Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Lobby Loyde & The Coloured Balls: Sharpie Music

Melbourne, Australia sharpies circa 1971
One of these days I'm going to get around to chatting about about a subculture in the late 60's/early-mid 70's in Australia called the sharpies and posting some pics of this truly Australian only phenomena. They looked like a weird cross between skinheads/suedeheads/glam rockers and tacky 70's styles. They seemed to have a penchant for mullets and flares which made them look decidedly odd. But make no mistake from all I've read and the pics I've seen they were hard nuts. Unlike their British skinhead/suedehead cousins their musical tastes were pretty uncool, no reggae/rocksteady/soul for these bootboys, they were into some very heavy rock n' roll.

One of the few bands they championed that I do dig were Lobby Loyde and the Coloured Balls. Here's a clip of them playing some serious aggro music in the form of their single "Devil's Disciple" from 1973 that seems to anticipate the British Oi! movement by a good six years!





Sunday, December 20, 2009

MONSTER U.K. Organ FREAKOUT!



JULIEN COVEY & THE MACHINE-A Little Bit Hurt/Sweet Bacon France Fontana 260.100 TF 1967

Awwwwlright, doesn't get any more happening than this monster two sided U.K. organ groover. On the A-side we have "A Little Bit Hurt" which sounds like Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels if they were a but more organ heavy. The band's soulful lead vocalist Julien Covey was also their drummer AND depped for The Who's Keith Moon on a few dates in early '67 while Moonie was recuperating from a hernia he got while throwing his kit around. His voice sounds a lot like Mitch Ryder and the organ playing is damned identical to Wynder K. Frog's stuff on Island (they both shared the same label and were both produced one of my fave knob twiddlers, the late great Jimmy Miller). "A Little Bit Hurt" benefits from a nice chanted main chorus and some (yes!) cowbell! But the flip is where it really gets out of hand (in a good way). "Sweet Bacon" will go down in U.K. 60's instro Hammond heaven (along with Wynder K. Frog's "I'm A Man", Stone's Masonry's "Flapjacks", The St. Louis Union's "English Tea" and The Small Face's "Own Up Time"). It's as, one man said, a stone gas from start to finish. Some Bluesbreakers-style lead guitar bursts and wailing, twirling ("and always twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom"-Kodos) organ that evokes The Spencer Davis Group Mark One at the end of their (B-3 heavy) days.

"A Little Bit Hurt" has appeared on many CD compilations, most recently on Psychic Circle's "New Directions:British Blue Eyed Soul" while "Sweet Bacon" has turned up on the "Instro Hipsters A Go-Go Volume Two" CD compilation.

"A Little Bit Hurt":
"Sweet Bacon":

Foreign E.P.'s Part Two

THE EQUALS-Yugoslavian E.P. (I Won't Be There/Fire/Baby Come Closer/Baby Come Back/Hold Me Closer) Produkcija Gramofoskin Ploca EP 53259 Pr 1967

The Equals kicked ass, anybody not familiar with this amazing multi-racial U.K. 60's band needs to stop what they're doing and go order one of their CD's NOW! Known chiefly for the strength of their 1967 hit "Baby Come Back" and for being Eddie "Electric Avenue" Grant's first band, they chalked up a number of cool 45's/LP's from 1966-1970. Before Eddie dyed his fro yellow and the band got kitted out in clown costumes they were mod as hell as you can see above. Undeniably rhythmic, you can't hear their soulful numbers without at least tapping your feet!

Evidently "Baby Come Back" was a big enough hit to get released in Yugoslavia of all places on this nifty looking little E.P. that sports a photo presumably from the same shoot that provided the cover shot for their amazing debut LP "Unequaled Equals". They chose the band's first U.K. 45 (A and B side), the storming "I Won't Be There" and it's equally amazing but less common on compilation CD's "Fire" to round off side one. Side two was filled out by the "hit" the proto-rocksteady "Baby Come Back" and it's brass driven flipside "Hold Me Closer" (which utilizes almost the same riff as "Baby..").

(Below) The Equals live on German TV's "Beat Beat Beat" 1967 doing side two of this E.P. and two other cuts:

(Below)And lip syncing "I Won't Be There" on German TV's "Beat Club" 2/25/67:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Kitsch Consortium Hall Of Heroes



FRANKIE RANDALL-"The Mods And The Pops" U.S. LP RCA Victor LSP-3941 1968

High camp! Cheese so thick it wouldn't melt in fondue! But I love cheese. This possibly explains why I'm so enamoured with the old "SCTV" skits like "The Sammy Maudlin Show" and my hero "Bobby Bitmann" (played with City of Brotherly Love borscht belt aplomb by Eugene Levy). I also love corny LP's by 60's artists covering contemporary hits in semi hip AND unhip ways.

From what I can gather Frankie Randall was/is a wanna be Sinatra from Passiac, New Jersey. His website hysterically boasts "everyone calls Frankie Randall the real deal because he is the last link to Sinatra's Rat Pack". Ho boy..... Anyway I'm not sure who's idea it was to have this crooner of no repute cover so many "hip" songs but the LP is full of some interesting ideas, namely inclusion of a version of The Move's "Flowers In The Rain". The Move were pretty much unknown in the U.S. (despite having a few of their early singles released on A&M) at the time so points for forward thinking go to some A&R man! Even more obscure is his take on Carter/Lewis creation, The Flowerpot Men and their U.K. answer to Scott McKenzie's "San Francisco(Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair)", "Let's Go To San Francisco". There are also versions of Donovan's "Lelainia", The Cowsill's "The Rain, The Park And Other Things", Jay and The Technique's "Keep The Ball Rolling" and a Donovan composition called "Be Not Too Hard" that I am not familiar with. Of course all of these numbers are delivered in the lifeless supper club crooner saccharine/cheeseball style that one would expect from a wanna be Sinatra. However the crown jewel of the lot is his version of The Who's "I Can See For Miles". It's so cheezy Rhino dug it up for inclusion on their very first "Golden Throats" compilation all those years ago. It's campy, over the top and he even get the words wrong, but it's worth it (providing you paid $5.00 for the LP like I did). There's some "Association" type "ba ba ba ba's" behind Frankie's lifeless delivery with some "Along Comes Mary" style flute and sawing symphony.

Hear "I Can See For Miles":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgcogT4CYNc

Frankie's "official" website:

http://www.frankierandall.com/index.html

Davy Jones & The Lower Third



DAVY JONES & THE LOWER THIRD, Marquee Club London September 1965





DAVY JONES (with The Lower Third)-You've Got A Habit Of Leaving/Baby Loves that Way U.K. Parlophone R 5315 1965

By August 20, 1965 David Robert Jones had been in two different bands, who released two records a piece encompassing two different styles (beat/r&b as Davie Jones and The King Bees with "Liza Jane"/"Louie Go Home" Vocallion Pop V 9221 June 1964 and r&b ala Georgie Fame/Zoot Money with The Manish Boys "I Pity The Fool"/"Take My Tip" Parlophone R 5250 March 1965). Neither record did anything. For his next venture he teamed up with three gentlemen he'd met in a coffee bar on Denmark Street in April of 1965 (then home to many of London's music publishing offices) called The Lower Third consisting of Denis "Tea Cup" Taylor (lead guitar), "Graham Rivens (bass) and Les Mighall (drums) . The quartet firmly embraced (though reluctantly for some of the group's members) the "mod" image and manager (ex-Moody Blues roadie Ralph Horton) duly took them down to Carnaby Street and got them kitted out in matching white Ben Sherman's, floral ties, grey trousers and crepe souled suede shoes. In May before any gigging could be undertaken Mighall was replaced by Phil Lancaster and the band set about gigging around, namely at London's Marquee and 100 Club, Bournemouth's Pavilion and the Isle of Wight's Ventnor Winter Garden's throughout the summer of '65. Jones used his contacts with the producer of his single with The Manish Boys, Shel Talmy to garner another Parlophone release for his new combo, whose debut he would produce further cementing the band's Who fixation.


