Sunday, December 29, 2019

More Obscure U.K. 45's On U.S. Labels: Gerry Does Simon & Garfunkel

GERRY AND THE PACEMAKERS-The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine/Looking For My Life US Laurie LR 3370 1966

With Merseybeat long since dead and buried the likes of Gerry and The Pacemakers had seen better days and by 1966 the band had been absent from the higher reaches of the US and UK hit parade for some time. Then something interesting happened. In August of 1966 their single "Girl On A Swing" broke into the US Top 40 raising to #28. Back in the U.K. it failed to register and subsequently became their last British single as Columbia DB 8044 (and it was not actually released there until November). In December another US 45 was issued (and only released in Canada and Australia, not the U.K.). "Looking For My Life" backed with a cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine" (culled from their October LP "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme"). It was released in the United States in December 1966 where it failed to repeat the hat trick of "Girl On A Swing" and sadly sank without a trace.

Gerry & Co.'s version of "The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine" is actually quite entertaining. It takes the heavier back beat of the original and softens it by using a busker's banjo on top of some kitschy ivory tinkling that recalls the Kink's '66-'67 sound or David Bowie's "Did you Ever Have A Dream". Where the original has an almost cynical delivery this version is cheery and perfect for Gerry's "cheeky chappie" persona (that would no doubt aid him in his soon to be discovered cabaret circuit career).

"Looking For My Life" is an absolutely awful track. There's nothing remotely positive that I can say about it despite its sweeping strings and odd sitar lick bursts. Gerry would return with a solo single in June 1967 for the CBS label ("Please Let Them Be") followed by an unsuccessful crack at the Bee Gee's "Gilbert Green" in August.

Both tracks appeared on Gerry and the Pacemaker's final US LP "Girl On A Swing" released in late 1966 (Laurie LLP/SLP 2037) and have appeared on various EMI CD Gerry and the Pacemaker's compilations.

Hear "The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine":

Here "Looking For My Life":

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Great Obscure U.K. 60's Sides: Adam Faith Does Bob Lind

ADAM FAITH-Cheryl's Going Home/Funny Kind Of Love UK Parlophone R 5516 1966

One of the many musical niches I enjoy is that of early 60's solo performers (both British and American) who swept away by Beatlemania and band's that wrote their own material, made some interesting records in an attempt to stay contemporary and sadly, failed commercially in doing so.

Early 60's UK superstar Adam Faith slots perfectly into that genre with a few releases.  In October 1966 he released a version of the flip side of Bob Lind's smash "Elusive Butterfly", a track called "Cheryl's Going Home" (which strangely was the original intended US A-side). Released in Britain in February 1966 on Fontana TF 670, Lind's "Elusive Butterfly" reached #5 in the UK charts (oddly the same exact placing as in America). Sadly Adam's rendering of failed to return him to the hit parade (a place he had been absent from since The Beatles took the charts by storm).

His version of "Cheryl's ....." is in my estimation, better than the original. It's a bit more uptempo and the orchestration by easy champion Ken Woodman is far more lush than the original, but it doesn't change much from the original arrangement.  There's an interesting part where Faith changes the lyrics to Anglicize the tune by changing the distinctly Californian "Santa Rosa special's down the line" by singing "Cheryl rode the special down the line".

The flip side "Funny Kind Of Love" is a disposable track, inoffensive but nothing I would put on a compilation.

"Cheryl's Going Home" was recently issued on the three CD Grapefruit set "Gathered From Coincidence: The British Folk Pop Sound Of 1965-66" and is also available on a UK EMI Adam Faith CD compilation "Hits!".

Adam tried again a year later with a brilliant unreleased Bee Gee's track called "Cowman Milk Your Cow" which you can read a bit on over here.

Hear "Cheryl's Going Home":

Hear "Funny Kind Of Love":

Sunday, December 15, 2019

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Jon Mark "Night Comes Down"

JON MARK-Night Comes Down/Baby I've Got A Long Way To Go US Decca 31732 1965

Freakbeat and British 60's r&b fans will no doubt recall Mickey Finn's single "Night Comes Down" (curiously used at the end of an episode of HBO's no defunct series "Vinyl"), but what many of you may not know is that it first recorded and released a month earlier by a British folk/blues guitarist named Jon Mark. Produced by Shel Talmy for his Orbit production company it was Mark's debut single. It released first here in the States in January 1965 after Talmy had taken tapes of his UK Brunswick recordings to be issued in the US Mark's single along with The Pro's and Cons and a debut 45 by a London group called The Who on the US Decca imprint.  It was released the following month as Brunswick 05929 in the UK. The A-side on both sides of the Atlantic was a tune called "Baby I Got A Long Way To Go". Prior to this release Jon Mark had been a fixture on the UK folk scene for some time and his greatest claim to fame thus far was being Marianne Faithful's guitarist (he would later be half of the famous duo Mark-Almond).

"Night Comes Down" is delivered in an acoustic folk/blues style not unlike that of guitarist Davy Graham. With it's acoustic guitar finger picking, stand up bass and brushes on the drums it's easy to imagine Graham performing it. His vocal style is smoky, almost whispered evoking some darkened blues cellar club. It was written by Talmy with Jon Mark (credited on the label with his real name John Burchell).

"Baby I Got A Long Way To Go", a Mark original, is the weaker of the two tracks.  There's some fuzzbox on it that creates a drone like effect (newly acquired by session player Jimmy Page) and vocally it recalls early Cat Stevens. With it's uptempo happy go lucky feel to it would not be at all out of place on the latter's two Deram long players. The main chorus is almost hypnotic.

