Saturday, June 28, 2014

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

THE MUSTANG-Why/Here There And Everywhere U.S. Ascot 2231 1967

File under "we haven't got a fucking clue". The Mustang "Why" is a quite uncommon U.K. 45 from 1967 (U.K. issue Parlophone R 5579 March 1967). I know nothing about the band or the record, in fact this was their only single that I'm aware of and I only knew the tune because my old pals in Minneapolis, Minnesota The Conquerors covered it back in 1998 on their Get Hip 10" E.P. "Turn On, Tune In, Drop Dead".

"Why" starts off with a cracking drum kick and bounces into a jaunty little ballsy beat number that sounds firmly '65 NOT '67! The driving bass and crunchy rhythm remind me of The Easybeats meet The Kirkbys and the vocals remind me of The Rutles!  Seriously have a listen!

As for the flip, well...The Fourmost and Episode Six covered "Here There And Everywhere" and none of them improved on it so why should anyone else, this is beyond pedestrian?!  'Nuff said.

Has it been comped anywhere? No. F*cking criminal isn't it?!

Hear "Why":

Friday, June 27, 2014

"Just some Medway herberts having a go at being Booker T and the MGs...." .More Plugs For The Competition....

My old stalwart former fanzine editor now blogger over at Monkey Picks has posted a cracking interview with Allan Crockford of Prisoners/JTQ/et al fame which I HIGHLY suggest you pop over and read here.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

June's Picks

You can't go wrong with a good Googie Rene tune.  This one is one of my faves, full of some good Booker T. style Hammond and and this murky, gritty intro. Brought to my attention years back on one of the excellent "Mod Jazz" CD comps ("Further Adventures Of Mod Jazz") I had to go out immediately and score the 45..

2. TOMMY GOOD-"Baby I Miss You"
An overlooked Gordy 45 from 1964 that even I'd forgotten about for ages till flipping through my 45's a few weeks back. I know fuck all about Tommy Good, but this was apparently his only Gordy 45 (with a decent version of Eddie Holland's "Leaving Here" on the flip). It's interesting as it sounds more poppy than you'd expect for something on Gordy but worth seeking out!

3. THE CHASERS-"Hey Little Girl"
Pirates/Dakotas guitarist Mick Green is always quoted as the inspiration for Wilko Johnson/Dr. Feelgood but dig the chopping chords on this little British r&b ditty on Decca from 1965 brought to use on the brilliant Decca/Deram CD compilation "The R&B Scene".

4. THE JAM-"Ghosts"
Local New Jersey heroes The Insomniacs pulled this one out for the first time at a gig in Philly on Friday the 13th of this month and I went back to my long neglected deluxe CD packaging of "The Gift" and was reunited with what a beautiful little tune this is.

Pic c/o

5. THE PURPLE HEARTS-"Of Hopes And Dreams And Tombstones"
Not the Romford '79 mod band but a mid 60's Aussie mod combo who put out a few seven inchers in their time (5 singles and one E.P.).  This one comes from their mega in demand E.P. "The Sound Of The Purple Hearts" (and reissued on a six song Raven E.P. in '79). The lead singer sounds like the bastard love child of Lord Buckley and Oscar Brown Jr. with a bit of Jaggerish scowl and the prefect 60's Aussie sound that always sounds like one half US garage punk and one half U.K. mod/freakbeat in my head. And what I learned just today was this was a cover of a 45 by a cat named Jimmy Fraser note for note!!

6. THE CHAPTERS-"Can't Stop Thinking About Her"
I'd all but forgotten this masterful Kinks style power chord fueled tune from early '65 with some equally Mick Avory style bashing (ooops I meant Bobbie Graham) that according to the liner notes of my old Sequel CD comp "Quick Before They Catch Us" produced by none other than Jimmy Page!

7. TROLLS-"Alone"
This obscure single from a Swedish band from 1967 was unearthed on volume one of the amazing "Who Will Buy These Wonderful Evils" series.  This mid tempo number sort of reminds me of the Tages meets The Walker Brothers.  Anybody got a copy to spare?

R.I.P. lead singer Jim Keays.  Before they became basically Oz's answer to boogie period Status Quo the Master's were a shit hot Anglo obsessed freakbeat/r&b band churning out an amazing LP and 3 killers 45's and an E.P. This rocking tune comes from the 1967 E.P. and is a perfect hybrid of Yardbirds style r&b "rave up" action and The Kinks.