"You've Got A Habit Of Leaving" would be Jone's first original "A" side (his debut composition "Take My Tip" was regalated to the bottom side of his previous 45 with The Manish Boys). The band's obvious Who/Kinks fetish is apparent from the moment Taylor's first chord strikes and the backing vocals bear the oft familiar Who-ish feel to them. Instead of a guitar solo there's an "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" styled "rave up" where Rivens does a series of swooping bass runs and Taylor elicits feedback and some wiggy Joe Meek sounding noodling while Jones blows some harp and then it all comes back to earth. The flipside, to me is the more powerful of the two as it tramps along at an almost Motown feel with it's mid tempo pace. The band provide shouting backing vocals and Taylor cranks out a brief blistering solo laden in volume and distortion.


Of course it failed to make any impact and the normally inept Horton did manage to get the band another record deal with producer Tony Hatch and Pye records, but first Davy Jones would change his name to David Bowie to avoid confusion with a diminutive Mancunian playing in the pre-fab four. Like the Parlophone release here, the Pye debut would not contain the Lower Third's name anywhere on the 45 label, hastening their disenchantment and immediate demise.

Both sides can be found on the excellent Rhino records CD "David Bowie: Early On (1964-1966).

"Baby Loves That Way":

Foreign E.P.'s Part One (Via Portugal)!


THE BYRDS- E.P. Portugal CBS 6192 EP 0084 (Mr. Tambourine Man, I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better/Don't Doubt Yourself Babe, It's No Use) 1966


Here's an odd duck, a Portuguese Byrds E.P. Unlike most European traditions of combining two U.S. or U.K. singles by British or American acts with both their "A" and "B" sides Portuguese Sixties E.P.'s always seem to center around one "A" side and a miscellany of other tracks. Case in point they've taken Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" and left off it's U.S./U.K. "B" side "I Knew I'd Want You" and included the band original composition "I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better" (the U.S./U.K. "B" side of "All I Really Want To Do") alongside it on side "A" of this E.P. Side "B" takes two tracks from the "Mr. Tambourine Man" album, Jackie DeShannon's "Don't Doubt Yourself Babe" and band original "It's No Use". And unlike most of their homegrown 7"'s Portuguese pressings of foreign bands on major labels were always high quality affairs on solid vinyl with laminated, glossy hard stock E.P. picture sleeves (sadly my Byrds E.P. came without a sleeve and came in a stock CBS sleeve) that like their French counterparts offered colorful variations utilizing different photos and interesting artwork differing from American and British releases.

Indigenous Portuguese 60's rock n' roll releases are scarce, not just because there were very few and the country was economically depressed, but because the manufacturing quality was not up to the same standard as the domestic releases of foreign artists on labels like CBS or Fontana who had financial backing from their parent countries. Portuguese 60's rock n' roll singles/E.P.s often tend to come in almost tracing paper thin picture sleeves on brittle, light vinyl discs often bearing label work that in some cases was merely ink stamped (akin to some of the more rare obscure 60's Jamaican ska 45's ). This of course does not add up with general wear and tear to ensure that there will be many copies left in playable condition 40+ years on.

R&B Power:British Style



DUFFY POWER-It Ain't Necessarily So/If I Get Lucky Someday U.K. Parlophone R 4992 1963

British rhythm and blues legend Duffy Power needs no introduction. Born Ray Howard and like fellow Brit r&b icon Georgie Fame, received his new moniker care of British early 60's rock n' roll impresario Larry Parnes. Power cut a series of MOR crooner and rock n' roll records for the Fontana label before switching to EMI's Parlophone outlet and more importantly switching to playing r&b. Overnight Power's image, dress style and repertoire changed almost overnight. Speaking to "Record Collector's" John Reed in 1995 Power cited seeing the Graham Bond Organization live at The Flamingo and hearing "The Best Of Muddy Waters" over at Billy Fury's flat as being crucial to his new found makeover.

His Parlophone debut in February 1963 was the platter here in question. It would be pointless to try to catalog the number of British r&b artists who cut versions of Gershwin's "It Ain't Necessarily So". Duffy's version, thanks to his soulful voice is a cut above them all (aided by some very sophisticated guitar work by session slinger Big Jim Sullivan and some very churchy organ). The flip, is far superior with the same session men employed making it a classic example of bluesy, moddy British Sixties r&b with the organ and guitar answering each other with little riffs while Duffy sings along like a Mose Allison acolyte. Best of all it's a Duffy Power orginal (credited to him utilizing his real name in the credits).

The record didn't chart, but Power built a solid reputation with further brilliant releases in the same vein. The next being a version of "I Saw Her Standing There" where he was backed by the mighty Graham Bond Quartet (Parlophone R 5024) in May 1963. But that, as they say, is another story for another time (watch this space for it).

Luckily both sides of this 45 are available on the highly recommended Duffy Power double CD on RPM "Leapers And Sleepers" and an alternate version of "If I Get Lucky Some Day" cropped up on the equally recommended British 60's r&b CD compilation "Take My Tip: 25 British Mod Artefacts From The EMI Vaults".

"If I Get Lucky Some Day":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kTpUEhWVnE

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ian McLagan-"Debris"

Ian McLagan pays tribute to the late great Ronnie Lane and performs "Debris" @ The Record Collector, Bordentown, NJ, USA 11/13/09

Great LP's In My Life

VARIOUS ARTISTS-My Generation U.K. EMI Nut 4 198?

Side One:

1.TOMORROW-My White Bicycle

2. THE ACTION-Baby You've Got It

3. TERRY REID-The Hand Don't Fit The Glove

4. THE DOWNLINERS SECT-Glendora

5. TONY RIVERS-God Only Knows

6. THE GODS-Baby's Rich

7. THE BOSTON CRABS-Gin House

8. LOCOMOTIVE-Mr. Armageddon

Side Two:

1. THE YARDBIRDS-Happenings Ten Year's Time Ago

2.THE MOLES-We Are The Moles

3. THE ROULETTES-The Long Cigarette

4. VIV PRINCE-Light Of The Charge Brigade

5. THE SHOTGUN EXPRESS-I Could Feel The Whole World Turn Round

6. THE ARTWOODS-What Shall I Do

7. LOVE SCULPTURE-The Stumble

8. ROD STEWART-Shake

On a journey to New York City by bus in the summer of 1983 I made several important purchases with my very first paycheck hard earned in the grease of a McDonald's two towns away. The first was a pair of Two Tone "Jam" shoes from Trash And Vaudeville on St. Mark's Place and a few doors down at a record shop called Sounds I bought The Action's "Ultimate Action" Edsel LP compilation, a dodgy French compilation LP on Eva by The Creation called "The Creation/The Mark Four" (I passed on their Edsel "How Does It Feel To Feel" compilation because this one was cheaper, silly boy) and this interesting LP comp on EMI that featured a painting of a bunch of rockers being sneered at by mods at the seaside. I had spied this LP a year or two earlier and wrongly assumed because of the leather clad gentleman so prominently featured on the cover that it was "rocker" album though I was, at that time, puzzled by the inclusion of a Yardbirds track on it and having owned their "Having a Rave Up.." LP (where they were bedecked in "skinny ties and black suits like The Jam") I'd assumed they were "mod". Fast forward to 1983 and I knew of The Action from my sole Edsel single AND a German 45 my uncle had brought back from his army stint there (along with several Screaming Lord Sutch singles) and of course The Yardbirds but everyone else of the LP was new to my ears. "My Generation" culled some off the wall and better known U.K. 60's 45 tracks from EMI sources like Columbia and Parlophone and packaged them up nicely.

