Tuesday, December 24, 2013

December's Picks (And Everyone's....)



















1. HORACE SILVER-"Song For My Father" 
Last week the internet had poor old Horace dead, luckily his son announced through Blue Note's website that it wasn't so. Before this was confirmed I dug out my fave LP by him and gave a listen to it's title track, which has always been my fave by him and easily in my Top Ten jazz numbers. Swanky.

http://youtu.be/CWeXOm49kE0

2. TURQUOISE-"Flying Machine" 
 You'd think that being managed/produced by Rolling Stone's associate Tom Keylock, friends with Keith Moon and John Entwistle and having grown up around the corner from Ray and Dave Davies that Muswell Hill's Turquoise would've been pipped for stardom, but no such luck. It's a pity as jaunty, cheery little numbers like this unreleased tune from '68 would've made a splendid 45.

http://youtu.be/Bma181dZK5E 

3. THE PINK FLOYD-"Careful With That Axe Eugene" 
 For the first year or so after Syd Barrett left Pink Floyd they made some pretty decent music, this number was the B-side to their last attempt at a commercial 45 ("Point Me At The Sky") and seems to pick up where they left off with "Set Controls For The Heart Of The Sun".

 http://youtu.be/WVCKpkkP-z4 

4. SASCHA BURLAND-"Hole In My Soul" 
Covered by the Preachers, produced by Bill Wyman and fronted by a very youthful Peter Frampton I've known "Hole in My Soul" for ages and recently decided I needed to know who originally cut the jazzy little number. It was written and recorded originally in 1961 by one Sascha Burland on Columbia on the flip side of "The Gorilla Walk" single and it swings, even though it's obviously tongue in cheek!!

 http://youtu.be/dKXv1nuvEfE 


5. THE SHAME-"Don't Go 'Way Little Girl" 
 Recently unearthed on the "Peace Poetry & Revolution" CD box set is this 1967 U.K. cover of a Janis Ian gem. Delivered cynically behind some searing guitar and a bit of sitar, this solid social commentary tune sticks in my brain easily, and yours too I hope.

 http://youtu.be/AvH66K2dyh8 

 6. THE KULT-"No Home Today" 
 A one off 45 from 1969 on the (U.K.) CBS label, "No Home Today" first came to my attention via "The Perfumed Garden Volume Two" nearly 30 years ago. Built on some powerful chords, sweeping choral backing vocals and subtle raga guitar licks it's release date is deceptive as it could've easily come from 1966. If you've got an original it's worth a few hundred dollars! 

http://youtu.be/lp4kupb-dzg 

7. HAMILTON & THE MOVEMENT-"I'm Not The Marrying Kind" 
A punching soulful tune from the pen of Bill Wyman and Moon's Train leader Peter Gosling. With all the shagging he claimed he did in his autobiography one wonder's if this wasn't Wyman's attempt at a Graham Greene like confession to his missus?!  Hard to imagine The Stones doing this.

 http://youtu.be/keNZzMTvazc 

 8.THE ROLLING STONES-"No Expectations" 
Speaking of...... One of the last Stones sessions to feature Brian Jones (on some magnificent slide guitar) it's a touching and poignant track based on that fact alone but in my estimation it's their last good blues track. Nuff said.

 http://youtu.be/fTI5AsTiiYs

 9. THE SONICS-"Don't Believe In Christmas"
Rapid fire "Subterranean Homesick Blues" style garage rocker anti-Christmas anthem!

http://youtu.be/T7XJUeHWePw



















10. THE MOVE-"Useless Information" 
One of The Move's finest moments is this number from their untitled 1967 debut LP chock full of precision harmonies and a perfect vehicle for the amazing two headed vocal monster that was Roy Wood and Carl Wayne driven along by the incredible rhythm section of Ace Kefford (bass) and Bev Bevan (drums).

 http://youtu.be/Ie4uh3dMFjg

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Love,Poetry & Revolution























Ever since Mod Fun's Mick London and Ron Rimsite urged me to check out Bam Caruso's "Rubble.." series in 1985 my life has been forever entwined with obscure U.K. 60's "freakbeat" and/or "psychedelia".  Since that time I have purchased a multitude of comp LP's/CD's in the genre and all too often there's a lot of track overlap.  When "Love, Poetry & Revolution: A Journey Through The British Psychedelic And Underground Scenes 1966-1971" was announced I was hesitant as a great deal of tracks (23 to be exact) I'd already had in a variety of places.  But the rest looked intriguing. It semmed to me to be a perfect companion to 2006's mighty 4 CD "Real Life Permanent Dreams: A Cornucopia of British Psychedelia  1965-1970" set and I duly pre-ordered it.  Repeats aside (Mirage, Jason Crest, John's Children, Sands, Mike Stuart Span, Crazy World of Arthur Brown etc) my mind was suitably blown and continues to do so....The liner notes by Tenth Planet man and all round U.K. 60's scholar David Wells are spot on and informative. It's like taking a university course in U.K. 60's psych/freakbeat.  Did you know that The Shy Limbs (of "Love"/"Reputation" fame) included Greg Lake and Robert Fripp in their ranks?  Or that members of the Flies and The Cymbaline joined forces in 1969 as Infinity? Or that The Mirage backed Caleb (Quaye) on "Baby Your Phrasing Is Bad"? And that's just a taste...In an effort to reign in my enthusiasm fueled long winded-ness I'll keep this brief (yeah like that's gonna happen) and give you some of my fave pics from each disc.

DISC ONE:
Deep Feeling (formerly known as The Hellions) and home to pre-Traffic Dave Mason and Jim Capaldi (in addition to pre-Art/Spooky Tooth member Luther Grosvenor) open the comp with the unreleased 1966 song "Pretty Colours", with it's "Mars, Bringer Of War" intro and a lysergic percussion charting the journey from mod/r&b to psychedelia perfectly. And on that similar path is the gem of the set, an acetate recording by Tintern Abbey, responsible for the greatest U.K. psych single of all time ("Beeside"/"Vacuum Cleaner"). "Busy Bee" is an acetate demo of "Beeside" before the band got to utilize studio gimmickry and create their sole 45.  "Busy Bee" is just bass, drums, one guitar and vocals on the famous Oak acetate label.  To me, as mentioned in last month's picks, this track perfectly illustrates the period where The Who-ish/Creation crunch of mod/freakbeat gave way to sugar lumps and mind bending technicolor. Worth the price of the whole set in my book! The Shame's 1967 Janis Ian cover "Don't Go 'Way Little Girl" is a nifty little number with some raga fuzz licks and bleak lyrics that are pretty deep for '67 (it even got a US release on the obscure Poppy label).  One In A Million (responsible for two highly recommended and costly 45's in '67) offer the unreleased "Man In Yellow" a choppy, tough little mod/power pop number not at all dissimilar to The Game or The Barrier.  We here at "Anorak Thing" as you may have read a zillion times are fascinated by that period where all the modernist Stax/Motown loving Ben Sherman crew popped a tab and put a bit of fairy dust in their music.  In that line of thinking comes The Alan Bown , formerly The Alan Bown Set, a 7 piece soul/r&b combo who lived at the Marquee and couldn't catch a break no matter how tight they were. Their 1968 single "Storybook " (their second for the new label, MGM and new image) features a mix different than that on their LP thanks to some trippy effects on the intro.  The band still sports the souful Jess Roden on lead vocals, high Action style backing vocals, Hammond organ and flute/sax backing....then the breathy backing vocals, reverberating voices, Middle Eastern sounding horns and Mellotron tells us Rufus Thomas missed the bus and no one's going back to pick him up...magic. The disc closes with the surprising folky "Child Of The Sky" from England's favorite counter culturists The Deviants, not at all what you'd expect from what one wag called "The Limey MC 5".

