Tuesday, November 29, 2011
1. GRAHAM DAY & THE GAOLERS-"I'm Glad I'm Not Young"
You've gotta love a track that sings "young and still carefree I was walking down the street, dressed in pink paisley, Beatles boots upon my feet, I got a punch in the nose for wearing funny clothes..". It's taken me some time to get my head around these guys, possibly because like The Len Price 3 they're not doing anything musically that my home team The Insomniacs weren't doing 20 years ago, but it's still rocking regardless of it's lack of complete originality. From their LP "Triple Distilled".
2. PAUL WELLER-"7 & 3 Is The Strikers Name"
I think this is possibly the strongest track Weller has ever written since "Going Underground", I really do. It's clever, catchy, trippy and above all has lyrics that grab you: "Curse my master and his slaves and his soldiers too, curse those fuckers in their castle they're all bastards too". Heavy soul indeed.
3. MENSWEAR-"125 West 3rd Street"
Remember Menswear? The crux of that hideous "Touched By The Hand Of Mod" piece in "N.M.E.", a bedroom band that became more known for being "seen" and when they were finally "heard" they surprised everyone by actually making some competent music?! Their untitled debut CD had about three good songs on it, this was one of them, a pastiche of Bolan and Roxy Music via "Velvet Goldmine". Britpop's second wave was all about faux mods in make up with exaggerated John's Children/Creation fringes, crap Merc suits, trainers and running jackets, playing 90's rock n' roll with a glammy edge, Menswear to a 't". Oh and b.t.w, 125 West 3rd Street (in NYC anyway) is a hardware store............since 1933!
4. SLIM HARPO-"Tip On In"
I'd long accused The Stones of nicking this number's rhythm during the long drawn out improvisational part of "Goin' Home" till I realized that "Goin' Home" predated this number by a year!! That said I think it's quite okay for an American blues man to cop a Stones lick and turn into something gritty and groovy like this 1967 45 on Excello.
5. EDDIE COCHRAN-"Summertime Blues"
This number always gets me. Cochran's slight affectations have an almost Southern Elvis twang (he was born in Minnesota and raised in California) and that bass, that bass must've kept Jet Harris awake at night trying to get that sound! I can't help but think of my dad every time I hear this and think of how he told me this number takes him back to being a teenager pounding the pavement in his decaying seaside town looking for a Summer job in the late 50's.
6. THE QUIET FIVE-"When The Morning Sun Dries The Dew"
I stumbled upon this mellow beat ballad on an iTunes playlist and was blown away by it's melding of pre-Moody Blues solo Justin Hayward meets Unit 4+2. I've no clue who these guys were other than they were British and had a few 45's in the 60's (and did a killer version of the Stones "I Am Waiting").
7. THE BLUE JEANS-"Sandfly"
An odd one off B-Side of the Hollies-esque (ie "Do The Best You Can") style "Hey Mrs. Housewife" single by The Swinging Blue Jeans from 1969 during their has been/chicken-in-the-basket cabaret days. Coincidentally their lead guitarist, ex-Escort Terry Sylvester, joined The Hollies the previous year to replace Graham Nash. It's 1969 so of course it's a bit trippy (well as trippy as these guys could be) with it's funky groove laid down by a slight Hendrix chug to the tepid guitars with some very funky bass and minimal organ all about how groovy it would be (from a voyeuristic point of view) to be a sand fly.
8. THE STYLE COUNCIL-"Party Chambers"
I digress, when T.S.C's debut single "Speak Like A Child" came out I liked it's flip side, "Party Chambers" better. Despite my abhorrence for all things synthesizer (bar the odd Ultravox "Vienna" era tune) I love this track, I don't know why, but I do. I think it reminds me of game show music from my childhood in the early/mid 70's and therefore perhaps makes me feel somehow smug and secure?! Maybe it's the beer..............
9. BOOKER T. & THE M.G.'s-"The One Who Really Loves You"
I don't recall the last time I dusted off the old "Green Onions" LP/CD, so I decided it was time and became reacquainted with their jazzy/Jimmy Smith-esque debut album and as always this track never fails to leap out at me amongst it's somewhat mediocre other tracks that fill it out.
