Thursday, September 22, 2011

On Hiatus!

We're moving (geographically) so "Anorak Thing" is on hiatus while Mr. Anorak Thing pulls up stakes to a new residence and a new life!  We will return with our usual passion!  In the meantime here's the Thin White Duke summing it all up nicely:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September's Picks



1. BLUR-"She's So High"
It's hard to believe it was almost 20 years ago to date and I was a recently demobbed soldier and my friend Dave Woj and I were well into our umpteeenth pint one sunday night at Old Bay when this trippy video came on by this band doing this song on the pub's sole TV. Anyway it reminded us alot of the pseudo-psychedelic sonic onslaught perpetuated a few years earlier by our good friends Lord John.  I duly purchased "Leisure" the very next day at Jack's in Red Bank and for the next 4 or 5 years this was my favorite band until "The Great Escape". It just boggles my mind because it literally, seems like not that long ago.

2. THE NASHVILLE TEENS-"Last Minute"
A nice bit of weirdo b-side action from the Teens, this was the flip of their jaunty stab at Randy Newman's "The Biggest Night Of Her Life" from late '67 and unearthed on one of the "New Rubble" compilations.  It has some spooky backing vocals and some great phlanged piano, subtly trippy without being clumsy.

3. MASTERSWITCH-"Action Replay"
Brilliant one off single by a punky band with power pop leanings which has sadly been overlooked on the CD compilation scene.  Lead singer Jimmy Edwards later formed Time U.K. with Rick Buckler and the two of them later formed the ill famed Sharp with Bruce Foxton.

4. THE SNEETCHES-"Empty Sea"
A brilliant little pop song from a quirky band from the late 80's/early 90's, it has all the trappings of that era as far as recording techniques but the melody and snappy vocal harmonies wash all that "contemporary" stuff away in it's lush grooviness!

5. CHAD STUART & JEREMY CLYDE-"The Emancipation Of Mr. X"
Utilizing a them later explored by Blur ("Tracy Jacks" ) and The Len Price Three ("Mr. Grey") Chad & Jeremy give us the tale of a 9 to 5 executive who has enough of the daily grind and finally snaps, in the most melodic, orchestrated pop way possible. From their amazing LP "Ark".

6. 999-"Boys In The Gang"
One of my favorite English punk bands this number captures why I like them.  Their tunes are melodic and unlike a lot of their peers they could actually play, very well too!

7. PANDAMONIUM-"The Sun Shines From His Eyes"
A jaunty piece of pop-psych found of the flip side of the lysergic, Hollie's influenced "No Presents For Me" is this simplistic but groovy little ditty of sing-along semi psychedelic '67 style goodness.

8. HERMAN'S HERMITS-"The Man With The Cigar"
As a kid I thought this B-side of "A Must To Avoid" was boring, years ago I gave it another shot and was immediately taken by it's somber backing vocal, simplistic/melodic guitar solo and the general down trodden ambiance of this great number.

9. JOHN WONDERLING-"Midway Down"
After being familiar with The Creation version for 25+ years imagine my surprise to find out last year that it was a cover by a U.S. artist named John Wonderling!  The original is far trippier than The Creation's Kinks style kitsch and features a groovy little fairground organ bit!

10. SYD BARRETT-"Octopus"
Until I read Rob Chapman's "Syd Barret-A Very Irregular Head" I'd long believed this song to be a bunch of entertaining gobbledygook psychobabble.  It turns out that the majority of the lyrics are fragments of lines from poems, literature and children's stories cleverly linked up by Syd and pit to music, in fact all this years I thought he'd been singing "The Madcap laughed at the man on the border.." when in fact he was/is singing "mad cat"! Genuis.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Wailin'

Junior Walker & The Allstars live at the Ram Jam Club, 1967:


More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The Merseybeats

THE MERSEYBEATS-Don't Let It Happen To Us/It Would Take A Long Time U.S. Fontana F-1513 1965
















This was The Merseybeats 6th U.K. single (Fontana TF 568 May 1965) .  I'm not certain how many of their releases cropped up here in the States on Fontana besides this one. You've got to hand to American labels who kept plugging away at releasing records by Liverpool bands in 1965 long after the city was a dead zone for A&R men. The Merseybeats are one of my favorite Liverpool bands alongside Billy J and Co. and The Big Three, sadly though they seemed to have had crap stage outfits as photos (like the one below) will attest.

