Wednesday, March 30, 2016

March's Picks

1. THE BEE GEES-"Harry Braff"
My interest in 60's Bee Gees began by seeing a "Beat Club" clip of this on cable TV in 1984. Miraculously I found it on a Euro pressing of their 2nd British/US album "Horizontal" the very next day. "Harry Braff" is a bouncy/catchy little number cheering on a race car driver (fictional one would presume) and still stands as one of the best by the Brothers Gibb.

2. THE GAYLADS-"Africa"
This hot 1967 single cut on the famous Studio 1 label takes a ska rhythm and the vocals of a spiritual and creates one of the coolest B-sides ever heard on the genre (on the flip of The Soul Brother's "Hot Rod").

3. BOBBY JAMES-"Going Back To Philly"
This rocking, obscure little groover surprisingly comes from 1967.  Which totally surprises me as it sounds like something recorded much earlier.  Delivered in a frantic pace with barrel house piano and edgy guitar it's like a stripped down Fats Domino on a bad bender of booze and bennies.

Scan c/o

4. THE HOLLIES-"Too Many People"
The Hollies took this strong, group composed protest number from their 1966 untitled LP and ran with it.  It wasn't released in the U.K. but saw a release in four countries on the Continent. Powerful stuff backed by the band's incredible playing and top notch musical backing.

5.  THE SOUL CLAN-"Soul Meeting"
Solomon Burke, Arthur Conley, Don Covay, Ben E. King and Joe Tex convene in 1968 (presumably at Muscle Shoals) to cut a one off two sider.  This gets overlooked too often which is a shame as it's a great track. Perhaps the song itself wouldn't stand on its one by one of these artists solo but with the 5 of these who could go wrong?

6. LUIZ ECA-"Tristeza de Nos Dois"
A brilliant little jazzy/easy listening with mild bossa nova creeping intio the background behind swirling strings and moody ivory tinkling.

7. DEXY'S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS-"The Teams That Meet In Caffs"
Wow. 35 years later and the sheer brass power of this track still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and the churchy Hammond swirling beneath it all just seals the deal.  Quite possibly the best instrumental ever recorded in the 80's. Amazing.

8. AMEN CORNER-"Bend Me Shape Me"
Here's another Hammond n' horns killer. Amen Corner kick the crap out of The American Breed's "Bend Me Shape Me" with 100% octane soul powered almost entirely by their ballsy brass section with faint touches of B-3 that really builds.

9. HOUSE OF LORDS-"In The Land Of Dreams"
I honestly never paid attention to this number for the oh, three decades I've had it on a "Rubble" comp ("Rubble 15: 5,000 Seconds Over Toyland" to be exact). I recently came across it and I will say I was quite surprised by it's inoffensive psych pop by this one off Glasgow band, released in 1969 on on small B&C label.

10. BOBBY JAMESON-" Viet Nam"
I discovered this track through the excellent Jon Savage book "1966". Released in 1966 this incredible cacophony sounds insane. Starting with spooky organ then cutting into a raunchy lo-fi Bo Diddley groove which tells the semi autobiographical tale of a draft notice to go serve in Vietnam it's almost got too much going on at once to be able to comprehend .

Monday, March 28, 2016

10 Cool U.K. Mid 60's Songs That You Possibly Haven't Heard

Scan c/o

1. THE SUMMER SET-"What Are You Gonna Do" U.K. Columbia DB 8004 1966
The Summer Set cut just two singles in the U.K. (a cover of The Flower Pot Men's "Lets Go To San Francisco" was only released in the U.S. and on the Continent) , both in the fine West Coast harmony genre as their name implies. This was the flip of their debut, a cover of the Beach Boy's "Farmer's Daughter". It starts with some simple Farfisa and tight harmonies and breaks into a tough, Who '65 style basher that is punctuated by some Tremeloes/Marmalade style vocals during the chorus.

