Thursday, 7 January 2010
Del Richardson - Pieces Of A Jigsaw
Being snowed in and with no work yesterday finally gave me the opportunity to record this here album which I'd been meaning to for ages.
I picked it up in the summer and on reflection probably turned out to be my best bootsale find of 2009. Initially I slept on it after briefly skipping through the grooves but after repeat listens it's grown on me hugely. A quite unique melting pot of Soul, Jazz, Folk, Rock and in places Funk make this album hard to slot comfortably into a particular genre but one word that does spring to mind is when trying to describe it is - 'beautiful'.
There's not much I can tell you about Del Richardson that isn't already written somewhere on the internet. Popsike reveals that this album is highly in demand and various other online sources suggest it's a very hard record to turn up (as far as I can tell, it was only released in the U.K.). I imagine the fact that the L.P. is pretty tricky to categorise caused a marketing nightmare at the time and therefore probably didn't shift too many units on release.
As I mentioned above, the styles of music vary from track to track but the album retains a great consistency in sound and feel with well thought out track sequencing, making this an easy and engaging listen from beginning to end. Side-A kicks off with the funkiest cut on the album "Do What You Can" which, if I'm honest, is one of my least favourites. It has a very similar vibe to Tower Of Power's trademark Jazz-Funk sound or even vintage Average White Band which I've never been overly keen on. Don't get me wrong, both groups have turned out some fantastic material and I have a good amount of records by both but there's something, I can't place my finger on, that grates on me after a while. I'm sure a lot of people will love "Do What You Can" but it just doesn't do it for me as much as some of the others tracks on here. My personal highlights come in the shape of Jazz-Folk tinged cuts "Gypsy Girl", "Jigsaw", "Good Morning World", "Mama Jane" and "A Song For Two". All possess an ethereal beauty that touches the soul and are so warming to the ear I can't imagine a single person not liking them.
The package comes complete with 'icing on the cake' - sleeve artwork deigned by revered illustrator Roger Dean who produced a heap of classic album covers from the late '60s through to the late '90s. Breaks collectors will be familiar with his work on staple pieces like Babe Ruth's "First Base" ("The Mexican") and Atomic Rooster's "In Hearing Of..." ("The Rock") plus some harder-to-find gems such as Nucleus' "Elastic Rock" or Lighthouse's "One Fine Morning" (the U.K. release on Vertigo). Strangely the actual labels on the record credit the artist as Dell (instead of Del) Richardson and the album title as "Pieces Of THE Jigsaw". The labels are standard company design so I can only assume that someone at M.C.A. supplied the wrong details to either Roger Dean for the sleeve, or the person working at the pressing plant for the labels. Which one is correct I don't know but it does amaze me when big corporations like M.C.A. (who were manufactured by Decca in the U.K.) make f*ck-ups like this!
Enjoy the complete album below - I don't usually do this. The rip was really only intended for digging buddy Nic Bossa who passed by it whilst suffering from a severe hangover one early Sunday morning. After plodding round the rain soaked booty for an hour or so we decided to call it a day. Just as we were leaving I spotted a car with records still in the boot. Nic half-heartedly flicked through a couple of boxes and, I think, pulled out "Troubleman" before giving up. It was in one of those boxes that "Pieces Of A Jigsaw" turned up and was amongst a handful of about eight other L.P.'s I eventually bought, averaging out at around £2.00 each after a 'bulk-buy' discount.
If Nic had been clear headed that morning I'm sure he would have bought it without hesitation and I do feel a bit guilty so don't mind sharing something that, on another day perhaps, I would have missed out on...
"Do What You Can"
"Good Morning World"
"A Song For Two"