Thursday, June 10, 2021

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The Transatlantics Cover The Fab Four

 

THE TRANSATLANTICS-Run For Your Life/Run For Your Life US Jubilee 45-5529 1966




















Britain's Transatlantics cut two singles in the U.K. on Fontana before switching over to King to release this Fab Four "Help" LP track as a single in March 1966 (as King KG 1033). Both previous singles were issued here on the Jubilee label as was this release a month later than it's U.K. cousin, though oddly only as a double sided promo (ditching the British flip side ""It's All Over"). 

Their version of "Run For Your Life" is a fairly carbon copy of the original though the opening intro has slight differences. As far as Beatles covers go in my estimation there's only three ways you can do it, badly, note for note or better by adding your own touches. This falls firmly in the middle safe ground of note for note. For Fab Four cover version completists only!

Dutch 45 sleeve, c/o 45cat.com





















To my knowledge it has not been comped or reissued anywhere,

Hear "Run For Your Life":


Hear a 1966 BBC session of The Transatlantics featuring "Run For Your Life":

Thursday, June 3, 2021

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Kippington Lodge And The Roots Of Brinsley Schwarz

 

KIPPINGTON LODGE-Rumors/And She Cried US Capitol 2236 1968
























Kippington Lodge are best known in the annals of rock n' roll history as the musical starting place of British musician's Brinsley Schwarz, Bob Andrews and  Nick Lowe! The band released five singles in the U.K. on Parlophone through their brief career 1967-1969. Today's specimen was their second U.K. single (Parlophone R 5677 March 1968) and their sole U.S. release, being issued here in July of '68 and the first to feature Nick Lowe (tthough not technically, more on that later). Discovered by British based German producer Mark Wirtz (best known for his work with Tomorrow) the band released a host of orchestrated pop-psych ditties but despite Wirtz's magic touch they were destined to remain in obscurity for their existence.

Sadly the band did not play on either side of this release as Wirtz utilized session musicians (among them were bassist Herbie Flowers, guitarist Big Jim Sullivan and vocalists The Ivy League)  with Brinsley Schwarz singing lead on both sides. "Rumors" was penned by Wirtz using a pseudonym but the flip, "And She Cried" (the band's original choice for the A-side) was penned by Brinsley Schwarz. 

"Rumors", is a cheeky/cheery pop song led by Schwarz's pop friendly vocals that sounds not unlike the band's previous single, a cover of Tomorrow's "Shy Boy" with harmonies, poppy/regal trumpet tooting away and a bouncy feel to it at!


























"And She Cried" should have been the A-side. With lushly orchestrated strings, vibes and again some regal brass it's a perfect three minute pop-psych masterpiece. Like the A-side it benefits from Wirtz's stellar production (Tomorrow's lead singer Keith West once described him as "the German Tony Hatch") and despite the fact that it's just Schwarz and session musicians it's nothing short of a masterpiece. 

With Schwarz, Andrews and Lowe gaining fame as Brinsley Schwarz EMI put out a 7" E.P. in November 1978 containing both the band's debut singles (alongside similar EP's containing early material by David Bowie, The Paramounts and Simon Dupree and the Big Sound).  In 2011 RPM put out a CD collection "Kippington Lodge-Shy Boy: The Complete Recordings 1967-1969" which contains all five singles, unreleased tracks and BBC session material. 

Hear "Rumors":


Hear "And She Cried":



Thursday, May 27, 2021

Great Unsung U.K. Pop Psych/Freakout's: Shere Khan

 




















SHERE KHAN-Little Louise/No Reason U.K. TeePee TPR 1007 1969


Occupying the #1 spot on my 45 rpm want list is today's subject, a one off U.K. single by a studio only concoction called Shere Khan. I don't own the original but I own a bootleg copy (pictured above) and seeing as a beat to hell copy went for $422 on Discogs awhile back (after being up for grabs for less than 24 hours) I think it unlikely to ever own an original pressing.  Shere Khan was the vehicle of Frank Aiello, a former member of the U.K. duo The Truth (who split in 1968 after issuing their last single, a cover of The Rascal's "Seuno" as Decca F 12764 in April 1968). Interestingly Aiello has no recollection of the record or the session!