Both sides are available on the RPM Jon Mark CD compilation "Sally Free And Easy".

Hear "Night Comes Down":

Hear "Baby I Got A Long Way To Go":

Sunday, December 8, 2019

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Faron's Flamingos VS Rory Storm and the Hurricanes

Faron's Flamingos/Rory Storm and the Hurricanes-Let's Stomp-I Can Tell US Columbia 4-43018 1964

With the advert of Beatlemania in the United States, strangely unlike their British counterparts, American record labels were slow to plumb Liverpool for other acts preferring to stick to the hit makers. Interestingly Columbia records launched a compilation album in March of 1964 titled "The Exciting New Liverpool Sound". It comprised of 12 tracks culled from two long players previously issued in the U.K. on the Oriole label over the span of two records called "This Is Merseybeat". This single was comprised of two tunes found on the Us Columbia album, even more interesting was the fact that the single featured two different artists, Faron's Flamingos and Rory Storm and the Hurricanes  (previous home of one Ringo Starr before joining The Beatles).

Faron's Flamingos courtesy of

"Let's Stomp" was originally cut by Bobby Comstock in the US on the Lawn label and released in December 1962, it's U.K. counterpart saw a release in March of 1963 on the Stateside label (SS 163).  Kicking off with a drum beat later reused by the Sweet on their hit "Ballroom Blitz" Faron's remake is slightly more uptempo and almost frantic anticipating the trash beat sound of The Milkshakes and therefore to my ears more interesting. The production is terribly thin but there's something charming about it, especially when compared to all of the polished Merseybeat being produced by George Martin. It starts out with a spoken word intro by Bill Harry, editor of the famous Liverpool music newspaper "Merseybeat".

Bo Diddley's "I Can Tell" was the flip side of his July 1962 Checker 45 "You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover", it was later released in Britain in October on the Pye International label (7N 25165). Rory Storm's version first graced the "This Is Merseybeat Volume One" album and though it's not a patch on the original of course it still rocks. Like the A-side it has a certain charm in it's trashy delivery coming across like a boozy frat rock band, especially the choppy guitar strumming care of Johnny Byrne aka "Johnny Guitar" and the slapdash drumming by Ringo's replacement. If anyone can confirm who it is I'd love to know was it Gibson Kemp, future Artwood Keef Hartley or future Peddler Trevor Morais?(the later was also in Faron's Flamingos!). Rory croons along in an almost disinterested tone like he had somewhere else he'd rather be.

Rory Storm (right) with two unknown Liverpool performers (snigger).

Both sides appeared on an Edsel records CD that collected tracks from both "This Is Merseybeat" albums.

Hear "Let's Stomp":

Hear "I Can Tell":

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Great Obscure U.K. 60's Sides: The Cocktail Cabinet

THE COCKTAIL CABINET-Puppet On A String/Breathalyzer UK Page One POF 046 1967

Back in the mid 90's my friend Haim duped me a cassette that a friend in England had made for him of obscure UK 60's mod/r&b sounds all from 45's. Pretty much all of the tape was new to my ears and among tunes by unknowns like The Reg Guest Syndicate, The Circles, Winston G., Johnston McPhilbry etc was this amazing organ instrumental called "Breathalyzer" by The Cocktail Cabinet. A few years later I managed to score a copy.

The Cocktail Cabinet was yet another U.K. 60's studio only concoction, this one was the brainchild of Irish born keyboardist/songwriter Phil Coulter (known to me via the dreadful Celtic muzak he made so beloved by my older Irish obsessed relatives) and Bill Martin. The two had been responsible for composing Sandie Shaw's March 1967 Eurovision hit "Puppet On A String" as well as a host of other dreadful hit compositions giving them a commercially successful songwriter's CV.

The A-side of "Breathalyzer" is a tongue in cheek version of "Puppet On A String" with a ridiculous banter going on and on between an artist and producer via the studio intercom ala the American "Senator Bobby" records. Next...

The flip side "Breathalyzer" is a brilliant little moody/moddy instrumental. Starting out with some fuzz guitar it fades into a smoky, swirling Hammond organ number that's easily imaginable in some scene in a Swinging London period film.  There's an off the hook fuzz guitar solo reminiscent of something from John Schroeder's "Dolly Catcher" LP in the middle that works perfectly.

Of interesting note "Breathalyzer" was issued in the United States as an A side credited to "We Believe" in 1968 (Bell 716) with a British Bill Martin 1968 A-side "Private Scotty Grant" (Page One POF 067 May 1968) on the flip.

The A-side has yet to be compiled but the flip is available on the indispensable Past and Present CD compilation "Instro Hipsters A Go-Go".

Hear "Puppet On A String":

Hear "Breathalyzer":

Monday, November 25, 2019

More Obscure U.K. 45's On U.S. Labels: The Kinks "Mr. Pleasant"

THE KINKS-Mr. Pleasant/Harry Rag US Reprise 0587 1967

The Kink's "Mr Pleasant" was curiously NOT an A-side in the U.K. (though promo copies are known to exist and there is an ongoing debate as to whether they were for export or not). Strangely though it was issued in six European countries and Australia and New Zealand, all bearing "This Is Where I Belong" as the B-side. Issued here in the United States in May 1967 with "Harry Rag" as a B-side it's one of the band's less common releases though not their most difficult US 60's singles to find, that honor belongs to their US debut on Cameo "Long Tall Sally"/"I Took My Baby Home".

