Sunday, August 25, 2019

More U.K. Tracks On U.S. Labels: Manfred Mann Mk. II Part Two

MANFRED MANN-My Name Is Jack/There Is A Man US Mercury 72822 1968
Manfred Mann's "My Name Is Jack" was one the band's last UK hits (the second to last actually, #8). It had no such luck in the US dying at #104 in the June of 1968 (simultaneously launched in the U.K. as Fontana TF 943).

Like The Who's "Substitute", "Mty Name Is Jack" had it's lyrics edited for a US release with the tasteless line "Here comes Super Spade who really puts it on" changed to "Here comes Superman".  Probably not one of my faves, it's a piece of pretty disposable pop music about life in an orphanage ("in the Greta Garbo home for wayward boys and girls"). It's totally inoffensive but just so syrupy sweet that it hurts my teeth to listen to it more than once.  There's some neat harmonies it in but....

Bass player Tom McGuinness's "There Is A Man" brings up the flip. It's a freaky little ditty about a guy in an asylum who hallucinates seeing a man who follows him around ala The Who's "Whiskey Man", only far more sinister thanks to some almost Pink Floyd-ish spacey musical backing!!

Hear "My Name Is Jack":

Hear "There Is A Man":

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Dance Floor Revivals: The Dave Clark Five

THE DAVE CLARK FIVE-Concentration Baby/Everybody Knows UK Columbia DB 8286 1967

Back in the mid 90's word across the Atlantic was filtering across from US modernist globe trotters that DJ's in the U.K. were breaking free from their usual "US soul/r&b only" mode and spinning all sorts of previously "taboo" sounds, many of them were from their own soil.  Among them was this gem by the Dave Clark Five originally released in October 1967 on the flip of the slushy "Everybody Knows" (#2 in the UK charts), "Concentration Baby" and its sudden popularity saw its price spike considerably by the late 90's, until it apparently fell out of favor (no such luck with Timebox's reading of "Beggin'" which is STILL in demand).

"Concentration Baby" is a full on, 100 mph high octane belter driven by an incessant organ lick, fuzz guitar and a heavy beat, a perfect vehicle for lead vocalist Mike Smith's screaming style.

The A-side, "Everbody Knows" (not to be confused with a Dave Clark/Lenny Davidson original from 1965 of the same title, Columbia DB 7453) is a schlocky crooner written by Les Reed and Barry Mason and interestingly sung by guitarist Lenny Davidson.

Both sides are available on the indispensable DC5 double CD collection "The History Of The Dave Clark Five".

Hear "Concentration Baby":

Hear "Everybody Knows" (and cringe):

Sunday, August 4, 2019

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The Herd Minus Peter Frampton

THE HERD-The Game/Beauty Queen US Fontana F-1646 1969

The Herd, a UK pop/psych quartet were by 1969, on their last legs. Their lead singer and guitarist "The Face of '68" (as he was dubbed by the magazine "Rave") Peter Frampton decamped to form Humble Pie with ex-Small Faces front man Steve Marriott leaving the band to carry on as a trio with Andy Bown (vocals, keyboards), Gary Taylor (bass/vocals) and Victor Spinetti (brother of actor Henry, on drums). They limped on for one last single, "The Game" which was issued in the U.K. as Fontana TF 1011 in April 1969, it was issued the following month in the US. It failed to chart and the U.K. and predictably did nothing in the US.

"The Game" is a piece of brass backed pop floss, it's not awful but it's so mundane and verges on inane bubble gum so much that I really never want to play it again. The lead vocals are (presumably) by Gary Taylor. Next!

New Herd front man Andy Bown

"Beauty Queen" should have been the A-side!  Sung by Andy Bown it's an uptempo little number with a rocking groove and amusing lines like "Beauty queen where have you been? Been to the Ivanhoe to see the Cream?". The dual attack of guitar and keyboards fatten the sound up add to my earlier mentioned comment that it should have been the A-side! The band splintered shortly after the record's flop with Bown and Spinetti joining former Amen Corner horn section members as Judas Jump. After that Bown eventually wrote and performed the theme song to the UK TV show "Ace Of Wands" in 1970, the amazing and highly collectible Mellotron freakout "Tarot".

Both sides are available on a host of Herd CD compilations available out there. We recommend the most recent "The Complete Herd: Singles A's & B's".

