Thursday, November 30, 2017
1. THE PRETTY THINGS-"All Light Up"
Not since Jonesy banged out his psychedelic samba on a Mellotron on The Stones "We Love You" has there been such a magnificent use of that quirky little keyboard. This Prettie's 1999 single, in my estimation, rates as the best thing they've done since "S.F. Sorrow" with great lyrics, ballsy delivery and of course some nifty Mellotron c/o keyboard player John Povey.
2. KENNY WELLS-"Isn't It Just A Shame"
Hidden away on the flip of 1966's "I Can't Stop" on Bob Crewe's New Voice label here's another classic mid tempo soul tune up the in the high $$$$ range. The harmonies and groove are timelessly infectious. Repeat as necessary.
3. LEE MORGAN-"Midnight Cowboy"
One of my fave Lee Morgan tunes has always been this somber reading of John Barry's film theme cut as a Blue Note 45 in 1969. It's bleak and melancholy delivery seems to evoke the gritty/sleazy yet interesting landscape of NYC in the late 60's and sounded even better when I wore a younger man's clothes at 4 AM when the clubs are all closed and the night was ending. On that note be sure to check out Netflix for the Lee Morgan documentary "I Called Him Morgan".
4. THE SCEPTRES-"Something's Coming Along"
Previously cut by The Swingin' Blue Jeans in 1967 this version was cut a year later by a Montreal, Canada group and issued at home on the Allied label and in the U.K. on Spark. The harmonies and musical backing is tighter than the Blue Jeans version and far punchier coming across like The Association and The Four Seasons (especially on the chorus!) meets The Episode Six: MAGIC!
5. JAMES COIT-"Black Power"
This monster rare soul civil rights anthem from '68 holds little of the funk you'd expect from that year and sounds like it was cut much earlier. Moved by strong horns and incredible lyrics it is of course a big "Northern soul" fave so good luck finding a copy.
6. SHAWN ELLIOTT-"Shame And Scandal In The Family"
1,000 times better than the Peter Tosh and The Wailers version (credited to "Peter Touch") in my estimation, this 45 was cut in the US by one Shawn Elliott, a quiffed Puerto Rican Fabian/Frankie Avalon looking cat and issued in the U.K. on the ska label Rio. The musical backing is tighter and his vocals are far stronger than the "authentic" ska version mentioned earlier.
7. JON HENDRICKS-"Watermelon Man"
Jon Hendricks departure from this mortal coil last week at the age of 96 came as quite a bit of bad news here at Anorak Thing. Jon had created a wealth of music, both as a member of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross and on his own. This rousing version of "Watermelon Man" comes from his 1963 single (he had previously recorded it with Lambert and Bavan).
8. O'HARA'S PLAYBOYS-"Blue Dog"
An obscure '68 slice of British mod/r&b with horns straight off of a Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers/Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band record with vocals and lyrics reminiscent of pop sike era Alan Bown ("my little blue dog has gone away....the dinosaur I have he made my dog real mad, my purple frog too...")
9. RICK NELSON-"I Wonder If Louise Is Home"
From Rick's 1967 album "Another Side Of Rick" cut with the cream of the crop LA session players, this track is my fave on the LP. It's simplistic, orchestrated pop reminds me of Billy Nicholls or Del Shannon's UK recorded album "At Home And Away".
10. JACK HAMMER-"Down In The Subway"
Louisiana born soul/r&b belter Jack Hammer cut this track in 1965 with a gritty Hammond n' horns backing that leads me to believe it was recorded in the U.K. but it was only issued in Sweden the following year. Monster stuff!!