"Mr. Pleasant" unsurprisingly did nothing to return the Kinks to the US Top 40 (1966's "Sunny Afternoon" rose to #14, the band's last Top 40 placing until "Lola" in 1970). Like most of their '66-'68 material it was incredibly "too English" in the words of one scribe to make any impact in the U.S. The lyrics are another brilliant Ray Davies exercise in people watching, this time our protagonist is a well to do guy who has everything he could want but his money and popularity mean nothing because he has a cheating wife. It's all very un-1967 style with bar room piano and mild brass farting along giving it a neo-Edwardian feel (session piano player Nicky Hopkins would later cut his own version with whistling instead of singing coming across as an odd companion for Whistling Jack Smith).

If the A-side was "too English" the flip, "Harry Rag", goes on step further with it's Cockney rhyming slang and mannerisms (rag=fag, "fag" being of course a cigarette in the Cockney vernacular). Delivered on top of a military march beat Ray croons about the joys of a good "Harry Rag" and how all walks of life enjoy a smoke. "Harry Rag" is an interesting choice as a B-side as it was culled from the band's 1967 LP "Something Else By The Kinks" and only appeared in 7" form in the US and Canada.

Both sides are available in a variety of places, our favorite being the two CD deluxe edition of "Something Else By The Kinks".

Hear "Harry Rag":

Monday, November 18, 2019

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Chad & Jeremy

CHAD & JEREMY-I Don't Wanna Lose You Baby/Pennies US Columbia 4-43339 1965

Brit duo Chad & Jeremy were far more successful in the USA  than back in the homeland , so much so that by 1966 they ceased to release any singles in the UK (and they had but one hit in the UK, "Yesterday's Gone" that peaked at a paltry #37!!).  Today's specimen was their eighth UK 45 (issued in September 1965 as CBS 201814).  It was issued here in the States a few months prior (July to be exact)! Interestingly it reached #35 here in the US Top 40 but I had never heard it before (growing up  US "oldies radio" pretty much stuck to "A Summer Song" and "Willow Weep For Me")!

The A-side is a curious choice , "I Don't Wanna Lose You Baby" was penned by Van McCoy but I can find no evidence of anyone else recording it (but thanks to my pal Larry Grogan over at Funky 16 Corners I have since learned it was originally cut by Tommy Hunt as Atlantic 45-2278 in February 1965). It's an interesting track of orchestrated pop that's somewhere between The Righteous Brothers/The Walker Brothers and The Association (the melody sounds like a cross between "Just Once In My Life" and "(You're My) Soul And Inspiration").

The flip side "Pennies" starts out pretty mundane and the lyrics aren't anything special at first, but it grows on you especially because of the subtle, hypnotic 12 string riff jangling away in the back ground. The song writing credits of "C. Powers" is presumably Chester Powers aka Dino Valenti.

Both sides have been compiled on the Chad & Jeremy collection "The Essential Chad & Jeremy: The Columbia Years".

Hear "I Don't Wanna Lose You Baby":

Hear "Pennies":

Sunday, November 10, 2019

More U.K. Tracks On U.S. Labels: The Yardbirds Go Pop

THE YARDBIRDS-Little Games/Puzzles US Epic 5-10156 1967

By the dawning of 1967 The Yardbirds were in grave danger of becoming has-beens in the U.K., their last major British hit was May 1966's "Over Under Sideways Down" which stalled at #10. It's follow up "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago" limped miserably in at #43. New management decided that the band's reliance on group originals was getting them nowhere and a new producer was brought in and a new path needed to be followed. Producer Micky Most had run up a string of successes for Donovan, Herman's Hermits, The Animals et al and was brought in to apply his Midas touch to the Yardbirds. His tenure with the band saw them attempt a far more commercialized/pop sound not unlike previous lead guitarist Jeff Beck's solo foray upon leaving the band (also overseen by Most). The band retained their blues aficionado moniker onstage and on the occasional album track but from now on A-sides would be purely a "pop" affair. Sadly the record buying public thought little of this and the band spent most of their remaining career traversing the United States on tour after tour where the British Invasion was still going strong.

Issued in the US one month earlier than the UK issue "Little Games" appeared in America in March of 1967 where it did nothing in the charts (#51 in the top 100 to be more precise). Despite being the first Yardbirds single to not chart in the UK it is nonetheless leagues above their next three pop fluff thanks to some groovy strings (care of Jimmy Page's future band mate John Paul Jones) interspersed with Page's restrained bursts of guitar which gives it a catchy groove. Curiously the label credits it to one "Wienman"  (it was written by Harold Spiro and Phil Wainman and properly credited on the UK release).

The flip, a Keith Relf original called "Puzzles" is punctuated a nifty dual guitar riff (one of which is a 12 string) that drifts in a trippy little neo-raga haze on the chorus and a way out solo that abruptly fades out like Most got tired of Page's riffing and simply plunged the fader down quickly!

Both sides are available as bonus tracks on a host of CD reissues of the band's 1967 US and Euro only long player "Little Games".

Hear "Little Games":

Hear "Puzzles":

Monday, November 4, 2019

MODS LOVE GREEN ONIONS: 10 Green Onions Versions

1. GEORGIE FAME AND THE BLUE FLAMES- UK 45 B-side Columbia DB 7255 1964
Georgie Fame and The Blue Flames second 45 (and their predecessor to their smash hit "Yeh Yeh") was a version of "Do Re Mi" which saw the Stax classic on the B-side. Fame's use of the Hammond L-100 as his keyboard of choice alters the sound a bit but its the use of The Blue Flames horn section that gives the track its meat.