10. JON-"Upstairs, Downstairs"
Some day someone is going to catalog the massive number of Gibb brothers compositions they recorded and demo'ed while still based in Australia, most of which, like this track, never saw a legit Bee Gee's version issued and were instead issued by other artists utilizing a Bee Gees backing track (joining the ranks of Ronnie Burn's "Coalman" and "Exit Stage Right" and Adam Faith's "Cowman Milk Your Cow") . But till then we're going to have to make do with killer tracks like this one!!
Monday, November 28, 2011
THE FOUR PENNIES-Keep The Freeway Open/Square Peg U.K. Phillips BF 1491 1966
The Four Pennies get slagged off quite often because of their tepid hit "Juliet" (which was actually a B-side)! They actually had some killer tunes, among them a rollicking reading of Leadbelly's "Black Girl" (Phillips BF 1366 October 1964), an interesting take on Buffy St. Marie's "Until It's Time For You To Go" (Phillips BF 1435 September 1965), an upbeat single originally cut by Bobby "The Polish Prince" Vinton called "Trouble Is My Middle Name" (Phillips BF 1469 February 1966) and a Georgie Fame-ish number called "She Didn't Say Yes" on their 2nd LP "A Mixed Bag" (Phillips BL 7734 1966).
Today's article in question is their next to last of six singles for the Phillips label before the band went bust in late '66 (with bassist Fritz Fryer moving on to A&R/production work and handling numerous cool sessions like The Open Mind!) and in my opinion it's their best with both sides being equally amazing. Released in the Summer of 1966 it's not at all different from the beat/ballad style they employed on their earlier sides relying heavily on some tight harmonies and lead singer Lionel Morton's strong vocals. "Keep The Freeway Open" starts out with some jangly guitars that remind me of The Poets or the Zombies and has a rapid fire vocal delivery with some clever rhyming. It's a ballad of sorts but it's so wonderfully done it's not at all twee or sappy. "Square Peg" follows the same formula but with more treble on the guitar adding an almost "British folk rock" feel to it. It's also possibly one of the handful of British beat songs about a guy in jail because he killed someone! The backing vocals add layers of texture beneath the
Both sides have been compiled on a budget U.K. CD called "The Very Best Of.."
Hear "Keep The Freeway Open":
Hear "Square Peg":
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Where to begin....unless you've had amnesia or have spent a lifetime in a cave in the Himalayas you can't help but be familiar with with the power pop prototype that is The Who's "I Can't Explain". Just a few short months (6 to be exact) after releasing a single as The High Numbers ("I'm The Face"/"Zoot Suit" U.K. Fontana TF 480) the band had ditched their aping of U.S. r&b tunes and lead guitarist Pete Townshend began branching out and writing his own original (and what he deemed at the time on a BBC session as "commercial") pop compositions.
From it's Kinks inspired ringing Rickenbacker opening chord intro to it's smooth high backing vocals (care of The Ivy League) the number exemplifies "power pop" in the purest mid 60's Anglo pop sense. This blue print of short bursts of basic chord progressions with high register backing vocals spawned countless other bands like The Eyes, The Game, The Smoke, The Favourite Sons and dozens, if not hundreds more. Keith Moon's sloppy drums accented by some well place hand claps (but not Jack The Barber this time) tie it all up in a nice little package. Produced by Shel Talmy it ranks, to me, as one of the most classic moments in the history of British 60's rock n' roll.
I first heard it on a New York FM rock n' roll station, possibly WNEW, at the onset of my mod-dom. I was immediately captivated (having only been familar with "My Generation") by what I heard and even more so when the DJ told us it was The Who. My friend Woody was happy to announce that not only did he own the track on his "The kids Are Alright" double LP but that he'd gladly let me take such "rock n roll bullshit" off his hands for free. Sadly the version contained on it was the "live" on "Shindig" version full of screamagers and off key harmonies, I had to wait another year before purchasing "Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy" to acquire it. Twenty years later I had both the original U.K. and U.S. 45 pressings (actually two U.S. pressings, the rainbow Decca label and the pink Decca label), and still do, some things you just don't part with.
|Sadly lost forever, The Who plugging their debut 45 on "Ready Steady Go" 1965|
|Groovy German 45 P.S. c/o of:|
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
|THE SMALL FACES-Here Come The Nice/Talk To You Germany Columbia C 23 524 1967|
It's tough to choose a favorite Small Faces song, even harder to choose a favorite Small Faces European picture sleeve 45! I've owned, probably over three dozen SF's picture sleeve EP's/45's and today's topic is both one of their coolest looking sleeves and one of their best tunes.
