Thursday, April 20, 2023

Cat Stevens "A Bad Night"


CAT STEVENS-A Bad Night/The Laughing Apple US Deram 45-DEM-85015 1967

Despite fame in the 1970's Cat Stevens 60's output went completely unnoticed in the U.S. Deram issued both of his LP's here and the label put out five of his nine British singles. "A Bad Night" was his fourth Deram single in both the U.S and U.K. It was released over there in July of 1967 and issued here in June.

"A Bad Night" starts out somber and suddenly kicks it up a notch with an almost fast samba feel but with sharp as hell strings and everything but the kitchen sink (care of Art Greenslade). It's not his best Deram single but certainly not his worst either.

Cat flanked by Jimi Hendrix, Gary Walker and Englebert Wotisface

The B-side, "The Laughing Apple", is probably among the latter. Lyrically it's awful. The orchestration is top notch (Alan Tew this time) but the track just does nothing for me.

Both sides are available as bonus tracks a the CD reissue of his second and final Deram album "New Masters". 

Hear "A Bad Night" :

Hear "The Laughing Apple":

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

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

1. BEVERLY MCKAY-"No No, I Can't Help You" U.S. Sue 45-127 1965

This soulful ballad has some bite to it. The guitars have an edge to them and the bluesy/smoky vocal delivery is absolutely smoldering. I don't know anything about Beverely McKay but after hearing her voice on this I want to know and hear more!

2. THE LOVETTES-"Little Miss Soul" U.S. Carnival CAR-518 1966

This mid tempo number is monstrous with Northern soulies (the strings in the first 10 seconds should be a clue why). With prerequisite call and response vocals this four piece girl group from Jersey City, New Jersey is powerful and the back beat is extremely catchy!

3. THE EXCITERS-"A Little Bit Of Soap" U.S Bang B-515 1966

By 1966 The Exciters visits to the hit parade had long since ceased but they rang in 1966 with a new label and this soulful, moody cover of The Jarmels Bert Berns penned (under the pseudonym of Bert Russell) hit. The tempo differs very little from the original but the production and arrangement are top notch.

4. PERRY AND THE HARMONICS-"Do The Monkey With James" U.S. Mercury 72476 1965

This number about James Bond starts off with a laid back "vocalist" doing a hipster monologue not unlike Dr. Horse in the epic "Jack That Cat Was Clean" before it kicks into a thoroughly funky but enjoyable organ/sax mod jazz groove! Mega expensive if you're lucky enough to find a copy.

5. THE VOLCANOS-"Gotta Be A False Alarm" U.S. Harthon VOL-138 1966

Philly soul legends The Volcanos are best known for their collectible sides on Arctic before jumping ship to cut equally collectible sides for the Harthon label in 1966  where they unleashed this tough number that's offset by the strange use of a clarinet giving it a strange Klezmer feel.

6. JONAH JONES-"Work Song" U.S. Capitol 4944 1963

This jazzy instrumental take on "Work Song" features the vocals of The Jubilee Four creating a sound reminiscent of the Jordanaires, organ by Dick Hyman and Jonah Jones on trumpet. It's laid back and that's where it's impeccably understated cool comes in.

7. AL BROWN AND HIS TUNETOPPERS-"It's True About Love" U.S. Amy 806 1960

Al Brown's vocals right off the bat remind me a lot of Mel Torme but the musical delivery reminds me of something less jazz as they have an almost gritty feel to the horns at times, a perfectly melding of jazz and r&b which sat times also reminds me of Mark Murphy.

8. DEREK MARTIN-"If You Go" U.S. Sue 143 1966

Derek Martin, best know for his storming 1963 classic "Daddy Rolling Stone" on Crackerjack, had a string of 45's after on Mercury before this one off release on Sue. "If You Go" was the flip of the ballad "Count To Ten", and is far superior with it's cheezy organ led backing.

9. MICKEY LEE LANE-"She Don't Want To" U.S. Swan 4252 1966

Everyone of course is familiar with Mickey's monster "Hey Sah-Lo-Ney" (as covered by The Action), this was his next single after that on Swan that's equally powerful in my book. It's always reminded me of a grittier Len Barry number but it builds in both the backing and the vocal intensity with this almost trippy crescendo.

10. BIG DADDY SIMPSON-"Give Me Back My Ring" U.S. M-Pac! 7226 1965

Delivered at a pace that's not dissimilar to  "Hi High Sneakers", "Give Me Back My Ring" also reminds me of something Inez and Charlie Foxx would have done but with a gravely male lead vocalist that's full on gut bucket blues creating an interesting mix!

All scans c/o