2. BYRON LEE & HIS DRAGONAIRES-Jamaica 45 Starline 1964
There are those who have laid claim to the above version inspiring Byron Lee's reading. I'm neutral on this as the Byron Lee reading is faster and therefore edgier, lending itself to more of a "mod" amphetamine fueled pace.  The jazzy guitar solo is brilliant as is the trombone solo and compare with later live versions by Booker T when the tempo was doubled to find its distant cousin.

3. KING CURTIS-US 45 Atco 45-6496 1967
Tapped on the bottom of his interpretation of William Bell's "You Don't Miss Your Water", saxman King Curtis is at times pedestrian as it rarely deviates from the template of the original except for the fact that it includes sax and other horns.  I may raise some eyebrows but Curtis' sax always was too squawky  for me sounding too much like the house band on "Saturday Night Live".

4. BRIAN AUGER TRINITY-UK 45 Columbia DB 7715 1965
Brit Hammond organist extraordinaire's second U.K. solo release was this version issued shortly before he became part of the live act Steampacket.  Auger was relatively new to the Hammond organ, being a pianist prior to buying a B-3 in 1964 and his tasty ivory tinkling instead of an organ solo makes this an interesting choice.

5. THE NEW LONDON R&B BAND-US LP track  "Soul Cookin'" Vocalion VL 73880 1969
I have zero idea about this LP or this band (it was released in three European countries and Downunder as the Soul Extravaganza!). It's a full on affair with a massive horn section and cheezy skating rink organ, unfortunately I can't find it on YouTube to share with you.

6. DOWNLINERS SECT-UK E.P track Contrast Sound Productions RBCSP 001 1964
This version is without a doubt the most curious inclusion here primarily because it's lacking an organ!  Captured live on their rare debut live E.P. British re&b purveyors the Downliner's Sect. It's an interesting version because it comes across as Duane Eddy meets Link Wray and as mentioned probably the only version you'll ever hear with organ!

7. KING SIZE TAYLOR AND THE DOMINOES- Germany E.P track Polydor  21 628 EH 1964 
Liverpudlian Ted "Kingsize" Taylor made his bread and butter in Der Fatherland where this version was issued on an E.P., awash in jazzy guitar and the requsite organ with some wailing sax it's not half bad!

8. THE VENTURES-US LP track "The Ventures Play Telstar, The Lonely Bull" Dolton BLP-2019 1962
Direct from my mother's record collection my introduction to "Green Onions" came via The Ventures where it rubbed shoulders with covers of tracks by Herb Alpert and The Tornados. Strangely the guitar is not as twangy as you'd expect and it's surprisingly good with some organ. But maybe it's because I've listened to a hundred versions while writing this.....

9. MODS '79- UK 45 Casino Classics CC 13 1979
The original Booker T version became quite big in 1979 thanks to it's use in the film "Quadrophenia" and it's inclusion on the soundtrack LP so a hastily conceived cover was thrown together on the ever dodgy Casino Classics label. Folks from back then tell me that many a confused young mod thought this was the original and duly purchased it thinking it was the version heard in the film (the label indicating "This song featured in the film Quadrophenia" was an extremely crass ploy). All chicanery aside it's a fairly competent version even if it is a note for note copy of the original! Atlantic records was spurned into action finally releasing a reissue of the great tune in November 1979 a month later!

10. MONGO SANTAMARIA- US LP track "Soul Bag" Columbia CS 9653 1968
Among a host of other soul covers ("My Girl", "In The Midnight Hour", "Respect" etc) Mongo's 1968 reworking on the album "Soul Bag" of course includes his famous congas but it's the sleazy/reedy sax  that really set this version above all of our other inclusions here today! Then there's this incredible trumpet solo by Luis Gasca that is the proverbial cherry on top!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Tony & Tandy

TONY AND TANDY-Two Can Make It Together/Bitter With The Sweet US Cotillion 44042 1969

The short lived U.K. duo Tony & Tandy were a pairing of the Fleur De Ly's lead singer Tony Head and U.K. based South African singer, the late Sharon Tandy. In addition to a host of solo 45's (many in a soul vein) Tandy had previously had the band's backing on her sultry reading of "Hold On" (issued simultaneously in competition with a version by Rupert's People, who were also The Fleur De Ly's) and the witchy "Daughter Of The Sun" (a perfect bookend for The Kink's "Wicked Anabella"). As a pair Tony and Tandy released just one 45, today's specimen which was first released in the UK as Atlantic 584262 in April 1969, bringing up the rear a US pressing was released in July of '69 on the Cotillion label. Produced by the famous Graham Dee it's an amazing little dose of British blue eyed soul.

"Two Can Make It Together" is a brilliant uptempo soul stormer, with great orchestration and excellent vocals that make Tony & Tandy sound like the Marvin and Tammi of the British Isles! It was arranged by Gerry Shury and allegedly got a resurrection on dance floors during the "Northern soul" era.
Tandy (Tony not pictured).

The flip, "The Bitter With The Sweet" is not as strong. It's more mid tempo and though not awful, it's not something I'd play again. Incidentally it was composed by Graham Dee and Brian Potter with US soul singer Donnie Elbert.

The A-side was issued on several compilations, among them Acid Jazz's "The Graham Dee Connection-The 60's Collection" and on their 3 CD box set "Rare Mod (60 Prime Cuts Of 60's Underground Rhythm n Blues, Psych & Soul)".

