Sunday, February 18, 2024

Simon Dupree and The Big Sound's Debut

SIMON DUPREE AND THE BIG SOUND-I See The Light/It Is Finished U.K. Parlophone R 5542 1966

British act Simon Dupree and the Big Sound could best be compared to an act like Zoot Money or The Small Faces in that they were a band who cut sometimes trippy pop records while retaining a very soul/r&b sound onstage but ran the difficult gamut of trying to balance the two. 

They made their debut in December 1966 with this Five Americans cover "I See The Light" (first issued by The Five Americans in the U.S. in November 1965 and issued in the U.K. in September 1966). The Simon Dupree version is a bit more frantic than the original and replaces the jangling guitar lick underneath with some descending brass scales meshed in with the frenzied organ (a Simon Dupree trademark). My favorite part of the number is the way the guitar and bass do this wiggy little solo. One can imagine that the number was no doubt a center piece to their live show as their performance of it on German TV's "Beat Beat Beat" (see link below) will prove!

The flip side, "It Is Finished", is an interesting mix of Herb Alpert style trumpet and a soulful but poppy arrangement. The band's Schulman brothers (Derek-lead vocals, Phil-vocals, sax, trumpet, French horn and Ray-guitar, violin and trumpet) were multi instrumentalists and they come to fore in this number with an interesting mix of Farfisa, horns and violin. 

Both sides are available on a host of Simon Dupree and The Big Sound collections, the most recent being a two CD set "Part Of My Past" which collects all their 45 and LP tracks in addition to a host of unreleased material released during their relatively brief (1966-1969) career.

Hear "I See The Light":

Watch the band perform "I See The Light" on German TV's "Beat Beat Beat":

Hear "It Is Finished":

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

The Freakbeat Scene- Volume Two Imagined

In 1998 Decca issued a 25 track CD called "The Freakbeat Scene", one of several "Scene" compilations issued of tracks culled from the Decca/Deram archives. Unfortunately no further official volumes were not forthcoming so I decided to create an imaginary track listing of another volume utilizing tunes from the Deram and Decca labels. 

1. THE MOCKINGBIRDS-"How To Find A Lover" Decca F 12510 1966

2. MARC BOLAN-"San Francisco Poet" Decca F 12413 1966

3. BEVERLEY-"Where The Good Times Are" Deram DM 101 1966

4. THE MOVE-"Wave Your Flag And Stop The Train" Deram DM 117 1967

5. THE BLUESBREAKERS-"Curly" Decca F 12588 1967

6. THE QUIK-"I Can't Sleep" Deram DM 155 1967

7. STEVE DARBISHIRE-"Holiday In Waikiki" Decca F 12553 1967

8. FIRE-"Treacle Toffee World" Decca F 12753 1968

9. THE POETS-"Wooden Spoon" Decca F 12569 1967

10. THE GAME-"Gonna Get Me Someone" Decca F 12469 1966

11. VIRGIN SLEEP-"Haliford House" Deram DM 146 1967

12. THE ZOMBIES-"Indication" Decca F 12426 1966

13. THE HUMAN INSTINCT-"Pink Dawn"  Deram DM 177 1968 

14. CHRIS ANDREWS-"Hold On" Decca F 22668 1967

15. SMALL FACES-"E Too D" Decca F 12619 1967

16. THE BEATSTALKERS-"Base Line" Decca F 12460 1966

17. THE ARTWOODS-"I Feel Good" Decca F 12465 1966

18. GENE LATTER-"Mother's Little Helper" Decca F 12397 1966

19. THE LIMEYS-"Cara-Lin" Decca F 12382 1966

20. THE LOOSE ENDS-"Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore" Decca F 12437 1966

21. THE MINISTRY OF SOUND-"White Collar Worker" Decca F 12449 1966

22. THE CLAYTON SQUARES-"Imagination" Decca F 12250 1965

23. TEN YEARS AFTER-"The Sounds" Deram DM 176 1968

24. KEITH SHIELDS-"Hey Gyp" Decca F 12572 1967

25.  THE ATTACK-"Try It" Decca F 12550 1967

Artwork care of Charlie Starkey

Monday, February 5, 2024

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Herbie Goins and the Night-Timers


