June 14th, 2019

The Square Set

That's What I Want - The Square Set

Listen: That’s What I Want / The Square Set ThatsWhatIWant.mp3

Nice thing about collecting records, you always find something you didn’t know you needed. Thankfully that never ends. This record is an example.

Apparently, pretty sought after by mod jazz collectors, I stumbled on it via an eBay listing back in 2007. I have a daily search set up for UK A labels. So one day, there it was, listed for auction and on UK Decca, which is a favorite. Luckily, the dealer posted an mp3 too. I checked it out and was immediately interested. I wasn’t prepared for the closing price though, about $200, and therefore got horribly outbid.

Had been searching ever since, waiting for another copy to be listed. Nothing.

Luckily, I finally found my copy, sitting there in a pile of 50p demo singles during a crack of dawn troll of Portobello Road junk dealers a few Saturdays ago while in London. Minor miracle indeed.

Still don’t know much about these guys. I think they’re from South Africa, and like the track’s retro psych style, their charm was all about sounding quite out of date, even in their time.

Although released in ’71, it has a perfect mid 60′s jazz organ sound, not sounding unlike Manfred Mann, if they’d attempted a Flamingo Club all nighter styled single. It’s since become a party staple.

March 26th, 2019

The Walker Brothers

walkerbrosshipuk, The Walker Brothers, Scott Walker, Philips, Smash
walkerbrosshipusa, The Walker Brothers, Scott Walker, Philips, Smash
walkerbrosshipps, The Walker Brothers, Scott Walker, Philips, Smash

US Picture Sleeve: Front (above) / Back (below)

walkerbrosshippsb, The Walker Brothers, Scott Walker, Philips, Smash

Listen: My Ship Is Coming In / The Walker Brothers
My Ship Is Coming In / The Walker Brothers

I will never forget the Friday night I walked into Two Guys Department store with my parents. As usual, I headed straight to the record department while they proceeded to do some weekly shopping. The singles were displayed all along the the tops of the album bins, each in their own metal rack holding about 25 copies. I wish I had photos.

There in brilliant full color, was the above Walker Brothers picture sleeved single, ‘My Ship Is Coming In’, a solid 25 copies freshly unboxed. I could hardly breathe. They looked fantastic in bulk. The sleeve just radiated about one hundred times more intensely than anything else in sight, like a messiah. I still get tingles looking at the cover. It brings me right back. I owned it minutes later.

I could not get home fast enough, freaking out in the dark car, holding this masterpiece but only getting to glimpse at it as we passed under traffic lights and street lamps. God knows how many times I played it that night. It was not guitar based British beat, but instead sounded like music grownups listened too. Yet clearly there was something addictive in it’s air. I decided then and there, I was going to love this record. That was that. I did then and I still do.

Years later Scott Walker would reveal that while all his contemporaries in London were modeling themselves after American blues greats, his attention was focused on becoming the next Eddie Fisher. How genius was this guy?

WalkerSunUKA, The Walker Brothers

walkerbrossunuk, The Walker Brothers, Scott Walker, Philips, Smash
wlakerbrossunusa, The Walker Brothers, Scott Walker, Philips, Smash

Listen: The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore) / The Walker Brothers
The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore) / The Walker Brothers

The world was not ready for the followup to ‘My Ship Is Coming In’. Mine certainly wasn’t. How could The Walker Brothers possibly up the perfection of that record? Then along comes ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore)’, a flop a few years earlier for Franki Valli. He and The Four Seasons had loads of great records, and he’s no slouch in the vocal department. But Scott Walker he is not, no one is.

I swear, this record can still stop me in my tracks when it comes up on the ipod or BBC’s Radio 2. I heard it on the 60′s Sirius radio channel aboard a JetBlue flight recently. As diverse and truly exciting that the many other songs were, this just grabbed the prize unchallenged.

I saw Matt Pinfield the other day. He had Matt & Kim on his morning WRXP radio show, so I went along. Pinfield is the most kind hearted and passionate music fan, really knows his stuff, loves records. We worked together at Columbia and got connected at the hip. Somehow the subject of ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore)’ came up. Almost in unison, we both blurted out nearly identical sentences.

“This may be the greatest single of all time.”

Deservedly, it spent a month at #1 in the UK. See the three consecutive NME charts below, reprinted from 40 YEARS OF THE NME CHARTS. Despite not one US TV appearance or live show, it did get played here and had a decent chart run, peaking at #13 in BILLBOARD. It should have, at least, gone Top 10 but given the many singles that never ever charted, there’s some contentment in it’s placing.

nme4_66, 40 Years Of The NME Charts

March 22nd, 2019

Inez & Charlie Foxx

(1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days / Inez & Charlie Foxx

(1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days / Inez & Charlie Foxx

Listen: (1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days / Inez & Charlie Foxx InezCountTheDays.mp3

Not the first time I’ve posted about this unbeatable sister/brother duo, but it is the first time I’ve posted a song for a second time. Got a load of stories about Inez & Charlie Foxx elsewhere on the blog, but on this occasion, I’m just finding a half baked excuse to also let you have a look at the below tip sheet ad in the March 3, 1968 issue of Billboard:

This single still sounds as good as the day it was released. There isn’t one person I’ve played it to, upon hearing it for the first time, that has not loved ‘(1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days’. Not ever. Not one.

