Monday, February 29, 2016

February's Picks

1. THE PYRAMIDS-"The Mule"
The Pyramids were primarily known for their rocksteady records and cutting discs under a variety of names (see here for more). This flip side to the tepid "Mexican Moonlight" is this Equals styled rocker (produced coincidentally by Eddie Grant) kicking off with some groovy "hep hep heps" sax and a storming Equals-like riff with a 101mph pace that never falters.

2. GIUDA-"You Can Do Everything"
I'm a little late to the party digging these boot boy glam/ aggro merchants who sound straight off of one of the "Junkshop Glam" CD comps but hey I live under a rock so.....  There ain't much that moves me musically anymore from across the pond as it seems to be the same old tired ass garage bands recycling the same riffs and certain Medway combos hiding behind their "moon/June" song lyrics or ripping off Barry Gray so this band is a breath of fresh air for now in between buying $75 reggae 45's with their Jook meets The Sweet groove.

3. FRIEND & LOVER-"Reach Out In The Darkness"
Forget the whole hippie ethos here the production and powerful vocals negate any Utopian "love your brother" naive bullshit message here. Listen to that bass (that's almost "bass n' drums", stick that in your pipe Stoned Roses) and jangly guitar on the main chorus, damn. Back in the 80's I always thought the B-52's would have done a great version of this as I could easily imagine Fred singing this with Cindy and Kate.  I should have told him that when he was trying to pull me at an Empire State Soul Club dance back then.

4. THE KOOL-"Step Out Of Your Mind"
Produced by the great Keith Mansfield (see #10) this 1969 U.K. cover of The American Breed number is an "all hands on deck/everything including the kitchen sink" top notch UK 60's production that's nothing short of god damn amazing! Dig that brass!!

5. FREDDIE SCOTT-"Same Old Beat"
Mrs. Anorak and I are big fans of the Showtime series "Shameless" so a few weeks back when this number came on during an episode I was blown away though I somehow expected it was one of those zillions of "new soul that sounds like old soul" I was pleasantly relived to find it was a 1965 side by Freddie Scott!!

6. RONNIE LANE-"Anymore For Anyone"
God bless Ronnie Lane.  He was one of the coolest guys in the Small Faces, wrote the bulk of all the great Faces numbers and jacked it in when he got tired of Rod "Stomach Pump" Stewart's bullshit and fucked off to do his own thing that was better than anything that the post Ronnie Faces or Humble Pie ever cooked up. This is one of my faves, perfect for the end of the day after dinner watching the sun set with a beer in hand surveying your manor. Life ain't always grand but it's a fuck of a lot better with a little Ronnie Lane in it.

7. THE RUDIES-"Train To Vietnam"
Hey let's take "Train To Skaville" and "Skinhead Moonstomp" and rewrite it about Vietnam.  Sounds corny but I am nonetheless intrigued by the music...

8. THE TAGES-"My Home Town"
Thanks to my old man and his old country music I grew up with an appreciation for songs with a story to them. Case in point this Tages # that was only released on a flexi about a delusional guy headed home convinced that there will be a celebration waiting for him at the train station with a brass band, the mayor giving him the key to town and his parents waiting for him.  Of course he arrives and..."Saturday I reached the station didn't see the delegation, must have taken wrong train home to town, my home town".

9. TRAVIS WAMMACK-"Louie Louie"
I picked this 45 up a few months back having been familiar with his "Scratchy" 45 from way back and was pleasantly surprised by this raunchy Link Wray meets frat rock take on the old Kingsmen standard. If I had a DJ night this would be one of my standards...

10. TONY NEWMAN-"Soul Thing"
This funky 1970 instrumental is impossible to lay hands on thanks to all the funk/break beats jack asses who were devouring this shit left and right a decade ago but you can't help dig it with full on Hammond and horns treatment thanks to Keith Mansfield (and I'm sure, Alan Hawkshaw on organ)  and the rest of the K.P.M. crew (also cut as a vocal version by James Royal as "The House Of Jack").

Friday, February 26, 2016

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The Dead Sea Fruit

DEAD SEA FRUIT-Kensington High Street/Put Another Record On U.S. Atco 45-6480 1967

For a better part of almost two decades I was under the mistaken idea that "Kensington High Street" by the Dead Sea Fruit was actually a Pete Townshend composition because I'd read it in the liner notes of a "Rubble" compilation LP. It would seem I was incorrect, as was my source (I never bothered to look at the spelling credits on this 45 which were "Townsend").

