Friday, July 29, 2011

It's all too beautiful: my introduction to the Immediate era Small faces

Today I was driving back to work from lunch on a balmy Friday afternoon here in Lower Binfield with the windows down and the moon roof open and The Small Face's "Itchycoo Park" on the automobile hi-fi and I was immediately transported back to a sweaty summer afternoon in 1982 where a teenage Mr. Anorak Thing was sitting in his tiny bedroom in his parent's house that had formerly been an attic to the previous owners listening to his recently purchased, previously unheard Immediate records compilation "The Small Faces Greatest Hits" (it was my second purchase of their material, my first, a Decca era domestic compilation LP called "By Appointment" came whilst purchasing tickets to see THe Jam along with the first English Beat album a few months earlier).  "Itchycoo Park" had already figured prominently in anything I had ever read about the band and I was about the hear it for the very first time.  At first I was sort of taken aback by the laid back hippy lyrics at the time, but I assured myself that anyone who had center parted hair or wore a green suede coat or button down collared shirts was surely no hippy. I had a lot to learn and sometimes even hippies are beautiful people, like the late great author of this track, Ronnie Lane.  And so began the first of many such "acceptances" to the "mod rule" that later enabled me to enjoy un-mod bands like The Pink Floyd , The Herd and so forth, and still does to this very day. Be well, be young, be happy and above all, be good to each other.

Ian McLagan gives a bit of background on "Itchycoo Park":

Cool Foreign E.P. Sleeves Part 34: The Beatles In Portugal

The following are all Portuguese Beatles E.P.'s released in the 60's:
I'm Happy Just To Dance With You/I'll Cry Instead/I'll Be Back/When I Get Home  Parlophone LEMP 1187 1964

Please Please Me/Boys/Love Me Do/There's A Place Parlophone LMEP 1173 1963
Help/I'm Down/I'll Follow The Sun/Baby's In Black Parlophone LEMP 1201 1965
I Should Have Known Better/And I Love Her/Tell Me Why/Anytime At All Parlophone LEMP 1186 1964
Here There And Everywhere/And Your Bird Can Sing/Good Day Sunshine/For No One Parlophone LEMP 1249 1966
Yellow Submarine/Taxman/She Said She Said/I'm Only Sleeping Parlophone LEMP 1247 1966
Long Tall Sally/I Call Your Name/Slow Down/Matchbox Parlophone LEMP 402 1964
Words Of Love/Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby/I Don't Want To Spoil The Party/What You're Doing Parlophone LEMP 1195 1964
I Feel Fine/Kansas City/She's A Woman/I'm A Loser Parlophone LEMP 1193 1964
I Want To Hold Your Hand/This Boy/I Saw Her Standing There/Chains Parlophone LEMP 1169 1963

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Duffy Power, The Beatles and Graham Bond

DUFFY POWER with THE GRAHAM BOND QUARTET-I Saw Her Standing There/Farewell Baby U.K. Parlophone R 5024 1963

Some singles from a certain genre are just too good to be true, like this one.  It was a one off pairing of legendary U.K. 60's r&b vocalist Duffy Power with the mighty Graham Bond Quartet to record one of the earliest Lennon/McCartney covers to be issued as a single (long before any of Brian Epstein's other Merseyside acts were copping Beatles numbers but not the first as Kenny Lynch had released "Misery" two months prior in March 1963). The recently formed Graham Bond Quartet were : Bond (vocals/organ/ alto sax), John McLaughlin (fresh from Georgie Fame and The Blue Flames on guitar), Jack Bruce (bass) and Ginger Baker (drums).

Rather than follow the typical Merseybeat way of recording a Beatles number the way the Fabs  did it, Duffy and Co. strip down "I Saw Her Standing There" and slow it down.  Backed by Bond's Hammond and the wailing sax of  added with Power's blues wailing vocals the number bears little resemblance to the original.  In the liner notes to "Leapers And Sleepers" Power stated that Lennon and Macca were none to pleased with the version so they re-recorded it (the alternate take is vaguely different). The flip side, composed by Graham Bond is equally cool, in fact I like it a lot better than the A-side!  Bond's organ is far more prevalent in the mix.  Sadly there were no more singles by the pairing but they did record several other numbers which went unreleased during this single's session ("Shake Rattle And Roll", "What'd I Say" and "I Got A Woman").

Both sides (including the re-recording of the A-side) are available on Duffy Power's highly recommended  CD RPM anthology "Leapers And Sleepers" which also includes the previously mentioned unreleased tracks recorded with the Graham Bond Quartet.

Hear "I Saw Her Standing There":

Hear "Farewell Baby":

For more on Duffy dig:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July's Picks

1.THE QUESTS-"Never Ever"
The Quests were a 60's band from Singapore who not only covered Tomorrow's "Mr. Rainbow" (as it was known in a version by Steve Flynn, Tomorrow titled it "Hallucinations") and got to #1 in Hong Kong with it but tackled one of my favorite Action tracks "Never Ever" on the same LP "33rd Revolution".  They actually do a very excellent job speeding/rocking it up a bit!

