Monday, July 28, 2014

July's Picks

1.  THE MANHATTANS-"I Wanna Be Your Everything"
#1 on the 45 rpm rotation slot here at "Anorak Thing" H.Q. is this wonderful soul 45 from 1964 on Newark, New Jersey's very own Carnival label. I've been trying unsuccessfully for ages to score a copy of the U.K. Sue label and finally gave in for this less pricey U.S. issue.

2. BILLY FURY- "Forbidden Fruit" (Live BBC)
This live BBC Oscar Brown Jr. cover from '66 swings thanks to the solid music backing, carried off in a jazzy/r&b style of Georgie Fame and The Blue Flames with horns and Hammond o'plenty (Fury's one time backing band in the early 60's). Found on his amazing CD "Live At The BBC" (which contains quite a few '65/'66 numbers that kick all his U.S. crooner style early 60's stuff in the dirt).

3. PERCY SLEDGE-"Oh How Happy"
Some ideas in the music industry make little sense.  Case in point Percy Sledge's U.K. only 1967 45 cover of The Shades of Blue's April 1966 U.S. hit "Oh How Happy". Why this was never released here I'll never know (U.K. Sue had already issued The Shades Of Blue version) but it's amazing and perfectly suited for Mr. Sledge!

4. MOON'S TRAIN-"My Town"
Moon's Train are sadly an odd footnote in Bill Wyman's extracurricular (musical that is) 60's career beyond The Stones.  They cut just one 45, a jazzy coupling ("Deed I Do"/"It's In My Mind") in 1967.  But their left over material issued as the excellent "The Life I Lead" CD shows them as a conflicted (but amazing) band torn between Georgie Fame-ish-mod-jazz/r&b and psychedelic pop.  "My Town" somehow bridges both with Mellotron rubbing up against horns that'd do a Geno Washington single proud with a great mod/freakbeat bash up ending.

5. FRANKIE VALLI & THE FOUR SEASONS-"Mrs. Statley's Garden"
Found on The Four Seasons brilliant opus, the "flop" LP, 1969's "Genuine Imitation Life Gazette", this is a wild cross between sunshiny harmony pop with some minor pop-psych touches not unlike something on a 1967 Decca/Deram track (phased horns, strings, flutes/piccolos etc). The heavy social commentary in the lyrics are pretty interesting as well (though that statement could in itself describe the whole LP too).

6. SKIP SPENCE-"War And Peace"
Somewhere between '68 Pink Floyd and The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band comes this spooky track that I discovered thanks to an episode of "True Crime" (where it perfectly fit) .  I'd long struggled to get my head around Skip's "Oar" album, and this was the perfect way in, trouble is there's nothing else on it that sounds like this!!

This New Zealand only 45 predates a re-recorded version by the band when they moved to the U.K. and renamed themselves The Human Instinct.  It's far murkier and raw and is amazingly infectious and was recently unearthed by the new 3 CD box set "Keep Lookin': Another 80 Mod, Freakbeat and Soul Nuggets".

8. THE PRISONERS-"Say Your Prayers (Cecil Road Demo)"
This 1982 demo of a track from The Prisoners debut LP "A Taste Of Pink" was tacked on as a bonus cut on the deluxe CD reissue of the album.  Recorded when the band was just a three piece lead singer Graham Day's voice has never been grittier and his over the top Dave Davie's '64 guitar solo is a treat.  Couldn't find the demo on YouTube so here's the studio version.

9. MONTY BABSON-"My Friend Jack"
This one is wiggy.  The Smoke's well known tune with vocals removed and replaced with a Hammond, much like all the Wynder K Frog/Island stuff and believe it or not it works REALLY well!  From the instrumental CD compilation "Roaring Blue: Return of the Instro Hipsters".


10. BILLY JOE ROYAL-"Cherry Hill Park"
Nicking it's horn riff from "25 Miles" by Edwin Starr this number had always intrigued me because not only is it powerful musically the lyrics are positively racy for the 60's Top Ten hit parade about a loose girl who puts it out to all comers after dark in the local park!!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Maximum R&B: The Who Live at the Marquee Club March 16, 1965

Here's the Who in all their vintage glory at the heyday of their mod era live onstage at the Marquee filmed for French TV performing James Brown's "Shout And Shimmy", Garnett Mimm's "Tell Me Baby", Martha And The Vandella's "Heatwave", what appears to be a heavy take of Chester Burnett's "Smokestack Lightning". Enjoy:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Wynder K. Frog

WYNDER K. FROG-Green Door/Dancing Frog U.S. United Artists UA 50156 1967

United Artists belated interest in plugging the U.K. Hammond instrumental combo Wynder K. Frog was no doubt inspired by their modest success on these shores with the Spencer Davis Group when "I'm A Man" reached #10 in the charts (though once that ball was rolling Steve and Muff Winwood had jumped ship but that's another story).