Regardless "Kensington High Street" is a brilliant little tune from a curiously named British quintet who released two singles and one LP on the curiously named Camp label in 1967. "Kensington.." is a very English '67 slice of pop that would not all all sound out of place among The Kinks material from that period or Cat Stevens '67 for that matter punctuated by some enthusiastic "hey" shouts at intervals and gratuitous amounts of "la la la's". With a simple backing of guitar, bass, drums and Farfisa and kicking off with a little guitar lick nicked from Bach's "Jesu Joy Of Man's Desiring" (later used by The Move in "Cherry Blossom Clinic Revisited") it's pretty darn infectious.

"Put Another Record On" suffers from too much of a New Vaudeville Band influence from it's dreadful muted trumpet intro and equally deplorable 1920's crooner style lead vocal (that eventually goes away for a bit rendering the track , briefly, like a throw away Lovin' Spoonful cut).

"Put Another Record On" was titled "Loulou (Put Another Record On") in France where the band were based as a covers act and I have read that it topped the charts there though I cannot confirm if that is 100% correct.  There are three clips of the band miming on French TV in ridiculous hippie/Roaring 20's garb (including both tracks from this single) which can be viewed below on good old YouTube. They later released a full (untitled) LP in the U.K. (Camp 603 001 1967) which is pretty rare.

"Kensington High Street" surfaced on Past and Present's "Piccadilly Sunshine Volume 3" while "Put Another Record On" has thankfully not.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

10 Skinhead Cash-In's

"Skinheads", no terms has ever struck fear and bewilderment into the hearts and minds of the public in Britain in the late 60's and early 70's.  Yet in 1969 skinheads were a viable commercial market commodity in the U.K., so much so that records were being cut in the U.K. and Jamaica to capitalize on the craze.  Some are viewed with derision by purists as being "exploitative" in nature (witness the horror, and understandably so, of Jonathan King's cash in "Johnny Reggae" by The Piglets see below). Anyway here are ten tracks issued during the skinhead craze in the U.K. in 1969-1971. Interestingly despite the view among some hardcore purists about these records most of them are extremely collectible and thus ultra expensive.

1. SYMARIP-"Skinhead Moonstomp" Treasure Isle TI 7050 1969
Symarip (who had previously recorded for Columbia Blue Beat as The Bees AND The Pyramids on President, among other monikers) took Derrick Morgan's "Moon Hop" and nicked the vocal intro from Sam & Dave's "I Thank You" to create the greatest skinhead cash-in of all time characterized by it's infectious/raucous "yay yay yay yah yah yeah yeah" chorus on top of a funky rocksteady groove while lead singer Roy Ellis ad libs. One of the first and best of the genre.

2. DESMOND RILEY-"Skinhead A Message To You" Downtown DT 450 1969
Starting with a pun on Prince Buster's "don't call me scarface" line from "Al Capone" ("don't call me skinhead, my name is John, John the Baptist"), ""Skinhead A Message To You" is a public service announcement aimed at decreasing aggro  ("wear your boots but don't kick nobody") above a fairly simple repetitive rocksteady riff that's reliant entirely on the cheeky delivery of the vocalist and a title paying tribute to Dandy's (Livingstone) legendary "Rudy A Message To You" from two years prior (Ska Beat JB 273) .

Scan c/o

3. JOE THE BOSS-"Skinhead Revolt" Joe JRS 9 1970
"Skinhead Revolt" is a funky little rocksteady instrumental (not unlike the Mohawks) with a groovy trombone bit (Rico?) and organ behind a reggae groove occasionally punctuated by shouts of "skinhead revolt" from someone in the band. Released on the flip of "Tony B's Theme" on the short lived Joe label. I know f*ck all about this record! Another mega rare one!

4. PETER WYNGARDE-"The Hippie And the Skinhead" LP track "Peter Wyngarde" RCA SF 8087 1970
From actor Peter Wyngarde's bizarre and rare 1971 RCA album this track begins with Peter reading a letter to a newspaper from two skinheads girls clarifying their appearance and philosophy. It then degenerates into an odd ball country musical backing track with Wyngarde going on in full on camp thespian style about a skinhead who going "queer bashing" who meets a gay gentleman outside public gents whom he starts beating up to discover is actually a woman disguised as a man and they fall in love...WTF?!  It of course takes on an even more strange route when Wyngarde was arrested (decades before George Michael) in 1975 for "gross indecency" and "opportuning" in the public gents.