Hear "Two Can Make It Together":

Hear "The Bitter With The Sweet":

Saturday, October 12, 2019

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Bobby Shafto

BOBBY SHAFTO-She's My Girl/Wonderful You US Rust 5082 1964

Bobby Shafto would have never come across my radar had it not been for the 1985 See For Miles records LP compilation "60's Back Beat" (a delightful collection of UK mid Sixties tracks, most of which had never been compiled, either previously or since!!). Bobby's contribution was an uptempo rocker titled "She's My Girl".

Fast forward to over 35 years later and I'm digging in a local record shop and lo and behold, here's a US pressing of "She's My Girl"! It seems Bobby cut a total of 9 singles in the UK for the Parlophone label between 1962 and 1966. "She's My Girl" was his third U.K. release issued as Parlophone R 5130 in April 1964. It was issued in the US as Rust 5082 approximately one month later (curiously it was his American debut and the label would go on to issue four more singles of his).

"She's My Girl" is a fairly innocuous pop 45 and if it weren't for the blistering lead guitar intro it might just be another mediocre pop tune. It reminds me of a more rocked out/uptempo Honeycombs track, maybe its the offbeat rhythm or the chirpy delivery.

The flip, "Wonderful You", is tepid despite some decent musical backing. Shafto's voice isn't bad it's just a crap song and I'm sure it would be unremarkable no matter who did it (blame composers Geoff Stevens and Mike Leander). Shafto's voice reminds me a lot of Gene Pitney on it.

Poor Bobby gets the share a pin up with Gene Pitney, "Rave" magazine 1965
"She's My Girl" had it's most recent appearance on EMI's CD compilation "Beat At Abbey Road 1963-1965".

Hear "She's My Girl":

Hear "Wonderful You":

Saturday, October 5, 2019

"It Was 40 Years Ago Today": The Sound Of '79-Squire and "Walking Down The Kings Road"

Squire's second single "Walking Down The Kings Road" (released on October 5th 1979) will always loom larger over the heads (and shoulders) of it's peers in the ill fated '79 mod "revival" in my mind. It's distinctly Sixties feel of crunchy Rickenbacker chords and finger snaps and it's psychedelic ending is at odds with the Jam-inspired/punk anthems being offered by their contemporaries. Interestingly it was issued on Secret Affair's I-Spy label (which was distributed via Arista) and it was the label's second release, preceded by Secret Affair's August #13 chart hit "Time For Action" (both the band and the label's debut).

I had the opportunity to chat with Squire's founder and lead singer/guitarist Anthony Meynell recently to pick his brain about this iconic single that turns 40 years old today.

Anorak Thing: I guess to start out with was "Walking Down The Kings Road" something you had written a long time ago or was it penned in 1979?

Anthony Meynell: It was written in '77 or '78, but definitely in our set by '78.

A.T.:How did you manage to hook up with Secret Afffair and their I-Spy label?  Was it through playing with them at the famous Mods Mayday '79 gig at the Bridgehouse?

A.M: It was purely because they'd heard us at the Mods Mayday gig and while mixing the live tracks for the LP (Ed Note: Squire contributed three tracks to the album, "Walking Down The Kings Road" was among them). They wanted another band for their label, I believe their first choice was Back To Zero but they'd already been signed by Fiction so they went with us.

A.T.: I've always been struck by how psychedelic and Sixties influenced "Walkin..." was/is and that it seemed completely at odds with the majority of records by other '79 mod bands. Secret Affair's Ian Page and Dave Cairns produced it, did they have any input on the psychedelic effects and feel to the track or was that your doing?

A.M.: Once we recorded the main track Ian was keen to have an extended ending that he felt should reflect the aural experience of walking down King's Road past all the shops.

A.T.: Brilliant, I've always loved all the backwards bits and sound affects on the end of the track as it always reminded me of "Bike" by The Pink Floyd. Was the line up the same as on the Mods Mayday LP?

A.M.: No, the other guitarist (Steve Baker) had left by then and my brother Kevin came in as the new drummer (replacing Ross Di'Landa). Ian actually played harpsichord on it.

A.T: Was Enzo Esposito still on bass?

A.M.: Enzo was still on bass and and oh it was Ian on organ as well.

The Squire line up from the single: Kevin and Anthony Meynell with Enzo Esposito

A.T.: I'm still fascinated that Ian Page and Dave Cairns would craft such a trippy sounding, obviously Sixties influenced record as it was nothing like Secret Affair were doing and that they would include that on a record. You just finished a 40th Anniversary Mods Mayday tour with Secret Affair actually. I assume you played "Kings Road.."?

A.M.: I can't recall it being recorded at the same time as the music but we added finger snaps to the intro and Ian later went back and added the organ on the intro and the psychedelic coda later on afterwards. Ian was, and still is, quite a musical historian and though it didn't suit Secret Affair he was quite aware of my musical influences. We were just talking on the tour last week (by the way "Kings Road.." closed all of our sets on it) and Ian and I were talking about production and he said he saw Squire as more of a "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush" (Ed note: Spencer Davis Group/Traffic 1967 movie soundtrack) meets mod Buzzcocks sound so he still remembers what his original vision for the record was. He was also very aware of Bowie and has an encyclopedic knowledge of prog and psychedelia.

A.T.: Who were your influences at the time on the track?

