Friday, June 15, 2012

The Vinyl Sessions: Session One

I've decided that since I'm running out of singles or LP's to individually dissect I'd try something new.  Every now and then I get a few hours to myself and I creep up into my finished attic where my turntable and remnants of a once great record collection now reside and listen to the tracks with all of their snaps crackles and pops that I don't get on my usual music listenings on a car stereo or an iPod set up in the kitchen.  There's still something magical about placing a 7" piece of plastic from 1966 on the old Technics and turning it up LOUD.  It's a small pleasure rarely afforded to me these days, but I'll take when I can get it. In doing so I decided I'd blog on the random musical analog vinyl selections I've made in these leisure hour(s).

This past weekend I dusted off a selection of U.K. related musical things, many of which I've profiled here on "Anorak Thing".

The Who-"Sings My Generation" (Decca DL74664 ) U.S. LP 1965
Okay so it lacks the full length version of "The Kids Are Alright" and "I'm A Man", but it does contain a weird mix of "Circles" titled "Instant Party" and it still sounds great, even though purists will attest it's not nearly as crisp as the U.K. original.  The cover shot is as equally cool as them standing near a bunch of propane drums as the pic of a youthful and naive looking 'Oo flanking Big Ben is about as "we're from England" as you can get for a U.S. LP cover!

Simon Dupree & The Big Sound-Without Reservations (Tower ST5097) U.S. LP. 1967
This was the band's sole long player, and an American pressing at that, which surprisingly doesn't tack on their U.K. hit "Kites" (which was released by the time the U.S. issued this LP from their pre-orchestrated pop psych days). This is at odds with the typical U.S. fashion of butchering LP running orders and adding U.K. "hits" to them. It hails from my favorite period of the band where their primary focus was soul with a hint of pop (as evidenced by covers of Ben E. King's "What Is Soul", a medley of Homer Bank's "A Lot Of Love" and "60 Minutes Of Your Love" , a brassy reworking of The Five American's "I See The Light" and a Mike Hugg composition "Day Time, Night Time" that the Manfred's previously did as "Each And Every Day"). Excellent!

Scott Walker/John Walker-"Solo Scott/Solo John" (Phillips BE 12597) U.K. EP 1966
As discussed in a very early entry this E.P. fueled the rift that saw Scott eventually go solo.  It's bland with the exception of Scott's stellar "Mrs. Murphy", from what I like to term as his "tenement anthology" (along with tracks like  "I Don't Want To Hear it Anymore", "The Amorous Humphrey Plugg" etc") as it provides a great social observation on the goings on in a gossipy apartment building.

Anita Harris-"Playground" (CBS 2991) U.K. 45 1967
Anita Harris is one of those British songstresses who made some great records but was equally incredibly schmaltzy. She bounced around nearly all the U.K. labels in the 60's: Parlophone, Decca, Pye (where she cut the mighty "Something Must Be Done") and finally CBS where she issued this amazingly orchestrated bit of pop-supper club psych with help from easy/kitsch hero Alan Tew.

Manfred Mann-"There's No Living Without Your Loving" (HMV 7EG 8922) U.K. E.P. 1966
Another E.P. that we've already chatted about, I played it today because I never tire of Paul Jone's soulful vocals on their version of "Let's Go Get Stoned".

The Blue Flames-"Orange Street" (R&B JB 114) U.K. 45 1963
We haven't covered this and one day we should!  It's the first of two 45's Georgie Fame and company cut for the predominantly U.K. ska label R&B in 1963.  It's sort of a ska tinged instrumental of a Fats Domino style track.

Graham Gouldman-"The Impossible Years" (RCA Victor 47-9453) U.S. 45 1967
A U.S. only 45 from his strangely U.S. only LP "The Graham Gouldman Thing" from 1967 where the master Mancunian tune-smith plays his own stuff with lush orchestral arrangement care of John Paul Jones, no better exemplified by this track! See our forthcoming entry for the full deal.

The Action-"Never Ever" (Parlophone R 5572) U.K. 45 1966
I never ever tire of The Action.  I am both very proud AND fortunate to own all but one of their U.K. 60's singles (I'm still missing "I'll Keep Holding On", but at least I have promo and stock copies of "Shadows And Reflections") and they sound great, surface noise and all, especially this one, their first to employ brass!

The Small Faces-E.P. (Decca 457.091 M) France E.P. 1966
A rarity because most of the mixes on this differ from the U.K. version, the exception being "Whatcha Gonna do About It", which despite what a 90's Decca/Deram CD said does not contain that wild alternate mix.  There is, however, a groovy Jimmy Winston sung version of "Don't Stop What you're Doing" unreissued until the recent Deluxe edition of their first LP.

The Virgin Sleep-"Love" (Deram DM 146) U.K. 45 1967
Hands down my fave Deram 45 of all time, trippy pop sike with sitars, Left Banke style strings and deep Gregorian style chant backing vocals from four moddy looking guys who looked like they'd be more at home covering Solomon Burke numbers!

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