Thursday, February 26, 2015

February's Picks

1. FREDDIE ROACH-"Brown Sugar"
From his 1964 LP of the same number this number is a smoking duet between Freddie's Hammond and sax player Joe Henderson (rounded out by Eddie Wright on guitar and Clarence Johnson on drums) and ranks up there in my top 10 Hammond jazz instrumentals.

2. THE BECKET QUINTET-"No Correspondence"
Having spent most of my life looking across the sea musically I will be the first to admit that I have a lot to learn about 60's music in my own country. These cats were from New Mexico and I have known this track for ages but only recently learned who it was!

3. SAM COOKE-"Yeah Man"
Show of hands, who here knows where Arthur Conley's hit "Sweet Soul Music" was nicked from?  The answer is the track above and though Otis Redding and Arthur came up with better lyrics have a listen and try to decide which one is best.

4. DAVID BOWIE-"Speed Of Life"
My 60's Bowie fascination  might be #1 out all of  the man's catalog but the Berlin period comes in at #2 and this instrumental from "Low" has always been a fave. I can't put my finger on it but I'd hazard a guess that it's the melody that hooks me.

More American 60's garage sounds, this one I knew and knew who performed it as someone put it on a cassette for me nearly three decades ago.  I'd honestly forgotten it until last week when I saw it on! Far more poppy than most U.S. records of it's genre, but that's not terribly surprising as The Zombies were apparently huge in the state of Florida where these guys hailed from and the influence shows.

6. JACQUES DUTRONC-"Je Suis Content"
The closest Jacques Dutronc ever got to psychedelia in my estimation is this number from his 3rd LP (French Disques Vogue CLD 727 1968). His first 3 LP's are all worth seeking out and are all oddly untitled! From it's tabla tapping intro and fuzz guitar  Jacques sounds bored before it gets trippy and everything gets phlanged out .  Psycheagalic?!

7. GARY WALKER & THE RAIN-"Whatever Happened To Happy"
We talked about these guys ultra rare 1968 Japanese LP here way back.  This track is far more pop psych than most of the harder stuff on the album and has a certain odd melancholy cheeriness to it and I find myself singing the chorus to myself often.

8. THE CHORDS FIVE-"Some People"
I only recently learned that this number was a Graham Gouldman composition, which is never bad with me as far as 60's tunes go! From 1969 on the short lived Jay Boy label (home to loads of U.S. soul artists and the odd reggae tune) these guys were the subject of one of those great rock n' roll myths that they were The Smoke. Not true. A brilliant slice of pop with some slight freakbeat tinges.

9. DEE DEE WARWICK-"Gotta Get A Hold Of Myself"
I recently was turned onto this number on a post on a FB mod group I belong to.  I had previously only known The Zombies cover, which they presumably picked up when touring the States in a package tour with Dee Dee Warwick! The Zombies version is a lot punchier by Dee Dee's is so damned emotive it's equally amazing!!

10. LESLIE GORE-"California Nights"
Leslie Gore R.I.P. This will always be my fave # by her and reminds me of California in the late 80's, where all of the best looking mod girls always were (and I'm certain still are...).

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

For The Benefit Of Mister Boardman

My friend Dan Boardman in Minnesota is fighting a battle against advanced stages of pancreatic cancer .  Some of you East Coast folks around from the 90's may remember Dan as the lead guitarist for The Spectors, a band who played many gigs out here after trekking across the country in 1993 and 1994 (and again in 2003).  Dan is a one man party as friends will attest and a very amazing human being. He's also one of the funniest people I ever met and has been responsible for these insane videos he makes for songs every year on his birthday which he posts on YouTube (see below).  Right now Dan and his family need your help. If you're not in the Twin Cities area and can't attend the gig follow this link to the event info with details on how to make a donation. Thanks.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Steve Marriott's Early Years: The Moments

THE MOMENTS-You Really Got Me/Money Money U.S. World Artists 1032 1964

One of the more amusing 60's rarities of U.S. only pressings by British groups is this 45 by Steve Marriott's pre- Small Faces band The Moments.

The choice of releasing a cover of The Kink's "You Really Got Me" mere days after the U.S. release of the original (Reprise 0306, August 1964) is baffling but perhaps it was the same type of move that British labels often pulled where they'd release a cover version of an American tune before or at the same time the original was launched over there.  We'll never know.  In my fanzine "Smashed Blocked" in 1985 I compared The Moment's "You Really Got Me" to character Jimmy Cooper's bath house rendition in "Quadrophenia".  That was a bit unfair and impulsive and though it's no match to the brutality and intensity of the original it actually has some merits.  Marriott's vocals are sadly the weakest point, his soulfulness later displayed on The Small Faces "Whatcha Gonna Do About It" almost exactly a year later is not yet evident .  The band play it in a more r&b vein eschewing any attempts to replicate Dave Davies famous blistering guitar solo with a harmonica solo instead and a minimalist production that at times seems to recall Joe Meek with it's subdued drums and tinkling, cheezy piano.