"Green Door" was the U.S. debut single by Wynder K Frog (we discussed one of their U.K. releases here and it's U.S. version here) released in May 1967 three months after it's U.K. counterpart (issued on Island WIP 6006 it was their third U.K. 7" release).

"Green Door" is a Hammond and horns instrumental version of a 1956 U.S. hit for Jim Lowe (later covered by The Cramps on their LP "Psychedelic Jungle").  Full of funky Hammond chops c/o organist Mick Weaver, "Green Door" is carried by some strong horns and lots of shouts and clapping giving a sort of party atmosphere to the tune (much like the same feel they'd use on their next 45, a turbo charged version of "I'm A Man").

"Dancing Frog" is equally as frantic with some well punctuated "Uhh"s inserted in between some jazzy Hammond trills and with some more subtle horns.  Minus the organ it formed the backing track for a Jimmy Cliff number called "Let's Dance". Both tracks have a long history of being staples for mod/soul DJ nights for the past 30+ years. It was previously issued on the band's debut U.K. LP (not released in America)  "Sunshine Super Frog" .

"Green Door" was issued on Wynder K. Frog's debut U.S. LP "Out Of The Frying Pan" (United Artists UAS 6695 in 1968) and "Dancing Frog" appeared on the U.S. soundtrack LP for the cheezy Swinging London film "The Touchables" ( 20th Century Fox Records S-42006 1968) as well as their debut U.K. LP (reissued on CD) "Sunshine Super Frog" .  As far as modern reissues go "Green Door" is available on the Edsel CD reissue of the LP "Out Of the Frying Pan" and a Northern Soul compilation 4 CD set titled "A Complete Introduction To Northern Soul". "Dancing Frog" is available on a  reissue of "The Touchables" soundtrack (along with another Wynder K cut "Blues For A Frog") on iTunes in the US.

Hear "Green Door":

Hear "Dancing Frog":

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Moody Blues-"Fly Me High"

Way back when we first began we wrote about the debut 45 by the revamped Moody Blues "Mk. II" (as we called them) and their first single "Fly Me High". Through the beauty of YouTube I've discovered 3 separate live versions of it from French TV which I've posted here in chronological order (starting with a brilliant one a few months before the single was even released from late 1966):







Tuesday, July 1, 2014

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

Awhile back (two years ago) we dug up 10 British 60's mod/R&B 45's (you can see them here) and I think it's time we came up with ten more.....

Scan courtesy of

1. LISTEN-"Everybody's Gonna Say" U.K. CBS 202456/U.S. Columbia 4-43967 1966
Robert Plant's debut record was with this November 1966 45. This tune tucked on the bottom of a decent cover of The Rascal's "You Better Run" and is a pure raver. The first time I heard it to my ears it sounded like The Small Faces with a horn section and female backing vocalists. That was 1991 when I heard it (and it's A-side) on a bootleg CD called "Visions Of The Past Volume 3", I still stand by that impression. Sadly it's not been comped anywhere else that I'm aware of.

2. MIKE PATTO-"Love" U.K. Columbia DB 8091 1966
Recorded while Mike Patto was still fronting The Bo Street Runners (and prior to his joining Timebox) this 45 released in the final weeks of 1966 on the flipside of "Can't Help Talkin' About My Baby".  "Love" is an upbeat and almost poppy tune an aided by some incredibly cool Hammond via Tim Hinkley and of course Patto's soulful vocals.  It has cropped up on several compilation CD's which is in itself a testament to it's demand: "Rubble Volume 2: Pop Sike Dreams", "Take My Tip: 25 British Mod Artifacts From The EMI Vaults"  and Goldmine Soul Supply's "British Soul 2".

Scan courtesy of

3. ROBERT PLANT-"Laughin', Cryin', Laughin'" U.K. CBS 202656 1967
I debated on including two Robert Plant tunes in this list but to atone for the horror that is and was Led Zeppelin you can't have enough good things in your back catalog and this one, the B-side to his November 1967 single "Our Song" is too good to leave off. Backed by some solid brass and carried by Percy's Steve Marriott styled vocalizing it's a non-stop stormer from start to finish (with some over the top no expenses spared production as well).  My fave bit is the middle part where some atmospheric organ comes in when the whole thing slows down and Plant croons "and every day's blue Monday since you've gone away...".  Why and how this has never been reissued is just plain fucking criminal.

Scan courtesy of

4. TOMMY BURTON COMBO-"I'm Walkin'" U.K. Blue Beat BB 237 1964
The flip side of their lone Blue Beat 45  "Lavender Blue" (one of three white British bands to record on the label, the others were Mickey Finn and the Blue Men and Syko And The Caribs, whom are reputed to have been fronted by Christine Keeler's brother!) is this romp through the Fats Domino number with some gritty guitar, sax and mega raw vocals.  It's pretty lo-fi but in a charming sort of way sounding not unlike something Joe Meek might've cut in his bathroom or a bargain basement Graham Bond Organization at a date where they forgot the organ!  Another tune screaming for a reissue!

5. EDWICK RUMBOLD-"Come Back" U.K. CBS 202393 1966
Sadly relegated to Side B of the semi mediocre "Specially When" is this in demand ripping freakbeat meets mod/r&b tune.  Driven by some faint combo organ and in your face guitars pounding out a rocking rhythm for the soulful, impassioned vocals the track never lets up, dig the frenetic guitar solo!  Comped on the semi dodgy CD's "Echoes In The Wilderness" and "Portobello Explosion: The Mod Pop Sound Of Swinging London".

6. OSCAR-"Club Of Lights" U.K. Reaction 591003 1966
The follow up to Pete Townshend penned "Join My Gang" was the up tempo monster recorded by Oscar Beuselinck (aka Paul Nicholas) written by Townshend's protege Speedy Keen (who also wrote "Armenia City In The Sky" on "The Who Sell Out" and later of Thunderclap Newman). Kicked off by some fantastic fuzz guitar and a driving beat the number seems to me to epitomize the commercial/cash in London night spot discotheque a go-go sound.  As contrived as that scene/genre may be this one really moves, especially when the horns kick in. Reissued on the CD (and appropriately titled) "Portobello Explosion: The Mod Pop Sound Of Swinging London".

7. THE MIKE STUART SPAN-"Still Nights" U.K. Columbia DB 8066 1966 
This Brighton band was, for a time, a Hammond and horns r&b act before shedding that image and going on to be the heavy and extremely collectible act they are better known as. This number was the flip of their cover of The Drifter's "Come On Over To Our Place" written by lead singer Stuart Hobday. Powered by some seriously powerful horns (the band featured a four piece and later two piece horn section) it's a perfect melding of soulful r&b with tinges of what would be coined "freakbeat" (much like a similar formula employed by the Quik, The Richard Kent Style etc). Sadly the band's guitarist on this track, Neil Langham fell to his death whilst on L.S.D. charting a firmly anti-drugs direction for the band. Comped in the 90's on a bootleg CD "Purple Pill Eaters" it has luckily been captured on the M.S.S. CD retrospective "Children Of Tomorrow".

8. THE UNIVERSALS-"Hey You" U.K. Page One POF 032 1967
A chunky, jaunty number that reminds me of an amphetamine version of the Move's "Wave Your Flag And Stop The Train" this B-side of the band's poppy/soul "I Can't Find You" this track is punctuated by some gritty feedbacking guitars, powerful horns reminiscent of The Richard Kent Style and a vocalist who sounds like a soulful John Sebastian! Reissued on the essential but dodgy "Echoes of the Past" CD/LP comp.

9. THE EXCEPTIONS-"The Eagle Flies On Friday" U.K.  CBS 202632 1967
The debut 45 by this U.K. trio is this hard driving number accented by some vibes, incredibly soulful vocals and a great but subtle fluid bass line. The vocals and vibes make it sound a bit like a Timebox track till the blistering freakbeat guitar solo comes on. Raw power! Comped on  the CD's "Chocolate Soup For Diabetics Volume Four" and "Rare Beat Tracks Volume 3".

10. THE ORGANISERS-"The Organiser" U.K. Pye 7N 17022 1966
Tucked away on the flip side of "Lonesome Road" is this jazzy Googie Rene meets Booker T style instrumental with some incredible Hammond work, bongos and a guitar solo that'd do Alvin Lee proud! Long among the holy grail of British mod/r&b records no one seems to know a thing about these fellas. It's been comped on CD's on the very first volume of Sequel's "Doin' the Mod Series" (Volume One, " The Go Go Train") and "Instro Hipsters A Go-Go 3".