Thursday, October 20, 2016

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Jackie Lomax as "One"

ONE-Hey Taxi/Enter My World US Columbia 4-44256 1967

We discussed 60's Liverpudlian musician Jackie Lomax awhile back in this earlier post, so we will dispense with the long musical background on him on this piece. This 45 was a one off U.S. only release credited to "One" who in reality were The Lomax Alliance, a short lived band who cut just one 45 but also a host of amazing unreleased cuts detailed in our earlier post.  Both of theses tracks are in my estimation among his strongest pieces of work.

"Hey Taxi" is an amazing two minute pop song. The chords and guitars remind me of some of the catchier moments of Gene Clark's first album with it's "Revolver" style licks, subtle brass and a bouncy/poppy feel. I can't help but feel it has an "American sound" to it.

"Enter My World" is even better , albeit too brief (it lasts less than a minute and a half).  Led by a tough riff backed by some slick harmonies and a bouncy feel like the A-side, it's accented by some perfectly placed bells and is incredibly catchy.

Both sides are available on the highly recommended Lomax CD compilation "Lost Soul: The Singles And Demo's '66-'67" and as a download from iTunes.

Hear "Hey Taxi":

Hear "Enter My World":

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Hollies U.S. Debut

THE HOLLIES-Stay/Now's The Time US Liberty F-55674 1964

The Hollies first appearance in the US came in January 1964 when Liberty records launched them with a cover of Maurice Williams and The Zodiacs 1960 hit "Stay" (previously released in the U.K. as their third single in November 1963). It was also their only single on the US label as subsequent releases were issued on the Imperial label.

The Hollies version of "Stay" eschews the annoying/screechy falsetto of the original (at least till the middle of the song anyway) and works because the band kick it up and turn the slow dance bump and grind of the original to an amphetamine raver at twice the speed. The best bit is Tony Hicks gritty little guitar solo that reminds me of The Milkshakes.

"Now's The Time" is a Clark/Nash original (published under their real names prior to the adoption pseudonym "L. Ransford"). It was the band's third original composition (for the band's first 4 singles in the U.K. their originals were only permitted on the B-sides until they had enough clout to be given a top side). "Now's The Time" is a frantic Merseybeat (Manc beat?) style raver delivered at double time with the requisite twangy/frenetic guitar solo and in my book is way better than the top side.

Both sides are available in a host of places, the best being the highly recommended 6 CD set "The Hollies: Clarke Hicks & Nash Years" which is still available from Amazon for a stunningly low price.

Hear "Stay":

Hear "Now's The Time":

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Great Obscure U.K. 60's R&B Sides: Truly Smith Does Chris Clark

TRULY SMITH-I Wanna Go Back There Again/The Window Cleaner German Decca DL 25 304 1967

I first became aware of U.K. 60's female vocalist Truly Smith when I saw a photograph of a French E.P. of hers in a booklet of French 60's 45 and E.P. picture sleeves that came with a dodgy Eva records album in the 80's. I saw the E.P. first hand in Paris and was intrigued by her dollybird look but it wasn't until the late 90's that I came across our subject today at the Princeton Record Exchange when they were selling 45's that had once belonged to Radio Free Europe. I took a chance and decided to hear what she was all about with this German pressing of her doing Chris Clark's "I Wanna Go Back There Again". It was issued in the U.K. in August 1967 (Decca F 12645) and beat the Clark original to a UK release (which didn't come out until January 1968!). This pressing came out in September of '67 and was her sole German release.

"I Wanna Go Back There Again" is believe it or not BETTER than the original version to my ears.  It's more uptempo and though Truly Smith's voice is entirely different than Chris Clark's I find her delivery is a bit more enjoyable to my ears than Clark's husky tone and the musical backing is actually a bit more dance-able.

The flip side "Window Cleaner" sounds like it could be a groovy social observation in the style of Barbara Ruskin, but nothing doing.  It's a dreadful little ditty with muted horns that recall the New Vaudeville Band at their ickiest and another dreadful example of how 1920's were ever so briefly "hip" in 1967.

"I Wanna Go Back There Again" was recently unearthed for Decca's CD comp "Love Hot Me: Decca Girls 1962-1970", it's flip has thankfully not.

Truly Smith on "Beat Club" German TV:

Sunday, October 2, 2016

I've Read It In Books

Anorak Thing still rolls on but we've started a new blog about the printed word called I've Read It In Books.  Head on over here and check out our first post.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

September's Picks

1. XTC-"Generals And Majors"
Dedicated to the 164 Simple Simon US generals and admirals who endorsed Donald Trump for President.

2. THE CALIFORNIANS-"The Cooks Of Cake And Kindness"
From the pen of Russ Carter and John Alquist this 1969 B-side was unearthed 30+ years back when the good folks at Bam Caruso saw fit to include it on their second long playing compilation LP "The 49 Minute Technicolor Dream". Beneath an array of tablas, fuzzed out guitars, horns and chants is a vision of pre-Apocalyptic times (a drought) delivered by saccharine sweet West Coast style harmonies.

