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":

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