DISC TWO:
The West Coast Consortium, best known for their Association on six bags of sugar sound offer the almost CS & N plus Mellotron laced unreleased psych pop ditty "Amanda Jane" full of lyrics about tricycles and playgrounds. The Flies unreleased  jaunty piano/organ driven "Winter Afternoon" is perfect as I sit here typing this out in Lower Binfield and the snow is coming down and bending the three story tall pine tree outside my window under it's rapidly accumulating weight.  "Jabberwocky" by Peter Howell & John Ferdinando comes from two gents (Howell  was later of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and responsible for updating the "Dr. Who" theme) who cut an LP in 1969.  Their musical reading of the Lewis Carroll poem was not groundbreaking as Pink Floyd chum and London Free Clinic doctor Sam Hutt already cut a suitably trippier version in '68 as Boeing Duveen and the Beautiful Soup.  But this version is far folkier, and not at all unlike something from Duncan Browne's "Give Me Take You" elpee, but with some subtle psychedelic bits.  Forever Amber were responsible for one of the rarest LP's of the genre (the 99 copies pressing "The Love Cycle") and touted by cutie Zooey Deschanel in "Mojo" as her fave LP.  "Bit Of Your Life, Bits Of My Life" is not unlike a bargain basement "Odessey And Orcale" era  Zombies, and to date the only track I know by these guys.  Maybe someday I can pop by Zooey's and have a listen to the rest. "Strange Ways" by Please, an unreleased '69 tunes sounds like The Flies late era, possibly because they were led by their former lead vocalist Pete Dunton. The Liverpool Scene's unissued '69 cut "We'll All Be Spacemen Before We Die" makes use of some great NASA control chatter and rolls into a heavy,wah wah pedal monster with a vocalist who sounds like a cross between Danny the Dealer and Al Stewart reciting beat poetry while being backed by The Pink Floyd '66, got that?  Good. "The Makers" by The Sorrows comes from their Italian only  LP "Old Songs New Songs" (butchered in the 80's by the dodgy Gallic label Eva as "Sorrows In Italy"), with heavily Anglicized lead vocals and funky heavy Small Faces '68 musical backing . Cool till it starts to exceed 4 minutes mark. Second Hand, responsible for the mind numbing , apocalyptic "The World Will End Yesterday" serve up a distinctly unlike them pop-psych demo "A Fairy Tale", a slice of Mellotron twee pop psych not unlike Wimple Winch's late era demos. "Love" by the Shy Limbs has been a fave ever since it was unearthed by Strange Things Are Happening's first "Circus Days" CD comp in the early 90's. Propelled by driving throbby John Entwistle/Ace Kefford style bass from Greg Lake (who also supplied the soulful lead vocals) and searing guitar licks(c/o Mr. Toyah Wilcox Robert Fripp) and crashing into an amazing blissful chorus, it's always been a string track to these ears. Lake and Fripp soon absconded to form King Crimson. "Tomorrow Today" by ex-S.D.G. members (Eddie) Hardin & (Pete) York is a big fave here at "Anorak Thing" manor and this Hammond/tambourine fed track with some gorgeously soulful female backing vocals gets lots of airings!

DISC THREE:
Disc three is a bit too "mellow" for me really, some bargain basement Bill Fay's and "heavy" stuff that's possibly not sounding as good as it could for me in my present, lucid, straight weekday state.  Naw wot I meahn? Taiconderoga's (yes it's spelled like that!)  heavy take on "Whitchi Tai To" threw me for a loop as I'm used to the John Schroeder muzaky version.  This version awash in tabla, phlanged guitar (courtesy of a teenage pre-Damned Brian James) is not bad at all but I'm sure this hippie dirge was a skeleton in Mr. James closet in '77! Hawkwind Zoo (aka Hawkwind) contribute an unreleased '69 mid tempo mantra "Hurry On Sundown" full of some good raga riffs and a groove for the oh-so-stoned cut before they snipped the "Zoo" from their moniker. Fut's Fab Four-esque psych parody (complete with Scouse accents)  "Have You Heard" has seen issue in lots of issue in other places and is in reality the work of Maurice Gibb, Aussie ex-pat duo Tin Tin and Mo's then brother in law (and Lulu's brother) Billy Lawrie, no matter how many Beatles bootlegs it's been on.  The Fab Four sound is so spot on that the liner notes indicate that the Dragon Lady attempted to register it as a Lennon track in 1985, silly cow. From the "from the 70's but sounds 60's" comes the magic of Octopus and their Badfinger-esque "Rainchild", don't own their LP "Restless Night"?  Go forth and get it. Beau's "Creation" from an LP on John Peel's short lived Dandelion label is firmly in the "from the 70's but sounds '60's" category (1971 actually).  It would've sounded quite a home in a late 60's/early 70's Hammer film! Uncredited on the sleeve comes Lol  Coxhill's "I Am The Walrus" which is a group of small group of English children singing the Fab's track with flute and Monk-ish piano.  Lol was a late British sax player who'd been part of Kevin Ayer's and the Whole Wide world as well as spending a spell in Welfare State. That was quite weird, there's hope for my four year old's Syd Barrett-eque tunes yet.....

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

November's Picks


1. XTC-"The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead"
A midst all the JFK mania here in the States over the 50th century of his assassination I began thinking of this number from their "Nonsuch" LP which I bought on the cheap when it came out at Best Buy (and sold the following week to the Princeton Record Exchange). I eventually got into it's jangly riff and Andy Partridge's brilliant lyrics, every bit as cynical as "Dear God".

2. FRANKIE VALLI & THE FOUR SEASONS-"Genuine Imitation Life"
While doing a little research on a previous entry on Jackie Lomax's version of Jake Holme's "Genuine Imitation Life" I stumbled upon the later Four Seasons version and their monumental, but commercially unsuccessful LP "Genuine Imitation Life Gazette".  Drawn out to 6;16 it encompasses some groovy phalanged drums and vocals , harpsichord and a fade out of "Hey Jude" where they're actually singing "play it cool" instead of "Hey Jude".

http://youtu.be/nJzQ5wCgx_A

















3. TINTERN ABBEY-"Busy Bee"
From the U.K. 3 CD box set "Love Poetry And Revolution" (that promises to be the biggest thing since 2007's 4 CD U.K. 60's set "Real Life Permanent Dreams: A Cornucopia Of British Psychedelia 1965-1970") comes this early demo of Tintern Abbey's Beeside"  perfectly charting the magical progression from mod/freakbeat to full blown acid eating psychedelia.

http://youtu.be/yK_PaKA-eas

4. ANDWELLA'S DREAM-"The Days Grew Longer For Love"
My old pal Haim Kenig was kind enough to lay a dupe of this late 60's U.K. acts LP "Love & Poetry" and this is one of my faves from it starting out nice and mellow/acoustic and bursting into a riff heavy metamorphosis not unlike Bowie's heavy '70 stuff.

