Saturday, 31 October 2009

The Sparticus Stargazer : Old Hank Schultz / One Nest Rolls After Another

I'm unaware as to the oldest ever person to have made a record; my copy of the excellent The Guinness Book Of Recorded Sound doesn't appear to supply said information, although it does mention that Eubie Blake was recording on his own label into his nineties. I can remember George Burns having a major U.S. hit late in life with I Wish I Was Eighteen Again. Almost certainly, The Sparticus Stargazer could be added to the list of the top dozen; she was ninety when this seven-inch was released by her grandson Ian (a.k.a. DJ Ordeal, and Beef; no surname, by request), on his Sparticus Stargazer imprint (SPARTY 006 - didn't Arista have "SPARTY" as a prefix too ?). Ian's gran's real name was Mary Susannah DeCramer (nee Laughton), called Sue by her friends. Ian enjoyed listening to her speak, thought her accent was interesting. He felt it would satisfy his family to have a recorded snapshot.
The A side is a poem written by Peggy Lee, discovered in her 1990 autobiography and here read to an insistent percussive effect followed by what might a loop of guitar-based music (Ian says that the sounds were extracted from a flamenco and Hawaiian tape); the second track is a Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart) poem found on the sleeve of the reissue of Mirror Man, augmented by wiggy electronics and a cuckoo clock (according to Ian, the sounds are instrumental fragments from work by Tino Rossi and The Four Tops). That's one of many Beefheart poems Ian's gran recorded - "I believe she captured the spirit of them superbly." Poem :
Ian brought out two other 45s simultaneous with this release, all with black labels with white stars around the edges and housed in the same lovely die-cut card sleeve showing colourful Russian sweet wrapper designs.
Amongst Ian's numerous wonderful projects have been an extremely limited (ten) vinyl round-up of recordings by singing actors, an area Ian's very partial to and knowledgeable about; a plunderphonics-esque excursion utilising stitched-together fragments of orchestral parts pilfered from Johnny Mathis tracks; a handful of minuscule-edition Supremes-related pressings for diehard completists only; and an L.P. of his own crooning, backing courtesy of one of those play-along discs where one instrument's absent, requiring the listener to fill in. Ian also uses easy listening album sleeves as the basis for his visual art, temporarily masking out the women who so commonly feature on the front sleeves and painting over the text-printed backgrounds against which they pose seductively, luring the prospective purchaser.

Interviews with Ian here :
and here :

This is the only image I can find to link to :

Many thanks to Ian for extra information.

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