Monday, January 31, 2011

We Shall Have No Psychedelia On The Village Green!

THE KINKS-Autumn Almanac/David Watts France Pye 45. PV 15279 1967

One of the things I've always loved about the Kinks is that in the 60's they were much like Ray Davie's proverbial/fictional Village Green untouched by time, the antithesis of the village in Orwell's "Coming Up For Air" where our hen pecked traveling salesman protagonist returns to find the quaint village of his youth changed by the hand of progress and time.  In the post beat-era 60's The Kinks to seemed untouched by time to a degree, sure they weren't knocking out their same raw four chord ravers like they did in '64-'65 but they'd still kept to their own agenda.  For one thing, psychedelia did not envelop The Kinks and save possibly, "Lazy Old Sun" on their 1967 "Something Else.." album the band never flirted with the technicolor wave that washed through 1967 Britain changing music and minds alike.

"Autumn Almanac" conjures, again, the quintessential Kinks era that's encapsulated in a time that perhaps  "never was" as perfectly illustrated the following year in their classic "Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society" LP (in December's issue of "Uncut" Ray Davies said of the "Village Green..." LP: "I was 24 when I wrote that it. That England was evaporating when I was born."). There's something incredibly cheery and cheeky about it, maybe it's the knees up/music hall sing-a;long feel of it with it's "la la la's" and simplistic musical backing (and snippets of backward horns et al, okay maybe the Kinks DID "dabble" in trippiness in their music). Most people would lampoon the working class or seek to escape it, Ray Davies revelled in it:

"I like my football on a Saturday, roast beef on Sundays alright, I go to Blackpool for my holiday sit in the open sunlight.."

 The track also contains one of my favorite lines. Should I someday find a neighborhood that I love and want to live forever in it has already been aptly sung by Ray:

"this is my street, and I'm never gonna leave it, and I'm always gonna stay, if I live to be 99...."

The flipside is equally good and joins the slim volume of Kinks singles where one side  is equally as good as the other. I will own up to being introduced to "David Watts" via The Jam's version on "All Mod Cons" when I scored a cut out copy of the U.S. version of the LP in 1980.  It was not until I saw The Jam live at the Trenton War Memorial in May of 1982 that I heard the original when the day after the gig a DJ on my favorite "local" college radio station (WPRB, Princeton University) played it and said something to the affect of "The Jam played a really good version of this last night" (somehow I heard it despite the ringing in my ears as I'd swear The Jam were the loudest band I'd ever seen...). That fall I borrowed the double LP "Kink Kronikles" from a friend and furthered my mid 60's Kinks education and got me firmly hooked on R.D.D's paean to the head boy at the school who gets all the girls and scores all the goals.  "David Watts" is still one of my favorite Kinks tracks, not because of the Jam cover, but because of it's infectious melody, the "fa fa fa fa.." bit, the driving Nicky Hopkin's piano, Pete Quaife's persistent bass line and Ray's laissez-faire attitude about the song's subject matter.

The "cabaret" era Kinks, probably somewhere "up the North", backstage 1967

Hear "David Watts":

John Barry R.I.P.

THE JOHN BARRY SEVEN-Monkey Feathers/Zulu Stamp U.K. Ember EMB S185 1964

So I've just read that the great John Barry passed way today at the age of 77 (well I'd read it this morning but *%~`<+^! Blogger wouldn't allow my first draft to publish without great bits missing out of it.  Hopefully it'll work this time as I've been messing with this god damn post all freaking day to make it visible, *uckers). Rather than eulogize him in a meandering long winded tribute I thought it would be nice to select my favorite record of his and tell you something about it.

To the world outside our little community of record creepers "in the know" John Barry will always be known for all the film scores he's done, certainly of course, the most famous being his plethora of James Bond film soundtrack work.  Many are unfamiliar with the fact that he briefly had a simultaneous career leading an instrumental rock n' roll combo called The John Barry Seven (see Anorak Thing July, 13, 2010).

Many years ago I bought a 3 CD John Barry box set of dubious nature and it contained a CD of the soundtrack for the film "Zulu", it's bonus tracks were four "beat group" versions of some of the movements from the film score. One of which, "Monkey Feathers" blew me away.  A few years later I scored the single.

"Monkey Feathers" coolness for me, is rooted in the twangy-distorted main guitar lick.  It's got a certain "weirdness" to it that makes it different from the dreadfully boring typical surf guitar "twang" and there's some great punctuated brass/drums bursts that break it all up and these campy flutes that string it all along. "Zulu Stamp" repeats the formula though lacking as catchy a main guitar riff as the A-side it's not nearly as interesting, though there's added saxophones on this track to "duel" with the flutes.

Both sides appeared on the CD compilation "Ember Beat Vol. 1 (1962-64) : Tell Me".

Hear "Monkey Feathers":

Hear "Zulu Stamp":

10 Cool 60's U.K. Record Labels

Ten cool 60's U.K. record labels.  I could've picked some majors (Decca, Parlophone, Columbia, CBS, etc) or reggae/ska labels (Blue Beat, Island or my personal fave R&B) or soul (my personal fave of the genre the U.K. Sue and it's successor Action!) but I decided I'd stick with labels that were predominantly British artists but who also dabbled in the odd American record.