http://youtu.be/3lRs7VASYac

5. SYD BARRETT-"Terrapin (Peel Session 2/24/70)"
I'll own up that I never owned Syd's "Peel Sessions" mini LP till two weeks ago.  Wow! With help from David Gilmour on bass and Jerry Shirley on drums/percussion and Syd and his acoustic punctuated by some vocal "clicks" and "ahh's" I daresay this version puts the original found on "The Madcap Laughs" to shame! Proof positive that when Syd had his shit together he could deliver when he wanted to......

http://youtu.be/tpCR8nCgjDQ

6. THE CAPE KENNEDY CONSTRUCTION COMPANY-"The First Man On The Man"
Imagine Joe Meek spacey weirdness meeting with Gerry Anderson's 60's theme song music crossed with choral harmony pop (or as one YouTube comment called it "The Association on crystal meth") and you've got this 1969 B-side to the trippy "Armageddon". From 1969 on the President label and found on the President CD comp "Sometimes I Wonder"

http://youtu.be/FlU34nGmb5o

7. CANNONBALL ADDERLEY-"Autumn Leaves"
I love this tune regardless of who's doing it. From the 1958 "Somethin' Else" LP featuring the talents of Miles Davis (trumpet), Hank Jones (piano), Sam Jones (bass) and Art Blakey (drums) and of course cannonball on the alto.

http://youtu.be/u37RF5xKNq8




















8. CHICO HAMILTON-"Helena"
Word reached Anorak Thing H.Q. yesterday of the passing of one of the last remaining jazz greats Chico Hamilton. This track comes from one of his many great LP's, 1965's "El Chico", helped in no small part by Gabor Szabo's raga like guitar licks, Sadao Wanatabe's flute, Willie Bobo's bongos and of course Chico's drumming.

9. SCIENCE POPTION-"You Got Me High"
From 1966 and from the magical land of Sweden comes this tight Association style vocal harmony number with freaky fuzz guitar, John Entwistle style bass lines (I could do a whole piece on the impact The 'Oo had on Swedish music in '65-'66) and some great double entendre lyrics!

http://youtu.be/DiQ9X9E99-4


















10. BLONDE ON BLONDE-"Castles In The Sky"
This here my friends is one of my favorite all time British psychedelic records, from 1970 nonetheless.  Beneath a layer of phased horns/Mellotron (ala The Stones "We Love You") comes one of the most lysergic tunes ever recorded.  On my last trip to Portugal I was blessed with finding an original E.P. (see scan above) and it's been a prized possession since! You can find it on iTunes or the "Circus Days" box.

http://youtu.be/E4W5jE4VOlU


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Mindbenders c/o Rodney Argent

THE MINDBENDERS-I Want Her She Wants Me/The Morning After U.K. Fontana TF 780 1966

















1966 was the year everyone left their backing groups and went solo. Billy J. Kramer parted ways with The Dakotas, Brian Poole and The Tremeloes went in separate directions and Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders were no more even before 1965 was over.  Oddly both artists stayed with Fontana (both in the U.K. and the States) the label they were on together. The Mindbenders struck first, in time for Xmas 1965 with their #1 hit "A Groovy Kind Of Love" (TF 644) while it was not till the Spring of '66 (April to be precise) that Wayne Fontana released his solo debut ("Come On Home" TF 684). The Mindbenders quickly cranked out three more singles before 1966 was over and today's item in question was among them being released in December 1966.

 "I Want Her She Wants Me" was penned by The Zombies keyboardist Rod Argent.  A Zombies version of the track would not see the light until the posthumous second LP "Oddysey(sic) And Oracle" saw the light of day in April 1968. The Mindbenders version eschews any high note backing vocals and is pretty straight forward with very little backing vocals at all really, just lead singer Eric Stewart's voice double tracked with bass, drums, guitar and some faint piano.  Certainly not a patch on the later Zombies recording it's still interesting.  The B-side is where it's at and is in my opinion the finest Mindbenders track of all time.  "The Morning After" was introduced to a whole generation of 60's fans when Bam Caruso included it on their incredible 1984 LP comp "The Psychedelic Snarl". It's ballsy, filled with great harmonies and busts of "freakbeat" guitar licks and a cool chugging rhythm .  Infectious to say the least it's their best track and one of my favorite 60's singles (and a original, written by Eric Stewart).














Both cuts can be found on a an Mindbenders anthology "A Groovy Kind Of Love: The Complete LP and Singles 1966-1968".

Hear "I Want Her She Wants Me":

http://youtu.be/F9nZbxadahU

Hear "The Morning After":

http://youtu.be/llSiUW-Wua0


Thursday, November 7, 2013

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Jake Holmes via Jackie Lomax

JACKIE LOMAX-Genuine Imitation Life/One Minute Woman U.S. Epic 5-10270 1967

















Singer/bassist Jackie Lomax landed on his feet in early '66 when his Liverpool band The Undertakers went belly up. The Undertakers released three singles in the U.K. on Pye, a one off in the U.S.(their best in my book "Throw Your Love Away" b/w "I Fell In Love (For The Very First Time)" on the U.S. Black Watch label) and also released a one off 45 as The Takers in the U.K. The Undertakers had moved to the States in '65 along with The Pete Best Combo (Pete was milking the Fab Four associations for all that they were worth over here). Both bands cut loads of material in NYC at the Talentmasters studio on West 42nd Street. After the band split Lomax and drummer Bugs Pemberton hooked up with some NYC locals and began playing as The Lost Souls (fitting perhaps)and in early '66 Brian Epstein saw them play in Greenwich Village and convinced them to come back to England where under the name of The Lomax Alliance they cut several tracks, in fact nearly an album's worth. The results of some of which were released in the States only as "One" ("Hey Taxi" b/w "Enter My World"  on Columbia 4-44256 August '67) and a U.K. only release by The Lomax Alliance ("Try As You May" b/w "See The People" CBS 2729 in May '67). Unreleased tracks "Honey Machine" wound up up on "Circus Days Volume One" and the stellar "Golden Lion" turned up on perhaps the fab-est British psych box set: "Real Life Permanent Dreams": A Cornucopia of British Psychedelia 1965-1970". All of these and others have turned up on on the Jackie Lomax compilation double CD "Lost Soul: Singles And Demos 1966-67" (featuring "Better Get Going Now", later made famous by Aussie power poppers Zoot). The LP's completion was terminated with the death of Brian Epstein and the band folded, but Lomax made the transition like many other Epstein acts to impresario/producer Robert Stigwood who duly wasted no time getting Lomax into the studio to cut today's record.

The Lomax Alliance circa '67, Jackie Lomax far left.














The lyrically powerful "Genuine Imitation Life" was written by American Jake Holmes and featured on his June 1967 U.S. Tower LP (alongside his original "Dazed And Confused" soon to be nicked by Jimmy Page, but that as they say, is another story for another day) "The Above Ground Sound of...". Lomax had met Holmes whilst playing NYC's Greenwich Village and followed his career and successfully lobbied to record "Genuine.." as his new single.  With lush orchestration by Stigwood giving it an almost "Handbags And Gladrags" feel the record should've been a smash.  Lomax's interestingly soulful vocals (dig the Justin Hayward-esque note he ends the track on) lend itself perfectly to the tune above the sweeping strings, powerful horns and kitschy Swinging London organ straight off of a Scott Walker LP the following year.

