Thursday, January 28, 2021

10 45's For Your Winter Blues

All scans courtesy of the amazing


1. ROOSEVELT GRIER-"In My Tenement" RIC S-112-64 1964
Previously cut by Jackie Shane on Sue in 1963 this is a surprisingly good version cut by the famous football player and activist Rosie Grier. I honestly had no idea Rosie sang. Musically it's actually more upbeat than the original, and Rosie has some pipes!!

2. THE PATRICK BRADLEY-"Just One More Chance" Decca 32148 1967
Here's one that's long perplexed me. Originally performed by the British Deram records act The Outer Limits and penned by their lead singer Jeff Christie and released in April 1967 (May 1967 in the US) it was covered in May of '67 by The Patrick Bradley, whom I know nothing about. The B-side is an instrumental version that first came to my attention via the Kent compilation "Brainstormers". The vocal version on the A-side is tepid, but the instrumental/backing track flip is amazing. Faster than the original, it's catchy and almost frantic with an over the top fuzzed out guitar solo. As a result of it's uptempo feel it is near impossible to find, thanks Northern Soulies.

3. LITTLE WALTER-"Blue And Lonesome" Checker 1117 1965
Props to the late great Ian McLagan for hipping me to this track, he told me Little Walter was his favorite blues singer and when pressed for his best track he mentioned this one. It's bleak and driven by this dirge like beat with bluesy licks thrown up against a spooky tremolo guitar effect and is apparently Keith Richard's favorite by Little Walter too!

4. CARL HALL-"You Don't Know Nothing About Love" Loma 2086 1967
This Jerry Ragovoy penned track by Carl Hall smokes. The Stax type horns set the mood for this slow belter of a ballad propelled by Hall's incredible voice. Later made famous by Lorraine Ellison this is the original and nothing in my estimation, touches it.

5. THE VIBRATIONS-"Sloop Dance" O'Keh 4-7205 1964
The Vibrations kick their debut on the O'Keh label into over drive with this re-write of "Hang On Sloopy" (previously cut half a year earlier on Atlantic after a long run on Checker). It's uptempo, catchy, full of lots of hooks, danceable and best of all is the ultimate party record. Raucously good stuff!

6. THE KNIGHT BROTHERS-"Temptation 'Bout To Get Me" Checker 1107 1965
Every now and then you hear a soul ballad that stops you dead in your tracks. I'm not the world's biggest fan of ballads regardless of the genre but this one hit me in one listen. Wow!  I heard this for the very first time when the Covid-19 virus first had us on lockdown on Spotify and it floored me. Smooth vocals + somber + spine tingling backing=brilliant!

7. RUDY MOORE-"The Buggy Ride" Federal 45-12259 1956
Props to Eddie Murphy's portrayal on Rudy Ray Moore in his Netflix pic for sending me on a quest to hear Rudy's pre-comedy musical career. "Buggy Ride" is the best of the lot, a totally catchy jump and jive r&b affair. Of interesting note are promo copies with a small bio printed on the label, something I have never seen before!!

8. DELLA REESE-"It Was A Very Good Year" ABC 45-10841 1966
Della Reese cut this amazing version of "It Was A Very Good Year" in '66, backed by strong horns and a funky organ you will never hear a version of this track like this! The vocals are powerful and almost bored at times but the hard hitting drums and whirling organ take it to new heights!!  Equally worth checking out is her interesting interpretation of Neil Diamond's "Solitary Man" as  "The Solitary Woman" on the B-side.

9. TERRY & JERRY-"Mama Julie" US Class 226 1958
Led by flute, Latin percussion and a sophisticated r&b beat this duo's smooth "Mama Julie" is snazzy, jazzy and totally rocking. It was later reissued in the U.K. on Rita and Benny's ska heavy R&B label in 1965. 

10. OTIS BLACKWELL-"Daddy Rolling Stones" Jay-Dee 784-45 1953
The original version of the rocking "Daddy Rolling Stone" made famous by Derek Martin and The Who's subsequent cover was first cut in 1953 as "Daddy Rollin' Stone" by Otis Blackwell. It's slower and bluesier than subsequent cover versions but it's slow, laid back approach just adds to the overall cool/suave nature of it all!

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Dave Berry Does Graham Gouldman


DAVE BERRY-I'm Gonna Take You There/Just Don't Know UK Decca F.12258 1965

British crooner/rocker Dave Berry was an early artist to take advantage of Manchester songwriter Graham Gouldman's wares when he cut this track as his eighth UK single (the follow up to his cover of  Ray Davie's "This Strange Effect"). Gouldman's visits to the hit parade had, at this point only been confined to The Yardbirds readings of "For Your Love" and "Evil Hearted You".

