the first time ever, my phone came to the rescue. I thought its “flashlight” feature was a jokey gimmick. Honestly, it’s not. It’s not the brightest thing in the world, but my word, it’s worth its weight in LEDs.

The visit to ATIF’s ended as usual, with the obligatory photo of me holding a streetlight. This time, I went for the SOX variant of the GEC Z567x series…

Yes, I’m quite aware my hair needs cutting…