Monday, October 18, 2021

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Paul & Barry Ryan

 

PAUL AND BARRY RYAN-Have Pity On The Boy/There You Go U.S. MGM K13472 1966

British twins Paul and Barry Ryan were all but nobodies in the U.S. but that didn't stop MGM from issuing eight of their ten U.K. singles here (sadly to no avail).

"Have Pity On The Boy" b/w "There You Go" was their second U.K. single (Decca F 12319 January 1966). It was issued here a month later. I have always preferred the B-side so I decided to picture it here. Both sides were penned by Les Reed and Barry Mason, who composed the bulk of their material. 

"Have Pity On The Boy" is fairly indicative of most of their stuff: light weight, nondescript, over produced and heavy on the fluff. It's not unlistenable to nothing I want to play repeatedly.

1967 portrait by Gered Mankowitz






















For my money (and why I own this 45) the strongest track of the two is "There You Go". It was my introduction to the band back in the mid 80's on one of See For Mile's "Sixties Lost And Found" compilation LP's. It's powered by some heavy brass and layers of session men, though instead of sounding schmaltzy to me it sounds really rocking. There's something about it that makes me think it would be from a Swingin' London Pathe newsreel, with the horns and frantic energy showing dollybirds and hip cats strolling around.

Both sides are available on a Paul & Barry CD collection "Have Pity On The Boys". "There you Go" was also on Decca/Deram's amazing CD compilation "The Mod Scene". 

Hear "Have Pity On The Boy":


Hear "There You Go":

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Them- "Half As Much"




















THEM-Half As Much/Gonna Dress In Black U.S. Parrot 45-9784 1965

Such was the faith in Belfast, Nortrhern Ireland's Them that their U.S. label Parrot issued eight of their nine U.K. Decca 45's here and like fellow Parrot/Decca label mates The Zombies the imprint continued to plug on long after their hits dried up.

"Half As Much" (issued in the U.K. as "It Won't Hurt Half As Much") was the band's fifth U.K. single (Decca F 12215 August 1965), it was simultaneously released here where it was their fourth 45. It failed to chart in either country unfortunately. Penned by Bang records supremo Bert Berns (who also produced it in addition to the same for their previous number "Here Comes the Night", a #2 hit in the U.K. and #24 in the U.S. respectively).

"Half As Much" is fairly mundane, I've always been amused by Van Morrison's British accent on "little" in the track, it's certainly not the band's worst track, but not among their best either. It was later recorded by Garnet Mimms (as a B-side in 1966). 
















For me the gold is on the flip, "I'm Gonna Dress In Black". Led by an organ it's gritty and almost sleazy. I always get a kick out of hearing Van Morrison sing about "way up in the hills in Georgia" with conviction that makes you believe he really has been there! The organ reminds me of The Animals and adds to the perfect, bluesy/dirge feel to it all!

Both sides appeared on the hodge podge final Them LP "Them Again" (1966) and are also available on the amazing comprehensive three CD set "The Story Of Them Featuring Van Morrison".  

Hear "Half As Much":


Hear "I'm Gonna Dress In Black":

Monday, October 4, 2021

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The Montanas

 




















THE MONTANAS-Round About/Heaven Help You US Independence IND-93 1969

U.K. beat group The Montanas had a string of records released in the U.K. all under the steady guiding hand of producer Tony Hatch (eight including today's subject) who more times than often foist his compositions on them. "Round About" (titled "Roundabout" back home in England where it was issued as Pye 7N 17697 in February of 1969) was the band's eighth U.S. single where it was issued simultaneously with it's U.K. cousin but in typical American fashion some things are odd. "Roundabout" is relegated to the B-side while a track not released in the U.K. called "Heaven Help You" is given the honors on Side A.  The U.K. issue of "Round About" featured a track called "Mystery" on the flip. 

"Heaven Help You" is a dreadful track with lyrics about a guy marrying a loose woman and being warned off on her by the vicar with lots of harmonies that sound like a band destined to be trapped in the cabaret circuit (truth is possibly stranger than fiction in this case).
















The real gold is in "Round About". Buried in a heavy groove and the band's multitude of harmonies it's a chunky powerful number with an infectious arrangement that drops into mild paced and sparse arrangements during the verse and gets heavy on the chorus with some Ace Kefford style bass lines, frantic drumming, organ and a powerful array of voices. Amazing! The lyrics concern a woman who loves, uses and then leaves men "new love everyday, but each one has to pay, she's sorry but that's just the only way..".

Both sides are available on The Montana's CD anthology "You've Got To Be Loved". 

