The Friday Morning Listen: Art Ensemble Of Chicago – Live In Paris (1969)

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So my friend Bob says to me, “You ever accidentally buy an album that you already owned?” Yes! — once with a Carla Bley CD (sort of amazing I didn’t remember it since the cover photo had Bley’s hair in full bloom), and again with a John Fahey Christmas album, because they’d repackaged and reissued it and I was fooled by the changed artwork. Two albums? Not bad for somebody who’s been collecting for nearly four decades.

Just last week we had gotten together for one of our (all too infrequent) listening sessions. What this means is that after dinner we disappear down into his basement listening room to take in whatever music we’ been immersed in recently, all while enjoying a few highly hopped beers. With all of the concerns of adult life, it’s nice to be able to share some music and related conversation. It’s even better when you get to take home some bonus LPs! In my case, Bob gave me his duplicates of Miles Davis’ Nefertiti and Live In Paris by Art Ensemble of Chicago, both on 180 gram vinyl. Fantastic.

Well, there will be a little work to do before I can crack open the Art Ensemble, and that will involve some Gold Bond Medicated Powder.

What?!! No, really…it makes perfect sense. A couple of weeks ago, while sorting through my records in the (so far, quite productive) attempt at downsizing my collection, I discovered a mint pressing of Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness On The Edge Of Town. It was an import from Holland, one that I didn’t even remember purchasing. Bonus! I popped that sucker on my turntable, only to be disappointed at a constant warbling effect that ruined that playback. I’ve had this happen before. The culprit is the turntable’s belt. The lubricating powder that normally coats the belt had worn off, resulting in the belt sticking to the side of the platter. When Bruce sang “Badlands,” it was all choppy, not unlike what Les Nessman sounded like on WKRP when he pounded his chest (simulating a helicopter) during the fake traffic reports.

The solution to this problem is to re-coat the belt by pouring some powder into a Ziploc bag, dropping in the belt, and shaking. It’s all very low tech. Why Gold Bond? I dunno. I mean, you’re supposed to use talc. Last time around, I went to the store and stared down what seemed like 30 variations on “powder.” Gold Bond seemed old, just like my turntable. Plus, who doesn’t want their turntable to have a nice menthol smell?

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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