Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Peddlers-Tell The World We're Not In

THE PEDDLERS-Tell The World We're Not In/Rainy Day In London U.K. Phillips 6006 034 1970

Shortly before the holidays I watched this creepy but great "Swingin' London" style film called "Goodbye Gemini", though it was from 1970 it still had a 60's feel to it and I highly recommend it.  It starred Judy Geeson and the cat with the funky sideboards from "The Prisoner" (the late Alexis Kanner who still had the funky looking chops in this film) and sits well alongside other controversial period pieces like 'The Killing of Sister George".  The track of the opening credits was immediately unmistakably The Peddlers called "Tell The World We're Not In".

The Peddlers were a jazzy U.K. trio comprised of Ray Phillips (lead vocals/keyboards), Tab Martin (bass) and Trevor Morais (drums, ex of Liverpool's Faron's Flamingo's) who had an extensive recording history starting in 1964 and running well into the 70's.

The Peddlers interestingly appear to have had their first four (U.K.) singles on Phillips, then cut six for CBS before reverting back to Phillips for today's subject released in July 1970.  "Tell The World We're Not In" is by far in my book the grooviest thing they ever did.  A lot of their 45's (especially the ones I own on CBS) have a loungey feel, and not really in a good way, like they'd have been suited for the house band at some kitschy London night spot like the Talk of The Town (though truthfully they'd had a residency at Scotch of st. James).  "Tell The World.." is driven by some funky Hammond action and Phillip's distinct vocal style .  My copy contains a horn section solo that I've not heard on any other versions that have popped up with adds a nice feel to it.

On the flip we have a somber but groovy Hammond instrumental penned by Ray Phillips called "Rainy Day In London" that reminds me of some of the more atmospheric organ tracks Roy Budd did for the "Get Carter" soundtrack.

Sadly I've not been able to find either track anywhere on reissue as all Peddler's retrospectives seem to dwell exclusively on their CBS material!! There is however this great clip below of them on TV performing it in glorious color!

Monday, January 28, 2013

"Beware of Mr. Baker"

Yesterday I had the privilege to go see the new Ginger Baker documentary "Beware of Mr. Baker"  (it's title being taken from a metal sign that greeted visitors outside his sprawling, compound like South African horse farm)with my friends from Mod Fun Mick and Chris. I couldn't think of better people to go to see the film with as Chris is the world's biggest Ginger Baker/Cream fan. Me I'm not so much a Cream fan as I am a Graham Bond Organization fan but I've always had an interest in self destructive rock n' roll mad men and their sorted stories so.....

It seemed perfect timing as I've been on this major Graham Bond related wave ever since the Graham Bond box set "Wade In the Water: Classics, Origins and Oddities"  (I swear one day I'll get around to writing a review of that) arrived on my door step on Boxing Day. Since then I've managed to watch a Cream documentary on Netflix instant view (which devoted a fair chunk to The G.B.O), started reading their saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith's autobiography ($9.98 from through their Amazon Prime) and am awaiting a copy of the Graham Bond biography "A Mighty Shadow" (long out of print) that are currently being sold on by the author Harry Shapiro (he'll even inscribe it for you if you ask!). So why not add another facet of info on the subject !! Baker's take on Bond ?  "He was a fat man".

The documentary starts out with Baker pranging director Jay Bulger across the bridge of his nose with a metal cane after threatening  "I'm gonna fucking put you in hospital"! What follows is nearly two hours of classic footage interspersed with interviews with Baker on his farm in South Africa (usually in his recliner smoking about 1,000 cigarettes, hidden behind his shades), chats with his band mates, children, ex-wives, peers etc.  His story is told using some excellent animation (much in the style of some of the sequences in The Sex Pistol's "Great Rock N' Roll Swindle") which perfectly illustrates the man and his making.  All of his bands are given fairly accurate descriptions, though his time with P.I.L. is never quite explained (though the film does feature John Lydon singing his praises right after we see Baker cane Bulger). One of the more fascinating parts of the film was his decision to move to Nairobi, Kenya and build a recording studio there (driving across the Sahara in a brand new Range Rover, one of the first models of it's kind, that in itself would've made a great film!). Whilst there he gets embroiled in Nigerians politics, playing polo with the countries social elite on weekends and recording and jamming with anti-government musicians like Fela Kuti during the rest of the time!! Of course this came to end end with Baker fleeing the country with armed soldiers in hot pursuit. 