Decca's "way out" offshoot that was started in 1966 is beyond a doubt my favorite British 60's record label.  Not just because it was the home to my favorite LP (David Bowie's 1st) but because it was a veritable cornucopia of British 60's pop sike singles (Tintern Abbey, Virgin Sleep, The Human Instinct, The Syn etc) as well as the starting place for the brilliant vinyl debuts by the likes of Cat Stevens, The Move, Beverley etc and of course the home of some brilliant mod/blue eyed soul releases by The Quik, The Eyes of Blue and Amen Corner to name but a few!

Major Minor was an odd little label that ran from 1966 till 1968.  It's unique because it hosted "international" artists like Eire's The Dubliners, Italy's Equippe 84, Gallic hip cats Les 5 Gentlemen (under the odd moniker of "Darwin's Theory"  for these U.K. releases) and Spain's brilliant Los Canarios amongst releases of U.S. records by Tommy James & The Shondells and The Choir ("It's Cold Outside" MM 537 November 1967) to pop-sike friendly British records by the likes of The Gibsons, David McWilliams, and July.

Launched by Robert Stigwood in 1966, Reaction boasted the likes of Oscar (aka Paul Nicholas doing tracks by David Bowie, Pete Townshend AND The Bee Gees), The Who, The Sands, Cream, the pre-Deep Purple act The Maze and The Birds final single (as Birds Birds).  And all in the brief 18 months that the label existed!  Strangely no one has created a compilation of all of these brilliant releases as of yet.

The brainchild of producer Shel Talmy, Planet was interesting because not only did it last for just 22 singles in little over a year but it also simultaneously released singles in the U.S. utilizing the same catalog numbers as the British ones (though stock copies of many of the U.S. releases are nil and seem to have only appeared in white label promo form).  Home to mod/freakbeat friendly records (The Creation, The Thoughts, A Wild Uncertainty, The Trekkas, The Untamed etc)  to r&b (John Lee Hooker and John Lee's Groundhogs) to British soul records (Perpetual Langley) and even a British pressing of American soul (The Orlon's "Spinning Top") it was certainly one of the best as 3/4's of it's releases are amazing records, something few 60's British labels could boast.

Launched to much fanfare by Stones Svengali Andrew Loog Oldham and business partner Tony Calder in the spring of 1965 with a release of the American hit "Hang On Sloopy" by The McCoys, Immediate was a prototype for independent labels in both signing obscure young hopefuls and how excess and bad management spell bankruptcy and rip off's of artists.  Despite this with the likes of The Small Faces, P.P. Arnold, Billy Nicholls, Chris Farlowe, Nico, Fleetwood Mac, Amen Corner and lesser known brilliant acts like The Mockingbirds, The Poets,  Les Fleur De Ly's and Apostolic Intervention on their roster Immediate was the undisputed king of the "little labels" in the 60's.  And like all British 60's labels they had their obligatory U.S. soul releases (Barbara Lynn) jazz (a U.K. only Mark Murphy LP!) and other American singles (The McCoys, The Turtles).

Set up by the famous The Kink's associate Larry Page, Page One boasted such household names as The Troggs, Vanity Fair, Plastic Penny and even Karl Denver (ack!) and such "Anorak Thing" underground underdogs as The Loot, The Craig, The Universals, Los Brincos, The Trend, The Apple and even last ditch efforts by such old school names as The Graham Bond Organization and the brilliant Mick Green led Dakotas.  The label released a staggering 179 singles and one E.P. in their four year existence.

A venture set up by Who managers Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert Track had of course such heavy weights as The Who, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, and Thunderclap Newman.  They also had the more obscure releases by John's Children, Eire Apparent, Cherry Smash and an oddball release of American records like The Parliament's "(I Wanna) Testify" as well as Marsha Hunt and Fairport Convention's debut 45's.

Spark was a small time label (1968-1973) that boasted it's quota of U.K. pop-psych (The New Generation, Gene Latter, Icarus and John Carter & Russ Alquist to name a few), Freakbeat (The Fruit Machine and The Eggy) to more M.O.R. British sounds (Val McKenna, The Johnny Scott Orchestra) and even a Carl Perkins and Gene Vincent 45 apiece! Diverse yes?

Long associated with The Equals (who's President releases on the European continent were far more prolific than just the 19 singles and two 7" E.P.'s they released on the U.K. outlet of the label), President had it all: freakbeat/psych: Hat & Tie (featuring future Nirvana members), The Renegades and Rhubarb Rhubarb, U.S. soul/r&b (Johnny Wyatt, Alvin Cash, Felice Taylor, The Five Du-Tones and MANY others), reggae/rocksteady (The Pyramids, The Four Gees etc), home grown female singers (the groovy Barbara Rushkin and the icky Dorothy Squires) U.K. mod/r&b (The Exceptions), U.S. blues/rock n' roll (Little Richard, Slim Harpo and Otis Clay) and even Mouse & The Traps "Lie, Beg Borrow & Steal".  How's that for diverse?