It did take me awhile to digest some of tracks because of their psychedelic inclinations (esp. Simon Dupree and The Big Sound's "We Are the Moles" which they cuts as "The Moles", Tomorrow's "My White Bicycle" and Locomotive's "Mr. Armageddon"), and I don't think I've ever come around to liking Tony River's interpretation of The Wilson Family's "God Only Knows". But the album introduced me to a variety of other artists, many of whom, like The Action, had LP compilations available on Edsel records that made me fans of them. I am of course referring to the beat group brilliance of The Roulette's "The Long Cigarette" (which soon sent me off for their comp. LP "Russ Bob Pete And Mod") and the gloomy "What Shall I Do" by The Artwoods (which in turn inspired me to grab their LP "100 Oxford Street" which contained a plethora of their Decca material). And though I'd been bludgeoned by crap like "Tonight's The Night" and "Do You Think I'm Sexy" I got to see that Rod Stewart was actually cool in the 60's in the shape of his solo 1966 version of "Shake" and his vocals on The Shotgun Express contribution "I Could Feel The Whole World Turn Round" (for more on that see my Feb. 11th, 2009 posting). I was introduced to ex-Pretty Thing's looner stickman Viv Prince's "solo" single, the orchestral"Light Of The Charge Brigade" years before I owned my first Pretty Things record and The Downliners Sect a few years before the first "cool" girlfriend would turn me onto their LPs (along with long players by Them and The Pretty Things). Though I'd had a steady diet of The Yardbirds my knowledge of them did not extend past their earlier mentioned LP so "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago" was a total mind blower which sent me out after "Roger The Engineer" (Edsel records strikes again). I was immediately charmed by The God's "Baby's Rich" and though it took me many years to hear the rest of their discography I was not disappointed with what I found. Of course it would take me another year before I'd embraced British 60's psychedelia with Pink Floyd's first LP and by that time I was avidly ready to devour Tomorrow's "My White Bicycle" and Locomotive's "Mr. Armageddon" and in turn seek both of their sole LP's out. And of course I still haven't gotten off my ass to check that Terry Reid LP out (I'll get to it someday Eric!).

In retrospect it was pretty damned amazing to get such a musical education at the age of 16 for the slim price of $5.69. You can't get six songs off of iTunes for that these days. Like the old standard says "things ain't what they used to be".

The Roulettes "The Long Cigarette":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=481z57KfGp0

The Moles "We Are The Moles":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCOLp_31Zjs

Tomorrow "My White Bicycle":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62yWU4ryrgI

The Downliners Sect "Glendora":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AP-kCIp1gRk

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pop Psych Conundrum




THE ATTACK-Created By Clive U.K. Decca F 12631 1967
THE SYN-Created By Clive U.K. Deram DM 130 1967

There are few instances in the history of British pop psych where two bands, both affiliated with the same label, released versions of the same tune simultaneously. On this rare exception I present to you "Created By Clive", released in June 1967 by The Attack on Decca F 12631 AND as the debut 45 for The Syn on Decca's offshoot label Deram, as DM 130. It mattered little because both numbers cancelled each other out and the world was denied the chance to hear a tongue and cheek pop psych ditty about a spurned boyfriend of a dolly bird who's become a model and isn't quite the same again. This was not the first time the Attack had been caught up in a "same track" slug fest. Their previous single (also their debut) was "Hi Ho Silver Lining" (Decca F 12578) was released in March of 1967 in tandem with Jeff Beck's version on Columbia DB 8151 (which became the hit).


To me the Syn's version of "Created By Clive" is far superior. It's simplistic. It's just bass, drums, organ and very minimal guitar in it's instrumentation. The lead vocals are heavily Anglicized but not too over the top either with an almost contemptuous, bored tone that makes you really believe this guy has lost his gal and there's some neat high Who-ish backing vocals. What attracted me to this version when I heard it for the first time was the little combo organ that reminded me of The Doors if they'd been more "kitschy" especially during the little solo and the drums click perfectly with it.

The Attack's version, in my book, is way over produced. There's a xylophone solo on it for god sakes! The vocals are so affected it almost sounds like a bad Hollywood take on a British "posh" accent and the chorus sounds like a drunken pub knees up (and not in a good time Kinks way) and the whole thing sort of plods along like a wind up music box tune.
Decide for yourselves:

Hear The Syn's version:
And The Attack's:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

More Fame in '67: Georgie Fame's New Sound


GEORGIE FAME-Try My World/No Thanks U.K. CBS 2945 1967

By 1967 the Flamingo/Hammond n' horns Clive Powell was barely a shade of his former self. He'd pensioned the Blue Flames off, switched from EMI's Columbia imprint to a lucrative deal with CBS and got decidedly more "pop" (though his high sales figures and reputation allowed him to embrace his first love: jazz, at his new home, but that'd be later after these first few singles). CBS saw big things for their new signing, giving all of his records a groovy little logo with his profile that boasted "Fame in '67 on CBS". Fans of his r&B/soul/Bluebeat days no doubt cried "foul" and "sellout", but their cries were no doubt silenced by chart placings, music weekly cover shots and "Top Of The Pops" appearances. It made sense as by '67 the writing was on the wall for the Flamingo style of British r&b. As we've discussed in other entries here on Anorak Thing Chris Farlowe, Zoot Money and Graham Bond were getting wiggy, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers had become the finishing school for guitar heroes and Brian Auger was heading for success with Julie Driscoll and The Trinity (while still simultaneously "keeping the faith" with his own career, which like Fame, led him down the "true" path: jazz).


"Fame In '67" was launched in Match of 1967 with his CBS debut "Because I Love You"/"Bidin' My Time" (CBS 202587) which reached #15. The Summer of Love's last month saw the release of Georgie's 2nd CBS 7", our 45 in question.

"Try My World" is decidedly most un-r&b/soul. It's cascading harp and low key vocals lend itself perfectly to an un-made Swingin' London film where a mini skirted/knicker-less Susan George gets it on with a guy with sideburns and a bouffant hairdo in a flat with the GPO tower in the background and a mini Moke parked down on the street below while the number's muted trumpets tweet. It's not Hammond n' horns, but it works for me. The flip "No Thanks" is one of those rare 60's tracks by Georgie that's actually of his own composition. Disheartened r&b fans could not fail to take note that the Hammond and horns, complete with reedy sax solos, were not dead with "More Fame In '67 On CBS" on this B-side. Fame's delivery is confidant, almost belligerent as he sings of a fancy for the racetrack, wine and getting treated like crap by a "woman that I see downtown". Brilliant stuff with the memorable chorus: "Money get out of my bank file, bottle get off of my stack, woman get out of my woodpile, monkey get off my back". I personally got some seriously heavy dance floor action out of spinning this track once a month upstairs at a dive club in New Brunswick, New Jersey from 1997-1999. It was a staple and the floor was never empty when it came on. The public in '67 barely noticed and the record never got past #37. Little bother, as Fame's career did not falter and in fact his next (and last) #1 was just around the bend with a dreadful little tune called "The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde".

