Sunday, December 19, 2021

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The Zombies 1969 A.D.

THE ZOMBIES-If It Don't Work Out/Don't Cry For Me US Date 2-1648 1969

 Such was the cynicism devoted to the quest for revenue at Date records following their March 1969 #1 U.S. smash with The Zombie's  "Time Of The Season" that they trawled the band's archives and came up with these two chestnuts for a June 1969 release that coupled "If It Don't Work Out" backed with "Don't Cry For Me" (both originally recorded in July 1965). Both tracks were also slated for their slapdash 1969 Date LP "R.I.P", which was cancelled and did not see the light of day until 2015 when it was released as it was intended in it's original running order. Of course like all other Date U.S. Zombies 45 releases besides "Time Of The Season" this failed to chart and as a result is much sought after.

"If It Don't Work Out" was first aired not by the Zombies but by Dusty Springfield who recorded it as an track on her October 1965 U.K. LP "Ev'rything's Coming Up Dusty". It was issued as a single in March 1966 by The West Five (U.K. HMV POP 1513) who titled it "But If It Don't Work Out" (and it has often been erroneously reported that the Zombies are playing on it). 

"If It Don't Work Out" is driven by Argent's piano (he wrote it as well) and would have made an amazing single in it's own right with a particularly strong vocal performance by Colin Blunstone and some cheery backing vocals. In December '68 Gus Dudgeon added strings/flute/etc and additional vocals to the existing '65 recording fattening it up for a single release.

Rod Argent

"Don't Cry For Me" is by far, in my opinion, the stronger of the two tracks. Why this languished in the vaults and wasn't issued as a single when it was first recorded is perplexing. It has a bite and sounds almost venomous with a vengeance, something of a polar opposite to most of the band's '65 fey "little boy lost/wounded" beat ballads that they were best known for. I will say that for me the '68 mix with added backing vocals by Argent/White is far superior to the sparse original recording.

Chris White

Versions of both the '65 and '68 mixes can be found on the essential "Zombie Heaven" box set and the '68 mixes are available on the LP/CD issue of "R.I.P".

Hear "If It Don't Work Out (1968 version with overdubs)":

Hear the undubbed original 1965 version of "If It Don't Work Out":

Hear "Don't Cry For Me (1968 version with overdubs)":

Hear the undubbed original 1965 version of "Don't Cry For Me":

Sunday, December 12, 2021

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The Rockin' Berries


THE ROCKIN' BERRIES-The Water Is Over My Head/Time Doesn't Fly US Reprise 0442 1966

British harmony/beat specialists The Rockin' Berries issued five singles in the U.S. (all on the Reprise label). Their first, "He's In Town" (Reprise 0329 November 1964) scored minor airplay here, but hits were elusive for them. 

In February 1966 Reprise issued their final U.S. single, an Al Kooper/Joey Levine composition called "The Water Is Over My Head" (previously issued by the band back home in November 1965 as Piccadilly 7N 35270). The track was originally cut by American singer Eddie Hodges (also known for cutting a version of "Shadows And Reflections")  on the flip of his cover of Dylan's "Love Minus Zero" (Aurora 156 October 1965) and it is this arrangement that the Berries base their version on. The Rockin' Berries version , in my estimation, is much stronger and although their recording is essentially a carbon copy of Hodge's arrangement theirs is meaty thanks to the band's razor sharp harmonies which give the track much more bite and the lead vocalist has a far stronger voice.

Clearly not the last band to pose in front of Big Ben!

The flip "Time Doesn't Fly" is possibly one of the shortest 45's I've ever heard clocking in at just 1:26 long! It's almost rockabilly with it's slap back feel and Chet Atkin's licks. The production has an almost Joe Meek quality to it (especially the blistering guitar).  Next!

Both sides have been issued in a host of places because like most artists on Pye/Piccadilly their material has been licensed to death!

Hear "The Water Is Over My Head":

Hear "Time Doesn't Fly":

Monday, December 6, 2021

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The Pretty Things "Don't Bring Me Down"


THE PRETTY THINGS-Don't Bring Me Down/We'll Be Together US Fontana S-1941 1964

Britain's r&b miscreant quintet The Pretty Things released their second single, "Don't Bring Me Down" back in the U.K. as Fontana TF 503 in October 1964 with it simultaneously being issued here on Fontana as well. In Britain the band scored their highest chart rating with it where it rose to #10, sadly they had no such luck in the United States.