2. ONE IN A MILLION-"Hold On" U.K. CBS 202513 1967
From the flip of their debut 45 of "Use Your Imagination" comes this track that is reminiscent of Dave Dee, Dozy, Snoozy etc with some tough, fuzzed out guitar, mid tempo groove and a rough edged "beat group with balls" feel too.  The fuzz guitar solo is pre D.D.D.B.M, & T!

3. THE CYMBALINE-"Can You Hear Me" U.K. Mercury MF  918 1966
On the flip of their first Mercury 45, the mediocre  "Top Girl" comes this compelling little number packed tight with Beach Boys style harmonies, storming drums, and driving bass/Farfisa. My favorite part is during the chorus when the lead singer sings "Many a man has loved you, many a man has tried, many a man has loved you, many a man has cried" beneath a cool "Tired Of Waiting" style groove.

Scan c/o

4. JASON DEANE-"Ain't Got No Love" U.K. King KG 1060 1967
Starting off with a great Kinks style three chord intro with horns this number quickly picks up the pace with a soulful delivery and a frantic r&b delivery.  Deane sings very much in the Vince Taylor/Billy Fury (ie "I love Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran") style which makes this number all the more interesting as it melds pre-Beatles Brit rock n roll with gritty London r&b crossed with frantic "freakbeat" chops and James Brown style horns. Wiggy.

5.  TUESDAY'S CHILDREN-"Summer Leaves Me With A Sigh" U.K. Columbia DB 8018 1966
Staring with a clanging, distorted guitar that evokes '66 Yardbirds "Summer Leaves Me With A Sigh" is a perfect vehicle for the band's tight Hollies style harmonies.  In fact the number reminds me in many ways of "Coming From The Ground" a cut The Hollies gave to Sweden's Lee Kings in '67.

Scan c/o

6. MUD-"You're My Mother" CBS 203002 1967
This lyrically perverse, almost incestuous number sounds like it could have come from the quirky pen of Roy Wood in the '67 Move era. On the flip of future glam rockers Mud's debut 45 "Flower Power" this sits nicely between the harmonies of the Syn and the above mentioned pop quirkiness of The Move (throbby base and gypsy 12 string intact).

7. TEN FEET-"Factory Worker" U.K. RCA 1544 1966
On the flip of  their debut "Got Everything But Love", Ten Feet blend West Coast harmonies with inoffensive beat music delivered at an amphetamine driven pace whilst perfectly encapsulating the tale of the everyman in a nifty slice of 1966 social commentary.

8. THE TREND-"Shot On Sight" U.K. Page One POF 004 1966
This mid tempo 1966 groover on the B-side of "Boyfriends And Girlfriends" combines a catchy, driving riff reminiscent of The Troggs with horns and a cynical twist delivered in the colloquial lingo of the day ("I only want a peaceful life, not an all nite rave so if you think you're gonna lig and loon girl just dig your own grave"). Also released in the U.S. on Fontana F-1565.

Scan c/o

9. THE HUMAN INSTINCT-"Can't Stop Around" U.K. Mercury MF 951 1966
Formerly known as The Four Four's in their home land of New Zealand these Kiwis relocated to the U.K. where they became The Human Instinct and released a fine slew of singles on Mercury and Deram. This was their first and has the feel of a '65 beat group record with some fine bass/guitar interplay. No clip available on YouTube.

10. THE ROGER JAMES FOUR-"Better Than Here" U.K. Columbia DB 7829 1966
A cracking, frantic piece of frenetic freakbeat with soulful vocals, manic drums and a cool spacey organ played with what sounds like a Binson echo unit and a totally reverb soaked guitar solo. A perfect example of the beautiful melding of British beat, r&b and "freakbeat".

The Last of Them (On Decca Anyway)

THEM-Richard Cory/Don't You Know U.K. Decca F.12403 1966

No band is better served by a rock family tree diagram than Them. Their line-up was as stable as a West African republic in the four turbulent years that they together. By 1966 things were grinding to a halt with their second and final LP "Them Again" which ushered in 1966 (UK Decca LK 4751/US Parrot PAS 71008) was a collection of tracks recorded by no less than three or four of the eight different Van Morrison era Them line-ups and their were enough recriminations and spats in the group's turbulent history to write the plot of a Spinal Tap-like rock n roll mockumentary.