Hear "Heaven Help You":


Hear "Round About":


Monday, September 27, 2021

The Herd-I Don't Want Our Loving To Die





















THE HERD-I Don't Want Our Loving To Die/Our Fairy Tale U.S. Fontana F-1618 1968

The Herd, fronted by a young Peter Frampton and voted "The Face Of '68" by Rave magazine , were riding high on the charts in Britain. "I Don't Want Our Loving To Die" was the band's fourth single for Fontana in England (TF 925, March 1968) where it skyrocketed to #5 on the charts (their highest charting British single). It was also their fourth U.S. single on Fontana and was held off on release until June. Like all of the band's American releases it failed to chart. 



















Package tour galore '68: The Who, The Herd, Traffic and The Tremeloes 

"I Don't Want Our Loving To Die" is magnificent. It starts out with a verse by keyboard player Andrew Bown then bursts forth with his Hammond and Frampton taking over the vocals. It's layered in harmonies, hand claps and percussion galore. During the bridge bassist Gary Taylor sings a verse in his Scott Walker-esque baritone before a brief recorder solo. The number is so incredibly upbeat and utterly charming. One of their best! Like most of their hits it was penned by the song writing team of Howard/Blaikley and produced by Steve Rowland (who goes uncredited on all their US 45's). Check out this amazing promo video of the band on the Thames. 






















The Face of '68 shares a drink and a joke with Romy Schneider 

The flip "Our Fairy Tale" is again kicked off by Andrew Bown trading verses/choruses with Frampton. It's backed by a regal trumpet, sawing cellos and a heavy use of percussion again. It's catchy, inoffensive and enjoyable. Sweden's Tages later recorded a version in Britain re-titled "Halcyon Days".

Both sides are on a host of Herd compilations of their Fontana era.

Hear "I Don't Want Our Loving To Die":


Hear "Our Fairy Tale":

Monday, September 20, 2021

10 More Cool 60's UK 45's













1. THE MINDBENDERS-"Uncle Joe, The Ice Cream Man" UK Fontana TF 961 1968

There's a great anecdote in the liner notes of a Mindbender's CD compilation where the band are cutting this tune at Olympic and Mick Jagger strolls in and says "Why are you singing this shit?". Regardless of Mick's narrow minded assessment this late era Mindbenders track is a brilliant pop/psych number. It was composed by Graham Gouldman (who was also a band member at this point) and lushly orchestrated by John Paul Jones. 

https://youtu.be/U70WB-J3Zss














2. THE ZEPHYRS-"I Just Can't Take It" UK Columbia DB 7571 1965 

The Zephyrs cut five singles before calling it a day in 1965. This was their final, produced by Shel Talmy. It's a beautifully morose beat ballad with amazing harmonies and organ that remind me of The Zombies if they got a little "weirder". Something about the vocals also bring to mind a Joe Meek production. 

https://youtu.be/Wfjsmgvvjyk













3. THE ROTHCHILDS-"I Let Her Go" UK Decca F 12488 1966

I stumbled upon this little ditty from 1966 and know nothing about the band. "I Let Her Go" is a brilliant four part harmony beat number that would do The Association proud! The melody at times reminds me of "Norwegian Wood" but there's lush orchestration, woodwinds, 12 string guitar and the kitchen sink. Wow!  It's found on the flip of their final Decca 45 "Artificial City". 

https://youtu.be/vJ-c8Dk5P_g













4. ROGER DENNISON-"She Just Wanders Through My Mind" UK Parlophone R 5566 1967

This moody, baroque pop/folk piece is perfect. Musically it reminds me of Scotland's Poets and Dennison's voice is somber and detached. There's a ratty guitar lick that runs through the tune following the melody that really works giving it an almost exotic Near Eastern feel.

https://youtu.be/HyGJ0PO8efQ













5. THE CHRIS SHAKESPEARE GLOBE SHOW-"Tin Soldier" UK Page One POF 113 1968

Someone I follow on Instagram hipped me to this wiggy 45 that somehow has eluded compilation compilers. The A-side is an almost cod ska reading of "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da", but the flip is an interesting cover of the Small Face's "Tin Soldier" that's amazing. The brass is reminiscent of Amen Corner or the Globe Show's equally obscure label mates The Universals. The vocals are nothing special but the musical backing is a full on rave up!!

https://youtu.be/fb95YIqnx3g













6. JOE BROWN-"Davy The Fat Boy" UK MCA MU 1030 1968

Joe Brown was one of those pre-beat music performers who was knocked out of the charts by The Beatles etc but still kept busy by sheer charm and public acclaim, and like most of his comrades was given something "new" to try with this Randy Newman composition. "Davy the Fat Boy" is a curious track about a carnival side show attraction who is sadly morbidly obese, it's more of a cheeky comedy record (perfect for Brown's persona) with some trippy little effects.

https://youtu.be/nqbVMXqrt-0













7. WAYNE FONTANA-"Charlie Cass" UK Fontana TF 1054 1969

Like the above's "Davy The Fat Boy", "Charlie Cass" is another freakshow character of sorts, this time the protagonist is a glass eater. Curiously the number was written by Fontana (under his real name Glyn Ellis). It's a perfect popsike number with all the usual trimmings (angelic female voices, strings, brass etc) and a roaring chorus that's part knees up part "Odgen's Nut Gone Flake" (or is that a contradiction of sorts?!). 

