Dylan Jones: 'There's little to rival the involuntary yelp you give out when you stumble across an obscure record'

Share
Related Topics

For me, my pets are my records – when I can find them that is. I have spent a good deal of my life sifting through rows and rows of old LPs, boxes of secondhand singles and racks of rare CDs in search of those records that continue to elude me. Even though Amazon and iTunes have made it easier to source deleted and difficult-to-find records, there is still little to rival the involuntary yelp you give out when you stumble across something on your list while idly looking through a record store.

It happened to me last week, while I was cruising the aisles of Amoeba – not only the best record shop in LA, but, the way things are going, soon to be the only one. With a scrappy piece of paper in my hand, I was scouring the D section of the soul department looking for a copy of the impossible-to-find 1972 album The Dells Sing Dionne Warwick's Greatest Hits when suddenly I was holding one. There it was, brand new, for $9.99.

When something like this happens I usually do a double take, and look for the flaw: is it a live version, is that the real price, am I dreaming, etc? But this was the real deal – one of the greatest baroque soul albums ever made.

Why? Well, its architect was the fabulous Charles Stepney, a Phil Spector character in terms of his sonic ambitions, and his approach to recording sessions always involved a full string section, a funky backbeat, and some soaring vocals. Here, he also had one of the foremost singing groups of the era.

The title of the album is a slight misnomer, as it's actually a collection of Burt Bacharach covers. The record includes "Walk on By", "A House is Not a Home" and "I Say a Little Prayer", although the stand-out track is Stepney's extraordinary version of "Wives and Lovers", one of Bacharach's most complex pop songs. Stepney's version is layered with so many washes of sound that it feels and sounds like a small symphony.

So not only have I found one of the rareties on my list, but also – and this isn't always the case – it has totally exceeded expectations. See you at Amoeba, maybe.

Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Swiss Banking and Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - 6 month FTC - Central London

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...

Day In a Page

Read Next
IDF soldiers and vehicles in an image provided by campaign group Breaking the Silence  

'Any person you see – shoot to kill': The IDF doctrine which causes the death of innocent Palestinians

Ron Zaidel
 

If I were Prime Minister: I'd give tax cuts to the rich, keep Trident, and get my football team wrong

Frankie Boyle
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before