That said I am not at all certain who the players were on this which would be Them's final U.K. Decca 45 issued in May 1966 but I suspect owing to the line-up who toured the U.S. at the time this single was released it was Jim Armstrong (guitar), Alan Henderson (bass), Ray Elliot (keyboards) and David Harvey (drums). Strangely a latter Decca era recording "Friday's Child" would appear almost a year later coupled with "Gloria" on the A-side on the Major Minor label (MM 509).

Them at L.A's Whiskey-A-Go-Go May 1966

One would surmise that the choice of recording a version of Simon & Garfunkel's "Richard Cory" would be the idea of Them's manager Phil Solomon but seeing as Van Morrison leaped immediately into the singer/songwriter genre and turned his back on r&b with the dissolution of Them it is entirely possible that it was his idea. Regardless it's an interesting choice.  The delivery is faster than the S&G original and the funky intro riff is retained but the playing is actually lighter and more restrained than the original.  The track suits Van's vocals and though his phrasing is not as cynical and down trodden sounding as Paul Simon's it's an excellent interpretation.

Tommy Scott's composition "Don't You Know" had previously been given to fellow Belfast r&b aficionados The Wheels and was the flip side to their debut, September 1965's  "Gloria" (U.K. Columbia DB 7682). Them's version utilizes the same arrangement with an almost identical jazzy piano but where the Wheels use a harmonica Them opt for a more sophisticated flute that brings to mind jazzy/r&b era Moody Blues material.

Both sides are collected on Decca/Deram's comprehensive Them collection "The Story Of Them Featuring Van Morrison" and the newly released 3 CD set "The Complete Them 1964-1967" from Sony that captures even more tracks.

Hear "Richard Cory":

Hear "Don't You Know":

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Great Obscure U.K. 60's R&B Sides: Chris Barber with Ronnie Scott & Brian Auger

CHRIS BARBER'S SOUL BAND featuring RONNIE SCOTT & BRIAN AUGER-Morning Train/Finishing Straight U.K. Columbia DB 7461 1965

Here's a little known one that doesn't get a lot of mention, a none too common 1965 single by U.K. 60's jazz trombonist Chris Barber featuring fellow jazz legend Ronnie Scott on saxophone and Hammond player extraordinaire Brian Auger!

"Morning Train" is a swinging instrumental that would sound like some incidental B.B.C. Light Programme music is it wasn't for Auger's funky organ, a wonderful sax solo by Ronnie Scott and of course a solo by Chris Barber with an amazingly funky Mar-Keys style groove beneath it all. I am curious to know who the rest of the musicians were so if anyone knows pop us a line. It owes quite a bit to "Wade In The Water" melody wise (which isn't a bad thing).

"Finishing Straight" is more of a swing/jump style jazz number (minus involvement from Auger or Scott) that's not remotely interesting and was featured in a racing film called "Brands Hatch Beat".

"Morning Train" was comped on Psychic Circle's "On The Brink: Return Of the Instro Hipsters" CD.

Hear "Morning Train":

Barber of course was no stranger to British r&b, dig this footage of him jamming with Gary Farr & The T-Bones in 1966 (incidentally he made an incredible gospel/soul 45 with Chris Washington The T-Bones "If I Had A Ticket" UK CBS 202394 in 1966 as well) :

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Great Obscure U.K. 60's Sides: The Nashville Teens Do Randy Newman

THE NASHVILLE TEENS-The Biggest Night Of Her Life/Last Minute U.K. Decca F 12657 1967