New York Times July 19, 1969

5. THE HOT ROD ALL STARS-"Skinhead Speaks His Mind" U.K. HR 104 1970
Another funky rocksteady/rude boy reggae instrumental with shouts punctuating it with a echo ladden vocal effect like that used on the famous "Double Barrel" by Dave & Ansil Collins (Techniques TE 901 August 1970) with the "vocalist" (I use that term loosely) occasionally crooning "skinhead" to the tune of "Amen". Another high dollar value 45.

Image c/o

6. THE CHARMERS-"Skinhead Train" Explosion EX 2045 1971
Starting out with a Syramip style intro "okay skinheads, get up and get set, grab you bag you kit and get fit" above a funky little groove with some sharp horns and hysterical ad-libs by the vocalist ("they say ride on, we're riding on to see Momma Popcorn.." and "this is the skinhead train. If you ain't a skinhead then get off somewhere and have a cough. You got to be a skinhead or else man it's like you're dead" this track is not without it's charm thanks to it's infectious groove which makes its completely danceable.

7. CLAUDETTE-"Skinheads A Bash Them" Grape GR-3020 1970
Heads up to my pal John Burns who hipped me to the fact that this number uses the extremely racist term "Paki" multiple times ("skinheads say Paki them can't reggae...") in this otherwise groovy (in a purely musical sense) little number that confuses me now that I listened to the lyrics more closely. I've known this song for the past twenty years and until Mr. Burns schooled me on the lyrics. Is it a call to cease and desist racist bashing or...? You take or opinions, please.  The musical backing is basically the same groove laid down by Laurel Aitken on his "Pussy Price" from the same year (Nu Beat NB 046). Which came first? So many questions....

8. THE PIGLETS-"Johnny Reggae" Bell BLL 1180 1971
There is no better (or possibly worse depending on which way you look at it) example of skinhead exploitation than Jonathan King's "Johnny Reggae". With it's annoying tarty harpie "vocals" (King said it was session vocalist Barbara Kay) going on about Johnny Reggae above an awful cod reggae backing that's more Mud or Edison Lighthouse than The Hot Rod Allstars or The Maytals it's a classic example of exploitation at it's most contrived.  It rose to # in the U.K. in October 1971 no doubt sending shivers up the spines of every crop top in Britain.

9. THE HOT ROD ALLSTARS-"Skinheads Don't Fear" Torpedo TOR 5 1970
Another mega rare/in demand one, this jaunty early 70's rocksteady instrumental on the Torpedo label (home to all five of this band's singles, all of which will set you back an easy $100+ a piece if you can find them) is fairly pedestrian if it wasn't for some slightly off key Farfisa organ adding a bit of sweetener to the otherwise nondescript groove. The band (presumably an collection of studio musicians) also cut the curiously named "Skinhead Moondust" on the flip of their "Moonhop In London" 45 ( Torpedo TOR 10).

10. THE MOHAWKS-"Skin Head Shuffle" Pama PM 798 1970
As we have mentioned before elsewhere here I'm sure, The Mohawks were long touted by uninformed skinheads everywhere for ages as either a A.) band of skinheads or B.) a Jamaican band.  Now we all know they were a British music library session band grouped around K.P.M. main organist Alan Hawkshaw and that most of their skinhead associations came because their singles were released on the primarily reggae label Pama. They were mostly funky Hammond led soul instrumentals with infrequent forays into reggae, at first anyway.  Eventually they cut a few sides with a reggae-fied beat like this rare offering from 1970.

Reader John South reached out to us and wrote:
"Just thought I'd point out that the group backing most of the Reggae singles you listed are a UK band named 'The Cimarons', 4 out of the 10 records listed are them, they are actually the 'Hot Rod All Stars' and to a lesser degree 'Joe's All Stars'(the Rudies also did some for the Joe label). The Cimarons backed Laurel Aitken on all his Pama Nu-beat sides."

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Jon Savage has published an excellent book "1966" an ode to what will always be my favorite year for music (also the year of my birth).  Ace issued an accompanying 48 track double CD put together by Savage with help from Ady Croasdell that's actually an incredible collection of tunes both well known and obscure from the year that spawned it's title. For me 1966 has always been a defining moment in music, especially for rock n roll (and for soul and jazz to a lesser degree).  I would put about 90% of that change down to drugs. I'm not a sociologist or some intellectual nor am I a perpetual student writing their umpteenth dissertation so I won't bother to explain that but I decided that it would be fun to come up with 48 of my own personal pics from 1966 not contained on the Ace set all, like their compilation, 7" 45 tracks in no particular order.