https://youtu.be/5-ba-nlI5_Q













8. BILLY FURY-"Phone Box (The Monkey's In The Jam Jar)" UK Parlophone R 5723 1968

Billy Fury was unloaded by Decca after seven years and his move to EMI's Parlophone label saw him continue to make sub par MOR 45's. Eventually things got freaky and Billy tackled Bowie's "Silly Boy Blue" in '68 followed by this completely mental number that's half nursery rhyme half pop sike freak out. It's catchy and has bizarre lyrics and all the usual pop sike musical trappings and best of all Billy (reportedly a huge fan of cannabis) wrote it!

https://youtu.be/E7WWB96VNOE













9. ELI-"Never Mind" UK Parlophone R 5575 1967

Here's one I know absolutely nothing about! It's a fey voiced duet pop psych number with a catchy melody not unlike The Young Idea or Twice as Much. The track's composers Mike Finesilver and Peter Ker wrote a number of pop sike tracks for Love Sculpture and Excelsior Spring, to name a few.

https://youtu.be/_Vc-uSKZIzw













10. THE MOOD OF HAMILTON-"Where Can't There Be More Love" UK Columbia DB 8304 1967

Singer Hamilton King made a career out of cutting r&b records on HMV before moving to EMI's Columbia label and changing his name (temporarily) to The Mood of Hamilton. This '67 single lyrically bears all the trade marks of the Summer of Love's message of peace and brotherly love beneath a churchy organ and some high, choirboy backing vocals. It's just so damned odd that I can't quite describe it's appeal!

https://youtu.be/LsmWqytNNfg

All 45 scans are care of the amazing 45cat.com website.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Jimmy Nicol


There are lots of stories in rock n' roll of people who failed to grab the golden ring, and then of those who did and had it snatched from them. This is no better illustrated than by the story of drummer Jimmy Nicol who was plucked from obscurity to fill Ringo Starr's seat for some European and Australian Beatles dates and then thrust straight back to obscurity. Nicol had played in a variety of bands and recorded with his own group, The Shubdubs". The first of which, today's subject, was first issued in the U.K. in February 1964 on Pye (7N 15623), to capitalize on his Beatles involvement it was released in America in May of 1964 on the short lived Mar Mar label. Both sides were played and recorded by Georgie Fame and The Blue Flames, which should come as no surprise because according to author Uli Twelker in his book "Georgie Fame: There's Nothing Else To Do", Nicol was occupying the drum stool in the Blue Flames when he got the fateful call asking to sub for Ringo AND returned to the Blue Flames for a spell after his brush with Beatlemania. 

As both side's of today's subject were tracks that were in the live repertoire of Georgie Fame and The Blue Flames (and included on his 1964 debut LP " Rhythm And Blues At The Flamingo") it leads one to suspect that they made for obvious choices for Nicol to record. Both however owe little to the arrangements of GF and Co.  "Humpty Dumpty" has an almost big band feel to it with a large brass section that despite playing a ska rhythm reeks of TV show orchestra and the vocals sung in a fake Jamaican accent border on almost tasteless, but, alas those were the times. Interestingly the drums sound like someone banging on a garbage can lid throughout the whole track!













James Brown's "Night Train" is delivered in a similar "big TV show band" style but is catchy no less with a groovy combo organ and some very hard hitting drums and like the A-side can easily be imaged as being played during the intro to a U.K. 60's variety/music show. It would have been better suited for the A-side.

Both sides of the single are available on the CD compilation of U.K. 60's Pye singles "Beat Beat Beat 2: Fab Gear" while "Night Train" has appeared on a variety of CD comps such as Sequel's "Doin' The Mod 2: Jump And Dance" and "Instro Hipsters A Go-Go 2". 

Hear "Humpty Dumpty":

https://youtu.be/9nSO-IatJSA

Hear "Night Train":

https://youtu.be/4l4XbY-x6iI

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The End


THE END-Shades Of Orange/Loving Sacred Loving US London 45-LON-1016 1968





















Rolling Stone Bill Wyman's "proteges" The End had been around since 1964. To call them his "proteges' is sort of a backhander because the band were a perfectly capable act that had quite a bit of experience under their belt (more on that in a bit). Wyman's connection with the band goes way back. He produced their 1965 7" debut "I Can't Get Any Joy" (UK Phillips BF 1444/US Phillips 40323 both October 1965) after meeting them when they were backing Andrew Loog Oldham find Charles Dickens on a series of U.K. concert dates with The Stones. Fast forward to nearly two years later and the band were still soldiering on and Wyman was still their champion having produced four of the band's Spanish only 45 releases (where they had taken up residence and apparently had quite a successful following). 


























"Shades Of Orange" and it's flip "Loving Sacred Loving" were both written by Wyman and a protege named Peter Gosling (who's band Moon's Train were also produced by Wyman). Curiously "Loving.." received it's first airing as an A-side in Spain in 1967 (Sonoplay SN-20.054). Both tracks (along with subsequent tracks on their sole long player, 1968's  "Introspection") were recorded utilizing Stones session time for their "Satanic Majesties Request" long player at Olympic studios. When his band mates would fail to turn up Wyman would ring The End and get them in and get cracking, sometimes working into the wee hours of the morning (on one such session Charlie Watts was roped in to add tabla to "Shades Of Orange"). Amazingly on such short notice the results were impressive.

"Shades Of Orange" first came to my attention in the Summer of 1986 with See For Miles records dropping their monumental various artists LP comp "The British Psychedelic Trip 1966-1969" full of Deram/Decca goodies, with "Shades of Orange" holding it's rightful place among peers like Tintern Abbey, World of Oz Etc. Driven by restrained (and brilliantly phased) brass, Watt's tabla and eerily spooky keyboards it's a thoroughly atmospheric track that picks up steam during the chorus with snatches of Jimi Hendrix inspired guitar crunch before reverting back to an almost solemn musical reverence. 

The late great Charlie Watts and his tablas.


























"Loving, Sacred Loving" is of course built on the assistance of yet another guest musician care of Wyman's association, this time it's Nicky Hopkin's harpsichord that lends itself to the dreamy feel of the track (which at times reminds me of Wyman's own "In Another Land" from the "Satanic Majesties" album). Fattened up by layers of otherworldly sounding vocals it has an almost enteral feel to it and again one listens to it's amazing production and wonders why in the world Bill wasn't allowed to produce his own band (witness the mess that is "Have You Seen Your Mother Baby"). The track was hilariously passed off as a jam involving the Beatles and the Stones in the 70's!

Both sides are available on a variety of places, the easiest to find being multiple issues of their LP "Introspection". 

Hear "Shades Of Orange":


Hear "Loving, Sacred, Loving":

Thursday, July 1, 2021

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The World Of Oz

 

WORLD OF OZ-Beside The Fire/Mandy-Ann US Deram 45-85043 1969




















Britain's psych pop quartet the World Of Oz were quite prolific in the United States despite not garnering one iota of commercial success here. The band's first two U.K. A-sides ("The Muffin Man" and "King Croesus" ) were released in the States, their third and final U.K. single "Willow's Harp" was not issued Stateside but Deram (their label in both the U.S. and U.K.) took the curious step of issuing a U.S. only single of two tracks from their untitled LP (issued in the U.S. as Deram DES 18022), "Beside the Fire" b/w "Mandy-Ann" in April 1969.

"Beside The Fire" is probably the greatest Bee Gee's pastiche I've ever heard! The vocalist's quivering Robin Gibb style falsetto backed by brass and strings with a soulful Hammond in the background make this track sound  like it would not be remotely out of place on the brother's Gibb's "Idea" album. Both sides were produced by Liverpudlian producer/A&R man supreme Wayne Bickerton.


























The flip side, "Mandy-Ann", has a similar Bee Gee's feel with it's over the top orchestration with woodwinds, xylophone, strings, brass (provided by the deft hand of Mike Vickers who handled the arrangement on both sides) but is far too upbeat and cheery  to pass as a Bee Gees track. It's a catchy psych pop tune regardless and would have made a better A-side in my mind.



















Both sides can be found on various reissues of their sole untitled 1969 Deram LP.

Hear "Beside The Fire":


Hear "Mandy-Ann":

Thursday, June 24, 2021

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The Herd's U.S. Debut

 

THE HERD-I Can Fly/Understand Me U.S. Fontana F-1588 1967




















Upon joining The Herd, Peter Frampton recorded five singles with them during his short tenure with the band. His debut single with them, "I Can Fly",  was issued in the U.K. in April 1967 as Fontana TF 819. It was released in the U.S. three months later but substituted a tune called "Understand Me" in place of "Diary Of A Narcissist" (which was also the flip side in Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands). The single surprisingly flopped in the U.K., as it did in the U.S., fortunately for them their next three singles all made the U.K. Top 20. 

"I Can Fly", like many of the band's singles tracks was written by Howard Blaikley. It's a quirky little number that starts off with a jarring burst of a feed back drenched power chord and a chorus of angelic vocals. With a catchy chorus it sticks in one's brain quite easily. Frampton's vocals sound plaintive and the band's harmonies and the addition of flute in addition to their usual guitar/bass/keyboards/drums formula adds something interesting to the tune. It all reaches a crescendo with the mantra like chorus of  "I can fly" repeated over and over like a mantra as Frampton bashes away distorted power chords until the song fades out with spooky ivory tinkling and restrained guitar feedback. Brilliant!

























"Understand Me" is a unique track as it was not issued anywhere else in the world on a 45 outside of the U.S. (it also appeared on the band's U.S. LP "Lookin' Thru You" (Fontana SRF-67579 1968). What strikes me as odd is to my ears it's one of the best tracks they ever did. Powered by some rumbling bass, Hammond/piano and a punchy chorus it has a soulful feel to it and deserves repeated playing and would have clearly made a suitable A-side! The high demand for this 45 is no doubt a validation of that!

The U.S. outlet of Fontana issued four of the next five U.K. Herd singles, but without an ounce of chart success

Both sides are available on the comprehensive Herd CD collection put out by Repertoire "Complete Herd" as well as their 1968 U.S. LP "Lookin' Thru You". 

Hear "I Can Fly":

 

Hear "Understand Me":

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Del Shannon In England 1967

DEL SHANNON-Mind Over Matter/Led Along U.K. Liberty LIB 10277 1967













Stone's manager/producer Andrew Loog Oldham was never a man to shun lofty ambitions, and when he founded his independent label Immediate in 1965 with partner Tony Calder he always had an eye on using the label to help further the careers of not just up and coming British artists but his American heroes too, witness his licensing of the McCoy's "Hang On Sloopy" as the label's debut release (IM 001 August 1965 or Mark Murphy's U.K. only LP "Who Can I Turn To" ( IMLP  004 1966). With that in mind he made overtures to bring American singer Del Shannon over to record an entire LP. The project was to be titled "Home And Away" and no expense was spared with in house songwriters Andrew Rose and David Skinner (also known collectively, as the Immediate records duo Twice as Much) and Billy Nicholls supplying tunes to augment some of Shannon's own compositions. The sessions were held at London's Olympic studios in February 1967 with the cream of the crop participating including Steve Marriott, Kenny Jones, P.P. Arnold, Billy Nicholls, John Paul Jones, Twice As Much, Andy White and Nicky Hopkins among them adding musical backing and vocals. Production was handled by Oldham with arranging done by Art Greenslade. Then it all fell apart with financial mismanagement that left the LP, largely, unreleased until 1978 (in the U.K. as "And The Music Plays On" Sunset Records SLS 50412).

Some of the tracks from the sessions did squeak out as singles. Today's subject issued in the U.K. on Liberty (credited as "An Immediate Records production") in June of 1967 was among them. "Mind Over Matter" is to my ears, the best track of the entire LP so it was a perfect logical choice for a single. It's lushly orchestrated with strings, woodwinds and trumpet (thanks to the deft hand or Art Greenslade, best known for orchestrating Chris Farlowe's #1 smash of The Stone's "Out Of Time") that musically remind me of an upbeat Walker Brothers type thing.

Del In London at the time of the recording of "Home And Away". 











The flip, "Led Along" was penned by Immediate records wunderkid Billy Nicholls and was not recorded by him on his criminally rare Immediate LP "Would You Believe".  It's not as strong as anything on Nicholl's LP (Shannon also recorded Nicholl's "Come Again" as "Cut And Come Again" and another tune Nicholls did not release "Friendly With You" for "Home And Away"). "Led Along" has distinct "Pet Sounds" influences in it's use of high backing vocals and the chord charges. Del's vocals are in two part harmony with an interesting backing of strings, banjo and ivory tinkling. It's not the best song on the LP but worth a spin for the over the top arrangements once again courtesy of Art Greenslade. 

Both sides are available on various CD re-issues of "Home And Away". 

Hear "Mind Over Matter":

https://youtu.be/danYLGGtt-k

Hear "Led Along":

https://youtu.be/SM_rvnVk-N0

Thursday, June 10, 2021

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The Transatlantics Cover The Fab Four

 

THE TRANSATLANTICS-Run For Your Life/Run For Your Life US Jubilee 45-5529 1966




















Britain's Transatlantics cut two singles in the U.K. on Fontana before switching over to King to release this Fab Four "Help" LP track as a single in March 1966 (as King KG 1033). Both previous singles were issued here on the Jubilee label as was this release a month later than it's U.K. cousin, though oddly only as a double sided promo (ditching the British flip side ""It's All Over"). 

Their version of "Run For Your Life" is a fairly carbon copy of the original though the opening intro has slight differences. As far as Beatles covers go in my estimation there's only three ways you can do it, badly, note for note or better by adding your own touches. This falls firmly in the middle safe ground of note for note. For Fab Four cover version completists only!

Dutch 45 sleeve, c/o 45cat.com





















To my knowledge it has not been comped or reissued anywhere,

Hear "Run For Your Life":


Hear a 1966 BBC session of The Transatlantics featuring "Run For Your Life":

Thursday, June 3, 2021

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Kippington Lodge And The Roots Of Brinsley Schwarz

 

KIPPINGTON LODGE-Rumors/And She Cried US Capitol 2236 1968
























Kippington Lodge are best known in the annals of rock n' roll history as the musical starting place of British musician's Brinsley Schwarz, Bob Andrews and  Nick Lowe! The band released five singles in the U.K. on Parlophone through their brief career 1967-1969. Today's specimen was their second U.K. single (Parlophone R 5677 March 1968) and their sole U.S. release, being issued here in July of '68 and the first to feature Nick Lowe (tthough not technically, more on that later). Discovered by British based German producer Mark Wirtz (best known for his work with Tomorrow) the band released a host of orchestrated pop-psych ditties but despite Wirtz's magic touch they were destined to remain in obscurity for their existence.

Sadly the band did not play on either side of this release as Wirtz utilized session musicians (among them were bassist Herbie Flowers, guitarist Big Jim Sullivan and vocalists The Ivy League)  with Brinsley Schwarz singing lead on both sides. "Rumors" was penned by Wirtz using a pseudonym but the flip, "And She Cried" (the band's original choice for the A-side) was penned by Brinsley Schwarz. 

"Rumors", is a cheeky/cheery pop song led by Schwarz's pop friendly vocals that sounds not unlike the band's previous single, a cover of Tomorrow's "Shy Boy" with harmonies, poppy/regal trumpet tooting away and a bouncy feel to it at!


























"And She Cried" should have been the A-side. With lushly orchestrated strings, vibes and again some regal brass it's a perfect three minute pop-psych masterpiece. Like the A-side it benefits from Wirtz's stellar production (Tomorrow's lead singer Keith West once described him as "the German Tony Hatch") and despite the fact that it's just Schwarz and session musicians it's nothing short of a masterpiece. 

With Schwarz, Andrews and Lowe gaining fame as Brinsley Schwarz EMI put out a 7" E.P. in November 1978 containing both the band's debut singles (alongside similar EP's containing early material by David Bowie, The Paramounts and Simon Dupree and the Big Sound).  In 2011 RPM put out a CD collection "Kippington Lodge-Shy Boy: The Complete Recordings 1967-1969" which contains all five singles, unreleased tracks and BBC session material. 

Hear "Rumors":


Hear "And She Cried":



Thursday, May 27, 2021

Great Unsung U.K. Pop Psych/Freakout's: Shere Khan

 




















SHERE KHAN-Little Louise/No Reason U.K. TeePee TPR 1007 1969


Occupying the #1 spot on my 45 rpm want list is today's subject, a one off U.K. single by a studio only concoction called Shere Khan. I don't own the original but I own a bootleg copy (pictured above) and seeing as a beat to hell copy went for $422 on Discogs awhile back (after being up for grabs for less than 24 hours) I think it unlikely to ever own an original pressing.  Shere Khan was the vehicle of Frank Aiello, a former member of the U.K. duo The Truth (who split in 1968 after issuing their last single, a cover of The Rascal's "Seuno" as Decca F 12764 in April 1968). Interestingly Aiello has no recollection of the record or the session!

The Truth




















"Little Louise" was first unearthed by Rob Bailey on one of his "Le Beat Bespoke" CD's (Volume Two to be exact). It's fairly mundane, though the interesting backing of heavy kitschy sounding brass mixed with fuzz guitar is fairly intriguing and the arrangement is catchy the song itself does nothing for me.

The gold, for me, is on the flip. "No Reason" is a full on fucking mind blast! Cloaked in an array of horns that sound straight out of the soundtrack of some late 60's British film they are also reminiscent of the brass on The Pretty Thing's "Emotions" LP, but on speed!! Roll that up in blistering fuzz guitar and a frantic pace the whole thing comes off as a freaky version of Paul & Barry Ryan with the trumpets/sax darting in and out of the complex arrangement. The double tracked vocals are both soulful AND trippy creating a wall of psychedelic pandemonium! 

Both sides were collected on a Truth CD compilation "Who's Wrong: Mod Bedlam 1965-1969". 

Hear "Little Louise":


Hear "No Reason":

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Songs That "Rubble" Taught Us: Russell Morris "The Real Thing" Antipodean Freakout

 

RUSSELL MORRIS-The Real Thing Part 1/The Real Thing Part 2 US Diamond D-263 1969




















Today's subject is an off the wall Antipodean freakout that was first brought to my attention on the 1992 Rubble CD collection "Rubble 11". As with lots of tracks on the "Rubble" series I wrongly assumed it was British!

"The Real Thing" was first issued in Australia in March of 1969 with "Parts One and Two" on the A-side as Columbia DO-8710 where it reached #1 on the national charts (it was issued in Britain in a similar fashion in September 1969 as Decca F 22964). For it's American release in June "Parts One And Two" were separated into two individual tracks one on each side, and it's flip "It's Only A Matter Of Time" was discarded. For the artist, 21 year old Australian Russell Morris, it was his debut release. 

For the uninitiated "The Real Thing" is a mind-blowing experience drenched in phlanging/phasing. Starting off with some mellow phlanged acoustic guitar it only take a mere before the number begins it's journey into the Way Out. It's hard to catalog all of the bizarre things going on in this record from buzzing/fuzzed out/backwards guitar licks that weave in an out, the frantic piano trills (that remind me of The Stones "We Love You") to the oscillating psychedelic effects on the drums weaving a hypnotic groove. Towards the end an eerie chorus of children can be heard singing in another language after air raid sirens (I've always maintained that they're singing in German) and I could swear it ends with them shouting "Sieg Heil!" just as the sound of an explosion comes in bringing the record to a fade out. Perhaps a bit TOO trippy?!?!






















"The Real Thing" has been comped in a variety of places, namely Bam Caruso's  "Rubble Volume 18: Rainbow Thyme Winders" and "We Can Fly Volume Four". 

 Hear "The Real Thing":

Thursday, May 13, 2021

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The Washington D.C.'s

 

THE WASHINGTON D.C.'S-Thirty Second Floor/A Whole Lot More US Date 2-1537 1966



















To most American's the Date label will always be famous for releasing the Zombies "Oddysey And Oracle" LP in the U.S. and it's subsequent smash single "Time Of The Season". The label released music from a variety of genres and prior to The Zombies "hit" in 1968 they had released lots of other British singles by Brian Poole, British based Walker Brother Gary Walker, The Love Affair and today's specimen, The Washington D.C.'s. 

Issued in December 1966 "Thirty-Second Floor" was the first single to be released in America by the British quintet The Washington D.C.'s (and their last).  It was previously issued in the U.K. in July on the CBS label (202226) where it was their third single on their third label (previous releases were on Ember and the primarily ska/mento/Calypso label Black Swan) and was titled "32nd Floor". 

"Thirty Second Floor" is a poppy number with some cool classical piano/combo organ licks not unlike something by Simon Dupree and The Big Sound musically and heavy on the harmonies reminiscent of The Bystanders meet The Ivy League. It's catchy, well structured and well produced (by Barry Mason) and totally infectious!

The flip, "A Whole Lot More" is musically like something The Zombies were doing at the same time and it has some interesting soul chops to it but it's not something I would play repeatedly like the A-side. 

















"Thirty Second Floor" was comped on the 2011 various artists CD "Piccadilly Sunshine Volume Five: British Pop Psych And Other Flavours 1966-1969". 

Hear "Thirty Second Floor":


Hear "A Whole Lot More":


Check out the band performing "Thirty-Second Floor" live at the Tiles club in London for German TV's "Beat Club":

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Songs That Rubble Taught Us: (The) Jackpots

 

JACKPOTS-Jack In The Box/ Henbane's Sacrifice US Sire SI 4113 1969




















My first introduction to Sweden's Jackpots was via Bam Caruso's 1991 "Rubble" compilation LP "5000 Seconds Over Toyland" (Rubble 15) that contained their 1969 tune "Jack In The Box". It was quite some time before I learned anything about them, in fact I think for a great portion of time I assumed that they were British!

The Jackpots were a five piece harmony act from Sweden with a career stretching all the way back to 1964. Their 45 releases were pretty much always covers ranging from the well known, ie The Four Seasons ("Walk Like A Man"), The Ivy League ("Tossing And Turning") to the obscure: Nirvana ("Tiny Goddess") and The Tokens/Episode Six ("I Hear Trumpets Blow"). Today's subject was their only American release. It was the 15th single on Seymour Stein's up and coming Sire label. Curiously enough it was only found a various artists 7" E.P. in their home country (Juke Box JSEP-5591 September 1969) while simultaneously issued here and in the U.K. (as Sonnet SON 2006). 

"Jack In The Box", a group original, had previously appeared on their 1968 debut LP 
of the same name (Sweden Sonet SLP-68) alongside cover versions of tracks by The Action (check out their tasty reading of "Shadows And Reflections"), The Beach Boys and Simon & Garfunkel etc.  The first time I heard it I honestly thought it was an Idle Race side project as the high pitch of the lead vocals and the production truly sound like Jeff Lynne and Co.! In retrospect there is also something rather Bee Gee's like in those falsettos as well. Musically it's a jaunty little pop sike ditto with some peculiar little backwards bits that come out of nowhere and again Idle Race comparisions cannot be overlooked. 

Things get even freakier on the flip with the strangely named "Henbanes Sacrifice". It has a dirge like quality with some quintessential musical backing that reminds me some of the songs on the Tages LP "Studio" and strange varying effects on the vocals  that seem to change in pitch as the sing goes on!

























Both tracks are available on a host of compilations, but most notably on a CD collection titled "Jack In The Box: The Best Of..." which collects all of their 60's recordings (see photo above). "Jack In The Box", as mentioned earlier was on "Rubble Volume 15" and the flip was on the obscure comp LP "Psychedelia 1: Oil Emulsion Slyde". 

