Monday, February 28, 2011

Joe Meek Lives!!

Not really but our pal in London Paul Owers has shared a groovy pic of some grafitti that's popped up across the street from the Holloway Road tube station.  Much better than the usual ugly tagger stuff (usually the work of some white middle class moron above the age of 25):

Cool Foreign E.P.'s Part 25: "The Arrival Of The Eyes"

THE EYES-"The Arrival Of The Eyes": The Immediate Pleasure/I'm Rowed Out/When The Night Falls/ My Degeneration E.P. U.K. Phillips 10035 MCE 1966

My Fave Kinks 45 Of All Time!

THE KINKS-Dead End Street/Big Black Smoke U.K. Pye 7N.17222 1966

It's tough for me to pick a favorite Kinks single, but I think the winner would ultimately be this killer two sider from Autumn 1966.

Back in the early 90's I was in a bad way for a few months and "Dead End Street" literally spoke to me, with a two roomed apartment on the second floor, a leaky kitchen sink (and ceiling), no job, no money, no long distance plan for my house phone, no cable, and heat that worked intermittently I was in quite a bad place.  I liked the track even before then but it gave me some sort of "hope" shall we say and it became a mantra to sing to myself when it all got to be too much.  I still see folks walking everywhere in the morning or riding their bikes up the highway while I'm driving to work in a nice warm Mini Cooper and feel like a prat for having it so good and I think back to when I didn't have it so good.  This is probably the first Kinks record to utilize brass with it's subtle trumpet  and the descending bass line/ main riff comes straight from the school of "Sunny Afternoon", lyrically Dickensian at it's best it still holds up all these years on and rates as one of Ray Davie's best fictional social observations, a genre he mastered so well.

On the flip is another great fictional "social observation" by Ray Davies, "Big Black Smoke".  It's a jaunty tale of a small town girl who left her little life for the big city where she wound up turning tricks, giving her money to a cat named Joe and spending the rest on purple hearts and cigarettes (Ray seemed to write a lot about girls leaving home back then, "Polly" and "Rosie Won't You Please Come Home" are two that spring to mind).  Years ago I dated someone who often held this utterly ridiculous idea that speed was okay in moderation and this track rankled her, I didn't date her very long.   Oh back to the retains a bit of "rocking" that steers it clear of the sort of knees up/music hall sound a lot of  late '66-'67 Kinks records had (never a bad think but always refreshing when they showed they still had the stuff).

The late great Pete Quaife 1966

TRIVIA:Some copies (like mine above) were misprinted as "Deadend Street".

Hear "Big Black Smoke":

Friday, February 25, 2011

February's Picks

Roads less traveled on the way out of Lower Binfield....

1. THE BLADES-"Downmarket"
One night in a fervor of ale influenced nostalgia I trawled iTunes for lots of 80's mod bands I liked (more mod 80's than the '79 era) and stumbled upon stuff by this Irish band.  I'd have to say the bulk of their material never grabbed me but they had four or five really amazing tracks and this was one of them.  Much like England's The Truth, The Blades straddled that fence of "mod" and just ordinary contemporary pop.  The difference was The Blades boasted a much better lead vocalist (Paul Cleary) and a kick ass horn section akin to early Dexy's records, no better exemplified by this track.

2. DAVID BOWIE-"Station To Station"
I've been reading alot on Bowie's cocaine years and the "Thin White Duke" period as of late and I dug this out for a "get reacquainted" session.  The one thing that always amazes me, whether I like the results or not is Bowie will pick up on something, use swatches of it and come up with something totally of his own time and time again.  There's bits of funky 70's soul on this as well as the seed of the illegitimate father of the New Romantics all wrapped up in one Nietzschian, Colombian marching powder fueled announcement that "Bowie's back".

3. THE BOOMTOWN RATS-"Someones Looking At You"
Songs, for me, are little snapshots or films of my life.  In 8th grade a new kid arrived at school and we became friends.  His favorite bands were The Ramones, Pink Floyd ("The Wall" I digress), Queen (shudder) and...The Boomtown Rats, this track immediately struck me and will always encompass that period in my life before mod came along and changed everything.

4. THE LEN PRICE 3-"With Your Love"
Thanks to Katja Koehn who turned me onto these guys at the end of last year I've been on a steady Len Price 3 diet.  Granted musically they're not doing anything my friends The Insomniacs weren't doing twenty years ago, just way more punky (read "obscene" or "street" level) and, because of national identity: British. I love their "*uck you" angst and 90% of the songs on their "Rentacrowd" LP could easily be directed at an -ex, very laddish without too much misogynism.

5. THE SCAFFOLD-"Liver Birds"
I've had this Scaffold "Best Of.." CD for over a year now and just started to dig this track, it came up on my iPod on shuffle last week during a vigorous early morning constitutional in the park and I was struck how the bass and drums were so "90's Manchester".  I'm surprised some crap band from that era didn't sample it's groove, catchy as *uck, I've had it in my head for ages, my one year old digs it too.