Both sides of this killer platter are fortunately contained on a U.K. CBS retrospective of Georgie's time on the label titled "Somebody Stole My Thunder: Jazz-Soul Grooves 1967-1971 ".

"Try My World":
"No Thanks":
Georgie and friends at London's Cromwellian Club 1/8/67

2-Tone:'68 Style



THE FOUNDATIONS-Back On My Feet Again/I Can Take Or Leave Your Loving U.K. Pye 7N.17417 1968

Unless you've been living in a shack in the wilds of Oregon you'll no doubt be familiar with The Foundations via "Build Me Up Buttercup" or "Baby, Now that I've Found You". The Foundations were a multi racial British based band boasting members from the U.K., West Indies and Sri Lanka. Though their hits have tended to create the unfortunate "oldies station" overkill the Foundations were a top notch band with soulful sounds, smart styles (their drummer for awhile sported a suedehead style) and first class pop/soul tunes care of the song writing/production team of John Macleod and Tony Macauly.

Macauly/Macleod's "Back On My Feet Again" was the band's second single , released in January 1968. It followed their August 1967 number one (on both sides of the Atlantic) "Baby, Now that I've Found You". Lead by the soulful vocals of the band's original lead singer Clem Curtis (who's West Indian accent adds just the right bit of "flavor" to the tune) the number is catchy as hell from it's simple brass section blaring out the melody, it's subtle groovy Hammond twirling and solid backing vocals. The flipside is an equally powerful pop/soul number called "I Can Take Or Leave Your Loving", a bit more downtrodden than the A-side but full of precision horn work and cool call and response backing vocals. Oddly enough Mickie Most's boys Herman's Hermit's issued a version of the song at the exact same time as their A-side (Columbia DB 8327) earning them a hit! This must have led to some interesting exchanges in the green room of "Top Of the Tops" as both acts went to plug their respective hits! Despite being a catchy little tune "Back On My Feet Again" died a death at #48 and the band would have to wait a further ten months and a new lead singer to capture #1 again with "Baby, Now That I've Found You".

Both sides are contained on numerous Foundations Pye/Sequel/Castle compilations.
"Back On My Feet Again" on "Top Of The Pops" 2/15/68:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mod Anthems Part One: The London Boys































DAVID BOWIE-The London Boys U.K. Deram DM 107 1966

Mod anthems...when I was 13 or 14 my "personal mod anthems" changed from week to week. One week it'd be "Time For Action" or "Glory Boys" by Secret Affair , "Millions Like Us" by The Purple Hearts etc etc et al and who could forget the eternally pigeon holed "My Generation"!?!?

In the fall of 1983 I stumbled upon "The London Boys" on a London Records cassette comp called "Starting Point" during my quest to hear/own the rest of Bowie's non-LP Deram cuts. I had found my anthem driving late one night in a Triumph sports car through the fall swept rural roads of Plainsboro, NJ feeling lonely and quite sorry for myself. It was THE mod anthem. It was, and still is.. and much more. Bowie, despite his Anthony Newley pretensions was never a full on crooner. "The London Boys" was and is, an exception to that rule. From it's somber, glum beginning warble to the lifting full throttle cabaret ending (which David Robert Jones delivers like the Frank Sinatra of modernism) the number is a masterpiece. Restrained by a simple bass/organ backing with strains of brass (muting trumpet and woodwinds, and possibly some French horn) the song builds as the pitch of Bowie's plight reaches it's full descent. Lyrically poignant and proud despite the "against all odds" scenario of hopelessness,and failure faced by the song's young protagonist, "The London Boys" ages well (it was cheekily covered with some style and jazz/ska panache by The Times in 1985 on creepy cash in Mark Johnson's Unicorn label). Unlike "My Generation" or any jaded/dated Secret Affair record this is the stuff of dreams, broken ones albeit, but dreams nonetheless.

Originally it was demoed with Bowie's third band, The Lower Third at Pye records Marble Arch studios in the fall of '65. It was immediately rejected for release by Pye due to it's language about overt drug use(sadly this version is seemingly lost forever as unlike many other 60's Bowie tracks no version has surfaced among bootleggers or Bowie fans alike). The second version (which was used on the eventual single) was recorded in a demo session at R.G. Jones studios on October 18, 1966 as part of a series of demos in the hopes of ensnaring a record contract (Bowie had since been dropped by Pye after three brilliant but commercially unsuccessful singles), though one would expect that the horns were later dubbed in Decca/Deram's studio as the label was loathe to allow the use of outside studios to record obscure acts. The demos had their desired effect and David Bowie was awarded a contract with Decca's new Deram off shoot. "The London Boys" would surface as the B- side to his debut Deram 45 'Rubber Band" on December 2, 1966.

"Well, it tells the story of life as some teenagers saw it - but we didn't think the lyrics were quite up many people's street. I do it on stage though, and we're probably keeping it for an EP or maybe an LP. Hope, hope! It's called "Now You've Met The London Boys", and mentions pills, and generally belittles the London night life scene."
-David Bowie in "Melody Maker" in Feb. 1966


Hear "The London Boys" (and watch a 60's Bowie slideshow):



*****This piece was originally published on Uppers.org on October 22, 2007****

Big In Japan:Gary Walker & The Rain







GARY WALKER & THE RAIN-Album No.1 (Phillips SFX-7133 Japan LP) 1968
SIDE ONE:
Magazine Woman
The Sun Shines
Doctor Doctor
I Can't Stand To Lose You
Market Tavern
Take A Look

SIDE TWO:
The View
If You Don't Come Back
Thoughts Of An Old Man
Francis
I Promise To Love You
Whatever Happened To Happy

Okay let's just assume you've been on Mars for the past 50 years and were unaware of an American U.K. based mid 60's pop sensation trio called The Walker Brothers. The Walkers rode high on the hit parade led by Scott Walker's (real surname Engel) moody baritone backed up by John Walker's similar tones (real last name Maus) and then there was Gary Walker (nee Leeds) on drums. There were claims that he didn't drum on their records because of American contractual obligations, in fact I can barely tell if he sang on their records either. Gary, was however, the first Walker to be afforded "solo" records (long before the "Solo Scott/Solo John" EP, see January 11, 2009 entry): "You Don't Love Me"/"Get It Right" U.K. CBS 202036 in February 1966 and "Twinkle Lee"/"She Makes Me Feel Better" U.K. CBS 202081 in May 1966. But by 1967 the rot had set in and despite a brief Japanese reunion tour the Walkers were dead. Gary wasted little time putting a group together: Gary Walker and The Rain with Gary on lead vocals and drums, ex- Masterminds guitarist Joey Molland on lead guitar, Paul Crane (formerly of The Cryin' Shames) on rhythm guitar and ex-Universals member John Lawson on bass. Nasty legal proceedings by former management scuttled any chance of their February 1968 debut "Spooky"/"I Can't Stand To Lose You" (U.K. Polydor 56237) gaining any radio/TV exposure so the band turned to the land of the Rising Sun where The Walkers were, behind The Beatles and The Monkees, the hottest act in that far off land. This enabled them to issue two singles and an E.P. on Phillip's Japanese imprint :"Spooky"/"I Can't Stand To Lose You" Phillips SFL-1150, "The View"/"Thoughts Of An Old Man" Phillips SFL-1174 and an E.P. "Magazine Woman"/"Take A Look"/"The View"/"Spooky" Phillips SFL-3243. Soon an LP was deemed necessary. The forthcoming Japanese only "Album No.1" is one of the most expensive U.K. 60's vinyl LP's of all time. Copies fetch anywhere in the $2-3,000.00 mark with their lavish color sleeves. It was bootlegged on LP and then CD by some dodgy person who had the audacity to initially charge heavy prices for the bootleg LP. Fortunately it was reissued on CD in pristine from the masters glory in the U.K. this year.