Speaking of Joe Meek..."Money Money" was composed by former Tornando Alan Caddy and Don Charles (who it is alleged founded the World Artists label which launched most of the early Chad & Jeremy U.S. singles as well). It's far superior to the A-side with some nifty combo organ and some very soulful backing vocals and following a simple but tried and tested '64 British r&b formula not unlike The Soul Agents, The Animals etc. Interestingly the number was released in the U.K. on HMV by Hamilton King in November of 1964 (POP 1356).  Strangely there were no U.K. 60's releases by the Moments and Steve eventually went on to form another band with whom we all are well acquainted.....

Some people are on the pitch: The Moments 1964, Steve Marriott 2nd from right

Both sides were issued a number of years ago on a 2 CD Small Faces box set that featured the band's A's and B sides and tracks by band members pre-musical careers and more recently in 2008 Acid Jazz issued a four song 7" (and CD) E.P. entitled "Steve Marriott's Moments" with both tracks and two other unreleased numbers. "You Really Got Me" also was included on the Acid Jazz compilation CD "E.P. Choice: From The Rare Mod E.P. Collection".  Both tracks are also available for download from iTunes.

2008 Acid Jazz E.P.

Hear "You Really Got Me":

Hear "Money Money":

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

New New York City 60's/garage scene website!!

The Phantom Five spring 1986 (yours truly second from right)

I spent pretty much every live gig in 1985-1986 at a small club in New York City called The Dive at 257 West 29th Street (don't look for it now it's a hole in the ground).  My old pal Jeff  Cuyubamba (who I never met until way AFTER the club closed) was rarely without a camera at a gig and has gotten around to posting his pics (and ones by others) of bands, people and places from the 60's/garage scene in New York City in the 80's and 90's at a wonderful site called Shake Some Action. Pop on over and see what we got up to back in the day!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Georgie Fame's Last Imperial Single

GEORGIE FAME and the BLUE FLAMES-Last Night/Funny How Time Slips Away U.S. Imperial 66299 1968

By the time Imperial records launched these leftover tracks as a 45 coupling in May 1968 to capitalize on the chart action of Georgie Fame's current single  "The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde" ( Epic 5-10283 January 1968) he had been with Epic records in the US and CBS in the U.K. for nearly a year and a half. "Bonnie And Clyde", dreadful as it is holds the distinction of being Fame's only U.S. top ten chart placing at #7 (the far superior "Yeh Yeh" topped out at #21) in early 1965 here.  Released on the coat tails of his success with "Bonnie...", today's subject did nothing commercially and became one of his least common Imperial releases.  It was also his last for the label after a run of  6 singles and two LP's.

"Last Night" (albeit an edited version here chopped down from it's original 5:05 to 2:32) is the band's rockhouse treatment of the Mar-Key's number that had first surfaced on Fame's third U.K. long player "Sweet Things" (Columbia SX 6043) and his 2nd U.S. one ("Getaway" Imperial records  LP-9331) in it's full length form. The edit retains the segment where the band launch into a few bars of The Rolling Stone's "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction)" and fades out prior to their going into snatches of Martha and The Vandella's "Nowhere To Run". Regardless it's a masterpiece that easily surpasses the original (in my book anyway) thanks to the bands full sound accented by their solid brass section led by trumpeter Eddie "Tan Tan" Thorton, Fame's Hammond brilliance, improvisational shouts and phrases and in no small way the powerhouse drumming by one John "Mitch" Mitchell (who would join the Jimi Hendrix Experience when Fame dissolved the Blue Flames at the behest of his new label CBS in October 1966). The rest of the Blue Flames on the session that resulted in this release were: Colin Green-guitar, Cliff Barton-bass, Peter Coe-tenor/alto saxophone, Glen Hughes baritone saxophone and Speedy Acquaye-percussion/congas.

Georgie Fame and The Blue Flames final line up 1966.
John "Mitch" Mitchell third from the left in shades.

A reading of Joe Hinton's working of a Willie Nelson composition "Funny How Time Slips Away" (recorded as "Funny" by Hinton in July 1964) had also previously received an airing on both of Fame's U.S. and U.K. '66 LP's.  The arrangement sticks to Hinton's but again it surpasses the original in my estimation in no small part due to producer Denny Cordell's  work and the sheer slickness of the Blue Flames horn section.