On the flip Jackie tackled a track from Stigwood's charges The Bee Gee's debut U.K./U.S. LP "Bee Gee's 1st" (later covered unsuccessfully by Billy Fury the following summer on the bottom side of David Bowie's "Silly Boy Blue") .  I've never been a fan of the track no matter who's doing it and Lomax's spirited vocals don't help me sway on the matter. The single was launched in both the U.S. (December 1967) and the U.K. (October 1967 as CBS 2554) and sadly died a death.  The following year Lomax was signed to Apple as a songwriter and the rest is history....

Sadly Jackie Lomax passed away on September 15th of this year from cancer at the age of 69.

Both sides of this 45 are available on the above mentioned CD comp "Lost Soul" from Amazon.com and available from iTunes on a collection titled "Sour Mile Sea:The Early Collection".

Hear "Genuine Imitation Life":

http://youtu.be/PvOpHjrPx2g

Hear "One Minute Woman":

http://youtu.be/HK4PcSt6LpM

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October's Picks



















1. ZOOT MONEY-"Recapture The Thrill Of Yesterday"
From Zoot's "Transition" LP which I recently purchased and was pleasantly surprised as I knew not what to expect from Mr. George Bruno Money's post Dantalian's Chariot period. Mid tempo, "mellow" if you will but totally infectious in my book!

http://youtu.be/AivmNWLU8F4

2. THE BARRACUDAS-"Summer Fun"
Few songs recapture a moment in time that I am automatically transplanted to like this one that only requires me to close my eyes and expect to reopen them and find myself in my last day of my Sophomore year of high school headed to the beach with all my friends in June of 1982.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oQIbCbQuBg

3. FRANCIS MORELLO-"Mrs. Robinson"
From the amazing 4 CD box set "Los Nuggetz: 60's Punk, Pop And Psychedelia From Latin America" (sort of a mis-titling as there's loads of stuff from Spain too). Cut in '68 this is an instrumental version of the S&G tune by an Argentinian artist. Forget any Booker T. carbon copies, this is quite original.  On the surface it's almost muzak with harpsichord, cheezy organ and Al Caiola style guitar licks but it's all dashed by the gritty fuzz guitar and delivered at a furious pace.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtYyM1JWKs0

4. THE MAMAS & THE PAPAS-"Trip, Stumble And Fall"
Backed by some jazzy vibes Cass and Michelle's heavenly backing vocals send chills up my spine in pure aural ecstasy (esp. the part where they sing "Yeah yeah yeah", magic! almost trippy) from their second (untitled) album released in August '66 after some aggro because Michelle was boinking Denny (could you blame him?).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzOOX7L2hOE

5. THE GOLDEN EARRINGS-"Happy And Young Together"
From their 2nd LP "Winter Harvest" (my fave of their good ones, the first three)Holland's finest offer something a bit different in this one full of thundering drums and explosive pop art power chords, distortion and '66 Who style mayhem midst lyrics about young marriage, "A Legal Matter" indeed by far more punchy.  Brilliant!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VWdcUJ6DSw














6. JOHN MAYALL-"Burn Out Your Blind Eyes"
Just the man and his electric guitar belting the blues from one of the best $3.00 purchases ever made, a 1967 London records blues compilation LP "Raw Blues" and the perfect sounds for an Autumn Saturday morning here at Anorak Manor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cnRgG4r3oY

7. THE TEARDROP EXPLODES-"Bent Out Of Shape" (BBC Radio Session)
An incredible live on the Beeb version from Monday August 17, 1981 on the Richard Skinner session awash in groovy organ and otherwise quite sparse but utterly amazing.  Added as a bonus cut on the Deluxe edition of "Wilder".

Scan c/o 45cat.com



















8. RIFKIN-"Continental Hesitation"
A great U.K. 1968 B-side of a Page One 45 , ballsy with some great jangly guitar licks and very glammy vocals that's cross between The Move and The Lovin'. I know zip about these guys so if you know who they were give us a bell.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FX29fvgRB4M

9. THE LA's-"Open Your Heart"
Bare bones La's from a throw away crap "Mojo" freebie CD "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out: Indie Classics 1982-1987", perfect layers of amazing vocals with just guitar and bass, no percussion, just D.I.Y demo style but oh what a melodic treat it all is!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWDbjncFu08

10. BARRENCE WHITFIELD & THE SAVAGES-"Corner Man"
I'm going to piss a lot of  people off but I've about had it up to the eyeballs with all these contemporary pasty upper middle class white boys and girls singing like they're black men and women and the rock n' roll intelligentsia fawning over them.  Enough is fucking enough. Seriously. So it's great to hear a black man taking it back via some balls up rock n' roll. Barrence and his powerful voice has been around for ages and our faithful reader and all round cool guy Joe Hedio hipped me to this track from Barrance's latest LP "Dig Thy Savage Soul" a few months back. The backing is raw, like The Sonics meet The Swingin' Neckbreakers with the man belting out some seriously strong stuff. There was an absolutely killer video of him kicking ass and taking names on "Later...With Jools" but the twats at YouTube have seen fit to yank it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bx_iwtAQBz4

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A (History) Lesson Perhaps..............

BALLOON BUSTERS-Alcock And Brown/Bluer Than Blue Canada Pye 7N 17748 1969

















Despite being a military aviation enthusiast for longer than I've been a 60's music fan it was not until I heard "Alcock & Brown" by The Balloon Busters earlier this year that I learned the story of the intrepid airman Captain John Alcock (pilot) and Flight Lieutenant Arthur Brown (navigator). Both Alcock and Brown served in WWI as airmen and both were shot down and became P.O.W's. Post war in a Daily Mail sponsored competition in June 1919 they flew a World War I vintage twin engined Vickers Vimy bomber on the first non stop flight across the Atlantic from St. John's, Newfoundland to Clifden, Ireland.  Hailed as national heroes upon their landing they were awarded 10,000 pounds and were knighted by King George V. Sadly Alcock was killed in a flying accident just six months later, Brown passed away in 1948.  A statue of them both stands on display at Heathrow airport to this day.

Capt. John Alcock and Lt. Arthur Brown, 1919


















Despite being on the Pye label I had never heard of it before, which struck me as positively weird because I was once informed by one of the gentlemen behind the Bam Caruso label that licensing fee for Pye/Piccadilly is reasonable and a great deal of the label's catalog has been comped to death as a result! It was not until my friend Larrry Grogan (of Funky 16 Corners/Iron Leg blog fame) came upon a U.S. copy on Chess a few months ago that I heard it for the first time.  I was immediately struck by it's  jolly demeanor, power pop precision and the fact that it told a story, which as research proved, turned out to be 100% true lyrically! The precision production (by old hands Howard Blaikey and Co.) adds to the catchiness of the tune and is a perfect late 60's British pop record.  There were no more 45's by Balloon Busters (though the single was released in the US, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, Portugal and Canada, the last four having the same catalog number as the U.K. release).

U.S. Pressing



















The flip side, "Bluer Than Blue" is sadly quite lame.  It's a piece of undistinguished pop/pap akin to something foist on late era Dave Dee and Co. or The Herd.  It doesn't work for me, sorry.

The original U.K. single was released on May 2, 1969.  Former member Colin Fox commented on YouTube:

"The band I was playing with at the time was called St. Johns Wood, but for Alcock and Brown Howard Blaikley decided they wanted to name us Balloon Busters, for obvious reasons. Although we were professional for a time, we never made it to the big time. All the band members I´ve played with in the past came from Eastbourne in East Sussex. "

Hear "Alcock And Brown":

http://youtu.be/Llwy5GlsNHY


Alcock and Brown's Vickers Vimy

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Mick & Keith Got To Jail And The Who Pick Up The Slack....


