Tuesday, January 31, 2012

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

THE ATTACK-Hi Ho Silver Lining/Any More Than I Do U.S. London 45 LON 1013 1967

Back in the late 80's and early 90's when I SERIOUSLY got into 45 collecting (of the U.K. 60's variety that is) nobody wanted U.S. pressings of U.K. mod/psych/freakbeat stuff, everybody was after British pressings.  But I couldn't give a shit, I was into the music on the record and hearing it and letting other people hear it, not collecting it like some freaking freakbeat 45 version of "The Simpsons" Comic Book Guy! So I'd buy the U.S. pressings, I think my first coup was this one, given to me by my pal Keith Patterson back in '89 or '90.

For those not in the know the Attack were a band lead by a young cat named Richard Shirman who had what the chicks call a "slight Jagger-ish look about him".  He sang on all of their records and the band charged pretty frequently.  From what I can gather the line up on this 45 was: Shirman on lead vocals, future Nice member Davy O'List on lead guitar, Gerry Henderson on bass, Bob Hodges on organ and future Plastic Ono Band/Marmalade dude Alan Whitehead on drums.  This was their second 45 (their first was a cover of The Standell's "Try It" b/w with a soulful raver called "We Don't Know" written by Shirman, Henderson and O'List and released as Decca F 12550 in January 1967).

Well the band's management decided they needed a hit and dug up a track called "Hi Ho Sliver Lining" for them to record, unfortunately Mickey Most had the same idea for recently demobbed Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck who was launching his solo career with the very same record over at EMI's Columbia imprint ( DB 8151).  The Attack's version was released on March 3, the Jeff Beck version exactly seven days later.  Guess which version went to #14 and saw it's artist on "Top Of The Pops" etc plugging it? History might remember the Jeff Beck hit, but we'll remember The Attack's version for it's B-side.

Regardless "Hi Ho Silver Lining" is a pretty daft tune regardless of who's doing it, luckily The Attack, as was their forte for awhile, had a Shirman/Henderson/O'List original up their sleeve on the flip side! "Any More Than I Do" should have been the A-side.  I first heard the track back in the mid 80's on Bam Caruso's best "Rubble" volume of them all "Rubble Five: The Electric Crayon Set" and to say it blew my mind is a bit of an understatement. From O'List's blistering lead guitar intro to Shirman's angst ridden vocals it's a mid 60's mod/freakbeat classic. The band's pedigree for soul/r&b from paying their dues on the mod-soul circuit pay off as the backing musicians play like a high octane Artwoods pumping it out with O'List's guitar pyrotechnics light up the record and Shirman confidently bellows "we want something uncomplicated, something that is not frustrated, we want something clean and free, this is the way it's got to be..".

The Attack would then go on to make their third single, again at their managements suggestion, which clashed with another artist's version, which we previously mulled over at:


Both sides were issued on the authoritative Attack CD compilation "About Time:The Definitive Mod-Pop Collection 1967-1968" (still in print!) which negates all previous dodgy Attack LP/CD compilations!

Hear "Hi Ho Silver Lining":


Hear "Any More Than I Do":


Friday, January 27, 2012

The Hipster Image

THE HIPSTER IMAGE-Can't Let Her Go/Make Her Mine U.K. Decca F12137 1965

Alongside names like The Gass, The Quik, The Loose Ends, The Meddy Evils, The Richard Kent Style et al, The Hipster Image are legendary among mod/U.K. 60's record collectors for not only the extreme financial value of their discs, but the great music contained within.

The Hipster Image was a moddy looking 5 piece who had previously made an appearance on a rare as hen's teeth Lyntone flexi disc E.P. pressed for Kelle University's Rag Week charity drive (featuring introductions by annoying hack D.J. Jimmy Saville) with two tracks, "All For You" and a decent version of Donnie Elbert's classic "A Little Piece Of Leather" (which shows up on "New Directions 3: Floor Filler Killers" CD) .  Discovered by the Animals manager Mike Jeffries he promptly secured them a contract with Decca records.  It was produced by the Animals keyboardist Alan Price and released in April 1965 (precisely one month before Price's departure from the band was announced in the music weeklies).

"Can't Let Her Go" is a somber mod/jazz type record.  The vocals are mellow and there's so cool sax on the intro and the guitars/piano perfectly accent the lead singers double tracked phrasing .  The vocalist on the bridge has one of the lowest baritone and reminds me of Mick Talbot! Lots of mod folks prefer the faster paced flip side, "Make Her Mine" because it's far more uptempo and therefore much more dance floor friendly.  Accented by a driving sax lick and some cool percussion (cowbell?) and a jazzy laid back style of vocal delivery.  Either way it's hard for me to pick a favorite as they're both great tunes.  Sadly The Hipster Image did not make another record in the 60's.

The Alan Bown Set attempted a go at "Can't Let Her Go" in September 1965 as Pye 7N15934 and like The Hipster Image's version failed to register a hit.

"Can't Let Her Go" appeared on Decca/Deram's CD compilation "The R&B Scene" while "Make Her Mine" was comped on their CD "The Mod Scene".

Hear "Can't Let Her Go":


Hear "Make Her Mine":


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

January's Picks

1. JACKIE MITTOO-"Black Organ"
It's hard to pick a groovy organ track by Jackie Mittoo from the 60's/early 70's.  This is probably the one I'd go with from the CD comp of his stuff on a CD I scored a used copy of called "The Keyboard King At Studio One".  Funky organ indeed!

