1. THE RATS-"The Rise And Fall Of Bernie Gripplestone"
Hull's The Rats are known for being the origin for 2/3's of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars. I'm not sure if Mick Ronson was in the band yet. I've long wanted to hear this number due to it's interesting title. I actually found it on iTunes of all places on a new UK 60's CD comp called "Do You Dream?". I was not disappointed. It's a bit like early Wimple Winch but with some punchy chunky/freakbeat hooks that recall The Game or the early Move with the bizarre lyrics of The Who or Creation at their most idiosyncratic (with some way out backwards cymbals during the heavy over the top guitar solo).
2. THE UNDERTONES-"Girls That Don't Talk"
A B-side tacked on as a bonus cut on the CD reissue of Derry's fave five's second LP "Hypnotized" this number embodies the wonderful period where punk and power pop peacefully coexisted with wonderful results.
3. GEORGIE FAME & THE BLUE FLAMES-"Tom Hark Goes Bluebeat"
Good clean fun from Fame's 1964 Columbia E.P. "Rhythm And Bluebeat" that was devoted entirely to ska covers. Cheery, cheeky and never fails to put me in a good mood!
4. TONI BASIL-"Breakaway"
Long before the awful 80's hit "Mickey" and she became famed for her choreography work Toni made a rare as hell 45 on A&M of this soulful tune backed with a Graham Gouldman number called "I'm 28". "Breakaway" is soulful, danceable and because of that it was immediately picked up on by the Northern Soul scene and now costs too much money to own. My pal Keith Patterson turned me onto a short promo film that was made for it (see below) with Toni (and the mighty bush) by Bruce Connor, catch it before he gets it yanked from YouTube as he often does.......
5. RUDI-"14 Steps"
Back in the after The Jam broke up I was for awhile, desperate for any Jam related scraps. This involved buying almost anything Jam related (including one single by the very questionable Questions, which resulted in no further purchases of their material). Among them were this Belfast band called Rudi who I believe had a single or two on the Weller financed Jamming label. I heard them on the "Rodney On The Roq" comp LP doing a number called "Crimson", I bought the single for an astonishing 50 cents at a local record shop and this was the flip. To me they were like a cross between The Skids and The Ruts, both whom I liked and still like and recently rediscovered these guys, who I still like!
6. THE ZOMBIES-"She's Coming Home"
A decade or so ago I read an interview with The Zombies in "Mojo" and they were talking about all these teen angst records they were making when no one in the band had actually experienced anything like that and you can hear it in the naivete of the lyrics with such youthful concepts on love like:
"baby baby I'll be good to you if you would only try again to love me too"
Only teenagers with zero experience in life can write stuff about "trying to love", like people are actually mentally capable of changing their mind about being in love. I'm still in this weird spot on The Zombies, who like The Creation I've been sort of forced into a redoubt about because so many so called "hipsters" (someday someones gotta help me out on that one as most of the "anti-hipsters I see I perceive as hipsters!) who've co-opted them for their own.
7. MARK MURPHY-"Out Of This World"
"You're right out of a book, fairytale I read when I was so high. No armored knight was more enchanted by a Lorelei"
So sings Mark Murphy in one of my fave tracks from his brilliant "Rah!" album with smooth tones and a descending brilliant musical backing that's smokey in both it's delivery and imagery. Just goes to show British 60's psych wasn't the only genre that infused kiff and fairytale legends..........
8. MADNESS-"Bed And Breakfast Man"
Youthful nostalgia seems to have been a recurring theme for me musically this month and it's no better represented by the cheeky chappie happy sounds of those Nutty Boys from Camden Town. Madness, were to me, "back in the day" something I refrred to as "fairground ska", my then description of their Vaudevillian rocksteady which with age and experience taught me was more Fab Four meets Kilburn & The High Roads than Prince Buster and Desmond Dekker. "Bed And Breakfast Man" is a perfect marriage of all of that and more.
9. ROY BUDD-"Get Carter:Main Title"
One of the coolest themes from one of the coolest films! I took a three hour train ride on business recently and played the "Get Carter" (1971 not that awful Stallone remake) soundtrack on my iPod while re-reading "Jack's Return Home" (the story that the screenplay is loosely derived from) and the track fit perfectly. If you've not seen the film you owe it to yourself, Roy Budd's jazzy harpsichord, tabla, bass and Doors-y electric piano instrumental works perfectly (complete with train/rail sound affects) with the opening sequence of the film as our protagonist Carter (Michael Caine) takes the train from London to Newcastle.
10. THE WHO-"Bell Boy"
I have a love-hate relationship with the "Quadrophenia" album, sometimes I derisively refer to it as "ELP's mod album" but more than often I find comfort in the nostalgia that it brings when I can blot out the synths and recall when it and the whole "mod" thing filled me with joy and optimism. On Sunday I went down to Asbury Park (my own personal Brighton as a teenage Central New Jersey mod in the early/mid 80's) to meet some friends I'd met through the mod scene well over 25 years ago and the number popped into my head, as it often does when I run into any of the old "faces" that I'm happy to see.
"But I see a face coming through the haze I remember him from those crazy days...."
Happy Holidays to all of you and best wishes for a super, safe, happy and healthy 2011!