The film doesn't paint a nice picture of him as a person and how he treats his children, family etc is never my concern regardless of how appalling.  I thought regardless of his crotchety behavior and demeanor ("If they got a problem with me come and see me and hit me on the nose.  I ain't gonna sue ya I'm gonna hit ya back") I got a pretty accurate picture of Ginger Baker as a whole.   The film does have lots of missing pieces, the above mentioned P.I.L period for one , there was very little mention of Cream's reunion (though apparently Baker received $5,000,000.00 for their reunion and blew through all of it) and there were lots of quotes by various people at the film's opening (The Moody Blue's Graeme Edge for instance) who we never see again in the film and though we learn Baker has to sell his ranch we're never informed where here is now and there is mention of a paternity suit by a South African woman, and nothing is said of it again. Loose ends aside I thoroughly enjoyed "Beware of Mr. Baker" and if you're a fan of rock n' roll mad men with self destructive personalities so should you....

Friday, January 25, 2013

January's Picks

1. THE RADIANTS-"Voice Your Choice"
Quite common I know but this one has always been a fave that I've overlooked for quite some time till I was doing some research for a future entry on my Top Ten Chess records 45's. The perfect vocal parts are accented by some subtle horns and guitars maker it all work that.

2. THE STOCKINGTOPS-"I Don't Ever Wanna Be Kicked By You"
Easily the most soulful record ever laid down on the British Isles. The Stockingtops were a duo called Sue And Sunny and cut this Shuman/Lynch number in 1968 with orchestration by John Paul Jones. It sounds like The Flirtations, only better, yes I actually said/wrote that.

I finally came across a moderately priced copy of their 1967 LP "New Religion" (with way out liner notes by their manager, one hepped up hip cat named Peter Meaden) after oh..what two decades?  What can I say.  I know it's 3/4's covers but let me tell you I've no idea how Geno Washington was allowed to stay in the U.K. (and on the same label) as Jimmy James and Co.  Jimmy's voice is amazing and the backing is tight and there's not a really weak track on the whole album.

If you haven't twigged it yet I'm a BIG fan of U.K. 60's r&b, especially the "Hammond n' horns" variety so Repertoire's new 4 CD G.B.O. box set "Wade in The Water" is getting some heavy rotation here.  This unreleased number from '66 was composed and sung by Ginger Baker.  Presumably it wasn't released before because their label (Columbia) were no doubt none too keen on what sounds to me like a junkie's biography put to music.  Made extra punchy by some amazing brass blasts and Bond's Mellotron emulating vibraphone. the father of  "Pressed Rat And Warthog".

5. OCEAN COLOUR SCENE-"Hundred Mile High City"
I never cared for anything I'd heard from these guys, they weren't bad they just never grabbed me.  I heard this one again a few weeks back and it struck me because it sounded like it wanted so much to be Thin Lizzy (whom I happen to dig in small doses) and now it's a favorite.

Cobwebs in the brain.  I was looking at some old pics I took in the late 80's/early 90's of my friends The Insomniacs and I remembered them covering this obscure U.S. 60's garage number.  In the 80's when everyone was raving about "Back From The Grave" and U.S. 60's garage I was a "Rubble" man and looking for 45's by The Human Instinct.  I've got a lot to learn about my own backyard, like monster tunes l,ike this.

7. RONNIE LANE-"Anyone For Anymore"
Magic harmonies on this track, Ronnie sings like a chorus of angels. A lot of his stuff is a tad too "country" or bordering on that Fairport Convention earthy thing that's not at all my bit but when he got it right, he got it right. Ya know what I mean?

8. GERRY & THE PACEMAKERS-"Bright Green Pleasure Machine"
Yeah I know don't laugh, anyway Gerry and Company's hit making days were long dried up by '67 when they released this Simon & Garfunkel cover.  I guess someone at EMI thought it might bring them back.  It didn't (neither did a solo version of The Bee Gee's "Gilbert Green" later that year).  But their take on it is quite good, a bit more slick than the original but still catchy and suited for Gerry's cheeky chappy shtick.  And hey you can't go wrong with Simon & Garfunkel.  Which leads us to....

9. CHAD & JEREMY-"Manners Maketh Man"
One of the more interesting things about being an anorak is you have more music than you have time for.  Case in point, a few weeks back this tune popped up on a 1,000+ song playlist I created ages ago on my iPod and I thought it was some Simon & Garfunkel LP track I'd overlooked!  Well it wasn't, it was Chad & Jeremy from their "Ark" album.