Mexican Herd E.P. split with Dave Dee, Dozy Beaky, Mick & Tich

Hear "The Game":

Hear "Beauty Queen":

Friday, July 26, 2019

Fleetwood Mac Shake The Case Of The Blues

FLEETWOOD MAC-The Green Manalishi (With A Two Pronged Crown)/World In Harmony UK Reprise RS.27007 1970

Here in America Fleetwood Mac will always be associated with the 70's and all of the Colombian marching powder excesses and domestic partnership in a band gone wrong that go along with it, but as most of you know they began as an entirely different horse of an entirely different color. Bursting forth in 1967 their C.V. and line-up read like a Who's Who of British r&b and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers alumni. But by the late 60's their habit of electrified blues was shifting into different horizons with their 1969 #1 (U.K.) instrumental "Albatross" and it's follow up, the somber "Man Of The World" (#2 and their sole 45 on Immediate records).  1970 saw the release of today's subject, guitarist Peter Green's "The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown)", a UK #10 and subsequently Green's last record with the band before mental illness took it's toll and it's founding member moved on. Green later indicated that the number was about the evils of money and was written shortly after a nightmare about a green dog.

"The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown)" is one of the heaviest and darkest records you will ever hear and even without knowing the background to Green's subsequent illness it's musical make up is pure bona fide musical doom. Plodding, heavy and full of layers of guitars it literally jumps all over the place with each new change as complex as the next with Green and guitarist Danny Kirwan playing their asses off.

UK picture sleeve c/o

The flip side "World In Harmony" is a haunting beautiful instrumental by Green and Kirwan that starts of with some harmonics with a melody not unlike the band's previous single "Man Of The World". Eventually it's somber mood picks up with a slightly menacing line coming in, but just briefly before reverting back to the lilting, gentle melody.

Both sides are available on a fairly comprehensive double Fleeetwood Mac CD "Love That Burns: The Blues Years" which is still in print.

Hear "The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown)":

Hear "World In Harmony":

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Alan Price: Life After The Animals

ALAN PRICE SET-The House That Jack Built/Who Cares UK Decca F12641 1967

Much like Paul Jones when he jumped ship from Manfred Mann, ex-Animal Alan Price ran quickly away from the r&b of the band that made him famous and straight into the arms of "pop music". "The House That Jack Built" was Price's sixth solo 45 in the U.K. Issued in July 1967 it was also his first composition to air as an A-side in his solo career and the absolute antithesis for the Summer of Love.

For years I had always assumed "The House That Jack Built" was a cover, perhaps even a Randy Newman tune as there's something about it's jaunty mood that reminds me of it's predecessor, a version of Newman's "Simon Smith And His Amazing Dancing Bear" (UK Decca F12570). It's quirky and the lyrics about a house of eccentrics give it that offbeat pop feel akin to the Manfred's hit "My Name Is Jack". It also sounds suited for future partner in crime Georgie Fame and his poppier sides he was cutting in 1967.

The flip side, "Who Cares" is another Price original.  Again the lyrics are a tad oblique and there's nothing redeeming about it to my ears. Next!

Both sides are available on a 3 CD set "Twice The Price" that contains everything Price ever recorded for Decca.

Hear "The House That Jack Built":

Hear "Who Cares":

Sunday, July 7, 2019

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The Young Idea

THE YOUNG IDEA-Mr. Lovin' Luggage Man/Room With A View US Capitol P 2093 1968

U.K. duo The Young Idea were very much in the vein of Paul & Barry Ryan, Twice As Much or The Truth as far as UK duos go. Comprised of Douglas Macrae-Browne and Tony Cox they cut a host of 45's (and an LP) in the UK on the Columbia label from 1966-1967. Today's subject is their fifth and final single, issued on the UK a Columbia DB 8284 in October 1967, it was held up for a US release until January 1968 (where it was their third and final US single).

"Mr. Lovin' Luggage Man" was written by Les Reed and Barry Mason and it's a pseudo baroque orchestrated pop piece not at all dissimilar to Twice As Much. It's a bit chirpy at times but the strings are absolutely ear catching!

"Room With A View" is the stronger of the two tracks in my mind.  The sawing violins have a discordant ring to them that brings the Velvet Underground to mind and it has all the other trappings necessary for it to be a pop psych gem from it's harmonies to it's slickly produced perfection.

"Mr. Lovin' Luggage Man" cropped on on one of the "Piccadilly Sunshine" compilations, on their "Part Thirteen" volume. Sadly "Room With A View" has failed to materialize anywhere as of yet.

Hear "Mr. Lovin' Luggage Man":

Hear "Room With A View":

Sunday, June 30, 2019

More U.K. Tracks On U.S. Labels: Manfred Mann Mk. II Do Dylan

MANFRED MANN-Mighty Quinn(Quinn The Eskimo)/By Request Edwin Garvey US Mercury 72770 1968

My earliest recollection of Manfred Mann was their US hit (#10) reading of Bob Dylan's "The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo)" which was a staple of Oldies radio throughout my childhood (oddly the Paul Jone's era r&b Manfred's were not nearly heard as much despite "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" being a #1 hit!).

