Archive for the ‘The Alan Bown!’ Category

The Jess Roden Band

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Listen: Me And Crystal Eye / The Jess Roden Band
Me And Crystal Eye / The Jess Roden Band

Dream job: pulling singles from – then filing them back into – the BBC master record library. If only the dj’s still played vinyl and there was a full time, 24/7, never ending job doing just that, I’d yank every string I could to land it. But it’s never to be.

So, best pass time in the world: pulling out, then filing back singles at home. Thing is, the whole process can easily turn into an all day/night journey that bounces me from the wall shelves, to segueing 7′s on the turntables, over to my reference books checking chart numbers or values, then pulling out albums, back to the turntables, back to the singles and on and on. And that’s exactly what went down December 19, 2010 right here at home.

Filing away a few 7′s by The Riot Squad and The Rolling Stones meant my fingers did some walking straight to The Jess Roden Band’s section. Having a complete collection of their singles is a very content feeling. In fact there’s not a one Jess Roden’s ever even sang on missing from my library, be it by The Alan Bown!, Bronco, The Butts Band, The Rivets, The Keef Hartley Band, you name it.

If push came to shove, and a favorite Jess Roden single choice was really ever required, say before a firing squad, ‘Me And Crystal Eye’ would win. His white New Orleans funk was always believable, because his voice was kind of unbelievable considering, he was from England.

It’d been a while since I pulled out the albums as well. Today had me spot playing stuff from BLOWIN’, PLAY IT CLASS PLAY IT DIRTY, The Jess Roden Band’s live EP from The Marquee, even the US pressing of THE ALAN BOWN! on Deram. All a result of pulling out ‘Me And Crystal Eye’. A single can be a very powerful thing.

The Alan Bown Set / The Alan Bown!

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

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

What a great idea. Take the band’s leader, put ‘The’ in front of his name – and 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 – so with no copies in the stores, their single fell out of the NME chart (where it was #26) 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 split 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?