Possibly the coolest looking British label with it's "mod" bulls eye bowling ball imprint, Strike lasted for just one year but gave the world some fine releases by Neil Christian, the U.K. release of J.J. Jackson's "Come See Me" (released AFTER The Pretty Things version), Roy Harper's very first single and several by their own in house composer/producer Miki Dallon.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

January's Picks

1. MEL TORME-"Games People Play"
I was in Starbucks a few weeks back and I swear they have a sensor that knows when I come in because there's inevitably always something cool playing there that I later wind up buying from iTunes.  This was the latest one which I heard a few weeks back. I love it, Mel can pull most things off including Joe South.  Smoove.

2. THE LEN PRICE 3-"Mr. Grey"
I've been digging these guys a lot lately, which is unusual for a new band, so I've been checking their stuff out little by little.  This Ray Davies-esque little ditty was put out by that prat Little Steven's label believe it or not!?  Though being on that label kinda goes against the types they were railing in "Rent-a-crowd" doesn't it?

3. NICK LOWE-"The Rose Of England"
Who'd have thought there'd be a great song I hadn't heard on one of those throwaway/giveaway crap CD's that comes with "Uncut", but indeed here's this jangly/poppy killer cut from the Jesus of Cool on "An Autumn Almanac:15 Songs In The Spirit Of Ray Davies"!

4. STIFF LITTLE FINGERS-"Roots, Radicals, Reggae"
A bit dated and more than a bit naive in it's "throw away the guns and the wars all gone" ethos, but it's got a great riff, a solid beat and however overly optimistic Jake Burns is you can't deny the fire in his belly and the energy in his delivery!

5. FREEDOM-"Where Will You Be Tonight"
Some ex-Procul Harum members formed this band in '68 and cut this mellow number with a great piano led melody and some cool Melotron and Dylan-esque vocals.

6. GIL SCOTT-HERON-"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised"
A blast from the past, too bad old Gil let his demons get the best of him, but this was back when he had it all sussed.

7. THE MARTINIS-"Hung Over"
A Packy Axton (Packers, Markeys et al) vehicle, a groovy little r&b instrumental with vomit sound affects halfway through some gritty jamming.  From one of the "Mod Jazz" volumes, of which I cannot recall as they're all brilliant.

8. SANDY-"Solitary Man"
This is a great U.K. cover that appeared over there in '66 on the Columbia label, stumbled upon it on the good old YouTube.  It's always been my fave Neil Diamond track and since I've always had a soft spot for obscure mid 60's British acts covering American pop records this one blew me away.

9. DAVID BOWIE-"I'm Not Losing Sleep"
I was reading the new Bowie book "Any Day Now: David Bowie The London Years (1947-1974)" and dug out some '66 tracks from his Pye era and this was always my fave and it still is.  It's got everything thrown in but the kitchen sink but still never charted, criminal!

10. MOD FUN-"Nothing Can Be Everything"
From a few years back on there "Now And Then" CD, Mod Fun cover a track by San Diego's legendary mod band Manual Scan and put some venom into it, hard hitting but without losing the power pop friendliness of the original.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Gary Farr & The T-Bones

THE T-BONES-Won't You Give Him (One More Chance)/Hamish's Express Relief U.K. Columbia DB 7489 1965

Gary Farr & The T-Bones were one of those unsung British 60's bands who had all the right contacts but never got to the big time.  Gary was the brother of Ricky Farr who managed The Action and had been spotted gigging in Brighton (their stomping ground with fellow South Coast r&b'ers The Untamed) in 1964 by Giorgio Gomelsky's associate Hamish Grimes (announcer on the legendary "Five Live Yardbirds" LP).  This led to Gomelsky signing them up (having lost The Rolling Stones and about to lose The Yardbirds) and their appearing at all the famous London r&b night spots. The band's line up included at this time, Farr on lead vocals, Winston B. Whetherall on lead guitar, Andy McKechnie on rhythm guitar, Stu Parks on bass and Andy Steele on drums (later to leave the band for The Herd after the recording of this 45 and replaced by Brian "Legs" Walkley).

The 45, for reasons unknown, as was the case with their previous 45 ("How Many More Times" b/w "I'm A Lover Not A Fighter" U.K. Columbia DB 7401) was released under the moniker "The T-Bones". Subsequent releases, (an E.P. and another 45 would be credited to "Gary Farr & The T-Bones perhaps to avoid confusion with the American band of  "No Matter What Shape Your Stomach's In" fame).

Gary Farr at the Marquee Club 1965

Like many other U.K. 60's r&b records today's single in question has a killer on one side and a number of the other side that makes you wonder "What WERE they thinking?".  No doubt this was something well beyond the control of the band and either their A&R man's decision or that of their producer or even manager.  "Won't You Give Him Just One More Chance" was recorded by Tom Jones and issued on his "What's New Pussycat" LP and was far more suited with his "beat ballad" style than that of Crawdaddy club night ravers like Gary Farr & Co.  Luckily the hardcore r&b band is allowed to shine through on the B-side with "Hamish's Express Relief", an instrumental led by wailing harmonica, some frenzied shouts and the breaks and frantic playing by all concerning (especially the inclusion of one of the trademark British r&sounds, the zooming bass).