The Watch Children were a short lived four piece who grew out of 80's New Jersey psych band The Laughing Soup Dish (responsible for an amazing Syd Barrett Floyd meets 13th Floor Elevators 45 on Voxx called "Teenage Lima Bean" in 1985). And like Syd's Pink Floyd The Soup Dish got lame after their original members (bassist Elana Papavero and guitarist Marc Saxton) jumped ship and formed this group. Culled by my pal Mike Sin from their  cassette tape "How Does It Feel To Be So White?" it's a perfectly '67 Floydian experience.  Buried beneath a layer of swampy phlange and fuzz Marc croons in a very Barrett-ish way "see my picture I like very much, I mean I like it now that I've had it retouched, I haven't changed too much since then but I'll never look that way again...".  Almost like "Vegetable Man".
The Watch Children, December 1989 at a shit hole called The Corner Tavern, New Brunswick, NJ

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Censored In America: The Who's "Substitute"

THE WHO-Substitute/Waltz For A Pig U.S. Atco 6509 1966

Not too many British bands in the 60's had their lyrics altered on vinyl to suit American consumers. The Who might well have been the first!

"Substitute" was the band's fourth single, released in the U.K. on Robert Stigqood's Reaction (591001 March 1966) label after litigation with producer Shel Talmy and their break with Decca's Brunswick subsidiary.  There was considerable uproar when the band originally issued the 45 with the Talmy produced "Circles" on the B-side, it was withdrawn, reissued with "Instant Party" (a reworking of "Circles" that also cropped up on the U.S. issue of  their "My Generation" LP) only to see that cancelled and finally issued with an interesting number called "Waltz For A Pig" on the flip side credited to "The Who Orchestra" (more on that in a bit).

The American issue one month later was prepared for a one off on Atco as their legal troubles in the U.K. with Brunswick also carried over to their issues with U.S. Decca (with whom they'd released three 45's with from Brunswick material).  However the folks at Atco took exception to the line "I look all white but my dad was black" and the band knuckled under and re-recorded it with a new verse "I try going forward but my feet walk back". Little bother as it'd be another year or so until "I Can See For Miles" firmly catapulted The Who into America's charts for the first time.

On the flip The Graham Bond Organization (managed by Robert Stigwood) provided a Ginger Baker penned dirge called "Waltz For A Pig" (songwriting credits were "Butcher". Baker, get it?).  In addition to Graham Bond on organ and Baker on drums stalwart member Dick Heckstall Smith played sax and trumpet was played by Mike Falana. In the 2006 Cream documentary "Cream:Classic Artists" Baker volunteers that he got £2,000.00 for selling the tune to The Who and spent it on a brand new Rover 2000. For years the track was a mystery to my friends and I as it graced many a Who bootleg in the 80's, though it's horns made it feasibly sound like a demented Entwistle number!!

Hear the U.S. 45 version of "Substitute":

Hear "Waltz For A Pig":

Friday, January 11, 2013

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Sight And Sound

SIGHT AND SOUND-Alley, Alley/Little Jackie Monday U.S. Fontana F-1648 1969

Best known to folks as the previous band of Rick Price before he joined The Move as their bassist in February 1969, Sight And Sound where a Birmingham four piece who specialized in four part harmonies and (unfortunately) the whole chicken in a basket comedy/panto type thing. You can read more about them on Rick Price's website here.

The band had previously cut a band original called "Ebenezer" b/w a version of "Our Love Is In The Pocket"  (also part of the Move's early set as a five piece) on Fontana in the U.K. (TF 927 in April '68) before releasing this single on home turf in November '68 (TF 982).  Both sides are credited to Price and one "Tyler".  According to his blog Price says both sides were written with Mike Sherdian (famous for his time spent with The Nightriders, whom you can read more about here and here) Mike's real last name Michael Tyler. It gained a U.S. release nearly half a year later in May of 1969 (by which time Price was playing bass in The Move!!).

"Alley Alley" is a stomping good track.  It has an almost proto "Bubblegum glam" feel (in fact it might not be out of place on one of those "Junk Shop Glam" CD comps if it were a tad more rocked out) to it but the driving beat and precision harmonies remind me of The Tremeloes on one of their insane B-sides (ie "Let Your Hair Hang Down") or The Fortunes on say, "The Idol".  "Little jackie Monday" is equally Bubblegummy but not nearly as rocking, still good stuff though.

 Price hooked up with Mike Sheridan again to record a brilliant single as "Sheridan And Rick Price"  that coupled "Sometimes I Wonder" b/w a number The Move also did called "Lightning Never Strikes Twice" (more on that one in the future I promise) and an equally interesting LP "This Is To Certify" on President records in 1970.

"Alley Alley" can be found on the "Piccadilly Sunshine Part Five" CD comp (also available for download via iTunes) and "Little Jackie Monday" was comped on "Fairytales Can Come True Volume Three: Let's Ride".

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Let's Talk About Girls

Avoiding the usual (Dusty, Cilla, Petula, Marianne, Jools, Sandie and Lulu) U.K. 60's female vocalists I decided it was time to write about something from Britian in the 60's that was not so male-centric.  It was tough just narrowing it down to ten, but I managed, somehow. All tracks are U.K. 45 releases.  Enjoy.

1. TAMMY ST. JOHN-"Dark Shadows And Empty Hallways" Pye 7N 15948 1965
F*ck this is the stuff!  Powerful.  Hands down the best "loss of love" tune EVER written. Tammy St. John's got pipes!  And the arrangement and lyrics will make the hairs on your neck stand on end, especially when it all slows down Spectoresque style with just bass drums and piano and she croons "and if you see my baby just tell him there ain't no rainbows for me, and if you talk to my baby just tell him I'm as blue as can I be. How can I make tomorrow when I can't bear to live through today....".  Woah, and dig this, she was only 14 when she cut this monster! The band Saint Etienne later resurrected it for their  various artists CD comp "Songs For Mario's Cafe", or so I read on another blog.

Hear it on:
"Here Come The Girls: British Girl Singers Of The Sixties" (Sequel) and "Songs For Mario's Cafe" (Sanctuary).

2. TONI DALY-"Like The Big Man Said" Columbia DB 8043 1966
Toni Daly was born Marie Antoinette Dally and like many other U.K. female 60's vocalists bounced around a lot of labels cutting one for Decca and five for Piccadilly as "Antoinette". Long before Rhoda Dakar and The Special AKA's chilling "The Boiler" came this equally creepy number (minus the blood curdling screams thank god) about a girl who goes to the big city, gets pulled by a guy claiming to make him a star and who thankfully escapes the casting couch by the skin of her teeth, dignity intact.  Quite gritty for 1966.

Hear it on:
"Take My Tip: 25 British Mod Artefacts From The EMI Vaults" (Zonophone)

3. ANITA HARRIS-"Something Must Be Done" Pye 7N 17069 1966
One of my fave 60's British female vocalists, Anita Harris is fairly schmaltzy but given a decent track can pull off some amazing results.  "Something Must Be Done" is soulful, brassy and powerful.  Harris voice is strong and the production is stellar (as is the arragement by David Whitaker). Sadly like most soulful U.K. 60's sides it's been picked up by the "Northern" scene which has made this one quite rare.

Hear it on:
"Here Come The Girls: British Girl Singers Of The Sixties" (Sequel)

4. MALLY PAGE-"The Life And Soul Of The Party" Pye 7N 17105 1966
I actually prefer Petula Clark's version of this (released just one month later) but the track itself is such an amazing tune (written and produced by Tony Hatch) with some great hooks and slick production.  This version by Mally Page was, as far as I can tell, her one and only release and sadly sank without a trace!

Hear it on:
"Here Come the Girls Six" (Sequel)

Dana Gillespie

5. DANA GILLESPIE-"You Just Gotta Know My Mind" Decca F 12847 1968
It's hard to believe this rocking  number was from 1968 AND written by Donovan, it easily could've been from '64 or '65 (which was what I'd thought the first time I'd heard it)! Dana Gillespie had a  few of 45's for Pye and been a cohort of  David Bowie in '64-'65 before this one off for Decca (who also released two LP's by her in '67 and '68 respectively) which needs investigating if you like a jolting girl sung 60's number. She later went on the become one of the many Bowie associated acts on the short lived Mainman roster in the 70's run by the Dame's then manager Tony DeFries.

Hear it on:
"Decca Originals:The Girl's Scene" (Deram) and as a bonus cut on the CD reissue of her LP "Foolish Seasons" (Rev-ola).

6. BEVERLEY-"Happy New Year" Deram DM 101 1966
Beverley has had an interesting run.  She'd already cut "Babe I'm Leaving You" with the Levee Breakers for Parlophone in '65 before going solo with this number by the yet unknown songwriter Randy Newman, which was also the very first release of our favorite label, Deram. It's cynical sounding and defies the genre stereotype! Allegedly she had dated Donovan and was wooed away by Paul Simon during his brief U.K. visit in '65 when Simon and Garfunkel were "broken up" (that's her saying "Good morning Mr. Leitch have you had a busy day" on the duo's later track "Fakin' It"). She later married John Martyn and cut a slew of records with him. Her cynical but powerful "Happy New Year" has the distinction of being one of the earliest British takes on a Randy Newman composition and the very first record released by Deram on September 30, 1966.