THE WHO-The Last Time/Under My Thumb France Polydor 421 148 1967 


















Certainly one of the most well meaning but misguided publicity stunts of the 1960's occurred when Keith Richards and Mick Jagger were sent down for drug related charges from the infamous Redlands bust on June, 28, 1967 and The Who rush recorded and released a 45 of covers of "The Last Time" and "Under My Thumb" as a show of solidarity and as their press release claimed "to keep their work before the public until they are again free to record for themselves again".  It was released on June 30th, luckily for the public The Stones were bailed before it actually hit the streets and we were spared any more half assed Who versions of Stones tracks.  Bassist John Entwistle was away at sea on the QEII on his honeymoon at the time the light bulb lit in manger Kit Lambert's head and he rang him via ship to shore phone asking his permission to have Pete double over on bass.  Entwistle assented but was none too happy being woken to take the call wrongly assuming the call was a result of someone having  died!


















"The Last Time" is not bad thanks to Pete's hypnotic lead riff on what sounds like a Fender twelve string while Moon thumps along (with too much tambourine way too high in the mix) and plenty buzzing, feedback laden '67 Who for you. The usual crash, bang, wallop, and pretty darn cool actually!

"Under My Thumb" is less interesting, in fact it's damn lackluster. The acoustic guitar and mixing sound like the same formula used on "Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand", it's just so empty, sparse and Pete's backing vocals do zilch for it.  Again thankfully The Stones made bail!

Mr. & Mrs. Moon protest Mick & Keef's lock up down at the local Wimpys. June 29, 1967

















Both cuts were resurrected for the deluxe edition CD of their "Odds And Sods" collection (alongside similar period killers like "Little Billy" and "Glow Girl").

Hear "The Last Time":

http://youtu.be/j4apZAmIsa4

Hear "Under My Thumb":

 http://youtu.be/EeMC9VjtVag

Saturday, September 28, 2013

September's Picks

With Autumn on the move here in Lower Binfield I put together a little playlist of "Autumn tunes", ten of which I've selected here....



















1. BILL FAY-"We Want You To Stay"
One of the shining moments from Bill's highly recommended untitled 1970 Deram/Nova debut LP is this track masterfully orchestrated with lots of brass and a kicking melody perfect for a sunny Sunday in September. A big cheers to my pal Johnny Bluesman who turned me onto both of Bill's LP's!

 2. RONNIE LANE-"Anyone For Anymore"
More dulcet tones from the late Ronnie Lane exquisitely backed by mandolin and accordion building a rootsy but pleasant textured tune.  They don't make them like this anymore folks.

 3. PENTANGLE-"Light Flight"
Catchy, almost jazzy with the ethereal vocals of Jacqui McShee this 1969 number was the theme tune to "Take Three Girls", a TV drama series. It's intricate melodic guitar licks (c/o John Redbourn who incidentally provided all the guitar work for David Bowie's debut LP).

4. THE PICADILLY LINE-"At The Third Stroke"
Coming across as a mix of Britain's answer to Simon and Garfunkel and Billy Nicholl's debut LP, The Picadilly Line issued a horribly rare LP in '67 "The Huge World Of Emily Small" where this atmospheric folk/pop ditty comes from and magical it is.


















5. DONOVAN-"Turquoise"
One of my fave Donno tracks from his folky "pre-electric" period released as a single and also found on his American Hickory records LP "The Real Donovan".  At times the harmonica gets a bit too much hitting some notes that border on white noise but the mood is somber and has an amazing "calming effect".

6. SYD BARRETT-"Love Song (Take One)"
An amazing alternate take of perhaps my fave Syd Barret track (found on his 2nd LP "Barrett").  It's basically just Syd and his acoustic guitar, simplistic but shines light on the creative ability of a man often touted to have been in a vegetative state.

7.  THE NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND-"Song For Jutta"
From their untitled 1967 debut LP this cut has a feel of The Association on their "Birthday" LP with some great choral pop perfection vocals and a basic folky backing track. Not at all what I'd expected from a band who my limited scope of material was their country "May The Circle Be Unbroken" LP (which my father played to death).

8. DAVY GRAHAM-"Hummingbird"
From Graham's stellar "Midnight Man", this jazzy, breezy little number contains some nimble fretwork by Graham and a laid back swing.















9. GABOR SZABO-"Three Kingfishers"
The Maharishi of jazz raga (along with Davy Graham I suppose).  This ultra trippy, dreamy take on Donovan's "Three Kingfishers" is positively hypnotic .  From his essential "Bacchanal" album chock full of raga jazzy goodness. Trip out, flip out make your stand folks....

10. AL STEWART-"Turn Into Earth"
Mr. Year of the Cat's debut disc was this dreary, bleak but incredible version of the Yardbird's tune from their "Roger The Engineer" LP with lots of deep vocals, jazzy flute and thundering drums beneath it all. Released as the flipside to his 1966 single on Decca "The Elf".

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Great Obscure U.K. 60's Sides: The Explosive

THE EXPLOSIVE-Cities Make The Country Colder/Step Out Of Line U.K. President PT 244 1969
















One of the great things about the amazing "Looking Back" 3 CD set is that it turned me onto a great many bands, a few on the President label, like The Explosive.  I can't tell you much about them other than the fact that they were British.  They cut just 3 singles of their own on President '69-'70, cut two backing one Watson T. Browne (both in '68) and one in '70 backing Del Taylor (all on President as well).

"Cities Make The Country Colder" hit the public in April 1969.  It's intro, a groovy Small Faces style instrumental of twangy guitar and grooving go-go style organ being played through a transistor radio sounds more like '66.  That fades out and it kicks into this amazing Brit Pop ('66-'74 version)type thing that sounds almost proto-glam thanks to the lead singer's heavily Anglicized, well enuciated vocals and the production. It's got a jolly little jaunty Move '67 style melody that's equally cool (think "Wave Your Flag And Stop The Train").  And then it all winds down with the intro coming back through it's tinny sound before that too fades out.  Pure magic!

The flip side "Step Out Of Line" starts out cool enough with a funky bass line but the track somehow sounds like a half assed Gary Glitter number.  What's entertaining about it however is the delivery TOTALLY predates glam rock by a few years with the twangy Steve Marriott does Steve Cropper '66 licks of the A-side intact.

"Cities Make The Country Colder" and "Step Out Of Line" appear on the President records CD comp "Sometimes I Wonder"  (along with another Explosive A-side cut, "Who Planted Thorns In Miss Alice's Garden?") and "Step Out Of Line" appears on the essential above mentioned "Looking Back" CD comp.

TRIVIA NOTE: 
"Cities Make The Country Colder" composer Tom Northcott released a groovy version of Donovan's "Sunny Goodge Street" in the U.S. on Warner Brothers in June 1967 (WB 7051).  It's flip was a Northcott original called "Who Planted Thorns In Miss Alice's Garden?" which The Explosive used as the A-side of the single preceeding this (PT 262).

