Tuesday, August 31, 2010

So it's all girls together.....


 

This ones got me baffled.  I see (l to r) The Ladybirds, Cilla Black, Lulu, Susan Maughn, unknown blonde, Elkie Brooks, Marianne Faithful, unknown and Julie Rogers.

Dean Parrish Live!

Here's a video I shot of Dean Parrish with musical backing provided by The Soul Set (no karaoke backing tracks here kids) tearing into "I'm On My Way" live onstage as part of "Dig Deeper's" monthly soul night at Southpaw in Brooklyn, N.Y. , U.S.A. Saturday August 28th, 2010.  At about 0:25 in he comes down into the audience (and knocks down my pint which I'd set on the edge of the steps, with his mike cable, sorry bout that Dean) so it was a bit dark to shoot but you can still hear him.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 27, 2010

August Pick's

1. THE FRATELLIS-"Chelsea Dagger"
I'm rarely amused/aroused or interested in anything remotely contemporary.  I know I've heard this song in a TV commercial (probably for some movie).  Anyway I heard it in my local last month and it sounded good with a few pints down.  I played it on iTunes and it was still good, so 99 cents later it was mine.  Catchy little bit of mid 90's Brit-pop sounding "lad music" even if they look like complete tw*ts.



2. JIMMY BURNS & THE FANTASTICS-"It Used To Be"
Another dreadful example of why I don't need to own another CD when I've got fantastic tracks like this 60's soul number right under my nose!  This ones real moody and has some great depth on the vocals and the cheezy organ tops it off!  From the ultra cool Rhino "Beg Shout And Scream" big 'ol box of soul.

3. THE MOODY BLUES-"Dr. Livingstone I Presume" (Live BBC)
Deram's 2 CD Moody Blues "Live BBC" CD has given me great enjoyment over the past year or so I've had it.  I've found many of the tracks on it, like this one, better their "studio" incarnations and this one is no exception to that rule thanks to some very cool Mellotron action that's not heard on the LP version.

4. THE CHOCOLATE WATCHBAND-"Requiem"
Not the California longhairs but a U.K. pop duo who cut two 45's for Decca.  This one was from '67 and embodies that great era of soulful, well produced/orchestrated Decca/Deram psych pop that I'm always on about.  I'll take this over the Jagger mincing CA garage band any day.

Hear "Requiem":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fkvl8VoAxbE


5. DONOVAN-"Mellow Yellow" (Live BBC)
I'm a sucker for any 60's U.K. Beeb sessions, this one came via some less than legal means on a CD a friend comped me.  It's interesting because the horns so so much better and fuller than on the record on this version making this cool song even better.

6. THE CHORDS-"Maybe Tomorrow"
Like most of the '79 mod bands the Chords have reunited, unlike most of them I still like The Chords (and Squire and The Purple Hearts).  Good for them (and hopefully for their fans as well). This was one of my fave '79 singles back when I was a young mod and it still hold up with it's angst, energy and sheer power.


7. MADNESS-"N.W 5"
A more recent number by the Nutty Boys from a freebie CD I got last year from either "Mojo" or "Uncut" of "London Songs" it shows Madness style have a knack for great piano driven melodies with very British vocals and sweeping strings.  Pure magic.






















8. ANDY LEWIS-"The Secret Life Of A.J. Lewis"
These days he's Paul Weller's bass player but Andy is more than just that and an artist in his own right.  His debut CD on Acid Jazz ("Billion Pound Project") had some amazing tracks on it, none more so than this instrumental toe tapper that contains everything that would convince you this was from the late 60's from it's harpsichord, strings, femme "la la la la's", sitar and a sax solo that sounds dead off a Larry Page LP.  Best played while zooming around in an automobile (with manual transmission for full effect) at high speeds.

Hear "The Secret Life Of A.J. Lewis":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zc33m6fxl8




















9. NORMAN CONQUEST-"Upside Down"
One of the crown jewel's of Bam Caruso's "Rubble Volume 8: All the Colours Of Darkness" is this brilliant little ditty from 1968 by a studio concoction by the legendary John Pantry.  The whole thing is incredibly blue as it's not a terribly happy song but it's mild organ and phlanged piano add to the doom and gloom of this masterpiece.

Hear "Upside Down":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBW_ryM8cVQ
















10. DEAN PARRISH-"I'm On My Way"
Despite the best attempts of the Northern Soul mafia to drive this number into the ground I'll always dig it.  I've never been quite sure how it became such a dancefloor sensation at Wigan or wherever the hell else it received it's "legend" status with all it's tempo changes.  But one thing is for certain, Dean's voice is in full form on it and the production/orchestration is amazing from the female backing vocals to the fuzz guitar intro to the flute and horns.  I'm looking fordward to seeing Dean on 8/28 at the Dig Deeeper (see above) event he's playing. Keep the faith!

Hear "I'm On My Way":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DFqNOfYvJQ

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cool Foreign E.P. Sleeves Part Thirteen:Jacques Dutronc


JACQUES DUTRONC-l'opportuniste/la lecon de gymanistique du professeur dutronc/amour, toujours, tendresse, caresse/transes-dimanche E.P. France Disques Vogue EPL 8640 1968

Oscar-Club Of Lights




OSCAR-Club Of Lights/Waking Up U.K. Reaction 591003 1966

You would think 60's singer Oscar (born Paul Oscar Beuselinck) had it made. His father (Oscar) was The Who's lawyer and presumably these connections got him a deal with Robert Stigwood's Reaction label. Stigwood would also become his manager. Previously he had gone under the moniker of Paul Dean cutting two singles (the last of which was on Reaction) with that name.  A name change to Oscar and a crack at an unreleased Pete Townshend song ("Join My Gang" Reaction 591006) were next.  Despite all this his debut stalled.  For his next Reaction single he was given a track called "Club Of Lights" by one Speedy Keen, a Pete Townshend protege who would go on to give The Who "Armenia City In The Sky" and found Thunderclap Newman.  This too sadly flopped.