A plug on the famous television show "Ready! Steady! Go!" notwithstanding the record flopped. Like his Gomelsky stablemates Brian Auger and The Yardbirds, there are loads of dodgy Gary Farr LP comps out there with these tracks and there's a collection of all of his 60's output from the r&b era (some of dubious quality) available from iTunes for download including both of these tracks.

Hear "Won't  You Give Him One More Chance":

Hear "Hamish's Express Relief":

Ten Of The Worst Songs Ever

1. JIM REEVES-"Bimbo"
Last rumored to be used to interrogate terrorist suspects at secret C.I.A. prisons in Eastern Europe......
True story: as a child I would offer to mow the lawn all summer if my dad would promise to skip this track on his "Best Of Jim Reeves" album.  I had to do that anyway so it wasn't much inducement for pops to ease up on the Jim Reeves turntable action.
Trivia Note:
Jim Reeve's "Distant Drums" kept The Who's "Substitute" from #1 in the U.K. in 1966, more the reason to dislike him.

2. BELINDA CARLISLE-"Heaven Is A Place On Earth"
Do you know I actually had to Google this to find out who sang this?  Imagine my surprise when I found it it was someone who once provided backing vocals on the "More Specials" album, used to be in the Go-Go's, was reputedly a member of the early L.A. punk band The Germs, married some baseball jock (how un-punk rock!) and posed nude in "Playboy" (keeping airbrush technicians gainfully employed). Ack! W.W.D.C.S. (What Would Darby Crash Say)?

3. HURRICANE SMITH-"Oh Babe What Would You Say?"
I'd like to go easy on Norman, I mean he did produce "Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" AND The Prettie's "SF Sorrow" right?  True but nobody gets a pass on this.  Here's what happens when you have so much juice in the music industry that they let you make a record no matter how pissed out of your mind or tuneless you sound.  Astoundingly it was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic.  I guess there were down sides to the "British Invasion".

4. NIRVANA-"The Man Who Sold The World"
I despised everything about grunge and I place the blame squarely on the now fragmented head of Kurt Cobain and his merry band of filthy unwashed alternative hippies.  I was always amused that they were quick to talk about their punk rock street cred and probably grew up on a staple diet of Led Zep, Black Sabbath and Rush.  That's funny, in high school my best friends were punks and we got beat up by people who looked and dressed like Nirvana.  You don't cover the Dame and escape my wrath, esp. when 75% of your fans never heard anything by Bowie that wasn't on MTV in the 80's.
Here's a true story , I wrote it down in a journal when it happened and transcribed it:

Setting: Two scabby grunge punks next to me in a bar in 1993 (let's call it "The Court Tavern"):
Scab #1 :"Dude have you heard that new Nirvana song from MTV unplugged?"
Scab #2: "Yeah it's *uckin' cool.  Really mellow."
Me: "Can you put your cigarette away from my face and it's a David Bowie song"
Scab #1 "Guh?"
Scab #2 "Buh"
Me: "Bowie, perhaps you've heard of him..."
Scab #1: "Nawww can't be isn't he all like dance music or some sh*t dude you got it wrong"
Scab#2: "Dude. I think I heard something like that"
Scab #1: "Buh?"

5. EDUARD KHIL-"Trololo"
"This one's going viral on the web". Bring me the head of the *ucker who coined that phrase. There's no accounting for bad *ucking taste is there? The former Soviet Union's secret weapon developed to counter The Carpenter's in the event of an all out global music war.  Luckily we had Captain and Tenille waiting in the wings.....Is it me or did he bear an uncanny resemblance to serial killer Andrei Chikatilo with a Wayne Newton wig? His 15 minutes of "going viral" lasted 6 minutes, which was precisely how long it took to watch the clip twice on YouTube.

6. STEVE PERRY-"Oh Sherrie"
When I was in high school I worked at a McDonald's and I'll never forget some guy I worked with, who was actually a really nice guy, leaving work early because Harmony Hut was getting the new Steve Perry solo record single "Oh Sherry".  He brought a close and play to work with him so he could listen to the 45 at work.  A few days later at the end of the shift someone seared "Oh Sherry" on the grill.  It wasn't me, we drew lots to decide who'd do it and I lost.  As if Journey weren't bad enough one of their members was allowed to make a "solo" record?  It "worked" for David Lee Roth (that could be #11).

7. VIVA ELVIS-The Album
Not a song but an entire CD of Elvis tracks with other artist's from a Cirque du Soleil show of the King's music, unlike their Beatle's effort this isn't a bunch of Elvis tunes mixed together.  Oh no.  It's a bunch of nobody's singing and playing along with Elvis like one big karaoke/Guitar Hero with your typical bits of "contemporary music" all lumped in and it's all very, very, very disturbing.  I've heard it in Barnes & Noble too many times and each time it has necessitated a hasty exit from the store. Elvis fans everywhere should hold "Viva Elvis" burnings........

8. LOU CHRISTIE-"Two Faces Have I"
There are more than ten high pitched early 60's U.S. vocal numbers so let's just go with one.  This tune (if you could call it a "tune") takes the cake of them with glass shattering/paint stripping histrionics that exceed Frankie Vali at his worst....this is what a man sounds like when you attach electrodes to his naughty bits while he's singing pre-British Invasion American rock n' roll.

9. STARSHIP-"We Built This City"
Can you fathom that the woman who sang on this was the same gal who dazzled us with "Somebody To Love" or "White Rabbit"?! Beneath a deluge of MTV friendly synths and a dreadful 80's guitar solo lifted right off a Van Halen record comes THE worst line ever written in a "rock n' roll" song:

"who counts the money underneath the bar, who rides the wrecking ball into our rock guitars....."

Insert shuddering Sideshow Bob sound effect HERE! Could this be why Grace Slick retired from music?

10. Any and every American song in the Top 40 from 1982 onwards.....
That's you Madonna, Cher, Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Peter Cetera, Mike & the Mechanics, USA For Africa, Stevie Wonder, Billy Ocean, Lionel Richie, Mr. Mister, Billy Joel, Bon Jovi, Whitney Houston, Huey Lewis & The News,  John Parr, Bryan Adams, Denice Williams, Ray Parker Jr., Rockwell, Michael Jackson, Van Halen, Sting, Phil Collins, The Culture Club, Wham, Janet Jackson, The Bangles, Poison and everything else I missed when I stopped dating that dipsh*t who listened to Top 40 Radio in 1986.

Bubbling under...dis-honorable mention this "viral" web sensation:

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Mirage-Hold On

THE MIRAGE-Hold On/Can You Hear Me U.K. Phillips BF 1554 1967

By the Spring of 1967 you'd think that psychedelia had washed over the music scene on the British Isles with it's big wide technicolor paintbrush, not so for a few records. This is one of them.

Essentially The Mirage were one of your typical moddy, soul loving British 60's groups who never seemed entirely convincing at psychedelia.  Take their previous single (Phillips BF 1534 from December '66) an ill advised cover of the Fab's "Tomorrow Never Knows" backed with the rocking "You Can't Be Serious", a number that sounds like the missing link between The Just Four Men and Wimple Winch.  Luckily the band held off on any more Beatles covers and in March of '67 released "Hold On"(not be be confused with the later Rupert's People/Sharon Tandy number of the same name).  It's a brilliant mod/go-go type groover with some great hooks and catchy vocals (esp. the chorus that utilizes the phrase "go go" as often as possible) that's like a discotheque strobe light effect flitting back and forth.  There's some searing guitar work and a pseudo "Taxman" style beat behind it all.  Easily their best. "Can You Hear Me" is thoroughly out of place.  It's dead boring after the adrenaline mod/soulfulness of "Hold On", like The Ivy League at their lamest.  What WERE they thinking?!  The band went on to cut one more single for Phillips (the pop-sike amazingness that is "The Wedding Of Ramona Blair") before moving to Page One for some dreadfully boring stuff in 1968.

Both tracks are collected on the CD compilation of the bands Phillips era material "You Can't Be Serious".

Hear both sides of the record:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

