Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Moody Blues Mark One: In America Part Three

THE MOODY BLUES-Boulevard De La Madeline/This Is My House (But Nobody Calls) London 45 LON 1005 1966

The Moody Blues sixth and final U.S. single with the Denny Laine (lead vocals/guitar)/Clint Warwick (bass) line up was this single which was oddly issued in June 1966, a whole five months prior to it's U.K. release (Decca F 12498). Both sides were composed by the bands in house tune-smiths Denny Laine and Mike Pinder.

"Boulevard De La Madeline" is an interesting number, it's French accordion intro with Spanish style acoustic guitar is totally unlike anything they had ever recorded and it's near classical piano seems to anticipate their new "sound" they'd be exploring as The Moody Blues Mk. II (see this earlier posting for more on that). Laine's vocals are amazing and there's this oddly discordant volume pedal effect on the guitar that makes the feedback almost sound like a string section movement!

"This Is My House (But Nobody Calls)" is one of my fave Mk.I Moodie's records.  It's poppy but rocks along with characteristic high backing vocals and some bursts of bluesy/jangling guitar (that reminds me of the "folk rock" guitar on early Simon & Garfunkel albums) behind some barrel-house piano tinkling. This would be the band's last Denny Laine/Clint Warwick single in the U.S. with London choosing not to issue this line up's posthumous 45 "Life's Not Life"/"He Can Win" (U.K. Decca F 12543 January 1967).  The next time London issued a U.S. Moody Blues 45 the band would have a new sound and line-up with May 1967's "Fly Me High"/"I Really Haven't Got The Time" (London 45-20030).

Both sides can be found on the still in print Deram CD reissue of their debut U.K. L.P. "The Magnificent Moodies" as bonus tracks (contained with their entire U.K. Decca Mk.I discography)

Hear "Boulevard De La Madeline":

Hear "This is My House (But Nobody Calls)":

Thursday, August 14, 2014

We've Got A Record Label!!

Anorak Thing is proud to announce our new venture in the form of a 45 rpm record label called Pennytown Sound.  This fall we will be reissuing Mod Fun's 1984 debut 45 "I Am With You" c/w "Happy Feeling" direct from the original quarter inch master.  This will be the first time both tracks have been available on 45 rpm since 1984 and the first time "Happy Feeling" has been reissued ("I Am With You" was issued on Mod Fun's Get Hip CD compilation "Past Forward" and is slated to appear on Cherry Red's 4 CD mod compilation "Millions Like Us"). This will be a limited run of 500 copies as a 30th Anniversary edition of this exciting record.  For more details watch this space or go to our Facebook page (and please "
like" us!).

Sunday, August 10, 2014

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The Fortunes Part Two

THE FORTUNES-Fire Brigade/Painting A Shadow United Artists U.S. UA 50280 1968

One questions the wisdom of the United Artists label having The Fortunes record a version of The Move's "Fire Brigade" for the U.S. market but it beat The Move's issue of the number on these shores by precisely a month hitting the streets in February 1968. It failed to garner any activity, as did the Move's subsequent release (on A&M 914) and remains, like The Idle Race's "Here We Go Round The Lemon Tree" one of those curious U.S. only releases by a British band that has folks wondering just what the hell their American labels were playing at. This was The Fortunes sixth U.S. 45 (we discussed their previous American issue here). "Fire Brigade" was also issued in the Netherlands (United Artists  US 25.748)

The Fortune's version of "Fire Brigade" is a slick affair, it's pretty much a carbon copy of the original right down to the jangly guitar, the Duane Eddy style bass line, the high backing "ooooo's".  Not by any means terrible just, well sort of pointless as it doesn't really deviate much from the original at all except the freaky extended jam at the track's end.  Obviously someone at United Artists or the band's management thought big things were in store for this as they made a promo film for it with the band clowning around  "Benny Hill" style on a vintage fire engine in fireman's gear with dolly birds which you can watch below!

"Painting A Shadow" is a slow, dirge like ballad that's positively dreadful schlock. Ack!

Both numbers have not been reissued to my knowledge.


Friday, August 1, 2014

Farlowe Does D'Abo

CHRIS FARLOWE-Handbags And Gladrags/Everyone Makes A Mistake U.S. Immediate ZS7 5005 1968

Mike D'Abo's opus "Handbags And Gladrags" has been covered FAR too many times in my book. Farlowe's was the first hitting the streets in November 1967 in the U.K. as Immediate IM 065, it's American issue would not see a release until February 1968.

"Handbags And Gladrags" was not only written by then Manfred Mann lead vocalist  D'Abo but he produced it as well and a bang on job he did too in my estimation.  It's actually suited to Chris Farlowe's voice and the top notch arrangement with strings, recurring muzaky harmonica and some crashing drumming (possibly the work of Arthur Greenslade?) which do the tune massive justice.  My favorite part of the tune has always been subtle guitar lick played right after the main chorus that gives it a nice atmospheric, almost jazzy feel.

For me the money has always firmly been on the flip side.  "Everyone Makes A Mistake" got a lot of mileage from me on the turntable in my DJ days many years ago and the punters always seemed to dig it. Driven along by some great percussion (hand claps/conga and tambourine) and some gritty guitar, funky organ and a totally soulful melody that makes the number sound like something Farlowe would've cut in '65!

