Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October's Pick's

1. BRUCE FOXTON-"Senses Of Summer"
I'm a bit confused by Bruce's new "solo" LP as it's basically Bruce and his two band mates in From The Jam, so much so that their lead singer Russell Hastings sings nearly all of the tracks, including this groovy Mellotron laden number that comes across like "Sound Affects" era Jam meets Plasticland jamming with The La's!

2. GENERATION X-"The Invisible Man"
One of the few tracks chopped off the American edition of their untitled debut LP (and replaced by lots of powerful 45 rpm A-sides) is this number that I've taken an instant like to it's '65 Who via 1977.  People are always on about how "mod" The Jam were in comparison to the rest of the Class of '77 and too many times overlook the image of this band who's music was just as much, if not more "mod" to my ears.

3. THE CREATION-"How Does It Feel To Feel (U.K. Version Mono)"One of my fave tracks by The Creation has always been this menacing ode to nightmares and death with it's pop art barrage of guitar power, thundering drums, ominous droning groove (topped off by a very Hendrix inspired guitar was '67 after all) and catchy powerful chorus "how does it feel to feel..."

4. PETER & GORDON-"Morning's Calling"Lois and Mole Embrook turned me onto this one, not what you'd expect from these guys, a really jangly folk rock number that wouldn't be at all out of place on the first Association album!

5. THE MOONS-"Jennifer (Sits Alone)"
One of the several groovy tracks on the latest "Mojo" freebie CD "Move On Up" (which in most cases I bin immediately) is another number that like the Bruce Foxton track listed at #1 benefits from Paul Weller's studio and Mellotron.  There's something about this number that has snatches of '67 Hollies or Paul and Barry Ryan's "Two Of A Kind" album (which is never a bad thing) that just bowls me over!

6. SCOTT WALKER-"The Look Of Love"From Scott's horribly rare (never reissued) 1969 long player "Scott Walker Sings Songs From His T.V. Series" comes his take on the Dusty Springfield "classic", though not a patch on old black eyes version Scott manages to pull it off because, well he was a crooner and his A&R folks were no slouches (and in some instances were the very same people who worked with Dusty).

7. HARDIN & YORK-"Little Miss Blue"
One of the MANY great things about RPM's "Looking Back" 3 CD set from earlier this year is it widened my knowledge about quite a few bands I'd never heard music by before like this ex-Specncer Davis Group Mk. II offshoot duo of Eddie Hardin & Pete York.  It's soulful Hammond grooviness is not to far removed from the S.D.G's '66-'67 mod/r&b pre-pop psych sound and thus easy to get my head around.

8. OTIS REDDING-"Look At That Girl"
Every now and then I stumble upon something playing at Starbucks that boggles my mind and luckily the "Shazam" app on my phone identifies it for me immediately (usually then progressing to an iTunes visit to purchase said tune).  Case in point this, Otis Redding track I'd never heard before from his posthumous 1969 album "Love Man" which was actually cut in '67, brilliant stuff.

9. YUSEF LATEEF-"The Plum Blossom"
I just finished reading Pete Townshend's autobiography last week and he mentioned this tune that Cat Stevens had nicked for "I Love My Dog" and duly tracked out down.  It's a pleasant track from his 1961 LP appropriately titled "Eastern Sounds" that seems to fit Autumn perfectly with his exotic sounding Chinese flute. According to Pete Yusef now gets royalties from the Cat Stevens track!

10. WILKO JOHNSON-"Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window"
Dr. Feelgood's string puller leaves behind the Mick Green homage style to go almost jangly/Byrdsy in this spirited take on a Dylan tune from his solid rocking 1981 solo LP "Ice On The Motorway". Totally out of character but full of character!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Rudy's Dead

LITTLE GRANTS & EDDIE-Rudy's Dead/Everything Is Alright  U.S. President PT 107 1968

Filling the "we don't have a fucking clue" zone comes today's specimen.  This 1968 45 (1967 in it's original U.K. issue on President PT 159) is no doubt the work of Equals lead guitarist/song writer Eddie Grant.  One suspects by the title and credits that it was perhaps the case of fame opening the door for relatives.  I'd like to think Eddie called upon some younger siblings to make this record after he began riding high with The Equals.  But that as we say, is merely a stab in the dark.  Any enlightenment from those of you out there would be much appreciated.

"Rudy's Dead" sounds like a Musical Youth of 1968.  I don't mean that as a put down, it's certainly no "Pass The Dutchie" (and that my friends is a good thing).  What draws the comparison is the sound of the vocalists, they're obviously young kids but it's groovy with the spoken words (Prince Buster style) in patois about Rudy, who alas, is "dead and gone". The music has a distinct '67 rocksteady feel, but you can hear from the tone of the guitar that it's obviously Eddie Grant and perhaps his band mates and full on reggae, something The Equals would never dip their toes in. In fact the guitar line bears more than a striking resemblance to "Baby Come Back" in it's sounds.

"Everything is Alright" starts out with a groovy reggae-fied lick straight out of Stevie wonder's "I Was Made To Love Her" and sadly degenerates into a twee/fey number owing to the too youthful playground vocal antics of the Little Grants.  Grating.

I don't know if either side has ever been reissued, but copies of it, both U.S. or U.K. pressings seem fairly easy to come by.  They had one more single in the U.K. "Rocksteady '67" b/w "Bingo" (President PT 172 December 1967) which combines both the pro's of this A-side (good groove and Prince buster style toasting) and cons of the B-side (the childlike caterwauling).

Eddie Grant in between smelling the roses and producing Little Grants and Eddie.

Hear "Rudy's Dead":

Hear "Everything Is Alright":

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Big Jim Sullivan R.I.P.

We here at "Anorak Thing" are gutted to read of the passing of U.K. session guitar slinger extraordinaire Big Jim Sullivan.

Ten of the Most Monster 60's British Mod/R&B Records

Okay I'm sure a lot of you will debate with me about "mod R&B".  I could have just called it British R&B but that would've left it open to the "other" type like The Pretty Things or the Soul Agents played.  I'm talking about the soulful sort of R&B played by British bands who not only talked the talk but walked the walk by looking as cool as the music they spouted.  It wasn't easy choosing ten tunes from a genre that vies with 60's British psychedelia for my all time hands down fave type of music to listen to but here it goes.....all selections are U.K. issues b.t.w.

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1. THE LLOYD ALEXANDER REAL ESTATE-"I'm Gonna live Again" President PT 157 1967
Holy cow Batman! After a good 30 years of digging U.K. 60's mod-ish sounds I am consistently impressed that there are still tracks out there from the genre that I have never heard and this one is a perfect example. To me it perfectly encapsulates everything "mod": soulful horns, ska rhythms, groovy Hammond, powerful key changes. strong backing vocals and poppy yet assertive lead vocals. Magic. Pure magic.

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2. THE EYES OF BLUE-"Don't Ask Me To Mend Your Broken Heart" Deram DM 114 1967
No band better exemplifies this piece than these Welsh blue eyed soul belters who achieved just two brilliant 45's in this vein for Deram before getting heavy and going "progressive", a phrase that is the bane of mod/r&b in my (narrow) book. This was the flip of their final single, the much in demand soul stormer "Supermarket Full Of Cans".

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3. THE QUIK-"Soul Full Of Sorrow" Deram DM 155 1967
All three of this band's 45's are smoking and all three of them will set you back quite a bit.  Best known for their Small Faces on dexy's Hammond instro classic "Bert's Apple Crumble" this was the flip of their third and final Deram 45 "I Can't Sleep" that perfectly mixes their sax/organ groove perfectly with just a sprinkle of freakiness.

4. THE GASS-"Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)" CBS 202647 1967
Yet another band with three excellent singles (among them a killer swipe at Jimmy Holliday's "The New Breed"), this was their third and final installment, a soulful reworking of Roy Orbison's hit redone with sassy horns and organ underpinnings.

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5. THE RICHARD KENT STYLE-"Go Go Children" Columbia DB 7964 1966
Angel trumpets and devil's trombones!  This single is the archetype example of where soulful mod r&B met the sinister side of freakbeat.  The horns are like a mutant clarion calling on the freaks in the mod scene to come out from their crevices and groove, the "My Generation" of the "out crowd" generation with it's looping bass line, "Hall Of The Mountain King" style horns and ballsy vocal delivery.

6. THE LOOSE ENDS-"Taxman" Decca F12476 1966
I've no idea who these guys were but their take on the fabulous Fab Four "Revolver" track has the danceable organ groove of the Spencer Davis Group and the sneering punkiness of an early Who record (with SOUL!). Their second and final single, released the very same days as the LP it was taken from!

7. THE BUNCH-"We're Not What We Appear To Be" CBS 202506 1967
Though from the year of all things psychedelic, and these lot certainly dipped their oars in the great pop-psych lake on their latter CBS 45's, though the first two (this was the second) firmly embraced a good dose of soul mod r&b with Hammond and horns.  This track is an essential "go-go" ode to night life and all things flash and stylish delivered like The Animals circa '66 being backed by Georgie Fame's horn section.

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8. THE ELASTIC BAND-"8 1/2 Hours Of Paradise" Decca F 12815 1968
True these cats were a bunch of longhairs who released a pretty heavy Decca/Nova LP in later days but their two Decca 45's are precision produced hand clapping, Hammond, mod soul.  Have a listen and tell me I'm wrong!

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9. DOUBLE FEATURE-"Baby Get Your Head Screwed On" Deram DM 115 1967
From the pen of fellow Deram artist Mr. Cat Stevens comes this groover with horns, soulful piano/vibes, bongos, strings and even a fuzz guitar chiming with the sax! This was their first release and never fails to disappoint in my book!

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10. THE UNIVERSALS-"Green Veined Orchids" Page One POF 049 1967
A brilliant bit of Small Faces second album styled "soulful psych" ("psych" in lyrics only as this number packs a powerful horn section).  Both of this bands Page One 45's are worth picking up in the ghost of a chance you have of finding them.  This is my favorite of them both!