"Club Of Lights" is fairly obscure.  I never heard it at any "mod" nights and rarely heard anyone talk about it or mention.  I stumbled upon it because I was collecting anything on Reaction that I could get my hands on and I'd already had his "Join My Gang" 45 which I liked.  "Club Of Lights" is an amazing single.  It starts out with a bit of distorted guitar and a driving beat.  It attempts to be soulful and comes off a bit plastic in that department but what makes it so listenable is it's beat and repetitive "dancing, dancing, dancing" chant in the chorus and lyrics about the discotheque night life. I have to be dead honest and tell you I haven't a clue what the b-side was like, you'd have to ask Ty Jesso (I think he wound up with it, though I could be wrong).

Oscar's next single on Reaction would be a crack at an unissued David Bowie number "Over The Wall We Go", which it is alleged allowed him some TV exposure to promote it, one hopes that will someday surface on YouTube, but like most 60's British television was probably wiped by the stingy BBC.  Oscar would continue to stay under Stigwood's umbrella and once again rename himself  this time Paul Nicholas.  He would go on to play Cousin Kevin in "Tommy", record a host of records (among them his dreadful 70's disco hit "Heaven On The Seventh Floor") and achieve even more ghastly notoriety by appearing in Stigwoods 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band" movie (what WERE The Fab Four thinking when they licenced that abortion or more to the point how much blow were they doing?)

Sadly like most of Oscar's cool Reaction sides this one has eluded a proper reissue thus far.


Hear "Club Of Lights":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=227Lp0t6i7k

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Like, Heavy............man



THE ACE KEFFORD STAND-For Your Love/Gravy Booby Jam U.K. Atlantic 584260 1969

Here at Anorak Thing one of our all time heroes is the cool as *uck looking, blonde haired, sharp dressing, soulful singing, fancy footed killer bass playing gent known as Chris "Ace" Kefford. Starting out with Move lead vocalist Carl Wayne in Carl Wayne & The Vikings the two joined forces with other Brummie musicians to form The Move (see August 13, 2009 entry). By the time of The Move's fourth U.K. top ten "Fire Brigade" in March 1968 Ace was experiencing what we would call a complete mental breakdown from drugs, the pressures of rock n' roll and being in a band where he did not get along. It was quoted in several article and interviews that Ace (in the words of Carl Wayne to Brian Matthews on a BBC session) "never got along with the others". It was also stated in a more recent Roy Wood interview that rhythm guitarist Trevor Burton "hated Ace". By April 1968 he was out of the band (not before writing "William Chalker's Time Machine" for fellow Brummie's The Lemon Tree, Parlophone R 5671 which was produced by Amen Corner's Andy Fairweather-Low and Ace's nemesis in The Move, Trevor Burton). His place on bass was taken, ironically, by Trevor Burton, who to this day still performs with drummer Bev Bevan as The Move.

Ace Kefford 1966

Ace wasted little time getting back in the game, which is surprising given his mental state at the time. But he was back in the studio with help of the Move's arranger Tony Visconti working on an LP (which would not see the light of day until 2003) which he eventually abandoned. In 1969 he put together The Ace Kefford Stand with himself fronting the band and Dave Ball-guitar, brother Dennis Ball-bass and Cozy Powell-drums. In March of 1969 the band made their debut with what would be their one off single on Atlantic.

Forget The Yardbird's version of "For Your Love".  The Stand's version bears little resemblance to it.  It's lethargic, a bit drawn out at just under 6 minutes long and Ace's Stevie Winwood-eque soulful voice sounds a bit strained at times.  The whole thing reminds me if the way the Vanilla Fudge bludgeoned "You Keep Me Hangin' On", in fact it would seem that the later is sort of a blueprint for this. But it's the B-side we're here for folks.  "Gravy Booby Jam" (originally titled "Groovy Booby Jam") is without a doubt one of the most sincere British 60's Hendrix tributes/pastiches around.  Ace and Trevor Burton sported some frightening perms in '67-'68 and The Move had toured the U.K. on an insane late '67 package tour with Hendrix (and Amen Corner, The Nice, The Pink Floyd, The Eire Apparent and The Outer Limits, how's that for a kick ass bill!).  Ace was, like many U.K. musicians at the time, was suitably impressed by the Man from Cafe Wha.  The wah-wah infused dirge that is "Gravy Booby Jam" is a masterpiece.  It's pretty heavy but not too over the top and Ace's voice is in top form on this one, buried amidst the wash of funky jamming (the guitar solo reminds me a lot of Mick Ronson's solo on David Bowie's "Width Of A Circle" which would appear the following year, coincidence?).  Ace at several points sings "I've lost my head again...", eerie as mental illness and drug abuse would rear their ugly faces in his life and spell the end of his musical career not too long after this single.  Predictably the record went nowhere and the Ace Kefford Stand were no more.  Ace had one more single up his sleeve in the form of Big Bertha featuring Ace Kefford who released "This World's An Apple"(written by John Bromley) b/w the previously released "Gravy Booby Jam" on (U.K.) Atlantic 584298 which hit the streets in October 1969 before Ace vanished into the underworld of drugs, depression and suicide attempts.  Luckily Ace cleaned himself up by the early 90's and is still with us today.