1. DEAN PARRISH-"Tell Her" US Boom 60,012
2. DAVID BOWIE-"I Dig Everything" UK Pye 7N 17157
3. OTIS REDDING-"Try A Little Tenderness" US Volt 45-141
4. THE FOUR TOPS-"Standing In The Shadows Of Love" US Motown M-1102
5. THE TAGES-"Miss Mac Baren" Sweden Plantina PA 130
6. KENNY & THE KASUALS-"Journey To Tyme" US Mark Ltd.  MR 1006
7. GOOGIE RENE COMBO-"Smokey Joe's La La" US Class C-1517
8. TUESDAY'S CHILDREN-"Summer Leaves Me With A Sigh" UK  Columbia DB 8018
9. THE ROLLING STONES-"Paint It, Black" UK Decca F 12395
10. GABOR SZABO-"Walk On By" US  Impulse 45-244
11. THE RAVIN' BLUE-"Love" US Monument 45-968
12. THE RICHARD KENT STYLE-"Go Go Children" UK Columbia DB 7964
13. THE SHOTGUN EXPRESS-"I Could Feel The Whole World Turn Round" UK Columbia DB 8025
14. JAMO THOMAS-"I Must Holler" US Chess 1971
15. BEVERLEY-"Happy New Year" UK Deram DM 101
16. THE OUTSIDERS-"Time Won't Let Me" US Capitol 5573
17. EDDIE FLOYD-"Things Get Better (When I'm With You") US Stax S-187
18. ZOOT MONEY & THE BIG ROLL BAND-"Let's Run For Cover" UK Columbia DB 7876
19. MARC BOLAN-"The Third Degree" UK Decca F 12413
20. THE CREATION-"Making Time" UK Planet PLF 116
21. THE ARROWS featuring DAVIE ALLAN-"Blues Theme" US Tower 295
22. J.J. JACKSON-"Boogaloo Baby" US. Cala 119
23. THE REG GUEST SYNDICATE-"Underworld" UK Mercury MF 927
24. JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE-"Hey Joe" UK Polydor 56139
25. J.J. BARNES-"Day Tripper" US Ric Tic  RT-115
26. THE MONKEES-"Last Train To Clarksville" US Colgems 66-1001
27. SIR LATTIMORE BROWN-"Shake And Vibrate" US Sound Stage 7 SS45-2575
28. BENNY HILL-"Garden Of Love" UK Pye 7N 1026
29. THE RIOT SQUAD-"I Take It That We're Through" UK Pye 7N 17092
30. THE FLIES-"I'm Not Your Stepping Stone" UK Decca F 12533
31. THE MAMAS AND THE PAPAS-"I Saw Her Again Last Night" US Dunhill  D-4031
32. CHARLIE RICH-"Love Is After Me" US Hi  45-2116
33. KIM FOWLEY-"The Trip" UK Island WI-278
34. GILBERT SHELTON ENSEMBLE-"If I Was A Hell's Angel" ESP  Disk 4501
35. THE GUESS WHO-"It's My Pride" Canada  Quality 1863X
36. THE HERBAL MIXTURE-"Machines" UK Columbia DB 8083
37. THE MIRACLES-"(Come Round Here) I'm The One You Need" US Tamla T-54140
38. DARRELL BANKS-"Our Love (Is In The Pocket) " US Revilot RV-201
39. THE RAMSEY LEWIS TRIO-"A Hard Day's Night" US Cadet 5525
40. THE FOUR SEASONS-"Beggars Parade" US Phillips 40370
41. DONOVAN-"Mellow Yellow" US Epic 5-10098
42. JOHN'S CHILDREN-"The Love I Thought I'd Found" U.K. Columbia DB 8030
43. PETULA CLARK-"Colour My World" UK Pye 7N 1218
44. THE ID featuring JEFF ST. JOHN-"Big Time Operator" Australia Spin EK-1606
45. SCOTT WALKER-"Mrs. Murphy" UK Phillips BE 12597
46. MABLE JOHN-"Your Good Thing (Is About To End)" US Stax 45-192
47. THE BYRDS-Eight Miles High" US Columbia 4-43578
48. THE ISLEY BROTHERS-"Take Some Time Out For Love" US Tamla 54133

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Out And About: In N' Out 2/18/16

In an effort to do something new I have decided to reach out to my vast array of DJ pals and post their Top 10 spins and their upcoming nights to keep things a little fresh and different here.  Our first entry is inaugurated by my old SF pals Carlos (of the Mod Male blog fame) and DJ Major Sean (both of the old Diabolik night) and cohorts on Thursday February 18th in San Franciso at the Make Out Room. For more info go to In N' Out.

