Sunday, June 30, 2019

More U.K. Tracks On U.S. Labels: Manfred Mann Mk. II Do Dylan

MANFRED MANN-Mighty Quinn(Quinn The Eskimo)/By Request Edwin Garvey US Mercury 72770 1968

My earliest recollection of Manfred Mann was their US hit (#10) reading of Bob Dylan's "The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo)" which was a staple of Oldies radio throughout my childhood (oddly the Paul Jone's era r&b Manfred's were not nearly heard as much despite "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" being a #1 hit!).

"The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo)" was launched in the US in February 1968 (it was issued in the U.K. one month prior as Fontana TF 897 where it rose to the coveted #1 spot). It's a fairly innocuous pop track highlighted by some flute and Mike D'Abo's powerful pipes. Despite being bludgeoned to death with it throughout my childhood I have discovered in my old age that it's not a bad track.

The flip, Mike D'Abo's "By Request Edwin Garvey" is a bizarre piece sung in a faux crooner style with just piano. I imagine it would have been better suited to Vivian Stanshall and The Bonzo Dog Band than the Manfred's.

Both sides are available on the CD reissue of the LP "Mighty Garvey!" which is still in print.

Hear "The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo)":

Hear "By Request Edwin Garvey":

Monday, June 24, 2019

Leaving Here!

Have you ever stopped to consider just how many cover versions there are of Eddie Holland's 1963 Holland/Dozier/Holland penned opus "Leaving Here"? Without straying past the Sixties I managed to come up with ten, from all corners of the globe and without resorting to listing Motorhead's version!

1. EDDIE HOLLAND- US Motown 1052 1963
Here's where it all began! Eddie's eighth single for Motown became a staple for several mod influenced US soul obsessed British bands thanks to it's inclusion on the June 1964 U.K. Stateside E.P. "R&B Chartmakers Vol.3"  (SE 1022). It's infectious piano, female backing vocals and solid beat make it a solid dance floor necessity.

2. THE WHO-Unreleased 1965
By all accounts The Who were the first British band to begin playing "Leaving Here". Richard Barnes has suggested the band cut a version as The High Numbers during the session for their sole 45 ("I'm The Face"/"Zoot Suit") in 1964 . It's more substantially sped up than the original and is built on some frenetic Rickenbacker thwacking and frat boy backing vocals.  It eventually appeared as a bonus cut on the "Who's Missing" CD (though not credited in the CD as the 1964 recording). A far less powerful version was cut with Shel Talmy producing in March 1965 that was intended for their debut LP "My Generation" until a panning of the projected album's plethora of cover versions in the magazine "Beat Instrumental" scrapped the track.  Officially unreleased until 1985's compilation LP "Who's Missing", it's rather tame when compared with the 1964 version. The band also included it in their live set and performed it live on a  BBC session in April of '65.

"Leaving Here" (High Numbers version):

"Leaving Here" (second version The Who):

Scan c/o

3. THE RATIONALS-US ASquare A2-104 1966
One would suspect that Ann Arbor, Michigan's Rationals got "Leaving Here" from their interest in soul/r&b (it was issued with a cover of "Respect" on the B-side) and being geographically close to the Motor City. It's probably one of the most interesting versions because the playing is total teen garage a go-go but the vocals (with call and response and hand claps) are pure soul.

4. THE D-COYS- Australia Columbia DO4646 1965
Rivaling the United States for largest country with the largest number of Anglophile band's Australia benefited from the ex-pat telegraph that saw loads of Downunder bands cutting versions of tunes British bands were doing that did not get an Australian release. According to Ian McLagan in his book "All The Rage" there was a sizable contingent of ex-pat mods in Australia so one suspects that either the Stateside E.P. or word of the track in The Who's live set reached Adelaide duo The D-Coys who cut it as a B-side of their second 45. Though not remotely as good as most of the other covers it gets cred for it's obscurity.

Scan c/o

Here's a way out version that I know zilch about. Backed by some rocking guitar (reminiscent of Vince Taylor's  "Brand New Cadillac"),  groovy organ with horns and what sounds like a triangle this is without a doubt one of the most musically soulful versions out there. Cut in 1965 for the obscure Seattle Seafair Bolo label it's also one of the most expensive and in demand versions around.

6. THE BIRDS-UK Decca F12140 1965
In his book lead guitarist Ron Wood states that his band The Birds copped their version from the previously mentioned Stateside E.P. No doubt the most famous version of "Leaving Here" came via this U.K. r&b five piece from their second Decca single. With it's powerful opening chords that turn into a double time rave up this is the version that launched hundreds of live versions in the 80's (my band The Phantom Five among them).

7. THE IMPACTS-US Northwestern Incorporated 2660 1965
Oregon's Impacts cut  their teeth with this version on the flip of their debut single "A Little Bit More". It's delivery is subtle with some faint organ and an interesting riff that's double timed, of all today's selections this is the version I found little to no information on.

8. TAGES-Sweden Plantina PA 122 1966
Sweden's Tages were devout Anglophiles and as The Who frequently gigged in Sweden it is safe to say that their version no doubt came from hearing The Who play it in their October '65 Swedish tour (the Tages later opened  for The Who in October '66 in Sweden) . It was the flip side of their eighth single, July 1966's "In My Dreams".  Though it's not the most powerful of the covers listed here it's interesting nonetheless for the addition of the Nicky Hopkin's inspired piano and the hard hitting drums.

9. TOMMY GOOD US Gordy G-7034 1964
Tommy Good's sole US single was this flip side reading of his "Baby I Miss You" July 1964 release. The uptempo horns and organ workout that leaves the original in the dust to my ears backing music wise. The vocals aren't as powerful as Eddie Holland's but the backing is solid and reminds me of what Georgie Fame would have done with it!