Hear it on:
"On Vine Street The Early Songs Of Randy Newman" (Ace)

7. ALMA COOGAN-"Snakes And Snails" Columbia DB 7652 1965
Aka "Snakes, Snails And Puppydog Tails" (on demo copies anyway) old school "establishment" vocalist Coogan got "with it" and cut this rocking 45 written and produced by Searchers wild man Chris Curtis (you can suss his story by clicking here).  The tune shakes off any notion of the late Ms. Coogan being a chicken in the basket style entertainer as she really lets loose helped in no small part by the team of crack session men assembled by Curtis to cut the record. Whether braggadocio or a flight of fancy Curtis claimed in an interview with "Record Collector" that he assembled Bobby Ore (drums), John Paul Jones (bass), Jimmy Page, Joe Moretti and Vic Flick (guitars) and Dusty Springfield, Doris Troy and Rosetta Hightower (backing vocals) for the session.  I've listened to this number a hundred times after reading that and I'm still no closer to hearing three different guitars or Dusty or Doris! A little over a year later (October 26, 1966 to be precise) she sadly was dead from ovarian cancer at the age of just 34 year old.

Hear it on:
"New Rubble Volume Five: Scratch My Back" (Past And Present)

8. VASHTI-"Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind" Decca F 12157 1965
Still smarting from the "loss" of Marianne Faithful to serious A&R man Mike Leander (whom Decca felt would give them more bang for her buck and possibly her unwillingness to play his wet dream fantasy) Andrew Loog Oldhman set about to find himself a new lump of clay. The strangely named Vashti Bunyan was next in the line of Oldham protegees who recorded Jagger/Richards tracks. Her ethereal voice is ideally suited for this number (with stellar arrangement by David Whittaker) though as usual A.L.O. gets "production" credits. But we know what that's worth. She later established a career of her own without A.L.O. and after disappearing for several decades is back on the folk scene.

Hear it on:
"Decca Originals:The Girl's Scene" (Deram)

Louise Cordet

9. LOUISE CORDET-"Two Lovers" Decca F 11857 1964
Daughter of a WW II Free French air force pilot and a Greek actress and Prince Phillip's goddaughter bilingual Cordet scored a Top Twenty (#13) hit in '62 with her Tony Meehan written and produced number "I'm Just A Baby". She released a slew of Decca 45's, the best being this one (and her last one), a cover of the Mary Wells track with some tasty guitar licks sounding much like the style of session man Jimmy Page found on the flip of a version of "Don't Make Me Over". Previously she also had the distinction of having a custom written tune drafted for her by Gerry Marsden called "Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying" (Decca F11824).  Of course Gerry and Co. had second thoughts about sharing it exclusively and the version by Louise came and went, like her career after this record.

Hear it on:
"Decca Originals:The Girl's Scene" (Deram)

Janie (left) and sister Valerie Mitchell take the girls out for some air. 1964 "London In The Raw" film premiere
10. JANIE JONES-"Witches Brew" HMV POP 1495 1965
Most of you know this ladies name, if only because the Clash wrote a song with it in the title (they actually backed her in '83 as "The Lash" for a 45 on Big Beat, Joe Strummer wrote the A-side and produced both sides). Janie Jones would've been a Twitter sensation if the technology existed in the 60's/70's. In '64 she and her sister showed up with their racks out at a film premiere (see above) that got their collars felt for an indecency charge (later dropped) and two years later she beat the rap on a blackmail charge. 1967 saw her get shopped for running a brothel (not guilty your honor, acquitted). In 1974 she got busted for being a madame again (guilty!) and later spilled the beans on a Radio One payola scandal (AND crossing paths with Moors murderess Myra Hydley while doing time for the former). Yes she had quite the life, but what about the music?  She cut two singles for HMV (this being her first), then one a piece for Columbia, Major Minor and Pye in the 60's  before one last ditch in 1970 on President. This tune would've been perfect for a Joe Meek production. The person who uploaded this tune to YouTube aptly described it as "One of those tracks that is so bad, it's actually quite brilliant". I agree.

Hear it on:
"We're In Love With The World Of Janie Jones!:The Sex, The Scandals, The Singles Collection!" (RPM)

I am gratefully indebted to the 90's girl group/singer fanzine "That Will Never Happen Again" for information that assisted me in preparing this post.