As much as I cherish this trade ad, it’s a reminder of how pissed off I still am, all these years later, that it didn’t get over that payola airplay hump and go all the way. If ever a single deserved to be huge, this was it.

January 9th, 2019

The Legend Of Dave Dee

Yes – that’s my opinion about him and his band Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich. Legendary. I have totally avoided the passing of musicians on the blog. I prefer to keep this a bit of a fantasy flashback, about all the great things music brought into our childhoods, teenage years and lives in general, timeless in a way. But an exception is the loss of Dave Dee.

Like everyone, I’ve had many favorites through the years, always feeling, at the moment, they were irreplaceable forever – then life goes on and others move in to that top spot. But still, an absolute favorite in so many ways is Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich. My soundtrack to being a kid, and an aspiration to living someplace where people could dress in wild colourful clothes, as this band did while my upstate NY peers did not.

Fontana letter 1

Fontana letter 2

I began writing their US label, Fontana and started a dialog (above) with Claranelle Morris, who would send along their photos, bios, promotional oddities and occasionally records (see more scans at end of post). A year or two later when I had her trust, she would sneak the latest releases by The Mindbenders, The Troggs, The Pretty Things and The Herd in the post to me as well. I do wish I knew her whereabouts now to say thanks a million.

Okay / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich

Okay / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich

Listen: Okay / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich DDDBMTOkay.mp3

Okay / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich sheet music

I love all of their records, but for some reason, ‘Okay’ has a sentimental thing about it. That opinion is clearly just mine, as most of their singles are wonderfully eclectic musically, and possibly more interesting, whereas ‘Okay’ is fairly straight forward singalong pop. Still it reached #4 in the UK charts doing just as well as their others. This band, if fact, during 1966, sold more records in the UK than either The Beatles or The Rolling Stones, as well between ’66-’68 chalked up more weeks in the British charts than, believe it or not, again, The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. Watching them do ‘Okay’ on Piccadilly Palace made my summer that year – and that’s saying a lot given it was the infamous summer of ’67! See the below clipping from the local newspaper.

piccadillydddbmt1, Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick & Tich, Piccadilly Palace

They only ever made two appearances on National US television: Cleveland’s Upbeat, which was shown locally in Syracuse too, (May 28, 1967) performing ‘Hold Tight’ and ‘Bend It’, and then on the above mentioned, nationally syndicated Piccadilly Palace (August 26, 1967) doing ‘Okay’ and ‘If I Were A Carpenter’.

Bend It (Original Censored Version) / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich

Listen: Bend It (Original Censored Version) / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich DDDBMTBendItUKVersion.mp3

Bend It (Clean US Version) / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich

Listen: Bend It (Clean US Version) / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich DDDBMTBendItUS.mp3

A last ditch attempt was made by US Fontana to find a way for ‘Bend It’, a worldwide smash, to be heard in America. So they had Dave go in and re-vocal it, taking out a few suggestive lyrics – which clearly were about sex, and changing some words into an implied dance routine, ‘The Bend’. The single was re-serviced with a dance instruction sheet (see scan below). Unfortunately, they couldn’t change the important line “when night’s ending, we’ll be bending” and hence a failed experiment.

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich Bend Dance Letter

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich Bend Dance Instructions

To think nowadays the original would be on Disney Radio right next to Lil Kim, no problem. For the real fussy collector, you can tell the rare ‘dirty’ version from the ‘clean’: the ‘dirty’ leaves out the comma between Dozy Beaky on the label as opposed to the ‘clean’, whereby the punctuation is correct ie: Dozy, Beaky. Luckily, this was a hit in the northeast, including my hometown Syracuse, where it went #1 on the WOLF chart. Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy from that particular week’s survey, but do have one from two weeks prior (see scan below). Anyone with a copy – name your price.

Wolf Chart 12-10-66

In the late 80′s, I made friends with Safta Jaffery, an English manager who looked after (still does) some prominent producers. He came to see me at Elektra, we got to talking and I discovered he knew Dave Dee. My excitement was obvious, so he graciously said “Next UK trip, give me a heads up and I’ll get you an introduction”. He went a few steps further, arranging a lunch. I trembled waiting for Dave in the lobby of the studio that housed his office. I’m pretty sure it was Mickie Most’s RAK. Although I arrived on time, to the minute, he finally came barreling down the circular staircase about half an hour late (the longest half hour of my life), all smiles and very apologetic. As we walked to the restaurant, he said he’d been tied up on the phone with a musician friend who needed some advice. I asked who, being rather casually curious. “Scott Walker” he replies. Holy shit. I almost passed out. Walking down a London street with Dave Dee as he spoke nonchalantly about a Scott Walker telephone conversation he’s just had. I wasn’t ready.