Joining the ranks of Nick Drake, The Monks, Love, Scott Walker and The 13th Floor Elevators comes Gram Parsons and Co. This is a list of artists I've been driven to avoid for many years because I've been force fed them by friends who bludgeoned me to death with near religious devotion causing me to run the opposite way but eventually come around on my own, in my own good time about them.  Well that happened for this bunch a few weeks ago and this track blows me away and kicks the crap out of The Stones version in my book.

More times than often I am usually ignorant of U.S. 60's music, so for a great many years I was only familiar with the Australian version of this track by The Dave Miller Set.  Eventually I came around to it's somber original, which blew me away!

Test driven and battle proven via lysergic music research conducted by the enlightened and the experienced in a controlled environment this track and this band withstood the acid test, literally, up against more "serious" contemporaries who weren't playing dress up and pretending it was 1967 but 25 + years on who got it right? The blank generation refugees in paisley shirts and vintage Vox gear or four English new wave castaways with a brilliant plan?  I think the latter.

5. KALEIDOSCOPE-"Faintly Blowing"
One of my favorite 60's British psychedelic records is this trippy number, nothing but bass, guitar, drums and vocals with lots of wobbly thrown on the jangly/shimmering guitars to pre-date Biff Bang Pow and their dischorant freakiness (the band) by 17 years. "See the children thrust their tiny hands onto the sun..."

6. JOHN COOPER CLARK-"Evidently Chickentown"
This blog is about honesty, so I'll own up to not being clued in on J.C.C. at all. I've seen this cats picture since 1980 and had no clue what he was about and finally, in July 2011, I investigated him after figuring out this wiggy track that closed a prolific scene on "The Sopranos" way back when was the "backcombed bard of Salford", "bloody" good!

7. PAUL WELLER-"Find The Torch Burn The Plans"
Anybody who reads this blog often enough will know that though I respect the fuck out of the "Modfather" I'm also an egotistical bastard who thinks I'm cooler than him because I've never dabbled in house, casual, garage (the UK hip hop style not the 60's beatle boot wearing sort) AND I've never been seen with highlights in my barnet and wearing a god damn Pretty Green wifebeater!  With that rant said after half a dozen mediocre albums by the man  I've gotta say I am dead impressed by a few segments of "Wake Up The Nation" and none better than this one a wiggy amalgamation of "Heroes"/"Low" era Bowie meets psychedelia! I'd love to give him another shot live but I know attending one of his New York gigs will just be a bunch of drunk bald ex-pats acting like they're on holiday in Paceville (Google it) shouting out the lyrics like they're doing personal karaoke or cheering whatever team they follow.

A predecessor to Scott Walker's solo career (the melody even slightly resembles "Plastic Palace People") this brilliant melodrama is almost a sequel to the earlier kitchen sink opus "Mrs. Murphy" and spares none of the tour de force orchestration and distinct phrasing that you'd expect for pre-Scott solo era Walker Brothers material.

9. ERIC BURDON & THE ANIMALS-"Gratefully Dead"
For some insane reason this killer 1967 U.K./Euro flip of "San Franciscan Nights" was never released in the U.S., maybe MGM (their U.S. label) was worried about offended the lame S.F. band of that name?  Anyway it's criminal because the track blows my mind with it's overtly Hendrix influenced groove and Burdon's usual Geordie acid high priest lyrics.

10. ROY CLARK-"Do You Believe This Town"
A brilliant bit of social commentary slagging small town, small minded, hypocritical and yes, even racist ways (dig the last verse), the latter being something you'd NEVER hear addressed in country music vintage 1968! Thanks to my dad for playing this record to death and ingraining it in my tiny mind, and it's still there.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pre-Procol Harum: The Paramounts Part One

THE PARAMOUNTS-Poison Ivy/I Feel Good All Over U.K. Parlophone R 5093 1963
This was the debut 45 by The Paramounts, a Southern U.K. bunch of bona fide r&b aficionados
(Gary Broker-Vocals/keyboards, Robin Trower-guitar, Diz Derrick-bass and B.J. Wilson drums)  who we previously discussed in:

It was released in December 1963.  I've chosen to illustrate the flip side instead of the "A" side as I think it's far superior.

Their version of The Coaster's "Poison Ivy" isn't bad (it beat The Stones out on covering it by a month), Brooker's vocals are great as always, it's just that there isn't much else to it.  The "B" side, a cover of The Drifters "I Feel Good All Over" benefits from (once again) Brooker's smooth voice and a nice piano shuffle feel to it (a strong point of the band who were neither the gritty Pretty Things/Stones style r&B nor the mod/jazz of Graham Bond or Georgie Fame).  It's cheery and chirpy and one of my fave Paramounts tracks and like all of their numbers you can actually suss some sort of sense of "passion" for what they're doing.

