Saturday, October 29, 2016

October's Picks

 1. THE BEE GEES-"Idea"
All too often I forget about The Bee Gee's , especially their third post-Australia LP "Idea". The title cut has plenty of hooks and the usual precision harmonies of their trademark but has something extra that I can't quite put my finger on.

2. BIG MAYBELLE-"Oh Lord What Are You Doing To Me"
This slow burner by Big Maybelle takes a bit to get cooking and starts out as a fairly standard, nondescript ballad but it builds in no small part to her powerful delivery.

3. THE WANTED-"East Side Story"
Though not a patch on the Bob Seger & The Last Heard version or the superior St. Louis Union cover, this 1967 reading by Detroit's The Wanted is worth a listen as well.  It sticks to the Seger arrangement but adds some harmonies and gritty guitar not found on either of the previously mentioned versions that really give it a reason to listen to more than twice.

For the better part of 20 years I'd been familiar with this as the flip of the UK freakbeat band The Score's reading of The Fab's "Please Please Me", little did I know it was a Chuck Jackson tune until I heard it on the new Kent CD compilation "Modernism" which blew my mind. I duly went out and bought a copy.

5. IDLE RACE-"Impostors Of Life's Magazine"

I'm not the world's biggest Idle Race fan because well, I'm not a fan of E.L.O and Jeff's Lynne's voice, that gripe out of the way I have always dug this catchy pop psych ditty with plenty of hooks, blistering guitar and strains of cool strings, even if Lynne uses the same vocal effect on every single record he's ever made.

6. THE TRAITS-"Nobody Loves The Hulk"

When I was a kid my parent's best friends had a daughter a year older than me who had loads of cool comic book related records that we would groove to in the basement. Among them was this number which until coming across it on YouTube (via a cover by Baltimore's highly recommended Stents) I had completely forgotten about for the better part of four and a half decades.  It's a mid tempo folk rocker not unlike The 13th Floor Elevators and holds up despite it's novelty appeal. And that original copy is now worth $50!!

Yet another mid 60's ska track from the "rude boy" genre and more than a passing influence on The Special's "Rude Boy's Outta Jail".  Released on Island in 1966.

8. THE REMO FOUR-"Brother Where Are You?"
Liverpool's Hamburg based Remo Four were big fans of Oscar Brown Jr. performing "But I Was Cool" live on "Beat Club" and cutting this smooth reading of a track from his "Oscar Brown Jr Goes To Washington" on their sole long player "Smile" with great results.

9. JACKIE SHANE-"In My Tenement"
Jackie Shane is semi legendary, if not only for having the brass to be a trans-gendered soul singer in the 1960's but also for making some highly collectible mid 60's soul sides like this one on Sue from 1963, a perfect bookend (lyrically anyway) to Garnett Mimm's "A Quiet Place".

Released in the U.K. on Sue as "The Whip" by Alexander Jackson and The Turnkeys, this smoking r&b instrumental featuring sax and piano and gritty Steve Cropper style guitars trading licks is catchy regardless of which pressing you own (and sits high up on my "wants" list). I like "The Whip" better as a title.  What the f*ck is a "flea pot"?

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