The A-side is a semi lukewarm version of The Shirelles number, doesn't really do anything for me at all.  Kinda weak actually.  The flip side, "It Would Take A Long Time" is my fave of the two.  It never made it onto Edsel records legendary Merseybeats compilation "Beats And Ballads" so it was new to my ears when I first picked this single up from the long gone Cheap Thrills record shop in New Brunswick, NJ back in the 80's. It was penned by band members Tony Crane and Aaaron Williams and has a slight country feel (well Ringo always claimed Liverpool was the country music capital of Britian!).

Williams, Gustafson and Crane, 1964























Both sides appeared on the excellent 2002 Bear Family CD "I Think Of You" which compiles all of their original 60's tracks (including a few German language versions of their tracks) in one place.

Monday, September 19, 2011

10 Great Film Soundtracks













Picking ten cool film soundtracks was no easy chore but I managed to pull it off. I've excluded music films that have a half assed plot thrown around them just to string together a bunch of cool songs (ie "Gonks Go Beat" or  "The Ghost Goes Gear") and similarly omitted all of The Beatles flicks.

1. "Beat Girl"
John Barry had the fortunate knack for being able to be both the band leader for a bona fide rock n' roll combo (The John Barry Seven) and a composer/arranger with "The John Barry Sound" (aka "The John Barry Orchestra"). This 1960 film (titled "Wild For Kicks" in the U.S.) allowed him to flex both throughout the whole thing.  The theme tune, kicking off with legendary Barry sideman Vick Flick's raunchy guitar lick and bursting into a brass barrage is one hell of a way to start a movie and nobody did that better at it's time than The JB 7.  The film soundtrack also features a vocal version of the main title theme by then U.K. heartthrob Adam Faith (who stars in the film as well as singing on two other tracks ).  The incidental music in the movie is equally amazing (esp. the gritty-jazzy "The Stripper") and the closing credit "End Shot:Slaughter In Soho" is chilling!

Buy it:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beat-Girl-John-Barry/dp/B004IOP2PW/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1316004380&sr=1-1


2. "The Knack (And How To Get It)"
John Barry again, this time it's 1965 and he loans his brilliant orchestral scoring ability to this understated cool black and white kitschy Dick Lester London flick.  It's mostly an orchestral affair with snatches of jazziness (and a vocal track of the main theme done in a Mark Murphy styled smoky way) and quirky bits.  The best of the lot being the trumpet/flute instrumental "Here Comes Nancy Now" and the quirky "Photo Strip" and of course not forgetting the brilliant main title theme tune with it's bits of jazzy organ, shimmering female backing choral bits and sweeping string arrangement!

Buy it:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Knack-How-Get-Soundtrack-SOUNDTRACK/dp/B000005Z62/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1316006417&sr=1-

3. "Blow Up"
Herbie Hancock's score for Antonioni's 1966 "Swinging London murder mystery" is atmospheric and perfectly suited from the moment we hear it's brief, but punchy opening title theme with it's excellent organ breaks and jazzy guitar licks (masterfully covered by The James Taylor Quartet in 1987).  The funky organ groove of "Bring Down The Birds" (it's main riff was later sampled by Deelite on "Grove Is In The Heart" hit, something I took great pleasure in pointing out to my squad whilst in the army when it came out in 1990) and "The Thief" are equally on par with the main title.  The films more somber moments are perfectly framed by Hancock's mellow pieces like "Jane's Theme".  The Yardbird's cameo of the powerful "Stroll On" (a re-write of "Train Kept A Rolling") rates as one of the great moments of British 60's rock n' roll on celluloid and is  included in the soundtrack. The CD reissue of the soundtrack contains The Loving Spoonful's "Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind" which features in the film. The "End Title" is a mash up of the opening title with some brilliant brass.  I'd be dead curious to know who the session players were on this LP!