HERBIE GOINS AND THE NIGHT-TIMERS-Coming Home To You/The Incredible Miss Brown U.S. Capitol P 5978 1967

Herbie Goins was yet another American ex-serviceman on the London scene along with Geno Washington . Like Geno he had quite a popular live act that were darlings of the London night life in an atmosphere where live gigs by American soul bands were far and few between. Herbie had three singles and an LP in the U.K. on Parlophone and today's selection was his sole American release.

"Coming Home To You" was Herbie's third and final single in the U.K. issued as Parophone R 5533 in December 1966. It was not issued in the U.S. until August of the following year. "Coming Home To You" boasts some powerful horns and a mid tempo funky Stax style groove with some soulful vocals by Herbie. 

"The Incredible Miss Brown" is incredibly odd. It reminds of something Georgie Fame would have been talked into recording when he ditched The Blue Flames and moved to CBS (curiously several former Blue Flames found employment in The Night Timers after getting their walking papers) or Zoot Money's tongue and cheek "Nick Knack". It's not an awful song but the variety show jazz feel is somewhat hokey despite the really solid backing by The Night Timers.

Both tracks are available as bonus tracks on the 2008 Zonophone reissue of Herbie's 1967 LP "NO. 1 In Your Heart". 

Hear "Coming Home To You":

Hear "The Incredible Miss Brown":

Thursday, February 1, 2024

U.S. Soul/R&B/Jazz/Blues 45's For February


1. BOBBY RUSH-"Sock Boo Ga Loo" Checker 1181 1967

This one is a 101 mph full on party that sounds like it was literally made up as it went along, not meaning that in a negative sense, it just has that "the tapes rolling what can we do" feel! Scat guitar, funky bass, wonky greasy horns and a throbbing "go-'go" feel!

2. LITTLE LUTHER-"Eenie Meenie Minie Moe" Checker 1090 1964

This number is a really cool cross between electric urban blues and a funky back beat that would not be out of place on a mid 60's Ike & Tina Sue 45! The lyrics are completely disposable and nonsensical but what a groove!

3. WILLIE SMALL-"How High Can You Fly" Jessica 401 1965

Here's one that's totally new to my ears. It's uptempo, funky, sophisticated and punctuated by some very solid horns that really move it along! The melody is completely infectious, especially how the horn section does a musical response to his vocal "call"!

4. ELMORE MORRIS-"It Seemed Like Heaven To Me" Crackerjack 4006 1962

This one is a mellow ballad of sorts that verges on doo-wop (not exactly my favorite genre) but it's the lead vocalist's voice and how much soul he exudes during the more somber parts of thew track that get me.

5. BOB & EARL-"Everybody Jerk" U.K. Warner Brothers WB 6059 1969

I can't find any information on this one. It was released in 1969 and sounds almost like a follow up to the duo's "hit" track, "Harlem Shuffle" (which was released in 1963!). Curiously it was only released in the U.K. and Germany. That said it's an amazing track, danceable, upbeat and slick!

6. R.T. & THE POT LICKERS-"Sticky Pig Feet" Hooks H-1001 1964

As the title might imply this is a full on greasy. raunchy little instrumental that follows the grand "food" r&b instrumental trend of the 60's with a driving instrumental while the "vocalist" ad libs ingredients over the tune punctuated by him shouting the song title. The guitars have a raunchy blues meets rockabilly feel and funky horns reminded me of The Mar-Keys if they were allowed to be more raw.

7. VIC HENDERSON-"Soul Sauce" Coral 62467 1965

I am a sucker for ANY cover version of Cal Tjader's "Soul Sauce (Guacha Guaro)" and this one is probably in the #2 spot on the list (#1 belongs to Timebox). This version is incredibly cheezy but there's something "soulful" about it that grabs me (I think it's the vocals).

