Saturday, March 31, 2018

March's Picks

 1. DAVID BOWIE-"Life On Mars"
Since checking out the "David Bowie Is" exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum (I'll get around to writing about that soon) I have been going through a rather heavy (heavier than normal) Bowie bender and this one seems to pop into my head daily!

This interesting cover of the Doors track comes via the even more interestingly named British band called The New York Public Library. It doesn't deviate much from the original but it's cheezy combo organ and 12 string guitar give it an almost US 60's garage band feel and easily betters the original in my book!

3. THE REGENTS-"Words"
L.A's Regents (not to be confused with the "Barbara Ann" hit makers) beat The Monkees by almost a year with this rough n' ready version of this Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart track issued in the States in July 1966 on the short lived Penthouse label. It's inclusion on a Psychic Circle CD years back led me to believe it was British for quite awhile!

4. STILL LIFE-"What Did We Miss"
Still Life were on one of the Bam Caruso "Rubble" volumes ("Rubble 18: Rainbow Thyme Wynders", clearly they were running out of title ideas towards the end there) with the regal sounding "My Kingdom Cannot Lose". It was the flip of this interesting number that starts with military drum rolls and questions the glory heaped upon past military conflicts whilst...."what did we miss people think was so glorious millions of lives that the people gave...." with a great O.T.T. pop-sike delievery.

5. OTIS SPANN-"Keep Your Hand Out Of My Pocket"
Recorded in the UK under the supervision of blues aficionado Mike Vernon this tune from '64 was a re-recording far superior to any other versions Spann cut in my book. It's found on the flip of his Decca 45 "Stirs Me Up" and got it's airing to my ears back in the 80's on Kent's "Rhythm & Blue Eyed Soul" LP compilation.

6. JIMMY POWELL-"Tom Hark"

There's loads of versions of this famous Elias and his Zig-Zag Jive Flutes instrumental.  This reading by UK 60's r&b underdog Jimmy Powell was possibly the first white British cover of it. It retains some of the melody of the original but adds vocals with a sort of Chubby Checker meets Gary U.S. Bonds feel which believe it or not works really well.

7. JEAN WELLS-"After Loving You"
This one's a brilliant soul number on record industry heavy Frank Calla's label Calla found on the flip of Jean Wells  '68 ballad "Ease Away A Little Bit At A Time". The vibes and production pretty much guarantee that it was a Northern soul favorite.

8. THE V.I.P.'s-"In A Dream"
Powerfully led by the blue eyed soul beltings of recently deceased lead singer Mike Harrison this Jackie Edwards composition featured on the flip of their in demand mod/soul stormer "Straight Down To The Bottom" and showcases the vocals of the man Gary Wright called "the white Ray Charles".

9. KIP ANDERSON-"A Knife And A Fork"
This brilliant 1966 45 on Chess blends Chicago blues with some up tempo soulful r&b for a perfect marriage. The sax reminds me of Junior Walker while the groove reminds me of a Rufus Thomas Stax 45.

10. THE RON-DELS-"Lose Your Money"
Here's a tough/punky U.S. cover of The Moody Blues number issued here in late '65 on the Smash label with an even more powerful harp blowing than the original, tougher guitar and totally snotty/snide requisite Jagger mincing vocals.  Killer!

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