Buy it:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blow-Up-Original-Motion-Picture-Soundtrack/dp/B003647BNG/ref=sr_1_4?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1316004589&sr=1-4


4. "Up The Junction"
Manfred Mann Mk.II's crowning moment is the score for this incredibly well done 1967 British film adaptation of a book by Nell Dunn about a deb slumming in the East End.  Mike D'Abo's pop precision vocals on the main title track as well as other amazing tracks like "Walking Round", "I'm Just Looking" and "Just For Me" are slices of amazing "Pet Sounds" meets British 60's pop psych.  My favorite track of the LP is Mike Hugg's excellent "Sing Songs Of Love" (featuring a lead vocal by Hugg himself as D'Abo takes a backseat).  Indeed Hugg composed a great deal of the LP.  There are several instrumental moments too, the best of the lot being the jazzy Hammond n' horns version of the main title.

Buy it:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Up-Junction-Manfred-Mann/dp/B0000247P8/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1316005383&sr=1-1


5. "The Touchables"
This 1968 mundane caper about four dollybirds who kidnap a pop star and take him to their way out modular space age home to be their sex slave is a dreadful film (despite the sexy Judy Huxtable) . BUT it has an amazing soundtrack kicking off with Nirvana's"The Touchables Theme ("All Of Us)", an orchestrated piece of brilliant pop psych. There's also some killer r&b care of Wynder K Frog's upbeat instrumental "Dancing Frog" and The Ferris Wheel's version of "Respect" is not half bad. Used in the film but not on any soundtrack issues is an early pre-LP version of "Interstellar Overdrive" by The Pink Floyd.  The incidental music by Ken Thorne is quite good, though far more "background" stuff than any of the previously mentioned tracks.

Buy it:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Touchables-Original-Motion-Picture-Soundtrack/dp/B004TYYIAG/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1316005778&sr=1-1


6. "Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush"
The soundtrack to this 1967 U.K. sex romp reads like a Who's Who of the Class of '67! The newly minted Steve Windwood act Traffic lead off with the title theme as well as contributing an alternate version of  the "Mr. Fantasy" LP track "Utterly Simple" and "Am I What I Was or Am I What I Am".  The decidedly dated Spencer Davis Mark II contribute the bulk of the album's work with boring workmanship r&b like a version of "Looking Back", but their gem of the film is an older Windwood era Hammond organ/percussion instrumental jam called  "Waltz For Caroline" (previously known as "Waltz For Lumumba").  Andy Ellison of John's Children contributes the weary/wistful "It's Been A Long Time" which fits nicely into it all.

Buy it:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/HERE-WE-ROUND-MULBERRY-BUSH/dp/B000005Z61/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1316006214&sr=1-1


7. "Bedazzled"
Few people realize that Dudley Moore's forte included being an accomplished pianist/composer.  He composed all of the tracks for the brilliant score for him and Peter Cook's 1967 vehicle about downtrodden fry cook Stanley Moon (Moore) selling his soul to George Spiggot /Satan (Cook).  The films most famous track is "Bedazzled" sung by Cook (as "Drimble Wedge & the Vegetation") in a spot on "Ready! Steady! Go!" pun sequence in the film with phlanging effects, organ and Ladybirds style female backing vocals.  The orchestral version of the same tune is equally powerful in a wash of brass and strings, 60's film soundtrack kitsch doesn't get any better than this! "GPO Tower" is a perfect camp Swinging London film swatch, "The Millionaire" is a cocktail piano jazz version of the main title and "Strip Club" (we seem to have a lot of film tunes with "strip" in the title here don't we?) is a campy bit of horns and organ discotheque groover incidental music and Moore's vocal take "Love Me", his impassioned P.J. Proby meets Tom Jones style number (from the "RSG" sequence as well) rounds it all out rather nicely.