"The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo)" was launched in the US in February 1968 (it was issued in the U.K. one month prior as Fontana TF 897 where it rose to the coveted #1 spot). It's a fairly innocuous pop track highlighted by some flute and Mike D'Abo's powerful pipes. Despite being bludgeoned to death with it throughout my childhood I have discovered in my old age that it's not a bad track.

The flip, Mike D'Abo's "By Request Edwin Garvey" is a bizarre piece sung in a faux crooner style with just piano. I imagine it would have been better suited to Vivian Stanshall and The Bonzo Dog Band than the Manfred's.

Both sides are available on the CD reissue of the LP "Mighty Garvey!" which is still in print.

Hear "The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo)":

Hear "By Request Edwin Garvey":

Monday, June 24, 2019

Leaving Here!

Have you ever stopped to consider just how many cover versions there are of Eddie Holland's 1963 Holland/Dozier/Holland penned opus "Leaving Here"? Without straying past the Sixties I managed to come up with ten, from all corners of the globe and without resorting to listing Motorhead's version!

1. EDDIE HOLLAND- US Motown 1052 1963
Here's where it all began! Eddie's eighth single for Motown became a staple for several mod influenced US soul obsessed British bands thanks to it's inclusion on the June 1964 U.K. Stateside E.P. "R&B Chartmakers Vol.3"  (SE 1022). It's infectious piano, female backing vocals and solid beat make it a solid dance floor necessity.

2. THE WHO-Unreleased 1965
By all accounts The Who were the first British band to begin playing "Leaving Here". Richard Barnes has suggested the band cut a version as The High Numbers during the session for their sole 45 ("I'm The Face"/"Zoot Suit") in 1964 . It's more substantially sped up than the original and is built on some frenetic Rickenbacker thwacking and frat boy backing vocals.  It eventually appeared as a bonus cut on the "Who's Missing" CD (though not credited in the CD as the 1964 recording). A far less powerful version was cut with Shel Talmy producing in March 1965 that was intended for their debut LP "My Generation" until a panning of the projected album's plethora of cover versions in the magazine "Beat Instrumental" scrapped the track.  Officially unreleased until 1985's compilation LP "Who's Missing", it's rather tame when compared with the 1964 version. The band also included it in their live set and performed it live on a  BBC session in April of '65.

"Leaving Here" (High Numbers version):

"Leaving Here" (second version The Who):

Scan c/o

3. THE RATIONALS-US ASquare A2-104 1966
One would suspect that Ann Arbor, Michigan's Rationals got "Leaving Here" from their interest in soul/r&b (it was issued with a cover of "Respect" on the B-side) and being geographically close to the Motor City. It's probably one of the most interesting versions because the playing is total teen garage a go-go but the vocals (with call and response and hand claps) are pure soul.

4. THE D-COYS- Australia Columbia DO4646 1965
Rivaling the United States for largest country with the largest number of Anglophile band's Australia benefited from the ex-pat telegraph that saw loads of Downunder bands cutting versions of tunes British bands were doing that did not get an Australian release. According to Ian McLagan in his book "All The Rage" there was a sizable contingent of ex-pat mods in Australia so one suspects that either the Stateside E.P. or word of the track in The Who's live set reached Adelaide duo The D-Coys who cut it as a B-side of their second 45. Though not remotely as good as most of the other covers it gets cred for it's obscurity.

Scan c/o

Here's a way out version that I know zilch about. Backed by some rocking guitar (reminiscent of Vince Taylor's  "Brand New Cadillac"),  groovy organ with horns and what sounds like a triangle this is without a doubt one of the most musically soulful versions out there. Cut in 1965 for the obscure Seattle Seafair Bolo label it's also one of the most expensive and in demand versions around.

6. THE BIRDS-UK Decca F12140 1965
In his book lead guitarist Ron Wood states that his band The Birds copped their version from the previously mentioned Stateside E.P. No doubt the most famous version of "Leaving Here" came via this U.K. r&b five piece from their second Decca single. With it's powerful opening chords that turn into a double time rave up this is the version that launched hundreds of live versions in the 80's (my band The Phantom Five among them).

7. THE IMPACTS-US Northwestern Incorporated 2660 1965
Oregon's Impacts cut  their teeth with this version on the flip of their debut single "A Little Bit More". It's delivery is subtle with some faint organ and an interesting riff that's double timed, of all today's selections this is the version I found little to no information on.

