Adventures in collecting jazz vinyl : Eric Dolphy – Outward Bound

So this is it.  The first record of my new career as jazz vinyl collector.

I found the album while sorting through a box of records at the Ely Saturday market.  I asked the stall holder if it would play as the cover and disc both looked equally scuzzy.

The stall holder took a quick look at the vinyl, took a longer look at me (perhaps sizing me up as a potential future customer) and said I could have it for free!

The album was recorded in 1963. My version was released on the Prestige label in 1964.

The line-up was:

  • Eric Dolphy: Alto sax, bass clarinet, flute
  • Freddie Hubbard: Trumpet
  • Jaki Byard: Piano
  • George Tucker: Bass
  • Roy Haynes: Drums

As you can see from the pictures below, this album has been well used (and perhaps abused).  Still, it’s a nice piece of cover art with Eric looking instense and serious in his Hawaiian/African shirt

Front of the album

The back cover contains an essay by Robert Levin, and a tea stain or something in the bottom right corner.

Back cover

As for the music.  Dolphy is a little left-field for my taste, the album tends towards the experimental which is fine if you like that kind of thing (I don’t, much).  Also, a few of the tracks have Eric playing clarinet or flute, both of which I don’t really want with my jazz.

However, there are some great moments, the first two tracks, G.W. and Green Dolphin Street stand out for me with some fine trumpet from Freddie Tucker.  Actually, Levin, in his essay, chides Tucker for not being experimental enough, personally I’ll salute Mr Tucker for that, I’ll certainly be on the look out for more from him.

The album is hissy and scratchy in places but it plays all the way through, nothing distracting as such.

Ratings

  • Overall hepness: 2.5/5
  • Cover art: 3/5
  • Condition of vinyl: 2/5
  • Cost: 5/5
  • Overall rating: 12.5 / 20

Here’s Green Dolphin Street:

 

In praise of Wild Camping – Nick Hunt in a German castle

Walking the woods and the water

Walking the woods and the water

In his book, Walking the Woods and the Water, Nick Hunt sets out to retrace the footsteps of Patrick Leigh Fermor’s famous 1930s hike across Europe from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul.

Here’s what Nick says about the book:

(It) recounts a seven-month walk through Holland, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey on a quest to discover what remains of hospitality, kindness to strangers, freedom, wildness, adventure and the deeper currents of myth and story that still flow beneath Europe’s surface

It’s a wonderful book (as is Fermor’s), one well worth your time to check out and read.

While Hunt took advantage of modern developments such as couchsurfing he also (like Fermor) wild camped along the way.  In the passage below he finds himself in Sankt Goar, Germany, on the left bank of the Rhine:

The air was mild, soft to the touch. It seemed as good a night as any to try my luck in the open…my eyes swung upwards to the ruin of Burg Rheinfels, a heap of rock hunkered on the hill, and almost involuntarily my legs started climbing.

The main castle turned out to be impregnable – impregnability, after all, being a castle’s primary function – and the less derelict part now housed the Romantik Hotel Schloss Rheinfels. But underneath this four-star hotel was a series of perfect human-length tunnels set into the wall. It was too romantik to resist.

Burg Rheinfels

Burg Rheinfels

The first three tunnels were running with slime, but the fourth was powder dry. It was a short scramble up to the ivy strangled wall, and once I’d stowed my bag I took myself upstairs for an expensive glass of Riesling.

At nine o’clock I descended to crawl into my sleeping bag, burrowed snugly as a worm in the castle wall.

The effect was alchemical. When I stuck out my head in the light of dawn, having not only survived the night but slept soundly in my hold – waking at dreamy intervals to the clatter of trains and the whoops of owls – somehow I belonged in a way that I hadn’t before.

Sleeping out produced a sense of enhanced connection with the land, a feeling almost akin to ownership: the paradoxical entitlement of the rough sleeper, whose lack of rights somehow grants him a greater right than anyone else.

A wild camp in a castle?  Who could ask for more…

See more posts in this series in praise of wild camping

Adventures in High Leicestershire : Oakham to Burrough Hill and back

As soon as I heard of ‘High Leicestershire’ I just knew it was ripe for exploration. 

The name conjures up a certain remote wild fastness that tugs at my adventuring spirit.  It brought to mind Edith Durham‘s wonderful adventure-travel book ‘High Albania‘ and y’know, if it’s good enough for Edith then it’s good enough for me!

One late Saturday morning at the end of May, I hopped on the train from Ely and an hour later arrived at Oakham in Rutland.

I headed west out of Oakham and 15 minutes later had crossed the border into Leicestershire and was climbing the first hill of the day (Mill Hill 180m!). I rested at the summit, crunched on a handful of pork scratchings. and took in the view of Rutland Water.

Rutland water

Rutland water

My destination was the Iron Age hillfort at Burrough Hill, ten miles away.

I followed public footpaths that took me up and over gently rolling hills…

High Leicestershire hills

The roiling hills of High Leicestershire

…and through fields of oilseed rape.

Fields of rape

Fields of rape

As the clouds cleared and the sun put in an appearance, the meadows and fields took on a lush glow, the English countryside at the start of summer, gorgeous!

Lecistershire looking lovely

Leicestershire looking lovely

The approach to the hillfort took me up through the wooded canopy of Dalby Hills.

Dalby Hills path

Dalby Hills path

After a steep climb I reached the summit of Burrough Hill (2oom), the views were tremendous.

The view from Burrough Hill

The view from Burrough Hill

The embankments of the hillfort are well defined and run around its entire perimeter.

Trig point on Burrough Hill

Trig point on Burrough Hill

I walked a circuit of the hillfort, imaging the community that once lived up here.

Fort walls

Fort walls

Here’s an “artist’s impression” of the fort:

Burrough Hill settlement

Burrough Hill back in the day (image borrowed from www.thiswasleicestershire.co.uk

The fort is now home to sheep and a few cattle.  I had considered the summit of Burrough Hill as a wild camping site but am not so sure now.  Do sheep bleet throughout the night? And what are the implications for sleeping amongst all those droppings?

Or am I being a complete wimp?

You tell me.

Burrough Hill sheep

Burrough Hill sheep, will they mind if I camp on their home?

I ate my cornish pastie lunch and enjoyed the lofty views.  Oh, and I took a selfie, as you can see.

The lonesome traveller on Burrough Hill

The lonesome traveller on Burrough Hill

And then it was time to walk the 10 miles back to Oakham, which I was pleased to note is twinned with ‘Dodgeville’, USA, a name right out of a wild west cowboy gunfight film.

Oakham, twinned with Dodgeville

Oakham, twinned with Dodgeville

Before hopping on the train back home I purchased a very cold can of Stella, a perfect way to finish a fine day’s hiking in the ‘lonely hills’ of High Leicestershire.

On the train home with Ms Artois

On the train home with Ms Artois

 

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