Monday, December 11, 2017

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The Force Five and Jim Economides

THE FORCE FIVE-Gee Too Tiger/I Want You Babe US Ascot 2206 1966

The sole US 45 by Britain's The Force Five ("the" being dropped on their U.K. releases) was a curious March 1966 coupling of their fourth and next to last U.K. single (United Artists UP 1118 December 1965) with sides reversed. Hailing from the Dr. Feelgood turf of Canvey Island the Force Five were a U.K. beat 5 piece.

"Gee Too Tiger", though credited to Jim Economides and Perry Ford sounds suspiciously like this May 1965 track "Geeto Tiger" cut in the U.S. on the Colpix label by The Tigers!!  Blatant plagiarism aside it's always interesting to hear British bands sing about the imminently American domain of fast cars. "Gee Too Tiger" works not just because it's a punchy beat number but because The Force Five have the vocal harmony part down to a fine art and the over the top guitar solo worthy of any Joe Meek record is far too crazy for anything a U.S. surf/hot rod band would attempt!

Pic courtesy of

 "I Want You Babe" is moved along by a catchy bass line, it's a mid tempo beat number somewhat reminiscent of The Applejacks or The Sons Of Fred.  Again there's a freaky little guitar solo towards the end where the band go into a full on mod/freakbeat "rave up" that sadly fades out before it really gets going (the track clocks at just under 2 minutes).

Both sides were produced by the US producer Jim Economides who took a page from Shel Talmy's book and launched his own UK based production company in 1965 producing Marc Bolan's debut 45, Ray Singer, The Fenmen (on their final two "West Coast" influenced 45's ), The Fadin' Colors, Simone Jackson, The Clockwork Oranges mod/surf classic "Ready Steady" and The Majority's surf/hot rod number "Shut 'Em Down In London Town" etc. One wonders if Economides heard "Geeto Tiger" whilst producing in the States and took the liberty of "rewriting" it in the the UK (he had previously produced "surf" records for Dick Dale and Mr. Gasser and The Weirdos back in the US of A) .

"Gee Too Tiger" has yet to be comped but "I Want You Babe" recently surfaced on the CD compilation series "Beatfreak!" on their "Beatfreak 2!" volume.

Hear "Gee Too Tiger":

Hear "I Want You Babe":

Monday, December 4, 2017

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Status Quo

STATUS QUO-Ice In The Sun/When My Mind Is Not Live US Cadet Concept 7006 1968

Status Quo will forever be one hit wonders in the United States on the strength of their March 1968 #12 hit "Pictures Of Matchstick Men" issued on the Chess records "alternative" outlet Cadet Concept.  Cadet Concept skipped their second 45 "Black Veils Of Melancholy" (which was curiously issued in 1969 as their 4th of 5 Cadet Concept 45's!)  and jumped to their third U.K. 45 "Ice In The Sun" which was released here in August 1968 (issued in the U.K. as Pye 7N.17581 the previous month). Unfortunately it stalled at #70 and was the last time Status Quo ever graced the U.S. Hot 100.

Written by pre-Beatles U.K. teen idol Marty Wilde (father of 80's new wave sensation Kim) and Ronnie Scott (NOT the famous U.K. jazz man), "Ice In The Sun" relies on the similar guitar effects of "Pictures Of.." , it's sort of bubble gum psych pop. Not an awful track per se but not their best either.  The real gem in the flip side "When My Mind Is Not Life" penned by the band's lead guitarist Rick Parfitt.  Starting with some wah-wah'ed combo organ and  bass playing scales with their trademark distorted guitar wailing away it's a perfect hard pop-psych tune.  Musically it reminds me of The Bee Gee's if they'd been allowed to get "heavier".

Both tracks were included on their debut US LP "Messages From The Status Quo" and are available on a host of Pye era Status Quo CD compilations.

Hear "Ice In The Sun":

Hear "When My Mind Is Not Life":

Cool Belgian 1968 TV promo for both tracks: