Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Great Forgotten U.K. 60's Sides: George Martin's Theme One

GEORGE MARTIN & HIS ORCHESTRA-Theme One/Elephants And Castles U.K. United Artists UP 1194 1967

"The Move-Flowers In The Rain" is usually the answer to a pub quiz question  in England that asks "What was the first record played on Radio One"?.  This is not correct from what I have gathered.  At 7:00 A.M. on September 30, 1967 The B.B.C. launched Radio One, their first all pop music radio station (established in the wake of the outlawing of the popular Pirate Radio) and the first sound listeners heard was Robin Scott introducing an orchestral but modern piece called "Theme One" by George Martin. Former Pirate Radio DJ Tony Blackburn then came on and played "Flowers In The Rain" .

"Theme One" first came to these ears in 1996 when the big Easy/Kitsch/Theme tune music craze began (which perfectly suited my randy dandy boy about town self) and swallowed me whole. One of my first comps of many of this genre was  "The Sound Gallery 2" which "Theme One" so elegantly closed and was pretty much required party music in my abode for the rest of the 90's.

One is immediately taken by "Theme One" with it's '66-'67 Macca style bass licks, regal trumpets, sweeping strings all under this wonderful pseudo psychedelic wash called "phasing" (aka "skying", a month after The Small Faces "Itchycoo Park" used the same technique on  drum segment) . Classical music it is not. It was later covered by Van der Graff Generator (1972) and Cozy Powell (1979) .

The B-side "Elephants And Castles" is not nearly as swinging. Based around a kitschy organ riff it's pretty Muzaky and verges on elevator music (and not really in the cool "Sound Gallery" style of easy either).

"Theme One" was issued on the essential but out of print CD compilation 'The Sound Gallery Volume two" (which is where this track first came to my attention) and on a still available CD titled "Highlights From 50 Years Of Recording" a slimmed down version of an extensive collection of his material.

Hear "Theme One":

Hear "Elephants And Castles":

Thursday, November 20, 2014

November's Picks

We're doing November's picks a little earlier than usual to plug a new DJ night a few friends of mine and I have launched in the City of Brotherly Love.  This month's picks are some of the 45's I'll be laying down at Kung Fu Necktie next week, won't you put on your dancing shoes and come on down?

1. THE DELLS-"It's Not Unusual" U.S. Vee Jay VJ 764
Tucked away on the flip of the original issue of  the 1965 "Stay In My Corner"  is this storming uptempo cover of Tom Jone's most famous number that really swings literally making it their own by not just increasing the tempo but pulling out all stops in doing it.

2. GARNET MIMMS AND THE ENCHANTERS-"Tell Me Baby" U.S. United Artists  UA 694
One of my fave Garnet Mimm's numbers is this call and response stormer from 1964.  So loved by The Who that they covered it AND it's B-side "Anytime You Want Me" in their live set throughout most of  '65.  Give a listen to Garnet's forceful delivery and see why:

3. JAMO THOMAS-"I Must Holler" U.S. Chess 1971
Besides his famous "I Spy For The FBI" Jamo Thomas did not cut a lot of singles in the 60's.  This one is from 1966 and is a mid tempo slow boiler with some smooth /laid back falsetto vocals from him on top of an infectious, bluesy little guitar lick reminiscent of "Smokestack Lightning".

4. THE OLYMPICS-"Mine Exclusively" U.S. Mirwood  5513
Topping off the equally popular B-side "Secret Agents" is this track from 1966.  One of the many tunes performed live by my U.K. 60's mod heroes The Action, this tune is without a doubt one of my faves by the Olympics coming off somewhere in the vicinity of an uptempo Temptations number in my estimation.

5. THE PHIL UPCHURCH COMBO-"You Can't Sit Down" U.K. Sue WI-4005
Chicago guitarist Phil Upchurch is behind one of the most monster instrumental shakers that ranks right up their with "Green Onions" in my book. Dating from 1961 originally, this two sided smoker never fails to get things moving, on either side.

6. EDDIE FLOYD-"Holding On With Both Hands" U.S. Stax 45-246
Beneath the monster A-side "Big Bird" is this track which sounds nothing like something issued in 1968. Meshed perfectly underneath the trademark Memphis horns and twangy Steve Cropper Telecaster licks this mid tempo burner has always been a choice of mine to spin.

7. TONY CLARKE (and YOU his audience)-"Ain't Love Good, Ain't Love Proud" U.S. Chess 1894
The "live" sound of this May 1964 shouter has always been in dispute.  Was it really "live" or was this added in the studio?  The debate continues, but regardless this track gets things moving with lots of funky handclapping and smooth female backing vocals.

8. THE MANHATTANS-"I Wanna Be Your Everything" U.S.Carnival 507
Released on the legendary New Jersey label Carnival in 1964 this number is devoid of a lot of the guts that propel most of the songs on this list but that doesn't detract from it in any way as it's a perfect number with a surprisingly simple groove that doesn't leave your mind easily.

9. CHRISTINE KITRELL-"Call His Name" U.S. Federal 45-12540
Perfect gritty, but upbeat r&b from 1965 that sounds honestly like it was recorded much earlier (it was later issued on King in 1968 sowing more confusion) with some interesting breaks but sitting nicely along any smokers from Sue records 1963-1964.

10. THE SOUL SISTERS-"Good Time Tonight" U.S. Sue 10-005
And speaking of can't go wrong with a Soul Sisters 45 on Sue and since we're all about good times, this number pretty much encapsulates what our intentions are. So come by and hit the floor and take a drink, and by all means "get tight" too.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Geno Washington Documentary Trailer

Holy shit!  I stumbled across this on YouTube the other night and know nothing at all about this, but I'm damned excited.  If anyone has any info we'd love to hear about it, it looks great and there's no sign of Bono in it!!

We've Got The Action...pre-ordered that is....

Okay kids , if you've been remotely following this blog you'll know that The Action are running neck and neck for the #1 position in my heart for the "Favorite Band Of All Time" title with The Small Faces.  We might have a winner and they're a five piece from Kentish Town. Well just when you thought there were no more unreleased cuts laying around by our boys yesterday morning I received word from my good pal Johnny Bluesman that there were 4 Action cuts exhumed from the vaults being issued on a limited edition 10" E.P. (as well as a CD E.P.) coming at us next month.

If you were lucky enough to score the deluxe edition of their phenomenal book "In The Lap Of The Mods" it came with a mock up acetate of their incredible Decca demo recording of The Temptations "(Girl) Why You Wanna Make Me Blue". For those of you who missed that it is contained here on the E.P. along with an alternate recording of "In My Lonely Room" (the flipside of their 1964 debut 45) from the same recording session.  Also included is a previously unheard cover of The Impressions "You'll Want Me Back" (the flip of "It's Alright") and a previously unreleased Reggie King original called "Fine Looking Girl" recorded when the band were still known as The Boys.

To get all the details and pre-order you copy head on over yonder.