8. TAGES-Sweden Plantina PA 122 1966
Sweden's Tages were devout Anglophiles and as The Who frequently gigged in Sweden it is safe to say that their version no doubt came from hearing The Who play it in their October '65 Swedish tour (the Tages later opened  for The Who in October '66 in Sweden) . It was the flip side of their eighth single, July 1966's "In My Dreams".  Though it's not the most powerful of the covers listed here it's interesting nonetheless for the addition of the Nicky Hopkin's inspired piano and the hard hitting drums.

9. TOMMY GOOD US Gordy G-7034 1964
Tommy Good's sole US single was this flip side reading of his "Baby I Miss You" July 1964 release. The uptempo horns and organ workout that leaves the original in the dust to my ears backing music wise. The vocals aren't as powerful as Eddie Holland's but the backing is solid and reminds me of what Georgie Fame would have done with it!

Scan c/o

10. THE VACANT LOT-Australia Columbia DO-4768 1967
Sydney, Australia's Vacant Lot issued this reading, their sole 45, in March 1967 making it probably the last 7 inch version of the track of the 60's. It's punchy, snotty and at the same time poppy thanks to the vocals.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

More U.K. Tracks On U.S. Labels: The Animals Do Sam Cooke

THE ANIMALS-Bring It On Home To Me/For Miss Caulker US MGM K13339 1965

The Animals fifth single in Britain was a cover of Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home To Me" (Columbia DB 7539 in April 1965). It was issued here simultaneously on the MGM label where it was their sixth US 45 release. It reached #7 in the British charts but stalled at #32 here in the United States.

"Bring It On Home To Me" is, in itself a pretty mundane tune to cover. It holds a place in the band's tumultuous history as being the last single to feature keyboardist Alan Price.  It's his piano work that saves the number from sliding into mediocrity, which despite a decent showing by Eric Burdon on lead vocals is nothing I really feel like playing over and over again. It was also previously covered in 1964 covered in Liverpool by two bands, The Big Three (on the various artists compilation "At The Cavern) and by The Merseybeats on their untitled debut LP.

Looking miserable with each other, 1965.

"For Miss Caulker", a Burdon original reminds me a bit of "I Believe To My Soul" in it's delivery, especially Price's ivory tinkling.  I am tempted to assume that Miss Caulker was the married black woman who Burdon had a brief teenage romance with (also mentioned in "When I Was Young") but I don't have either of his autobiographies to verify it. Price's piano work on the track is incredible and Burdon's vocals are on point as well and though the track would obviously have had little commercial success as an A-side it would have been better suited to my ears than a run of the mill Sam Cooke cover.

Both tracks are available in a host of places. I have them both on a double EMI CD Anthology of all of their Columbia material 1964-1966 and there is also an EMI CD still in print called "A's B's & E.P.'s".

Hear "Bring It On Home To Me":

Hear "For Miss Caulker":

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Pinkerton's Colours "Magic Rocking Horse"

PINKERTON'S COLOURS-Magic Rocking Horse/It Ain't Right UK DEcca F12493 1966
Quite often folks my age have the 80's British Bam Caruso label and their excellent "Rubble" series to thank for turning us onto a host of amazing tunes. Among those is a track by Pinkerton's Colours (also known as Pinkerton's Assorted Colours) "Magic Rocking Horse".  I was first actually familiar with the tune as it was covered by Milwaukee's lyseric purveyors of psychedelia Plasticland on their untitled 1984 debut LP (along with The Pretty Things/Electric Banana "Alexander"). My intro to the the original version first came via a cassette tape my guru Ron Rimisite passed on to my friend Rudie in 1985. Bam Caruso eventually included it on their 1988 Rubble Vol. 14 "The Magic Rocking Horse" LP.

Though not as trippy as one might suspect due to it's inclusion on a "Rubble" volume, "Magic Rocking Horse"  is nonetheless worth checking out. It was the third and final Decca single released by the U.K. 5 piece previously credited as "Pinkerton's Assorted Colours".  "Magic Rocking House" is a great baroque  pop with ringing acoustic guitars and a melancholy vocal delivery complete with a delightful 12 string acoustic guitar solo that would do The Poets proud.

The flip, "It Ain't Right" sounds like a totally different band (not that that's a bad thing). It's upbeat, rocking and almost a raw r&b/freakbeat thing. High marks!

The band then moved to Pye for three more singles before changing their name in 1969 to The Flying Machine and scoring a massive world wide hit (#5 in the US ) with "Smile A Little Smile For Me".