The Truth




















"Little Louise" was first unearthed by Rob Bailey on one of his "Le Beat Bespoke" CD's (Volume Two to be exact). It's fairly mundane, though the interesting backing of heavy kitschy sounding brass mixed with fuzz guitar is fairly intriguing and the arrangement is catchy the song itself does nothing for me.

The gold, for me, is on the flip. "No Reason" is a full on fucking mind blast! Cloaked in an array of horns that sound straight out of the soundtrack of some late 60's British film they are also reminiscent of the brass on The Pretty Thing's "Emotions" LP, but on speed!! Roll that up in blistering fuzz guitar and a frantic pace the whole thing comes off as a freaky version of Paul & Barry Ryan with the trumpets/sax darting in and out of the complex arrangement. The double tracked vocals are both soulful AND trippy creating a wall of psychedelic pandemonium! 

Both sides were collected on a Truth CD compilation "Who's Wrong: Mod Bedlam 1965-1969". 

Hear "Little Louise":


Hear "No Reason":

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Songs That "Rubble" Taught Us: Russell Morris "The Real Thing" Antipodean Freakout

 

RUSSELL MORRIS-The Real Thing Part 1/The Real Thing Part 2 US Diamond D-263 1969




















Today's subject is an off the wall Antipodean freakout that was first brought to my attention on the 1992 Rubble CD collection "Rubble 11". As with lots of tracks on the "Rubble" series I wrongly assumed it was British!

"The Real Thing" was first issued in Australia in March of 1969 with "Parts One and Two" on the A-side as Columbia DO-8710 where it reached #1 on the national charts (it was issued in Britain in a similar fashion in September 1969 as Decca F 22964). For it's American release in June "Parts One And Two" were separated into two individual tracks one on each side, and it's flip "It's Only A Matter Of Time" was discarded. For the artist, 21 year old Australian Russell Morris, it was his debut release. 

For the uninitiated "The Real Thing" is a mind-blowing experience drenched in phlanging/phasing. Starting off with some mellow phlanged acoustic guitar it only take a mere before the number begins it's journey into the Way Out. It's hard to catalog all of the bizarre things going on in this record from buzzing/fuzzed out/backwards guitar licks that weave in an out, the frantic piano trills (that remind me of The Stones "We Love You") to the oscillating psychedelic effects on the drums weaving a hypnotic groove. Towards the end an eerie chorus of children can be heard singing in another language after air raid sirens (I've always maintained that they're singing in German) and I could swear it ends with them shouting "Sieg Heil!" just as the sound of an explosion comes in bringing the record to a fade out. Perhaps a bit TOO trippy?!?!






















"The Real Thing" has been comped in a variety of places, namely Bam Caruso's  "Rubble Volume 18: Rainbow Thyme Winders" and "We Can Fly Volume Four". 

 Hear "The Real Thing":

Thursday, May 13, 2021

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The Washington D.C.'s

 

THE WASHINGTON D.C.'S-Thirty Second Floor/A Whole Lot More US Date 2-1537 1966



















To most American's the Date label will always be famous for releasing the Zombies "Oddysey And Oracle" LP in the U.S. and it's subsequent smash single "Time Of The Season". The label released music from a variety of genres and prior to The Zombies "hit" in 1968 they had released lots of other British singles by Brian Poole, British based Walker Brother Gary Walker, The Love Affair and today's specimen, The Washington D.C.'s. 

Issued in December 1966 "Thirty-Second Floor" was the first single to be released in America by the British quintet The Washington D.C.'s (and their last).  It was previously issued in the U.K. in July on the CBS label (202226) where it was their third single on their third label (previous releases were on Ember and the primarily ska/mento/Calypso label Black Swan) and was titled "32nd Floor". 