"Don't Bring Me Down" was written by the band's acquaintance Johnnie Dee (he would also write "Get Yourself Home", released by fellow r&b ravers The Fairies, and recorded by the Pretties but not issued until the 90's) and was later featured on David Bowie's LP tribute to the 60's "Pin Ups" (alongside the Prettie's previous single "Rosalyn").  It's tap-tap-tap rhythm is infectious from the get go and the music has a call and response about it, sprinkled with the miniature rave up's with lead guitarist Dick Taylor's pyrotechnic licks. It's famed for the risque line "I met this chick the other day...and then I laid her down, my head is spinning round" which apparently raised some hackles back home at the time.

Viv Prince serves up some cappuccino's for his band mates. 

The flip side, "We'll Be Together" was penned by vocalist Phil May, guitarist Dick Taylor and bassist John Stax (the first time a band original graced vinyl). It's a bluesy down tempo number showcasing Taylor's licks and May's harp blowing, not unlike an early Rolling Stones original on their debut long player. Not one of my favorite Prettie's tunes but not remotely unlistenable either.

Both sides have been issued on a host of Prettie's compilations, the most recent being the comprehensive Prettie's 2017 CD collection  "Bouquets From A Cloudy Sky" and the 2011 double CD deluxe edition of the first two long players with bonus cuts. 

Hear "Don't Bring Bring Me Down":

Hear "We'll Be Together":

Monday, November 29, 2021

December's Soul/R&B/Jazz 45's For Your Ears!

It's time for some more off the wall U.S. 45's from the 60's. All scans are courtesy of

1. JAMES BOOKER-"Gonzo" US Peacock 5-1697 1960

This is brilliant little slice of slightly "poppy" Hammond jazz, think of a jazzier Dave "Baby" Cortez with a groovy flute throughout the entire number. I know absolutely nothing about the artist or the label, but it looks like the latter had a mostly gospel output.

2. ANTHONY & THE IMPERIALS-"The Flesh Failures" US Veep V-1293 1968

The hit making days for Little Anthony (now just plain "Anthony") and the Imperials were long gone by the time this version of a track from the hippie musical "Hair" eked out in 1968. Delivered at a 100mph groove that would make James Brown sweat you'd be hard pressed to recognize Little Anthony and Co. when listening to this insane soul burner!

3. TAMIKO JONES & HERBIE MANN-"A Good Thing (Is Hard To Come By)" US Atlantic 45-2392 1967

Flutist Herbie Mann teams up with vocalist Tamiko Jones on this uptempo jazzy number found on the flip of their reading of The Fab's "Day Tripper. It's accented by some vibes and and a driving piano from their 1967 Atlantic LP "A Mann And A Woman" and of course an over the top solo by Mann as Tamiko sings with a husky but smooth voice.

4. SHAWN ELLIOTT-"Shame And Scandal In The Family" US Roulette R-4586 1964

This plastic calypso number was delivered by Puerto Rican born Shawn Elliott Santiago. It's a cover of a racey/tongue and cheek tune cut ten years earlier as a full on calypso number by Sir Lancelot and The Caribbean Serenaders.  The musical backing is tight and punchy and the risque lyrics are a gas and Elliott's vocals are convincing!

5.  CHRISTOPHER CERF-"Sweet Music" US Amy 954 1966 

I was introduced to this number by the 60's Liverpool group The Koobas who cut this number. Little did I know it was a cover of a number released three months prior by Christopher Cerf.  Though not as powerful as The Koobas version the original has some punch. The vocalist reminds me a lot of Mickey Lee Lane and the musical backing is a full on affair with vibes, horns, strings and the kitchen sink. Some idiot has a copy up for $416 on Discogs right now because of course some meathead decided it was a "Northern soul classic" (fucking shoot me now).....

