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":