We spent a good hour together, talking non stop about the 60′s, answering all kinds of questions, just the nicest, most courteous guy. Of course he was only too happy to fill out a jukebox tab for me too:

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich Okay jukebox tab

Above: Jukebox Tab signed by Dave Dee

Today is a sad one, that I won’t ever forget.

The Guardian Obituary:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/jan/09/dave-dee-obituary

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich US Bio 1

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich US Bio 2

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich US Bio 3

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich US Bio 4

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich US Bio 5

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich US Bio 6

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich US Bio 7

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich US Bio 8

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich US Bio 9

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich US press photo

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich fan club application

January 1st, 2019

Snooky

Listen:  Sugar Lips / Snooky

Listen: Sugar Lips / Snooky 01 Sugar Lis.mp3

I spoke with Roger Armstrong today. He was one of the guys who opened London’s Rock On record shop in the 70′s, having started out with a few standups of used records just off Shaftsbury Avenue and later, founded Ace Records, the catalog/reissue company, which he still owns and operates. Like the rest of us, he’s just a plain old record junkie. Luckily, when I bought Tony King’s 45 collection back in May, Roger offered a helping hand, and as a result, they’re still all boxed up and sitting in one of Roger’s spare rooms, waiting to come home to NYC. So we had a fun hour catch up call today. He mentioned the Camden Record Fair from a Sunday or two ago, whereby he picked up 70/80 singles, about two thirds of which he’d never heard of. Even the deepest record collectors and musicologists are always finding more records to collect. That’s the beauty of it all, there are so many records, not only to play but to discover as well, and the search is never ending. Wonderful.

Tonight Phil stopped by. We played singles for a good three hours. I pulled out a stack of Contempo releases I’d faithfully bought in the late 80′s and tucked away on a bottom shelf. The Notting Hill Record & Tape Exchange was the place to be then, for me that is. I always stayed at the The Pembridge Court Hotel, a mere block away. Sometimes I’d make a few trips to and from the shop with armloads of singles, dumping them in my room and resuming the digging minutes later. One time, Corinne dropped me off around 10 AM on her way to shop in Soho, and then noticed me through the store window, in the ground floor 7″ section around 4 PM that afternoon when she returned. When asked if I came back for more, I had to admit I’d been there the whole time, by now very hungry. True story.

All the 7′s were around a pound or so each back then. I remember loving the look of the Contempo labels, and their stock sleeves, despite being pretty unfamiliar with the company. I did know of the BLUES & SOUL magazine that the label was loosely associated with from the 70′s. A good publication, even if they did over celebrate themselves on occasion. Well all these years later, I finally got around to playing through this chunk of Contempos and found this. ‘Sugar Lips’ by Snooky, licensed from Feelgood Records Ltd in 1975.

Phil didn’t know a thing about this record’s history, not did I. We Googled Snooky. Googled Feelgood Records. Checked the RECORD COLLECTOR PRICE GUIDE. No info, not anywhere. Who is this? Who are Feelgood Records? No idea. Very bizarre. But in keeping with one of the great consistencies of record collecting, there are always more records to discover. It never ever ends.

Surprisingly, for such a hardcore soul label, this track sounds quite like The Tremeloes.

Original post: 12/16/08

November 25th, 2018

Alvin Cash & The Crawlers

Listen: Twine Time / Alvin Cash & The Crawlers
Twine

St. Louis born raised Alvin Cash and his brothers attended the very same high school as both Luther Ingram and Tina Turner. How great that must have been.

Moving to Chicago, they performed primarily as a dance act and were eventually signed by Andre Williams to One-der-ful Record’s Mar-V-Lus imprint, and who knows why they needed an imprint but big props on both label names.

Alvin Cash & The Crawlers captured what I wanted to believe was street soul circa 1965. Despite the low rent sound of ‘Twine Time’, it became a pretty big hit during the winter of that year, reaching #4 on the BILLBOARD RnB chart and a justice after all #14 on the Hot 100.

Listen: Alvin’s Boo-Ga-Loo / Alvin Cash & The Registers
AlvinCashBooGaLoo.mp3

After ‘Twine Time’, and two more singles, the act changed their name to Alvin Cash & The Registers. In reality, only Alvin was left, his brothers, the dancers, having dropped out. So the touring band lineup became The Registers.

The third single as Alvin Cash & The Registers, ‘Alvin’s Boo-Ga-Loo’, although a rather small success (#42 RnB, #74 Pop), tirelessly self promoted Alvin and latched to that week’s flavor when it came to dances. Despite losing his two brothers as part of the act, the whole dance angle always remained.

Took a while, but finally the footage from SHINDIG has been posted:

November 15th, 2018

The Alan Bown Set / The Alan Bown!

alanbowngonna, 	The Alan Bown!, Island, MGM, Deram, Jess Roden, Robert Palmer, Billboard, Cashbox, Record World, NME, Top Of The Pops, Gordon Neville

Listen: Gonna Fix You Good / The Alan Bown Set AlanBownSetGonna.mp3

Need a band name? Take the band’s leader, put ‘The’ in front of his name, then add an exclamation point at the end. Need for band name solved.