Hear "Cities Make The Country Colder":

http://youtu.be/bAG-BIaFOOc


Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Action on "Where The Action Is"

Maybe I'm a little late on this but I've just stumbled upon footage of The Action on Dick Clark's "Where The Action Is" TV program that some friends have shared today on Facebook. The segment was recorded for broadcast here in the States and was filmed outside Albert Hall March 17, 1966 alongside The Small Faces, The Yardbirds, The Spencer Davis Group, Them,Unit 4 + 2, The Mindbenders, The Nashville Teens, The Moody Blues and The Zombies.  Still photos of many of these acts performing for the show cropped up in Rhino's excellent pictorial "The British Invasion" (featuring a tasty live shot of  five piece Action onstage at The Marquee).  The clip quality is shit but still amazing to see!

 The band also "recorded" "Land Of 1000 Dances" for the broadcast but that has yet to surface. "I'll Keep Holding on" was broadcast in a May episode of the show while "Land Of 1000 Dances" was shown in June.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August's Picks

JASON CREST



















1. JASON CREST-"Black Mass"
Freaky, satanic sounding bit of business from 1969 on the flip of their final 45, the Mellotron laced Moody Blues-ish "A Place In The Sun" with backwards bits, Hammer film style orchestration, Gregorian chants and freaked out screams.  God bless Bam Caruso records (again, as always) for unearthing this for their 1984 LP compilation "The 49 Minute Technicolour Dream".

http://youtu.be/8IG4BY4Rhq4

2. LES 5 GENTLEMEN-"Dis Nous Dylan"
Brilliant bit of 60's (1966 to be exact) Gallic pop from Les 5 Gentlemen , who recorded in English on U.K. releases as Darwin's Theory. This great pisstake folk rock/protest number sings (en francais naturellment) "tell us Dylan, tell us Donovan" behind a solid backing with great vocals.  Story is Radio Caroline boss Phil Solomon caught them in France and dug them so much he signed them to his Major Minor label and had this number rerecorded in English as "Daytime".  Ace!

http://youtu.be/AGBIXI5X794

3. ARTHUR PRYSOCK-"Working Man's Prayer"
True story time. I'm a senior in high school sitting in "in school suspension" with Mr. Dowding and a bunch of freshmen and sophomore miscreants.  I spent the day chatting with Mr. Dowding like we were sitting on train or plane next to each other.  At lunch he asked if I would mind if he turned on the radio.  I consented and he said "It's geator time" and put on Jerry Blavat's Oldies radio show (he is known as "the geator with the heater", don't fucking ask me I've no idea what a "geator" is...).  Anyway he spun this impassioned record with a slightly schmaltzy musical backing by a baritone voiced guy with some pretty powerful lyrics.  For the past 29 years I tried to figure out what that record was.  A few weeks back I stumbled on this 1966 45 on Verve for 99 cents, I spun it in the store and ironically as I dropped the needle on the groves it hit the verse I remembered.   "Now I ain't complainin' lord but sometimes when you see me stumble reach down and lend a helpin' hand to my back. Make my days a little shorter and my nights a lighter longer , lord make my hammer a little lighter and my dollar a little stronger". Still freaking powerful all these years later.

http://youtu.be/Cto6AAEY3tk

The Merseybeats and friends

















4. THE MERSEYBEATS-"I Stand Accused"
True story (more with the stories?), in late '65 The Merseybeats told their brand new managers Kit Lambert & Chris Stamp that they wanted to cover a track called "I Stand Accused" for their next 45. Lambert & Stamp duly secured the track for them to cover only instead of the Jerry Butler # they wanted they got a Tony Colton track of the same name (curiously already released by Colton that previous Summer). I think this sounds 100 times better than a Jerry Butler ballad don't you? The best thing they ever did in my book. Gong at the end care of stablemate Keith Moon and harpsichord by Nicky Hopkins....

http://youtu.be/9n_pDTxC81g

5. THE FRUIT MACHINE-"The Wall"
Odd 45 from the U.K. psych band The Fruit Machine only released here in the States on the obscure American Music Maker's label.  From the pen of pop psych geniuses John Carter and Russ Alquist it's a bit of somber orchestrated pop psych with brilliant cymbal flashes, regal trumpets and soulful/bluesy vocals.

http://youtu.be/tMrf3sDuSQc


Redd Foxx:Mod Icon


















6. REDD FOXX-"Real Pretty Momma"
Nestled away on a cheap old untitled Redd Foxx stand up LP is this rocking Big Joe Turner style r&b number.  I'd no idea when it was from but thanks to 45cat.com I found out it was a 1957 45. Best known for his hysterical but raunchy stand up his voice is perfectly suited for this!

7. THE BONZO DOG BAND-"Sport (The Odd Boy)"
Bizarre, baroque bit of Bonzo's silliness about the perils of a weakling/shut in seeking to dodge gym class from their essential LP "Keynsham" and collected on their equally interesting compilation "Cornology" that degenerates into a groovy Move '67 style bit of fun featuring a spoon solo!

http://youtu.be/L2Jn1UvS8GM

8. THE GALILEO 7-"Staring At The Sound"
Allan Crockford from The Prisoners current band.  If you were, like me expecting something like The Prisoners, then like me, you'd be dead wrong.  They're quite psych poppy, in fact this number recalls the short lived U.K answer to our local heroes The Narc Twins, Vibrasonic.  Which suits me perfectly!

9. THE AARDVARKS-"Buttermilk Boy"
"Dear Aardvarks.  I'm sorry I haven't taken much notice of you since "Bargain Day" it's just that I got so wrapped up in collecting U.K. 60's freakbeat/r&b/psych stuff that I was in sort of a void and payed little attention to anything musical going on.  I know this record is 14 years old but it's fucking amazing and I can't stop playing it.

Sincerest Apologies,
Anorak Thing"

http://youtu.be/lVOT6OjkgbU



10. THE HIGHER STATE-"Automatic Motion"
Like The Aardvarks I've had my head up my own ass and never got around to SERIOUSLY listening to this guys.  WTF?!  Time to make amends.....

Friday, July 26, 2013

July's Picks

THE ACTION:The original classic five piece version.
1. THE ACTION-"Girl Why You Wanna Make Me Blue"
I've been playing the crap out of this Temps cover The Action cut in '64 as an audition disc for EMI, brilliant harmonies, tinny Rickenbackers and incredible harmonies driven with full throttle youthful aggression.  Reissued as a facsimile acetate 7" 45 with the deluxe edition of their amazing book and available on YouTube if you're like me and haven't got around to acquiring an MP3 turntable!

2. LIONEL HAMPTON-"Psychedelic Sally"
Funky jazz instrumental, made famous by the Eddie Jefferson vocal version on Prestige and the Horace Silver instrumental on Blue Note, this one is the best of the lot thanks to a tasy mix of Hammond, vibes and congas from his 1975 LP "The Works".  Yeah!


3. THE MOVE-"Can't Here You No More" 
Before manager Tony Secunda brought them down to London from Birmingham and slapped them into gangster suits and then the dreaded kaftan and permed phase The Move were a mod band kitted out in plaid trews and vertical stripe sweaters with bouffant hair playing soul covers that bridged the era between beat group and mod band, perfectly captured by this unreleased Betty Everett cover from 1966.

The Insomniacs bringin' it all back home, Maxwell, Hoboken, NJ 6/22/13
















4. THE INSOMNIACS-"The Pudding Club"
Our local New Jersey power pop/moddy heroes add a Hammond and come out minty fresh with my fave track from their 2004 Estrus LP/CD "Switched On!".