"Thirty Second Floor" is a poppy number with some cool classical piano/combo organ licks not unlike something by Simon Dupree and The Big Sound musically and heavy on the harmonies reminiscent of The Bystanders meet The Ivy League. It's catchy, well structured and well produced (by Barry Mason) and totally infectious!

The flip, "A Whole Lot More" is musically like something The Zombies were doing at the same time and it has some interesting soul chops to it but it's not something I would play repeatedly like the A-side. 

















"Thirty Second Floor" was comped on the 2011 various artists CD "Piccadilly Sunshine Volume Five: British Pop Psych And Other Flavours 1966-1969". 

Hear "Thirty Second Floor":


Hear "A Whole Lot More":


Check out the band performing "Thirty-Second Floor" live at the Tiles club in London for German TV's "Beat Club":

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Songs That Rubble Taught Us: (The) Jackpots

 

JACKPOTS-Jack In The Box/ Henbane's Sacrifice US Sire SI 4113 1969




















My first introduction to Sweden's Jackpots was via Bam Caruso's 1991 "Rubble" compilation LP "5000 Seconds Over Toyland" (Rubble 15) that contained their 1969 tune "Jack In The Box". It was quite some time before I learned anything about them, in fact I think for a great portion of time I assumed that they were British!

The Jackpots were a five piece harmony act from Sweden with a career stretching all the way back to 1964. Their 45 releases were pretty much always covers ranging from the well known, ie The Four Seasons ("Walk Like A Man"), The Ivy League ("Tossing And Turning") to the obscure: Nirvana ("Tiny Goddess") and The Tokens/Episode Six ("I Hear Trumpets Blow"). Today's subject was their only American release. It was the 15th single on Seymour Stein's up and coming Sire label. Curiously enough it was only found a various artists 7" E.P. in their home country (Juke Box JSEP-5591 September 1969) while simultaneously issued here and in the U.K. (as Sonnet SON 2006). 

"Jack In The Box", a group original, had previously appeared on their 1968 debut LP 
of the same name (Sweden Sonet SLP-68) alongside cover versions of tracks by The Action (check out their tasty reading of "Shadows And Reflections"), The Beach Boys and Simon & Garfunkel etc.  The first time I heard it I honestly thought it was an Idle Race side project as the high pitch of the lead vocals and the production truly sound like Jeff Lynne and Co.! In retrospect there is also something rather Bee Gee's like in those falsettos as well. Musically it's a jaunty little pop sike ditto with some peculiar little backwards bits that come out of nowhere and again Idle Race comparisions cannot be overlooked. 

Things get even freakier on the flip with the strangely named "Henbanes Sacrifice". It has a dirge like quality with some quintessential musical backing that reminds me some of the songs on the Tages LP "Studio" and strange varying effects on the vocals  that seem to change in pitch as the sing goes on!

























Both tracks are available on a host of compilations, but most notably on a CD collection titled "Jack In The Box: The Best Of..." which collects all of their 60's recordings (see photo above). "Jack In The Box", as mentioned earlier was on "Rubble Volume 15" and the flip was on the obscure comp LP "Psychedelia 1: Oil Emulsion Slyde". 

Hear "Jack In The Box":


Hear "Henbane's Sacrifice":

Thursday, April 29, 2021

10 Cool 60's UK 45's

 Here's ten interesting U.K. 60's 45's for your listening pleasure!  All scans are courtesy of 45cat.com.














1. ROY CASTLE-"Voodoo Girl" UK CBS 201736 1965

Tucked away on the flip of the title cut from the 1965 Chritopher Lee vehicle  "Dr. Terror's Castle Of Horrors" is this jazzy little number. The vocals recall Mark Murphy and the kitschy musical backing (led by the revered British reed player Tubbby Hayes) is quite swinging. Going for insane $$ these days.

https://youtu.be/iy0s_esRmKE













2. THE NEW JUMP BAND-"The Only Kind Of Girl" UK Domain D1 1968

Starting off with a moddy organ/horns intro playing a "Can't Explain" type riff "The Only Kind Of Girl" becomes a poppy number reminiscent of The Tremeloes or The Love Affair. The organ solo is almost freaky at times sounding like a Mellotron!