"Magic Rocking Horse" as mentioned above is available on Bam Caruso's "Rubble Volume 14: The Magic Rocking Horse" and both sides were included on an exhaustive two CD set compiling all the Pinkerton's/Flying Machine recordings titled "Flight Recorder From Pinkerton's Assorted Colors To The Flying Machine".

Hear "Magic Rocking Horse":

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Only In America: The Zombies-I Want You Back Again

THE ZOMBIES-I Want You Back Again/I Remember When I Loved Her US Parrot 45 PAR 9769 1965

It still always perplexes me that The Zombies were one hit wonders in the U.K.and way bigger here in the States. "She's Not There", a #2 hit in the US was #12 in the UK and "Tell Her No", a #6 in the US was a miserable #42 at home in Great Britain!  "I Want You Back Again" was the band's fourth American single and strangely did not get a U.K. release, it sadly limped in at #92 here in the States while it's predecessor ""She's Coming Home" faltered at #48! Unfortunately this spelled the end of the band's brief run of hits in the United States until their 1969 hat trick with "Time Of The Season" but that says nothing of the music they were putting out.

 "I Want You Back Again" is an amazing A-side. Hugh Grundy's jazzy drumming really makes it swing and throw in Argent's brilliant electric piano (that seems to anticipate Ray Manzarek and The Doors) and Colin Blunstone's vocals, though at times are out of his register, sound perfect for the track.

The flip, "I Remember When I Loved Her" was culled from the band's 1965 UK LP "Begin Here". It's not one of my favorites by them but it still beats their dreadful r&b covers!  The best part for me is the spooky sci-fi organ augmented by Paul Atkinson's Spanish guitar.

Both tracks are available on a zillion Zombies collections that Ace/Big Beat has flooded the market with over the past two decades.

Hear "I Want You Back Again":

Hear "I Remember When I Loved Her":

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Well We're All Heads....Roky Erickson R.I.P.

Word has spread throughout the world that the Texan psychedelic pioneer Roky Erickson has passed on, I can think of no better fitting tribute to him than this wild American Bandstand TV clip of The Thirteenth Floor Elevators performing "You're Gonna Miss Me".


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

More U.K. Tracks On U.S. Labels: Manfred Mann Mk. II

MANFRED MANN-Each And Every Day/Semi Detached Suburban Mr. James US Mercury 72629 1966

Manfred Mann's Mk. II (I call them Mk. II as they included new vocalist Mike D'Adbo, father of the lovely Olivia, as their lead vocalist) second US release was an interesting combination. Released in October 1966 it featured "Each And Every Day", a Mike Hugg original that would later become a May 1967 U.K. hit for Simon Dupree and the Big Sound as "Day Time Night Time" (curiously the Simon Dupree cut would not get a US release until July 1968!) as the A-side. This track was not released in the UK by Manfred Mann and got it's first airing here (and subsequently as an E.P. track in France and Portugal). Even more curious was the flip side, "Semi Detached Suburban Mr. James" which was released at the same time as an A-side in the UK! It was later issued as a double sided promo only 45 here in April '67. Adding further interest the track was later issued in the US only two months later by a British band Herbie's People who recorded it with it's original intended title "Semi Detached Suburban Mr. Jones" (changed to "James" by the Manfreds to avoid any drama as the Manfred's had recently lost Paul Jones as their lead singer)!!

"Each And Every Day" does not harness the power and upbeat chirpy feel as Simon Dupree and Co's cover but it still works.  Delivered much slower and with a more sparse musical backing it's selling point is Mike D'Abo's blue eyed soul vocals (and it's driving ivory tinkling by Manfred) and of course a Mellotron coming in and making it slightly off kilter playing the bits that were later done by a French horn in the Simon Dupree version.

And speaking of Mellotron, there's the flip, "Semi Detached Suburban Mr. James" which is probably the first British top ten hit to kick off with a Mellotron in it's opening notes! From the pen of Geoff Stevens and John Carter it's a pop classic about sour grapes as the protagonist cynically wishes his lost love good luck with her new life with a cheeky gallows humor infectious chorus of "so you finally named the day" that slightly resembles a good time knees up at the boozer.

Both sides are contained on the excellent US CD compilation "Chapter Two: Best Of The Fontana Years" and on the CD reissue of the LP "Mighty Garvey!" which is still in print.