8. ELMO JAMES-"Done Somebody Wrong" Fire 1031 1960

I love anything blues on the Fire label and this Elmore James number first came into my orbit 40+ years ago via The Yardbirds, but this is old original favorite grandaddy and it doesn't get any grittier! The perfect mix of his blues shouting and blistering guitar is irresistable!

9. JOANIE SUMMERS-"You've Got Possibilities" Columbia 4-43567 1966

With a slightly sophisticated Latin back beat this number is charming. The lyrics are kitschy and the brass is punchy and though the vocals don't really match the musical backing I like it. I remember Joanie from my childhood as appearing on game shows frequently and never realized she had a career as a singer (next you'll tell me that Brett Somers has a Northern soul 45)!

10. HOAGY LANDS-"The Next In Line" Laurie LR-3381 1967

This number was on one of my earliest Northern Soul compilations back in the late 80's and at the time it never did much for me. That said I has come around over the years. The slick production and female backing vocals and vibes add the prerequisite Northern cachet but it's the solid vocals and cheezy organ solo that do it for me.

Friday, January 19, 2024

Beached: Ten British 60's Beach Boys Covers

1. TONY RIVERS & THE CASTAWAYS-"Girl Don't Tell Me" U.K. Immediate IM 027 1966

Tony Rivers was (and still is) the uber British Beach Boys fan. He cut three different Beach Boys covers and this was his first (which featured a version of "Salt Like City" on the flip!). It's probably my favorite of the lot here. It's harmonies are incredible and I think they're actually better the original because there's so many layers. The production is incredible leading me to believe it was handled by the sessions engineer Glyn Johns and NOT Andrew Loog Oldham.

2. THE ANDREW LOOG OLDHAM ORCHESTRA-"I Get Around" U.S. Parrot 45-PAR 9745 1965

In 1965 Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra released an LP of Beach Boys covers on one side and Four Seasons covers on the other titled "East Meets West" in the U.S. Most of the numbers are rather tepid instrumentals but this version of "I Get Around" is interesting because it's got some very ratty fuzz guitar and occasional high vocals and tinkling pianos and let's not forget the murky bass (possibly John Paul Jones?).

3. THE ROB STORME GROUP-"Here Today" U.K. Columbia DB 7993 1966

The final Rob Storme single was this competent take on "Here Today" (covered by several other 60's British bands  like The Art Movements, The Factotums, The Seftons etc). It's delivered faster than the original kicking off with an almost heavy sense of urgency, driving beat and decent harmonies. It's a perfect example of how to do a cover: leave some things intact in their replication and make the rest your own.

4. THE FACTOTUMS-"You're So Good To Me" U.K. Immediate IM 022 1966

Alongside Tony Rivers The Factotums carry the mantle of Britain's most prolific 60's Beach Boys fans covering three different compositions in 1966. This was their first Beach Boys cover, it's fairly close to the original though the production gives it an almost proto-Bubblegum feel (think The Archies). The vocals are not as intricate as some of their other releases but they give it a decent show of things, just not something I would play too often.

5. THE SUMMER SET-"Farmer's Daughter" U.K. Columbia DB 8004 1966

U.K. foursome The Summer Set were purveyors of the American "West Coast" sound so it was only fitting that they would cover a Beach Boys track (curiously they were also The Top Ten Allstars in Germany where they issued no less than four other Beach Boys covers!). This track originally released by Brian and the boys on their 1963 "Surfin' USA" LP and is deftly handled thanks to top notch production by Spencer Lloyd Mason and sounds more like a church choir than a rock n roll band thanks to it's minimal somber orchestration bringing the band's vocal prowess to the front!

6. THE FACTOTUMS-"In My Room" U.K. Piccadilly 7N.35333 1966

As mentioned above The Factotums covered three Beach Boys tunes. This was the flip of their reading of "Here Today". This was the band's third single and the first of four releases for Piccadilly records. I'm going to be ultra critical here because "In My Room" is hands down my favorite Beach Boys tune, but The Factotums do a halfway decent version of it, though they really don't do much but try and replicate it I will have to say it's pretty even handed.