A.M.: The original rhythm for "Kings Road" was influenced by Sam Cooke's "Chain Gang", at least that's how I explained it to the band but then my brother changed it to a different swing so it became more of a Small Faces "Whatcha Gonna Do About It" thing so it became different between the "Mods Mayday" album and the single version.

A.T.: On the subject of psychedelia,  your later single "No Time Tomorrow" (April 1982) was based it on. You're obviously a big fan of 60's psychedelic pop so was there anyone in particular that influenced that as well as "Kings Road"?

A.M.: I'm a huge fan of 60's psychedelic pop , I can't say any single band influenced "Kings Road" in the same way "No Time Tomorrow" was influenced, backwards solo etc. "Kings Road" was more of a beat group thing but there was always going to be a Beatles influence in there somewhere. It didn't have a middle eight so I suppose it was unusual and the long coda was there just not with all the embellishments at first so I suppose that's a throw back to long Beatles outros like "Hey Jude" or "Ticket To Ride" even.

Anthony with his Rickenbacker 325, 1979

A.T.: I'm a a huge Rickenbacker aficionado, what sort of Rick did you use on "Kings Road"?

A.M.: A 1964 Rick 325, that's the 3/4 scale one (Ed note: See photo above).

A.T.: One last question, I was once told that the boating blazer you had back then came from the same bolt of material that was used to make a suit for Brian Jones. Is that true?

A.M.: Yes, that's true, it's from the same suit he has on the cover of the "High Tide and Green Grass" album (Ed note see photo below).

Photo courtesy of Anthony Meynell 

A.T: Well thank you for your time and patience and talking to us! Anything to add in closing?

A.M.: Anytime! Yes, you might want to note that by Fall there will be a reissued "September Gurls" expanded LP (order here) followed by a re-release of our debut single "Get Ready Go To" (order here).  There's also a "Get Ready" album in the works of pre-Squire material the "Passengers On A Train" solo LP reissue and hopefully next year the "Smash" album will finally emerge! So I'm busy here, all the best!

Hear "Walking Down The Kings Road":

Sunday, September 29, 2019

More U.K. Obscurities (Big In Japan?): Tinkerbell's Fairydust

TINKABELL'S FAIRYDUST-Twenty Ten/Walking My Baby Japan London TOP 1287 1968

One wonders how many mid/late 60's British pop/psychedelic groups would have fallen through the cracks had it not been for the likes of Bam Caruso records and their indispensable "Rubble" series. Case in point are Tinkerbell's Fairydust, a U.K. pop-psych/harmony quartet (they were previously known as The Rush and had cut two singles in the U.K. on Decca). Tinkerbell's Fairydust cut three singles in the U.K. for  Decca from '67-'69 and HIDEOUSLY rare untitled LP (Decca LK/SKL5028 1969) . Their second single "Twenty Ten" (Decca F 12778 May, 1968) graced the "Clouds Have Groovy Faces: Rubble Vol. Six" compilation LP in 1986.

Interestingly it was also released in Japan( two month's after the U.K. issue ) where it was mis-credited to "Tinkabell's Fairydust"! It came in one of those usual Japanese picture sleeves that's just an insert (see above) in a plastic bag with a pic of the band on the back (see below).

"Twenty Ten", if you've not heard it before, is an amazing slice of choral psych pop full of Bach-like harmony perfection with a wah-wah-ed organ, Mellotron and these trippy phased bits that turn it all freaky.

The flip side "Walking My Baby" is a nondescript number that's just the lead singer with acoustic guitar and faint backing vocals, next.

Both sides are available through  iTunes for download as bonus cuts on their LP and the the Grapefruit CD album reissue. The A-side is on the earlier mentioned "Rubble" volume as well.

Both sides were also produced by Vic Smith who besides twiddling the knobs for a host of psych pop band's on Deram and Decca  later renamed himself Vic Coppersmith Heaven and went on to produce The Jam!

Hear "Twenty Ten":

Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Animals 1966

THE ANIMALS-Inside Looking Out/You're On My Mind UK Decca F.12332 1966

1966 saw a new era for Newcastle's Animals. They left EMI's Columbia and signed with Decca and new producer Tom Wilson. Their first Decca 45 release would be an explosive one, February 1966's "Inside Looking Out".

Based on a prison work song "Rosie", "Inside Looking Out" was credited to musicologists John and Alan Lomax (who it is alleged discovered the song) as well as band members Eric Burdon and Chas Chandler.  The band performed "Rosie"  at the Fifth National Jazz and Blues Festival at Richmond, Surrey on August 8th 1965 where it was captured by cameras and shown on American television as "Shindig Goes To London" (aired Friday December 4, 1965). I recall seeing a press clipping from 1966 mentioning an Animals track called "My Rebirth" so it's safe to assume this was either an early title or a misunderstanding. Released in February 1966 "Inside Looking Out" rose to #12 on the U.K. charts (simultaneously released in the US as MGM K 13468 it stalled at #34) and lyrically depicts the rigors of being a prisoner in a work camp. Propelled  by the twin attack of Hilton Valentine's taught Rickenbacker and Mike Rowberry's groovy organ it stands as one of the band's most powerful numbers. Burdon's impassioned vocals make you really believe he'd served time and experienced what he's singing about firsthand. It's breaks are punctuated by a lick that evokes a prison work song's pentameter of a hammer striking its target. The whole thing builds to a shimmering crescendo that bursts into a rave up with the Animals cutting a groove that they never topped.  It would also be drummer John Steel's last single with the band.