Both sides appear on the essential  Paramounts Edsel LP/CD "Whiter Shades Of R&B".

Hear "Poison Ivy":

Hear "I Feel Good All Over":

Sunday, July 24, 2011


THE MARQUIS OF KENSINGTON-The Changing of the Guard/Reverse Thrust Germany CBS 2841 1967

What a weekend it's been, it's been a scorching 102 degrees here in Lower Binfield, Flatland, a right wing nutter has killed close to 100 innocent people in far off Norway and the poster girl for dysfunctional young one hit wonders, has predictably, met her maker. Crack is wack people. Meanwhile back in the 60's..............

The Marquis of Kensington was a studio only concoction by arranger/producer Mike Leander.  The vocalist is actually Robert Wace, one of The Kink's early managers.  For the single's picture sleeves and subsequent TV appearances to plug the single Wace found a model to pretend to be the "Marquis of Kensington". It was originally released in the U.K. in May 1967 as Immediate IM 052.  Today's copy comes from Germany.

"The Changing of the Guard" is a campy slice of Swingin' London where Wace laments in a posh accent about how the country is going to hell and that all the wealthy and upper crust are forced to make do.  There's no better way of describing this number without quoting it's lyrics:

The changing of the guard is part of
our tradition
But now we find it's been applied to us
We're had to sell our stately homes to pay our debts and taxes
And no - one can afford a chauffeur driven Rolls
If we ever get invited to the palace
Then we'll all go there by bus

The changing of the guard, we used to be respected
As members of the aristocracy
The Earl of Windhamere has raised the mortgage on his mansion
And now he's paying back at thirty pound a week
Which he makes from showing people round the manor
For a half a dollar fee
Can't you see the way things use to be
Life was better then
Remember when we lived like Lords and ladies and gentlemen

The changing of the guard, we made our sacrifices
We haven't got a butler or a maid
Lord Firstcombe has got a son who's working as a waiter
Picking up the tips he earns enough to pay his rent
Lady Londondary has hocked the family silver
And the money's all been spent

The changing of the guard presents a different picture
To when Britannia used to rule the waves
Lady Annabelle Barley is a famous belly dancer
And not because she comes from a naval family
If our ancestors could see the way we're living
They'd be turning in their graves
It's delivered with typical session orchestration complete with harpsichord and some jazzy guitar and has a feel of great mid 60's Kinks jolly A-sides meets early Cat Stevens.  The flip side , "Reverse Thrust" rates as one of the more heinous 60's releases as it's merely the musical backing of the A-side BACKWARDS!

The A-side has been issued on numerous Immediate CD compilations, though not on either of the more recent/in print CD singles collections "The Immediate Singles Story" volumes!

Hear "The Changing Of The Guard":

Thursday, July 21, 2011

David Bowie Covers: The Beatstalkers

THE BEATSTALKERS-Silver Tree Top School For Boys/Sugar Chocolate Machine U.K. CBS 3105 1967

The Beatstalkers were a 5 piece Scottish band from Glasgow who were managed by one Kenneth Pitt who also happened to manage an artist named David Bowie.  The Beatstalkers never gained national attention despite some decent records and being hot property on their home turf. Today's subject was the 5th of their 7 singles, hitting the streets in time for Christmas 1967.  Sharing Pitt as a manager the band became acquainted with David Bowie and would soon become the recipient of the some of his more quirky compositions. This would be the first of three tracks he'd provide for them (none of the three were ever issued by Bowie).  "Silver Tree Top School For Boys" was written (but never properly recorded or released) by David Bowie after he read of a marijuana scandal at Lancing College public school, alma mater of Sir Tim Rice (that's a "private school" to us Americans) in the newspaper.  In hindsight one questions the wisdom of Pitt having his charges release a Bowie track that had not only been previously released by another artist (The Slender Plenty in September 1967 on Polydor 56189) but had not resulted in any attention.

It's still amazing.  It starts out with some nice throbby bass (care of future Only One Alan Mair) and has catchy feel not unlike a jaunty Kink's '66-'67 sing-along type number (no doubt thanks to the liberal does of "la la la's" in the chorus). The melody of the track has always bben infectious for me and I find myself humming it very often. "Sugar Chocolate Machine", a group original, is an interesting number as it's got some weird hooks.  It flits between being a soulful number but quirky enough to cop a pop-psych tag as well (with some almost raga-esque guitar in the middle and weird piano with some odd effects at the fade out).  The lyrics are pretty way out as well!

"Silver Tree Top School for Boys" has cropped up on the amazing 4 CD British psychedelic box set "Real Life Permanent Dreams" and on Psychic Circle's "We Can Fly Volume 4" CD compilation.  Both sides appeared on Lenny Helsing's brilliant Beatstalkers anthology CD "Scotalnd's #1 Beat Group !".