The "American singer/songwriter" craze hit Britain in' 66-'67 when suddenly A&R men were foisting tunes by American songwriters (especially those on the West Coast) on their artists. This was of course nothing new but it did not seem to occur on such a large scale until the "American Invasion" in '66-'67 that saw U.S. rock n' roll groups touring Britain or more importantly, British labels issuing singles by American groups who were clearly jarred from their "Paul & Paula/ Santo & Johnny/surf music" comas by The "British Invasion" . One of those songwriters who had a massive impact  in the U.K. was Randy Newman. Alan Price had scored a massive U.K. hit with his "Simon Smith And His Amazing Dancing Bear" in February '67 (with another Newman composition "Tickle Me" on the flip side) , Julie Driscoll cut "If You Should Ever Leave Me" in April and Eric Burdon and the Animals had cut a version of "Mama Told Me Not To Come" (unreleased in the U.K. it would crop up on Eric's first post Animals U.S. LP "Eric Is Here" MGM E-4433 1967). Recording his stuff seemed like a sure fire hit.

Despite a steady career with Decca the Nashville Teens had not had a hit since April '65's "This Little Bird" which stalled at #38. In September 1967 they released their 9th single  for the label (and incidentally their next to last as well).  That single would be a Randy Newman composition "The Biggest Night Of Her Life". Eschewing the gritty mod/r&b/freakbeat of their previous four releases this track is a full on pop song with no expense spared with brass and strings behind the driving ivory tinkling and interesting stops (complete with backwards cymbals).  It's not a bad track it's just hard to imagine that it's the Nashville Teens performing it with all the bells and whistles that were thrown in (c/o one Vic Smith later to rechristen himself Vic-Coppersmith-Heaven when he produced the Jam the following decade).

If that wasn't a taste of something different the B-side, "Last Minute" (penned by lead singer Art Sharp),  is even further from what you'd expect. With it's disembodied/distant backing vocals, phlanged piano and an overall ominous feel to it all that seems to hint at a surreal and detached view of the mundane 9-5 world . It's no small wonder that it was finally unearthed to be used on a CD comp to re-launch the "Rubble" series "new Rubble Volume Six: Painting The Time"  in 2005.

Both sides were recently compiled on a dodgy looking CD called "Rockin' Back To Tobacco Road" (which has four studio cuts labelled "Recorded in Hungary", bootlegged in Hungary is more like it!) while "The Biggest Night Of Her Life" appeared on a CD called "Tobacco Road".

Hear "The Biggest Night Of Her Life":

Hear "Last Minute":

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The British Lion Orchestra aka Les Reed

THE BRITISH LION ORCHESTRA-The Girl On The Motorcycle/Theme From Girl On A Motorcycle (Souvenirs Of Stefan) U.S. Tetragrammaton T-1511 1968

The great Les Reed has a host of film scores under his belt and production tags (The Penny Peeps, Paul & Barry Ryan, Winston G etc) but my favorite will always be the shimmering, funky, kitschy soundtrack to the Alain Delon/Marianne Faithful celluloid turkey "Girl On A Motorcycle". Composed and arranged by Reed it was conducted by Denis Comper and Peter Knight (the latter had previously conducted the classical music on The Moody Blues "Days Of Future Passed" LP). The soundtrack LP released on Polydor in the U.K. and was issued in the States on Bill Cosby's fledgling Tetragrammaton label (which he ran with his manager Roy Silver).  However the title theme was never issued as a 7" in the U.K. (or anywhere else for that matter that I am aware of) but here in the U.S. it was released in December 1968 as T-1511 .  Curiously the main title theme was the flip side to the confusingly titled "Theme To Girl On A Motorcycle (Souvenirs Of Stefan)". This track was later covered with lyrics by Dana Gillespie on her rare 1968 US only LP "Foolish Seasons" (London PS 540) and as a schlocky/dreadful 45 by French artist Mirelle Mathieu (which was incidentally produced by Les Reed).

"The Girl On The Motorcycle" is a powerful piece to those of you not familiar with it. Starting off with a revving motorbike and vibes it shifts into a kitschy little groove of Hammond and congas before the horns kick in with an uptempo swing and then it all powers down with strings that sweep in and make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. And then its back to the organ and congas like an all night Swinging London party that never wants to stop.

"Souvenirs Of Stefan" is far less interesting.  It's not as uptempo and is more incidental music with it's muted trumpets, harpsichord and "romantic interlude" feel.  Next.

"I'm ready for my close up Mister Cardiff..." Marianne in "Girl On A Motorcycle".

RPM reissued the soundtrack on CD in 1996. Both tracks of this 45 are contained within.

Hear "The Girl On The Motorcycle":

Monday, March 14, 2016

10 Cool 45's On The Island Label (British Artists)

I could've just picked 10 ska/reggae 45's on Chris Blackwell's Island label but that would be too easy, so I stuck with releases by British artists in their WIP series. It's a damned shame someone hasn't done a proper Island A's and B's compilation as the label was responsible for quite a bit of stuff that has fallen between the cracks of their folky and prog material.

1. WYNDER K. FROG-"Green Door" WIP 6006 1967
The full on Hammond machine that was Wynder K. Frog was driven by the engine that was organist Mick Weaver and cut an incredible slew of singles for Island (5 singles in all, each worth seeking out) and three LP's (the first two of which are worth seeking out). This was their third Island 45 and their first on the labels pink WIP series full of 100 mph organ, hand claps and blaring, precision driven horns. To say it is dance floor friendly is somewhat of an understatement.

2. THE V.I.P.'s-"Straight Down To The Bottom" WIP 6005 1967
From the pen of the late great Jimmy Miller (who produced it as well) this record is an incredible two minute and ten second party with warbly piano, hand claps, cool call and response vocals and subtle congas that creates an incredible atmosphere that oozes London night club night life before L.S.D. and light shows. Their final 45 before mutating into Art (see below) and possibly the most sought after of Island's releases by British artists.

3. JULIEN COVEY & THE MACHINE-"A Little Bit Hurt" WIP 6009 1967
A monster two sided mod/r&b Hammond floor filler for the ages! Following a decidedly Spencer Davis Group style grove with great percussion,banging piano,  hand claps and wailing organ (a popular formula for Island 45's in '67 apparently) that make this the closest Britain ever came to creating a Mitch Ryder record. This single has been in high demand for the past 45 years and never seems to wane, no doubt in some small part to it being #49 in Kev Robert's  "Top 500 Northern Soul" book.

4. TRAFFIC-"Paper Sun" WIP 6002 1967
Allegedly composed in a hotel lobby in Newcastle (whilst sipping some local brown ale one would hope) this was Traffic's debut single that must have blown some minds especially being Steve Windwood's jump from the Spencer Davis Group and their mod Hammond n' handclap orgy that was "I'm A Man" but 5 months earlier. One can't help be entranced by it's buzzing (pun or no pun intended) dreamy backing vocals, tabla, sitar, flute, sax and tack piano. Lyrically the Summer of Love was not even in full bore and Traffic were already predicting the fall out here. Groovy, man (seriously it is).

5. THE SMOKE-"It Could Be Wonderful" WIP 6023 1967
The Smoke's history has been well documented elsewhere but suffice to say the majority of their material did not even get any U.K. airings as the band were much bigger in Germany and apparently France.  With just two 45's on U.K. Columbia including the banned "My Friend Jack" the band defected to Island where their debut was this soul infused cruncher.  Have a listen to the driving, fluid James Jamerson style bass line, crunching power pop power chords and the trippy little bit where a banjo comes in. Written by band members Geoff Gill, Mick Rowley and producer Jimmy Miller the band's time on Island was short owing to their reluctance to turn their back on a lucrative career in Germany to come back to the U.K. and plug their records (as a result this records follow up "Utterly Simple"/"Sydney Gill") was shelved.