9. JAN & DEAN-"The Anaheim, Azusa & Cucamonga Sewing Circle, Book Review And Timing Association"
The B-side from a 1964 single ("Ride the Wild Surf") the title evokes something kitschy and pop psych, it's not,  but it's not exactly your garden variety surf record either thanks to some brass, harpsichord and kitchen sink thrown in for good measure with some hysterical lyrics following a topic earlier explored with "The Little Old Lady From Pasadena".

10. THE MISSING PERSONS-"Mystery Girl"
I stumbled upon the 1979 Safari Records compilation "Uppers on The South Downs" on iTunes recently and had not heard this LP or any of the tracks on it for a good 25 year or better. Though obviously marketed as a "mod" LP this band sounds more power poppy to me, it's infectious melody and snappy chord changes remind me of The Knack (the US late 70's power pop sort), which ain't a bad thing!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

John Mayall '65: Life Before E.C.

JOHN MAYALL AND THE BLUESBREAKERS-"Crocodile Walk"/"Blues City Shakedown" U.K. Decca F 12120 1965

John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers second 45 "Crocodile Walk" was released in April 1965, a live version was unleashed on the public the previous month on Mayall's debut LP " John Mayall Plays John Mayall: Live At Klook's Kleek" (Decca LK 4680).

At this point The Bluesbreakers ever changing line-up consisted of Mayall on leads vocals, harmonica and keyboards, Roger Dean on guitar, John McVie on bass and Hughie Flint on drums.

"Crocodile Walk" is best described as being from that brief Mayall/Bluebreakers "Flamingo/Klook's Kleek" mod/jazz period.  I write this because his material was still jazzier and akin to that of fellow artists Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds, Zoot Money etc and had not yet gone full on Chicago blues yet. It has some groovy but simplistic organ and subtle harp blowing and a great bluesy solo from Dean.  Mayall's voice  sounds a bit strained but it's a great tune regardless.  My fave of both sides however is the B-side. the  harmonica lead instrumental "Blues City Shakedown".  The melody/riff is incredibly infectious and is a serious ear worm for those who've never heard it!!

"Crocodile Walk" has been reissued on a Deram/Decca CD compilation of some of Mayall's 60's sides titled "Thru The Years" as well as on a compilation "As It All Began: The Best Of John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers". "Blues City Shakedown" is on  "As It All Began: The Best Of..." and the even more recommended collection "Looking Back", a CD reissue of an amazing 1969 compilation album of Mayall material '64-'67.

Hear "Crocodile Walk":

Hear "Blues City Shakedown":

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Action-I'll Keep Holding On

THE ACTION-I'll Keep Holding On/Hey Sah Lo Ney U.K. Parlophone R 5410 1966

Few singles by The Action are as famous as their 2nd single released in February 1966, a coupling of The Marvelette's May 1965 A-side "I'll Keep Holding On" (Tamla T-54116) and Mickey Lee Lane's August 1965 A-side "Hey Sah Lo Ney" (Swan 4222)."I'll Keep Holding On" was my first introduction to the Action after hearing The chords version I had read about The Action and their 60's mod connection (where I'm not sure) and took a chance in 1982 with the Edsel 45 of "I'll Keep Holding" b/w "Wasn't It You". To be honest at the time I did not like their version of "I'll Keep Holding On" and it was a year or so before I got my head around it, much preferring "Wasn't It You" at the time.

Of course like most Action interpretations of soul tunes they strip "I'll Keep Holding On" down and rebuild it with trademark high backing vocals, kinetic drumming by Roger Powell and Alan "Bam" King and Pete Watson's layers of Rickenbackers and of course not to mention the soulful lead vocals of Reggie King.  My favorite part is 3/4's of the way through when Roger Powell starts putting his double bass drums to use and doubles the beat which adds to the intensity of the number in my book.

"Hey Sah Lo Ney" follows the same formula in that it's not a carbon copy of the original.  The Action ditch the lo-fi grittiness of Mickey Lee Lane's take and make it slick with some semi jazzy licks by Pete Watson introducing the melody on his twelve string Rickenbacker 330 and the band again bringing up the rear with some high backing vocals not at all unlike their heroes The Association and fluid bass playing by Mike Evans.

The Action onstage at their haunt The Marquee where they
clocked in 25 gigs during '65-'67

Of course both tracks are available on the band's essential CD "Action Packed" which is a reissue of all of their existing material recorded for EMI's Parlophone label during 1965 through to 1967.

Below is a clip the band filming miming "I'll Keep Holding On" filmed in London for American TV's ABC-TV program "Where The Action Is":


 Hear "Hey Sah Lo Ney":