Counter Action: Edition 1
Welcome to ‘Counter Action’, a brand new monthly feature where our very own ‘man of mystery’ (alright, he works in a record shop) gives you the full S.P. on the best vinyl shaped rabbit he’s pulled from the hat over the past month or so.
What’s the criteria? They don’t have to be especially rare, just something that sets them apart from the mountain of ‘other’ records that get sold over the counter week in, week out – always different, sometimes quirky, often criminally overlooked, perhaps they contain oodles of that essential ‘what-the-bloomin-eck was that all about?’ factor and hopefully have not already been endlessly disseminated and picked over elsewhere, most important of all to our recondite record dealer is that they are not tied to one genre – when pushed our ‘man of mystery’ said that “whilst he understands the social and cultural factors that create what psychologists call the psychology of music preference”, he also thinks, “a tune is a tune is a tune, you know?”
With that in mind, settle down and get to grips with this vintage 1969 LP from the mysteriously named 32nd Turnoff, a tasty slice of super-cool psychedelic-garage-afro-punk-action if ever there was…
32nd Turnoff – So What Do We Know?
In short, not a lot. A quick look on the old google throws up pretty much diddly-squat. What we do know is the creative mastermind behind this late ‘60s freak out was none other than Eddy Grant (or Eddie as he appears on the sleeve), if your only exposure to Mr Grant is his string of pop/reggae/lite hits of the early ‘80s like Electric Avenue and perennial school disco floor filler ‘I Don’t Wanna Dance’ then you’re in for a shock….
Born in Guyana but raised in England, Eddy was an early starter as far as music was concerned, forming one of the UK’s first inter-racially mixed groups the Equals aged just seventeen! Fast forward three years to 1968 and the Equals scored a number one with ‘Baby Come Back’, a rinky-dink slice of pop that was criminally resurrected in the ‘90s by UB40 & Pato Banton – Yikes! but if you want a taste of just how good Eddy could be you need to hear this proto-funk-disco monster from 1969..
The 32nd Turnoff
First off, what a name – we love the fact that it seems to be completely at odds with the groovy, psychedelic '60s where 'turning on' was always the preferred endgame no? So, with a distinct lack of info we can say that the record was released concurrently with the Equals career (just one year after Baby Come Back in fact) but is a different beast altogether, all tracks are penned by Eddy Grant apart from one by Ed. Kassner (Ed was an Austrian born music mogul who set up President Records home to the Equals amongst others), check sought after dancefloor cut 'West Indian Woman', all loose limbed drums (courtesy of Eddy's brother Conran), nimble electric blues guitar licks and a scattershot ad-libbed vocal…..'Baby Come Back' it most certainly ain't…..
Only one single was released by 'the band' with both tracks taken from the album, the wonderfully named 'Used To Be A Tiger' was the A-Side, a rock-solid garage rock 'n' roller that, let's face it, was never going to dent the charts….
A special mention must also go to 'Young People', a frenetic, double speed rhythm attack with more of those gloriously unhinged vocal ticks throughout that reach an insane climax as the track fades – an absolute screamer indeed! Unfortunately you're going to have to buy or take my word for it because I can't find a link for it…boo…
Needless to say the record sunk without trace and in 1971 Eddy would suffer a heart attack and collapsed lung (yes really) which saw him move away from touring and focus on building a recording studio (The Coach House) which, as the '70s progressed, would play host to a slew of underground dance floor delights, mostly written and played by Eddy under the Coach House Rhythm Section moniker (that's a whole story in itself), oh yes, almost forgot, he had a few hits as well…….