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 45cat.com website.