Scan c/o

10. THE VACANT LOT-Australia Columbia DO-4768 1967
Sydney, Australia's Vacant Lot issued this reading, their sole 45, in March 1967 making it probably the last 7 inch version of the track of the 60's. It's punchy, snotty and at the same time poppy thanks to the vocals.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

More U.K. Tracks On U.S. Labels: The Animals Do Sam Cooke

THE ANIMALS-Bring It On Home To Me/For Miss Caulker US MGM K13339 1965

The Animals fifth single in Britain was a cover of Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home To Me" (Columbia DB 7539 in April 1965). It was issued here simultaneously on the MGM label where it was their sixth US 45 release. It reached #7 in the British charts but stalled at #32 here in the United States.

"Bring It On Home To Me" is, in itself a pretty mundane tune to cover. It holds a place in the band's tumultuous history as being the last single to feature keyboardist Alan Price.  It's his piano work that saves the number from sliding into mediocrity, which despite a decent showing by Eric Burdon on lead vocals is nothing I really feel like playing over and over again. It was also previously covered in 1964 covered in Liverpool by two bands, The Big Three (on the various artists compilation "At The Cavern) and by The Merseybeats on their untitled debut LP.

Looking miserable with each other, 1965.

"For Miss Caulker", a Burdon original reminds me a bit of "I Believe To My Soul" in it's delivery, especially Price's ivory tinkling.  I am tempted to assume that Miss Caulker was the married black woman who Burdon had a brief teenage romance with (also mentioned in "When I Was Young") but I don't have either of his autobiographies to verify it. Price's piano work on the track is incredible and Burdon's vocals are on point as well and though the track would obviously have had little commercial success as an A-side it would have been better suited to my ears than a run of the mill Sam Cooke cover.

Both tracks are available in a host of places. I have them both on a double EMI CD Anthology of all of their Columbia material 1964-1966 and there is also an EMI CD still in print called "A's B's & E.P.'s".

Hear "Bring It On Home To Me":

Hear "For Miss Caulker":

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Pinkerton's Colours "Magic Rocking Horse"

PINKERTON'S COLOURS-Magic Rocking Horse/It Ain't Right UK DEcca F12493 1966
Quite often folks my age have the 80's British Bam Caruso label and their excellent "Rubble" series to thank for turning us onto a host of amazing tunes. Among those is a track by Pinkerton's Colours (also known as Pinkerton's Assorted Colours) "Magic Rocking Horse".  I was first actually familiar with the tune as it was covered by Milwaukee's lyseric purveyors of psychedelia Plasticland on their untitled 1984 debut LP (along with The Pretty Things/Electric Banana "Alexander"). My intro to the the original version first came via a cassette tape my guru Ron Rimisite passed on to my friend Rudie in 1985. Bam Caruso eventually included it on their 1988 Rubble Vol. 14 "The Magic Rocking Horse" LP.

Though not as trippy as one might suspect due to it's inclusion on a "Rubble" volume, "Magic Rocking Horse"  is nonetheless worth checking out. It was the third and final Decca single released by the U.K. 5 piece previously credited as "Pinkerton's Assorted Colours".  "Magic Rocking House" is a great baroque  pop with ringing acoustic guitars and a melancholy vocal delivery complete with a delightful 12 string acoustic guitar solo that would do The Poets proud.

The flip, "It Ain't Right" sounds like a totally different band (not that that's a bad thing). It's upbeat, rocking and almost a raw r&b/freakbeat thing. High marks!

The band then moved to Pye for three more singles before changing their name in 1969 to The Flying Machine and scoring a massive world wide hit (#5 in the US ) with "Smile A Little Smile For Me".

"Magic Rocking Horse" as mentioned above is available on Bam Caruso's "Rubble Volume 14: The Magic Rocking Horse" and both sides were included on an exhaustive two CD set compiling all the Pinkerton's/Flying Machine recordings titled "Flight Recorder From Pinkerton's Assorted Colors To The Flying Machine".

Hear "Magic Rocking Horse":

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Only In America: The Zombies-I Want You Back Again

THE ZOMBIES-I Want You Back Again/I Remember When I Loved Her US Parrot 45 PAR 9769 1965

It still always perplexes me that The Zombies were one hit wonders in the U.K.and way bigger here in the States. "She's Not There", a #2 hit in the US was #12 in the UK and "Tell Her No", a #6 in the US was a miserable #42 at home in Great Britain!  "I Want You Back Again" was the band's fourth American single and strangely did not get a U.K. release, it sadly limped in at #92 here in the States while it's predecessor ""She's Coming Home" faltered at #48! Unfortunately this spelled the end of the band's brief run of hits in the United States until their 1969 hat trick with "Time Of The Season" but that says nothing of the music they were putting out.

 "I Want You Back Again" is an amazing A-side. Hugh Grundy's jazzy drumming really makes it swing and throw in Argent's brilliant electric piano (that seems to anticipate Ray Manzarek and The Doors) and Colin Blunstone's vocals, though at times are out of his register, sound perfect for the track.

The flip, "I Remember When I Loved Her" was culled from the band's 1965 UK LP "Begin Here". It's not one of my favorites by them but it still beats their dreadful r&b covers!  The best part for me is the spooky sci-fi organ augmented by Paul Atkinson's Spanish guitar.

Both tracks are available on a zillion Zombies collections that Ace/Big Beat has flooded the market with over the past two decades.

Hear "I Want You Back Again":

Hear "I Remember When I Loved Her":

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Well We're All Heads....Roky Erickson R.I.P.

Word has spread throughout the world that the Texan psychedelic pioneer Roky Erickson has passed on, I can think of no better fitting tribute to him than this wild American Bandstand TV clip of The Thirteenth Floor Elevators performing "You're Gonna Miss Me".