The flip, "You're On My Mind" is the polar opposite of the dynamic A-side. It's a mellow, slow ballad that's pretty nondescript and bordering on mundane.

Both sides are available on a host of Animals collections, some legit, others...not so much.......

Hear "Inside Looking Out":

Hear "You're On My Mind":

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Solo Scott: A Curious U.S. Debut

SCOTT WALKER-I Don't Want To Hear It Anymore/You're All Around Me US Smash S-2156 1968

The Walker Brothers were but a blip on the pop charts in their home country of the US with nine tunes in the UK Top 40 there were only two in the US. When Scott Walker went solo the music industry in the U.K. hedged their bets that surely the most popular Walker would outstrip his previous band in sales. They were wrong, while still being a big name attraction his chart success was limited.  Back in the US they were slow to attempt to capitalize on "solo Scott" game plan. Interestingly in April 1968 Smash issued the first post Walker's solo Scott 45 by taking two Walkers tracks and issuing them as a single credited to Scott Walker.

I.D. bracelet, aviators, Harrington, sweater. Scott eschews flower power on British TV 1968

The Walker Brother's interpretation of Randy Newman's " I Don't Want To Hear It Anymore" first appeared in the US as a track on their first American long player "Introducing The Walker Brothers" (November 1965). The April 1968 single of "I Don't Want To Hear It Anymore" by Scott Walker is a curious mix using the previously issued Walker Brothers version albeit in edited form. The original track is 3:48 long, this version is trimmed of the first verse with the song beginning with the second verse and with Scott coming in on the "She don't really love him..." line as the introduction. Time wise it comes in at 2:55 long in total playing time. Very curious. One expects that at 3:48 long the original was too long?!?  The B-side, "You're All Around Me" (previously issued in the US as the flip side to The Walker's January 1966 45 "My Ship Is Coming In" on Smash S-2016) retains it's normal 2:36 running time.

Thus far to my knowledge this edited version of "I Don't Want To Hear It Anymore" has yet to surface anywhere else.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

But The Original Is Not The Greatest...

1. THE KELLY BROTHERS-"Crystal Blue Persuasion" US Excello 2308 EXC 1969
The Kelly Brothers cover of Tommy James and The Shondells Spring 1969 hit is probably the best place to start this collection of covers that betters the original. Kicking off in an uptempo groove with a perfect mix of ivory tinkling and percussion and horns that sound straight off a Hugh Masekella or Mongo Sanatamaria record, then those vocals, wow.  It doesn't get any better folks.

2. ROSETTA HIGHTOWER-"Big Bird" UK Toast TT 509 1968
This 1968 UK cover of the Eddie Floyd classic was used as the flipside of an Ashford and Simpson tune "I Can't Give Back The Love I Feel For You". Starting off with a raw and gritty guitar and hammering piano this track by the ex-Orlons lead vocalist (recorded in the UK) kicks the guts out of the original by the sheer force of power and soul.

3. THE FACES-"Maybe I'm Amazed" US Warner Brothers 7483 1971
Not to be confused with the live version on their LP "Long Player" this recording was an A-side of an American single (and a few other countries on the Continent).  It starts off with Mac's masterful piano and Woody's Dobro with Ronnie Lane taking the first verse and then Rod joining in before taking the lead. The band's stellar, tight backing (driven by Mac's impeccable piano playing and Woody's solo) and yes, Rod's vocals, blows Macca's clear out of the water!

4. THE COASTERS-"Love Potion No. 9" (1971) US King 45-6385 1971
This funky 1971 revamp of The Clover's 1959 hit gets high marks thanks to its uptempo/uptown groove and the catchy chorus "serve it up and drink it down" shored up by some funky percussion/vibes, horns and a wiggy little flute solo.

5. GEORGIE FAME-"Sitting In The Park" UK Columbia DB 8096 1966
Georgie Fame's 1966 reading of Billy Stewart's 1965 classic "Sitting In The Park" is another example of Fame's ability to take another person's song and make it his own. Kicking off with a beautiful trumpet intro in place of the falsetto intro of the original the vocals are accompanied by some subtle flute and a lovely mix of organ and congas blowing the original, clear out of the park to my ears.

6. DAVY GRAHAM-"Both Sides Now" UK LP track "Large As Life And Twice As Natural" Decca SKL 4969 1968
Forget Joni, forget Julie, the definitive version of this track is by Davy! It starts out with some cymbal flashes and bowed bass and Davy sort of "vocalizing" (coming across like a wiggy  prayer caller), all of this goes on a tad too long but when it finally kicks in his wild guitar picking and the jazz stand up bass/brushes backing grooves it along quite nicely and in the process slays all comers.

7. DUSTY SPRINGFIELD-"How Can I Be Sure" UK Phillips 6006 045 1970
Wrapped in strings and a cheezy but kitsch accordion giving it a decided campy Left Bank flair, Dusty's reading of the Rascal's hit would not remotely be in competition with the original if not for Wally Stott's (also known for his similar magic with Scott Walker) brilliant arrangement.  Add some horns and Dusty's powerful pipes and you have a classic, sorry Young Rascals.

8. ADAM FAITH-"Cheryl's Going Home" UK Parlophone R 5516 1966
Bob Lind's killer double sider of "The Elusive Butterfly" b/w "Cheryl's Going Home" is a tough one to top, but I find Adam Faith's interpretation of the B-side superior.  Here's why. For one I think Faith's vocals are stronger and the orchestration and production are stronger as well (care of the famous Ken Woodman). Despite being a virtual carbon copy of the original arrangement the music is perfectly balanced with Faith's voice in the mix, unlike the original that sounds tinny (production wise) to me.

