Wednesday, November 27, 2013

November's Picks

1. XTC-"The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead"
A midst all the JFK mania here in the States over the 50th century of his assassination I began thinking of this number from their "Nonsuch" LP which I bought on the cheap when it came out at Best Buy (and sold the following week to the Princeton Record Exchange). I eventually got into it's jangly riff and Andy Partridge's brilliant lyrics, every bit as cynical as "Dear God".

2. FRANKIE VALLI & THE FOUR SEASONS-"Genuine Imitation Life"
While doing a little research on a previous entry on Jackie Lomax's version of Jake Holme's "Genuine Imitation Life" I stumbled upon the later Four Seasons version and their monumental, but commercially unsuccessful LP "Genuine Imitation Life Gazette".  Drawn out to 6;16 it encompasses some groovy phalanged drums and vocals , harpsichord and a fade out of "Hey Jude" where they're actually singing "play it cool" instead of "Hey Jude".

From the U.K. 3 CD box set "Love Poetry And Revolution" (that promises to be the biggest thing since 2007's 4 CD U.K. 60's set "Real Life Permanent Dreams: A Cornucopia Of British Psychedelia 1965-1970") comes this early demo of Tintern Abbey's Beeside"  perfectly charting the magical progression from mod/freakbeat to full blown acid eating psychedelia.

4. ANDWELLA'S DREAM-"The Days Grew Longer For Love"
My old pal Haim Kenig was kind enough to lay a dupe of this late 60's U.K. acts LP "Love & Poetry" and this is one of my faves from it starting out nice and mellow/acoustic and bursting into a riff heavy metamorphosis not unlike Bowie's heavy '70 stuff.

5. SYD BARRETT-"Terrapin (Peel Session 2/24/70)"
I'll own up that I never owned Syd's "Peel Sessions" mini LP till two weeks ago.  Wow! With help from David Gilmour on bass and Jerry Shirley on drums/percussion and Syd and his acoustic punctuated by some vocal "clicks" and "ahh's" I daresay this version puts the original found on "The Madcap Laughs" to shame! Proof positive that when Syd had his shit together he could deliver when he wanted to......

Imagine Joe Meek spacey weirdness meeting with Gerry Anderson's 60's theme song music crossed with choral harmony pop (or as one YouTube comment called it "The Association on crystal meth") and you've got this 1969 B-side to the trippy "Armageddon". From 1969 on the President label and found on the President CD comp "Sometimes I Wonder"

I love this tune regardless of who's doing it. From the 1958 "Somethin' Else" LP featuring the talents of Miles Davis (trumpet), Hank Jones (piano), Sam Jones (bass) and Art Blakey (drums) and of course cannonball on the alto.

Word reached Anorak Thing H.Q. yesterday of the passing of one of the last remaining jazz greats Chico Hamilton. This track comes from one of his many great LP's, 1965's "El Chico", helped in no small part by Gabor Szabo's raga like guitar licks, Sadao Wanatabe's flute, Willie Bobo's bongos and of course Chico's drumming.

9. SCIENCE POPTION-"You Got Me High"
From 1966 and from the magical land of Sweden comes this tight Association style vocal harmony number with freaky fuzz guitar, John Entwistle style bass lines (I could do a whole piece on the impact The 'Oo had on Swedish music in '65-'66) and some great double entendre lyrics!

10. BLONDE ON BLONDE-"Castles In The Sky"
This here my friends is one of my favorite all time British psychedelic records, from 1970 nonetheless.  Beneath a layer of phased horns/Mellotron (ala The Stones "We Love You") comes one of the most lysergic tunes ever recorded.  On my last trip to Portugal I was blessed with finding an original E.P. (see scan above) and it's been a prized possession since! You can find it on iTunes or the "Circus Days" box.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Mindbenders c/o Rodney Argent

THE MINDBENDERS-I Want Her She Wants Me/The Morning After U.K. Fontana TF 780 1966

1966 was the year everyone left their backing groups and went solo. Billy J. Kramer parted ways with The Dakotas, Brian Poole and The Tremeloes went in separate directions and Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders were no more even before 1965 was over.  Oddly both artists stayed with Fontana (both in the U.K. and the States) the label they were on together. The Mindbenders struck first, in time for Xmas 1965 with their #1 hit "A Groovy Kind Of Love" (TF 644) while it was not till the Spring of '66 (April to be precise) that Wayne Fontana released his solo debut ("Come On Home" TF 684). The Mindbenders quickly cranked out three more singles before 1966 was over and today's item in question was among them being released in December 1966.

 "I Want Her She Wants Me" was penned by The Zombies keyboardist Rod Argent.  A Zombies version of the track would not see the light until the posthumous second LP "Oddysey(sic) And Oracle" saw the light of day in April 1968. The Mindbenders version eschews any high note backing vocals and is pretty straight forward with very little backing vocals at all really, just lead singer Eric Stewart's voice double tracked with bass, drums, guitar and some faint piano.  Certainly not a patch on the later Zombies recording it's still interesting.  The B-side is where it's at and is in my opinion the finest Mindbenders track of all time.  "The Morning After" was introduced to a whole generation of 60's fans when Bam Caruso included it on their incredible 1984 LP comp "The Psychedelic Snarl". It's ballsy, filled with great harmonies and busts of "freakbeat" guitar licks and a cool chugging rhythm .  Infectious to say the least it's their best track and one of my favorite 60's singles (and a original, written by Eric Stewart).

Both cuts can be found on a an Mindbenders anthology "A Groovy Kind Of Love: The Complete LP and Singles 1966-1968".

Hear "I Want Her She Wants Me":

Hear "The Morning After":

Thursday, November 7, 2013

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Jake Holmes via Jackie Lomax

JACKIE LOMAX-Genuine Imitation Life/One Minute Woman U.S. Epic 5-10270 1967

Singer/bassist Jackie Lomax landed on his feet in early '66 when his Liverpool band The Undertakers went belly up. The Undertakers released three singles in the U.K. on Pye, a one off in the U.S.(their best in my book "Throw Your Love Away" b/w "I Fell In Love (For The Very First Time)" on the U.S. Black Watch label) and also released a one off 45 as The Takers in the U.K. The Undertakers had moved to the States in '65 along with The Pete Best Combo (Pete was milking the Fab Four associations for all that they were worth over here). Both bands cut loads of material in NYC at the Talentmasters studio on West 42nd Street. After the band split Lomax and drummer Bugs Pemberton hooked up with some NYC locals and began playing as The Lost Souls (fitting perhaps)and in early '66 Brian Epstein saw them play in Greenwich Village and convinced them to come back to England where under the name of The Lomax Alliance they cut several tracks, in fact nearly an album's worth. The results of some of which were released in the States only as "One" ("Hey Taxi" b/w "Enter My World"  on Columbia 4-44256 August '67) and a U.K. only release by The Lomax Alliance ("Try As You May" b/w "See The People" CBS 2729 in May '67). Unreleased tracks "Honey Machine" wound up up on "Circus Days Volume One" and the stellar "Golden Lion" turned up on perhaps the fab-est British psych box set: "Real Life Permanent Dreams": A Cornucopia of British Psychedelia 1965-1970". All of these and others have turned up on on the Jackie Lomax compilation double CD "Lost Soul: Singles And Demos 1966-67" (featuring "Better Get Going Now", later made famous by Aussie power poppers Zoot). The LP's completion was terminated with the death of Brian Epstein and the band folded, but Lomax made the transition like many other Epstein acts to impresario/producer Robert Stigwood who duly wasted no time getting Lomax into the studio to cut today's record.

The Lomax Alliance circa '67, Jackie Lomax far left.

The lyrically powerful "Genuine Imitation Life" was written by American Jake Holmes and featured on his June 1967 U.S. Tower LP (alongside his original "Dazed And Confused" soon to be nicked by Jimmy Page, but that as they say, is another story for another day) "The Above Ground Sound of...". Lomax had met Holmes whilst playing NYC's Greenwich Village and followed his career and successfully lobbied to record "Genuine.." as his new single.  With lush orchestration by Stigwood giving it an almost "Handbags And Gladrags" feel the record should've been a smash.  Lomax's interestingly soulful vocals (dig the Justin Hayward-esque note he ends the track on) lend itself perfectly to the tune above the sweeping strings, powerful horns and kitschy Swinging London organ straight off of a Scott Walker LP the following year.

On the flip Jackie tackled a track from Stigwood's charges The Bee Gee's debut U.K./U.S. LP "Bee Gee's 1st" the overwrought "One Minute Woman"(later covered unsuccessfully by Billy Fury the following summer on the bottom side of David Bowie's "Silly Boy Blue") .  I've never been a fan of the track no matter who's doing it and Lomax's spirited vocals don't help me sway on the matter. The single was launched in both the U.S. (December 1967) and the U.K. (October 1967 as CBS 2554) and sadly died a death.  The following year Lomax was signed to Apple as a songwriter and the rest is history....

Sadly Jackie Lomax passed away on September 15th of this year from cancer at the age of 69.

Both sides of this 45 are available on the above mentioned CD comp "Lost Soul" from and available from iTunes on a collection titled "Sour Mile Sea:The Early Collection".

Hear "Genuine Imitation Life":

Hear "One Minute Woman":