Hear "Jack In The Box":


Hear "Henbane's Sacrifice":

Thursday, April 29, 2021

10 Cool 60's UK 45's

 Here's ten interesting U.K. 60's 45's for your listening pleasure!  All scans are courtesy of 45cat.com.














1. ROY CASTLE-"Voodoo Girl" UK CBS 201736 1965

Tucked away on the flip of the title cut from the 1965 Chritopher Lee vehicle  "Dr. Terror's Castle Of Horrors" is this jazzy little number. The vocals recall Mark Murphy and the kitschy musical backing (led by the revered British reed player Tubbby Hayes) is quite swinging. Going for insane $$ these days.

https://youtu.be/iy0s_esRmKE













2. THE NEW JUMP BAND-"The Only Kind Of Girl" UK Domain D1 1968

Starting off with a moddy organ/horns intro playing a "Can't Explain" type riff "The Only Kind Of Girl" becomes a poppy number reminiscent of The Tremeloes or The Love Affair. The organ solo is almost freaky at times sounding like a Mellotron!

https://youtu.be/pXpQwmgMbn4













3. DIANA LANDOR-"Empty Little Shadows" UK Pama PM 726 1968

Cabaret singer Diana Landor cut a curious reading of Oscar Brown Jr.'s "Afro Blue" for the predominantly reggae outlet Pama with this jazzy little flute led number "Empty Little Shadows" on the flip. It's poppy but subtly cool with some marimbas, the earlier mentioned flute and cheery sounding backing vocals. Produced by Harry Palmer also responsible for twiddling the knobs on The Mohawks 45's for the label . 

https://youtu.be/eKO36h6ZEpA














4. TED HEATH AND HIS ORCHESTRA-"Sidewinder" UK Decca F12133 1965

Famed British bandleader Ted Heath cut this interesting version of Lee Morgan's epic "Sidewinder" in 1965 that garnered nary a notice. It's stuffy as you would expect from Ted Heath but it's not without it's charm either and was apparently used as the theme for the TV program "Jukebox Jury".

https://youtu.be/SeoGFVms9_0













5. SYMON AND PI-"Sha La La La Lee" UK Parlophone R 5662 1968

File under freaky, this number made famous by the Small Faces was revamped by British based German producer Mark Wirtz for the duo Symon and Pi. It's over the top orchestration sounds like something from a musical like "Jesus Christ Superstar" or "Godspell". The musical backing is the key to this though, the swinging strings and the phlanged drums make it worth a listen (and not at all unlike Wirtz's famous "Excerpts From A Teenage Opera"). 

https://youtu.be/Ev2iyBInlPw













6. THE NEWS-"The Entertainer" UK Decca F12356 1966

Here's an interesting version of Tony Clarke's famous U.S. Chess soul classic "The Entertainer". It's not terribly soulful but interesting nonetheless reminding me more of soul covers by The Fourmost as opposed to soul/r&b aficionados like The Action (who probably would have been better suited to cover it).

https://youtu.be/BCMJWy_lmjk













7. JOHN CAMERON QUARTET-"Troublemaker" UK Deram DM 256 1969

U.K. multi instrumentalist John Cameron released this sole Deram 45 of tracks from his ultra expensive "Off Centre" long player in 1968. It's a jazzy yet funky instrumental that could easily pass for something from a late 60's U.S. film soundtrack by Lalo Schfrin or Herbie Hancock. Produced by Mr. Deram, A&R supremo Wayne Bickerton it's worth a listen if jazzy easy listening is your bag. 

https://youtu.be/bH2yF8cxCdE













8. THE DECISION-"In The Shade Of Your Love" UK MCA MU 1027 1968

This is a one off pop/psych pop 45 by The Decision that features some amazing vocal harmonies, subtle brass and churchy organ coming across like a British answer to sunshine pop Californian merchants The Association. Lovingly unearthed by Particles on Volume 13 of their hit or miss British 45 rpm pop psych series "Piccadilly Sunshine". 

https://youtu.be/ToWQ8mzTElw













9. JEFF ELROY AND BOYS BLUE-"Honey Machine" UK Phillips BF 1533 1966

This tune first came to my attention via a Jackie Lomax acetate version on one of the Strange Things Are Happening CD comps back in the early 90's. This version is not as freaky and far more soulful thanks to the brass but has a curious campy "supper club soul" feel to it. 

https://youtu.be/rf9I8xYIGzY













10. BARRY ST. JOHN-"Come Away Melinda" UK Columbia DB 7783 1965

Barry St. John cut a host of semi mundane girl group sound 45's (of mostly U.S. cover versions) on Decca before moving to EMI's Columbia imprint for this Mickie Most production of this anti-war ballad "Come Away Melinda".  The creepy factor is upped by her singing verses in a little girl lost voice in certain parts of it earning it a minor chart placing in the U.K. hit parade.

https://youtu.be/_v8eh_jqE1U