Archive for the ‘The Ivy League’ Category

Nero & The Gladiators

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Listen: Entry Of The Gladiators / Nero & The Gladiators
Entry Of The Gladiators / Nero & The Gladiators

The mystique of the early 60′s is impossible to shake. A constant return to it seems my endless circle. Instrumentals were a lot more abundant then, as A side singles that is. Electronic and dance records nowadays don’t count. No one expects them to go Top 40.

I’d always assumed Nero & The Gladiators were produced by Joe Meek. These early 60′s singles don’t even mention producers. In fact, label copy went downhill once more than the producer needed crediting. A nice, minimal information label still looks the best.

Come to find out, Joe Meek only did a non-Nero Gladiators single ‘Tovaritch’, their final release in ’63. It’s the intro on this one, ‘Entry Of The Gladiators’ that led me to assume otherwise.

There’s a lot detail involving this band’s musicians through the years: Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, The Ivy League, The Flowerpot Men. In fact, Mike O’Neill, Nero himself, was an original member of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, playing organ in their initial four piece lineup during Fall ’66.

Brenda Lee

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Is It True / Brenda Lee

Listen: Is It True / Brenda Lee

Several months ago, I noticed someone on eBay selling six nice, clean Brenda Lee UK Brunswick singles in the original company sleeves for about $5 and figured, you can never have enough Brenda Lee. I’ve always really liked her, even though I don’t listen too often. The great news is she still sounds like a fireball kid with a monster voice to this day. So I went for it, they arrived and I was quite pleased to find when playing through them, that I just loved this one.

‘Is It True’ immediately sounded English to me. On closer examination of the label, I saw the track was written by Carter/Lewis, a pretty famous UK team who wrote many hits in the 60′s and even released records as The Ivy League and The Flowerpot Men to name a few. Google them.

I have now probably played this a few hundred times, faithfully converting the single to an mp3 on my turntable device (this year’s Christmas present from my dear brother-like friend Howard Thompson) and putting it onto my shuffle.

It came up on the subway yesterday and I just repeated it about a dozen times. So here it is.

A funny footnote, when filing away my new UK copy, I discovered I’d had a US pressing (I did admit I don’t listen enough), and it’s additional label copy indicates ‘Recorded In England’. My guess is she was steered toward jumping on the British Invasion train in ’64. Thank you to whoever suggested it.

Coincidentally, the single peeked at #17 in both the UK & US charts in Sept/Oct ’64 respectively.

Brenda Lee will be 64 in December. She’s still a baby, so hopefully she’ll play New York soon and I’ll get to see her.