Thursday, April 8, 2010


I don't get much time to blog like I used to but I can still manage something short and sweet every now and again. Recently I came upon an idea that I've nicked from my follow old school modernist across the pond , Monkey over at the fantastic
where he does a monthly playlist. I decided to do a bit of the same, hopefully he won't hold it against me.


1. THE ROULETTES-Help Me To Help Myself
This one never fails to get me, maybe it's my association with it as an ode to absent friends. Either way it's over the top. By the time of it's 45 rpm release (October 1967) The Roulettes were mired in chicken-in-a basket/cabaret land as "Revolver"/"Sgt. Pepper" laid waste to all the beat groups, even musos like The Roulettes. This one was their last single but it was quite contemporary, in fact it's flanged "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake" style piano intro predates the S.F.'s circular LP by a good eight months. Add some cool muted trumpet solo that sounds straight off of the Pretty Thing's "Emotions" LP and the typical Roulettes talented harmonies and you've got a winner along the lines of late mark Unit 4 + 2 (no surprise as band members Russ Ballard and Bob Henrit were part time Unit 4 + 2 members). It's been lovingly unearthed on the Psychic Circle "Fairytales Can Come True" CD comp.

2. SLADE-Colored Rain (Live BBC)
Presumably recorded in '69 shortly after morphing from longhair's Ambrose Slade en route to their short lived, short cropped bovver boy phase Slade were essentially a talented "covers" act for their bread and butter. This groovy interpretation of the Traffic tune is both soulful AND ballsy and shows how they managed to earn their crust "up the North(and all over the U.K.)" by being both diverse and talented (we won't speak on their version of "Nights In White Satin" however). From the very cool "Live at The BBC" which surprisingly features a great deal of "early" (ie pre-hit) '69 vintage Slade!

3. THE MOPS-San Franciscan Nights
Japanese accented English has long been maligned from "Breakfast At Tiffany's" to a host of 80's comedies, with all politically incorrect guffawing aside I'm always both blown away by and in a immature sense, amused by, band's who take on tunes in English when it's their second language. My chum Quick Parkly shared a CD by this 60's Japanese act with a fondness for Animals covers with me and this one is probably one of my faves of the bunch. Heavily accented but melodically executed it's worth an investigation.

This one was put on the juke last week at the pub on the Thursday "lad's night" and lit up the room. Even strangers to the band inquired "who is this? I like it." Long before Kevin Rowland and Co. introduced America to dirty bare feet, overalls and "Come On Eileen" they were an amazing band (and despite the ugly attire and unhygienic appearance they continued to be so) with soul and power owed in no small part to a crack horn section. I've yet to understand why they're chanting the name's of Irish authors in it but you can't deny it's infectiousness. From the essential "Searching For The Young Soul Rebels" LP.

5. PHILAMORE LINCOLN-And The North Wind Blew South
Ages ago I was hanging out with my pal Ivy Vale who was turning me onto loads of cool 60's stuff that hadn't been comped or reissued and I happened upon her "for sale" pile. Among them was an LP by one Philamore Lincoln called "The North Wind Blew South", which I'd not heard before but on her solid advice duly snatched up (on credit I believe, though I sent her a check for it later) sight and sound unseen and unheard. The album was and still is amazing and it's title cut is a sweeping, moody, tastefully orchestrated piece that reminds me of The Zombies and Nick Drake. I highly recommend it.

6. MARIANNE FAITHFULL-Come And Stay With Me (Live BBC)
I'll own up and state here that 95% of my Marianne Faithfull appreciation comes from her appearance (her face, her rack and her mannerisms, in that order. Check out the clip at the bottom of this blog to dig the latter, if that doesn't grab you you're dead from the top of your head down). Her voice these days and her post Decca records era is, in my book, an inaudible croak. In the 60's she sounded too chirpy to me sometimes, but more than often it was her or her arranger's choice of material. "Come And Stay With Me" was always a fave of mine and this version extracted from a "Saturday Club" broadcast from her "Live At The BBC" CD is interesting both vocally and musically with the backing band sounding like a music box orchestra. In Marianne's interview with Brian Matthews before the track begins she dispels all of the "blood of aristocracy" chatter and shows that descriptions of her early career's "innocence" as being not too far off the mark. She comes off as well spoken but very unsure and new to the world.

Back in the day (the 80's) The Lyres were great, not the monolithic, incessant line up changing, immortal garage band they eventually became and I enjoyed the hell out of them. Few Lyres efforts after the 80's amused me though this cover of an obscure cut by Phil & the Frantics is an exception with it's near stealing The Fab Four's "It's Only Love" and spooky moodiness only some U.S. 60's garage teens could conjure. From the "Happy Now" CD.

8. THE PETE BEST COMBO-The Way I Feel About You
Speaking of Lyres and garage teens, this '65 Pete Best cut was covered by The Lyres and sounds very reminiscent of an American garage number with it's simplistic off key combo organ lick and basement sink production that sounds like the vocalist was down the hall with the door closed. It's from a rare as hell U.S. only 45 released on the Happening label while he was based in NY (with help from future Decca/Dera, A&R men/producers and Flirtations managers/songwriters Wayne Bickerton and Tony Waddington). The tape rolling seconds after the first chord is actually struck is pricelessly trashy as well. From the Cherry Red Pete Best Combo CD "All Aboard" which I'm asking you with peace and love, and telling you with peace and love, to check out.

It took me ages to get my head around John Mayall's post "Mayall Plays Mayall:Live at Klook's Kleek" album stuff and I'm still not fully "there". This track from his "A Hard Road" LP is one of my faves by him. Essentially it's almost a "solo" tune with just Mayall's voice and some sparse guitar work (the vocal overdubs by him create an echo effect on certain lines that are downright trippy at times). Nuff said.

Few of Ronnie Lane's post Faces "solo" tracks ring as bright as the violin backed, jauntiness of "The Poacher" in my book. It's wistful, plaintive and cheery delivery never ceases to blow me away and it strikes me that this was not a number one! Available on his CD "Anyone For Anymore".


Monkey said...

No Bill, I think all bloggers should do these lists.

I'd never heard Philamore Lincoln before but a quick listen to a couple of tracks on YouTube, a jump across to EvilBay, and the CD is winging its way across the pond. Lovely stuff. (Thanks for the offer by the way). Will no doubt make my April Picks!

Monkey said...

PS: The "great rack" line made me laugh!