9. THE ROLLING STONES-"Come On" UK Decca F 11675 1963
I can hear the outrage now, but yes folks I find this freshman effort by The Stones far more enjoyable than Chuck Berry's original. From Wyman's busy, swooping bass runs to Brian Jones poppy gob iron blowing it to the clipped quips of "Come On!" on the backing vocals it verges on Merseybeat. Mick's vocals haven't affected that affected London drawl meets Southern American blue yet and it sounds nothing like what they became in less than a year later and therein lies its charm!

10. THE LOVE AFFAIR-"Everlasting Love" UK CBS 3125 1967
Sorry Robert Knight but the definitive version of your hit for me will always be The Love Affair, well vocalist Steve Ellis and a host session musicians at the direction of arranger Keith Mansfield! From it's thundering brass/strings intro that segues into a wicked bass line this version is 100% high octane with a perfect mix of razor sharp musical backing and Steve Ellis blue-eyed soul get some vocals.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

More U.K. Tracks On U.S. Labels: Manfred Mann Mk. II Part Two

MANFRED MANN-My Name Is Jack/There Is A Man US Mercury 72822 1968
Manfred Mann's "My Name Is Jack" was one the band's last UK hits (the second to last actually, #8). It had no such luck in the US dying at #104 in the June of 1968 (simultaneously launched in the U.K. as Fontana TF 943).

Like The Who's "Substitute", "My Name Is Jack" had it's lyrics edited for a US release with the tasteless line "Here comes Super Spade who really puts it on" changed to "Here comes Superman".  Probably not one of my faves, it's a piece of pretty disposable pop music about life in an orphanage ("in the Greta Garbo home for wayward boys and girls"). It's totally inoffensive but just so syrupy sweet that it hurts my teeth to listen to it more than once.  There's some neat harmonies it in but....

Bass player Tom McGuinness's "There Is A Man" brings up the flip. It's a freaky little ditty about a guy in an asylum who hallucinates seeing a man who follows him around ala The Who's "Whiskey Man", only far more sinister thanks to some almost Pink Floyd-ish spacey musical backing!!

Hear "My Name Is Jack":

Hear "There Is A Man":

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Dance Floor Revivals: The Dave Clark Five

THE DAVE CLARK FIVE-Concentration Baby/Everybody Knows UK Columbia DB 8286 1967

Back in the mid 90's word across the Atlantic was filtering across from US modernist globe trotters that DJ's in the U.K. were breaking free from their usual "US soul/r&b only" mode and spinning all sorts of previously "taboo" sounds, many of them were from their own soil.  Among them was this gem by the Dave Clark Five originally released in October 1967 on the flip of the slushy "Everybody Knows" (#2 in the UK charts), "Concentration Baby" and its sudden popularity saw its price spike considerably by the late 90's, until it apparently fell out of favor (no such luck with Timebox's reading of "Beggin'" which is STILL in demand).

"Concentration Baby" is a full on, 100 mph high octane belter driven by an incessant organ lick, fuzz guitar and a heavy beat, a perfect vehicle for lead vocalist Mike Smith's screaming style.

The A-side, "Everbody Knows" (not to be confused with a Dave Clark/Lenny Davidson original from 1965 of the same title, Columbia DB 7453) is a schlocky crooner written by Les Reed and Barry Mason and interestingly sung by guitarist Lenny Davidson.

Both sides are available on the indispensable DC5 double CD collection "The History Of The Dave Clark Five".

Hear "Concentration Baby":

Hear "Everybody Knows" (and cringe):

Sunday, August 4, 2019

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The Herd Minus Peter Frampton

THE HERD-The Game/Beauty Queen US Fontana F-1646 1969

The Herd, a UK pop/psych quartet were by 1969, on their last legs. Their lead singer and guitarist "The Face of '68" (as he was dubbed by the magazine "Rave") Peter Frampton decamped to form Humble Pie with ex-Small Faces front man Steve Marriott leaving the band to carry on as a trio with Andy Bown (vocals, keyboards), Gary Taylor (bass/vocals) and Victor Spinetti (brother of actor Henry, on drums). They limped on for one last single, "The Game" which was issued in the U.K. as Fontana TF 1011 in April 1969, it was issued the following month in the US. It failed to chart and the U.K. and predictably did nothing in the US.

"The Game" is a piece of brass backed pop floss, it's not awful but it's so mundane and verges on inane bubble gum so much that I really never want to play it again. The lead vocals are (presumably) by Gary Taylor. Next!

New Herd front man Andy Bown

"Beauty Queen" should have been the A-side!  Sung by Andy Bown it's an uptempo little number with a rocking groove and amusing lines like "Beauty queen where have you been? Been to the Ivanhoe to see the Cream?". The dual attack of guitar and keyboards fatten the sound up add to my earlier mentioned comment that it should have been the A-side! The band splintered shortly after the record's flop with Bown and Spinetti joining former Amen Corner horn section members as Judas Jump. After that Bown eventually wrote and performed the theme song to the UK TV show "Ace Of Wands" in 1970, the amazing and highly collectible Mellotron freakout "Tarot".

Both sides are available on a host of Herd CD compilations available out there. We recommend the most recent "The Complete Herd: Singles A's & B's".

Mexican Herd E.P. split with Dave Dee, Dozy Beaky, Mick & Tich

Hear "The Game":

Hear "Beauty Queen":