Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Moody Blues Mark One: In America Part Four- U.S. 45 Debut (Of Sorts)

THE MOODY BLUES-Go Now/Lose Your Money U.S. London 45 LON 9726 1965

The Moody Blues U.S. debut came in December 1964 when London issued their 2nd U.K. 45 (Decca F  F12022) as 45 LON 9726, a cover of the Bessie Bank's tune "Go Now" (#1 across the pond in November 1964) with it's U.K. flip, a cover of the Lulu Reed/Freddie King duet "It's Easy Child". It stalled chart wise here upon it's release and was relaunched in January 1965 with a new flip, a group original called "Lose Your Money" which graced the flip of their U.K. debut single "Steal Your Heart Away" (a Bobby Parker track, issued in September 1964 as Decca F11971). When reissued it went to #10 in the U.S. hit parade becoming their highest charting U.S single until 1967's "Nights In White Satin" by an altogether different line up with a different sound. It featured the same catalog number as the first pressing with the earlier U.S. London purple and white logo (replaced by their new blue swirl label on later pressings like our specimen above).

"Go Now" is vastly different from the original thanks to the heavy echo that creates an almost drone effect on the backing vocals throughout the song and has a  nice uptempo touch to it courtesy of Mike Pinder's piano  moving from the soulful dirge of the original to an almost ragtime swing. It's been a bit played out by it's still a great version.

"Lose Your Money" has always been my fave Denny Laine era Moodie's track thanks to the surviving footage of them included on the first "Ready Steady Go" VHS compilation. It blew me away after I'd somehow overlooked it and re investigated it on the urging of my pal Mike Sin.  Shortly after reviewing the VHS again, my mind suitably blown by what I'd seen (see the clip below)  I immediately went out and purchased a dodgy picture disc LP of their early stuff titled "Go Now". "Lose Your Money" (written by Denny Laine and Mike Pinder) is driven by some well placed harp blasts and bluesy guitar licks with some subtle combo organ beneath it delivered at a very dance-able tempo. Nearly 30 years later it still sounds amazing.

Both tracks can be found on Deram/Decca's CD reissue of their U.K. LP "The Magnificent Moodies" which contains all of their Denny Laine era U.K./U.S. material and is still in print.

"Go Now" on "Top Of The Pops" 1964:


 "Lose Your Money" on "Ready! Steady! Go!" 1964:


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August's Picks

The Birds in Action July 1965

1. THE BIRDS-"No Good Without You Baby"
For ages I was bored with The Birds.  Credit it to too brief a catalog and too much overkill.  I recently took a step back and listened to their take on this Four Tops/Marvin Gaye track ( I find the Four Tops version far superior to Marvin's) and it's still their best track in my estimation from the massive Who-like power chords to the strong backing vocals and of course lead singer Ali McKenzie's powerful voice.

2. THE TAGES-"Seeing With Love"
From their 1968 LP "Studio" (lovingly resurrected on CD by RPM a few years back) which I read in a list of "40 Obscure Psychedelic Rock & Pop Albums You Ought To Know" is referred to as some as "The Swedish Sgt. Pepper".  I'll agree and this number is a great example: throbbing Macca '67 bass lines, backwards guitars, Swedish folk woodwinds, phlanged vocals, Beach Boys on acid backing vocals and a jaunty little beat.  Wow.  How do you say "mind fuck" in Swedish?

  3. THE VIBRATIONS-"Canadian Sunset"
This '66 Okeh track from The Vibrations (I came upon it on their LP "New Vibrations") has a melody that sounds exactly like the San Remo Golden Strings 1965 single "Hungry For Love".  Anyone care to elaborate?  Anyway regardless this mid tempo slice of soulful vocal perfection is accented by some strings playing that familiar riff!

From the essential "Back From The Grave Volume Two" U.S. 60's lo-fi garage compilation comes this smoking 1966 cave teen stomp from the hinterlands of Nebraska.  Yet more proof of the impact of The Rolling Stones on American teens in godforsaken places (who seemed to rock 100 times more than those in big cities)!

