Blow Your Mind Part 1 & 2
The Relations Blow Your Mind Part 1 & 2 45 (Bem Sole)
One day about ten summers ago Tristan Tozer and I were digging for records at B&E Salvage on Gerber Road, way the hell out in the east part of Sacramento County. Now housing developments are eating the land. Back then the low hills were dotted with farms. In the middle of that vast expanse was the salvage yard, a magnificent monument to both thriftiness and waste.
B&E had a contract with the county, which allowed them access to the dump. They would pull out the good shit and sort it out on their land and the public would visit, pull out the great shit, pay for it and take their finds home. But B&E was much more than that. It was a post-consumer sculpture park. What B&E did with their pickings was create huge piles, heaps of stuff sorted and lining dirt paths. You would walk through the yard and pass a 40 foot pile of fans which sat next to a 30 foot mound of bike frames. Across the way was a forest of expired water heaters, which were shaded by a hill of copper pipe. Chairs in a pile, tables in another. File cabinets, lawn mowers, doors, and shelves all stacked high. And there were the single things that sat by themselves - a popcorn machine, an incubator, something that looked like it came from a nuclear power plant... Under a covered area were things that could not stand the sun and the rain: clothing, books, electronic equipment, kitchen ware, and records.
I took many a friend visiting from out of town to B&E. We looked for records, but the real reason I took them was to see the piles of stuff. You look at life different after seeing a 50 foot pile of lawn seeders. Among the yard tools, tourists, and record diggers were B&E's clientele. Russian handymen dug for stuff next to Mexican garden contractors. Clothes dealers picked through fabric while tinkerers scoped out the electronics. And then there was us, a small group of friends who looked for records wherever we could find them.
Record hunting at B&E was a chore. The LPs were stored in plastic bins, large enough to hold about 200 records. Because the roof often leaked it was common to find a great record fused to another or covered in mildew. Most of the carnage was Andy Williams, a myriad of nameless Christian albums, and classic rock. When you did hit a bin with something good - usually old R&B and funk records - chances were that they would be beat to shit. However when you did score, it was well worth it. One day I found a small stack of Sun Ra LPs, another time some original James Brown's, and another about 25 Rebel Truth 7"s. Usually I brought home odd ball stuff: Circus records, weird instructional albums, etc.
The 45s were stacked, unsleeved on 2 foot tall metal poles which had a 10 pound weight as a base. There were about 20 45-holders and we would go through them one by one. Most of the time we found R&B 45s - good stuff and despite the horrible storage idea, most of the time they were in good shape. It was in the 45 stacks that Tristan found a copy of Blow Your Mind Pt 1 & 2 by the Relations on Bem Sole Records out of Los Angeles. He also found a copy of Kenny & Larry's You and I are Through b/w Tired, Tired, Tired. Not having a portable record player, we didn't know what we found until we got home and dropped needle. When Tristan aired the Relations single we shit. After a spoken intro that is obviously done by someone who is pretty wasted and a tidbit of music, the thing rips into the most primitive, punked out, fucked up, pyschedelic funk we had ever heard.
Side one faded after a broken reed sax skronk n' squeel and we looked at each other in amazement. He said to me, "There's another one out there." I said goodbye, ran to my truck, did the twenty-five mile drive, and spent 45 minutes digging through the 45s Tristan had gone through. I found my copy of Blow Your Mind, as well as two copies of the Kenny & Larry single. I've had these records for at least 10 years and have found no reference to them anywhere. I have seen other things on Bem Sole and even have a flyer announcing a Bem Sole BBQ, but that is it. If you know anything about the Relations or Bem Sole, feel free to comment.