Previously monikered The Alan Bown Set, and then leaning more toward a sometimes noisy soul sound, the band covered Little Anthony & The Imperials’ ‘Gonna Fix You Good (Every Time You’re Bad)’ and proceeded to get Northern Soul love years later. At the time though, ’65 – ’66, they struggled.

alanbowntoylanduka,The Alan Bown!, Island, MGM, Deram, Jess Roden, Robert Palmer, Billboard, Cashbox, Record World, NME, Top Of The Pops, Gordon Neville

alanbowntoylandusa, Mike Hurst, The Alan Bown!, Island, MGM, Deram, Jess Roden, Robert Palmer, Billboard, Cashbox, Record World, NME, Top Of The Pops, Gordon Neville

Listen: Toyland / The Alan Bown! AlanBownToyland.mp3

Switching labels, name and genre in ’67, and jumping on board the psychedelic train that seemingly overnight had a lot of passengers, they hooked up with the Mike Hurst who did their future productions.

The Alan Bown! recorded a pop-psych classic OUTWARD BOWN, simply titled THE ALAN BOWN! in the US, from which ‘Toyland’ was the second single. Until recently, I had no idea it charted on the Cashbox Top 100, peaking at #96. Usually when a single would get into the 90′s on Cashbox, Billboard or Record World, it would at least ‘bubble under’ the other two publication’s charts. Not the case with ‘Toyland’ in Billboard’s ‘Bubbling Under The Hot 100′ section, hence I missed out on the single’s activity, not having regular access to Cashbox. ‘Toyland’ really did deserve to be heard and become a hit.

In the UK, the week the band got their Top Of The Pops appearance, their current UK label, MGM, had a pressing plant strike. Therefore with no copies in the stores, their single fell out of the NME chart, where it was #26 at the time of broadcast and that was that.

alanbowngypsyuka, The Alan Bown!, Island, MGM, Deram, Jess Roden, Robert Palmer, Billboard, Cashbox, Record World, NME, Top Of The Pops, Gordon Neville

alanbowngypsyusa, The Alan Bown!, Island, MGM, Deram, Jess Roden, Robert Palmer, Billboard, Cashbox, Record World, NME, Top Of The Pops, Gordon Neville

Listen: Gypsy Girl / The Alan Bown! AlanBownGypsy.mp3

Treading water through ’68 – ’69, they signed with Deram releasing my other favourite 7″ from them, ‘Gypsy Girl’. Singer Jess Roden up and left to go solo, with Robert Palmer replacing him, and re-recording many of the vocals on the new album.

Next stop for The Alan Bown! was Island in ’70, where Robert Palmer’s vocals on the upcoming album, LISTEN were re-recorded by new vocalist Gordon Neville once he chose to leave for a solo career.

This pattern must have gotten pretty boring for Alan Bown himself. An even odder coincidence being that by then, The Alan Bown!, Robert Palmer and Jess Roden were all signed to Island and no doubt seeing each other regularly in the label’s infamous canteen. Can you imagine the unspoken competition?

November 13th, 2018

The Staple Singers

We The People / The Staple Singers

Listen: We The People / The Staple Singers
We

I constantly regret never seeing The Staple Singers when Pops was alive. I actually was obsessed with this single for the longest time, starting around me getting my first jukebox in ’87. It’s actually the B side to their ‘Oh La Di Da’ hit from ’73, peaking at #33 in Billboard’s Pop chart, primarily because of RnB airplay and sales, as I never once remember hearing that song on the radio back then.

I was pretty cautious to put only extra, well played records in the jukebox, as my original Rock-Ola would definitely do a number on them. These titles were no brainers in the good old garage sale days, when you’d pick this stuff up for 10¢ a piece, tops. Not having the strength to pass up even the most marginal single, I ended up with hundreds of doubles, that are still oozing out of my over stuffed garage. Forget about putting a car, bike or anything else in there. Last summer, I would just manage to squeeze a few more records in and rapidly have to slam the door. An episode of Horders looms. I have since organized it all a bit, but they are still stacked pretty much to the ceiling. It does make for a fun afternoon digging in. You forget all the titles you end up with, well I do at least. So there are always gems to put a smile on my face when rummaging through.

Well ‘We The People’ just sounded so hot on the jukebox that I became addicted. I particularly love the lyrics, perfect circa ’72 /’73 with the hot pants references etc. This never shows up on any of their compilations, but is on the album, BE ALTITUDE – RESPECT YOURSELF.

November 6th, 2018

Norma Tanega

Walking My Cat Named Dog / Norma Tanega

Listen: Walking My Cat Named Dog / Norma Tanega
Walking

Hats off to Herb Bernstein, the guy who produced this record. Listen to the production ideas he weaves in and out of this 2:16 perfect pop, very early stereo 7″ single. No small credit toward the writer/artist as well, Norma Tanega.

