Some folk think it strange that with my height, which is far above that of the average Indonesian, I’m afraid of heights. I’ve climbed a few volcanoes and a couple of times, having misread my map, inadvertently climbed a couple of rock faces, but there’s no way I could live in a penthouse suite, even though Jokowi has given me permission to do so.
My vertigo may have started around the time when, aged seven, I started wearing prescription glasses: I was scared they’d drop off my nose and plummet out of sight. So now I still get fearful looking over the balustrade of a bridge, and would never abseil or bungee jump.
But this is a music blog, my music blog, so why this compilation?
This image, the Vertigo label’s op-art logo, swirling at 33rpm in the centre of the LPs affected one’s brain, especially those already addled by substances from war zones in hand-rolled ‘cigarettes’. For a year or two the music too was original and engrossing. Vertigo, a sub-division of Philips, seemed to be a UK label to rely on, much as Island had been.
For a while I’d buy everything on Vertigo I could find in bargain bins on the off chance I’d discover new music, such as Manfred Mann’s Chapter III, which would remain in my music psyche. The label offered blues, prog-rock, twee folk, and free jazz, which I’ve never appreciated. I also drew the line at Uriah Heep and Black Sabbath, bands which attracted such large sales that they didn’t seem that special, and so I gradually drifted into the live scene of London’s pub-rock.
But now, thanks to the internet, I’m rediscovering the delights I had in that long-lost record collection, and can share some of it with you now.
01. Rupert Hine – I Hang on To My Vertigo
Although Rupert Hine recorded for A & M, this great track from his album Immunity (1981) is the obvious choice as an introductory theme song.
02. Manfred Mann Chapter III – You’re A Better Man Than I
An unappreciated album at the time, and my first purchase of a Vertigo album. The song was written and sung by Mike Hugg, and a hit for the Yardbirds.
03. Rod Stewart – Handbags & Gladrags
Written by Mike D’Abo, singer in the previous incarnation of Manfred Mann.
04. Nucleus – Torrid Zone
Lead by trumpeter Ian Carr, composition by Karl Jenkins, drums by John Marshall, both later with Soft Machine.
05. Colosseum – Bring Out Your Dead
Early ‘supergroup’ progrock band, mainstays of Vertigo, as were Nucleus.
06. Affinity – Night Flight
Vocalist Linda Hoyle, with the now ubiquitous Mo Foster on bass.
07. Ian Mathews – It Came Without Warning
From his first post Fairport Convention album, with former bandmates Sandy Denny on backing vocals and Richard Thompson on guitar.
08. Jade Warrior – Morning Hymn
Signed to Vertigo as a make weight because they shared management with Assagai.
09. Assagai – Beka
Early Afro-Jazz album featuring South African exiles Fred Coker (guitar), Louis Moholo (drums), Dudu Pukwana (alto saxophone), and Mongezi Feza (cornet).
10. Aphrodite’s Child – The Four Horsemen
Neglected at the time, but now recognised as a masterpiece, the double album 666 was written by Vangelis with Demis Roussos as the vocalist.
Linda Hoyle, of Affinity, has a new album released on August 7th, her first since 1971. Mo Foster produced it, and Roger Dean did the cover art.