Tuesday, December 12, 2023

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: Edwards Hand


EDWARDS HAND-If I Thought You'd Ever Change Your Mind/Days Of Our Life U.S. GRT GRT 13 1969

Edwards Hand grew out of the U.K. duo Picadilly Line who cut records much in the vein of The Young Idea, Twice As Much or The Truth. They cut an incredibly rare 1967 LP "The Huge World Of Emily Small" on CBS (U.K.) and four singles for the label as well from 1967-1968 with nary a ripple of public interest.

At some point in 1969 they morphed into Edwards Hand. Strangely they released a U.S. only single in '69 ("Sing Along With The Singer" b/w "Characters Number One" on the GRT label as GRT 21). Today's subject was next on the label in September 1969. Curiously it was not issued in the U.K., only America and Australia. 

"If I Thought You'd Ever Change Your Mind" is a mellow piece of orchestrated pop that has a more "mature" sound, like a hybrid of the first Genesis album meets Bill Fay (1st LP) or a more produced. The strings and churchy organ lend it an air of sophistication, no doubt thanks to the deft production hand of George Martin (possibly during a lull in Beatles recordings when he was cast out)!

The flip side, "Days Of Our Life" is my least favorite of the two at first. The strings and Celeste/harpsichord remind me a bit of the Bee Gees but the song eventually picks up it's tempo and becomes far more interesting! I think what strikes me most about both of these songs are the arrangement and production more than the actual song compositions themselves.  

Both sides are available on their sole untitled 1969 LP and the album is also on Spotify. 

Hear "If I Thought You'd Ever Change Your Mind":

Hear "Days Of Our Life":

Saturday, December 2, 2023

The Kingsmen Go Freakbeat


THE KINGSMEN-On Love/Guess I Was Dreamin' U.S. Wand WHD 1180 1968

Back in the early 90's Greg Shaw issued a CD of "The Electric Sugarcube Flashback" that contained one side of a Kingsmen single that was positively mindblowing titled "Guess I Was Dreamin". On the A-side of said 45 there was a cover of a track originally cut by a British freakbeat band Skip Bifferty called "On Love", the B-side was another British obscure cover of "Guess I Was Dreamin" by The Fairytale. "Guess I Was Dreamin" had been issued in the States in November of '67 as London 45-29032 by The Fairytale but no Skip Bifferty records were ever issued in the U.S. For ages I wondered how and why a down on their luck U.S. band of one hit wonders came to record two mondo obscure British freakbeat/pop psych cover versions. The how has unmasked itself to me recently as both sides were produced by a gentleman named Mark Wildey. He was responsible for producing both of The Fairytale's British singles as well as those by fellow pop psych act The Attack and earlier U.K. releases by The Gamblers, The Untamed and The Plebs. It appears that starting in 1966 some of his productions were of American recordings (today's subject was cut in Los Angeles at Nashville West, or so day the label credits). He had previously worked with The Kingsmen twiddling the knobs on their 1966 LP "Up And Away" and on the singles from the same year of "If I Needed Someone" and "Trouble" and 1967's "Don't Say No". This record did nothing to reverse the sad downward spiral the band had been on and this was to be the  Kingsmen's final single of the 60's for the ever faithful Wand label when it came out in May of 1968.

"On Love" lacks the edge and punch of the original, I think it's because the vocals sound like the key is slightly out the lead singers pitch. There's an interesting combo organ thrown in not on the Skip Bifferty version and it retains the original piano riff, it's not at all unlistenable but to me it lacks anything interesting outside of the obscurity of the track. 

"Guess I Was Dreamin" is my favorite of the two and should have been the A-side. It's fairly faithful to the original but is slightly more uptempo and has a more danceable go-go beat to it and more harmonies than the original. Curiously it replicates the phlanged piano of the original and retains the feel of paranoia of The Fairytale version . 

"Guess I Was Dreamin" appeared on Rhino's 1986 "Nuggets Volume 8: The Northwest" volume and the 2016 CD compilation "Cornflake Zoo Voume 3" and the aforementioned 1993 "Electric Sugarcube Flashbacks" CD. 

Hear "On Love":

Hear "Guess I Was Dreamin":

Friday, December 1, 2023

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

1. SAMMY DAVIS JR.-"I Got A Woman" Decca 9-31136 1960

Sammy's take on Brother Ray's classic is interesting because his vocals are akin to a gutbucket blues wailer while the musical backing is slick and quite commercial making for an interesting clash of style, think Jimmy Witherspoon being backed by Oliver Nelson!


2. MUDDY WATERS-"My Dog Can't Bark" Chess 1937 1965

Muddy weathered the 60's with interesting results, no better illustrated by this 100 mph workout with interesting lyrics about idle gossip and rumors over the top of a fast blues boogie accented by raw harp blowing and an incessant beat.


3. THE SANDPEBBLES-"Love Power" Calla C-141 1967

Not to be confused with the Dick Shawn tune from "The Producers" this call and response soul ballad with power has an excellent groove despite it's slick production and slightly antiseptic feel. The powerful horns and thundering drums towards the end kick it up several notches.


4. ROOSEVELT NETTLES-"Drifting Heart" Chess 1846 1963

This number starts out sounding a lot like a Beatles track from '62 or '63 but has a soulful Brook Brenton feel with some very distinctive Merseybeat-esque guitar licks and drumming. 


5. JOHNNY COLON &AND ORCHESTRA-"Boogaloo Blues (Part One)" Cotique CP 108 1967

Latin boogaloo numbers can be a bit tedious to me sometimes but this one is quite different because it starts out almost as a ballad with the tempo slowly building and these incredible layers of harmony coming in with increased musical backing as it goes along. 


6. ROSCO GORDON-"Just A Little Bit At A Time" Old Town 1167 1964

This one is an interesting mash mash of rock n' roll, r&b and soulful horns on top of an almost disjointed raving musical backing. The arrangement of course owes a little bit to his classic "Just A Little Bit" (sorry I couldn't resist the pun).


7. JIMMY CARAVAN AND HIS TRIO-"Higher And Higher" Tower 412 1968

This 101 mph mod Hammond jazz work out of the Jackie Wilson smash is incredible. It's funky wailing B-3 playing is like an American answer to Wynder. K. Frog and I have been unable to find out much more about Jimmy Caravan other than the fact that in addition to this 45 he did an LP for Tower full of lots of other covers of contemporary tunes (Bee Gees, Beatles, Rascals etc). 


8. LEON AND THE BURNERS-"Crack Up" Josie 45-945 1965

Greasy, twangy guitar, powerful horns and subtle organ make up this funky little instrumental that comes across like a raunchy Booker T. and the M.G.'s record. The instruments mesh together perfectly with the twangy raw guitar guitar licks and funky organ flowing together perfectly. 


9. THE NEW HAPPINESS-"Mellow Yellow" Columbia 4-44044 1967

I'm a sucker for any 60's covers of Donovan songs, especially when they're from the jazz or easy listening genres. This flute led, Latin percussion version  has some incredible Ramsey Lewis style piano, punchy horns and a backbeat that would do Ray Baretto proud. 


10. EDDIE HOLMAN-"This Can't Be True" Parkway P-960 1965

This powerful soul belter by Eddie Holman sees him utilizing his famous falsetto on top of an incredibly sophisticated musical backing featuring some catchy doo-wop style harmonies and mellow feel with a melodic swing. Dig that crazy organ that comes in halfway through!


All scans c/o 45cat.com