The LP was basically a collection of some previously released tracks from their Japanese 7" discography with production handled by the late ex-Four Pennies member Fritz Fryer (also responsible for producing freakbeat/psych legends The Open Mind and Jason Crest). Rather than go track by track I've opted to highlight my favorite tracks. Kicking off with the spooky "Taxman" bass line driven "Magazine Woman" the album is a freakbeat/psych masterpiece. "Magazine Woman" has a lysergic presence in it's repetitive "Taxman" bass loop and some electronically distorted guitars that are mind bending. "The Market Tavern" is a piano backed quintessential trip to the England of village greens, brown ale and darts and wouldn't be at all out of place on a Kink's LP from '67-'69 with it's English social observations ("Johnny comes from Scotland where the haggis can be found, he wears a suit on Sunday and he'll never let you down, he's related to Robert The Bruce, he came to London and he drank all the juice.."). The band's version of The Classic's VI hit "Spooky " (which pipped Dusty Springfield's version on the B-side of "How Can I Be Sure" by a whole two years) though ill advised is not terrible, then there isn't much you can do to ruin this groovy little number. "Take A Look" is pure rock n' roll with high falsetto backing vocals that recall the Fab Four before they grew moustaches and weird and like all the band's numbers feature some solid deep basslines. "The View" is probably one of the band's more way out numbers starting with some jazzy arpeggios and a nice mesh of phlanged bass and piano driving the band's Beatlesque harmonies along as they croon "what is the few like from the thirteenth floor?". At about 2:09 listen for Lawson's flubbed bass line as he comes back into the verse in the wrong key. A blistering six minute and 45 second version of The Drifter's "If You Don't Come Back" is next up. Molland plays some insane distorted solos and at one point sounds like he's doing a Nigel Tuffnell and has set his guitar down against a bank of amps to let it feed back while things are thrown at it. The number does go on a bit but the impassioned lead vocals and the Fab Four influenced backing vocals give it some "go"! "Thoughts Of An Old Man" is another distinctly British psych-pop number with phlanged piano, chirpy "ba ba ba ba" backing vocals and lovely melody and lyrics concerning a lonely, retired senior citizen. There's a break where a backing vocalist sings and is answered through a megaphone by the lead singer and some sky-ing backing vocals (ala The Association) wrap around your head. "Francis" follows the same blistering Molland guitar pyrotechnics of ""If You Don't Come Back", bu here they're brief, controlled and evocative of British psych pop before headbands and 20 minute blues jams killed it all. It was also tucked away on the flip of the band's U.K. only cover of The Easybeat's "Come In You'll Get Pneumonia (Phillips BF 1740 in January 1969).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My "MOD" Top 200




I'm quite sure this will provoke an argument. Many years back I compiled a list of my fave "mod" 45's, "mod" being what I thought the original 60's U.K. mods listened to, songs from that time period and above all songs that I was dj-ing back then (2005) when I still used to spin. This was 100% influenced by "Uncut" magazine's special "MOD" issue that featured a reprint of the late Randy Cozen's "Mod Top 100" list I did not include any ska/Blue Beat or any British records as well, I was trying to originally just keep it at 100. As you can see that didn't happen! This is not to say that any of this would not be considered "mod". I'd easily rate Lord Kitchener's "Dr.Kitch" or The Westminster Five's "Shakin' The Blues" as equally "mod" as a Sue 45 release, but then this list would reach 500, and I'm sure no one wants to read my top 200 let alone...............

