Monday, May 21, 2012

May's Picks

1. KILBURN & THE HIGH ROADS-"Billy Bentley"
I stumbled upon these guys back when "Mojo" did a roots of punk CD about 6-7 years ago (after seeing their PRT 10" floating around for all of 25-30 years and thinking they looked sorta cool on the sleeve).  I went whole hog on these guys shortly after investigating further, much to the determent of Madness, who owe pretty much 85% of their early sound to these guys!

2. FIRST CREW TO THE MOON-"The Sun Lights Up The Shadows Of Your Mind"
You can fill a paper cup with what I know about U.S. 60's music as I've been into the English thing since before I can remember so every now and then I hear a track by a U.S. 60's band that is not only new to my ears but blows me away.  I heard this on a freebie "Mojo" magazine CD (unlike the shit ones they've been doing the past five years or entire CD of no name cover versions of tunes from "Smile" REALLY?!?) of U.S. 60's garage/psych tracks called "I Can See For Miles" and it's a perfect mix of Farfisa propelled garage punk tainted with the technicolor hand of L.S.D.

3. THE STRANGLERS-"English Towns"
"There is no love inside of me, I gave it to a thousand girls...". Good old Stranglers, one of the brilliant sides on "No More Heroes", setting them above the pretty much nil talent, New York Dolls aping and gobbing safety pin crowd.

I've no idea who these guys were and I've dug this track since 1985 when I first heard it on a cassette of one of the Red Rooster's 60's radio shows called "Mod Mondays" from WNYU, I'm 100% sure they're American.  Primal garage punk with all the ingredients.

5. CAROLE KING-"Pleasant Valley Sunday"
I was in Barnes & Noble last week browsing and I heard what I thought was The Mamas and The Papas covering "Pleasant Valley Sunday", thanks to Shazam on my smartphone I found out it was actually Carole King's demo, and I still liked it!

6. THE TROGGS-"When Will The Rain Come"
"Cellophone" was The Troggs 3rd U.K. album and bore fruit that didn't necessarily include their usual 3 chord Kinks formula, like this hypnotic near raga sung by their drummer, the late Ronnie Bond.

7. GENE CLARK-"I Found You"
Back in the mid 80's when Edsel reissued "Gene Clark with The Gosdin Brothers" on vinyl I was pretty well steeped in Byrds material and the LP floored me more than anything I'd heard from The Byrds, and still does in some way no doubt aided by amazingly crafted tracks like this one!

8. THE FOUR TOPS-"You Keep Running Away"
All too often I overlook American 60's sounds in my lifelong quest for all things old and British, lucky a certain Sun Dried Sparrow from the U.K. recently shared a CD-R with this brilliant track that I'd never heard before from '67 that is one of the reasons The tops are my fave Motown act: boss vocals, stellar arrangement with strings, horns and baroque harpsichord.  Brilliant!

9. RAY DAVIES-"Stand Up Comic"
Every now and then R.D. pulls off a decent "solo" tune, like this.  I stumbled on this watching a Ray documentary on YouTube and it blew me away with it's "The Cat" meets "One Mint Julep" groove with loads of lad-ish mockery delivered rapid fire, witty, jazzy and of course cleverly. In the 60's Ray wrote about what he saw and sometimes taking the piss at a what he saw, this time it's the rapidly degenerating world (England) that he claims he sees around him in interviews so often with the Chavs and "lad culture" he seems so concerned about.

10. IAN DURY & THE BLOCKHEADS-"Sweet Gene Vincent"
It's Ian Dury month here......."White face, black shirt, black hair, white Strat, Bled white, died black"

And because I can't type, spell or count...

11. ANDY LEWIS-"Barney's Theme"
No let up in this cat's set up: a swanky and soulful instrumental (of sorts if you exclude the only lyrics, a chorus that goes "Hey there everybody dance now, get yourself together..")  that's got it all: horns, muzaky 70's synth solo, Mellotron, loads of happy "ba ba ba's" and a funky Nicky Hopkin's style piano pounding throughout.  Groovy!


diskojoe said...

Hey, I was at my local B&N reading the latest MOJO last week when that Carole King demo came on the sound system.

There was a Madness documentary on the BBC circa 2000 that admitted Kilburn & The High Roads as an influence. Ian Drury is rather underrated here in the States.

"Stand Up Comic" originally appeared on Ray's 1st solo album Other People's Lives from 2006, which was pretty solid. "Run Away From Time" is another great song w/a Motown feel.

C said...

Aww, thanks for the mention!
Yep, that Four Tops is brilliant!