The sleeve, a German pressing, is a work of art. Mac and Ronnie are wearing some boss three button suits, Steve has a white Levi's jacket and is investigating a pair of aviators shades, Ronnie's got on desert boots and Kenny is wearing a brilliant looking pair of striped shoes and a striped long sleeved tennis shirt with a pair of (presumably) white Levis. How fucking cool is that?
I'll save you all the SF's history lesson and get down to business. The band's keyboard player Ian McLagan has stated that "Here Come The Nice" came from repeated listenings of Lord Buckley's "The Nazz" (aka "Here Come The Nazz") with liberal dosings of hash at the band's communal pad at 22 Westmoreland Terrace, Pimlico, London. The band's code word for stoned just also happened to be "nice" and one of their catch phrases was "it's nice to be nice". You can groove on the hysterical spoken word piece below by Lord Buckley, with or without herbal enhancement, it's your choice. In a time where the BBC were allegedly upset by song lyrics like John's Children's "Desdemona" or The Beatles "I Am The Walrus" the notion that a band could manage to not only get airplay but reach #12 in the U.K. pop charts in June 1967 with a song about a drug dealer without getting banned or censored is nothing short of amazing! The delivery is perfect with some excellent harmonies by Ronnie and Mac backing Steve's typically soulful lead vocal track while the percussion and subtle Hammond build a solid layer beneath it all.
The flip side, "Talk To You", is equally brilliant stuff with some great piano licks by Mac (backed up by some cool Hammond beneath it all). Steve's vocals are as soulful as ever with string backing vocals from Ronnie and Mac. The number holds the distinction of being the band's first B-side to grace an LP as well (it appeared two weeks later on their second album, their untitled debut Immediate LP,IMLP 008).
Both sides appear pretty much everywhere but I strongly advise you hear them in Mono on the double 35th anniversary edition CD of their second LP.
Monday, November 21, 2011
|THE LOVIN'-All You've Got/Do It Again U.S. Fontana F-1606 1967|
Here's another weird one, the last of two 45's by a U.K. freakbeat group called The Lovin' before the underwent a name change and a musical makeover and became The Nerve. Like The Loot, they were managed and discovered by Larry Page AND had some minor Troggs connections. Page signed them to Page One where they released two 45's (see
This one was issued in the U.K. as Page One POF041 in October 1967. I am assuming that the Larry Page/Troggs connection got them a release in the States on the Troggs U.S. label Fontana, odd considering there were U.S. Page One singles, though perhaps the U.S. branch of Page One was not launched at this point in time as most U.S. Page One releases are from 1968. Then again all The Troggs U.S. records from this time were on Fontana too, go figure!
"All You've Got" is perfect freakbeat. It begins with slightly out of tune, jangling, distorted guitar with a heavy beat and a chunky/heaviness to it all behind a fey, weary sounding lead vocalist with trademark high backing vocals (ala Who/Creation). "Do It Again" is heavier, with the same hard edged, plodding, primitive Troggs style beat behind a wall of distortion and the oft mentioned high vocals. Both sides perfectly encapsulate the freakbeat sound before psychedelia came and wiped "guitar bands" out of vogue. The band were soon out of the "freakbeat" genre and with help from Reg Presley of the Troggs became the pop outfit The Nerve, but that's another record for another entry!
"All You've Got" appeared on Bam Caruso's "Rubble 16 Glass Orchid Aftermath" LP/CD and "Keep on Believing" was on the "Circus Days Volume 3" CD/LP.
Hear "All You've Got":
Hear "Do It Again":
I'd like to extend a hearty thanks to Ellis Kingston's "Shindig!" Issue 20 Lovin'/Nerve article, from which some information for this piece was culled!