6. BABY EARL AND THE TRINI-DADS-"Everybody Do The Ska" US S.P.Q.R. 45-3317 1964

Here's another feux West Indian sound led by sax man Earl Swanson, this time it's ska given the plastic treatment. Though the record is too fast to actually be considered ska it's more like a Gary "US" Bonds party record with a chorus exhorting the listener to do the ska while a sax led instrumental with an occasional ska rhythm pumps away at a frenetic pace that's easy to imagine Bad Manners covering!

7. BILLY HAMBRIC-"New York City Baby" US Soho 5001 1965

This bluesy groover is delivered mid tempo with a semi frantic pace that's interestingly a kinetic musical backing mix of vibes and strings. It's hard to describe as vocally it's almost a blues number but the sophisticated backing is almost too refined and slick to be an r&b record. Regardless it's infectious and amazing!

8. ODELL BROWN AND THE ORGAN-IZERS-"Mellow Yellow" US Cadet 5570 1967

Donovan's material was frequently chosen to be covered by a variety of jazz artists. This reading of his 1966 hit  "Mellow Yellow" is turned into an amazing jazzy instrumental here with funky Hammond organ, congas, hand claps and and a wailing sax solo. 

9. HANK JONES & OLIVER NELSON-"Winchester Cathedral" US Impulse 45-253 1967

Here's another reading of another pop hit from 1966, this time it's the New Vaudeville Band's "Winchester Cathedral". Vocalist Clark Terry sounds like Louis Armstrong on top of a funky arrangement by Oliver Nelson and a virtual who's who of jazz players providing the backing. For lovers of kitsch only!

10.  EDDIE & ERNIE-"Outcast" US Eastern 45-608 1965

Here's another one brought to my attention via the British invasion, this time it was The Animals reading of this mega obscure release by Eddie & Ernie. Though not nearly as punchy as the Animals version the original is a mellow, soulful duet that sounds like a poor man's Sam & Dave with some funky guitar licks and strong horns that are almost "poppy".

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Zoot Money


ZOOT MONEY'S BIG ROLL BAND-Big Time Operator/Zoot's Sermon US Epic 5-10077 1966

British 60's mod club/r&b legend Zoot Money left nary a trace of his prolific recording career in the United States. Epic released his live 1966 LP "Zoot!" here as "At Klook's Kleek" and just one single, today's subject (it was released in a picture sleeve no less!). But what a single it was!

"Big Time Operator" came via the pen of songwriters Tony Colton and Ray Smith (the former also had a recording career of his own). The pair penned a host of classic obscure titles, The Shotgun Express "I Could Feel The Whole World Turn Round", "I Stand Accused" (made famous by The Merseybeats AND Elvis Costello) to name but a few. It was covered in Australia by Jeff St. John and The Id and recorded but unreleased for many years in the States by Charlie Rich (during his Hi records period) and by Tommy James and The Shondells on their "It's Only Love" LP. But for me the definitive version will always be this classic interpretation by Zoot Money and the boys. 

The picture sleeve, c/o

Maybe it's the strong horn section, maybe it's Zoot's laid back vocal style or maybe it's the catchy/rhyming lyrics that list the number of job's he's had:

"I started off a newsboy on a paper, for a time I worked an elevator, all the time I knew that later, I would be a higher rater, and finally a big time operator..."

But any or all of those make this one of my favorite mid 60's U.K. r&b tracks. The horns in the mid section just seal the deal, punchy and powerful. 

The flip side is an instrumental, "Zoot's Sermon" composed by Zoot and future Police guitarist Andy Somers (nee Summers). It starts out like a mellow piano instrumental with bongos and hand claps that sounds like one of those studio only concoctions Chess/Cadet put out on a 45 in the mid 60's but then it fattens up when the horns and the cool Hammond B-3 blends it turning it into a full on party. 

Both sides on on Repertoire's highly recommended and fully comprehensive CD compilation "Singles A's & B's" and the more recent Zoot Money's Big Roll Band box set "Big Time Operator".