She was luckily pretty respected in the day, and managed to have a deserved US and UK hit, coincidentally reaching #22 in both charts during ’66. Various follow ups didn’t get traction as they should have, but ‘Walking My Cat Named Dog’ was pretty difficult to top.

The album, a hard one to find, is worth the search. I play it often.

October 29th, 2018

The Buzz

Listen: You’re Holding Me Down / The Buzz
Buzz.mp3

Basically the remnants of Edinburgh’s mini cult legends The Boston Dexters, once they morphed into The Buzz, ‘You’re Holding Me Down’ became their sole release from ’66, produced by Joe Meek and pre-dating summer of love psychedelia by a year or so. Still, it gets regarded as a most collectable classic from the genre, having recently commanded £305 on eBay. Everything Joe Meek touched became an unforeseen crystal ball gaze into the future, still to this day.

Digging through reviews of the record at the time, some called it frantic, others messy.

Many argue these guys were the same group David Bowie used as his back-up band for a while, billing themselves as, surprise, David Bowie & The Buzz. Not true.

Although, that Buzz did include a guitarist with possibly the best stage name ever, T-cup Taylor.

October 24th, 2018

The Coasters

Listen: Shoppin’ For Clothes / The Coasters
8-21 Shopping For Clothes.mp3

There’s just not a lot I can tell you about ‘Shopping For Clothes’ that the record itself can’t.

But my little story about it is a follows: In ’87 Dan Baird was at the Altantic Studios in New York recording and mixing the second Georgia Satellites album. Howard and I headed over from Elektra, a few blocks away, one late afternoon to hear some of the tracks in progress and we were kind of accosted the second we walked in. Dan was all smiles excited and said you have got to hear something. He sat us down at the the board and hit play. I don’t know if I loved ‘Shopping for Clothes’ or Dan’s face lighting up the room more. It’s certainly the sort of record you just know is going to floor any living soul who hasn’t heard it.

These how the fuck did I get here moments from my record company days, now long gone, seemed to come like miracles, except more often, which as we know miracles don’t. This particular one was a chilling rush, being right there where it was recorded decades before. Imagine that high. I definitely twitched.

We must have played ‘Shopping for Clothes’ half a dozen times in a row, maybe more.

October 22nd, 2018

Doris Troy

Jacob's Ladder / Doris Troy

Listen: Jacob’s Ladder / Doris Troy
DorisTroyJacob'sLadder.mp3

Although having recorded with The Rolling Stones, Humble Pie, Kevin Ayers, Dusty Springfield, Nick Drake, Junior Campbell and Pink Floyd, it was The Beatles, and especially George Harrision, who seemingly had the real jones for Doris Troy. Signing to their Apple label, she was afforded a self produced long player, DORIS TROY. Apple issued two singles from it, the second being a remake of the biblical folk/gospel standard, ‘Jacob’s Ladder’.

Get Back / Doris Troy

Listen: Get Back / Doris Troy
Get

Both Apple 7′s luckily had non-LP B sides from the album sessions. For the flip of ‘Jacob’s Ladder’, her version of the then-still-current ‘Get Back’ was used. In general, the overall recording approach for the project was very 1970, it’s a total Mad Dogs & Englishmen shamble/jam, with that ‘let’s try to sound like Delaney & Bonnie’ intent. Depending on my mood, I either appreciate it or just feel it sounds like a bad bar band from upstate New York.

No musician credits are listed on the album sleeve although it’s widely accounted that Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills, Leon Russell, Bill Wyman and Peter Frampton all joined George Harrison in it’s recording.

October 20th, 2018

The Bachelors

Listen: 3 O’Clock Flamingo Street / The Bachelors
3

My Mom always loved these guys, they were Irish and so was she. But then most Moms did. You see, the very square looking Bachelors co-existed effortlessly with beat groups in ’64 and ’65. There were a few others, like The Vogues and The Four Seasons, sporting dreadful hair cuts, who dressed decidedly old yet were accepted by the youngsters and their parents as well. The Bachelors fell into that space. I guess it was the quality of their songs and music that worked. It was good stuff.

Think about it, The Walker Brothers pretty much did the same thing, but they had it down in the image and looks department, hence becoming deservedly seminal in rock history.

’3 O’Clock Flamingo Street’ was The Bachelors first non-charting UK single after a solid three or four year run. Although I remembered it being a bit psychedelic, having heard the single a few times on the radio in summer ’67, it’s acutally not musically psychedelic at all.

Lyrically though, very twisted. There’s a definite implication something sinister was going on at 3AM. That drew me in. This was indeed the summer I was sneaking out and visiting our local cemetery late at night, alone, in an effort to see if spirits would attempt contact. The reasons for that morbid and thankfully temporary attraction are rather unexplainable still. I will say it was fairly terrifying. Anyways, my radar was up for just this type of record.

Alan Tew contributed that UK Decca orchestration and arrangement that I love, sounding not unlike the Cat Stevens ‘Kitty’ and ‘A Bad Night’ singles from that period.