Buy It:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bedazzled-Soundtrack-Revisited-Dudley-Moore/dp/B0042837EW/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1316006245&sr=1-1


8. "Get Carter"
I don't think any film has ever benefited from such a tasty soundtrack as this Michael Caine 1971 "gangster comes home for revenge" tour de force has from the brilliant composing/scoring of the late great Roy Budd.  The opener "Get Carter" (aka "Carter Takes A Train") is a classic.  With it's upright bass plonking down a firm riff then the tabla, harpsichord and Doorsy electric piano fall in  (interspersed with sound effects of high speed passing trains) and it's hard to surpass in my book.  Most mods will know the dance hall scene music (sadly absent from any soundtrack issues thus far) from The Prisoners re-write/rip off  of it as "Revenge Of The Cybermen", but I think the sequence's music is loosely based on Willie Mitchell's "30-60-90".  There are a few female vocal non-instrumental tracks on it, the soulful "Looking For Someone" and the down right moody/jazzy "Getting Nowhere In A Hurry" that's accented by a staple of the soundtrack, the harpsichord as well as a host of other atmospheric  instros.

Buy It:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Get-Carter-OST-Roy-Budd/dp/B003TOMSP4/ref=sr_1_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1316006287&sr=1-2


9. "Vampryos Lesbos"
Manfred Hubler and Seigfried Schwab's groovy soundtrack (under the guise of "The Vampire's Sound Incorporation") to this 1971 Jesse Franco vampire/sex romp for the late beautiful Soledad Miranda is a stunner.  Admittedly many of the tracks on this LP/CD (subtitled "Sexadelic Dance Party") are not all from the "Vampyros.." flick but from another Franco venture called "She Killed In Ecstasy" as well. Bursts of layers of horns are mixed with funky organ, throbby porn film bass runs, sitar and a host of trippy effects make it all a worthwhile venture, no filler, all killer as they say.  Best of the lot: the "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" influenced "There's No Satisfaction", the jazzy guitar "Droge CX 9" and the wiggy "The Lion And The Cucumber", a way out tune punctuated by primal grunts and screams with fuzz guitar, swirling organ, trippy horns (some of which are phlanged) and sitar!

Buy it:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vampyros-Lesbox-Various-Artists/dp/B000C4A1CG/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1316006329&sr=1-1



10. "The Italian Job"
Best known for it's Mockney lads chant # "Get A Bloomin' Move On (This Is The Self Preservation Society"), Quincy Jone's brilliant score has a lot more to offer than the previously mentioned lively sing-a-long.  The soundtrack and the film kick of with Matt Monro crooning "On Days Like These" which is a nice light touch to kick things off.  The LP varies and doesn't rely on the same melody oft repeated in different guises (ala 'the knack" or "Up The Junction").  My fave of the bunch is a mellow organ and acoustic guitar track called "Somethin's Cooking".

Buy it:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Italian-Job-Original-Soundtrack/dp/B000053F2R/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1316006387&sr=1-1

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hildegard Knef


















Hildegard Knef would've been just another boring Euro chanteuse had not the great folks at Marina records not turned me onto these two groovy English language tracks on their amazing "In Kraut" CD compilations!

Hildegard Knef was, so I'm surmising, sort of (West) Germany's answer to  Barbara Streisand or Connie Francis, not always hip, but fortunately unlike Babs she made a few cool records as you'll hear below. She also survived World War Two after alleged internment and first starred in a few films (she was quite stunning in her yoyounger years) before going on to become Germany's most famous post war chanson. 

I've long found it ironic and eerie that in "Holiday Time" she almost prophetically sings about the Munich Olympics massacre when she drawls about police accidentally shooting hostages in a bank robbery and in the next line sings that the Olympics was coming to Munich (where inept police sharpshooters would accidentally riddle Israeli athletes, hostages of the P.L.O, with bullets on a runway at Furstenfeldbruck).


Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Zombies-She's Coming Home

THE ZOMBIES-She's Coming Home/I Must Move U.K. Decca F12125 1965


















Without a doubt nearly all of The Zombies 60's single tracks are amazing. I can honestly say that unlike The Beatles or The Hollies there are no equivalents to the mundane boredom of "Love Me Do" or lame American covers like "Stay" or "Searchin'" in the Zombies U.K. A-side discography. Picking a favorite Zombies number is really a tough call, but today's A side item rates as one of my faves ever since I first heard it in a "new light" on the "Time Of The Zombies" Epic U.S. double LP in 1986 (I owned it on 45 for over a decade and never really dug it!).

