Sunday, August 25, 2019

More U.K. Tracks On U.S. Labels: Manfred Mann Mk. II Part Two

MANFRED MANN-My Name Is Jack/There Is A Man US Mercury 72822 1968
Manfred Mann's "My Name Is Jack" was one the band's last UK hits (the second to last actually, #8). It had no such luck in the US dying at #104 in the June of 1968 (simultaneously launched in the U.K. as Fontana TF 943).

Like The Who's "Substitute", "Mty Name Is Jack" had it's lyrics edited for a US release with the tasteless line "Here comes Super Spade who really puts it on" changed to "Here comes Superman".  Probably not one of my faves, it's a piece of pretty disposable pop music about life in an orphanage ("in the Greta Garbo home for wayward boys and girls"). It's totally inoffensive but just so syrupy sweet that it hurts my teeth to listen to it more than once.  There's some neat harmonies it in but....

Bass player Tom McGuinness's "There Is A Man" brings up the flip. It's a freaky little ditty about a guy in an asylum who hallucinates seeing a man who follows him around ala The Who's "Whiskey Man", only far more sinister thanks to some almost Pink Floyd-ish spacey musical backing!!

Hear "My Name Is Jack":

Hear "There Is A Man":

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Dance Floor Revivals: The Dave Clark Five

THE DAVE CLARK FIVE-Concentration Baby/Everybody Knows UK Columbia DB 8286 1967

Back in the mid 90's word across the Atlantic was filtering across from US modernist globe trotters that DJ's in the U.K. were breaking free from their usual "US soul/r&b only" mode and spinning all sorts of previously "taboo" sounds, many of them were from their own soil.  Among them was this gem by the Dave Clark Five originally released in October 1967 on the flip of the slushy "Everybody Knows" (#2 in the UK charts), "Concentration Baby" and its sudden popularity saw its price spike considerably by the late 90's, until it apparently fell out of favor (no such luck with Timebox's reading of "Beggin'" which is STILL in demand).

"Concentration Baby" is a full on, 100 mph high octane belter driven by an incessant organ lick, fuzz guitar and a heavy beat, a perfect vehicle for lead vocalist Mike Smith's screaming style.

The A-side, "Everbody Knows" (not to be confused with a Dave Clark/Lenny Davidson original from 1965 of the same title, Columbia DB 7453) is a schlocky crooner written by Les Reed and Barry Mason and interestingly sung by guitarist Lenny Davidson.

Both sides are available on the indispensable DC5 double CD collection "The History Of The Dave Clark Five".

Hear "Concentration Baby":

Hear "Everybody Knows" (and cringe):

Sunday, August 4, 2019

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The Herd Minus Peter Frampton

THE HERD-The Game/Beauty Queen US Fontana F-1646 1969

The Herd, a UK pop/psych quartet were by 1969, on their last legs. Their lead singer and guitarist "The Face of '68" (as he was dubbed by the magazine "Rave") Peter Frampton decamped to form Humble Pie with ex-Small Faces front man Steve Marriott leaving the band to carry on as a trio with Andy Bown (vocals, keyboards), Gary Taylor (bass/vocals) and Victor Spinetti (brother of actor Henry, on drums). They limped on for one last single, "The Game" which was issued in the U.K. as Fontana TF 1011 in April 1969, it was issued the following month in the US. It failed to chart and the U.K. and predictably did nothing in the US.

"The Game" is a piece of brass backed pop floss, it's not awful but it's so mundane and verges on inane bubble gum so much that I really never want to play it again. The lead vocals are (presumably) by Gary Taylor. Next!

New Herd front man Andy Bown

"Beauty Queen" should have been the A-side!  Sung by Andy Bown it's an uptempo little number with a rocking groove and amusing lines like "Beauty queen where have you been? Been to the Ivanhoe to see the Cream?". The dual attack of guitar and keyboards fatten the sound up add to my earlier mentioned comment that it should have been the A-side! The band splintered shortly after the record's flop with Bown and Spinetti joining former Amen Corner horn section members as Judas Jump. After that Bown eventually wrote and performed the theme song to the UK TV show "Ace Of Wands" in 1970, the amazing and highly collectible Mellotron freakout "Tarot".

Both sides are available on a host of Herd CD compilations available out there. We recommend the most recent "The Complete Herd: Singles A's & B's".

Mexican Herd E.P. split with Dave Dee, Dozy Beaky, Mick & Tich

Hear "The Game":

Hear "Beauty Queen":

Friday, July 26, 2019

Fleetwood Mac Shake The Case Of The Blues

FLEETWOOD MAC-The Green Manalishi (With A Two Pronged Crown)/World In Harmony UK Reprise RS.27007 1970

Here in America Fleetwood Mac will always be associated with the 70's and all of the Colombian marching powder excesses and domestic partnership in a band gone wrong that go along with it, but as most of you know they began as an entirely different horse of an entirely different color. Bursting forth in 1967 their C.V. and line-up read like a Who's Who of British r&b and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers alumni. But by the late 60's their habit of electrified blues was shifting into different horizons with their 1969 #1 (U.K.) instrumental "Albatross" and it's follow up, the somber "Man Of The World" (#2 and their sole 45 on Immediate records).  1970 saw the release of today's subject, guitarist Peter Green's "The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown)", a UK #10 and subsequently Green's last record with the band before mental illness took it's toll and it's founding member moved on. Green later indicated that the number was about the evils of money and was written shortly after a nightmare about a green dog.