And it was produced by Dick Rowe, now world famous for turning down The Beatles at Decca UK and subsequently signing The Rolling Stones as penance. In my opinion, therefore, he made two perfect and unbeatable career moves.

October 19th, 2018

The Kinks

Day's / The Kinks

Day's / The Kinks

Day's / The Kinks jukebox tab

Above: Jukebox Tab signed by Ray Davies

Day's / The Kinks press-release

Listen: Days / The Kinks
Days / The Kinks

How do you pick a Kinks single to write about, yet avoid the guilt of the dozens you’re not mentioning? Not possible. But listening back to this week’s PICK OF THE POPS program, on BBC’s Radio 2, where Dale Winton counts down selected Top 20′s from years gone by, spanning the 60′s forward with much accuracy and old style chart excitement, I heard ‘Days’. It was in the 1968 chart that he was featuring.

‘Days’ has always been one of my most cherished records, and I have listened to it undoubtably thousands of times. I had a memorable life moment last November in London, walking from my hotel in Primrose Hill in the cold drizzling rain on a very grey Sunday to have late afternoon tea at my friend’s, when I heard it in the headphones, following Thunderclap Newman’s ‘Something In The Air’, played back to back on Radio 2. Being able to listen to the radio is a fascinating privilege not well known here in the States. This, my friends, was heaven.

As much as I loved it when released in summer ’68, and buying it at King Karol’s in NY on a summer excursion to see some bands, Jethro Tull with The Jeff Beck Group at the Fillmore East, I could never 100% enjoy it. I always felt so bitter that ‘Days’ got no airplay anywhere in the US and what a criminal shame it was that America was again being cheated out of such great musical culture by radio, a cancer that worsened year after year. No wonder we have what we have in our charts.

But some justice has been served, Ray Davies still performs and his great songs, like ‘Days’, get used in films etc. and covered. What would have happened if singles like this, and bands like The Small Faces or The Pretty Things had been given a chance back then. No question, things would have been very different here.

October 15th, 2018

SMASH / FONTANA CATALOG 1968

Smash Fontana Catalog

Smash Fontana Catalog

Smash Fontana Catalog

Smash Fontana Catalog

I know exactly where where I got this from, being the record collector I was at eight years old. Still have a few Fontana 7″ mailers from that time period as well. I would write to my hero, Claranelle Morris, at Fontana’s main office in Chicago back then, pestering her about The Herd and Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich. She was a sweetheart and would send photos, bios, sometimes even a single. I guess she figured you probably couldn’t hear or buy them in the sticks of the Syracuse suburbs, so give the kid the record already. We’re going to toss them anyways. Thank you Claranelle for all that and for sending this catalog. I think of you fondly until this day. Ahh, to go back and police the Fontana dumpsters nightly. If only.

Dumpsters explanation: It was years later, when I finally got a break and Howard Thompson gave me my first A&R job at Elektra, that I discovered as soon as a record isn’t current, being worked at radio or believed in, off to the dumpster went the unused product, and many times off to the scrapheap went the act’s career. I learned to police the Elektra, then Island, WB and Columbia dumpsters with full commitment and precision, deeming myself the savior of such vinyl which till this day, fills my storage units.

But let’s not lose focus. So I found this catalog in one of the many memorabilia trunks I’ve filled to the brim over the years. It’s just like new.

Man, I wouldn’t mind a box lot of just about every title here, a box of mono and of stereo versions that is.

Of course, I loved the English groups back then, but also had a jones for Gloria Lynne. It wasn’t only because she was on Fontana. Gloria Lynne had a bunch of records on Everest prior. I had a copy of ‘Indian Love Call’ from that period, given to me in one of the Saturday morning piles of singles my uncle, a jukebox operator, would drop off instead of trashing. I loved that single. I paid attention to Gloria Lynne singles. I often heard them on the radio playing in the local barber shop where I’d get my haircut as a little boy. Must have been an AC station of the day, way before it’s then output turned into bachelor pad, lounge, hipster stuff decades later. I certainly recall hearing them play her version of ‘Watermelon Man’ at the time. All this, when I was very young, about five or six. It’s probably the reason the record collecting gene was dangerously awakened in my DNA.

Oh, and check out some of the soundtracks here too.

October 14th, 2018

Mitty Collier

Listen: I Had A Talk With My Man / Mitty Collier
I Had A Talk With My Man / Mitty Collier

The oddest things can happen, and will.

Mitty Collier got pop play on my local Top 40 when I was a kid. Now, her records were strictly considered RnB hits, even though ‘I Had A Talk With My Man’ did cross to some pop outlets in major cities. I did not, however, grow up in a major city. But WOLF, as I’ve raved on about before, was indeed an educational source in it’s day. Right there next to The Rolling Stones and Them we could hear The Vibrations, Irma Thomas and yes, Mitty Collier, thanks to their programming excellence.