This Is Soul: Anorak Thing's Top 200 60's Soul Tracks

1. CLIFF NOBLES & Co.-Love Is Getting Stronger
3. THELMA HOUSTON-Jumping Jack Flash
4. BUNNY SIGLER-Girl Don't Make Me Wait
5. THE SPINNERS-I'll Always Love You
7. TONY CLARKE-Ain't Love Good, Ain't Love Proud
9. DON COVAY-Mercy, Mercy
10. BARBARA ACKLIN-Am I The Same Girl
11. HOWARD TATE-Night Owl
13. SAMMY AMBROSE-This Diamond Ring
15. LEE DORSEY-Work, Work, Work
16. FELICE TAYLOR-I Can Feel Your Love
17. SUNNY CARRINGTON-The Girl Every Guy Should Know
18. THE FOUR TOPS-Sorry Is A Sorry Word
19. BRETON WOOD-Gimme Little Sign
20. MAXINE BROWN-One In A Million
21. HOMER BANKS-60 Minutes Of Your Love
22. BOB & EARL-The Cissy
23. DEAN PARRISH-Determination
25. THE MARVELETES-Danger Heartbreak Dead Ahead
26. WILLIE TEE-Walkin' Up A One Way Street
27. SOLOMON BURKE-Everybody Needs Somebody To Love
28. MARLENA SHAW-Let's Wade In The Water
29. IKE & TINA TURNER-Tell Her I'm Not Home
30. WILLIE MITCHELL-Everything Is Gonna Be Alright
31. THE FLIRTATIONS-Nothing But A Heartache
32. SAMMY AMBROSE-Welcome To Dreamsville
33. JOHNNY WYATT-Everybody's Going Mod
35. BOBBY SHEEN-Dr. Love
36. EDDIE FLOYD-Big Bird
37. BOB & EARL-Dancin' Everywhere
38. EDWIN STARR-Agent Double-O-Soul
39. NICKIE LEE-The 10 Commandments
40. ROGER & THE GYPSIES-Pass The Hatchet
42. THE VELVELETTES-He Was Really Saying Something
43. IKE & TINA TURNER-Two Is A Couple
44. CHUCK JACKSON-Hand It Over
45. RODDY JOY-If There's Anything Else You Want
46. WILLIE MITCHELL-That Driving Beat
47. THE OLYMPICS-I'll Do A Little Bit More
48. J.J. JACKSON-But It's Alright
50. JACKIE PAINE-The Go Go Train
51. SMOKEY ROBINSON & THE MIRACLES-(Come Round Here) I'm The One you Need
52. MAMIE GALORE-Special Agent 34-24-38
53. THE DELLS-Let's Wear It On Our Face
55. BILLY PRESTON-I Am Coming Through
56. THE IMPRESSIONS-The Young Mod's Forgotten Story
57. TERRY CALLIER-Look At Me Now
58. RICHIE BARRETT-Some Other Guy
59. DON GARDENER-My Baby Likes To Boogaloo
61. CHRIS CLARK-Love's Gone Bad
62. INEZ & CHARLIE FOXX-Tightrope
63. LITTLE CARL CARLTON-Competition Ain't Nothing
64. THE O'JAYS-I'll Never Forget You
65. BOBBY WELLS-Be's That Way Sometimes
67. EDWIN STARR-Stop Her On Sight
68. THE UN'LUVD-Ain't Gonna Do You No Harm
69. THE FOUR TOPS-Wake Me, Shake Me, When It's Over
71. JAMES & BOBBY PURIFY-Shake A Tail Feather
72. LUTHER INGRAM-If It's All The Same To You
73. DARRELL BANKS-Open The Door To Your Heart
74. THE TEMPTATIONS-(I Know) I'm Losing You
75. THE MARVELETTES-I'll Keep Holding On
76. BILL PINKEY-Do The Jerk
77. BOBBY PARIS-Personally
79. THE PARLIAMENTS-Look At What I Almost Missed
80. THE DELLS-Run For Cover
81. BUTCH BAKER-Working At The Go-Go
82. BETTY EVERETT-The Real Thing
83. THE VALENTINOS-It's All Over Now
84. CHUBBY CHECKER-Karate Monkey
85. MAMIE GALORE-It Ain't Necessary
87. BILLY HARNER-What About The Music
88. MAXINE BROWN-I Want A Guarantee
89. JAMES BROWN-I've Got Money
91. CARL DOUGLAS-Serving A Sentence Of Life
92. SMOKEY ROBINSON & THE MIRACLES-I Gotta Dance To Keep From Crying
93. DEREK MARTIN-Daddy Rolling Stone
94. ETTA JAMES-Mellow Fellow
97. HOMER BANKS-A Lot Of Love
98. BOBBY PARIS-I Walked Away
99. LONNIE YOUNGBLOOD-Roll With The Punches
100. THE PARLIAMENTS-Don't Be Sore At Me
101. THE IMPRESSIONS-I Can't Satisfy
102. MARVIN GAYE-No Good Without You
103. THE CONTOURS-Just A Little Misunderstanding
104. MARVIN GAYE-Can I Get A Witness
105. LITTLE HANK-Mr. Bang Bang Man
106. BRENTON WOOD-Trouble
107. BOBBY MOORE & THE RHYTHM ACES-Searching For My Love
108. BILLY HARNER-Homicide Dresser
109. STEVIE WONDER-Music Talk
110. GLADYS KNIGHT & THE PIPS-Stop And Get A Hold Of Myself
111. J.J. JACKSON-Four Walls
112. THE TEMPTATIONS-Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue)
113. SUGAR PIE DESANTO-Go-Go power
114. PATTI AUSTIN-Big Mouth
115. DYKE & THE BLAZERS-We Got More Soul
116. CLYDE MCPHATTER-Baby You Got It
117. WILLIE MITCHELL-30-60-90
118. THE VOLCANOES-(It's Against) The Laws Of Love
119. TONY CLARKE-The Entertainer
120. THE LEWIS SISTERS-Don't Make Me Live Without Your Love
121. THE JUST BROTHERS-Sliced Tomatoes
122. THE IMPRESSIONS-You've Been Cheating
124. FRED HUGHES-I Can't Make It Without You
125. DON COVAY-Sookie Sookie
126. THE CONTENDERS-You Gotta Do What You Gotta Do
127. THE MANHATTANS-I Wanna Be (Your Everything)
128. THE VELVELETTES-A Needle In A Haystack
129. MAURICE & THE RADIANTS-Baby You've Got It
132. THE OLYMPICS-Good Lovin'
133. CARLA THOMAS-Something Good Is Gonna Happen To You
134. ROY LEE JOHNSON-Boogaloo No.3
135. IKE & TINA TURNER-He's The One
136. THE SHIRELLES-Last Minute Miracle
138. FRED HUGHES-Don't Let It Happen To Us
139. THE BARKAYS-A Hard Day's Night
141. J.J. JACKSON-Come See Me
142. THE CAPITOLS-You Got To Handle It
143. CLIFF NOBLES & CO.-Judge Baby I'm Back
144. RUFUS THOMAS-Jump Back
145. THE IMPRESSIONS-I'm The One Who Loves You
146. LITTLE MILTON-If Walls Could Talk
147. WILSON PICKETT-Mini Skirt Minnie
148. THE OLYMPICS-Rainin' In My Heart
149. TONY MIDDLETON-Paris Blues
150. THE APOLLAS-You're Absolutely Right
151. BETTY EVERETT-Trouble Over The Weekend
152. THE CAPER BROTHERS-I Ain't Gonna Write You
153. OTIS REDDING-(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
154. RUFUS THOMAS-The Memphis Train
155. WILSON PICKETT-In The Midnight Hour
156. EDDIE FLOYD-Holding On With Both Hands
159. EDDIE HOLLMAN-Leaving Here
160. RUFUS THOMAS-Sophisticated Sissy
161. MARVIN GAYE-One More Heartache
163. EDWIN STARR-I Want My Baby Back
164. MARVIN JENKINS-What Shall I Do
165. CLIFF NOBLES & CO.-Switch It On
167. IKE & TINA TURNER-Chickenshack
168. EDDY "G" GILES-Music
170. MAURICE & MAC-Why Don't You Try
171. ERMA FRANKLIN-Light My Fire
172. SHIRLEY ELLIS-The Clapping Song
173. LARRY CLINTON-She's Wanted
174. HERB JOHNSON-I'm So Glad
175. THE O'JAYS-Lipstick Traces (On A Cigarette)
176. JOE TEX-You Better Believe It Baby
177. BETTY EVERETT-Can't Hear You No More
179. BIG MAYBELLE-96 Tears
180. THE BUTLERS-She Tried To Kiss Me (All I Could Do Was Run)
181. CHUBBY CHECKER-At The Discotheque
183. JIMMY HUGHES-Neighbor Neighbor
184. DOBIE GREY-See You At The Go-Go
185. THE IMPRESSIONS-I Love You (Yeah)
186. JIMMY HOLLIDAY-The New Breed
187. THE CAPITOLS-Patty Cake
188. THE DELLS-There Is
190. LEE DORSEY-Ride Your Pony
191. THE C.O.D.'S-Michael
193. THE BANDWAGON-Breaking Down The Walls Of Heartache
194. THE WORLD COLUMN-And So Is The Sun
195. THE SUPREMES-You Just Keep Me Hanging On
196. THE FOUR TOPS-Seven Rooms Of Gloom
197. THE PARLIAMENTS-(I Wanna) Testify
198. BEN E. KING-What Is Soul?
199. DON COVAY-Come Back And Take This Hurt Off Me
200. MARTHA REEVES-Without You