Hear "Each And Every Day":

Hear "Semi Detached Suburban Mr. James":

Thursday, May 23, 2019

More U.K. Tracks On U.S. Labels: Dave Dee Etc Get Saucy

DAVE DEE, DOZY BEAKY, MICK AND TICH-Bend It/She's So Good US Fontana F-1559 1966

60's UK quartet Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich released a host of singles in the UK but few of these were issued in the USA.  Today's topic "Bend It" was their fourth US release, being issued in October 1966 (a month after it's release in the UK as Fontana TF 746, which it reached #2 , their highest charting 45 at that time). There were stories in the UK music press at the time of it's release that US d.j.'s were complaining that the songs lyrics were too "lewd" (Wikipedia cites "N.M.E" while I am in possession of an issue of "Disc & Music Echo" stating something similar, god knows where it is, if I dig it up I shall include a scan of it here later). It is claimed that a separate version was issued with different lyrics in the US to assuage the offended d.j.'s concerns but in my 30 years of owning records by them I have yet to come across an alternate version on a 45.  However I did recently stumble upon a great piece on the amazing So Many Records So Little Time blog on the subject, which clears things up on the matter stating that there were indeed two versions issued. In the US the version with new lyrics can be differentiated from the original by a simple comma in the band's name on the label!  The copy shown above is the original "uncensored" version with a comma missing between "Dozy Beaky", subsequent "cleaned up" versions contain a comma between "Dozy Beaky"!!

Meanwhile outside the Marquee club...
"Bend It" for those who have never had the pleasure features an electric mandolin as it's main instrument giving the track a "Zorba The Greek" feel. It's not among my favorites by them because it's, well I think it's sort of a one trick pony. Not as dreadful as some of their later stuff, but it's certainly no "Hold Tight" or "Hideaway" to my ears. It was utilized in 2010 in an episode of the Fox animation series "Futurama" in the 100th episode "The Mutants Are Revolting".

The money for me is the flip, "She's So Good". Driven by some very heavy bass  it's one of their most powerful tracks with some great harmony breaks and an infectious groove thanks to that over the top bass line (the band's bassist Trevor "Dozy" Davies went to the "John Entwistle school of lead bass" which gave the band their distinct sound)!!

It was recently brought to my attention by one of my Instagram followers that the "cleaned up" version of "Bend It" with amended lyrics popped up on a 1967 US Fontana records LP compilation of songs on the label by British bands titled  "England's Greatest Hits" (MGF-27570). It's also available as a bonus track on a Repertoire CD reissue of their untitled debut 1966 U.K. LP.

Here's a pristine British Pathe promo film for "Bend It"!!:


 Hear "She's So Good":

Friday, May 17, 2019

Warren Lee R.I.P.

Warren at the decks, Empire State Soul Club, The Mercury Lounge, NYC, Summer 1994
Word filtered through yesterday that Warren Lee, the legendary NYC soul DJ and founding member of the Empire State Soul Club passed away and I decided it was only fitting to pay tribute to the man who kept the dance floor packed.

Mod Nite December 30, 1984

I first encountered Warren Lee when him and Weems DJ-ed a mod night organized by members of a NYC mod band called The Scene at Danceteria on December 30, 1984. I remember the date because it was like the gathering of the tribes as far as mods were concerned and I met so many people that night who I know to this day. Stepping into that room was like walking onto a 60's film set with mods everywhere, dancers on elevated podiums and Dobie Grey's "Out On The Floor" pumping through the sound system.  I did not encounter Warren again until the Empire State Soul Club rolled into Maxwell's in 1988. A whole gang of us besuitted mod types joined the ESSC that night and got our light blue membership cards and stylish Empire State building soul club badges and the stage was set.  There were never any consistent DJ nights in New York at that time, it was more about bands and here was an opportunity to dance into the wee hours to DJ's spinning 60's soul. In my opinion there was never a better soul night in the Big Apple and there never will be! Eventually I got to know Warren from their gigs at the Mercury Lunge and The Norther River Bar. He was always patient, kind and perfectly willing to indulge my barrage of questions about what he spun and was my go-to guy when I heard some British band doing a soul cover and I needed to know who the original was. Then there was Jones, a now defunct little eatery/bar on Great Jones Street in NYC where Warren bar tended and most importantly, stocked the juke box ensuring that even when the E.S.S.C. was on hiatus his tunes were still being heard! In a genre where snobbery  and pretension eventually prevailed and everyone and their grandmother is now a DJ Warren Lee stood for what it was all about: an unpretentious guy who spun music not to impress or show off his records but to keep the dance floor packed and if Warren was spinning at the E.S.S.C. I was never at the bar I was always on the floor.

My E.S.S.C memorabilia.