Basically, the single was a secularised version of James Cleveland’s gospel song ‘I Had A Talk With God Last Night’ and reached #41 on Billboard’s Top 100.

Gloria Lynne, who had jazzier material and therefore more grown up appeal, grabbed some airplay on the easy listening formats, as it was referred to then. So my parents’ stations played her, and I regularly heard ‘Watermelon Man’ at our local barbers. There’s a definite resemblance between their voices, both full and heavy.

I actually bought ‘I Had A Talk With My Man’ at Walt’s Records instead of a new Searchers single one particular week. If you’re listening, this is it, rough around the edges but still intact.

Listen: Free Girl (In The Morning) / Mitty Collier
Free Girl (In The Morning) / Mitty Collier

Despite being a freezing November Saturday, ‘I Had A Talk With My Man’ brings back warm, vivid winter memories of rushing from the bus into Walt’s, desperate to find this record. Once back home, I played it over and over. But in the weeks that followed, B side ‘Free Girl (In The Morning)’ ended up grabbing my attention and by Christmas break, I probably made everybody nuts with it.

These RnB records really did go over the heads of my friends. Motown was way okay, but the hardcore stuff, not so easily tolerated. A twisted little kid, yes, happy to have been one.

Listen: Together / Mitty Collier
Together / Mitty Collier

Keeping up with the B side infatuations, ‘Together’, the flip to her next single ‘No Faith, No Love’, was really a gem. A most obvious similarity between ‘Together’ and ‘Bring It On Home To Me’ is undeniable. I wonder which of the two was written first.

Not long after releasing her final records for Chess, Mitty Collier was stricken with throat problems, polyps, which ultimately threatened to end her career. Never to sing again, she became completely devoted to her Christian beliefs. By ’72, there was an unexpected turn of events, Mitty’s voice regained strength and her ability to sing restored.

One of the first recordings as a result: ‘I Had A Talk With God Last Night’. Gospel albums followed. She established a Bible Study Telephone Prayer Line and a community outreach program, “Feed-A-Neighbor” (FAN), for which she received the key to the city of Birmingham in 1987.

Mitty Collier became a preacher, and was ordained in 1989, later being appointed pastor of the More Like Christ (MLC) Christian Fellowship Ministries in Chicago. She has received a number of humanitarian and other awards, including the National Council Of Negro Women (NCNW) and Woman Of Wonder Award 2000.

If that doesn’t warm someone’s heart, nothing will.

The above UK demo gifted to me by Vicki Wickham, a living saint. Thank you dearest Vicki. XXX

October 13th, 2018

Judas Jump

Listen: This Feelin’ We Feel / Judas Jump
This

No new info here: I’m an Andy Bown freak.

The Herd really were his band from what I can assess, having been a member before and after Peter Frampton. Not that I don’t love the Andy Bown / Peter Frampton period. PARADISE LOST is a class album, always overlooked even by the band themselves.

When it comes to an Andy Bown backing vocal, I can spot it a mile away. So after that first listen to ‘This Feeling We Feel’, I was in.

Scored the US promo above when relieving a Dewitt, NY Shopping Town Mall clothing store of a big box full with 45′s, meant for a tie-in promotion with WNDR, the local Top 40. If you bought an item, you got a 45. That box was beaming with stuff I needed, unlike their racks. A long store clerk negotiation that required me going home, on my bike, collecting a few dozen cast off singles acquired from various sources, and returning to do a one-for-one trade was well worth it.

Even though I had mail ordered for the UK pressing which arrived a week or so later, this Andrew S. Bown production hit the turntable first, and stayed, eventually switched out for Thunderclap Newman’s ‘Accidents’.

Above: Jukebox Tab signed Adrian Williams

God bless Jackie Hyde at Sony in the UK. She one day thought to mention that Adrian Williams, down the other side of the building, was the singer of Judas Jump. I almost blacked out, tearing across the courtyard to do a face to face.

I don’t think anyone had ever asked him anything about Judas Jump his whole life. He was more shocked at my interest than I was with his employment at Sony. We’d spoken a lot on the phone, but never did I think he was one in the same.

What an embarrassing surprise for me, not knowing Allan Jones was a member of The Amen Corner prior to Judas Jump. I deserved the one upping that transpired. Great chap, Adrian Williams.

December 28th, 2017

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich

DDDBMTZabadakUSA, Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick & Tich, Imperial

Zabadak / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich

Listen: Zabadak / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich
Zabadak

In honor of yet another year owning ‘Zabadak’, one of my all time favorite singles by an all time favorite band, I’m continuing my annual tradition of reposting that original entry about the single’s history from December 28, 2008 at SO MANY RECORDS SO LITTLE TIME.

Footnote: In the original post linked above, I mention the single’s strong airplay at the time. Click here after reading the post to check out some of the US Top 40 stations that played and charted the record. This link organizes the airplay by date, and note there are 6 pages of station listings that are viewable. See upper right corner to scroll though all 6.

