Some songs just turn up.
Music blogs, Lastfm, whatever.
Something'll be playing in the background in a record store, you hear it, grab it and away you go.
One more for the collection.
There are some that'll take you years to get hold of.
Sometimes you'll get lucky and be able to rip the stream, but anything that involves research, patience, deviousness and charity falls into this category.
A song that you've worked hard for doesn't necessarily imply great artistic or musical quality (although the two aren't mutually exclusive), but the effort involved is what gets them on this list
Absolutely (Story Of A Girl) - Nine Days [Listen]
Ko Samui in 2000. ABC (the Aussie channel, not the American one) started off a pop music program with the opening bars of this one and it was a real stunner. I knew that ""Story of a girl" would probably feature in the title, but it took me YEARS before an obscure reference turned up on the interweb and I could track it down. Probably around 2003. And then it took ANOTHER year before I could get my hands on it. No clips on YouTube back then to make sure that it was the right track, no live streaming on Amazon.
Worth the wait though.
Willin' - Little Feat [Listen]
I never got to see Feat live.
They played Germany on the Warner Brothers tour before I was aware of them, then I missed them.
Again and again and again.
Somehow, one of the youngsters in the mp3 blogosphere (who aren't muchly bothered about the fact that I'm old enough be their Dad) pointed me to a collection of exquisite (and less so) live performances of one of the best bands that ever turned on their amps.
This one's taken from the "Live at Ebbets Field 7/19/1973" - coincidentally my 25th birthday. I am absolutely convinced that I had NO IDEA where I was or what I was doing at the time.
That's the way it should be, too.....
Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead - Fifth Estate [Listen]
This is one of those silly ditties that lodge themselves in your cranium and won't go away. For 40 or so years. (This is one of those songs that the "doesn't necessarily imply great artistic or musical quality" bit refers to, but I AM partial to the "Oooh-la-la" chorusy bit)
But I still liked it and persisted, despite the fact that the 7" vinyl single was selling on Amazon at the wrong side of $50.
Somewhere along the line, I got invited to contribute to the Vinyl Record Day blogswarm, someone heeded my impassioned plea for a digitised version and hey presto, there it was..
Crackles and all.
So Long - Vinegar Joe [Listen]
Vinegar Joe is one of those bands where - when you mention someone who later became famous - everyone goes "I didn't know they played with them..."
Robert Palmer, Elkie Brooks.
OK, so you can get "Rock'n'Roll Gypies - remastered" for bugger all since the Long Tail has moved from being an obscure economics theory to a mainstream marketing tool, but that doesn't count.
THIS one IS vinyl. Really shitty vinyl. It probably took me 2 hours to de-hiss, -scratch and -rumble it to get it to this level of listenability. And I know - there are still some pops.
Country Boy - Head, Hands and Feet [Listen]
And you thought "Ding Dong the witch is dead" was pricey?
"Tracks - Plus" from Head, Hands and Feet, Albert Lee's old band from the 1970's, STARTS at $255 on Amazon.
Was I pleased when I found an American website that had the CD for $15?
You have no idea.
Was I surprised when it turned up from St. Petersburg - the Russian St Petersburg, not the one in Florida?
Was I then surprised that it turned out to be a pirated copy?
Not at all.
Did I keep it?
Bradford - Besses O' The Barn Band [Listen]
This is the fruit of hours and hours of enjoyable labour spent trawling through the record racks at "Zweitausendeins" in the Kornmarkt in Frankfurt.
You'll find seriously obscure stuff there - Free's "BBC Sessions", Bulgarian orchestral music (to which I've yet to succumb..), Claire Walldorf shellac transcriptions from the 1920s and 1930s.
And John Peel's collection of the 78s his wife used to select week for week for his radio show.
I wasn't even aware of its existence.
I think I actually jumped up and down when I found it.
The Great Unknown - Evermore [Listen]
If I hadn't seen the advert for ""Shave for a Cure" on TV in New Zealand, I wouldn't have heard of "Evermore".
The song sounded like "U2 meets Coldplay", which was good enough for me.
If I hadn't told my mate Jeff Giles at Popdose about the idea - it's a fundraiser for leukemia - and he hadn't blogged it, the appeal would be a couple of thousand bucks poorer.
Not that it was difficult to get the track - grabbed it from the band's website with Audio Hijack Pro (I did buy the CD at SmokeCD, though..)
I Call My Baby Sugar - The Windy City Strugglers [Listen]
Heard it at a concert at the Boat Shed in Nelson, ordered it from Everyman's in Nelson (who didn't hold out much hope of getting hold of it), even Nick Bollinger, the bass player in the band, couldn't find his spare copy for me.
I'd pretty much given up on it until I popped into Everymans a year and a bit later...
The rest of the story's over here