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.

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.

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":


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":


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":


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":


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":


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":


Hear "Baby You're Not To Blame":


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":


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


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":


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":


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Great Films Part One: Gangster No. 1

Anorak Thing Hall of Fame II: Visual Cooolness-Here Come The Girls

Lest we be accused of being male chauvinist pigs or homosexuals (we're neither) here are some ladies who we think epitomize stylish cool:

Terri Garr

Marianne Faithful: If this pic isn't the most
effective heroin deterrant I don't know what is.

Julie Driscoll aka Jools Discool

Jean Seberg: we can't have Jools without Jean!

Soledad Miranda é quente!

Joan Baez: Proto hippie/folkie chic

Cilla Black

Lt. Gay Ellis (aka Gabrielle Drake, Nick's sis)

Romy Schneider

The late Tammi Terrell

Hildegard Knef-Teutonic Queen of Uber-Hip

Olivia Newton-John: pre-MOR sap

Caty Rosier

Dame Diana Rigg: if you don't think she's
hot you're one weak sister!

Charlotte Rampling complete with roll neck sweater,
a cardy AND a mod bullseye.

Julie Christie

Barbara Bouchet

Francoise Hardy

Anorak Thing Hall of Fame: Visual Coolness

Inspired by a groovy little blog I've come across that unlike mine goes one beyond music with a bit of fashion, books, films AND some randy T&A :


I've decided we need a gratuitous bit fashion:

Gallic king of cool: Jacques Dutronc
"Qui êtes vous pour me dire de ne pas s'asseoir sur le puits de lumière?"

Scott Walker: Cool enough to stick your head
in the oven to his music by.....

Booker T. Jones: a white mac and wide whale cords.
It doesn't get much smarter.....

Alain Delon in "Le Samourai"

 The Faces of Small: suede and patterns never looked
so good!

 Michael Caine IS jack Carter:
Gangster Chic

David Bowie and the ultimate backcomb.
Many dared, few succeeded.

Georgie Fame: cool Britannia

As a kid I thought Paul Foster and Ed Straker were
some cool looking mother f*ckers.  Even then I had a
sense of style.

J.W.L.: Before Yoko *ucked him up

Pete Townshend: Famous for making big
honkers fashionable.

Roger Moore: The Templar of Suave

Brian Jones: Very smart but a complete bastard if you were
the mother of his children

Rod "The Mod" Stewart

Cat Stevens: before the beard and weird

Sir Paul Macca

Eric Clapton: before the perms he had a proper do.

Lawrence Harvey

'Allo allo: A.L.O. (Andrew Loog Oldham)

Terrence Stamp

James Fox