August 20th, 2017

Savoy Brown / The Nice / Family

Savoy Brown The Nice Family Poster

The Weaver's Answer / Strange Band

Listen: The Weaver’s Answer / Family
The Weaver's Answer / Family

One of the great triple bills from ’70, still trading on the English Invasion angle that was becoming a distant marketing ploy.

No problem here. My friends and I ate it up. Couldn’t leave early enough that morning to make a day of hanging out on the campus, pretending to be college kids. The serious Anglofiles, crowded onto the entrance steps of The Palestra Auditorium for a solid few hours prior to doors opening, provided the ultimate social scene. Everyone opinioning and bragging about one record after the other. It was almost as much fun as the show.

I think it was well attended, up front there was no looking back.

We were very seriously not prepared for the power of Family live. No one in the room was. And I do mean no one. I’d only seen their three albums in the store, never heard them and as much as I wanted ownership of at least one record, some other title always took their purchase slot. Turns out, this was my favorite lineup, having become obsessed as a result of the show and then seeing them many times. Poli Palmer on xylophone most of the night, a stunning player. And John Weider on guitars and violin. It was the first band I saw playing any of these instruments (except Brian Jones on vibes during ‘Under My Thumb’), not to mention changing them up for each song.

The ace in the deck for Family was always Roger Chapman. Definitely an acquired taste vocally, you still seldom see a madman like him, totally possessed. Once you experienced Family in person, their recordings made perfect sense, vividly bringing back his on stage intensity.

They couldn’t catch a break in The States. Bill Graham banned them from The Fillmores. Don’t know why. This particular night the audience was into it, but a few years later, opening for Elton John, things didn’t work out the same. I remember many in the crowd booing. I couldn’t believe such a sophisticated group of great musicians were being booed. I was embarrassed. But the band tore threw it unflinched. This was ’72. Sadly it was to be the last time they toured the US. Props to Elton John for having them.

The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack / The Nice

Listen: The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack / The Nice
The

The Nice were on Immediate. This was a big deal.

Immediate was a serious label to this bunch. A lot of conversation was had earlier on the steps about the greatness of the roster. Everyone was clued into the supposed stage antics of Keith Emerson, still I don’t think we were really ready. When he mauled his organ during ‘America’, it was shocking. Everyone took a step back as the knives came out. All these skinny English people with crazy energy. The flower power stuff from their albums interested me a lot. I think they stopped playing that stuff pretty quickly as the prog symphonic material took center stage, plus I assume Emerson, Lake & Palmer were right around the corner. I remember hearing this tour was simply honoring contractual commitments. Didn’t seem like it being a wide eyed kid upfront.

Made Up My Mind / Savoy Brown

Listen: Made Up My Mind / Savoy Brown
Made Up My Mind / Savoy Brown

Savoy Brown were theatrics-free, but never mind, they tore it up. In keeping with the evening looks wise, the underfed, velvet and stacked heeled Englishness prevailed. Can still remember these fair haired frail guys playing wicked blues. Probably very white, but this was prior to seeing any of the originals, so all new, all impressive. RAW SIENNA had just been released, and their set covered a lot of it plus some prior singles (‘Made Up My Mind’, ‘Train To Nowhere’) and their theme at the time, Muddy Waters’ ‘Louisiana Blues’. Like Family, this was a classic Savoy Brown lineup, with Chris Youlden on vocals and Tone Stevens on bass.

I'm Tired / Savoy Brown

Listen: I’m Tired / Savoy Brown
I'm Tired / Savoy Brown

My vivid memory of Kim Simmonds starting off ‘I’m Tired’ is as plain as day. It was my first time up super close, literally with elbows on the stage, and thinking ‘he makes it look so easy’, the true sign of a great guitarist.

Above: Jukebox Tab signed by Kim Simmonds

On the way out of town after the show, we stopped at a late night record/head shop near the campus, figuring out who would buy what, strategizing so that collectively we arrived home with records by all three bands. Picked these handout charts up at the counter, with some pretty interesting playlist titles. Yes, the days of underground radio…..and the ‘Super Heavy Sound’ of Janis Joplin. See them below:

WHFM 3-5-70

WHFM 11-5-70

WHFM 12-4-69

July 2nd, 2017

John Martyn

Over The Hill / John Martyn

Listen: Over The Hill / John Martyn
Over

Dancing / John Martyn

Listen: Dancing / John Martyn
Dancing

SOLID AIR and ONE WORLD were two of John Martyn’s most incredible accomplishments. He did have many. He was great from the get go, but I keep going back to those albums and their respective 7″ singles, both above.

I remember seeing him open for Foghat in ’75. Who would have thought a one man band, armed with only an acoustic guitar and an array of foot triggered affects peddles could captivate a beer drenched knucklehead crowd at the Syracuse War Memorial, but he sure did. The place shimmered in awe and respectful silence during the set. A warm memory.

The deluxe editions of both SOLID AIR (‘Over The Hill’) and ONE WORLD (‘Dancing’) are well worth searching out. To quote a well known UK glossy, ‘the albums are fluid, percussive masterpieces and the outtakes are essential’.