5. LEE HAZLEWOOD-"Wind, Sky, Sea And Sand"
My wife and I are huge fans of the FX TV show "The Bridge" and an the opening episode of Season Two featured this track which begins with sweeping strings straight off a Scott Walker LP and Lee's trademark vocals and just as you get enraptured by it all it's over before the 2:00 mark.  From his 1973 LP "Poet, Fool Or Bum".

6. DAVID BOWIE-"Ashes To Ashes"
I've made no secret that I'm a massive pre-"Let's Dance" Bowie fan (though I am nostalgically warming to to the latter) and though more than often I spend the majority of my time submerged in his '65-'67 stuff every now and then I go back to the "Scary Monsters" which was the first then contemporary Bowie product I paid any heed to. Quirky, eerie and as always one step ahead of the world  (and Ultravox and the rest of the "New Romantics") then it still sounds fresh today especially the incredible bleak final minute, pure hairs stand up on the back of the back of your neck shit that propels me back to my shitty little bedroom in 1979 . Above is my Bowie badge from 1979 which I still have!

7. THE FLARES-"Foot Stompin'"
Speaking of Bowie.....I investigated this number a few years back when reading that it inspired "Fame". Somewhere like The Coasters being backed James Browns Famous Flames it's upbeat, doo-wop in bits but driving good stuff with some great hand clapping bits perfect for the dance floor.

8. THE ARTWOODS-"In The Deep End" (BBC Session 3/18/67)"
I just got the new 3 CD RPM Artwoods "Steady Gettin' It:The Complete Recordings 1964-67" and one of the best parts of it (if not THE best part) is the 19 BBC tracks (well  3 interviews and 16 tracks).  This Beeb version of the B-side of their final 45 (read about it here) is downtrodden and sullen but still freaking powerful stuff Jack!

9. THE EYES OF BLUE-"Supermarket Full Of Cans"
One of the finest British blue eyed soul r&b 45's of the 60's in my book is this gem on Deram (that got both a U.S. and U.K. release).  It never fails to put me in a good mood!! As one man said "this is THE shit".

10. DR. HORSE-"Jack That Cat Was Clean"
Thought I'd won the lottery when I'd stumbled upon a $62.00 "Near Mint" white label promo copy of this killer jazzy spoken word 1962 ode to a slick, dapper dressed jetsetting playboy named Bobo.  Sadly it was not to be as the record looked Near Mint and played VG.  That'll teach you not to believe everything you read on the Internet.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Moody Blues Mark One: In America Part Three

THE MOODY BLUES-Boulevard De La Madeline/This Is My House (But Nobody Calls) London 45 LON 1005 1966

The Moody Blues sixth and final U.S. single with the Denny Laine (lead vocals/guitar)/Clint Warwick (bass) line up was this single which was oddly issued in June 1966, a whole five months prior to it's U.K. release (Decca F 12498). Both sides were composed by the bands in house tune-smiths Denny Laine and Mike Pinder.

"Boulevard De La Madeline" is an interesting number, it's French accordion intro with Spanish style acoustic guitar is totally unlike anything they had ever recorded and it's near classical piano seems to anticipate their new "sound" they'd be exploring as The Moody Blues Mk. II (see this earlier posting for more on that). Laine's vocals are amazing and there's this oddly discordant volume pedal effect on the guitar that makes the feedback almost sound like a string section movement!

"This Is My House (But Nobody Calls)" is one of my fave Mk.I Moodie's records.  It's poppy but rocks along with characteristic high backing vocals and some bursts of bluesy/jangling guitar (that reminds me of the "folk rock" guitar on early Simon & Garfunkel albums) behind some barrel-house piano tinkling. This would be the band's last Denny Laine/Clint Warwick single in the U.S. with London choosing not to issue this line up's posthumous 45 "Life's Not Life"/"He Can Win" (U.K. Decca F 12543 January 1967).  The next time London issued a U.S. Moody Blues 45 the band would have a new sound and line-up with May 1967's "Fly Me High"/"I Really Haven't Got The Time" (London 45-20030).