Hear "Silver Tree Top School For Boys":

Hear "Sugar Chocolate Machine":

MANY thanks are due to Lenny Helsing's liner notes on the Beatstalker's CD  "Scotland's #1 Group", without which this article would not be possible!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mondo Obscure U.K. 60's Mod-Jazz/R&B

THE WES MINSTER FIVE-Shakin' The Blues/Railroad Blues U.K. Carnival CV 7017 1964
Here's a mighty obscure one kids.  This is a mod/jazz/r&b U.K. 60's act who recorded three singles for the tiny U.K. indie label Carnival (the first of which they were the backing band on a 45 shared with a female vocalist named Maynell Wilson). I can't tell you a thing about this band other than that but they embody that cool mid 60's U.K. r&b sound that Georgie Fame and The Blue Flames were doing with a dash of slightly ska rhythm (as heard on their single with Maynell Wilson).  According to Vernon Joynson's "Tapestry of Delights" the band were: Clive Burrows (sax), Dave Greenslade (keyboards), Brian Smith (aka "Wes Minster"-guitar), Tony Reeves (bass), Paul Williams (vocals) and Jon Hiseman (drums) and operated on the London club scene in 1963-64.

"Shakin' The Blues" has more of a rock n' roll feel , just basically a workout instrumental based around a repetitious saxophone lick with bass,guitars, drums and combo organ backing.  It's nothing special but it is interesting nonetheless for historical reference. I prefer the flip side, "Railroad Blues", it's more uptempo and the sax and organ pump out this infectious riff that's another classic example of jazzy early/mid 60's British rhythm and blues.

Neither track has seen a reissue as far as I am aware.

Hear "Shakin' The Blues": (though the person who uploaded it has incorrectly titled it with another Wes Minster Five release)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

John's Children: Exit Marc Bolan

JOHN'S CHILDREN-Go Go Girl/Jagged Time Lapse U.K. Track 604010 1967

As we've covered John's children in multiple entries here already we needed go into too much detail who there were etc. By the time of this single's release (October 1967) lead guitarist Marc Bolan had bugged out and the band were on shaky legs. Both of these tracks were scraped up from previous sessions and released.  "Go Go Girl" was composed by Marc Bolan (the band also cut a version titled "Mustang Ford" essentially the same track with different lyrics).  The flip side, "Jagged Time Lapse" dates from the John's Children Mk. I era when Geoff McClelland was their lead guitarist (he co-wrote the track with bassist John Hewlett), a version with McClelland appears on their U.S. only White Whale LP "Orgsam" (with a cool "Understanding" rip off intro).  Bolan plays guitar on both tracks, as evidenced by his sloppy/choppy style.

"Go Go Girl" still stands the test of time after all these years and still sounds as fresh to me as it did when I first heard it oin 1985 on a bootleg LP called "The Smashed Blocked World Of John's Children". It's catchy and the cheezy organ solo (played by manager Simon Napier Bell) is groovy and very distinctly lyrically Marc Bolan in the vocal phrasing.  "Jagged Time Lapse" has always been one of my favorite tunes by the band, it's general feel gives the impression of a confused, drugggy come down (speed or acid?) with lyrics that seem to be more mentally ill hallucinations than druggy psychedelic visions!  The track is highlighted by Chris Towson's cymbal bashing and Bolan's plodding guitar strumming beneath a fluid bassline by John Hewlett, not bad for a bunch of guys that Napier Bell claimed couldn't play!  (Actually a Bolan era bootleg EP of their BBC session shows them playing well, though Bolan did not know how to tune his guitar and Any Ellison is singing in the wrong key...).

Both tracks are available on a variety of John's children CD compilations("The Complete John's Children" and "Smashed Blocked"), which are all sadly, out of print.

Hear "Go Go Girl" and "Jagged Time Lapse":

Groovy German P.S. pressing

Small Faces Covers On Immediate: P.P. Arnold

P.P. ARNOLD-(If You Think You're) Groovy/Though It Hurts Me Badly U.K. Immediate IM 061 1968

Few Small Faces songs recorded by other artists have generated Holy Grail style interest among fans like this track released in the U.K. in  January 1968.  There has long been talk that a Small Faces version existed and a recent S.F's/Steve Marriott article in "Uncut" hints that it may exist and if it does it will be a part of an upcoming S.F's box set.  One is left to ponder that since the band played on the P.P. Arnold version is it the same song with just Marriott's vocals in place of P.P.'s?  We are left to wonder....

