Sunday, January 31, 2010
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Till I'd purchased the 1996 See For Miles CD compilation "Psychedalia:Rare Blooms From The English Summer Of Love" (complete with flower seeds in the CD spine with instructions"Grow Your Own:Free Seeds") I'd never heard of Bill Fay. The CD contained both sides of his debut offering, a 45 on Decca's lovely Deram offshoot, which as you can see above also came out in the United States.
"Some Good Advice" is a somber number ushered in with some piano in a minor key with some gentle/subtle Melotron accompaniment playing behind the ivory tinkling and then this controlled eerie bit of distorted guitar. The whole thing is so simple because it has, really, only three verses but it's got so much going on musically that it's much more interesting bringing to mind Al Stewart's early work in '67-'68. The flip side "Screams In The Ears" is more upbeat with a jazzy swing to it while Fay sings in a rather Dylanesque manner with equally Dylanesque lyrics ("well they told me the budgerigar committed suicide, but it was you, I saw you put that gin in it's water I was standing by your side"). It seems to be an observation about a party and instead of Melotron this time around the piano is tastefully chased along by some faint Hammond organ with a deadpan chorus "will you stop asking me who I am. Go and find someone else to tell your jokes to. What a great party this is".
Sadly the record did not pip the charts making it quite obscure. Bill went on to be signed to Deram's offshoot Nova and under their banner released an untitled debut Lp in 1970 and another LP "Time Of the Last Persecution" on the same label the following year, both have cult followings and have been reissued on CD. Both sides of this single (also his only single) were included. as mentioned on the "Psychedalia" CD and also recently cropped up as bonus tracks on the CD reissue of his untitled debut LP.
"Screams In The Ears":
Bill's official website:
DAVID BOWIE and THE LOWER THIRD-Can't Help Thinking About Me/And I Say To Myself U.K. Pye 7N.17020 1966
David Bowie and Feathers who featured his then girlfriend Hermione Farthingale and former band mate John "Hutch" Hutchinson (who'd previously played with Bowie in The Buzz and in fact appeared on "Ready Steady Go" with them to promote "Can't Help Thinking About Me") from the 1968 Bowie "film" "Love You Till Tuesday".
If Bowie's hair looks weird it's because he's wearing a wig. His hair was severely cropped for a part as an extra in a film about the British army in Malaya during the "Emergency" there titled "The Virgin Soldiers". He appears for about two seconds in a mess hall fight scene.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
February 22, 1944- January 12, 2010
Hear "Hungry For Love" (Mick appears in at the far left in the photo displayed while the song plays):
Hear "Jealous Girl":
Hear "My Babe":
In June 1964 Mick left The Pirates to join Billy J. Kramer's backing band The Dakotas (whom he would remain with after they split from Billy in 1967 ). Indeed The Dakotas had previously cut two "solo" instrumental 45's without Billy during their heyday with him. When Green joined they would cut three more (two after parting company with Mr. Kramer). In my opinion some of Mick's most blistering guitar work was with The Daks. One listen to a track by them called "Sneaking Around" (originally cut by Rick Nelson and featuring the guitar talents of James Burton, hats off to the Hound for hipping me to that factoid) might convince you too.
Hear "Sneaking Around":
Mick "miming" on "Little Children" (a number recorded and released before he joined). You can spot him with his trademark Telecaster with a Secret Affair logo over his right shoulder in the background:
And here's Mick and The Dakota's doing "My Babe" with Billy on American TV (ignore the cacophony of Brit mad American twit girls screaming). I swear the lick he plays later formed the basis on a "solo" Dakotas 45 he played on called "Seven Pounds Of Potatoes" ( where it backed "I'm An 'Ard Workin' Barrow Boy" U.K. Page One POF 018 1967):
The Dakota's "solo" debut with Mick Green "Oyeh" (U.K. Parlophone R5203 1964):
After parting ways with Billy J. Kramer the band cut two singles. But before doing so they appeared on the flip of Billy's solo debut single for Robert Stigwood's Reaction label (a version of a Bee Gee's penned opus called "The Town Of Tuxley Toymaker") with a slightly off color little rocking number called "Chinese Girl", Reaction 591014(which believe it or not is available on iTunes incorrectly titled "Kinky Chinese Girl"). Oddly the last two Dakotas singles were vocal numbers, the above mentioned "Seven Pounds Of Potatoes" and their final single 1968's "I Can't Break The News To Myself"/"The Spider And the Fly" (U.K. Phillips BF1645).