6. SONNY CLARK-"Melody For C"
A new discovery care of my main man and co-worker Ray who's been hipping me to a great deal of jazz over the past couple of years from the piano great Sonny Clark's LP "Leapin & Lopin'".  Perfect Sunday drive music that flows freely and gets busy without losing you in the process.

I guess what I like most about this "Satanic Majesties" track is that it easily sounds like something by The End, a British 60's psych band that Bill Wyman produced.  I've often lamented that it's a shame he didn't produce The Stone's "Satanic Majesties" album because it would've sounded much better and I could've heard the brilliant horns and Hammond on this cut a little more clearly than the over miked guitar, still it's my fave on the LP which is a bit dodgy in spots....

8. BIG JIM SULLIVAN-"She's Leaving Home"
From the campy/kitschy classic "Sitar Beat" album, a perfect  blend of muzak and sitar.  Big Jim actually played the sitar quite proficiently, none of that, what I like to scoff as "Chopsticks"-sitar playing by Messers Jones and Harrison (plonk, plonk, plonk,) and of course the accompanying instrumentation is top notch.  I rediscovered this LP whilst on a long drive (see photo at the top of the page) and I forgot how cool it is, perfect unobtrusive background music for a Sunday afternoon!

One of those records so rare they probably would charge you  to be in the same room with it.  But  it's also actually very brilliant, un;like a fair portion of expensive 60's 45s.  This was by some Aussie ex-pats, a one off monster freakbeat/proto psych on Andy Droog Loogy's Immediate imprint from 1966 full of high "West Coast" harmonies, technicolor guitar bursts of fuzz and lots of volume pedal action, think Fleur De Ly's meets The Action!

10. SIMON & GARFUNKEL-"A Hazy Shade Of Winter"
Long before Paul Simon became a world music magpie or culture thief he was half of this duo you see, and they made some pretty good records.  The dreary winter here in these parts has made this number especially relevant these days.  I love the near misanthropic cynicism Simon displayed in some of his early stuff, no better illustrated here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hammond Heroes: Dave Davani

THE DAVE DAVANI FOUR-Tossin' And Turnin'/The Jupe U.K. Parlophone R 5490 1966

This was the third single by the unsung U.K. Hammond r&b Dave Davani, and his second for the Parlophone label.

"Tossin' And Turnin'" is a fairly pedestrian, perhaps even ill advised cover of the Bobby Lewis hit, not terribly interesting by any scope of the imagination. The musical backing is decent enough but the number is dead boring and Davani vocals sound thoroughly uninspired.  But the B-side, "The Jupe", now that's where we're cooking, with gas kids. It's a brilliant organ fronted instrumental piece that's semi jazzy but catchy and fast enough to be danceable. In my estimation it's one of the great U.K. Hammond instrumentals up there with Zoot Money's "The Mound Moves", Georgie Fame's treatment of "Last Night" or The Graham Bond Organization's romp through "Wade In The Water".

The line up at the time of the recording of this single was: Dave Davani (organ, vocals), John Milner (guitar), Beryl Wayne (aka Mrs. Dave Davani,vocals and percussion), Mik Ewan (bass, harmonica) and Chaz Burton (drums).

Both sides were collected on the highly recommended Dave Davani Ace Records CD reissue of his LP "Fused" with bonus singles tracks and liner notes by our old pal Nick Rossi, no stranger to Hammond r&b/jazz.

The Dave Davani Four, 1965 clockwise from bottom left:
John Milner, Mik Ewin, Chaz Burton, Dave Davini & Beryl Wayne

Hear "Tossin' And Turnin'":

Hear "The Jupe":

Blue Note "Mini LP" Jukebox E.P.: Donald Byrd

Can any of you out there in Anorak-land tell us if Blue Note did any other "Mini Lp's" in the 60's?  We'd love to know!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Collection of Small Faces 60's Picture Sleeves Part

A selection of groovy 60's Small Faces picture sleeve 7's (perhaps some of you now own these after buying them from me):







U.S. 45







U.S. 45


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dedicated Followers Of Fashion Part Nine: Zoot Money & The Big Roll Band

Zoot Money (far right) and The Big Roll Band outside London/mod Mecca The Flamingo, note a youthful future Police-man Andy Summers to the left of Zoot.

One Aging Modernists Britac Shirt Experience

I've long drooled over the groovy patterned shirts and cornucopia of colors offered by the Britac website (all with matching pocket hankies too).  For some reason I never got around to buying a shirt from them, probably due to my fear of ordering clothes that I can't try on first.  Anyway I decided I'd have a go and gave my wife three choices for an Xmas gift idea (indicating the illustrated article above as my first choice).  A few acquaintances had them and all advised me that they ran a big small but were similar to Be Sherman's.  XL is a bit big in the neck for me in a Ben so I went with that for my Xmas gift Britac choice.