3. THE BAR-KAYS-"Midnight Cowboy"
Whilst searching on YouTube for Lee Morgan's reading of the John Barry penned film theme I came across this interesting version by The Bark-Kays from 1969.  It starts with an interesting spacey guitar intro before the sweet Hammond sweeps in the main lick and it grooves along with razor sharp Memphis horns. Dig it.

4.DAVID BOWIE-"Come And Buy My Toys"
From the Dame's debut 1967 untitled album comes this beautiful piece of music with sparse backing of just bass and acoustic guitar (the latter expertly handled by John Redbourne). The devil is in the detail of it's simplistic music and Bowie's confident, youthful vocals. I still can't believe he's gone.

5. THE SEARCHERS-" Can't Help Forgiving You"
This Jackie DeShannon/Sharon Sheeely composition graced the band's "1964 "Play The System" E.P.  It's catchy thanks to a memorable little 12 string lick and I find myself singing it frequently because it flows off one's tongue so easily in a lazy sort of way.


Tucked away on the flip of their 1967 opus "Nights In White Satin" , "Cities" is a melancholic little ditty written and sung by Justin Hayward.  It's simple musical backing is highlighted by the band's tight harmonies and some kitschy harpsichord.

7. BIFF BANG POW-"The Chocolate Elephant Man"
Very few of the bands I adored in the 80's held up three decades on but I'm happy to say that Alan McGee's band Biff Bang Pow did on their debut LP "Pass The Paintbrush Honey".  With slightly out of tune jangly guitars and a cheery yet maudlin melody this one is carried by some disembodied harmonies and an interesting cacophony at the climax.

8. DEE DEE SHARP-"Deep Dark Secret"
Now we're cooking with gas! This 1964 single unfortunately spelled the end to Miss Sharp's ride on the US hit parade but in my book it's her best track and is also her most sought after!

9. SHY LIMBS-"Reputation"
Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade Of Pale" opened the floodgates for Bach inspired organ tracks in Britain worthy of one of our bog standard "Top 10" lists.  None was finer than this amazing opus of phlanged Hammond brilliance from 1969 that is majestic and ethereal.

10. ZOOT MONEY-"Soma"
Recorded during the brief period as Dantalian's Chariot , this instrumental raga with jazzy flourishes was later utilized on Zoot's 1968 LP "Transition" (which strangely on the back cover is credited to "Zoot Money & The Big Roll Band).  It's a bit on the longish side but delightful nonetheless with sitars intertwining with jazzy flute.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Great Obscure U.K. 60's R&B Sides: Don Fardon

DON FARDON-Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'/Sunshine Woman German Vogue DV 14852 1969

Don Fardon has graced our page many times before so we'll dispense with any in depth history.  Don fronted the Coventry beat/r&b combo The Sorrows and after an LP and 6 singles (including their only hit, "Take A Heart") he parted ways with them in 1966 to go solo.  His solo career in Germany seemed quite prosperous as today's subject was his 5th single in just two years. Like many of his German releases this single was not issued in the U.K.

The A-side was a cover of the American act Crazy Elephant's sole hit "Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'".  It's a pretty mundane track no matter who's doing it and though it's got some horns on it they sound like a pop record and the whole thing sounds sorta , well, lifeless despite Don's best efforts in the vocal department.

The real gold is on the flip side, "Sunshine Woman" .  Written by Fardon along with Tony Ritchie and Derek Spence (the former cut a US only version of "Coming On Strong" utilizing the back track from Fardon's version) it's one of his strongest tracks up there with "I'm Alive". Starting with some cool bass and bongos it weaves in subtle organ and horns that gradually build to include phlanged piano and then a groovy psychedelic wash on the bridge where horns and catchy guitar merge.  Above all Fardon's strong vocals carry the whole tune that's a perfectly danceable mix of soulful r&b and pop (with mild psychedelic trickery).

Both sides were compiled on  a Don Fardon Castle records double CD anthology called "Coventry Boy" and a CD by RPM called "I'm Alive: 68/69 Hip Pop And Swinging Beat" of Fardon's material from that era. "Sunshine Woman" came to my attention first via one of the short lived "New Rubble" series "Volume Six:Painting The Time" CD compilation.

Hear "Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'":

Hear "Sunshine Woman":

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


We here at Anorak Thing H.Q. were shocked to hear of the passing of the great Prince Buster last week.
In his honor we have compiled a "Best Of..." playlist for your listening pleasure. Click on the title to hear the track.  Enjoy.

1. "Ghost Dance"

2.  "Hard Man Fe Dead"

3. "Blackhead Chinaman"

4. "Cincinnati Kid"

5. "Ten Commandments (From Man To Woman)"

6. "That Lucky Old Sun (Wash Wash)"

7. "The Barrister (The Appeal)"

8. "Al Capone"

9. "Open Up Bartender"

10. "Green Green Grass"

11. "Sounds And Pressure"

12. "Burning Creation"

13. "They Got To Come My Way"

14. "Big Five"

15. "Rough Rider"