6. NIRVANA-"Oh What A Performance" WIP 6016 1967
Like Wynder K. Frog Nirvana released so many 45's on Island it's hard to choose just one. This one has always been one of my favorites because it sort of eschews their toytown/orchestrated psych pop M.O. (which they had nailed in spades and I do love actually).  This is more of a rocking pop number without any psych pop trappings (and a rollicking piano c/o of guest Gary Wright) with a catchy chorus that won't leave your brain that sounds more like post r&b Manfred Mann than the orchestrated pop psych of say,  "Tiny Goddess" or "Pentecost Hotel".

7. SPOOKY TOOTH-"Sunshine Help Me" WIP 6057 1969
From the ashes of The V.I.P.'s via Art (see below) came Spooky Tooth, which was, in their earliest incarnation, basically the final V.I.P's line up plus New Jersey born vocalist/keyboardist Gary Wright. Their debut 45 ushered in 1968 sounding amazing thanks to Mike Harrison's soulful vocals matched with Gary Wright's shrill screeches beneath the latter's groovy Hammond along with a funky Hendrix influenced guitar riff chugging along and swatches of harpsichord. Sadly it went downhill from there for my tastes.....

8. RAY CAMERON-"Doing My Time" WIP 6003 1967
This bizarre prison themed 45 with both sides lyrically concerning incarceration produced by Jimmy Miller and label head Chris Blackwell penned by Ray Cameron and Alan Hawkshaw (best known as the man behind the Mohawks and the KPM All Stars). It's comes across like a musical combination of Georgie Fame's poppier CBS sides and lyrically like Zoot Money's more playful/tongue firmly in cheek material from the end of his Columbia career with some nice touches touches of fuzz guitar and ska flavored horns.

9. JETHRO TULL-"Song For  Jeffrey" WIP 6043
Jethro Tull had cut an amazing debut 45 as Jethro Toe (an intentional typo by their manager who was unhappy with their name choice) for MGM in early '68 and moved to Island for this release launched in September 1968.  Most of you will know it as it's the track they mime in the Rolling Stones "Rock N' Roll Circus" flick. Beneath some expected flute it slides into a bluesy "Beggar's Banquet" style Stones groove with Ian Anderson's gravely vocals sounding like they're being drawled through a megaphone.

10. ART-"What's That Sound" WIP 6019 1967
Previously known as the r&b/soul purveyors The V.I.P.'s, Art were the V.I.P.'s on acid, more or less (the V.I.P's had previously gotten a tad freaky here).  Gone were the mod emulations of American rhythm and blues and in came something all together different in the form of this Summer of Love (July 1967) cover of Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth".  Still not down from their mod amphetamine r&b Art up the tempo, throw in a guitar riff that always reminds me of Hot Chocolate's "You Sexy Thing" and some incredibly soulful vocals from lead belter Mike Harrison.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Out And About: The Trojan Lounge 3/26/16

Shawn Atkinson (Trojan Lounge) Top 10 Spins:
1. THE BLEECHERS-"Come Into My Parlour" (Upsetter)
2. PATSY-"Give Me A Chance" (High Note)
3. DOBBY DOBSON-"Cry A Little Cry" (Success)
4. THE REGGAE BOYS-"The Wicked Must Survive" (Amalgamated)
5. THE PIONEERS-"Trouble De A Bush" (Trojan)
6. RUPIE EDWARDS ALL STARS-"Grandfather's Clock" (Success)
7. THE PIONEERS-"Long Shot Kick The Bucket" (Trojan)
8. BARRY BIGGS-"My Cherie Amor" (Escort)
9. WINSTON HINES-"Cool Down" (Camel)
10. THE INSPIRATIONS-"Down In The Park" (Camel)

Pop on over here to read about the event.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Great Obscure U.K. 60's R&B Sides: Chris Farlowe Goes Ska

THE BEAZERS-The Blue Beat/I Wanna Shout U.K. Decca F.11827 1964

 In 1964 ska was the "in" thing in Britain. The Beatles ("I Call Your Name") and The Hollies "("A Taste Of Honey") both employed ska rhythms on a track each, the horrendous Migil Five were issuing records with a ska beat, Mickey Finn and the Blue Men cut a ska version of Bo Diddley's "Pills" , Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames had been employing ska for awhile and cut an E.P. of ska tracks called "Blue Beat". Ahead of them all was Fame's fellow London r&b specialist Chris Farlowe who, on the sly (he was signed to Columbia at the time) cut a single on Decca as "The Beazers" to join the ska craze in January 1964 (this would not be the last time Farlowe cut a 45 on the sly as you can read here).