For those not aware of Miss Arnold she was an American singer who came to London as an Ikette for Ike and Tina's place on the '66 U.K. Stones tour and presumably tired of Ike's bullshit decamped to the U.K. when the tour ended where Andrew Loog Oldham, ever the not so clever "I'll make you a star" type for a pretty face, got her signed as a solo artist to his then fledgling Immediate records roster. This was the 4th of her 8 singles for the label. Despite the heavy promotion and assistance from the mighty midgets the single was for all intents and purposes, sadly, a commercial flop. Regardless it's my favorite track by her, whether that's because of the Small Faces connection I'm not sure but suffice to say that beyond her great voice the amazing engine of Ronnie Lane (bass) and Kenny Jones (drums) driving the whole thing make it for me, especially Ronnie's murky Framus bass line. The amount of production that went into it ( by Messers Marriott and Lane), like nearly all the great Immediate releases, is top shelf. The B-side "Though It Hurts Me Badly", though not nearly as good as the top side is still pretty good. It's actually vocally more soulful and musically sounds much later than 1968 and has a distinct 70's feel to it for me, I think the chord changes remind me a lot of Carole King's "It's Too Late" so maybe that's why I'm feeling that. It was written by P.P. and produced by Mick Jagger!

Rod The Mod (looking every bit like Paul Weller) P.P and a young admirer.

For decades there has been talk of a Small Faces version of "(If You Think You're) Groovy" but it has yet to surface leading me to suspect that all along the mention of it's existence was a myth.  The fact that the exhaustive search world wide for Immediate era material for the band's Immediate era box set "Here Comes The Nice" failed to produce anything seems to justify this theory.

 Hear "Though It Hurts Me Badly":

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cool Foreign E.P.'s Part 33

THE MINDBENDERS-The Letter/My New Day And Age/To Be Or Not To Be/Airport People Portugal Fontana465 404 TE 1967

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels:John's Lee's Groundhogs

JOHN LEE'S GROUNDHOGS-I'll Never Fall In Love Again/Over You Baby U.S Planet 45-104 1966
One of the great British soul/r&b singles of the mid 60's is this one off  for Shel Talmy's Planet records (and an American pressing at that). From what I can ascertain it looks like all of the Planet singles gained a release in the U.S. because they utilized the same catalog numbers as the U.K releases.  I have owned a number of U.S. Planet 45's (the two Creation ones, A Wild Uncertainty, The Corduroys, The Thoughts and today's item).  All but my Thoughts 45 were white label promo copies.  The Thoughts 45 was a stock copy which had a red label, I have seen red label copies of both Creation issues before but none of the other releases in this form, have any of you?  I'd also be curious to know for sure if the entire Planet catalog was released in the States, I'm assuming it was because as mentioned they used the same catalog numbers unless they just randomly selected certain releases and didn't bother reordering them in sequential numbers, any thoughts?

Released in January 1966, "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" is a cover of a Bobby Freeman number penned by one Sylvester "Sly Stone" Stewart, by John Lee's Groundhogs (later shortened to become the famous U.K  heavy blues act The Groundhogs). The band had previously released a single as The Groundhogs ("Shake It" /"Rock Me" a U.S only release for Veeejay records in early 1965) and backed John Lee Hooker on his 1964 U.K. tour (it was Hooker who was instrumental in getting their U.S. only 45 released) and later backed a host of many other visiting U.K. blues legends. Led by the legendary U.K.  blues acolyte Tony "T.S" McPhee the band the band veered into more of a soul direction with this release, technically their U.K. 45 rpm debut.

"I'll Never Fall In Love Again"  features some stellar horn work, soulful vocals and a great bit at the middle where it slows down and the lead singer John Cruickshank sings quite reminiscent of Eric Burdon and the guitar gets all distorted and freakbeat before the staccato soul horns burst back in.  It's a classic dancer! "Over You Baby", a band original, is slower but benefits again from soulful lead vocals and a razor sharp American sounding horn section.

Both sides were collected on RPM's brilliant CD compilation "The Best of Planet Records", which is now sadly out of print but seriously worth the search for!

Hear "I'll Never Fall In Love Again":

Friday, July 15, 2011

Before Adam Ant:Simon Dupree and Broken Hearted Pirates

SIMON DUPREE AND THE BIG SOUND-Broken Hearted Pirates/She Gave Me The Sun U.K. Parlophone R 5757 1969
This was the eighth U.K. (and next to last) single by a six piece known collectively as Simon Dupree and The Big Sound who straddled both soulful good-time r&b alongside psych pop. There was no Simon Dupree, the band were the brainchild of the three Shulman brothers, Derek (vocals), Phil (saxophone/trumpet/French horn/vocals) and Ray (guitar/vocals).  Along for the ride were Peter O'Flaherty (bass), Eric Hines (keyboards) and Tony Ransley (drums).

