Paul & Richie & The Crying Shames 1966
1. LOVE-“The Red Telephone”It took me a great many years of people around me force feeding me Love before my friend Tom Davis sat me down and politely played a selection of tracks which led me to actually dig them. “Forever Changes” is my fave LP by them and “Red Telephone” is my fave track on it. Arthur Lee and Love always had something sinister lurking behind the blinds and I find this number eerily anticipating the bloodbath at 10050 Cielo Drive “sitting on a hillside, watching all the people die” while lush orchestral arrangements sweep in.
2. TOM JONES-“I’m Alive”
I’ve got to admit, Jonesy’s balls-to-the-wall take on the Tommy James/Johnny Thunder/Don Fardon cut is pretty damn amazing considering it was recorded in 2008. There’s swatches of “modern” sound in it but all in all it sounds like a dead straight carbon copy of the Don Fardon arrangement with the Man from Pontypridd still showing he’s got the pipes.
3. THE TAGES-“She’s A Man”
Predating The Kink’s “Lola” theme by two years Sweden’s grooviest quintet tap the clueless-guy-with-transvestite lyric angle with good effect. Trippy backwards “I’m Only Sleeping” style effects groove with a cocktail party chat snippet in the middle where a bunch of queens can be heard cackling over the unfortunate boy’s dilemma : “the dear boy, he didn’t know, he heee”.
4. THE MOVE-“Cherry Blossom Clinic (Reprocessed Stereo Mix)”
A wiggy remixed version of the original 1967 first LP version of this Roy Wood ode to a mental institution takes on a new life with Trevor Burton’s vocals and Roy Wood’s wah wah pedal work becoming clearer and cleaner than ever. Magical.
5. THE TURTLES-“Grim Reaper Of Love”
Brilliant, venomous and sneering, something few would associate with the cheery bunch who gave the world “Happy Together”. From it’s haunting a cappella intro to it’s dirge like delivery this one is one of the best tracks to have ever come from this crew.
6. THE MILES DAVIS QUINTET-“Four”
Miles before he went crazy, funky and got way out there and played solos that sounded like a goose being slowly strangled, in that order. Mod jazz indeed, and from a free iTunes “Pick Of The Month” card from Starbucks nonetheless!
7. DONOVAN-“I Love My Shirt”
On Saturday night my wife and I were on a date and I had this tune on in the car and she commented “this sounds like something you would’ve written”, though she later pointed out it that the lines about it “fitting comfortably” ruled out most of mine. Still in all it’s a fun little tune that’s both simplistic and spot on that any anorak like me can identify with, excuse me while I tuck in this lovely patterned but short waisted Ben Sherman for the twelfth time today........
8. PAUL & RICHIE & THE CRYING SHAMES-Come On Back
After viewing the brilliant Joe Meek film “Telstar” I’ve undergone a bit of a Meek renaissance and dug up this one from November of 1966. It’s a far cry from Meek’s usual out of tune piano tinkling and foot stomping for percussion production technique. This time there’s loads of reverb on the combo organ and some heavy vibrato on nearly everything, classic “freakbeat” to the point that it’s almost proto-psychedelic. It’s probably a nice window into what he could’ve done had he not killed himself in June of ’67.
9. BOBBY WELLS-Be’s That Way Sometimes
This one is a stormer of a soul belter that owes quite a bit to Lou Christie’s “1-2-3”. The arrangement, from its chimes intro to the stellar production, is top notch. Easily one of my top 10 fave soul tracks. Impossibly expensive and no doubt highly favored among rip off Northern soul 45 dealers and funky English DJ/record collectors.
10. THE CREATION-For All That I Am
It’s probably been a good ten years since I’ve been able to enjoy The Creation, perhaps it was hipster overkill or perhaps it was because like most bands with a slim volume of material you just need a break from them from time to time. Regardless I still think their Bob Garner era stuff is overrated and I’ve always been a fan of their Kenny Pickett fronted material and this one (featuring the guitar talents of ex-Bird Ron Wood) is one of my faves. The gutsy guitar work in this always gets me and Kenny’s vocals are pretty darn solid.