Monday, October 29, 2012

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band - The Impossible Dream

I pulled up to the house and went to the door even though I still couldn’t find the house number. I had already been to his neighbours and through the process of elimination; I knew this house had to be it. The driveway is dark and there are no lights on in the house.


He replied to my online ad that I was looking for vinyl records and he assured me he would be home.


So I went up to the door and sure enough he was waiting sitting in the dark waiting with just a candle lit for light.


I have met some interesting people traveling around looking for record collections. Either a hippie finally parting with his beloved records or middle aged working man who inherited the records of his dead relatives. Even though the majority of the time I come out with no records, at the very least it is always entertaining.


This man was different. His house was packed full of what appeared to be garbage. I’ve seen this before, on the television show hoarders and I knew he suffered from the disease. As he led me down to the basement to view his collection he pulled the string next to the hanging light bulb to give us just barely more light than the candle.


His house smelled of stale cigarette smoke and all his belongs were stained by nicotine. He told me how he knew I would be excited for his records. I have heard this many times before, everybody thinks because their albums are old that they are worth thousands. They are always disappointed.


But there was something about this guy that I knew he wasn’t exaggerating. With his pale complexion and blood shot eyes he did not look like a guy that people took seriously often; however, the way he talked I knew he was intelligent about music at the least. He flipped through numerous boxes of records and pulled out one obscure album after another. He was not interested in selling the entire collection specific records that he knew he had a CD copy of. I could tell that he was a hoarder that was slowly trying to get rid of his belongings to come to terms with his disease. Getting rid of all of his albums would have been too hard on himself, even though the thick layer of dust on them proved that they had not been enjoyed in years.


Ok ok ok .. I think I set the Halloween mood. The best part is that this is all true. This was the most memorable guy I ever visited to buy records. He was definitely a hoarder and chain smoker and it looked like he was already dead. But the excitement in his voice when he talked about the music he loved so much made me take him seriously and I took any album he suggested to try, and I loved them all.


Every year at Halloween I always think of this encounter as it’s where I bought one of my favorite albums. Even though it is one of my favorites, it only gets played around Halloween.


What’s your favorite Halloween album? (Besides “Thriller”… stop being so damn obvious…)


There are so many albums in my collection that only make an appearance at a specific time of the year.


As much as I want, I can only play “Elvis Christmas” albums during the Christmas season (I tried to give it a spin in August.. just ask my wife).. The new Paul McCartney LP “Kisses on the bottom” has Valentines season written all over it and Jimmy Buffett only makes it out when the sun is shining and its 30+ degrees outside.


There are also a few albums that only get on my turntable around Halloween.


My favorite album for this time of the year is hands down “The Sensational Alex Harvey Band – The Impossible Dream”.


Why this album?  Are the songs written with Halloween in mind? I doubt it. But it’s the sound of this album that fits the mood so right. His voice has that “Monster Mash” type sound to it and the music is great. It reminds me of cross between “Queen” and “Motley Crue”.  


I really don’t know much about Alex Harvey except that he was a Scottish Glam rock musician who was big in Great Britain but never made it huge in the USA and Canada. Watching video clips on YouTube, he put on one hell of a great live show.


Tragically, he died very young from a massive heart attack in 1982. It’s a shame because I think he could have really fit in and been huge in the 80’s.  


This is the only Alex Harvey album I own and have ever heard, so my knowledge on him is very minimal. I always plan on getting more of his LP’s but always forget until Halloween shows its face again. I’m going to try to make it a point this year to grab a few more


I often wonder what type of people are fans of Alex Harvey. I think the guy I bought this album from could definitely be an Alex Harvey stereotype.


Maybe it was this experience that reminds me so much of Halloween rather than the album itself.


Anybody else have any favorite LP’s to spin at this time of the year? Let me know and I’ll post it on the blog!


Anybody have any experience listening to Alex Harvey?










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