For more recollections and tributes to Warren please pop on over to one of our fave blogs,  Shake Some Action.  This one's for you Warren, god speed:


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

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

THE MOQUETTES-Right String Baby But The Wrong Yo-Yo/You Came Along US MGM K13272 1964

My introduction to the two tracks on this 45 came via a 1965 cheesy US MGM records album compilation titled "Micky Most Presents British A Go-Go" (issued again a year later as "Micky Most Presents British In Groups"), a shoddy attempt at throwing a few hits he produced by The Animals and Herman's Hermits on an LP with a host of obscure productions by the likes of The Cherokees, The Symbols and these two cuts by The Moquettes (previously issued as a 7" in the UK as Columbia DB 7315 in 1964).  Sadly I can't tell you a thing about them other than that the two tracks on this 45 represent their sole musical output and that they were from Reading.

"Right String Baby But The Wrong Yo-Yo" dates back to the 1930's, but Carl Perkin's 1958 reading was no doubt the source for this cover. Delivered at an insane tempo with organ and wailing harmonica it's a brilliant interpretation  and a perfect encapsulation of gritty 1964 British r&b.

The b-side, "You Came Along", is a brilliant combination of r&b meshing with beat music that falls somewhere between The Zephyrs and The Animals. As on the A-side the combo organ really makes the number.

"Right String Baby But The Wrong Yo-Yo" has appeared on the compilations "That Driving Beat Volume One" and more recently "Beatfreak 2" while "You Came Along" is on "That Driving Beat Volume Two" and "Beatfreak ".

Hear "Right String Baby But The Wrong Yo-Yo":

Hear "You Came Along":

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Reggae Ska/Travel

Grab a ticket and climb on board we're going for a ride....

1. (THE) ETHIOPIANS-"Train To Skaville" UK Rio R 130 1967
Possibly the most famous Ethiopian's number, this ska classic from 1967 pops along at an imminently dance-able shuffle and is the perfect track to kick off our ska/reggae ode to travel!

2. TOMMY MCCOOK & STRANGER COLE-"Last Flight To Reggie (sic) City" UK Unity UN 501 1968
Mistitled "Reggie" instead of "Reggae", this flute led groover is narrated by one "Captain Streggae" with loads of witty lyrical observations ("and you'll be flyin' at 45 rpm...") on top of a funky rocksteady beat.

3. DESMOND DEKKER-"Rude Boy Train" UK Pyramid PYR 6011 1967
Desmond continued on the "rudie" theme after "Rudie Got Soul" with this mid tempo scorcher punctuated by some sharp brass and the famous "dibby dibby doo" chorus.

4. THE PYRAMIDS-"Train Tour To Rainbow City" UK President PT 161 1967
The Pyramid's debut 45 was this Eddie Grant penned tongue and cheek number with the lead singer acting as a tour guide/conductor ("for a moment if you care to look out the window you will see the house of the famous Judge 400 years, better known as Judge Dread" and "carefully to the right you will see the house of Prince Buster, he is a man that has given me competition so rest up") all on top of a nifty little groove punctuated by silly banter.

5. THE CHARMERS-"Skinhead Train" UK Explosion 2045 1971
One of the many skinhead "exploitation" records (and possibly one of this last) from the early 70's scene is this heavy duty and rare as hell 45 by The Charmers, their first for the Explosion label after a host of releases in the UK dating all the way back to 1961! No doubt it was lyrically influenced by Laurel Aitken's "Skinhead Train" (see below).

6. LAUREL AITKEN-"Skinhead Train" UK Nu Beat NB 047 1968
The godfather himself toasts over a funky rocksteady groove that's in part owed to "Train To Skaville" with some sharp brass accenting the bouncy/funky beat and his laid back improvisational vocals.

7. EWAN AND JERRY-"The Rock Steady Train" UK Giant GN 9 1967
Vocally not the strongest, this one owes almost a bit more to doo-wop/r&b than it does to ska and it's 1967 release date seems terribly dated, but still with a listen for the brilliant horn part!

8. SYMARIP-"Must Catch A Train" UK Treasure Isle TI 7050 1969
The Pyramids incognito (Symarip is Pyramids backwards...) debut was the boisterous rewrite of Derek Morgan's "Moon Hop" rejigged as "Skinhead Moonstomp". The flip was this mild reggae number that's nowhere near as brilliant as it's topside, but still worthy of inclusion here.

9. KEITH AND TEX-"Stop That Train" UK Island WI 3091 1968
Taking things down slow as we pull into the station....this rocksteady number from Keith Rowe and Tex Gibson dates from 1968, the last year Island used their iconic red and white label WI series.

10. KEN BOOTHE-"The Train Is Coming" UK Island WI 3020 1967
"The Train Is Coming" was one of the earliest ska tunes I heard when a teenage skinhead girl put it on a 90 minute cassette compilation of 60's ska. It's part ska and part boogie woogie shuffle with subtle hints of New Orleans r&b.