(Larry Clinton 45 scan courtesy of Haim Kenig)

Monday, January 17, 2011

It's alright if you go ahead and nick my tune......

THE ROCKING VICKERS-It's Alright/Stay By Me U.K. CBS 202051 1966

The Rocking Vickers would've been just another over looked 60's beat group if they hadn't been joined midway through their career by one Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister on guitar.

March 1966's "It's Alright", their second U.K. single is their finest moment.  Listeners will notice a distinct similarity to The Who's "The Kids Are Alright" (which appeared on their debut LP "My Generation" in December of 1965).  For years I wondered if this track had been a precursor to "The Kids Are Alright" as it bore Townshend's songwriting credits but in his autobiography "White Line Fever" Lemmy admitted to freely nicking the melody/lyrics and crediting Townshend just to be on the safe side.  Regardless of it's originality it's an amazing track from it's power chords to it's distorted Dave Davie's type guitar solo/riffs, Nicky Hopkin's style piano tinkling and manic drumming c/o the band's legendary Cyril "Ciggy" Shaw.  Shaw's "Stay By Me" on the B-side is far different. It's not bad but it's from an earlier time in music where beat groups hadn't yet been overtaken by guys in bright clothes playing guitars really loud and speed fueled drummers going apesh*t on their kits with it's crooning vocals and volume pedal infused guitar bits it's decidedly dated for 1966.

The band went on to cut one more single, a cover of Ray Davie's "Dandy" b/w the garagey "I Don't Need Your Kind" (more on that one another day I promise) and like most unsung British 60's bands managed to become popular in a far flung place: Finland, prompting several dates there and a Finnish only single release.

Both sides were collected on the RPM Rockin' Vickers CD compilation "Lifelines:The Complete Rocking Vickers"  and "It's Alright" has appeared on the "That Driving Beat Volume 4" and "The In Crowd Volume One:U.K. Mod R&B/Beat 1964-1967" CD's.

Hear "It's Alright":

Hear "Stay By Me":

The Rockin' Vickers in traditional Finnish costume
acquired while on tour there, Lemmy on the right.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

PUB! Let's Have A Pint......who shall I invite?

Twelve People I'd Like To Have A Pint With & Why

It's Thursday, and Thursday's for me used to (and ocassionally still does) mean Thursday night at my local for a few pints with the fellas. So hypothetically I'm gathering twelve living people who've influenced, provoked, inspired and interested me to go out and have a pint with.  Since it's hypothetical I figure I'll gather all twelve together and we'll see what happens, though I'd be equally interested in having a pint with each of these people individually as well.