Chris Farlowe at The Star Club 1968

Both tracks are available on the Chris Farlowe Immediate records era compilation CD "Handbags And Gladrags: The Immediate Collection".

Hear "Handbags And Gladrags":

Hear "Everyone Makes A Mistake":

Monday, July 28, 2014

July's Picks

1.  THE MANHATTANS-"I Wanna Be Your Everything"
#1 on the 45 rpm rotation slot here at "Anorak Thing" H.Q. is this wonderful soul 45 from 1964 on Newark, New Jersey's very own Carnival label. I've been trying unsuccessfully for ages to score a copy of the U.K. Sue label and finally gave in for this less pricey U.S. issue.

2. BILLY FURY- "Forbidden Fruit" (Live BBC)
This live BBC Oscar Brown Jr. cover from '66 swings thanks to the solid music backing, carried off in a jazzy/r&b style of Georgie Fame and The Blue Flames with horns and Hammond o'plenty (Fury's one time backing band in the early 60's). Found on his amazing CD "Live At The BBC" (which contains quite a few '65/'66 numbers that kick all his U.S. crooner style early 60's stuff in the dirt).

3. PERCY SLEDGE-"Oh How Happy"
Some ideas in the music industry make little sense.  Case in point Percy Sledge's U.K. only 1967 45 cover of The Shades of Blue's April 1966 U.S. hit "Oh How Happy". Why this was never released here I'll never know (U.K. Sue had already issued The Shades Of Blue version) but it's amazing and perfectly suited for Mr. Sledge!

4. MOON'S TRAIN-"My Town"
Moon's Train are sadly an odd footnote in Bill Wyman's extracurricular (musical that is) 60's career beyond The Stones.  They cut just one 45, a jazzy coupling ("Deed I Do"/"It's In My Mind") in 1967.  But their left over material issued as the excellent "The Life I Lead" CD shows them as a conflicted (but amazing) band torn between Georgie Fame-ish-mod-jazz/r&b and psychedelic pop.  "My Town" somehow bridges both with Mellotron rubbing up against horns that'd do a Geno Washington single proud with a great mod/freakbeat bash up ending.

5. FRANKIE VALLI & THE FOUR SEASONS-"Mrs. Statley's Garden"
Found on The Four Seasons brilliant opus, the "flop" LP, 1969's "Genuine Imitation Life Gazette", this is a wild cross between sunshiny harmony pop with some minor pop-psych touches not unlike something on a 1967 Decca/Deram track (phased horns, strings, flutes/piccolos etc). The heavy social commentary in the lyrics are pretty interesting as well (though that statement could in itself describe the whole LP too).

6. SKIP SPENCE-"War And Peace"
Somewhere between '68 Pink Floyd and The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band comes this spooky track that I discovered thanks to an episode of "True Crime" (where it perfectly fit) .  I'd long struggled to get my head around Skip's "Oar" album, and this was the perfect way in, trouble is there's nothing else on it that sounds like this!!

This New Zealand only 45 predates a re-recorded version by the band when they moved to the U.K. and renamed themselves The Human Instinct.  It's far murkier and raw and is amazingly infectious and was recently unearthed by the new 3 CD box set "Keep Lookin': Another 80 Mod, Freakbeat and Soul Nuggets".

8. THE PRISONERS-"Say Your Prayers (Cecil Road Demo)"
This 1982 demo of a track from The Prisoners debut LP "A Taste Of Pink" was tacked on as a bonus cut on the deluxe CD reissue of the album.  Recorded when the band was just a three piece lead singer Graham Day's voice has never been grittier and his over the top Dave Davie's '64 guitar solo is a treat.  Couldn't find the demo on YouTube so here's the studio version.

9. MONTY BABSON-"My Friend Jack"
This one is wiggy.  The Smoke's well known tune with vocals removed and replaced with a Hammond, much like all the Wynder K Frog/Island stuff and believe it or not it works REALLY well!  From the instrumental CD compilation "Roaring Blue: Return of the Instro Hipsters".


10. BILLY JOE ROYAL-"Cherry Hill Park"
Nicking it's horn riff from "25 Miles" by Edwin Starr this number had always intrigued me because not only is it powerful musically the lyrics are positively racy for the 60's Top Ten hit parade about a loose girl who puts it out to all comers after dark in the local park!!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Maximum R&B: The Who Live at the Marquee Club March 16, 1965

Here's the Who in all their vintage glory at the heyday of their mod era live onstage at the Marquee filmed for French TV performing James Brown's "Shout And Shimmy", Garnett Mimm's "Tell Me Baby", Martha And The Vandella's "Heatwave", what appears to be a heavy take of Chester Burnett's "Smokestack Lightning". Enjoy:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I am a DJ I am what......

Younger, faster. less grey and single....
I will be dusting off my DJ skills to join my old Hub City Soul partner in crime Scott Belsky as guest DJ's on Monday July 28th at Silk City in Philadelphia PA as guests of Acid Jazz artists The Filthy Six and their opening act The Cocktail Phenomenon.  We'll be laying down some soul/r&b 45 rpm sounds (no laptops or iPods for us we're the real deal....) before and after the bands.  The doors open at 8 P.M....

For more details head on over to Facebook: