Saturday, February 29, 2020

The Best Of Sue Records (U.K.) Part Two

We profiled ten of our favorite UK Sue 45's in an earlier post here, so we came up with ten more for your perusal:

1. SCREAMIN' JAY HAWKINS-"I Hear Voices" WI 379 1965
Screamin' Jay Hawkins U.K. 7" discography is quite slim. This was his second UK 45 and his only one on Sue. "I Hear Voices" is an odd number that is more of a musical essay on paranoia than a song with it's dirge like feel akin to the amphetamine fueled confusion of John's Children's "Smashed Blocked". Hawkin's heavily echoed "vocals" and constant chanting of the word "moan" add to the weirdness, but it's so odd it's enjoyable! It was originally released in the US in 1962 on Enrica (1010).

2. ERNESTINE ANDERSON-"Keep An Eye On Love" WI 309 1964
This smooth and sophisticated quasi bossa nova swinger was one of the UK Sue releases that actually had a US Sue release (September 1963 as Sue 993) it's also incredibly in demand with US pressings reaching $100 and the UK Sue issue near twice that!! Regardless of it's cost "Keep An Eye On Love" is totally infectious, "from Brazil to Sugar Hill...".

3. THE SANTELLS-"So Fine" WI 4020 1966
I don't know much about this group but their reading of Johnny Otis "So Fine" uses an uptempo formula not unlike something by The Newbeats crossed with girl group sensibility of say, The Shangri-La's that really works.  Originally released in the US in 1964 on the Courier label (CR 115) it's UK release came a full two years later.

4. DEREK MARTIN-"Daddy Rolling Stone" Sue WI 308 1964
Mods in the furthest corners of the world will all probably tell you it was the Who's cover version that appeared on the flip of "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere" that served as their intro to this song. The Who no doubt learned it from this storming February '64 release (the US version appeared on Crackerjack as 4013 in June 1963). It was Martin's debut solo release having spent time in the Front Notes before bursting out with this killer punctuated by Ikettes style call and response backing vocals, hand claps and a sleazy sax solo.

5. HOMESICK JAMES-"Set A Date" WI 330 1964
American bluesman Homesick James had a slim discography 45 wise but Sue issued two of his singles in the UK.  This was his final release in Britain that saw the label reverse sides of his debut US 45 release (on the Colt label, 632 in 1962). "Set A Date" is a blues shuffle borrowing quite a bit from "Dust My Broom" with some wailing vocals on top of the bluesy guitar, bass, piano and drums set up. One can't help but wonder if it was this that inspired The Yardbird's rewrite "The Nazz Are Blue" or the Elmore James original.

6. HAROLD BETTERS-"Do Anything You Wanna Do" WI 378 1965
Veteran jazz trombonist Harold Better's sole UK 7" release was this 1965 issue of his August 1964 US single (Gateway 45-747). It's a mid tempo jazz number backed by subtle organ/piano, bass and drums with his slide trombone on top kicking it in as a perfect party record.

7. OTIS REDDING-"Shout Bamalama" WI 362 1965
Like most performers once they find fame, previously issued early recordings are immediately dredged up and dashed out again and Otis Redding was no exception as U.K. Sue wasted no time resuscitating his second ever 45, 1962's "Shout Bamalama" (first issued in the States on Orbit 135). It's a far cry from the Stax soul smoothness of Otis and with it's wonky sax, party atmosphere and hysterical lyrics it sounds more like something Bunker Hill would have issued!

8. EFFIE SMITH-"Dial That Telephone" WI 4010 1966
One of the most bizarre UK Sue releases was the re-release of this 1959 spoken word novelty record first issued on Spot (45-103). Over the top of minimal backing Effie sings/talks through one side of an imaginary phone call of a woman with a wayward husband named Henry who stumbles in after a rough night on the tiles.

9. BOB & EARL-"The Sissy" WI 393 1965
The second UK single by soul duo Bob & Earl saw Sue flip the sides of their US Chene 45 (103 July 1964) and put the superior "The Sissy" on the flip and the weaker (to my ears) "Baby, I'm Satisfied" on the A-side. For me "The Sissy" ranks as one of their best with a stellar production, solid musical backing and of course powerful vocals by Messrs Bob Relf and Jackie Lee collectively known as "Bob and Earl".

10. JERRY BUTLER-"I Don't Want To Hear It Anymore" WI 4003 1966
Sue's first UK Jerry Butler 45 took his 1964 (Vee Jay VJ 598) release of "I Stand Accused"/"I Don't Want To Hear It Anymore"and relaunched it. For me the gold was always on the flip, Randy Newman's "I Don't Want To Hear It Anymore". From Butler's powerful voice to the stellar arrangement and in no small part Newman's clever lyrics its a powerful tune as the Iceman croons about the apartment building gossip . The Walker Brothers took note and covered it note for note and lead singer Scott no doubt took notice when writing about a similar scenario in his own "Mrs. Murphy".

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