Friday, June 26, 2015

June's Picks

Portugal's rock n' roll scene in the mid 60's was pretty dismal partially owing to the country being ruled by a military dictatorship where most bands played it safe by being half assed Shadows impersonators.  Quinteto Academico (a 5 piece....Academic Quintet  or "Quinteto Academico" em Portugues) were an exception and though they played the instro game initially by '67 they smartened up a bit with this soul meets Brit r&b/freakbeat original (with a bridge that steals it's melody from Peter Paul & Mary's "I Dig Rock n' Roll Music" and a guitar solo that would fir right in any '66 U.S. garage 45).

2. HOYT AXTON-"Voodoo Blues"
From his stunning folk/blues LP "Saturday's Child" legendary this one is one of my fave tracks by this late great singer songwriter) responsible for a zillion hits.  With some gritty lyrics and a soulful delivery nicely accented by some subtle horns this is easily his best tune on the album.

My relationship with Sharon Jones is hit or miss.  Quite often I shied away from her because she was touted by all and sundry in a none too subtle way. I was recently purchasing my wife a birthday present in a women's clothing store and heard this cut from her 2010 LP "I Learned The Hard Way" and was floored.  All in my own time I guess, maybe it was the chorus, the subtle West Indian style horns maybe it was the lyrics, no matter it's all incredible.

4. ERIC BURDON & THE ANIMALS-"Gemini-The Madman"
By 1968 Zoot Money disbanded Dantalian's Chariot  and he  defected to The Animals who were on their last legs, after a brief spell with Soft Machine his guitarist Andy Summers joined for what would be the final Animals LP "Love Is" where they cut this 17:23 opus which at times brilliant but equally incredibly tedious until they segue into "The Madman Running Through The Fields" (Dantalian's sole 45). Hearing Burdon and Money trade off verses is well worth it all.

5. THE JAM-"Billy Hunt (remixed alternate version)"
One of the many gems of the deluxe "All Mod Cons" CD (beside Don Lett's excellent "Making of..." DVD) are the treasure trove of alternate versions like this one, which in my estimation sound better than the LP versions, or after 35 years of listening to the originals at least sound fresher.

I stumbled upon this incredible cover of the Richard Kent Style tune on YouTube recently and was blown away by this French group.  It's full of some nice fuzzy guitar and the horn section on the original is replaced by a suitably groovy Hammond organ instead.  FUCKING MAGIC!  Apparently it's from three years ago and was released on the German Soundflat label.

I grew up in a blue collar household where Country was KING.  My old man played country music every chance he could beat my rock n roll loving mom to the stereo and though it drove me round the bend at the time I'm happy he exposed me to something that I'd appreciate later in life, like this #1 U.S. C&W hit in the summer of '69.

8. DEE DEE WARWICK-"We're Doing Fine"
I really need to learn more about Dee Dee Warwick because she has done a host of tracks I had previously known by British artists.  I'd been listening to Billy J. Kramer's take on this for over 30 years (and Chris Farlowe's to a lesser extent) and it was great to hear her original version that was a B-side to "I Want To Be With You" on the Blue Rock label from '65.

9. TOM JONES-"Get Ready"
Here's a SMOKING version of the Temp's tune from Jonesy's 1968 Portuguese "Delilah" E.P. (not available anywhere else on 7" to my knowledge) and can be found on his highly recommended LP "Fever Zone" (with an equally boss take of "Keep On Running" on it) that is utterly over the top people!

Cheers to U.K. reader Steve Coleman for hipping me to this cruncher Billy childish & Co. Link Wray type instro complete with a hysterical pisstake verbal chatter/intro ala 60's girl group tune ("Is it true ee's really sporting a Bobbie Charlton these days?" "Yes already, that's why they call him combover mod").

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