1. Bobby Bland-I Pity The Fool
2. Chris Kenner-Land Of A Thousand Dances
3. Ike & Tina Turner-Two Is A Couple
4. The Ikettes-Sally Go Round the Roses
5. Ike & Tina Turner-Chicken Shack
6. James Brown & His Famous Flames-Shout And Shimmy
7. Solomon Burke-Stupidity
8. Googie Rene Combo-Smokey Joes La La
9. Billy Preston-Billy’s Bag
10. Dave Baby Cortez-Getting To The Point
11. The Flamingos-I Only Have Eyes For You
12. The Revells-Midnight Stroll
13. The Dynamics-Misery
14. The Coasters-Shoppin For Clothes
15. Bo Diddley-Pills
16. Jimmy McCracklin-The Walk
17. Gene McDaniels-The Point Of No Return
18. Marv Johnson-You Got What It Takes
19. Rufus Thomas-The Dog
20. Bill Doggett-Honky Tonk Pts 1&2
21. Tommy Tucker-High Heel Sneakers
22. Inez Foxx-Hurt By Love
23. King Coleman-Do the Hully Gully
24. Jimmy Smith-Got My Mojo Working Pts 1&2
25. Jimmy Witherspoon-Moneys Getting Cheaper
26. Macy Skipper-Goofin Off
27. Little Walter-My Babe
28. The Isley Brothers-Your Old Lady
29. Mark Murphy-Why Don’t You Do Right
30. Derek Martin-Daddy Rolling Stone
31. The Triumphs-Burnt Biscuits
32. Mel Torme-Comin Home Baby
33. Mose Allison-The Seventh Son
34. The Phil Upchurch Combo-You Can’t Sit Down Pts. 1&2
35. Jimmy McGriff-Kiko
36. Mingus-Freedom
37. Kai Winding-Comin Home Baby
38. Shirley Scott-A Shot In The Dark
39. Kenny Burrell-Kenny’s Theme
40. Big John Patton-Fat Judy Pts 1&2
41. Little Ester Phillips-Mojo Hanna
42. The Caper Brothers-I Aint Gonna Write You
43. The Packers-Hole In The Wall
44. Jimmy Reed-Big Boss Man
45. BeverlyAnn Gibson-Three Dollar Bill
46. The Miracles-Shop Around
47. John Lee Hooker-No One Please Like You Do
48. Booker T. & The MGs-Be My Lady
49. J.J. Jackson & The Jackaels-Oo Ma Liddi
50. Richie Barrett-Some Other Guy
51. Koko Taylor-Wang Dang Doodle
52. Bill Blacks Combo-Little Queenie
53. Ike Turner & His Rhythm Kings-The New Breed Pts 1&2
54. The Soul Sisters-Loop De Loop
55. Mark Murphy-Senor Blues
56. Big Dee Erwin & Little Eva-Swingin On A Star
57. Ike & Tina Turner-Its Gonna Work Out Fine
58. Oscar Brown Jr.-But I Was Cool
59. The Impressions-Gypsy Woman
60. Bill & Will-Goin To The River
61. Billy Preston-I Am Comin Through
62. Timmy Shaw-Gonna Send You Back To Georgia
63. Jimmy McGriff-Discotheque
64. The Drifters-At The Club
65. Barrett Strong-Money (Thats What I Want)
66. Ray Charles-One Mint Julip
67. The Megatons-Shimmy Shimmy Walk
68. Arthur Alexander-You Better Move On
69. The Orlons-The Wah-Watusi
70. The High Keys-Que Sera Sera
71. Doris Troy-Whatch Gonna Do About It
72. Bo Diddley-Back To School
73. Jimmy Reed-Im That Man Down There
74. Mongo Santamaria-Yeh Yeh
75. The Isley Brothers-Whos That Lady?
76. Oliver Nelson-The Critics Choice
77. Jimmy Witherspoon-Some Of My Best Friends Are The Blues
78. Gene Allison-You Can Make It If You Try
79. Mickey Lee Laine-Hey Sah Lo Ney
80. Ray Charles-Lets Go Get Stoned
81. Tiny Topsy-Just A Little Bit
82. Brooks O’ Dell-You Better Make Up Your Mind
83. Mose Allison-Eyesight To The Blind
84. Don Covay-Take This Hurt Off Me
85. Tommy Tucker-Long Tall Shorty
86. Shirley Ellis-The Nitty Gritty
87. Betty Everett-Cant Hear You No More
88. Booker T & The MGs-Green Onions
89. Rufus Thomas-The World Is Round
90. Derek Martin-Dont Put Me Down Like This
91. The Vibrations-My Girl Sloopy
92. Nina Simone-Dont Let Me Be Misunderstood
93. Major Lance-The Monkey Time
94. Lee Dorsey-Can You Hear Me?
95. Solomon Burke-Everybody Needs Somebody To Love
96. The Ikettes-Peaches And Cream
97. The Orlons-Shimmy Shimmy
98. Chico Hamilton-For Mods Only
99. Chuck Berry-Ramona Say Yes
100. Bobby “Blue” Bland-Aint That Loving You
101. The Kolettes-Whos That Guy
102. The Champs-Tequila
103. Sugar Pie Desanto-I Dont Wanna Fuss
104. Shirley Scott-Soul Shoutin
105. Ray Charles-Ive Got News For You
106. Fats Domino-Sick and Tired
107. Roscoe Shelton-Question
108. Grant Green-The Cantaloupe Woman
109. Prince La La-Baby Come Back To Me
110. Johnny Griffin-Wade In The Water
111. The Soul Sisters-I Cant Stand It
112. Inez & Charlie Foxx-I Fancy You
113. John Lee Hooker-This Is Hip
114. Lulu Reed & Freddie King-Its Easy Child
115. The Poets-She Blew A Good Thing
116. Billy Stewart-Summertime
117. The Ramsey Lewis Trio-Hang On Sloopy
118. Brother Jack McDuff-Hot Barbecue
119. Mark Murphy-Nothin But A Fool
120. Junior Parker-Last Night
121. Joe Hinton-How Long Can I Wait?
122. Jimmy McGriff-Lonely Avenue Pts 1&2
123. Eddie Holland-Leaving Here
124. Marvin Gaye-Try It Baby
125. Mongo Santamaria-Watermelon Man
126. Little Esther Phillips & Big Al Downing-Dont Miss Your Water
127. Googie Rene Combo-Mercy Mercy
128. Harold Betters-Do Anything You Wanna Do Pts 1&2
129. Shirley Scott-Yes Indeed Pts 1&2
130. Johnny Hammond Smith-Ebb Tide
131. Barbara Mason-Yes I’m ready
132. Lee Dorsey-Work Work Work
133. Oscar Brown Jr.-Brother Where Are You
134. Bobby Moore-Try My Love Again
135. Little Mac & The Boss Sounds-In The Midnight Hour
136. Roy Head-Treat Her Right
137. Jimmy Smith & His Big Band-A Walk On The Wild Side Pts 1&2
138. Russell Byrd-Hitch Hike Pts 1& 2
139. Freddie King-Now I’ve Got A Woman
140. Hank Jacobs-So Far Away
141. Steve Alaimo-Everyday I Have To Cry
142. Shirley & Lee-Let The Good Times Roll
143. Sonny Boy Williamson-Help Me
144. Don & Bob-Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
145. Willie Bobo-Fried Neck Bones And Some Home Fries
146. Bo Diddley-Crackin Up
147. Mongo Santamaria-Get The Money
148. Booker T & The MGs-Outrage
149. Alvin Cash & The Crawlers-Twine Time
150. Ernestine Anderson-Keep On Eye On Love
151. The Contours-Shake Sherry
152. The Daylighters-Oh Mom(Teach Me How To Uncle Wilie)
153. Lee Dorsey-Ride Your Pony
154. James Brown-Night Train
155. The Markeys-Last Night
156. Doris Troy-Just One Look
157. The Olympics-The Bounce
158. Cannonball Adderly-Tengo Tango
159. Lightnin Hopkins-You Got To Move Your Baby
160. Betty Everett-The Real Thing
161. The Marvelettes-Ill Keep Holding On
162. Little Johnny Taylor-You Win, I Lose
163. The Miracles-I Gotta Dance To Keep From Cryin
164. Solomon Burke-Down In The Valley
165. Esther Phillips-Release Me
166. Little Eva-The Locomotion
167. Benny Spellman-Fortune Teller
168. Muddy Waters-Messin With The Man
169. Etta James-Mellow Fellow
170. O.V. Wright-That’s How Strong My Love Is
171. Bobby Parker-Watch Your Step
172. Bobby Hendricks-Itchy Twitch Feeling
173. The Parliaments-Heart Trouble
174. Otis Redding-My Girl
175. Roscoe Shelton-Roll With The Punches
176. Ike & Tina Turner-I Cant Believe What You Say
177. The Spinners-Sweet Thing
178. Billy Stewart-Sugar and Spice
179. Christine Kitrell-Call His Name
180. Bobby Freeman-Cmon And Swin Pts 1&2
181. Lorez Alexander-Baltimore Oriole
182. The Exciters-Do Wah Diddy
183. Charlie & Inez Foxx-Mockingbird
184. Garnett Mimms-A Quiet Place
185. The Markeys-Bo Time
186. Freddie Scott-Hey Girl
187. Johnny Darrow-Dont Start Me Talking
188. Maxine Brown-Oh No Not My Baby
189. Jimmy Holiday-You Won’t Get Away
190. Rudy Lewis-Baby I Dig Love
191. Bobby Bland-Stormy Monday Blues
192. Bill Doggett-Lets Do the Continental
193. Ray Bryant-Slow Freight
194. Merle Spears-I Want To Know
195. Howlin Wolf-How Many More Years
196. Cal Tjader-Soul Sauce
197. Alvin Cash & the Registers-The Philly Freeze
198. Arthur Alexander-Soldier Of Love
199. Mike Pedicin-Burnt Toast And Black Coffee
200. Bessie Banks-Go Now

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Carnabetian Army Marches On!