Hear "Big Time Operator":

Hear "Zoot's Sermon":

Monday, November 15, 2021

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Simon Dupree (And the Big Sound)


SIMON DUPREE AND THE BIG SOUND WITH JACQUI CHAN-Kites/Like The Sun, Like The Fire US Tower 377 1967

U.K. act Simon Dupree And The Big Sound had one of those double edged careers like the Small Faces where in the studio they got freaky but still kept the soul faith onstage where they were socking it to them with Ben E. King and Homer Bank's covers.

"Kites" was the band's fourth U.K. single (Parlophone R 5646 October 1967), it was issued the following month here where it was their second of three U.S. singles. Originally it was released by the MOR group The Rooftop Singers (September 1967), Simon Dupree and Co. took it to #8 in the U.K. guaranteeing them several appearances on "Top Of The Pops" (all footage of these airings of course no longer exists). The single failed to garner any commercial success in the U.S., both releases credited actress Jacqui Chan who spoke in Mandarin during several parts of the song.

"Kites" utilizes a gong, wind sound effects, Mellotron, vibes and piano with the hammers softened. Lead singer Derek Shulman confidently carries it (despite the fact that he and the band loathed the song and were forced to record it at their manager's behest) and his crooning works with the dream like feel of the track, perfectly weaved with the Mellotron. Jacqui Chan's Mandarin bits were a little more difficult as although she was of Chinese descent she was not familiar with the language having been born in Trinidad. The problem was solved by a local restaurateur who translated what was required of her and she took it home to rehearse with some coaching from her Chinese grandmother!! 

The flip, "Like The Sun, Like The Fire" has a similar crooner feel to (not necessarily in a derogatory way either) but with it's waltz 4/4 time that adds an almost fairground feel to it. The number is accompanied by strings and brass (that have an "Oompah band" feel to them) woodwinds with a clarinet solo.

Both sides were collected on the all inclusive/definitive Simon Dupree and the Big Sound collection "Part Of My Past". 

Hear "Kites":

Hear "Like The Sun, Like The Fire":

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Gerry Mardsen Does The Bee Gees


GERRY MARSDEN-Gilbert Green/Gilbert Green US Columbia 4-44309 1967

Poor Gerry Marsden, him and The Pacemakers were passed by Brian Epstein over to Aussie impresario (along with Billy J. Kramer) Robert Stigwood and like Kramer, he became the beneficiary of Stigwood's latest sensation's The Bee Gees and their vast trove of songs.  Marsden's solo debut after jettisoning The Pacemakers was a  track called "Please Let Them Be" issued in the U.K. in June of '67 (CBS 2784). It was not issued in the United States. His next 45 was a cover of an unreleased Brother's Gibb track called "Gilbert Green" issued in Britain in August of 1967 (CBS 2946) and issued in the U.S. the following month in both a double sided promo form (as in today's subject) and with it's flip side eschewing the British B-side "What Makes Me Love You" in favor of his solo debut U.K. A-side "Please Let Them Be".

"Gilbert Green" would not sound at all out of place on The Bee Gee's LP "The Bee Gees 1st" nestled in between the likes of "Craise Finton Kirk Royal Academy Of Arts" or "Cucumber Castle". It suits Marsden's voice but in retrospect to his previous recordings one can't help but get the feeling that he sounds, well, uncomfortable? Regardless it's lavishly orchestrated and musically reminds me of one of the many unsung pop-psych acts on Decca or Deram in '67-68 (I can easily imagine it being a Toby Twirl or The World Of Oz song), which I guess is what makes it enjoyable for me. Sadly there were to be no more Gerry Marsden singles issued in America after this, but he would soldier on through the 60's in the U.K. later moving from CBS to NEMS. 

"Gilbert Green" was issued on a CD compilation of 60's Bee Gee's covers from 2004 by Castle Music titled "Maybe Someone Is Digging Underground: The Songs Of The Bee Gees". 

