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":