THE CARNABY-Jump And Dance/My Love Will Stay Pye 7N,35272 1965

Many of you have different ideas of what "mod" music is. To many of us it's early/mid 60's soul/r&b/blues/ska sounds. To others it's '79 mod revival or ska. To me it's also been mid 60's British stuff played by cool dressed guys (and gals) who had one foot in the soul/r&b stream and another on the power pop/freakbeat side, all equal fans of both The Who and The Small Faces. "Jump And Dance" by The Carnaby completely exemplifies "mod" music for me in the mid 60's British sense. As seen above from an old music weekly clipping all five members actually all worked in various shops on Carnaby Street!
"Jump And Dance" is the epitome of 60's English cool. It's akin to the youthful mod/freakbeat cheekiness of The Game right down to it's Who-styled falsetto backing vocal harmonies. It's simplistic four or five chord Kinks brilliance is accented by a slightly distorted riff and it's military precision beat. It's a pure dance floor smash. The flip "My Love Will Stay" is another instance of the oft mentioned subject here on "Anorak Thing": the "what the hell is up with the B-side? Is it a different band?" category. I rest my case.


"Jump And Dance" has popped up on quite a few compilations over the years. Since it was released on Pye in the 60's everyone and their brother will tell you licensing stuff from Pye for reissue is easier than taking candy from a sleeping baby it's safe to assume it's on more than these few I'm about to suggest: Sequel's "Doin' The Mod Volume Two: Jump And Dance" and "Rubble 7: Pictures In The Sky" (as well as on the "Rubble One" box set).

Hear "Jump and Dance":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0b5xHZaqHw

Here are some excellent photos of the band courtesy of their 60's manager Robert Orbach with a five piece line-up which he has graciously allowed me to reuse here:



Thursday, October 8, 2009

Freakbeat Defined Part Three

THE GAME-Gonna Get Me Someone/Gotta Wait U.K. Decca F.12469 1966

Oh boy we're into some good stuff here boys and girls. The Game, for those of you not in the know were an incredible U.K. 60's band who cut five very definitive singles in '65-'67(all of which are quite collectible). I was fortunate to get my mitts on the first two back in the day, this one was the second single (more on their Pye debut shortly). Both sides of this killer were produced by Kenny Lynch, a performer in his own right and loosely associated with The Small Faces early on in their Decca career. The band were all under the age of 18 and A-1 mods to the man (boy?).

"Gonna Get Me Someone" first blew my mind when it jumped off the grooves at me on Bam Caruso's "The Electric Crayon Set:Rubble Volume Five" LP compilation back in 1987. Easily on par with Carnaby's brilliant "Jump And Dance" it's a pure mod/pop/proto freakbeat raver from start to finish with delicious harmonies, wiggy little distorted solo et al.. I liked it so much I managed to once cajole my band mates in The Tea Club(who with my leaving became the serious musicians they always were and changed their name to The Insomniacs) to cover it in 1988. I can't recall if we ever played it live but we did record a version of it once. No bother, it's a classic. The flip, "Gotta Wait" is equally worthy, starting off with a clanging power chord-on-the -verge-of-feeding back intro(a Game trademark!) accented by some very nice Who-ish high noted backing vocals and some thundering drums.

Both sides are on the highly recommended Game CD/LP anthology "It's Shocking What They Call Us" AND "The Electric Crayon Set:Rubble Volume Five" which also forms a part of the essential "Rubble Volumes 1-10" CD box set. "Gotta Wait" also appears on Decca/Deram's "The Beat scene" Cd compilation.

"Gonna Get Me Someone":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u76LrSamOas

"Gotta Wait":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DLcaqPJAZw

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Freakbeat Defined Part Two

THE KOOBAS-Sweet Music/Face U.K. Columbia DB 7988 1966

In our installment (January 13, 2009) we'd previously covered The Kooba's "You'd Better Make Up Your Mind" Pye 45 from April 1966. By August of 1966 the band had moved from Pye onto EMI's Columbia imprint and released this two sided sizzler!

"Sweet Music" kicks off with a barrage from a distorted power chord struck out of nowhere then progresses into a mid tempo beat ballad that's moved along nicely by a powerful backup. The vocals are somewhat soulful, but unlike the previous 45 on Pye this one bears no relation to soul. It's pure freakbeat all the way baby!! On the the flipside we have "Face". Not a mod anthem as the title might expect but a powerful freakbeat stormer in the grand tradition of fellow Liverpudlian's Wimple Winch. It's full rave up stuff with a chunky beat, soulful lead vocals, high backing vocals and and a "bash 'em up" beat that'd do '65 vintage Who proud! Lyrically it's a soliloquy by a tough narcissistic nut: "my world's a selfish place, I only see one face, that's my face..., don't need no human race....."! Sadly the band would go horribly wrong on their next release by covering what I'm told is Gracie Field's track called "Sally". I bought a Columbia "A" label promo of it back in the day and it ranks as one of my worst purchases ever (alongside Fire's "Round The Gum Tree"). Luckily they redeemed themselves on the one after that (more on that in the future kids).

TRIVIA:The Danish release came in a groovy picture sleeve of a b&w pic of the band in all their mod finery and substituted the rocking "Face" for a previously unavailable elsewhere moody orchestrated tune called "Woe Is Love My Dear".

Now where to find them, ahhhh, there lies the problem. Both cuts were issued as bonus tracks on a CD release of the band's untitled sole 1968 LP back in the 90's. Subsequent CD reissues of said LP do not contain bonus tracks (criminal)!

"Sweet Music":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAVw9UxtHf0

See "Face" mimed on French TV:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Farlowe Freak Out!

CHRIS FARLOWE-Moanin'/What Have I Been Doing GERMANY Columbia C 23 562 1967

Back in the late 90's when Radio Free Europe went under the Princeton Record Exchange became the recipient of all it's 45's which were offered to the public (after a few select collector's had picked through them, missing among them, a 45 of "Crawdaddy Simone" by The Syndicats, more on that some other day). My pal Haim Kenig and I spent a day and a half on our hands and knees picking through literally several hundred white cardboard 45 boxes pouring over the singles. It's fair to say that 75% of them were pressings from the European continent, mostly Germany. I came upon this German Chris Farlowe picture sleeve 45 among them. I paid it little mind and hung the sleeve on my wall amongst my mosaic of 60's U.K./Euro p.s's. My jazz aficionado pal Jennie Wasserman brought it to my attention and asked if I liked it. I told her I didn't know, she assured me I'd love it. I pulled it down and played it, she was right (she hasn't steered me wrong yet).

The A-side of a full on 1967 version of the Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers/Lambert, Hendricks and Ross number. Like most Immediate sessions it featured a host of top notch players, among them Jimmy Page, who adds the heavy fuzz guitar and possibly the sitar noodlings. Farlowe uses his skill at jazzy vocals to easily sing this in a way that works (which sadly was not always the case with a great deal of his covers on Immediate, especially some of the soul sides) and the back end is brought up by some nice brass .

"What Have I Been Doing" is a tepid ballad with some nifty little sitars and acoustic guitar in the back ground that make it interesting and brings Donovan's "Ferris Wheel" to mind but the tune itself sadly falls flat .

Both sides are available on Farlowe's CD set "Out Of Time:The Immediate Anthology".

"Moanin'" on "Beat Club:



 Hear "What Have A I Been Doing":

https://youtu.be/j2Yj4fZFwZc

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Beat Beat Beat

DAVE CURTISS AND THE TREMORS-You Don't Love Me Anymore/This Sweet Girl Of Mine U.K. Phillips BF 1257 1963

Things don't get much more obscure than this beat fans! Here's an off the wall 60's British beat 45 from a truly unknown group from Clacton, Essex (I believe) who had a few other U.K. 60's 45's and a U.S. only release of the fuzzed out version of "Que Sera Sera" on the tiny Karate label in '64!

