Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Scott Walker-Joanna


SCOTT WALKER-Joanna/Always Coming Back To You US Smash S-2168 1968

Scott Walker's post Walker Brothers solo career was, for a time fairly well represented in the U.S. (his first three albums were released here).  Today's post was his first solo single after leaving the Walkers that was issued here in the States (the label had previously pressed two Walker's tracks as a solo 45 which we discussed here). 

"Joanna" was Scott's second post Walker's 45 in Britain issued as Phillips BF 1662 in April 1968. The U.S. release came in June, his American outlet probably balked at the idea of his solo debut "Jackie" with it's use of the word "ass" . "Joanna"is a curious track as Scott had not recorded anything by the hit writing machine of Tony Hatch/Jackie Trent before. I almost wish he hadn't as it is, without a doubt, my least favorite song of all of his 60's output. It's lush orchestration does nothing to save it from being one big stinking heap of M.O.R adult contemporary feces.  Mediocre is almost too good of a way of describing it. Clearly they ate it up across the pond because it wound up being his highest charting solo single (#7).

The flip, "Always Coming Back To You", is a Scott original. It's baroque harpsichord plays along with some moody organ before giving way to some lush orchestration that reminds me of something from The Moody Blues "Days Of Future Passed" (of some coincidence the A side was orchestrated by Peter Knight who was responsible for said Moody's album but this was conducted by Reg Guest). Lyrically AND musically it would not at all be out of place on either of Scott's first two solo albums and would have made a far stronger A side, to my ears anyway. 

Hear "Joanna":


Hear "Always Coming Back To You":


Wednesday, March 1, 2023

U.S. Soul/R&B/Jazz/Blues 45's For March

1. JIMMY McCRACKLIN-"Set Six" U.S. Imperial 66067 1964

Here's an interesting one, a funky little organ instrumental that's reminiscent of Dave "Baby" Cortez. I'm not terribly familiar with a lot of Jimmy McCracklin's material so it struck me as odd that he did an organ instrumental!


2. FRANKIE BEVERLY AND THE BUTLERS-"Because of My Heart" U.S. Fairmont F-1017 1967

I LOVE this one! It's uptempo and backed by an incredible mix of sax/call and response vocals that create an incredibly danceable groove that sticks in your brain.


3. JACKIE BRENSTEN-"Trouble Up The Road" U.S. Sue 736 1961

Much like The Dual's "Stick Shift" this number features some raunchy gut bucket guitar, it's not a rock n' roll number but a catchy r&b number written and arranged by Ike Turner. Curiously the artist, Jackie Brenston, has his name misspelled on the labels on this one. 


4. THE FIESTAS-"The Party's Over" U.S. Old Town 1140 1963

This r&b belter features a high octane groove that comes off like Fats Domino on a handful of purple hearts! A rip roaring party record if ever there was one!


5. WILLIAM BELL-"Monkeying Around" U.S. Stax S-141 1963

File under "songs that Georgie Fame taught us". Though I will have to say that Georgie's cover far surpasses the original it's still an incredible record thanks to the Memphis horns and boilerplate Stax production. Oddly it was consigned to the flip of the mediorce "I'll Show You", Bell's sixth single for the label.


6. RAFUL NEAL-"Blues On The Moon" U.S. Whit 6901 1969

Don't let the 1969 date scare you like it did me, this number is a standard uptempo blues instrumental workout centered on some harp blowing and a funky backing. 


7. THE HEADLINERS-"Voodoo Plan" U.S. V.I.P. 25026 1965

This number is obviously from a blue eyed soul combo, with a Bo Diddley style beat and it's squeaky clean Ivy League frat rock vocals it proves to be an interesting combination. There's a bizarre soprano saxophone solo that sounds like it was thrown on as an afterthought. Truly odd!


8. THE YOUNG FOLK-"Lonely Girl" U.S. Mar-V-Lus 6017 1967

This Motown-ish groover has some sophomoric lead vocals that are on occasion a bit grating but has an interesting tempo that's worth a listen.



With some strong brass and a swampy groove this r&b belter is tough, raunchy and full on powerful! Lyrically it gets a bit repetitive (the only words seem to be "hold my hand just a little bit longer" over and over again) but it's infectious thanks to it's solid backing.


10. BILLY ABBOTT & THE JEWELS-"Groovy Baby" U.S. Parkway P-874 1963

This slow tempo doo-wop-ish number seems lost between the street corner and sophisticated r&b, but to me it somehow works, just barely though....


All scans c/o 45cat.com