7. TONY RIVERS AND THE CASTAWAYS-"God Only Knows" U.K. Columbia DB 7971 1966

Tony's final Beach Boys cover was issued five months after the above profiled double sider on Immediate. Of course it's got nothing on the original but it's still nothing short of amazing. Tony and the boys vocals are razor sharp and the arrangement (anyone know who was responsible for it?) is equally brilliant!

8. PEANUT-"I'm Waiting For The Day" U.K. Columbia DB 8032 1966

This one is an interesting choice because it wasn't covered by several artists in Britain like "Here Today".  Peanut was a Trinidad born U.K. based singer who cut several singles (she was also later known as Katie Kissoon). This was her third 45, produced by Mark Wirtz (dubbed "the German Tony Hatch" by Keith West of Tomorrow). Wirtz applies his famous "toy town psych" production to the track which includes everything including the kitchen sink making this a merry little romp that bears little resemblance to the original!

9. PETULA CLARK-"J'ai Pas Le Temps (No Go Showboat)" France Disques Vogue V.45-1255 1965

Here's a MEGA obscure Brian Wilson composition originally cut by The Timers in 1963 (with Brian and Mike Love on vocals). Petula cut this version in French where it was issued as a B-side, it eschews the high falsettos of the original and has your typical mundane Ye-Ye feel to it. It's not horrible but it's nothing to write home about either....

10. DANI SHERIDAN-"Guess I'm Dumb" U.K. Planet PLF.106 1966

One of the most collectible singles on Shel Talmy's short lived Planet records label is this cover of "Guess I'm Dumb" by the female vocalist Dani Sheridan. The vocals are silky smooth and the production is incredible with subtle strings, brass etc. Powerful stuff!!  No wonder it's so much moolah!

All scans courtesy of

Monday, January 15, 2024

Ska Cash In's : The Great North American Ska Invasion Of 1964

We profiled ten British 60's ska cash in's back in 2018 which you can view here. I decided to broaden the category for ten more from the United States. Most of these date from 1964. There's a reason for this dear reader if you will allow me to explain. In the 90's I was at an Inspector 7 gig in New Brunswick and I met an older Jamaican lady who's son was in a reggae band on the bill. She told me that in 1964 she was brought over from Jamaica to "dance the ska" at the Jamaica pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair and that the music industry in the United States was certain that ska (which was on occasion also referred to as "blue beat" or "Jamaica ska") was going to be "the next big thing" like Bossa Nova had been. Unfortunately it didn't happen and as a result there was a host of American releases of Jamaican ska 45's and LP's released here. More unfortunate was that it created a brief dash of cheezy cash ins, often by Calypso or mambo artists. In researching for this piece I discovered that most, if not all of these were firmly in two camps, one was rooted in the previously mentioned genres while the other in an almost polar opposite "white" pop field (I resisted adding Annette Funicello's dreadful "Jamaica Ska" to the list).  Most of them are rubbish and this list is for completists only but I'll let you be the judge:

1. MARK THATCHER-"The Blue Beat" U.S. United Artists UA 734 1964

This one is pure pap. A white guy affecting that awful banana boat accent ("come on and do de blue beat") that has me absolutely gasping in horror because to me it's a few steps away from "black face". The music backing is incredibly antiseptic and completely devoid of any signs of mambo or Latin rhythms like many others on this list and ranks as one of the more deplorable entries. It was


2. JERRY JACKSON-"Shrimp Boats (Jamaican Ska)" U.S. Columbia 4-43056 1964

This one is more like a New Orleans r&b ballad with a ska rhythm in the background then a straight up ska cash in like most of this piece's entries. It reminds me of Brook Brenton being backed by Byron Lee and The Dragonaires! Not bad actually,

3. DEAN JONES-"Women (Ska-Da-La-De-Da)" U.S. valiant 6055 1964

Though I might be pushing it by sticking this in a "ska" list this Dean Jones (yes THAT Dean Jones of Disney film fame) number is a killer. Over the top of a "Watermelon Man" melody Dean belts out this jazzy/blues stormer that kicks into a ska rhythm during the main chorus. Pure gold!