The A-side "You Don't Love Me Anymore" is a killer. Yeah it's got that hiccuppy style vocal where every guy in 1963 England was trying to sing like an American or some hillbilly from Lubbock, TX, yeah it's got a volume pedal effects guitar solo that would've done Joe Meek proud but best of all it's got these hysterical, rapid fire delivered lyrics about a guy who's girl keeps trying to do him in "as I lay there thinking in my hospital bed, after you came to see me just for old times you'd said , the doctor drank my milk and then he fell to the floor which confirms my suspicions maybe baby you don't love me anymore..". The B-side, "This Sweet Girl Of Mine", is passable but tepid beat group stuff, not rocking enough to be beat, too upbeat to be a ballad, strictly yawnsville!

Dave Curtiss did get a brief glimpse of the limelight when was touted as either the bassist or lead singer (depending on who you hear it from!) in a pre-Deep Purple concept called Roundabout, but had to return to France for a gigging commitment playing in Michel Polnareff's backing band giving Nicky Simper (ex-Johnny Kidd & The Pirates) a shot on bass!

Neither cut has turned up on any legit compilations to my knowledge, which, in the case of the topside, is criminal. Luckily I found it on YouTube for you all to give a listen!

"You Don't Love Me Anymore":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnVNoNceAmk

Skip Bifferty

SKIP BIFFERTY-Man In Black/Mr. Money Man U.K. RCA 1720 1968

Skip Bifferty are a very typical late 60's U.K. psych/freakbeat band in that they made a hideously rare LP (unititled RCA 7941 in July 1967) and three amazing singles.

Skip Bifferty were from the Newcastle area and were comprised of Graham Bell (vocals), John Turnbull (guitar), Colin Gibson(bass), future Ian Dury and The Blockheads member Micky Gallagher (keyboards) and Tommy Jackman (drums). They had previously cut two 45's on RCA ("On Love"/"Cover Girl" RCA 1621 August 1967 and "Happyland"/"Reason To Live" RCA 1648 November 1968). They were managed my the infamous Don Arden, best or worst known for his unscrupulous dealings with the Small Faces. The third and final single as Skip Bifferty has Steve Marriott credited as an "arranger" and Ronnie Lane as a "producer" but it seems this was erroneous as most Small Faces scholars seem to deny that this ever occurred. One would expect that at the time of this single's releases (July 1968) The Small Faces had long ended their association with Arden and would probably not be involved in a session with one of his artists.

"Man In Black" is a legendary record, from Gallagher's melodic piano pounding, Gibson's swooping bass and the overall feel of the song it's one of the best of it's genre. Lyrically it seems to be able a mysterious man in black, is he the horned one or someone evil to beware of (perhaps a thinly veiled number about Arden, more on that in a bit). Interestingly though it's an upbeat happy tune not at all in line with the lyrics! On the flip "Money Man" was also the lead off track on the band's sole untitled LP. It's a pop psych track with a very "music hall" feel from it's melodic almost nursery rhyme chorus and high falsetto snippets where the band sing "half pound", "half shilling" etc beforehand. It's also got a driving riff after all this that gives it a "freakbeat" edge. The record sadly went nowhere and soon the band were forced to change their name to Griffin to escape the evil one's clutches (that'd be Arden, not Satan, though some might be inclined...) .

Both sides have seen reissue on a variety of places, though the best place to get them both is on the essential two CD Skip Bifferty CD "The Story Of.." which complies all their A- and B-sides, the LP tracks, BBC sessions and cuts recorded as Griffin and as another of their alter ego's Heavy Jelly.

"Money Man":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWJGzKTH60I

Monday, September 28, 2009

THE GREATEST BRITISH 60's PSYCHEDELIC SINGLE EVER!







TINTERN ABBEY-Beeside/Vacuum Cleaner U.K. Deram DM 164 1967

British 60's psychedelia does not come any finer than this sizzling Deram records two sided monster slab of freakiness! Unleashed on November 24, 1967 this single commands upwards from $1,000 on up. In my 25+ years of record collecting I have never owned or seen a copy. I know of no one who owns one and no one I know has ever seen a copy. I'm making an Anorak Thing exception here. Normally I only write about 45 rpm's that I have owned, but this one is such a great platter it would be criminal to overlook it. Apologies to whoever the owner of the copy scanned above is. If you have any objections to it's use I will take it down post haste. These two fine tracks first came to my attention on a legendary LP compilation "The Great British Psychedelic Trip" on See For Miles records in the lysergic summer of 1986. They have both remained steadfast favorites since then and despite time, my enthusiasm for both tracks has never waned. The band at the time of the singles release were David McTavish-vocals, Don Smith-guitar, Stuart McKay-bass and John Dalton-Drums (not the same John Dalton of Mark Four/Kinks fame). There has been much confusion as to what they A or B side of this record was, but as you can see by the original 1967 Deram A-label demo copy above "Beeside" was not the B-side. Both sides were written by David McTavish and produced by one Jonathan Webber.


"Beeside" begins with a faint piano that descends in volume until banished by a burst of slowed down cymbal flashes and a tapestry of melotron. Then there's some Macca '66-'67 style bass and backwards guitars before the ethereal lead vocals begin. The whole track is a mindblast, there's so much going on it it musically while the lead singer sings about pollination. And in the timely British pop psych tradition there's some muted regal trumpet during the chorus. God I love this stuff. The flipside is equally brilliant, forget that it's a paen to a house cleaning device, "Vacuum Cleaner" is just as freaky. What blows me away by this song is it's essentially sparse. For most of the song there's just vocals, some very dominating bass and drums. In fact it's what today's folks might consider a "bass n' drum" record, both a quite heavy in the mix driving the whole thing along with quite a heavy groove. Then out of nowhere comes the guitar in time for the solo which is a concoction (I think) of wah-wah, fuzz, compression and mind numbing aural madness and then it vanishes again....The record never charted and vanished. There was talk of a second single "Do You What You Must"/"How Do I Feel Today" (with guitarist Paul Brett who moved in to replace Don Smith who'd left after this single) but nothing came of this. In the early 90's a U.K. psych fanzine (who's name I forget) published a scan of the label of this 45, but since it has never surfaced anywhere else I'm inclined to believe it was a fake.


Four unreleased tracks (the above mentioned single tracks and "It's Just That The People Can't See" and "Naked Song") were discovered on acetate and lovingly compiled on a limited edition 7" E.P. (long out of print) and cropped up on the 2007 psychedelic CD compilation "Psychedelic Jumble Volume One:What's The Rush, Time Machine Man?" None of these tracks bear any resemblance to the DM 164 single, lacking their array of instrumentation, studio wizardry or overall freak out sounds, but there are interesting to hear. One can only wonder.


"Beeside" and "Vacuum Cleaner" turned up on the Rubble LP/CD "Staircase To Nowhere" (Rubble 12) and are also part of the Rubble Box "Volume Two" and are also on the LP/CD "Chocolate Soup For Diabetics Volume One". "Vacuum Cleaner" is also on the Decca CD compilation "The Psychedelic Scene"


"Beeside":
"Vacuum Cleaner":
"Do What You Must":
"It's Just That The People Can't See":
"How Do I Feel Today":