https://youtu.be/pXpQwmgMbn4













3. DIANA LANDOR-"Empty Little Shadows" UK Pama PM 726 1968

Cabaret singer Diana Landor cut a curious reading of Oscar Brown Jr.'s "Afro Blue" for the predominantly reggae outlet Pama with this jazzy little flute led number "Empty Little Shadows" on the flip. It's poppy but subtly cool with some marimbas, the earlier mentioned flute and cheery sounding backing vocals. Produced by Harry Palmer also responsible for twiddling the knobs on The Mohawks 45's for the label . 

https://youtu.be/eKO36h6ZEpA














4. TED HEATH AND HIS ORCHESTRA-"Sidewinder" UK Decca F12133 1965

Famed British bandleader Ted Heath cut this interesting version of Lee Morgan's epic "Sidewinder" in 1965 that garnered nary a notice. It's stuffy as you would expect from Ted Heath but it's not without it's charm either and was apparently used as the theme for the TV program "Jukebox Jury".

https://youtu.be/SeoGFVms9_0













5. SYMON AND PI-"Sha La La La Lee" UK Parlophone R 5662 1968

File under freaky, this number made famous by the Small Faces was revamped by British based German producer Mark Wirtz for the duo Symon and Pi. It's over the top orchestration sounds like something from a musical like "Jesus Christ Superstar" or "Godspell". The musical backing is the key to this though, the swinging strings and the phlanged drums make it worth a listen (and not at all unlike Wirtz's famous "Excerpts From A Teenage Opera"). 

https://youtu.be/Ev2iyBInlPw













6. THE NEWS-"The Entertainer" UK Decca F12356 1966

Here's an interesting version of Tony Clarke's famous U.S. Chess soul classic "The Entertainer". It's not terribly soulful but interesting nonetheless reminding me more of soul covers by The Fourmost as opposed to soul/r&b aficionados like The Action (who probably would have been better suited to cover it).

https://youtu.be/BCMJWy_lmjk













7. JOHN CAMERON QUARTET-"Troublemaker" UK Deram DM 256 1969

U.K. multi instrumentalist John Cameron released this sole Deram 45 of tracks from his ultra expensive "Off Centre" long player in 1968. It's a jazzy yet funky instrumental that could easily pass for something from a late 60's U.S. film soundtrack by Lalo Schfrin or Herbie Hancock. Produced by Mr. Deram, A&R supremo Wayne Bickerton it's worth a listen if jazzy easy listening is your bag. 

https://youtu.be/bH2yF8cxCdE













8. THE DECISION-"In The Shade Of Your Love" UK MCA MU 1027 1968

This is a one off pop/psych pop 45 by The Decision that features some amazing vocal harmonies, subtle brass and churchy organ coming across like a British answer to sunshine pop Californian merchants The Association. Lovingly unearthed by Particles on Volume 13 of their hit or miss British 45 rpm pop psych series "Piccadilly Sunshine". 

https://youtu.be/ToWQ8mzTElw













9. JEFF ELROY AND BOYS BLUE-"Honey Machine" UK Phillips BF 1533 1966

This tune first came to my attention via a Jackie Lomax acetate version on one of the Strange Things Are Happening CD comps back in the early 90's. This version is not as freaky and far more soulful thanks to the brass but has a curious campy "supper club soul" feel to it. 

https://youtu.be/rf9I8xYIGzY













10. BARRY ST. JOHN-"Come Away Melinda" UK Columbia DB 7783 1965

Barry St. John cut a host of semi mundane girl group sound 45's (of mostly U.S. cover versions) on Decca before moving to EMI's Columbia imprint for this Mickie Most production of this anti-war ballad "Come Away Melinda".  The creepy factor is upped by her singing verses in a little girl lost voice in certain parts of it earning it a minor chart placing in the U.K. hit parade.

https://youtu.be/_v8eh_jqE1U