"Broken Hearted Pirates" is a ridiculous piece of pop with lyrics befitting a Gilbert and Sullivan musical and certainly would've been right up Adam and The Ants alley in 1981! It's disposable but thanks to the excellent instrumentation and Derek Shulman's enthusiastic lead vocals  it actually works despite technically being a pretty dreadful track!  And that's Dudley Mooore guesting on piano on the track for trivia buffs. The real gold is found on the B-side, "She Gave Me The Sun". Starting out with some barrelhouse piano and thundering drums it busts into a completely danceable soulful groove punctuated by some killer horns led along by congas, twinkling organ, catchy bass.  It's easily my favorite track by the band hands down. The record failed to chart and they released just one more single ("The Eagle Flies Tonight" b/w the funky "Give It All Back Parlophone R 5816) in November 1969 before the Shulman brothers disbanded the group and formed prog heroes Gentle Giant.

Both sides are available on two recommended collections of their work "Part Of My Past" (which is a double CD compliling all of their singles,their entire LP and loads of unreleased material) and the slimmer but equally essential single CD compilation "Kites".

Hear "She Gave Me The Sun":

Hear "Broken Hearted Pirates":

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Small Faces Covers On Immediate: Chris Farlowe

CHRIS FARLOWE-My Way Of Giving/You're So Good For Me U.K. Immediate IM 041 1967
Chris Farlowe had been slogging away for a good many years before scoring his first and only massive U.K. hit, a version of The Rolling Stone's "Out Of Time" in June of 1966.  Unfortunately the hits failed to materialize for him again but that did not deter his workman-like dedication to keeping the records coming.

Upon signing up with Andrew Loog Oldham and Tony Calder's Immediate label in late 1965 he benefitted like many others on the rooster, from the in house song writing talents of Oldham's charges Mick Jagger and Keith Richards as well as labelmates The Small Faces and Twice as Much (a duo comprised of David Skinner and Andrew Rose).  Though Farlowe's 2nd Immediate LP ("The Art Of Chris Farlowe" Immediate IMLP 006, 1966) was full of some horrendous soul covers his singles usually managed to have a certain spark thanks to both the producers and the composers. "My Way Of Giving" benefitted from two of these camps, it was written by Small Face's Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane and produced by Mick Jagger (who produced 2 of his previous singles and his 2nd Immediate LP).

This was Farlowe's fifth single for Immediate and was released in January 1967. "My Way Of Giving" would not air by The Small Faces until June 1967 on their unititled Immediate debut LP.  Farlowe's version is somewhat bombastic in both it's delivery (his vocals seem at times to be a tad over the top in the efforts to sound soulful) and the orchestration (by Arthur Greenslade who provided the over the top arrangement on his hit version of "Out Of Time").  That's not to say it's bad, I enjoy over the top production jobs (which leads me to wonder how much did Mick actually do?). If you listen carefully you can hear P.P. Arnold on backing vocals as well as Marriott and Lane.  Whether Immediate just took a Small Face's version and put Farlowe's vocals overlapped with Greenslade's arrangements  is anyone's guess, but it certainly does sound that way at times! "You're So Good To Me" was written by Twice As Much and had previously seen a release as Immediate IM 039 in November 1966 as the flipside to their stunning "True Story", a double sided amazing slice of orchestrated pop if ever there was one!  Once again it seems like old Chris is giving it a bit too much, but it somehow works thanks to the immaculate backing and orchestration.

Farlowe and bored friend on "Ready Steady Go" 1966
"My Way Of Giving" has seen a release on a variety of oft licensed Immediate era Farlowe recordings, the least dubious of which is "Handbags & Gladrags (The Immediate Collection)" or "Out Of Time", but I've yet to see "You're So Good To Me" on any of these, however it on the "Pop Goez Immediate: The Immediate Singles Story Episode Two" CD collection.

Hear "My Way Of Giving":

Hear "You're So Good To Me": (ignore the weird film that it's tacked onto)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mod Anthems Part Two: My Generation

THE WHO-My Generation/Shout And Shimmy U.K. Brunswick 05944 1965

With 31 years as a "mod" under my belt I think I can now survey my life and state, unequivocally, that "My Generation" is quite possibly the greatest mod anthem of all time. Sadly I cannot recall when this number first came into my life precisely.  I have vague recollections of seeing a clip on a British invasion segment on a 60's music  TV special with the band miming the number to bored London spectators and hearing the track on the radio during the moments before I took the leap from a " British invasion"/60's music fan to "mod".  With  my introduction to The Jam and "mod" in 1980 The Who were next in my logical process.  My high school library featured a large coffee table book called "The Sixties" with a chapter on mods written by Pete Townshend that featured a large two page black and white photo of some parka wearing mods on scooters bedecked with mirrors.  There was also a full page photo of Townshend in a plaid shirt playing a Rickenbacker in front of a large amp draped with a Union Jack (both of which, with the aid of a razor blade became part of the art in the hallway outside my teenage attic bedroom door). I do recall, however the great joy upon purchasing an American double LP that coupled the U.S. 1965 LP "The Who Sings My Generation" coupled with the U.S. only 1968 LP "Magic Bus" on MCA records and taking it home and playing it for the first time soon thereafter. My life was literally changed.  And though I was perhaps too young and naive to yet be cognisant of railing against the authority or my elders I was terribly misunderstood by my backwards, ignorant small minded peers at school.  That in itself made "My Generation" a perfect middle finger for the people around me who found my French crewcut, Desert boots and narrow ties alien and worthy of abuse.