After eons it arrived (half due to that massive holiday storm that engulfed Europe and probably got it lost and/or snatched and half due to total ineptitude by the USPS who had it in limbo in between several local post offices for well over a week).  And so I got the phone call from my wife that the shirt finally arrived.  I got home and opened it, could anything that was waited on for well over two months be that good?  The color/pattern was as mindblowingly brilliant as I'd expected it to be, matching hanky too! BUT, what struck me immediately was how thin it was.  Incredibly thin, nearly transparent, like those Ben Sherman's I finally gave the ghost on after 20+ years of wash and wear.  How would this hold up after a few washings?!  I was peeved that my wife had spent well over $75 on this flimsy little rag trade thing that recalled those horrible shirts from Melandi on Carnaby Street back in the early/mid 80's. What next struck me was that yes, it was a bit tight, but shame on me for wanting something I couldn't try on first.  My next gripe was that the button holes were so tight I could barely get the buttons through and once it'd been unbuttoned again they already looked worn (and stayed that way after a delicate washing on "cold") giving the appearance of some old/vintage 60's shirts I owned in younger years.  Needless to say I will never ask my wife for another Britac shirt.  They can post adverts on all the cool sites they want and have all the wonderful colors and all but for that sort of money, well I'd like something a little more hefty for my buck (or hers).

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Walkers Of Japan

A collection of 1960's Walker Brothers and related 7" picture sleeves from Japan:










Saturday, February 19, 2011


EDDIE WILSON- Shing-A-Ling Stroll/Don't Kick The Teenager Around U.K. Action ACT 4536 1969

What we have hear kids is sort of a "rarity" here at "Anorak Thing", not that this record is "rare", it's just that we rarely focus on soul music and certainly none that's been released after my personal benchmark for this sorta sound as "post-Otis Redding R.I.P."  I 'll explain.  I once read a quote in the 80's by a U.K. mod D.J. named Paul Hallam who said something to the effect that he kept his soul pre-'68 because "after Otis died everything got funky".  I'm inclined to agree and not being down with funk I rarely hear much that grabs me soul-wise later in the decade.  I wound up with this record through a friend many years ago, in truth I always liked the look of the label, though it took me awhile to get around to digging the record.

I can't tell you much about Eddie Wilson or the record other than it was originally released in the U.S. on Back Beat 596 in 1968 (home of my fave Little Carl Carlton).  Today's specimen comes from the famous U.K. soul label Action!.  It was a brainchild of the British mod/soul-r&b DJ supremo Guy Stevens after he pulled the plug on his highly successful (and now highly collectible) U.K. Sue label.

"Shing-A-Ling" stroll is funky and unbeat, it has a "live" feel to it with the intro featuring the sounds of a crowd shouting out as a cowbell kicks in the groove and the bursts of guitar recall Archie Bell and The Drells while the horns have a succinctly "Stax" feel to them.  Coolness. The flip, though totally upbeat and kicking in the musical backing department comes off a bit corny from a lyrical standpoint but if you ignore the words it's a gass, complete with some old early/mid 60's style female backing vocals straight off of a King r&b side.
Hear "Shing-A-Ling Stroll":

Hear "Don't Kick The Teenagers Around":

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dedicated Followers of Fashion Part Eight: Donovan

 Donovan invented World Music, Celtic Rock and feng shui, in that order.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Ways And Means

THE WAYS AND MEANS-Breaking Up A Dream/She U.K. Trend TRE 1005 1968

Written by George Alexander of Grapefruit (see "Anorak Thing" November 4, 2010 AND September 8, 2010 entries)  ) and published by the Apple Records company, like many songs that were published by the Beatles company but not actually released on their label (joining the likes of brilliant singles by Legay, The Sands and even Fire's brilliant "Father's Name Was Dad").  "Breaking Up A Dream" was never cut by Grapefruit in the studio but they did perform it once in 1968 BBC session and it was given to the now forgotten Ways And Means for the fledgling (and short lived) Trend label.  The Ways And Means were a group that specialized in more of the "Californian" surf-sunshine pop/harmony sound and had previously released two singles, one on Columbia (that coupled The Beach Boy's "Little Duece Coupe" with Jan & Dean's "Little Old Lady From Pasendena") and another on Pye.  This would be their last.  Presumably they came into contact with George Alexander through his Grapefruit bandmates who'd previously been members of Tony River's backing group The Castaways (who had made a name for themselves by being Britians first "surf-harmony" beat group).

"Breaking Up A Dream" has an almost raga feel to the underlying melody of the track and even the guitar lick at one point reminds me of something The Cedars (a Lebanese band who cut 3 singles in the 60's for Decca that utilized a Middle Eastern feel) would've used .  It's thoroughly not something you'd expect for 1968 sounding alot like a milder freakbeat record from '65-'66 before things got "way out" but with some off kilter harmonies. "She" was reputedly written by Barry Class and like the A-side credits not the composer, but the music publisher in the song writing parentheses (Top Class/Sparta). I can't for the life of me recall what it sounded like!!

"Breaking up A Dream" has appeared on numerous un-legit comps but received it's first legit re-issue on RPM's CD comp "94 Baker Street:The Pop-Psych Sounds Of The Apple Era 1967-1969".

Hear "Breaking Up A Dream":

Hear their version of "Little Old Lady From Pasadena":

Monday, February 14, 2011

Dedicated Followers of Fashion Part Seven: Brian Jones

"Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones ?"

No women were accidentally knocked up or smacked around in the compiling of these photographs