I'm not quite sure what meeting Ray these days would be like.  I met him for a few seconds back in the 80's when he was at my hair stylists having a pre-gig clean up.  He politely signed my Kinks PRT comp LP and made a sarcastic remark about the "cash in" attempt (it had a big mod bulls eye on the back and came with a 10" EP of Kink's "mod hits"), which is now, or possibly not, in possession of a young lady I was once smitten with.  I gather from reading interviews etc that once you get him going he has a lot to say but is also notoriously quick to end a conversation/interview, possibly not a good mix but worth the shot.

I would probably run afoul of the Dame for spending too much time pestering him about his debut LP which is beyond a doubt one of my favorite albums of all time (the other being The S.F.'s 2nd LP) or his Pye singles but he always seems so animated and interesting in interviews and I'm quite sure he'd have me on edge talking about London 1963-1968 like he did on the VHS I've got of an entire VH-1 interview from the late 90's.  I missed meeting him by minutes in the late 90's when I walked onto French Roast on 6th Avenue in NYC for lunch with my 1966 singles box set in hand which I'd just purchased from Rockit Scientist.  Nearly all of the staff took delight in noticing the box set and remarking "Oh you've just missed him..." etc.

Syd Barrett's no longer with us and even if he was I wouldn't subject what had been a very private man to this gang (but  I'm sure if he were there Bowie would be first in line to chat with him) so Robyn Hitchcock will do quite nicely in his place. He's a perfect eccentric, both musically and from what I've gathered about him and he's always managed to be consistantly inspired by things without ripping them off.  He's always struck me as a really interesting guy and would definitely be interesting to chat with.

I've had a pint with Mac so I can say in all truthfulness that he's an amazing guy to have a chat with over a beer and has one of the most positive outlooks I've ever seen in and on life. He's an encyclopedia of info on the the Sixties and both times I've chatted with him after gigs over a pint we've spent quite a bit of time discussing our fave B-3 jazz organists (and clothes!).  And he knows quite a few people on this list!

I'd never turn down the chance to have a pint with the man who played Jack Carter.  Sir Michael Caine has always come off both hysterical and serious to me in hearing him speak and reading his printed thoughts, though I doubt he's much of a pint man, I've always taken him for a martini or Campari and soda sort I wouldn't turn down the chance and I'm dead curious to see how he'd gel with Ray Davies because to me there isn't anyone else who exemplifies London more than these gents.

Like David Bowie I'd probably babble incessantly and bury this poor man under a deluge of questions.  Why?  Because this is the man who offered Tomorrow, The Pink Floyd AND The Move to Elektra records whom he was in the U.K. scouting for, (all of which were turned down by Jac Holzman leading Joe to leg it), started the legendary U.F.O. club with John "Hoppy" Hopkins, produced the debut single by The Pink Floyd, discovered and signed Nick Drake and loads of other stuff that we have neither the time nor space to mention.  Needless to say the his guy exemplifies cool.  AND he grew up in Princeton, New Jersey which makes him a "local hero" to me!!

I know I've had a hit or miss musical relationship with the "Modfather" ever since I decided "Cafe Bleu" was not to my liking, but I've periodically enjoyed his stuff and I'll grant him this, he always gives a good interview because  like me he's 100% music crazy and perhaps unlike me he has a lot of interesting things to say.  To this day I still buy magazines with interviews with him because he's always an entertaining read.  And of course it's well known that he's no teetotaller and he's acquainted with Mac and Ray Davies and a few of our their respective guests so there'd be no lack of people to chat with for him......

Most of my ex-mod/skinhead pals are a Specials crazy, I used to be too but I'll have to say the Nutty Boys from Camden Town (that's Madness to those of you not in the know) have become my fave '79 ska band over the past decade because their music, though sometimes a tad commercial is such an interesting mash up of sounds.  Suggs always has some interesting stuff to say in interviews and I'd be happy to have a pint with anybody who could incorporate Kilburn & the High Roads, The Beatles, The Kinks, Max Miller and Prince Buster into their originals!  And besides him and Sir Michael Caine are from the same Manor, or so Sir Michael has written.

Along with the late Guy Stevens Jeff Dexter was probably one of the coolest mod 60's DJ's going and like me Jeff made that flip from "mod" to "freakbeat/flower power".  His interviews are fascinating and he knew/knows EVERYBODY and yet when he mentions names you never once feel he's namedropping.  And of course I could ask him a million questions. He and Mac and Bowie go way back as well.

I've read that Pete Townshend is almost deaf, who knows the sort of crap hacks come up with so maybe he wouldn't be a good choice in a large gang like this + beer if this is in fact true. Like Ray Davies he's always immaculately eloquent and incredibly articulate and much like Paul Weller he's never a boring interview subject. And of course he's well acquainted with Mac, Paul and Ray!

XTC were the first band I ever saw live and I've been a fan of their music for 30 years and am equally a fan of their psychedelic alter egos The Dukes Of Stratosphear.  That said Andy's a big 60's psychedelia buff and very into toy soldiers (something that occupied a better part of my childhood and fell by the wayside once I discovered girls and mod, in that order) which I think would make for some amusing conversation and I'd be keen to see him and Ray Davies interact because I think XTC's "Black Sea" and "English Settlement" are the "Face To Face" and "Village Green Preservation Society" of their day.