"My Generation" was for many years, a sort of disgrace for me, because as a young arrogant bastard I carried a grudge against The Who because they quite naturally became everything they railed about:the establishment, the old etc.  It also became an anathema to me because too many times in my 20's and 30's I'd witnessed younger (or even my age) poseurs or "instant mods" (the sort who were 'mad for mod" for a few months before moving onto the next fad) jumping around to it acting like assholes in a club, almost as disgusting and juvenile  as the stupid "We are the mods!" chant.  In my period as a DJ I never once played the record for that reason alone.  As I approach my semi-centinial I find myself able to transcend all of that and once again enjoy the crash bang wallop that is "My Generation". Regardless of the lyrics it's still an amazing record musically. What's not to love about Daltrey's arrogant deliberate stuttering, Moon's utterly ridiculous ill timed drum rolls, Entwistle's seamless bass solo and Townshend's repetitive main riff with near country style licks that twang in and his eventual coaxing of Morse code from his Rickenbacker against a wall of classic feedback cacophony? There's various demos Townshend did for it that run from Mose Allison, to blues and even a Beach Boys sounding snippet included on the deluxe LP edition of their debut LP, but none could show where this monster was headed!

The spokesman of a disaffected generation

In the U.K. the flip was "Shout And Shimmy", a number that I enjoyed back in the day thanks to bootleg LP's that collected the band's B-sides.  These days I'm pretty ambivalent about their cod-soul numbers like this one that might have been fun for them to play live but didn't do much for me.  Here in the States we were instead treated to "Out In The Street" as the flip side, which on some copies (mine included) was titled "Out In The Street (You're Going To Know Me)"!

U.S. pressing

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mod Anthems:Anyway Anyhow Anywhere

THE WHO-Anyway Anyhow Anywhere/Daddy Rolling Stone U.K. Brunswick 05935 1965
Picking a favorite Who song should be difficult like picking a favorite Small Faces track or your favorite Georgie Fame number, but oddly for me it isn't.  It's "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" hands down.  It was the band's second single which was released in the U.K. on May 21, 1965.  It also stands as their only "A" side in which lead guitarist/song writer Pete Townshend shares writing credits with "Shepherd's Bush geezer" lead singer Roger Daltrey.

Back in the years of my youth "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere" was mod anthem number two behind "My Generation" (more on that one soon, which this blog).  These days it's still an anthem, though maybe not a mod anthem, lyrically it still speaks to me of independence, determination and a forceful will to make something happen.  Personally I'm not a big dreamer, I rarely day dream and I'm aghast of the idea of verbally spouting half baked ideas that never come to fruition.  I'm a "do-er" not a dreamer, not one of those lazy people who spouts off half cocked dreams or pure bullshit. I make something happen instead of rambling on about it and if it's within my control to happen then I feel able to talk about it.  In many ways this track sums that up succinctly for me in it's lyrics.  No boundaries, no one but me controls things that are rightfully within my control.  I imagine that's perhaps somewhere that Messrs Townshend and Daltrey were talking about when they wrote this because lyrically it speaks to me in a way that few records could as a 14 year old living at home or an adult battling the world.  It's been written they were listening to Charlie Parker and thinking about his free spirit or some nonsense like that.  I'd personally like to think Pete and Rog smoked some kiff and were sitting , as the song by The Smoke says "high in a room" and listening to some Charlie Parker! Regardless it's classic mod "pop art" era Who stuff. From it's feedback to Moon's maniacal chaotic drumming to Entwhistle's brilliantly restrained jazzy bass runs all through a classic rave-upleading up to it's exciting crescendo it doesn't get any better than this kids.

The flip, "Daddy Rolling Stone" is a cover of an early soul classic cut originally by cut in 1953 by a cat named Otis Blackwell, The Who's version is based around Derek Martin's which benefits from female backing vocalists and a groovy little sax solo. The Who had neither of those which always led a lot of their soul/r&B covers to have a frat rock style angle, esp. on "call and response" numbers like this one. That's not a bad thing by any means and they get kudos for transposing a smooth primitive r&B number like this into their own with Entwistle and Townshend singing the girl's backing vocal parts and the sax solo being replaced by a gritty, buzzing guitar solo hammered out on a Rickenbacker 330 (Pete's weapon of choice from '64-'66).