September 1965's "She's Coming Home" (the band's fourth U.K. single and third American one) has all the makings of your typical Zombies "teen angst" number: the tragic protagonist, his long lost (but soon to be returning love) and this somber minor chords tastefully accented by Rod Argent's piano and organ (whilst Colin Blunstone soulfully croons).  Ken Jone's production is, as always, top notch and crystal clear.  On the flip we have "I Must Move", a number that easily could have made an A-side.  Starting out with Paul Atkinson's echo drenched acoustic guitar it's one of the St. Alban's boy's greatest triumphs in my book.  The harmonies and melody are precision pop at it's finest.

Both sides can be found on a multitude of products, I personally recommend Big Beat's CD "The Singles Collection" which collects all their Decca AND CBS British 45 rpm tracks, in Mono!


















Hear "She's Coming Home":

http://youtu.be/94b6BKeUiAk

Hear "I Must Move":

http://youtu.be/flUjhGoHVq8

For entertainment purposes here's Brenda Holloway tearing up "Shes' (He's) Coming Home":

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Greatest Film Theme Tune Ever

One Hundred (100) Followers!

Conrats to us as we now have 100 followers, that means somebody is paying attention!  A big thanks to all of you who read, follow or are subscribed to "Anorak Thing" and to all of you who comment on a regular basis (a big shout out to Diskojoe and C.).

QUADROPHENIA 9/14/11














"Quadrophenia".  It's a word or phrase guaranteed to spark an intercine (or is it "inter-scene"?) war among a group of mods at it's very mention. There are of course, two "Quadrophenia"'s, the original 1973 double LP by The Who and the dreadful but easily lampoon-able 1979 film (released 32 years ago today actually).  We are here today to talk about the album.  For me it has been an up and down relationship.  The double album and I are like an old married couple who have the stereotype love/hate relationship but like it or not it is still, thanks to it's beginnings, a very large part of me.

I was first introduced to the album's tracks via the film soundtrack double LP in 1981 when I purchased a cut out of it.  It was not until the summer of 1982 that a friend and I took a copy out of the library in his town to listen to that I finally became acquainted with it in it's original form. I think what struck me immediately was the songs content.  As much as I loved The Jam they never SANG about mods (lucky for them!) and the '79 bands did but in a more subtle way and here it was The Who singing about beach fights, suits, pills and yes the hallowed mode of mod transport, the scooter (a Vespa GS scooter to be exact).  Townshend's lyrical imagery is still to this day as powerful as it was when I heard some of these tracks  that summer day in my friend's stepfather's parsonage study.  "The Real Me" (which opens the album after the quasi-psychedelic "I Am The Sea") still packs a massive "ooomphhh" thanks to the sheer power of the number.  Bassist John Entwistle's impeccable brass work carries the album and it's no better exemplified on "The Real Me".  In fact most of the tracks still have a certain punch to them, like "5:15", "Cut My Hair", "Is It in My Head?" ,"The Dirty Jobs", "Bell Boy" and even the synth laden instrumental "Quadrophenia" all still sparkle for me in their own little way. Though I disdain the "Quadrophenia" film for what it has become and what it spawns (moronic impressions of mod, that dreadful "we are the mods" chant etc) I must say that "I Am The Sea"/"The Real Me" is a perfect way to begin any film and the shots of Phil Daniels riding his Lambretta around (past loads of late 70's vehicles) cannot be ignored.