Hear "The Spider And the Fly":
The world was lucky to have Mick Green. As you can hear for yourself he was an original who didn't cop from anybody. Indeed the greatest Mick Green fan's were Dr. Feelgood who's guitar hero in his own right, Wilko Johnson copped a great deal of style from Green and they even recorded a version of The Dakota's instro single "Oyeh" on their "Down By The Jetty" LP.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Saturday, January 2, 2010
One of the most brilliant British 60's pop/psychedelic singles came in the form of September 1967's "I See The Rain" by Scottish harmony wonders Marmalade. How this number never topped the charts is one of the great crimes of the 1960's. The band's precision harmonies and the funky "Hey Joe" style licks (it is alleged that Hendrix called the number "the best English record of 1967") and some tasty phasing on the the main guitar riff giving it that "sound bending technique" gives this one high marks in my book. And it featured an (uncredited) Graham Nash playing guitar!! But as mentioned, it went nowhere, it did however chart in Holland. I seem to recall the Gap using it in a strange TV commercial some years back where Dennis Hopper and Christina Ricci play chess outside by a pool (it was actually directed by the Coen brothers, the other one featured The Beach Boy's "Hang Onto You Ego", this was the 90's when briefly, there were some "with it" people picking tunes out for commercials). It's flip "Cry(The Shoob Dororie Song)" is fairly disposable pop with Hollies like harmonies and a distinctly Dylan impersonating lead vocal, interesting only for the twangy Merseybeat-ish guitar solo though otherwise utterly forgettable, esp. with a monster like "I See The Rain" on the topside"!
Luckily the A-side has been reissued in many places, namely their CD compilation "I See the Rain:The CBS Years" and warranted inclusion on Rhino's "Nuggets II: Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond, Vol. 1" set.Below: Marmalade promote "I See The Rain" on Dutch TV 1967
Ricci & Hopper plug Gap white shirts with a little help from Marmalade:
THE SLENDER PLENTY -Silver Tree Top School For Boys U.K. Polydor 56189 1967
One of the great lost demos of David Bowie's 1960's career that has failed to materialize anywhere (even among the most intrepid of bootleggers) is that of a little known ditty titled "Silver Tree Top School For Boys". First written and demoed by Bowie in may 1967 (just shortly before the debut release of his debut Deram long player, see June 1, 2009 entry). It would not have been at all out of place on his untitled first album with it's firmly British tongue and cheek (or is it tongue in cheek?) humor centering around a public school (that's "private school" to us Americans) and the on campus use of marijuana, It is said it was inspired by Bowie reading a real life newspaper article on the outrage that cannabis was being consumed at some of Britain's higher learning institutions (no really?). The first version heard by the public was by the hithero unknown act The Slender Plenty who in September 1967 unleashed their version on the public. It was a great month for unsung British 60's pych-pop/freakbeat singles as it was in good company with Marmalade's "I See The Rain" (I promise we'll get around to that gem soon)The Syn's "Flowerman", The Sand's Bee Gee's composed "Mrs, Gillespie's Refrigerator", The Zombie's "Friends Of Mine" and The 23rd Turnoff's "Michelangelo" (more on that one someday too I promise). And like it's contemporaries it went absolutely nowhere. That didn't stop The Beatstalkers, a Scottish group managed by the man also handling Bowie (Kenneth Pitt) from releasing a version in December on as CBS 3105, which also tanked. It was their first of three attempts at David Bowie compositions deemed unworthy or unnecessary for release by himself.
The Slender Plenty's take is far superior in my book starting with a barrage of controlled feedback and a lovely fuzztone guitar while the whole thing pumps along at a jaunty pace punctuated by a football chant-like chorus of "yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah" and some very Anglicized lead vocals. The "la la la's" are infectious and catchy. The lyrics, are of course clever and witty and recall the late 60's playwright Joe Orton at his campiest: "Mr. Brown the physics man is off his head and everyone just loves the grass at Silver Tree Top School For Boys".
The Slender Plenty's version cropped up on a bootleg compilation CD called "Justafixation" and I'm sure it's been on plenty more as it's quite amazing. Sadly it did not make it onto Castle's Bowie covers CD compilation "Oh You Pretty Things" , instead they utilized The Beatstalkers version.