"The Blue Beat" starts with a strong horn section playing a ska rhythm (sounding impeccably "big band", no surprise as it was produced by top arranger/band leader Cyril Stapleton who co wrote it as well and it's his band doing the instrumental backing here) and Farlowe utilizing his r&b belter tones with no fake West Indian patois necessary here.

"I Wanna Shout" is nothing remotely connected to ska.  It's an awful early 60's American style pop number that straddles doo wop that is dreadfully reminiscent of The Diamonds/Maurice Williams abomination "Little Darlin'".

Both sides were collected on RPM's excellent Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds compilation "Dig The Buzz: First Recordings '62-'65". "The Blue Beat" was also featured on Deram/Decca's compilation "The R&B Scene".

Hear "The Blue Beat":

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Birth of Budd (Roy that is...)

ROY BUDD-The Birth Of Budd/M'Ghee M'Ghee Pye 7N.15087 1965

The late Roy Budd is best known for his soundtrack work on films and television shows especially that of the gritty 1971 movie "Get Carter" but before fame and film score work he had to start somewhere......

His debut came in March 1965 with a jazzy little instrumental piece written by Budd and famous U.K. jazz bandleader Harry South titled "The Birth Of Budd".  Lead by Budd's boozy bar room piano it builds adding guitar, subtle organ, horns and is jazzy yet has a distinct poppy swing to it that reminds me of The Zombies "Conversation Off Floral Street" from many years later.  There's a nifty little bluesy guitar towards the end as it all slowly fades away that makes it easily mistaken as a mid 60's U.K. r&b 45.

"M'Ghee M'Ghee" is a speedy jazzy piece that owes a great deal to "Moanin'" melody wise )give or take a bit). It starts out a bit repetitive and almost a tad too trad jazz (reminding me a bit of the pre-Mike Cotton Sound outfit Mike Cotton's Jazzmen) but eventually picks up steam and is not at all unplayable, just pale in comparison to the strong top side.

"The Birth Of Budd" was reissued on a 1997 Castle/Sequel Roy Budd compilation  titled "The Rebirth Of Budd" (which I'm sure is probably long out of print) and the flip side has yet to surface anywhere.

Hear "Birth Of Budd":

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Great Obscure U.K. 60's Sides: Anita Harris "The Playground"

ANITA HARRIS-The Playground/B-A-D For Me U.K. CBS 2991 1967

Anita Harris is one of those women who had the voice and the looks of your archetype British 60's female singer.  And like many others in her class she could swing with the supper club M.O.R. set and be soulful (check out her final Pye 45 "Something Must Be Done" 7N 17069 from 1966) or trippy at the blink of an eye.

September 1967's "The Playground" was her second single for the CBS label and was indeed "trippy". Clocking it at nearly 3:30 it's rather longer than your usual pop single. Led off by some incredible throbby bass it kicks into a soulful groove with hand claps, lush orchestration, powerful brass and with an almost "blocked"/"tripping out" part towards the end where she repeats over and over "and now only wind whistles in and out" while the whole Swinging London everything but the kitchen sink no expenses spared production fades out.

"B-A-D For Me" sounds at first like a straight up Scott Walker record from it's phrasing, orchestration and lyrics before going into a full on jazzy Anita O'Day meets Chris Connor exercise with all the trimming (double bass, horns, vibes etc) .

Both sides are brilliantly orchestrated by arranger/producer Alan Tew.

Hear "The Playground":

Hear "B-A-D For Me":