5. 126-M.E.S. (Mailbox Execution System)
Discordant, bleak sounding stuff from Norway's Sixties band 126 from their amazing CD on Ugly Thing's "Graveyard Paradise".  This song is positively jaw dropping.

6. THE ELASTIC BAND-"Last Person In The Bar"
Boozy, bluesy but jazzy stuff from their ace 1969 LP "Expansions On Life". It's full of great hooks from the stale beer soaked bar-room piano to the proto-pub rock guitar licks to it's melodic maudlin little sax licks and the overwrought vocalist singing an ode to his need to (as one now deceased alcoholic co-worker put it) "howl".

Image c/o http://www.45cat.com




















7. CLIFF BENNETT'S REBELLION-"Amos Moses"
Down and dirty swamp rock via England version of Jerry Reed's classic done by Cliff and friends in '71.  There's a driving bluesy harp that calls to mind late 60's U.K. blues acts (early Jethro Tull(Toe) and The Savoy Brown Blues Band to be precise) and one can't help but feel the influence of C.C.R on it and as always Cliff Bennett's voice is a mighty force to be reckoned with!

8. THE GLORIES-"I Stand Accused (Of Loving You)"
Groovy Motown-ish female vocal number (not be confused with either the Tony Colton or Jerry Butler numbers of the same title) from '67 on the Date label (home of The Zombies late 60's U.S. releases). That's all I know about it, oh I think the dreaded Northern Soul mafia adopted it too.  Pity.

Paul Weller @ the legendary Apollo Theater 7/25/13: "Play it mutha fucker!"













9. PAUL WELLER-"Has My Fire Really Gone Out"
Caught Weller at the Apollo last night in Harlem and I spent this morning going through his solo back catalog and rediscovering this old fave (in addition to nursing a slight hangover).  It still holds up and judging by last night's gig his fire has not gone out, not in my book anyway.  No social commentary in between songs just thanks to the audience and recognition of all the old and familiar faces he saw and no bullshit rock n roll.

10. THE SPECIALS-"It Doesn't Make It Alright"
I've done my best to avoid the George Zimmerman/Trayvon business  that's turned everyone into a legal expert cum civil rights activist and don't really have any strong opinions on it all.  The Specials played this one live in NYC on July 17th and dedicated it to Trayvon Martin.  I looked around me during the end of it and the entire venue was singing along, black and white which is what The Specials were all about and thankfully, still are.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

David Bowie + Acid Jazz

THE RIOT SQUAD-"Toy Soldier E.P." Toy Soldier/Silly Boy Blue/I'm Waiting For My Man/Silver Tree Top School For Boys Acid Jazz AJX329S 2013
Few folks are aware that for a brief period in 1967 The Riot Squad included David Bowie in their line-up. Thanks to Acid Jazz and their excellent E.P. series we can now hear a few examples of what their brief liaison produced. The Riot Squad were without a record contract following their last 45, January 6, 1967's "Gotta Be A First Time" b/w "Bittersweet Love" (Pye 7N17237), one of the next to last recordings produced by Joe Meek who shot himself on February 3.  David Bowie had sacked his backing group The Buzz (Dek Fearnley-bass, Derek Boyes-organ and John Eager-drums) having completed the recording of his soon to be released Deram records debut LP with them and was, for a time, no longer playing live gigs (his gigs with The Buzz ceased at the close of 1966).  His involvement with The Riot Squad began in March of '67 and was kept from both his manager Kenneth Pitt and his former band mates The Buzz (Eager and Boyes were, at this time backing The Truth).  Their collaboration was short lived with a handful of gigs, which appear to have ceased by the time  his LP was launched on June 1st. However unknown to many on April 5, 1967 Bowie convinced his Deram engineer Gus Dudgeon to turn a blind eye to him bringing the Riot Squad in off the books to lay down some tracks during some down time at Deccas studio.  This E.P. is the first legitimate airing of the fruits of this session (although there is a Riot Squad CD available through Amazon called "The Last Chapter:Mods & Sods" of questionable legality containing variations of all four tracks, though some, like "Little Toy Soldier" differ from the version here on this E.P.).

What we have here is the results of that April 5th session (it is reported that only three tracks were recorded at that session: "Toy Soldier" , "I'm Waiting For My Man" and "Silly Boy Blue") . The E.P. contains three David Bowie originals and a Velvet Underground cover (though one might cynically observe it contains two Bowie originals and two V.U. covers but more on that later).  The quality surpasses that heard on any bootlegs of "Little Toy Soldier" and "I'm Waiting For My Man" (leaked when Dugeon duped the two tracks for a friend in the 80's and available on a widely distributed bootleg CD of Bowie's 60's material titled "The Forgotten Songs Of David Robert Jones") while I've not heard the version of "Silly Boy Blue" here before the version of "Silver Tree Top Boys"  previously appeared on the above mentioned Riot Squad comp.
The Riot Squad May 1967(D.B. second from left top)
























In December 1966 Bowie's manager Kenneth Pitt returned from a trip to New York bringing with him a test pressing of The Velvet Underground & Nico's LP which Bowie addmitedly wore the grooves off of.  His use of bits of "Venus In Furs" in "Toy Soldier" is quite evident (it "borrows" a line or two here and there, namely "taste the whip and bleed for me.." line).  Bowie uses the original's S&M theme to take it one step further and concocts a tale of a little girl named Sadie who would come home from school each day and take off all of her clothes and wind up a toy soldier who would whip her. Not content with the level of pain she winds him harder and harder till he beats her to death!  One can not easily imagine the prudent folks at Deram ever releasing that. Regardless it's a great slice of '67 Bowie not at all out of place amongst "The Gospel According To Tony Day" or "Join My Gang". "Silly Boy Blue" would get it's first airing on David's debut LP, the version here is him accompanied only by acoustic guitar which leads me to believe it was perhaps his demo for the track, or perhaps a run through he did to teach it to The Riot Squad during the session, though I suspect the latter. "I'm Waiting For My Man" is fairly uninspired but at least amusing to hear David's Lou Reed fixation began long before the 70's and it's interesting to hear a guy who was still living with his parent's in Bromley singing about scoring on Lexington Avenue! Bowie is NOT playing sax as often believed but is blowing harp (the sax was played by Riot's member Bob Evans). "Silver Tree Top School For Boys" holds the distinction of being the first Bowie track recorded by two artists in the same time period.  First released by studio concoction The Slender Plenty on September, 15, 1967 (Polydor 56189) and later by fellow Ken Pitt stablemates The Beatstalkers in December '67 (CBS 3105).  The version here is not sung by Bowie but by one of The Riot Squad in the camp/cheeky manner both of the previously mentioned versions were. It sounds half baked, like a run through rather than a properly recorded number like the two V.U. pieces.  The lyrics were inspired by a newspaper article on weed smoking at the prestigious Lancing College (ie "public school").

The E.P. is available from Acid Jazz or you can download the tracks via iTunes or Amazon where you can hear snippets of all four tracks as well.