Saturday, November 19, 2011
|THE MASCOTS-Words Enough To Tell You/Walking With My Angel Sweden Decca F 44508 1966|
The Mascots are one of my favorite 60's Swedish bands after, of course, The Tages. There are best known for their melodic/harmony beat ballad "Words Enough To Tell You" which first came to the attention of the faithful through the 80's compilation album of 60's Swedish tracks "Searching For Shakes" and doubtless a new generation of fans through it's inclusion on the "Nuggets II: Original Artyfacts from the British Empire and Beyond, 1964–1969" CD box set.
"Words Enough To Tell You" is a perfect balancing of the "beat ballad" style yet not too corny or weak with nods to both The Zombies and The Hollies at their best! The bands powerful harmony style crossed with the Poets/Zombies-like amplified acoustic 12 string is truly infectious. "Walking With My Angel", written by Goffin/King, was originally cut by Bobby Vee though I'm certain the band copped it from Herman's Hermits. The arrangement is certainly similar, needless to say no matter who's doing it it's a pretty weak tune.
|Pic courtesy of Jon Burchard|
There needs to be a good Mascots CD, their double LP/CD "1964-1968" is out of print (it is available for download from Amazon.co.uk to UK buyers only though). As mentioned earlier you can snag the A-side on "Nuggets II" and the CD reissue of "Searching For Shakes" but that's about it!
Hear "Words Enough To Tell You":
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
|THE MOHAWKS-The Champ/Sound Of The Witchdoctor U.S. Cotillion 45-44002 1968|
I first heard "The Champ" by The Mohawks at an Empire State Soul Club dance back in the late 80's (1988 I'm thinking?), who if you don't know, were, bar none, THE best soul night New York City has ever seen, nor will see as far as I'm concerned (I was proudly, one of the first 100 members, member #73 to be exact, still have my old membership card). Back then there was of course the typical rumors (all untrue) of who they were that have long since been settled in even the most provincial of places (like New York City in the 80's).
Anyway this was the debut single by organ master Alan Hawkshaw's wonderfully funky and camp studio musician consortium known as The Mohawks. It first was released in the U.K. on Pama (PM 719) in 1968. What prompted a U.S. release I will never know! Loosely based on the main riff Otis Redding/Carla Thomas vehicle "Tramp" (well more than loosely, outright plagiarized I'd call it!) "The Champ" follows the typical Mohawks formula of fluid organ lines from Hawkshaw's Hammond, female backing vocalists repeating the title and horns behind it all. The flip side we have "Call Of The Witch Doctor" which is quite a departure from The Mohawks material. For starters it's not heavy on the organ and sounds like a calypso/ska track (nicking it's intro/main riff from "Sweet Soul Music") with use of some very ska horns (complete with a Rico-esque trombone solo!), not a bad track at all, just not what you'd expect!
Both cuts surfaced on the CD/LP reissue of their legendary LP "The Champ" on Vampisoul Records.