The Ace Kefford Stand 1969

Both tracks have been reissued on the CD release of his unreleased "solo" LP titled "Ace the Face".

Hear "For Your Love":


Hear "Gravy Booby Jam":


Ace's website:


The Chunky Funky Heavy Sounds of Plastic Penny


PLASTIC PENNY-Your Way To Tell Me Go/Baby You're Not To Blame U.K. Page One POF 079 1968

This my friends is one of those rare instances in British 60's 45 rpm territory where both sides of a single are equally amazing. This was the second 45 by the Larry Page managed and produced act Plastic Penny. Their debut, the sappy "Everything I Am" was a sizable hit. This one, not so, but isn't that the way it went back then?


"Your Way To Tell Me Go" starts out with all the right ingredients: murky bass, Hammond and some tasty licks and some very high register lead vocals.  The whole mood is a bit "heavy" on the musical side calling to mind the late '68 Move or even, early Deep Purple, but the lead vocals and harmonies keep it poppy enough not to sound proto "hard rock".  The musical backing on this is killer.  The B-side, "Baby You're Not To Blame" utilizes the same chunky backing formula only the vocals are less poppy.  The bass/guitar/electric piano remind me a lot of the late era Small Faces when they started to get heavy with "Wham Bam Thank You Mam".  It's got balls and the bass is pure genius and I could easily image a lot of long hairs shuffling around the floor to this in some miscellaneous discotheque scene in a cheezy late 60's Hammer film.

Both sides have been on a variety of comps but are also included as bonus cuts on the CD reissue of their 1969 LP "Currency".

Hear "Your Way To Tell Me Go":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgVh3ZA5IP8

Hear "Baby You're Not To Blame":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlN9MWVsjkc

The Zombies: Bunny Lake Cameo


"MAD" magazine's take on "Bunny Lake Is Missing".  Cheers to Michael Lynch for digging this up!




The rarely seen promo spot with The Zombies!



The band's 30 seconds in the film......with their killer "alternate" version of "Remember You".

Monday, August 23, 2010

More Chords........

My youth encapsulated.......

I hear they've reunited for a gig or two...

Shut Up, Listen and Dance!


MADNESS-Work Rest & Play E.P.: Night Boat To Cairo/Deceives The Eye/Young And Old/Don't Quote Me On That U.K. Stiff BUY 71 1980

There's no point on giving you the complete rundown on Camden Town, London's most famous band. Indeed Madness are without a shadow of a doubt Britain's must commercially successful ska band, though their sound incorporates much more than Jamaican sounds (owing much more to Ian Dury's first band Kilburn & the High Roads).

Expanded to a seven piece by late 1979 this was the band's 4th 7" release. The showcase of the E.P. is the frantic "Night Boat To Cairo" which is as much a signature tune of the band as any. Interestingly enough all four tracks are band originals. Madness ability to build a slew of originals this early on in their recording career gave them the longevity their peers lacked and it also set them apart from contemporaries who occasionally relied on old Jamaican 60's tracks to flesh up their repertoires. This was actually the first British ska record I owned which I ordered from Stiff records by mail sometime in late 1980 or early 1981.

"Night Boat To Cairo", led by sax player Lee "Kicks" Thompson's nimble solo is a glorious affair for anyone who's not had the pleasure. With lead singer Sugg's distinct London accent and sweeping strings beneath it all the number evokes the days of the Empire when pasty white English squaddies were doing their National Service all around the globe as put by one WWII North African veteran "their knees not yet brown".



"Deceives The Eye" is a cheeky little number about the life and times of a petty shoplifter and contains the usual giddy, jauntiness that made Madness the "Nutty Boys" that they were (are?).  On the flip we have the Hammond organ led "Young And Old" a distinctly British number that evokes knees up's, brown ales, scullery women and Ealing comedies and concerns at night out on the piss. It's one of my favorites by them and seems to usually elude Madness CD compilation compilers, which is a shame and features a great line about a youthful night at the boozer: "old men in the morning, young men at night". The band had drawn a bit of flak for the large number of British Movement/National Front supporting skinheads who followed the band.  The band made the "Beatles Are Bigger Than Jesus" move by stating they didn't care who came to their gigs as long as they came to dance and have a good time.  A brief bit of fury ensued in the press, but this blew over soon enough once the band ditched their skinhead gear, grew flat tops and started wearing baggy, way out clobber.  "Don't Quote Me On That" is a piss take all about the whole experience, shouted, rather than sung, by Chas Smash, the band's "toaster".  The track's message is simple: "what I said they took it all the wrong way" and finally, "shut up, listen and dance".  Amen

Luckily all four tracks are on their wonderful CD compilation "The Business"!

Hear "Deceives The Eye":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7EuB9F0bYA

Hear "Young And Old" and "Don't Quote Me On That":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUVgNS6o0qc


Cool Foreign Picture Sleeves Part Twelve:The Motions


THE MOTIONS-My Love Is Growing/Why Don't You Take It Holland Havoc SH 116 1966

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Teenage Operas Part One: I had things planned by her folks wouldn't let her...