2. THE CLASH-"Hateful"
"London Calling" is, bar none, my fave non-mod band LP from 1979.  The tracks on it take me back to a period where I'd just begun to get into "new" (ie non 60's) British bands and the playground in 8th grade before the soul crushing, physically and mentally abusive period called high school. "Hateful" allows me to gloss over it all with rise tinted glasses because it made me realise that no matter what happened back then I always had The Clash.

3. THE HOLLIES-"All The World Is Love"
The B-side of  "On A Carousel", this is '67 trippy Hollies at their finest, with raga backing vocals, layers upon layers of harmonies and minimal musical backing letting their amazing vocals carry the whole thing.  The '66-'67 period has and always will be my favorite Hollies era and it's no better exemplified by this track.

4. THE DENTISTS-"I'm Not The Devil"
Discordant, lo-fi jangly sounds from Medway, U.K. home of the Prisoners, Milkshakes and Daggerman. From their debut LP "Some People Are On The Pitch, They Think It's Over, It Is", which is really over due for a proper reissue.  Yes the vocals are perhaps a tad too Smiths influenced (don't get me started on "them") but it's not too "indie" to be lame and not too "80's" either with just enough "60's" inspiration to make it work.

5. THE WHO-"The Rock"
Santa brought me the "Quadrophenia" box set and it along with all the goodies included in it, the disc sound amazing, Townshend's synths mix perfectly with Entwistle's brilliant horn arrangements trapped by Moon's powerhouse drumming, that for once, is disciplined and tight!

6. THE AUTUMN LEAVES-"Magic Red Raincoat"
The second 45 by this Twin Cities (that's Minneapolis/St. Paul to our non American readers) is without a doubt perhaps the finest 7 inch ever from that period known as the 90's.  From it's jangly/raga guitar licks, wiggy recorder (or is it a flute?) noodling and it's overall cool 60's vibe it never lets me down. It's also available on their debut CD "Treats And Treasures".

7. THE STOCKING TOPS-"I Don't Ever Want To Be Kicked By You"
A brilliant slab of late 60's Brit girl groups sounds that's easily akin to the Flirtations Deram era output and lovingly unearthed by RPM for their "Dream Babes 8: Stockingtop Pop" CD.  Hipped to me by my Twin Cities (which is where again?) pal Keith Patterson, this 1968 number has stellar arrangement by John Paul Jones and was written and produced by Kenny Lynch.  Brilliance, sheer brilliance!

8. TINTERN ABBEY-"Vacuum Cleaner"
I never tire of '67 Deram psych/pop sounds.  Without a doubt, as I've often touted from my little soapbox here, this one of the finest moments of British 60's psychedelia ever!!!

9. THE MIGHTY AVENGERS-"Hide Your Pride"
This is an obscure rocking slice of U.K. 60's beat on Decca from 1964, the first of their four singles on that label and the only one NOT to feature a Jagger/Richards composition on the "A" side (the others were "So Much In Love", "Blue Turns To Grey" and "Walkin' Thru The Sleepy City").  Oddly the lead singers phrasing is dead on with head La Lee Mavers!

10. THE KINKS-"Shangrila"
I love The Kinks, along with Bowie's 60's catalog, The Small Faces and Georgie Fame they're in the dead heat for my #1 fave 60's band.  There are so many good tracks that speak to working class stiff's, and being a working class stiff who's somehow managed to masquerade as middle class this number is not far from my heart and head, especially in these trying economic times.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Pink Floyd '67

Just an excuse to post some groovy pics of The Pink Floyd taken in 1967 at  (what I believe was) the De Lane Lea studios during the recording of what would become "A Saucerful Of Secrets".

Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Boots (no panties or contracts though)...

Hello dear readers. We are back from our holiday (Festivus?) hiatus and hopefully will be supplying you with more prolific posts in the near future (time permitting).  Our postings have been a bit slim as shortly before the holidays the PC at Anorak Thing H.Q. blew it's mother board so we are making due with an old lap top.  Today's post takes us to the subject of foot wear.

When Dr. Marten began producing footwear in the People's Republic of China I grimaced.  It's pretty god damned hard to go through life without something that's not been made by those bloodsucking Communist bastards, but I was damned if any of my clothing or apparel would come from them!  I've been wearing D.M's since 1989, having previously, derisively referred to them as "skinhead wear". All of the pairs I've owned were made in the U.K. My British made Dr. Marten's have outlasted most of my articles of clothing.  I have a pair of oxblood six hole lace up Gibsons that are still soldiering on 19 years later and a black pair that have been going since I purchased them in Chicago during the very first Mod Chicago back in 2002.  A few years ago I reluctantly purchased a pair of ten hole D.M. black boots, made in China. They are already falling apart, they've begun to crack in creases on the instep.  Now I will have to add that I rather diligently care for my leather footwear, part of that comes from my strict upbringing that required a near military precision in caring for my Sunday best and of course that also comes from my modernist leanings (and military service where of course I had a massive leg up from both, especially the former).  These boots of course got the same TLC that my British made D.M's did, but to no avail.  Enter Joseph Babic, a smart man about town in the Big Apple who hipped me to a U.K. boot manufacturer who's been around for ages that made D.M. style footwear: William Lennon & Co.


They've been making quality British made boot wear since 1899 and they have boots that look exactly like good old D.M.'s.  Like D.M.'s they feauture a highly flexible light tread oil, acid and alkali resistant air cushion sole. Joseph pointed out that they held up well too so I asked Santa for a pair of cherry red 8 hole Solovair boots and they duly arrived under my Xmas tree c/o my generous wife.  I was immediately taken by how well they were constructed. At £78.95 plus p&h they weren't cheap, but hey, you get what you pay for and they fit and feel great.  Let the great experiment begin!