Hear "The Champ":
Hear "Sound Of The Witch Doctors":
Alan Hawkshaw reunited some years back with his studio cohorts and played a series of gigs as "The KPM All Stars" (KPM stands for Keith Prowse Music, a studio music library), one of which from London's Jazz Cafe can be viewed below where Alan Hawkshaw leads the band through "The Champ":
Thursday, November 10, 2011
XTC were the first band I'd ever seen live (April 11, 1981 at the Capitol Theater in Passiac, New Jersey with Joan Jett and The Blackhearts and Jools Holland and His Millionaires). I wish I had photos of it, but I don't, my friend Rudie took hundreds of pics, but neither he, nor his photos are with us today. Can any one out there oblige me with some photos? Their set was mostly material from "Black Sea" as well as favorites from "White Music", "Go 2" and "Drums and Wires" as well as a few previews of tracks that would be on "English Settlement" and they tore it up. Andy Partridge was wearing a white ruffled shirt and a gray jacket that resembled something a Civil War officer would've worn, every time he sang it looked like his head was about to explode as his face turned bright red as he bellowed all the numbers out like a man on a mission. The following year we were set to see them again and Andy got "stage fright", which nobody, myself included, who'd ever seen them play bought for one minute.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
|THE MOVE-Flowers In The Rain/(Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree Portugal Stateside PSS 1001 1967|
I don't think any band other than The Move can go down in history for being sued by a Prime Minister for libel. In August 1967 the band's manager Tony Secunda (unbeknownst to any of The Move) printed up promo postcards for distribution to promote their new single "Flowers In the Rain" featuring a cartoon of then Prime Minister Harold Wilson in his bathtub with his personal secretary Marcia Williams (now herself a politician)taking dictation next to him, NOT Wilson in bed with Williams as Wikipedia and other sites are quick to mention (I saw the actual postcard or a clever knock off at a record show once, it was online for awhile too till , obviously, someone made them take it down). Wilson of course, was not amused. He sued The Move for libel and won. In October, 11, 1967 the High Court upheld the suit and designated that all royalties accrued from the song would go to charities of Wilson's choice. To this day song writer Roy Wood does not see a penny from the song, which has gone on to be used in TV commercials and ranks, allegedly, as one of the band's greatest selling singles of all time. It also holds the distinction of being the first pop song ever played on the BBC's Radio One's , by DJ Tony Blackburn (after of course George Martin's brilliant orchestrally lysergic "Theme One"). Radio One was the Beeb's new more rock n' roll friendly format created in response to the defeat of pirate radio. The incident led to a management rethink and the band parted ways with Secunda (briefly winding up under the evil Don Arden!). Today's 45 rpm specimen comes from Portugal.
"Flowers in The Rain" marks a departure for The Move from their harder edged five piece power pop/mod sound of their first two singles on Deram which you can read about here:
"Flower In The Rain" benefits from some brilliant pop psych orchestration scored by a young American named Tony Visconti who'd just come under the wing of the band's producer Denny Cordell, who took them along with him to the label Regal Zonophone (previously only the home to "Christian" rock n roll like The Joy Strings et al). It also marks their debut in the genre of carefully orchestrated, well crafted psychedelic pop that would lead to other famous tracks like "Blackberry Way". Like most good Move singles lead singer Carl Wayne shares the vocals, with lead guitarist Roy Wood taking the chorus. The flip side, "(Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree" is in the same vein orchestration wise, a bit too twee for me I'm afraid, I prefer the version cut by their Brummie pals The Idle Race for a U.S. only release. You can read about that here:
Roy Wood takes the lead vocals on this track but the melody is just too saccharine for my ears. I was never a huge fan of this track and I'm afraid time has done little to change that!
|The band in Secunda's office at the time of the lawsuit, pic courtesy of Getty Images.|
Both sides can be found on a variety of Move CD's, we recommend the double CD deluxe edition of their untitled debut 1967 LP or the equally cool 4 CD box set "Anthology 1966-1972". There's an amazing BBC player segment on the track and it's political ramifications that you can hear here.
A few other issues of the 45:
|Rare South African 45 P.S.|
|German 45 P.S.|
|French 45 P.S.|
|Belgian 45 P.S.|
|Spanish 45 P.S.|
Monday, November 7, 2011
|THE EQUALS-Soul Brother Clifford/Happy Birthday Girl Germany President 14 539 AT 1970|
If you ignore their attire on their later records you'll find that even later in their career The Equals made some pretty cool records! "Soul Brother Clifford", a 45 from 1970, is one of my favorites and always has been. In 1997 when I started a DJ night called Hub City Soul with my co-conspirator Scott Belsky he spun it at nearly every night (and to great aplomb).
Led off by some groovy organ (U.K. copies credit the record as "The Equals with Al Dickinson (organ)") the band tell a tale of a cat who's organ playing in church is so funky that everyone is getting up on Sunday morning to go check him out. Their reggae-ish shuffle is laid into a typically upbeat and funky Equals groove with their standard exhorted chorus and likeable groove. I had a cheap Korean Equals CD that contained a weird version without the organ and a completely different vocal track from Derv Gordon where he does some improvisational lyrical stuff at the end after chanting the title he exhorts "even the white people". "Happy Birthday Girl" is boring proto glam 12 bar rock n roll with rollicking piano and is an exercise in late 60's U.K. "rock n' roll nostalgia" mediocrity.