THE WHO-The Kids Are Alright/The Ox U.K. Brunswick 1966

Few images are clearer in my life than those associated with music. Hearing The Who's debut (American) LP "The Who Sings My Generation" (slapped together in a double packaging with their American only LP "Magic Bus" by MCA) in the fall of 1980 is one of them. It changed my life, literally. It encapsulated my defining moment of "mod" that became a lifelong passion, especially musically. One of the songs, along with the title track that immediately sprung to my attention was "The Kids Are Alright". The harmonies, the sustain of Pete Townshend's Rickenbacker 330 on the opening chord, Moon's sloppy drumming and the lyrics grabbed me by the throat and honestly I've never been quite able to resist any pop song with good harmonies or a nice crisp Rickenbacker since. Being a teenager I was well versed in not having things go my way in the parental disapproval department and the line

"I know if I go things would be a lot better for her.  I had things planned but her folks wouldn't let her..."

spoke to me. I didn't have a girlfriend and my experience with the fairer sex was nil at this point, but being hopelessly romantic (read "teenage moron") and still able to daydream I hoped I would someday and I hoped that if I did, I could "leave her behind where the kids are alright".  i'd also always longed to be somewhere else, with people who understood or at least respected what I was about.  Ahhh youthful escapism at it's best.
Classic Who 1965 , pic by David Wedgbury

A year or so later my best friend moved to the city of Bayonne, NJ where his stepfather had taken a position as a parson in a church there.  A block away was a main thoroughfare called Broadway that was our hangout that summer.  We were rural kids with very limited urban experience.  We weren't hayseeds but we were far from streetwise and this city opened our eyes.  As seedy as it was Bayonne was magical, they had a very cool record shop and a bookstore with loads of British books (I bought my first copy of "Mods' by Richard Barnes there). Helping my friend's parents move we'd all discovered the local record shop the first time we'd set foot there.  I purchased a British reissue of The Who's "My Generation" with it's brilliant David Wedgbury cover sleeve shot there. We took turns playing our LP's during the expedition we made there.  I don't recall what anyone else bought other than someone getting the U.K. pressing of the first Clash LP.  When it was my turn I chose Side Two which began with "The Kids Are Alright".  It sounded a thousand times better and different than the dodgy U.S. MCA version and to my delight it was longer!  The whole brief power chord slashing/drum rumbling "rave up" had been edited out of the American version (I later learned because, allegedly some prat in the States thought it was musically defective). 

Pete Townshend in action, 1965 pic by David Wedgbury

As stated earlier the intro is powerful. Roger Daltrey's never sounded so good and the harmonies add a "surf" (aka Beach Boys) feel to it.  Proto power pop at it's finest with all the right hooks!  During the "solo" the resonation of Pete's Rickenbacker as he windmilled away the chords while Moon thundered away on the kit was and still is quite mesmerising.  It's all brought back to earth with a crescendo and Roger comes back in while the harmonies are clearer and more audible. Phew.  Breathless!

The instrumental B-side, "The Ox" was of course is the band's attempt at placating surf-mad drummer Keith Moon (late of an instrumental combo called The Beachcombers). Not my thing really.

The shot that shook my world, pic by David Wedgbury

Both sides are available in excellent quality on the wonderful 2 CD reissue of " My Generation" direct from producer Shel Talmy's master tapes. 



Miming on Sweden's "Popside" TV show 1966

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rod the Mod's Solo Debut


ROD STEWART-Good Morning Little Schoolgirl/I'm Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town U.K. Decca F 11996 1964

After cutting his teeth singing with the likes of Long John Baldry and the Hoochie Coochie Men and appearing as a guest vocalist (uncredited) on their June 1964 British United Artists 45 (UP-1056) covering Sister Rosetta Tharpe's "Up Above My Head" Rod Stewart was prepared to make his own mark.

Signed to Decca records in the wake of numerous post Rolling Stones r&b boom signings his debut hit the streets in October 1964 (he even got a chance to plug it on "Ready Steady Go" as photos attest!).  The A-side was a slightly more uptempo version of the Sonny Boy Williamson standard "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl".  It moves along nicely thanks to some nimble acoustic guitar finger picking and a bluesy bar room piano.  The one to hear for me is the flipside, Big Bill Broonzy's (no doubt via Ray Charles's reading) "I'm Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town".  The musical backing is pure juke joint stuff, not bad for a bunch of white , probably middle aged session men.  It's Rod's vocals that put this one up there and out there, he plays it cool and sings the blues like nobody's business.

Rod giving it some onstage at the Richmond
Jazz & Blues Festival 1964

After this single Rod moved to Columbia for two other singles, more on the first some other time and the second can be found in our October 7, 2008 entry.

"Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" appears on Decca's excellent CD comp "The R&b Scene" while "I'm Gona Move To The Outskirts Of Town" surfaced on their "The Blues Scene" CD.

Hear "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl":


Hear "I'm Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3IREbBi-XY

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cool Foreign E.P. Sleeves Part Eleven:Spectrum


SPECTRUM-E.P.: Samantha's Mine/London Bridge Is Coming Down/Saturday's Child/Tables And Chairs  Portugal RCA TP-428 1968

Friday, August 13, 2010

More Flirtations!



THE FLIRTATIONS-What's Good About Goodbye My Love/Once I Had A Love U.K. Deram DM 252 1969

This was the third U.K. Deram single by the U.K. based South Carolina female soul trio squired by Liverpudlians Wayne Bickerton and Tony Waddington.  It was released in April 1969 and followed their previous release, Deram DM 216, the monster hit "Nothing But A Heartache".

"What's Good About Goodbye My Love" bears all the trademarks of The Flirtations best Deram sides.  It has over the top production and a razor sharp wall of sound laid down by the best session musicians money could buy featuring an array of strings, brass, etc.  "What's Good..." is uptempo, far more manic than their previous two U.K. Deram A-sides.  On the flip we have "Once I Had A Love" which follows the same tempo of their previous A-sides and once again it's amazing.  While typing this I've come to the realization that nearly all of their tracks up to this point (exception being their previous B-side, "Christmas Time Is Here Again") are about loss of love making them a rather apt at being the merchants of heartbreak anthems!  Albeit entertaining ones.


Like all good Flirtation's Deram sides these tracks are both contained on the CD release of their sole LP , 1970's "Sounds Like...".



"What's Good About Goodbye My Love" on German TV's "Beat Club" 1969 . Though there only seems to be two of them in this clip!


Hear "Once I Had A Love":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42AsqOJelPE

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Great Films Part One: Gangster No. 1

A violent hash smoker shook a chocolate machine.....


DONOVAN-E.P. Turquoise/Sunny Goodge Street/Hey Gyp/Deed I Do France Pye International PNV 24 158 1966

After nearly two years of being what he called "the Scottish Woody Guthrie" Donovan was poised to follow his TRUE role model Bob Dylan and go "electric".  Before he did so his acoustic denim cap wearing period underwent a bit of a change where other instruments besides his acoustic guitar and gob iron accompanied his singing. This brief metamorphosis heralded his electric debut where he strapped on a Rickenbacker 360, incorporated a sitar and went "electric".

"Turquoise" is a mellow affair, a bit of the "old" Donovan in it's instrumentation.  I like it but what drives me positively batty is the high pitched harmonica that's way too high in the mix and hits so notes that are a bit too high for human ears in spots, still it's chording is magnificent.  It was previously a U.K. single ( Piccadilly 7N19584 in October '65). Next. "Sunny Goodge Street" is one of my favorite Donno tracks.  In the classic vein of people watching/observation songs it's one of the best in the genre that begs a reprinting of it's lyrics for full effect:

"On the firefly platform on sunny goodge street
Violent hash-smoker shook a chocolate machine
involved in an eating scene
Smashing into neon streets in their stillness
Smearing their eyes on the crazy colored goddess
Listenin' to sounds of Mingus mellow fantastic
"My, my", they sigh
"My, my", they sigh
In doll house rooms with coloured lights swingin'
Strange music boxes sadly tinklin'
Drink in the sun shining all around you
"My, my", they sigh
"My, my", they sigh, mm mm
"My, my", they sigh
"My, my", they sigh
The magician, he sparkles in satin and velvet
You gaze at his splendour with eyes you've not used yet
I tell you his name is love, love, love
"My, my", they sigh
"My, my", they sigh
"My, my" - sigh"

With references to hash and Mingus we know firmly where Donovan's head was and if this number isn't mod jazz I don't know what is (Donovan, among many other boasts, says he was a bit of a mod in his book. Fair cop as he did write some trippy liner notes for the Moody Blue's r&b/soul soaked debut LP "Magnificent Moodies" and was an avid early Who follower). The number opens a new era to Donovan's musical tapestry: jazz. With swatches of flute, cello, stand up bass, horns, electric guitar and drums the whole thing is a groovy pastiche of what I'd imagine London '66 on the verge of psychedelia was like. It's like something you'd associate with black and white moments clouded by Woodbine's and brown ale before it was all liberated by lysergically fueled technicolor . The highlights for me are the mellow horns (later used to similar effect on David Bowie's "London Boys") , the brief Wes Montgomery inspired licks and the snappy flute solo. "Hey Gyp" (previously issued as the U.K. flip to "Turquoise") it still musically the old acoustic Gibson/harmonica backing, but it's delivered with more urgency (amphetamine?) and lyrically makes mention of L.S.D. and not the "pound, shillings, pence" kind with bits like "I'll buy you a sugarcube..." followed by "I don't want to go for no trip". The number was covered to great effect first by the U.K. mod duo The Truth's (Deram DM 105) positively frantic reading in November '66, (Eric Burdon &) The Animals on their "Animalisms" LP in December '66 and then by Animal Hilton Valentine's ex-Wildcats band mate Keith Shields (Decca F 12572) in February '67. "Deed I Do" is, I'm told, a Bert Jansch cover. Donovan covered a lot of his material. Jansch never impressed me, covers of his material even less.



Photo courtesy of
http://www.donovan.ie/en/

Due to management/ contractual disputes, the U.K. would have to wait to hear Donovan go "electric" till December 1966's "Sunshine Superman" (Pye 7N 17241) which was pipped by both U.S. and Euro releases.

All four tracks have popped up on a variety of Pye era Donovan compilations which are never in short supply anywhere in the world thanks to their less than expensive licensing fees.

Hear "Turquoise":


Hear "Sunny Goodge Street":


Hear "Hey Gyp":


Hear "Deed I Do":





Grainy video but good sound quality: "Hey Gyp" Live France '66




Very cool TV clip of  Donovan in hippy attire playing "Sunny Goodge Street" '66

Donovan's Official  Website:

http://www.donovan.ie/en/

The Zombies CBS Ressurection


THE ZOMBIES-Friends Of Mine/Beechwood Park U.K. CBS 2960 1967

For nearly half a year The Zombies were in a nail biting limbo. Their gigs were drying up, their fees dropping and their ventures into the U.K. hit parade were long gone. March of 1967 saw their final Decca single (a cover of Little Anthony & the Imperials "Going Out Of My Head" b/w "She Does Everything For Me" Decca F 12584). The band eventually secured a new contract with CBS and set about recording new material that would eventually compose their (posthumous) second British LP "Oddysey (sic) And Oracle".

      On "T.O.T.P" '66
 
"Friends Of Mine" sparks the "new" Zombies sound of CBS (Date in the U.S.) with both upbeat optimism and a more decidedly poppy sound that ushers in their use of choral perfection.  Name checking friends, lovers and cohorts in the chorus "Friends Of Mine" epitomises the Zombie's "Sound of '67".  The flip, "Beechwood Park" is a somber number that's akin to The Moody Blue's B-side of the same year "Cities".  Again it relies on the band's vocal prowess and has a laid back jazzy approach (first exhibited in their cover of "Summertime" way back in '64).

    Miming for Swedish TV '66

Both numbers, as indicated earlier, can be found on their excellent "Oddysey And Oracle" which has been re-released in several servings.

Hear "Friends Of Mine":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ON-F0i69_8k


Hear "Beechwood Park":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaZANBaF_0Q

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cool Foreign E.P.'s Part Ten: The Mindblowing Blonde On Blonde


BLONDE ON BLONDE-E.P.: Castles In The Sky/ November/Time Is Passing/Circles Portugal Ember EMZ 004 1970

80's Flashback



The 80's (for me) were all about:
The Prisoners, Foster's Lager, The Jetset, red socks, Washington Square Park, The Jam, mod band badges, XTC, "Smashed Blocked" (fanzine), silk ascots, wide belts, The Action "The Ultimate Action", hard work, Long Island Iced Teas, The Saint (TV show), The Milkshakes, London, Mod Fun, red jeans, The Dive, The Crooks, turtlenecks,Venus Records, Beatle boots, The Corner Tavern, Ankhs, Paisley shirts, The Scene (U.K. band), Poppolinis, Lee twill trousers, The Direct Hits, The Bike Club, death, The Dentists, incense, The Blackout Cafe, LSD, The Artwoods "100 Oxford Street", The Rutles, The Phantom Five, scooters, Mona's, The Times, DC Space, The Secret Service, Greasy Tony's, Nehru jackets, The Optic Nerve, 99X, Billy's Irish Pub, The Lambrettas, Bat Man, bullseyes, Trivial Pursuit, Godzilla, BB guns, cardigan sweaters, Secret Affair, croque monsieurs, Alicia G., striped winter scarves, German army parkas, sterling silver ID braclets,




The Television Personalities, Harrisburg PA, The Vipers, boredom, Ron Rimsite, Vox AC 30,Madness, City Gardens, Midnight Records, The Trebles, 2-tone Jam shoes, Manic Panic, polka dotted shirts, Biff Bang Pow, Theater 80, Go Go Gail, Sta-Prest, The Tea Club, "Incognito" (fanzine), The Professionals, Kangol berets, SCTV, lava lamps, The Purple Hearts, Danceteria, love beads, Lord John, The Empire State Soul Club, The Merton Parkas, can hunter, NYC, The Fleshtones, pen pals, Motown, The Mynd's Eye, Syd Barrett, The Court Tavern, Vespa P200E, The Skids, eyeliner, Youngs Ram Rod stout in two liter plastic bottles, The Princeton Record Exchange, crime, The Americana Diner, The Event, Red White & Blue (thrift store), Barry's tea, Cafe Reggio, Asbury Park, Midnight Records, Mike Sin, The Vapors, video game arcades, tortellini carbonara, Canal Jeans, The Cybermen (US), Truimph Tr-7, vodka and lime, Kent soul compilations, U.F.O., pea coats, The Salvation Army (band), The Englishtown Auction,  The Aardvarks,  The Grogans,



Umbrellas, The Prisoner, The Eyes "Blink", Bomp/Voxx, The Wylde Mammoths, The Beat N' Path, parkas, the Holland Tunnel, Scott "Rudie" Rosinski, Squire, hounds tooth check trousers, white socks, Bolla Soave, black lights, "Opal" (fanzine), Dexy's Midnight Runners, Rickenbackers, Bam Caruso records, The Teenbeats,"Quadrophenia", The Three O'Clock, Traffaut films, Modest Proposal, J August, Pernod, Captain Video, The Grip Weeds,  The Strip @ McCarthy's, tinted rectangle glasses, The Truth, sex, ugly Fred Perry's from TJ Max, Generation X (later Gen X), deerstalker hats, The Pall Bearers, S.H.A.R.P., Georgie Fame "20 Beat Classics", WPRB 103.3, The Funseekers, The Mod Art Studio, The Funhouse, The Untouchables, Nightbirds, The Headless Horsemen, The Southern Funk Cafe, black trench coats, Cheap Thrills, Guitar Trader, The Avengers, Clark's Desert boots, Maxwell's, shopping cart rodeo, Watney's Red Barrel, The Nashville Ramblers, "Ready Steady Go" on VHS, Cryptovision Records, "Whaaam" (fanzine), Prince of Wales check trousers, Gene Merideth, The Mood Six, BBQ, The Ravens, Bleeker Bob's, The Crawdaddys, The Wojciechowskis, St. Mark's Place, The Lyres, Sophies, Suburban Transit, The Boys From Nowhere, 14th Street (NYC), The Otherside, Mike Patterson,



 The Philadelphia Record Exchange, Trash & Vaudeville, skinhead aggro, Manual Scan, St. Mark's Books, backcombing, The Daggermen, Neither Nor, Highway Music, The Birds "These Birds Are Dangerous", De Robertis bakery, The Green Telescope, James Grapes artwork, The Antique Boutique, The Brass Rail, Irving Plaza,  Secret Syde, Christine Wideman, The Funhouse, "Mod Mondays" (radio show), Dawn Eden, Beakys, Old Bay, Wayne Scooters, "Mod Scene" (fanzine), The Ruts, French crew cuts, heartbreak, See For Miles Records, Bad Manners, 42nd Street, ska, caffeine pills, Plasticland, Ted Essex, Art Pop Records, "Purple Flashes" (fanzine), "Absolute Beginners", day glow socks, Dr. & The Medics (pre-IRS records), Great Jones Street, WHTG, Jack's Music, The Chords, 42nd St. Port Authority Bus Terminal, "My Generation" (EMI compilation LP), The Cool Italians,





bespoke trousers from Harry Ballot & Sons Ltd., Levi's white jeans, The Specials, narrow ties, White Rose, The Mighty Caesars, Plymouth Satellites, The St. John's Alliance, the Staten Island Ferry, Double Diamond ale, The Lime Spiders, "99th Floor" (fanzine), The Dukes of Stratosphear, Pier Platters, Vodka Collins, the PATH train, Downtown Beirut (bar), The Oxford Cavern, Dodge Darts, The James Taylor Quartet, "Blow Up", The (English) Beat, The Alchemist & Barrister, Backwards Glances, Elizabeth Waters, The Pretty Things "Closed Restaurant Blues", The See Hear, Cajun popcorn, Makin' Time, commando sweaters, Cave Stomp (the original ones at the Dive), The Spongetones, "Top Gear" (fanzine), strobe lights, Dia Farber, "A Splash of Colour", Tiny Lights, Bart Cross Tierney, The Bodysnatchers, band names on the back of parkas, Edsel Records, Movie City 5, The Cellar Dwellers,  The Barracudas, Chevy Metros, Wendy Horowitz, Vox guitars,



"Whatever happened to those days when not to act your age was the craze..."

- from "The Party" by The Times (Ed Ball Artpop Records)






Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cool Foreign E.P.s Part Nine: Yusef Islam In Days Of Old


CAT STEVENS-E.P. Matthew And Son/Granny/I Love My Dog/Portobello Road France Deram 15.000M 1967

Keith West:Life After Grocer Jack


KEITH WEST-On A Saturday/Kid Was A Killer U.K. Parlophone R 5713 1968

After the "Grocer Jack" debacle (see August 5, 2010 entry) the U.K. class of '67 act Tomorrow faded away and by mid 1968 were no more. Lead singer Keith West still had a "solo" contract with EMI's Parlophone branch and set about working on his next single with help from some of his friends (Ron Wood and Ansley Dunbar) and an ex-band mate (Steve Howe).


    He's our dear old Mr. Keith West

"On A Saturday" is beautiful, easily hands down it's my personal Keith West fave that I always seem to associate with autumn, my favorite season.  Imagine the tranquility of Nick Drake mixed with some electric/eclectic backing (and an interesting Floyd Kramer style piano) and some powerhouse drumming by Ansley Dunbar, all accented by some acoustic guitar.  The flipside harks back to Keith's prior freakbeat days with The In Crowd.  "Kid Was A Killer" was one of the highlight's of Bam Caruso's "Pop Sike Dreams" (Rubble Two) compilation LP and shifts in a very radical direction from it's light hearted A-side.  From it's insane drumming to Steve Howe's rag-esque guitar solo and some off the wall tempo changes it's far more '66 than '68.

Both sides have appeared in many locations, notably as bonus cuts on the last CD reissue of Tomorrow's 1968 LP and  on RPM's excellent Keith West anthology "Excerpts From....Groups And Sessions '65-'74"

Hear "On A Saturday":


Hear "Kid Was A Killer":

Monday, August 9, 2010

How I Learned Not To Love The Style Council: Chapter Two




PART FOUR:Soul Redemption

With late 1983's " A Solid Bond In Your Heart" bounced The Style Council back from the rap/synth hell and back to the logical progression The Jam might've charted had they not gone bust.  The A-side was soulful, had some decent horns (albeit that dreadful "Saturday Night Live" house band sax solo), great vocals, no synths and dig Paul & Mick on the back of the 45 sleeve! All kitted out in matching mod three button suits with tapered trou, narrow lapels, loafers, slim ties and Mick's even wearing a porkpie looking like they're leaving the end of a fantastic DJ night in my mind (albeit in the daylight by the looks of the window).  No more shirtless Cam punting here!  Interestingly enough I did not see the entire video until now and it's pretty freaking cool, far cooler than any Jam video (watch the video below).  I find it odd that for a guy who repeatedly wanted to distance himself from the "mod" thing everything about this video is "mod".  He's even got his mom in it, which is pretty cool if you like your mom. I know I don't think I'd have mine in a video, not that she'd have any of that mind you!

After complaints of their set not being "Northern Soul" Mick and Paul walked out of an un-named soul night never to return to their tables again. ......

Yes kids it looked like TSC were back on the mod track.  Luckily in case it all went bust I'd also just copped Squire's fantastic new LP "Get Smart!" so there was "contemporary mod hope" in the air.




PART FIVE: On Yer Bike...literally and figuratively...

The first TSC single of 1984 was "My Ever Changing Moods", in my estimation the last good Style Council single ever. True it had those elements that I couldn't and can't abide by (synth's, a bass synth and that dire Whitney Houston backing keyboard effect which none of you has been so kind to hip me to it's moniker) BUT it had a great melody, great lyrics and a decent groove. On top of it all it's Weller at his most soulful. Sleeve wise Weller did not look cool with his cancer stick in hand, even at 17 I knew cigarettes were for losers and my heroes Dexy's Midnight Runners had pulled the wool watch cap thing off before.  I'm assuming he needed a few fags to catch his breath after all that cycling he did in the stupid promo video (it was the 80's everybody's videos were stupid because everyone and their brother thought they were Julien Temple).



Instead of that stupid bike gear video here's a spot from a U.K. kiddies TV show!

There's something about it that appealed to a 17 year old soon to be thrust out into a cold hard reality flat on his cynical little face when graduation from high school beckoned. My rose tinted memory of this number is tooling around in a Triumph sports car in stripey button down collared shirts and tasseled loafers feeling optimistic about leaving school with this track blasting away. It actually was a sizable U.S. hit (and once again it was years before I actually saw the video with them in their bike racing gear, spawning a brief awful fad among mods for bike clobber). On the flip was Mick Talbot's almost brilliant Hammond instrumental "Mick's Company" sadly ruined by those dreaded synths again!



PART SIX: Just Say "No" To Cafe Armchair Socialism

Enter "My Ever Changing Moods" ("Cafe Bleu" in the U.K.), the band's debut long player packed with lots of alienating stuff in the spring of 1984. Some of it is brilliant (especially my personal fingers up statement to my graduating class "Here's One That Got Away", a re-recording of "Headstart For Happiness" and the poignant "The Whole Point Of No Return"). But I didn't get the rest of it, from the DREADFUL rap-crap of "A Gospel" to the plastic feux jazz (that was more Kenny G. than Kenny Burrell in retrospect to my more now jazz educated ears) to what would be their next single "You're The Best Thing" (May 1984) it was all one big mod train wreck in my brain and I'd wanted off. I'd already absorbed "Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" into my bloodstream as well as The Move and John's Children and wanted no part of this plastic (contemporary) soul boy bullsh*t with all of it's "modern" recording trappings. Thank god "Nuggets" and "Rubble" were just around the corner to provide refuge, salvation and sanity! Living in Ronald Reagen era America I was increasingly sick of ne'er do well pop stars spouting politics at me and Weller's naive socialist leanings were not my cup of tea. There was no longer a reason to follow Paul Weller with blind musical devotion pushing me into what amounted to a cool looking guy who wanted so desperately to sound like a white Lionel Ritchie. No thank you, as a 17 year old American I had the real thing up to my ears in 1984, white mac and cool hair were no excuse for the M.O.R. soul abortion that was "You're The Best Thing"  from its synth to it's "smooth jazz" George Benson guitar solo to its "urban contemporary" radio friendly demeanor it was a mess.


PART SEVEN: Le Depart

"You're The Best Thing" was launched at the same time TSC came to the U.S. to do shows in NYC and LA. I caught their first night in the Big Apple, a Thursday night at The Savoy in May 11, 1984, one month shy of my emancipation from high school forever. Some poor bastard named Tommy Keene opened the show to what amounted to massive indifference. To my recollection TSC were quite amazing, mainly because there was very little synth, Mick played a Hammond and Fender Rhodes, Weller even strapped on a jazzy Gibson (no Rickys!) for a few numbers and they played pretty much everything I liked by them, opening with what I later found out was their current single's B-side, a number called "The Big Boss Grove" (which I later went out and purchased just for it's flip on a 12" E.P. that featured Paul looking very slimy with greasy crap slicked back in his hair). For the gig Paul and Mick were smartly kitted out in the same gear as on the "Solid Bond...." 45 sleeve, Mick in a pork pie, Paul with a nice French crew and they played for what seemed like an eternity to a sold out venue( POSTSCRIPT: I recently found photos from the gig, Paul is NOT sporting a French crew nor is he wearing the cool suit from the "Solid Bond" video...see below and to top it off seems to be playing way too many Yamaha guitars, possibly endorsed by them as my pal K.P. suggested?). Mick even took a few "solo" spots doing a few instrumentals (with or without drummer Steve white ...I honestly can't remember). School beckoned the next day and my mother was so happy with my late return home in some typically childish way of hers she messed with something under my car's hood necessitating me to walk to school the next day and all through the good 3-4 mile trot I sang "Here's One That Got Away" to myself and stopped off at the local municipal park which I cut through to carve "here's one that got away 5/12/84" on the railing of a gazebo in honor of my semi religious experience the night before and the final hurdle I was about to bound over in less than a month.



Paul Weller onstage at The Savoy, NYC, NY, USA May 11, 1984



 



















I went back and played the LP several times again after the live TSC gig hoping I'd maybe come around, but there was no hope and it got to the point that all of it, even the tracks I'd previously liked were not doing it for me. "You're The Best Thing" climbed the charts and was played to death on all the local "urban contemporary" radio stations amidst garbage like Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan and their ilk. I was in England during the release of their next one ("Shout To the Top" October 1984) and I could care less as I was happily snatched up current 45's by The Scene, Long Tall Shorty and catching up on some old '79 mod 45's................Essentially this was the beginning of a life long backwards musical spiral that did not include The Style Council.  Once in awhile I'd see their pictures or LP's and thought they looked like Whaaam or some other contemporary garbage thanks to make up and dyed hair (to me then and now the antithesis of "mod") . I can't say I saw very much impact of TSC on the U.S. mod scene on the East Coast after 1984, nearly 3/4's of the mods I knew disowned them around the same time I did.  I did see lots of photos of Californian mods with dreadful wedge haircuts and cabana boy type get ups (stripey jumpers, sweaters over shoulders, white trousers too tight/short, sock less etc...) like Paul and Mick (complete with the most inexcusable of all fashion apparel items: a lengthy gold rope chain around the neck). I would not pay Paul Weller any attention until 7 years later when as a recently de-activated soldier without a clue what was going on in the outside world, my friend Dave Woj played me "Into Tomorrow".............

Council meetin' CANCELLED.......


After we parted ways TSC begin looking like a bunch
of douche bag Casuals....