I think my disdain for "Quadrophenia" occurred as part of my backlash in the mid 90's that resulted when NYC was suddenly inundated by these scruffy Brit pop type mods who I derisively referred to as "yob mods" because of their faux football terrace behavior, their lack of style and their literal belief that Blur's "Boys And Girls" was how life should be, in that order. Thanks to Blur et al there was this sudden influx of "new mods" who were taking the film quite literally and on about beating up "rockers" and basically carrying on like a bunch of primates. The film and all the tribal crap espoused by it was being taken as gospel and suddenly it was a guide on how to behave in the way that Richard Barne's "Mods" book had been for me in '81. This was, in some small part due to the British music papers and that dreadful "Touched By The Hand Of Mod" piece that espoused Blur, Mantaray, Thurman and loads of bands (real and "bedroom") that were never heard of again where it was all "speed, scooter, Quadrophenia". With this there was also a sudden praise for the LP by these "ace face's in trainers" and my head began to turn by unfortunately associating it with them. It put me off on the album for very long time. I seem to recall many, many years ago flogging it on some online mods forum while all this was happening as being the result of what would've occurred if "E.L.P. made an album about mod".  This was of course at a time where I'm assuming I was not amused by it's banks and layers of synthesizers and was not at all interested in 70's music outside of Bowie and Bolan! Fool.


"Down by the jetty", Asbury Park, NJ Spring 1995: me and Rob Farrell are forced into the sea by the NYC yob mods infringing on our patch.






















Luckily time erased both the Brit pop mods who moved onto their next "cool" thing and my distaste for the album, which thanks to occasional doses of iPod nostalgia has come back into my world. It's funny but on the occasion that I get to get out and about and meet one of my friends from "the old days" (the 80's) I'm immediately always jarred into remembering, quite fondly, a rather appropriate line from "Bell Boy":

"but I see a face coming through the haze, I remember him from those crazy days..."

Then there's this delightful blog with some groovy factoids about the film:

http://psychobabble100.wordpress.com/2010/07/25/september-14-2009-20-things-you-may-not-have-known-about-%E2%80%98quadrophenia%E2%80%99/

Amazon.com recently began taking advance orders for the November, 14, 2011 deluxe edition, titled "Quadrophenia:The Director's Cut Box Set" which in the style of David Bowie's "Station To Station" box set looks like quite a treat! It is set to include 4 CD's (including two discs exclusively of demo's), a 7" 45 of "5:15" b/w "Water", a 100 page hardbound book, collectible" insert cards and a DVD all housed in a groovy LP sized, album cover facsimile box!  I think I'll be pre-ordering mine....

To my wife, if you're reading this, this could be my B-Day AND Xmas gift...










"Some nights I still sleep on the beach....": British mod early 80's.













"A beach is the place where a man can feel he's the only soul in the world that's real...": old mod, buzzing on 5 pints of Smithwicks 
Asbury Park, NJ 12/19/10

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cool Foreign E.P. Sleeves Part 39: The Tages

THE TAGES-In My Dreams/I Still Remember/Those Rumors/Dancing In The Street E.P. France Impact IMP 200.006 1966

Friday, September 9, 2011

I got a feeling of optimism...General Public

Back in early 1984 it was sort of weird period for me to be a mod or whatever it was that I was trying to be.  The Jam were long gone, all the '79 mod and ska bands were gone and I was clinging to hopes that new bands would emerge (luckily within six months I'd be digging deep into..."the Rubble" he heh heh and turn my back on "contemporary music" till Brit pop's 15 minutes).  True I'd gotten really into a West Coast band called The Three O' Clock, but there weren't British (and in my Anglocentric mod music world that meant a lot)and they were just a tad too new wavey for me to REALY follow with the ssme conviction that I'd worshipped the Jam, The Specials or (ack!) Secret Affair. Then in the spring of 1984 there came a burst of hope from my car radio on WPRB, my local "cool" college radio station one day whilst driving around (I was 17 and yes I had a car, more on that some other day).  The voice sounded incredibly familiar, was it...?  Yes it was!  It was Dave Wakeling of the (English) Beat!  The band were called General Public and the record was called "Tenderness".  I immediately located a British music monthly (I can't recall what, possibly "The Face"?) and it mentioned the band's line up which was a veritable freaking super group: ex- members of The Specials, The (English) Beat, Dexy's Midnight Runners/The Bureau and even Mick Jones from The Clash!!  My ship came in!