Friday, May 3, 2019

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

THE SPECTRUM-London Bridge Is Coming Down/Tables And Chairs US RCA Victor 47-9593 1968

UK pop quartet The Spectrum had slogged around for a bit and scored a European hit with their 2nd single, the pop slush that was "Samantha's Mine". They also cut the end title theme for the Gerry Anderson animated TV show "Captain Scarlet". But for me their big one will always be their fifth UK single (RCA 1700 June 1968) "London Bridge Is Coming Down", which was issued in the US as their third 45 in August 1968.

For anyone who's never heard it before "London Bridge Is Coming Down" takes the melody of the old children's nursery rhyme "London Bridge Is Falling Down" and changes the lyrics to be about London Bridge which was dismantled in 1967 and eccentrically transported to Arizona where it was reassembled. It's delivered rapid fire with a cool guitar lick, tight harmonies, some organ and a crisp production with a catchy chorus "London Bridge is coming down, coming down it's off to Arizona...".

Portuguese E.P.

The B-side "Tables And Chairs" is your typical flip side late 60's boredom.  Orchestrated elevator pop music, lots of harmonies, orchestration and heavy on the mediocre!

"London Bridge Is Coming Down" was finally comped on the Past And Present CD "Piccadilly Sunshine Part 3" and both sides are available on the Grapefruit double CD "All The Colours Of The Spectrum: The Complete Recordings 1964-1970".

TRIVIA: Drummer Keith Forsey became a producer under the wing of  Giorgio Moroder and later produced Billy Idol's first solo 45's.

Hear "London Bridge Is Coming Down":

Hear "Tables And Chairs":

Thursday, April 25, 2019

More U.K. Tracks On U.S. Labels: The Scaffold (Again)

THE SCAFFOLD-Charity Bubbles/The Goose US Bell B-821 1969

Scaffold's seventh UK single was "Charity Bubbles" b/w "Goose", issued in June 1969 as Parlophone R 5784. It was issued in the States in September of that year as their fourth US seven inch.  As with all their American releases it did not chart.

The A-side "Charity Bubbles" is a bit more uptempo than the usual idiosyncratic Scaffold tunes, but it has a rocking backing with some female backing vocals and brass and it's a nice change from what they had previously done. It's infectious even if it's a terribly simplistic number!

The real money for me is on the flip side "Goose", which should have been the A-side to this guys ears! Led by some tasty ivory tinkling by session man extraordinaire Nicky Hopkins it also reputedly features Mike's brother Paul McCartney on guitar. The real meat and potatoes of the song besides it's fantastic groove are the rapid fire lyrics that are savagely delivered about a trend hopping in-crowd interloper with such choice put downs "you say everyone is equal and you love them just the same, but the only person you can love answers to your name.." or "you glide around the pool a sort of hippie dippy queen, you think that you're a part of an imaginary scene...". It's easily one of my favorite Scaffold tracks and quite different from their usual "cheeky chappie" sing-a-long type songs.

Both tracks are available on the essential, still in print U.K. CD collection "Thank U Very Much-The Very Best Of Scaffold".

Hear "Charity Bubbles":

Hear "Goose":

Monday, April 22, 2019

Anorak Thing Podcast!

With technical help from Johnny B and his Hoodskins Productions the very first Anorak Thing podcast is up for your listening pleasure on Spotify. There's two hours of mid 60's British r&b up for your listening here. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

More U.K. Tracks On U.S. Labels: Ray Davies Via Dave Berry

DAVE BERRY-This Strange Effect/Now US London 45LON9781 1965

Dave Berry had little impact on the British charts until July 1964's #5 hit "The Crying Game", he hit the same spot again in March 1965 with Bobby Goldsboro's "The Little Things". His next British 45 was a reading of a previously unissued Ray Davies composition called "This Strange Effect" (though The Kinks would never release a version commercially they did perform it in an August 1965 BBC session). Berry's cover was issued in England as Decca F 12188 in July 1965. Though it failed to chart very high  in Britain (it reached #37) it was a massive hit in both the Netherlands and Belgium where it topped the charts in both countries (and it has been claimed by some sources as being the biggest selling single ever in the former). London records in the US finally issued it in September where it was Dave's third US single, but it failed to do anything.

"This Strange Effect", with it's subtle arrangement by Reg Guest, is a halfway decent ballad which, in retrospect, is hard to believe is a Ray Davies track.  Regardless it works, though just barely to my ears.

"Now" is a mid tempo number punctuated by some funky guitar (no doubt care of Jimmy Page who played on a great deal of Berry's records) but it's completely your garden variety nondescript beat number.

Berry's stab at "This Strange Effect":

Hear "Now":