"Anyway Anyhow Anywhere" live on "Ready Steady Go"  July 1, 1965

"Daddy Rolling Stone" mimed for "Popside" Swedish TV June 3, 1966

Saturday, July 9, 2011

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels:The World Of Oz

THE WORLD OF OZ-King Croesus/Jack U.S. Deram 45-85034 1969
The World of Oz were briefly covered in a previous entry where we discussed their debut 45:

This was their second of 3 singles for the Deram label and today's copy comes from the U.S. (who also issued their debut 45 as well) and like their debut it was produced by the one and only Wayne Bickerton (responsible for a great many Decca/Deram psych productions as well as The Flirtations with fellow former Pete Best Combo member Tony Waddington).  "King Croesus" is interesting because it's orchestration (flute, horns and strings) are reminiscent of a mark two Moody Blues album track and the track lacks the pop-psych fairy tale whimsy of it's 45 predecessor which makes it interesting.  It's almost soulful in it's delivery and though it took me ages to get my head around I dig it quite a bit nowadays.  For my money "Jack", on the opposite side, is where my money's at.  It starts off with some wiggy wah-wah guitar and bursts forward into a tightly orchestrated production with some very classy horns and an overall sophisticated feel.  It still never ceases to amaze me that labels would put so much into records by band's that had shown zero commercial action in their records and thank goodness for us they did!  The horn work on this track is killer and the wah wah guitar brings it back into this cool groove on the fadeout as the band sing a catchy backing chorus sounding very much like fellow pop-psychesters Toby Twirl.
Fortunately both tracks can be found as bonus cuts (along with their other two 45's) on the still in print CD totally legit reissue of their untitled rare as hell untitled 1969 LP!

Hear "King Croesus":

Hear "Jack":

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Belgian Hammond Genuis

ANDRE BRASSEUR-Holiday/The Kid U.S. Congress CG271 1967
Here's a strange one kids, a U.S. pressing by a two sided organ killer by Belgian master of the B-3 Andre Brasseur on Congress! Best known in DJ/soulie circles for the B-side to this record, "The Kid", Brasseur had a slew of groovy Hammond instrumentals on par in the funkiness of say, The Mohawks with enough kitsch to easily slot into the earthier and more danceable end of the "easy listening"/"music library" craze of the late 90's.

"Holiday" is my favorite track by him.  It's a mid tempo number with some very fluid B-3 action playing an infectious melody with enough sustain on it to recall Dave "Baby" Cortez on his best sides, yet not too way out to seem almost like "incidental" music from some forgotten 60's cult film.  "The Kid" has long been the darling of several Northern Soul DJ's and as usual I'm left scratching my head and wondering how the *uck this stands up alongside "Our Love Is In The Pocket" or "Sally Saying Something" but hey I don't decide these things, some old guys in Northern England do/did...The intro has a beat that's easily danceable but then the organ kicks in and it has sort of a Booker T. groove to it that's more muzak than funky to my ears (regardless, I dig muzaky sounds, and this tune too).

I've no idea if either of these tracks were reissued anywhere on CD, can anybody fill me in on this one?

Hear "Holiday":

Hear "The Kid":

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

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

THE PUDDING-The Magic Bus/It's Too Late U.S. Press 45-PRE-5010 1966

The Pudding go down in history as another band who pre-dated a Who version of a Pete Townshend track.  Their version of Pete's "Magic Bus" hit the streets in the U.K. in April 1967 (Decca F 12603), The Who's version would not be released until October 1968 (as Track 604024).  The band also added a "The" to the title, I'm not sure who there were or where they came from sufficing to say they were a British trio and I'm afraid i know little else of them. Band's covering Pete Townshend tunes that the Who did were nothing new, The Untamed had covered the "My Generation" LP track "It's Not True" (U.K. planet PLF 103, December 1965) and the Mersey's did likewise with "So Sad About Us" (U.K. Fontana TF 732 July 1966), among many others.

The Pudding's version of "Magic Bus" in no way resembles the Duane Eddy meets Bo Diddley mannerisms of The Who's version, and it differs a bit from Pete's demo (which like The Who's eventual version utilizes wooden blocks for percussion).  The Pudding instead utilize some bongos to pick up the percussive vibe and the vocals are laid back with the instrumentation kicking in with a light hearted fair (possibly the work of session men as there's a harp, guitar, bass ,drums and even a brief bit of trumpet).  It's fairly pedestrian at first but for me it's charm grows after repeated listenings. The B-side, "It's Too late" is dreadful business, middle of the road balladry accompanied by some vibes which don't succeed in making it soulful.

3 English guys known as The Pudding
"The Magic Bus" appeared on Bam Caruso's "Rubble Volume Six: The Clouds Have Groovy Faces", which also forms part of their groovy "Rubble One" box set.  The flip has not been reissued, and with good reason.

 Hear Pete Townshend's demo of "Magic Bus":

Hear the Pudding's version of "The Magic Bus":