Both sides can be found on the still in print Deram CD reissue of their debut U.K. L.P. "The Magnificent Moodies" as bonus tracks (contained with their entire U.K. Decca Mk.I discography)

Hear "Boulevard De La Madeline":

Hear "This is My House (But Nobody Calls)":

Thursday, August 14, 2014

We've Got A Record Label!!

Anorak Thing is proud to announce our new venture in the form of a 45 rpm record label called Pennytown Sound.  This fall we will be reissuing Mod Fun's 1984 debut 45 "I Am With You" c/w "Happy Feeling" direct from the original quarter inch master.  This will be the first time both tracks have been available on 45 rpm since 1984 and the first time "Happy Feeling" has been reissued ("I Am With You" was issued on Mod Fun's Get Hip CD compilation "Past Forward" and is slated to appear on Cherry Red's 4 CD mod compilation "Millions Like Us"). This will be a limited run of 500 copies as a 30th Anniversary edition of this exciting record.  For more details watch this space or go to our Facebook page (and please "
like" us!).

Sunday, August 10, 2014

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The Fortunes Part Two

THE FORTUNES-Fire Brigade/Painting A Shadow United Artists U.S. UA 50280 1968

One questions the wisdom of the United Artists label having The Fortunes record a version of The Move's "Fire Brigade" for the U.S. market but it beat The Move's issue of the number on these shores by precisely a month hitting the streets in February 1968. It failed to garner any activity, as did the Move's subsequent release (on A&M 914) and remains, like The Idle Race's "Here We Go Round The Lemon Tree" one of those curious U.S. only releases by a British band that has folks wondering just what the hell their American labels were playing at. This was The Fortunes sixth U.S. 45 (we discussed their previous American issue here). "Fire Brigade" was also issued in the Netherlands (United Artists  US 25.748)

The Fortune's version of "Fire Brigade" is a slick affair, it's pretty much a carbon copy of the original right down to the jangly guitar, the Duane Eddy style bass line, the high backing "ooooo's".  Not by any means terrible just, well sort of pointless as it doesn't really deviate much from the original at all except the freaky extended jam at the track's end.  Obviously someone at United Artists or the band's management thought big things were in store for this as they made a promo film for it with the band clowning around  "Benny Hill" style on a vintage fire engine in fireman's gear with dolly birds which you can watch below!

"Painting A Shadow" is a slow, dirge like ballad that's positively dreadful schlock. Ack!

Both numbers have not been reissued to my knowledge.


Friday, August 1, 2014

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Farlowe Does D'Abo

CHRIS FARLOWE-Handbags And Gladrags/Everyone Makes A Mistake U.S. Immediate ZS7 5005 1968

Mike D'Abo's opus "Handbags And Gladrags" has been covered FAR too many times in my book. Farlowe's was the first hitting the streets in November 1967 in the U.K. as Immediate IM 065, it's American issue would not see a release until February 1968.

"Handbags And Gladrags" was not only written by then Manfred Mann lead vocalist  D'Abo but he produced it as well and a bang on job he did too in my estimation.  It's actually suited to Chris Farlowe's voice and the top notch arrangement with strings, recurring muzaky harmonica and some crashing drumming (possibly the work of Arthur Greenslade?) which do the tune massive justice.  My favorite part of the tune has always been subtle guitar lick played right after the main chorus that gives it a nice atmospheric, almost jazzy feel.

For me the money has always firmly been on the flip side.  "Everyone Makes A Mistake" got a lot of mileage from me on the turntable in my DJ days many years ago and the punters always seemed to dig it. Driven along by some great percussion (hand claps/conga and tambourine) and some gritty guitar, funky organ and a totally soulful melody that makes the number sound like something Farlowe would've cut in '65!

Chris Farlowe at The Star Club 1968

Both tracks are available on the Chris Farlowe Immediate records era compilation CD "Handbags And Gladrags: The Immediate Collection".

Hear "Handbags And Gladrags":

Hear "Everyone Makes A Mistake":