I was completely blown away by it, it had all these great bits (an oboe even reminding me immediately of the 1st LP era Bowie tracks I was so enamoured with) and it sounded so fresh (it holds up okay but admittedly it's a bit "too 80's" for me now). I immediately bought the single in the "import" bin of a record store in Quakerbridge Mall (where I'm still known to snag an occasional Ben Sherman or three when I'm in the area 27 years later........) and played it constantly and put it on a cassette tape and it was on in my car 24/7 (alongside other un-mod numbers like Aztec Camera's "Oblivious", The Cure's 'Love Cats" and of course heaps of Squire, Dexy's Midnight Runners and Syd Barrett...., but the latter is another teenage tale for another day). When it eventually garnered a U.S. release I snagged that one too. In fact my U.S. copy is still brand new and my U.K. copy is literally unplayable. Maybe that's because I played it so many times or that I played it so many times on my then crap stereo (actually wait by then I'd actually had a nice stereo that my mom actually bought for me on credit that i was paying her back for bi-weekly). But the record reminds me of this brief kernel of brightness and optimism in my mundane, depressing world that was the spring of 1984 knowing that I'd finally be out of high school in a few short months and feeling young and actually for once, happy. Every time I hear it I'm 17 again and in the seat of my Triumph Tr-7 tooling around with the sunroof open with my French crew cut in a well worn pair of desert boots and a tennis shirt (non Fred Perry at this point in the game) before the weight of the world was thrust upon me with adulthood.

US Issue Front



US Issue Rear






U.K. Issue


Trippy 60's Promo Films Part One: The Troggs "Love Is All Around"

One of the great things about the 60's is most of the cool bands occasionally got around to making promo films. More time then often they'd be little exercises in cinema verite (the boring concept of standing in a white room and mining with your gear didn't occur till the late 70's..). Quite a few of them were very trippy, like this one, the first in our series of "Trippy 60's Promo Films" (I almost typed "porno"...now wouldn't that be cool it that were on the old YouTube..):

Thursday, September 8, 2011

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Wynder K Frog

WYNDER K. FROG-I'm A Man/Oh Mary U.S. United Artists UA 50320 1966


















No one in this little mod/r&b/soul community of ours can deny the mighty Hammond organ power that was the short lived late 60's British combo known as Wynder K Frog.  They racked up three LP's and 5 singles plus a rare as hell flexidisc in the U.K.  In the U.S. their last two LP's were released on United Artists and they had a contribution to the "Touchables" soundtrack LP.  Today's specimen is the only U.S. 45 I have ever encountered by them. Interestingly it was not released in the U.S. in this form, the U.K. issue of "I'm A Man" (Island WIP 6014) featured "Shook, Shimmy Shake" as it's flip, while this American pressing featured a track that was not issued in the U.K. called "Oh Mary".  We discussed the U.K. pressing at:

http://anorakthing.blogspot.com/2009/07/even-more-uk-60s-hammond-horns-mod-r.html

As discussed in the post above the band's treatment of "I'm A Man" is legendary stuff.  "Oh Mary" is an interesting number.  It was written by a West Indian singer named Jackie Edwards (who also wrote "Somebody Help Me" and "Keep On Running", both of which were covered by The Spencer Davis Group).  He released a version of "Oh Mary" in the U.K. (as Island WI 287 in July '66) on the B-side of a track called "Think Twice", it was also later cut by the U.K. r&b band The Primitives in their European based phase and graced a rare French E.P. by them. The Wynder K. Frog version is basically the backing track of the Jackie Edwards version with Mick Weaver's funky Hammond instead of Jackie's vocals.  Regardless of how "recycled" that may seem it's a killer record thanks to it's powerful "Hammond n' horns" mixture and rate right up there with their other monster B-3 tracks.