Hear "Little Toy Soldier":

http://youtu.be/-JAvtM_K3_c

Hear "I'm Waiting For My Man":

http://youtu.be/lPwCSem3cUQ

*******We here at "Anorak Thing" are gratrefully indebted to the excellent book "David Bowie Any Day Now: The London Years" by Kevin Cann for all of the facts and dates.  Fans of 60's David Bowie should acquire this book post haste!*************

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June's Picks

1. THE BALLOON BUSTERS-"Alcock And Brown"
I love that there are still 60's 45's out there from the U.K. by bands on major labels I know fuck all about.  This amazingly catchy tune came out in the U.K. on Pye in '69 and sounds a lot like harmony/proto bubbleglam like Katch 22 or Sight & Sound.  Thanks to my pal Larry over at Iron Leg and his U.S. pressing (on Chess oddly) I am now a wiser man!

http://youtu.be/Llwy5GlsNHY


2. THE GUESS WHO-"This Time Long Ago"Stunning Who '66 harmonies (damned if this doesn't sound like "Glow Girl", which is impossible...)giving way to some loungey marimbas and pop precision on this killer 45 from 1967.


3. THE MONTANAS-"Roundabout"
Smashing high harmonies, heavy playing Britain's The Montanas crash into 1969 sounding rather menacing and shaking all off accusations of being the Four Seasons of the British Isles.  Sadly they didn't cut any more like this!

http://youtu.be/fXXA_U-hyCc


4. GENO WASHINGTON & THE RAM JAM BAND-"Jumpin' Jack Flash"
Acid Jazz has been kicking out some really cool 7" E.P.'s as of late.  My thoughts on Geno Washington are pretty well documented here but this E.P. has a version of The Stone's "Jumpin' Jack Flash" that's amazing.   It's drenched in Hammond and slowed down a tad slower than Thelma Houston's killer version.  Why couldn't Geno have made more records like this?

5. INKASE-"(Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me ?"
There's a plethora of obscure 60's Australian covers of Small Faces tunes out there (Tymepiece's "Become Like You" and The Clevedonaire's "Up The Wooden Hills To Bedfordshire").  This one is equally interesting because the playing is great but the most interesting fact is the lyrics are completely botched (I've read they also covered "Rene" as well).  That's usually the norm for countries who do not speak English as a primary language so I'm thinking these guys didn't have time to learn them.  For instance the trippy line "I see flowers breaking through the concrete..." becomes "I dig flowers, I take 'em to the laundry".  Hey hey, hey hey hey hey...

6. BOBBY BLAND-"Jelly Jelly Jelly"
Word reached us here at "Anorak Thing" central this past Sunday that Mr. Bland had left the stage for the other side.  Picking a fave Bobby "Blue" Bland number was no easy feat as there's so many good 'uns to choose from but this was always  a fave of mine, slow, smokey and scorching.

7. THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS-"Wild Horses"
It took me a very long time to come around on these guys but the arrangement and Gram Parson's voice knocks the Stone's version in the dirt.  It doesn't get more soulful and impassioned than this and Gram was born to sing it. Stunning.

http://youtu.be/MchWI3sLUQo

8. THE MONKS-"Complication"
I was never a big Monks fan, I didn't dislike them but I don't think I'd ever appreciated "Black  Monk Time" like the rest of my friends.  I read Eddie Shaw's book "Black Monk Time" when it came out and enjoyed it and sat riveted while watching the documentary done on them a few years back and it wasn't until last year when I saw a few friends in Minneapolis backing Gary Burger for an entire set that I came to appreciate this tune. Written in the 60's it still makes perfect sense now:
"People die for you.
People kill,
People will for you.
People run,
Ain't it fun for you.
People go
To their deaths for you"




9. BIG MAYBELLE-"I Can't Control Myself"
I love this, it's so inept and you can tell it was rushed out (like #5's entry correct grasp of the lyrics were obviously not considered) and Big Maybelle sounds downright scary as she sings "I'll take you boy as you're standing there low cut slacks and your wavy hair" conjures visions of a hoary old cradle robber!  From her LP "Got A Brand New Bag" (on the suspect sounding "Rojac" label that reeks of cosa nostra greenback laundering!) which is second in the worst LP cover artwork next to the Rod Stewart LP shown/mentioned in March's picks.

http://youtu.be/3rA1Z63Cwf4


10. IAN MCLAGAN & THE BUMP BAND-"Hello Old Friend"
Ian McLagan wrote this number for/about his friend the late Ronnie Lane who had come to visit him late in his short life.  It never ceases to rouse me from a funk and whenever I'm enjoying the company of an old friend I haven't seen in ages it's never far from my brain.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Local Heroes: James Gandolfini R.I.P.

"You better get me 100 faces to show up for the weekender and tell 'em to come heavy because there's gonna be alotta drunk gavones lookin' for trouble there. Make it fuckin' happen..."
Not a lot of cool people come from my home state of New Jersey.  We're cursed with fucktwits like Whitney Houston, Jon Bon Jovi, John "I did not offer that masseuse a hand-job" Travolta, socially conscious yet musically boring  Bruce Springsteen, a Jonas Brother, Susan Sarandon (went to high school with my best friend's dad in Edison, NJ)....yeah you get the picture. Who do we have to brag about? Frankie Valli (true story he sang at a B-day party for a classmate in grammar school who was his niece) and that's about it. Last night FaceBook was abuzz with word that one of our favorite sons, actor James Gandolfini had died at the age of 51. I'm not the type to get misty when celebs die.  The passing of Joe Strummer, Syd Barrett and Reggie King were about the only times I've ever been moved. But I liked Gandolfini, especially when he played the complex hard nut Tony Soprano on HBO's series "The Sopranos" and it struck me because he was only a few years older than me.

I've been a life long New Jerseyite and there's two very important stereotypes about my fellow Garden State residents: they've all got a story about meeting Bruce Springsteen (accurately portrayed on "The Ben Stiller Show" in their "Tales From Springsteen" sketch) and everyone knows someone who is either in the mob or knows someone who knows someone....Organized crime is steeped in our marrow, which explains the mass appeal to myself and the rest of the state with "The Sopranos".  Growing up as a kid in Jersey the mark of success in a diner or restaurant was to have a framed, signed potrait of Frank Sinatra on display .  These days it's one of James Gandolfini(my octagenerian Aunt and Uncle's fave Central Jersey Italian bistro proudly displays a framed shot of the owners with Gandolfini standing between them in their foyer) . His "Tony Soprano" character was one of the finest I've ever seen on a TV show.  His butchering of the English language was always a constant source of amusement ("my ma, she's like a freakin' albacore around my neck..."). He was a brute who had soft spots for children and animals, would screw anything that took his fancy and wouldn't think twice about unflinchingly putting a bullet in your face (and once beat Ralphie Ciffaretto to death for killing his racehorse). Each week I'd tune in to see what sort of drama he'd be under secretly praying we'd get to watch him "whack" (that's murder to you non-Americans) somebody because he did it so well.  One of my fave scenes was him offering a wanna be wiseguy who was tied up in a chair a can of warm diet soda asking him  if it was okay, when the hapless victim says "Thank you T", Tony quips "Cause that sugarless motherfucker, it's the last fucking drink you're ever gonna have" before emptying a clip from an automatic in his chest. My home team/local heroes The Swingin' Neckbreakers even got five seconds of fame on an episode rocking out to "You", one of their best tracks from their killer debut LP "Live for Buzz".  He  produced a moving documentary on wounded Iraqi War vets called "Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq" and later another on post traumatic stress disorder called "Wartorn 1861-2010", which wins kudos from me because, well I've got a soft spot for anybody who's concerned for Veteran's. James Gandolfini was a Jersey boy, born and bred, went to Rutger's University and played one of TV's most famous fictional New Jersey character. We loved him for that.  Salute Tony Soprano, wherever you are....