Carlos Top 10 Spins:
1. The Debonaires - Eenie, Meenie, Gypsaleenie (Golden World)
2. The Bamboos - Tighten Up (Kay-Dee)
3. The Stance Brothers - Pick'n'Roll (Stance Records)
4. The Radors (sic) - Finger Licking Chicken (Leoso Records) 
5. Tyrone Davis - Is It Something You've Got? (Dakar) 
6. Bobby Taylor - It's Growing (Gordy) 
7. Andy Lewis with Lynda Laurence -See You There (Acid Jazz)
8. Barrino Brothers - Try It, You'll Like It (Invictus) 
9. Alfreda Brockington - Your Love Has Got Me Chained and Bound (Phil L.A. Of Soul)
10. Bobby Marchan - Shake Your Tambourine (Cameo)

DJ Major Sean Top 10 Spins:
1. Pantherman-Pantherman (Polydor) 2. Sundae Times-Aba-Aba (Sintonia/President) 3. Big Wheel-Curly Girl (Blossom) 4. Del Shannon-Lead Along (Imperial) 5. Hector- Lady-Lady (DJM) 6. ? & The Mysterians-Sha La La (Super K) 7. Sight & Sound-Alley Alley (Fontana) 8. Giggles-Just Another Saturday Night (EMI) 9. Sandwich-Silly Milly (CBS) 10. David Bowie-Holy Holy (RCA Victor)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Great British 7" Freakouts: The Pretty Things

THE PRETTY THINGS-Talkin' About The Good Times/Walking Through My Dreams Germany Columbia C 23 732 1967

Most 60's British r&b bands fell like Dracula to garlic and a sharpened stake to psychedelia. The Pretty Things weathered the storm easing from r&b into psych (via what I like to call their "mod" period in '65-'66) before getting freaky much like The Stones and The Yardbirds. To me some of The Stones attempts at psychedelia were sometimes embarrassing with poor track selection (half of "Their Satanic Majesties Request" for instance) and awful production and the Yardbirds were just bluesmen on acid while Pagey was ripping off Davy Graham and Bert Jansch.  The Pretty Things had a great track selection of originals in their psychedelic period and a great producer  in Norman Smith (also responsible for the first Pink Floyd album and two of their three Syd Barrett era 45's and their two post Syd ones).

February 1968's coupling of "Talkin' About The Good Times" b/w "Walking through My Dreams" (U.K. Columbia DB 8353, US Laurie LR 3458) picks up where November '67's "Defecting Grey"/ "Mr. Evasion" 45 (U.K. Columbia DB 8300) left off as far as psychedelia is concerned. The credit for shaping the Pretties psychedelic sound to my ears is owed in no small part to members Jon Povey (keyboards) and Wally Waller (bass) and their backing vocals (and their writing assistance to lead singer Phil May and guitarist Dick Taylor). The Pretties also get high marks for this period for using the Mellotron and much like The Zombie's "Oddysey And Oracle" it's used sparingly and tastefully not a brutal assault like The Stones "We Love You" (which I dig but it always came off as "bad trip" music opposed to the Pretties, Moodys, Zombies and Pink Floyd's pastoral feel of the instrument).

"Talkin' About The Good Times" is in my estimation the most psychedelic record The Pretties ever cut. I'd prefer to skip any Pink Floyd comparisons that are often thrown about by people on this era. It's clockwork guitar/balalaika/sitar intro reminds me of something off of the Tomorrow LP and it's immediately meshed with loads of Mellotron and the band's layers of harmonies (dig the Beach Boys style a capella bit towards the end) and then it fades out with a hypnotic riff from Dick Taylor (and more Mellotron).

"Waking Through My Dreams" is  less trippy with subtle organ/piano beneath the bands incredible harmonies, with guitars playing descending licks and crashing drums from Skip Allen (who would depart soon after to be replaced by former Tomorrow drummer John "Twink" Alder). The fade out once again showcases the perfect meshing of their vocal abilities and hypnotic riffs beneath a layered tapestry of sound.

Both cuts are featured on several Pretty Things collections, the most current being "Come See Me:The Very Best of The Pretty Things". "Talkin' About The Good Times" cropped up on Bam Caruso's "Rubble 3: Nightmares In Wonderland" collection while "Walking Through My Dreams" was issued on the "Nuggets II" box set, "Psychedelia At Abbey Road" and "Rubble 2: Pop Sike Dreams" compilations.

Hear "Walking Through My Dreams" live BBC:

Hear "Walking Through My Dreams":

Hear "Talking About The Good Times":