Both tracks are available on the highly recommended Georgie Fame CD compilation :Mod Classics: 1964-1966" on BGP.

Hear "Last Night" (single edit):

Hear "Last Night" (full length version):

Hear "Funny How Time Slips Away":

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

January's Picks

1. APHRODITE'S CHILD-"The Four Horsemen"
R.I.P. Demis Rousous.  I was actually turned onto this one years back on a "Mojo" magazine freebie CD called "Heavy Mod" from their 1971 LP "666'.  I never got my head around the album as a whole but I still dig this one in it's witchy/creepy/heavy 70's way.

2. DEL SHANNON-"New Orleans (Mardi Gras)"
My friend Joe Oshman recently loaned me Del's 1968 LP "The Further Adventures Of Charles Westover" after hearing me rave incessantly about his previous LP "Home And Away".  This one is probably the heaviest thing old Del ever cut but it works in a variety of ways thanks to the orchestration, soulful Sweet Inspirations style backing vocals and menacing, funky vibe punctuated by some nice distorted guitar.

3. THE MOODY BLUES-"Jago And Jilly"
I have been completely over the moon with the new double CD of the the debut Moody Blues LP "The Magnificent Moodies".  Disc two is entirely alternate takes/mixes, live BBC tracks and best of all half a dozen songs recorded in late 1966 with Denny Cordell producing shortly prior to Denny Laine's departure.  "Jago And Jilly" is a jazzy yet jangly number that melds the band's '66 pop sensibility with an almost (and I dread to use this phrase) "folk rock feel" leaving their r&b/blues cover  in the dust and makes one wonder what they'd have had on their hands had Denny stuck around.

4. THE EQUALS-"The Guy Who Made Her A Star"
The first time I heard this track it was a cover version by The Purple Hearts on their 1980 "My Life's A Jigsaw" E.P. I eventually scored the Equals U.S. RCA LP "Baby Come Back" which is full of their best sides including this stormer which was first aired as the flip to the god awful "Laurel And Hardy". Easily one of their best in my book!

5. FREDDIE GORMAN-"Just For You"
Big props to my U.K. sister of soulful sounds Samantha Stevens for turning me onto this gritty little 1961 U.S. r&b grabber from Berry Gordy's early/short lived label Miracle. Easily mistaken for a mid tempo King records track this is where it's at for me these days as I can't get enough of this stuff.

6. TUESDAY'S CHILDREN-"Summer Leaves Me With A Sigh"
Fuck this is an amazing track!  From it's barrage of doom leaden fuzz guitar notes to it's Hollie-esque double tracked vocal to it's beat group getting a whiff of the winds of change feel this number is nothing short of incredible.  A 1966 Columbia (UK) 45, it was recently unearthed on RPM's "Keep Lookin'" box.

7. DAVE CURTISS AND THE TREMORS-"You Don't Love Me Anymore"
Hands down the FUNNIEST beat group record you will ever hear with some incredibly witty lyrics about a fella who's girl clearly does not love him anymore as she not only mistreats him but attempts, on multiple occasions, to kill him ("perhaps I got things wrong and acted like a clown and maybe you weren't driving that truck that ran me down but I don't see why a truck should come in through my front door all this leads me to believe that maybe baby you don't love me anymore") . It's backed up by some nifty volume pedal guitar work and is quite infectious.  From Phillips records (U.K.) 1963. Read more about this record in an earlier post here.

8. MAKIN' TIME-"You Crept Up From Behind"
I missed the train at the station on Makin' Time back in the day as I was too busy grooving on The Prisoners, The Times, The Direct Hits et al and viewed them with some suspicion as they were worshiped by all those silly "ankle bracelet on the bottom of skin tight trousers" mods.  What really made me wake up was their 2nd LP "No Lumps Fat Or Gristle Guaranteed" (from which this track originates) which to me sounded a lot more like The Prisoners than Makin' Time (while The Prisoners LP "In From The Cold" sounded more like Makin' Time than The Prisoners)!

9. THE TAGES-"Created By You"
From their amazing 1967 LP "Studio" ( partly recorded in the U.K. although most of the tracks were actually cut in Sweden) that falls somewhere between the first LP Bee Gees, The Beach Boys "Pet Sounds" and the prevailing psychedelic pop whimsy of ""Sgt. Pepper etc" but in a way that is in no manner derivative of any of those.

10. SPLIT ENZ-"I Got You"
Has it REALLY been 35 years since I saw this Kiwi band performing this number on ABC'TV's "Fridays"
(see clip above)?  Damn I'm old.  This number aged pretty well which is more than I can say for 90% of the other so called "new wave" music I ingested alongside punk/mod and ska!