Starting off with some brass and harpsichord "I'm Gonna Take You There" is an interesting track. The musical backing is top notch but Berry's voice sounds so soulless, maybe it's the track itself but for a Graham Gouldman track the number does absolutely nothing for me. It reached #22 in the U.K. charts.

Berry had a history of recording crooners/ballads on the A-side with studio musicians and recording rockers on the B-sides with his backing band The Cruisers. "Just Don't Know" sees him backed by them. It's a folk rock type thing with some jangly guitar and sounds unsurprisingly like a Simon & Garfunkel cast off. It was actually penned by Berry and someone named Canter.

Both sides are collected on a Dave Berry CD compilation called "This Strange Effect: The Decca Sessions Volume One".

Hear "I'm Gonna Take You There":

Hear "Just Don't Know":

Thursday, January 14, 2021

The Zombies "Is This The Dream"


THE ZOMBIES-Is This The Dream/Don't Go Away US Parrot 45 PAR 9821 1966

The Zombie's seventh U.S. single arrived in February 1966 (it was previously issued in the U.K. as Decca F 12296 in November of '65). It would be their next to last single for Parrot and was issued long after the band's brief run of U.S. hits had long since passed. Despite the lack of a recent U.S. hit (their last Top 40 chart placing here was "Tell Her No" in late 1964 which reached #6) Parrot continued to match most of their U.K. seven inch offerings with a U.S. release.

Keyboardist Rod Argent's "Is This The Dream" is almost "tough" sounding at times. Blunstone's vocals nearly strain on top of a driving Motown beat punctuated by some "hey hey hey"'s by the band. It launches into a mashed up electric piano solo by Rod Argent all led by an infectious James Jamerson style bass line by Chris White (which doubles up as the number is winding up and Blunstone once again sings on the verge of breaking his voice). The harmonies really carry this one and though they are at odds with the roughness of it I love it!

The flip side "Don't Go Away" is a somber affair. It's sparse musical backing (acoustic guitar, faint organ, bass, drums) sounds almost like an unfinished track and it's lyrically geeky, like an almost forced "Let's Spend The Night Together" with Blunstone sounding almost unconvincing in his efforts to get his partner to stay with him. Try as I may this track just doesn't cut it for me, sorry fellas.

Both sides are available in a host of places because it literally seems like Ace/Big Beat issues a new Zombies collection literally every year!

Hear "Is This The Dream":

Hear "Don't Go Away":

Thursday, January 7, 2021

More U.K. Tracks On U.S. Labels: Alan Price Does Randy Newman

THE ALAN PRICE SET-Simon Smith And His Amazing Dancing Bear/Tickle Me US Parrot 45-PAR-3009 1967

I will probably court abuse and derision by stating this but I have never worshiped in the cult of Randy Newman. His music in all the Pixar movies makes me cringe and his voice causes me to shudder BUT I do, on occasion, enjoy other artists interpretations of his earlier material.

In the mid 60's Britain lots of artists were quick to take note of the upcoming song writing talents of Newman. Cilla Black, The Nashville Teens, Billy Fury, Duffy Power, Joe Brown etc all cut Randy Newman compositions. Ex-Animals keyboard player Alan Price joined the list when he recorded Newman's "Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear"  b/w another Newman original "Tickle Me" on the flip. It was issued in February of '67 as Decca F 12570 where it rose to # 4 (his third Top 10 U.K. hit) and his fifth British single. It was released in the States a month later as "Simon Smith And His Amazing Dancing Bear" and was his third American 45, sadly it failed to chart. 

For those who have never heard it, "Simon Smith And His Amazing Dancing Bear" is a chirpy upbeat number punctuated by some catchy horn parts  reminiscent of Georgie Fame and The Blue Flames and a completely ear catching melody with some nifty key changes. It clashes with Price's more r&b sounds but the earlier mentioned brass section adds a very  different sound to it that adds to it's charm (to my ears anyway). 

"Tickle Me" is, to my ears, a polar opposite to the A-side. It's almost dirge like at times and just reminds me too much of early Billy Joel!! The musical backing has something interesting going on that I can't quite place but not enough redeem it for my ears. 

Both sides have been issued on a variety of Alan Price Decca era collections, most notably the three CD set "Twice The Price" and a double CD "The House that Jack Built: The Complete 60's Sessions". The A-side was included on his debut U.S. album, 1968's "The Price Is Right" (Parrot PA/PAS 71018) but not the B-side, someone at Parrot likes me....

Hear "Simon Smith And His Amazing Bear":

Hear "Tickle Me":