4. SHAWN ELLIOTT-"Shame And Scandal" U.S. Roulette R-4586 1964

Originally recorded by Sir Lancelot and the Caribbean Serenaders this cover was released a whole year before The Wailers and though it's still delivered in the mock West Indian accents Puerto Rican vocalist Shawn Elliott sounds more sincere in his delivery. The musical backing is tight and the lyrics are a gas ("your Daddy ain't your Daddy but your Daddy don't know").

5. MANGO JONES AND HIS ORCHESTRA-"Coffee Street Ska" U.S. Vee Jay VJ-603 1964

Back in the 90's I stumbled upon the entire LP by Mango Jones & His Orchestra with The Harry Ballu Singers. What immediately struck me was how cheezy it was. It was as if Ricky Ricardo suddenly came home one day and bellowed "Luuuuuucy we've gone ska" and immediately the mambo had a few ska rhythms thrown in and "ska ska ska" (or possibly "ska ska ska Jamaica ska") being shouted at every opportunity. Then add these Swingle Singers style vocals on it and you can't get anymore white middle class lounge music than this. Ska? Barely.

6. "BABY" EARL AND THE TRINI-DADS-"Everybody Do The Ska" U.S, S.P.Q.R. 45-3317 1964

Despite the name this group was American and was a ska alter ego of the S.P.Q.R. records house act The Church Street Five and ranks as the most expensive of all of today's records in this list with copies fetching anywhere from $100 on up! It sounds a bit like a Fishbone or The Untouchables (the 80's L.A sort) record cut for a John Water's 60's film! It's extremely uptempo and catchy (the sax is positively wild) with it's twangy guitars, frat boy chorus vocals and squawking sax making for a totally infectious groove!

7. BOBBY JAY AND THE HAWKS-"Come See Come Ska" U.S. LP track Warner Brothers W 1563 1964

There is some speculation that The Hawks on this are The Hawks of Levon and The Hawks (pre-Band) fame but I can find no info to support this. Taken from an entire LP of ska themed instrumentals this isn't half bad sounding like proto-Sunset Strip pre-garage rock a go-go doing ska: very slick production, sax, combo organ and twangy surf guitars. Interesting but probably tedious for an entire LP (which interestingly does not come cheap).

8. THE BAJA MARIMBA BAND-"Baja Ska" U.S. Almo International 211 1964

The Baja Marimba band were one of those bands always pictured on the dust jackets of my parent's Herb Alpert LP's. This is by far the weirdest of all of today's selections. The cheezy organ is really nifty and the brass is slick and punchy but the marimbas ruin it for me. In retrospect it sounds like Acker Bilk jamming elevator music with Ernest Wranglin and Baba Brooks! Best of all there's white people singing in mock Caribbean accents, phew!

9. THE FLEETWOODS-"Ska Light, Ska Bright (Jamaica Ska)" U.S. Dolton 97 1964

Even the hoary old Fleetwoods from my Dad's teenage years got in on the craze! This is not as terrible as I expected musically anyway as the backing track is slick and reminds me a lot of Millie's "My Boy Lollipop" it's the fake Jamaican accent on the lead vocals that's got my toes curling up in my Solovairs! I never imagined a ska version of "Star Light Star Bright" so here it is!

10. RAY RIVERA-"Do The Blue Beat (Jamaica Ska)" U.S. RCA Victor 47-8372 1964

Jokingly referred to on 45cat by "Ray Rivera the Godfather of skinhead reggae"  this number was copied note for note by Kiwi singer Dinah Lee and also released by Mark Thatcher (see #1 above) . As mentioned previously lots of Latin music artists moved seamlessly through Bossa Nova and briefly into ska (albeit plastic ska in most cases) and Latin bandleader Ray Rivera is no exception. However this number seems to shed any Latin/mambo sounds and is musically more akin to a British cash in from the period and the lead singer almost sounds British as well making it the least cringy of all of these.....

All scans courtesy of