"The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown)" is one of the heaviest and darkest records you will ever hear and even without knowing the background to Green's subsequent illness it's musical make up is pure bona fide musical doom. Plodding, heavy and full of layers of guitars it literally jumps all over the place with each new change as complex as the next with Green and guitarist Danny Kirwan playing their asses off.

UK picture sleeve c/o

The flip side "World In Harmony" is a haunting beautiful instrumental by Green and Kirwan that starts of with some harmonics with a melody not unlike the band's previous single "Man Of The World". Eventually it's somber mood picks up with a slightly menacing line coming in, but just briefly before reverting back to the lilting, gentle melody.

Both sides are available on a fairly comprehensive double Fleeetwood Mac CD "Love That Burns: The Blues Years" which is still in print.

Hear "The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown)":

Hear "World In Harmony":

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Alan Price: Life After The Animals

ALAN PRICE SET-The House That Jack Built/Who Cares UK Decca F12641 1967

Much like Paul Jones when he jumped ship from Manfred Mann, ex-Animal Alan Price ran quickly away from the r&b of the band that made him famous and straight into the arms of "pop music". "The House That Jack Built" was Price's sixth solo 45 in the U.K. Issued in July 1967 it was also his first composition to air as an A-side in his solo career and the absolute antithesis for the Summer of Love.

For years I had always assumed "The House That Jack Built" was a cover, perhaps even a Randy Newman tune as there's something about it's jaunty mood that reminds me of it's predecessor, a version of Newman's "Simon Smith And His Amazing Dancing Bear" (UK Decca F12570). It's quirky and the lyrics about a house of eccentrics give it that offbeat pop feel akin to the Manfred's hit "My Name Is Jack". It also sounds suited for future partner in crime Georgie Fame and his poppier sides he was cutting in 1967.

The flip side, "Who Cares" is another Price original.  Again the lyrics are a tad oblique and there's nothing redeeming about it to my ears. Next!

Both sides are available on a 3 CD set "Twice The Price" that contains everything Price ever recorded for Decca.

Hear "The House That Jack Built":

Hear "Who Cares":

Sunday, July 7, 2019

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The Young Idea

THE YOUNG IDEA-Mr. Lovin' Luggage Man/Room With A View US Capitol P 2093 1968

U.K. duo The Young Idea were very much in the vein of Paul & Barry Ryan, Twice As Much or The Truth as far as UK duos go. Comprised of Douglas Macrae-Browne and Tony Cox they cut a host of 45's (and an LP) in the UK on the Columbia label from 1966-1967. Today's subject is their fifth and final single, issued on the UK a Columbia DB 8284 in October 1967, it was held up for a US release until January 1968 (where it was their third and final US single).

"Mr. Lovin' Luggage Man" was written by Les Reed and Barry Mason and it's a pseudo baroque orchestrated pop piece not at all dissimilar to Twice As Much. It's a bit chirpy at times but the strings are absolutely ear catching!

"Room With A View" is the stronger of the two tracks in my mind.  The sawing violins have a discordant ring to them that brings the Velvet Underground to mind and it has all the other trappings necessary for it to be a pop psych gem from it's harmonies to it's slickly produced perfection.

"Mr. Lovin' Luggage Man" cropped on on one of the "Piccadilly Sunshine" compilations, on their "Part Thirteen" volume. Sadly "Room With A View" has failed to materialize anywhere as of yet.

Hear "Mr. Lovin' Luggage Man":

Hear "Room With A View":

Sunday, June 30, 2019

More U.K. Tracks On U.S. Labels: Manfred Mann Mk. II Do Dylan

MANFRED MANN-Mighty Quinn(Quinn The Eskimo)/By Request Edwin Garvey US Mercury 72770 1968

My earliest recollection of Manfred Mann was their US hit (#10) reading of Bob Dylan's "The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo)" which was a staple of Oldies radio throughout my childhood (oddly the Paul Jone's era r&b Manfred's were not nearly heard as much despite "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" being a #1 hit!).

"The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo)" was launched in the US in February 1968 (it was issued in the U.K. one month prior as Fontana TF 897 where it rose to the coveted #1 spot). It's a fairly innocuous pop track highlighted by some flute and Mike D'Abo's powerful pipes. Despite being bludgeoned to death with it throughout my childhood I have discovered in my old age that it's not a bad track.

The flip, Mike D'Abo's "By Request Edwin Garvey" is a bizarre piece sung in a faux crooner style with just piano. I imagine it would have been better suited to Vivian Stanshall and The Bonzo Dog Band than the Manfred's.

Both sides are available on the CD reissue of the LP "Mighty Garvey!" which is still in print.

Hear "The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo)":

Hear "By Request Edwin Garvey":