Good luck finding any affordable original record Equals CD's at the moment with either of these tracks!
DJ-ing at the very first Mod Chicago in 2002 a gang of racially mixed English ex-pats for some reason began chanting the number after The Embrooks set, I quickly dug the record out and spun it and had my hand shaken numerous times and offered many drinks. They were amazed that an American knew of The Equals let alone played their records. Hey we Yanks are good like that.
Hear "Soul Brother Clifford":
Hear "Happy Birthday Girl":
Friday, November 4, 2011
|THE SORROWS-Pink Purple Yellow and Red/My Gal/Baby/She's Got the Action E.P. Mexico Pye/Gamma GX 07-458 1967|
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
|GEORGIE FAME (AND THE BLUE FLAMES)-"Fame At Last E.P.":Get On The Right Track Baby/Point Of No Return/I Love The Life I Live/Gimme That Wine U.K. Columbia SEG 8393 1965|
Fame's treatment of Ray Charles "Get On The Right Track, Baby" is well known and he adds his own bit of jazziness to the number but keeps it pretty faithful to Brother Ray's with the exception of a slight increase in the tempo (and sweetened by Speedy's congas and some nice sax work, a trademark of the '64 era Blue Flames). Gene McDaniel's "Point Of No Return" is no carbon copy either. Fame and Co. take the sharp punctuations of the original and turn into into a more swinging number by adding some tasty Hammond/sax action from the get go. In fact it ranks as one of my fave tracks by the band from this era, fattened up by a very smooth sax solo by Johnny Marshall and Speedy's incessantly pleasant conga drums. Mose Allison's "I Love the Life I Live" is next up, it is pretty faithful to the original but with Georgie replacing the stride piano with some tasty Hammond and his own laid back vocal mix style. The always hysterical "Gimme That Wine" originally cut by Lambert Hendricks and Ross, closes the E.P. Fame pulls out all the stops in cheekiness whilst sticking to the originals arrangement but adding some twists of his own c/o his trademark groovy "Hammond n' horns".
You can find "Get On The Right Track Baby" and "Point Of No Return" on two essential Fame CD's (both still in print) the famous "20 Beat Classics" and more recent "The Mod Classics '64-'68". "I Love The Live I Live" can be found on "20 Beat Classics" and the budget compilation "The Very Best of.." CD. All of the tracks are also available on the essential Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames 5 CD box set "The Whole World's Shaking".
Hear "Get On The Right Track Baby":
Hear "The Point Of No Return":
Hear "Gimme That Wine":
"Anorak Thing" wishes to thank Nick Rossi for his informational assistance in the composing of today's post.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
|THE APPLEJACKS-Tell Me When/Baby Jane U.S. London 45LON9658 1964|
The Applejacks, as we've discussed in earlier posts were unfairly maligned for a variety of reasons in the 60's. The sexists dismissed their having a female bassist as a gimmick and their hit reading of Lennon and Macca's "Like Dreamers Do" forever consigned them as musical footnotes in the great catalog of "bands who's Beatles covers gave them their only hit". I wholeheartedly disagree and feel that The Applejacks, despite a few weak tracks, are on the whole a pretty rocking group.
Today's article is a U.S. pressing (in fact it's the only U.S. Applejacks single I've come across) of the band's U.K. debut 45 (Decca F 11833, February 1964). "Tell Me When" is an upbeat ditty propelled by the band's tinny, tinkling piano and happy go lucky feel. "Baby Jane", written by the talented Pete Dello (later to front the Deram act and write other Applejack's tracks "It's Not A Game Anymore" and "Make Up Or Break Up") is one of their most rocking sides. With a driving beat, cool bass runs and a punchy feel it is set apart from so many mediocre 60's British beat group records!
The band would go on to cut six more singles for Decca, their next being their highest charting (#20) U.K. hit "Like Dreamers Do" five months after this debut.
Both sides are included on the highly recommended Applejacks complete Decca recordings anthology, a CD reissue of their untitled Decca LP put out by Cherry Red.
Hear "Baby Jane":
For a cool interview with their bassist Megan Davies go to: