Choice Cuts: A Holy Grail Jazz Album From Owen Marshall

Captain Puff In The Naked Truth by Owen Marshall is a Holy Grail 1975 US first private press 8-track vinyl LP, housed in a unique pasted picture sleeve complete with a super rare fold-out illustrated insert detailing the artist’s creative approach as well as an A4 press release dated ‘December 1, 1975’ & sent to Mr. B. McRae in the UK [signed ‘Bonita L. Versh’].

Owen Marshall Captain Puff In The Naked Truth - 1st + PR enclosures vinyl LP album (LP record) US 214LPCA761653

This collector’s example was obtained from Jazz Journal’s Barry McRae’s personal collection. As a music writer for many years, ‘Bazzer The Jazzer’, as he was affectionately known, built up a vast collection of jazz vinyl of all kinds. Many were review copies, others signed gifts from musicians, or promo copies, in addition to the enormous number of records he bought for himself over the years.

Owen Marshall Captain Puff In The Naked Truth - 1st + PR enclosures vinyl LP album (LP record) US 214LPCA761653

This is one of the mythical ‘do-it-yourself’ style American jazz releases of the seventies. It was independently produced with no studio or label push or pressure – the fusion of styles on offer here have made many collector’s wet their pants over the years(!), so much so Jazzman Gerald in the UK felt compelled to get the album officially reissued in 2012 as part of his ‘Holy Grail’ series. He wrote:

“Every once in a while, a record presents itself so defiant in its refusal of categorisation that it becomes the bane of those poor vinyl archaeologists whose business it is to file and classify. The aptly named ‘The Naked Truth’ is one such artifact; a wayfaring stray of an album that weaves its insouciant magic through the edgelands of sound. The musical provenance is palpable – an electric blend of spiritual jazz, rhythmic black psychedelia and far-out exotica – but where it’s headed remains a mystery, echoing shapes so strange that they fit no musical crevice. This is an album whose grooves are slow and deep, with a languid, balmy, and irresistibly pensive aura. It’s moody: cosmic abstractions ooze from every sweet inflection, lulling arpeggios lose themselves in a haze of forgetfulness. The late Owen Marshall and his band run wild over this record, and their experiments with sound are compelling, occasionally bizarre, and chock full of strange paradoxes. So much of what can be heard here is playful, free, imbued with a sense of wonder and pure joy usually ascribed to that most natural genius of the imagination – the child. And yet there is a knowingness at work here – a certain subdued polish tempering these otherwise passionate excursions. The full force of this can be seen in Marshall’s use of instruments; among the saxophone, the synth, the percussion, and the electric piano, you will hear the ‘Hose-a-phone’, the ‘Tube-phone’, ‘Ply-tar’, and ‘Boonet’. These are instruments that Owen built himself – in order, he said, to enable him to ‘tap the very depths of his creative resources…to make music fun to play, and entertaining to listen to’. This is a private press album that begs to be public. ‘The Naked Truth’ is an album that wants to be listened to, it wants to be heard and take your hand and lead you far, far away – it wants to wander with you deep into the woods of imagination, just as Owen himself must have done all those years ago.”

Owen Marshall Captain Puff In The Naked Truth - 1st + PR enclosures vinyl LP album (LP record) US 214LPCA761653

Owen Marshall Captain Puff In The Naked Truth - 1st + PR enclosures vinyl LP album (LP record) US 214LPCA761653

Condition :-

The heavy duty sleeve remains in Excellent condition & off white. There is a spot of clouding in the top left corner from past sticker removal [two stickers removed] & the lightest bit of corner bumping. There are no splits or writing, just a tiny bit of natural paper fracturing at the top, & the panels are clean & clear. Both inserts remain in Excellent condition, with the PR sheet helping explain Owen’s background in the music industry & how he found it difficult to negotiate an equitable recording contract with a major label, hence the record’s eventual DIY release & full plunge into obscurity. We will never see another one! The other insert is a piece of wonderful folk art in itself, fully illustrated & giving much further insight.

Even better, the vinyl remains in Near Mint condition, revealing just a couple of faint signs of play by the spindle hole. Unrepeatable!

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