Sadly no one has released a Wynder K. Frog compilation CD as of yet, which is absolutely criminal seeing as how popular their music is compared to far more obscure acts who get much more reissue action.  Tracks have turned up on various instrumental comps and Edsel reissued their 2nd LP "Out Of the Frying Pan" on CD in the 90's which is long out of print, but that's about it.
Hear "Oh Mary" by Wynder K. Frog:

http://youtu.be/DmHKyDMjGL4

Hear "Oh Mary" by Jackie Edwards:

http://youtu.be/EeuVpKt4rzI

Hear "I'm A Man":

http://youtu.be/phZq_1HEO-E

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Herbie Goins and The Night-Timers On French TV

Too busy to blog today so here's a piece of vintage U.K. 60's r&B Nick Rossi found on YouTube of Herbie Goins and The Night-Timers featuring former Georgie Fame and The Blue Flames alumni Speedy Acquaye (congas), Mick Eve (tenor sax) and Eddie "Tan Tan" Thorton (trumpet) live on French TV:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

On The Road To Cairo with Jools & Brian

JULIE DRISCOLL, BRIAN AUGER AND THE TRINITY-Road To Cairo/Shadows Of You France Marmalade 421405 1968
So tell me, is it me or doesn't ol' Jools look like a youthful Jam era Paul Weller on this sleeve? Sorry just asking...

I'll have to say it's taken me a good 20+ years to get my head around "The Road To Cairo". As songs go it probably wouldn't be interesting if it was done by anybody else but let's face it Jools voice is pretty hard to compete with and that's what finally brought me around on it. Auger's churchy organ adds an air of cool mysteriousness about it as well.

"Shadows Of You" is by far the better of the two. The crack music section of Brian Auger on the Hammond, Dave Ambrose on bass and Clive Thacker on drums lays down an amazing jazzy groove for Driscoll's soulful voice to springboard off of. Jools voice of course is top notch on this.  Although she's got a great voice I far prefer her singing group originals or tracks that are non-U.S. soul covers.  Don't get me wrong, it's not that she's bad at them they just are usually carbon copies of the original and it's far more interesting to hear her interpreting someone else's work in her own style or even better a group original!





Both sides were compiled on the still in print CD compilation "Brian Auger:The Mod Years" as well as a far more exhaustive compilation of Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger and The Trinity's material called "A Kind Of Love In 1967-1971".

Some Jools pin-up action because there are far too many pics of men on this blog.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Graham Nash Pardoned After 43 Years

After leaving the Hollies 43 years ago Graham Nash was pardoned by this blog for leaving the band to become a full time California hippie and join Crosby, Stills and also Young. In retrospect I think I'd have become a bearded denim clad hippie if I had to wear a white tux with a bow tie and play chicken in a basket gigs too. Remember kids there is no such thing as "variety" in the variety show circuit!

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Liverpool's Escorts

THE ESCORTS-Come On Home Baby/You'll Get No Loving That Way U.S. Fontana F1512 1965












The Escorts were one of those late era Liverpool bands who got signed in '64 when the whole Merseybeat bubble had just about burst and sadly missed the boat in the fame and top ten hits game.  They recorded six singles in '64-'66, none of which sadly made much impression.  They are most famous because their lead singer, Terry Sylvester, jumped ship to join the Swinging Blue Jeans to replace Ralph Ellis in 1966 before the Escorts final single which we discussed over at:

http://anorakthing.blogspot.com/2010/05/liverpools-last-gasp.html

Sylvester then moved on to The Hollies in January 1969 to replace Graham Nash, a post he held until 1981. This was The Escort's fourth release (seeing the light of day over the pond as Fontana TF 570 in May 1965). It was written by the Addrisi brothers (responsible for the rocking "That's When Happiness Began" and  The Association's smash "Never My Love", among others). "Come On Home Baby" is my favorite of all the Escorts tracks. It's driven along by future Hollie Sylvester's strong lead vocals and excellent harmonies.  It has a nice gritty little guitar solo as well.  The flip side, "You'll Get No Loving That Way" is a mid paced number that's actually quite decent and is slightly reminiscent of The Everly Brothers.

Both sides were compiled on The Escorts LP/CD anthology on Edsel "From The Blue Angel".

The Escorts in possibly the worst get ups next to the Merseybeats Henry VIII collars....














You can hear both tracks as well as the entire "From The Blue Angel" over at:

http://phrockblog11.blogspot.com/2009/04/escorts-from-blue-angel-1964-1966-uk.html

Or hear "Come On Home Baby":

http://youtu.be/BydmUq9cRco