Hear "Gilbert Green":

Monday, November 1, 2021

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Gary Farr And The T-Bones


GARY FARR & THE T-BONES-Give All She's Got/Don't Stop And Stare US Epic 5-9832 1965 

Poor Giorgio Gomelsky. The Georgian (the one that was formerly a part of the USSR) born impresario/manager/film maker lost the Stones to A.L.O. when he flew back to Switzerland to bury a parent, and then lost The Yardbirds to Simon Napier Bell. But then there was Gary Farr & The T-Bones, fronted by son of famous boxer Tommy Farr, who stuck with Giorgio through the Sixties. They were treading the boards in London earning a reputation as "Musician's musicians" who faithfully gigged at all the legendary U.K. 60's r&b haunts and much like The Action (who were coincidentally managed by Farr's brother Rikki) and like The Action were regulars at London's Marquee Club (logging in an astounding 96 performances there between '64-'66!). Farr (with backing by The T-Bones , NOT to be confused with the American band of the same name) produced three singles and a rare as hell 7" E.P. in the U.K. on Columbia between '64-'65, including today's subject, "Give All She's Got", which was his final U.K. 45 for Columbia (DB 7608 June 1965).

It was also his only 45 released in the States with The T-Bones issued a month later than the U.K. (American's also got a glimpse of the band in action bludgeoning "Wooly Bully" on the ABC-TV special "Shindig Goes To London", filmed at the Richmond Jazz & Blues festival). 

"Give All She's Got" is more of a ballad of sorts, though it's down trodden tempo and dirge like delivery reminds me of Them in one of their more sentimental moments or a track from The Moody Blue's debut LP (especially the piano, backing vocals and that held note at the very end!). Farr belts it out but it's just not a great number that requires repeated listening.

Gary and the boys on "Ready! Steady! Go! June 11, 1965

"Don't Stop And Stare" is a group original that's more suited for a beat group than a bunch of South Coast r&b devotees (the band hailed from the Brighton area), coming off like something The Applejacks would have released. 

Since Gomelsky played fast and loose with licensing, Gary Farr & The T-Bone's material has been issued in a host of places and formats, most of which are shoddy and dodgy (much like The Yardbirds material he controlled) so these tracks pop up on a variety of suspect collections.

As an aside, when Gomelsky started his Marmalade label Farr released two singles on it as well as his excellent 1969 debut solo LP "Take Something With You" (with help from former members of The Action providing backing and their former led singer Reggie King handling production).

Hear "Give All She's Got":

Hear "Don't Stop And Stare":

Monday, October 25, 2021

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The Zombies "Indication"


THE ZOMBIES-Indication/How We Were Before US Parrot 45 PAR 3004 1966

Despite the fact that they were far bigger in the US than at home in the U.K. beat quintet The Zombies had fallen on hard times, commercially, by the time Parrot issued their eighth and final American single for the label, "Indication" in July of '66 (it was issued in the U.K. at the same time as Decca F 12426). Unfortunately the American single version of "Indication" is edited (more on that in a bit). Both countries featured "How We Were Before" on the flip side and the single failed to chart in both places. It does however, remain one of their most sought after releases. 

"Indication" is probably one of the most progressive Parrot/Decca era songs with it's raga feel to the guitar from Paul Atkinson sounding almost ratty and it's interplay with Rod Argent's jazzy arpeggios on his electric piano. It's frantic, different and extremely enjoyable. As the number winds down Argent begins ad libbing all over the place as the vocals follow the melody through an array of changes. The vocal improvisations and Atkinson's repetitive guitar licks make it sound "way out" (almost possibly "raga") and at odds with anything they ever did, but not too way out. BUT unfortunately the US version here hacks most of that ending off, clocking it at 2:07, the original UK mix is 3:00!! According to the liner notes of the "Zombie Heaven" box set Atkinson despised it and was not happy with it!

"How We Were Before" is a decent track but it sounds incredibly dated by 1966, like a wayward step cousin of "Leave Me Be" or "I Must Move" with it's gentle acoustic guitar and multi layers of harmonies (the bongos are a nice touch too). It's not unlistenable, but it's not something I find myself going back to repeatedly. It's "old" sound is because it was cut back in July of 1965 and was no doubt dug up because a B-side was needed to facilitate the single's release.

Both tracks are on a host of compilations put out by Big Beat over the past two decades. 

Hear Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent discuss "Indication" here.

"Hear Indication (unedited version)":

Hear "How We Were Before":

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.

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.

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".

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.

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!!

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.

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?!).

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!

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.

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!

All 45 scans are care of the amazing 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":

Hear "Night Train":

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":