Archive for the ‘Mike Smith’ Category

The Love Affair

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

LoveAffairSheSmilesSweetlyUKA, The Love Affair, Steve Ellis, Mike Smith, Mike Vernon, Date, Decca, CBS, Philip Goodhand-Tait

Listen: She Smiled Sweetly / The Love Affair

It’s happened hundreds of times through the years. Label takes chance on an act, issues a single or two with no results, then moves on. Same act gets another deal, sometimes only months later and blows up. Around this period, David Bowie bounced from label to label, Marc Bolan too, The Herd, a bunch of them. On the quick path were The Love Affair. Probably signed by Decca in-house blues expert Mike Vernon or assigned to him for production, a good cover choice (Jagger/Richards ‘She Smiled Sweetly’) was released almost simultaneously with The Rolling Stones’ own rendition from BETWEEN THE BUTTONS on February 10, 1967. By the end of the year, the band had moved on to CBS and that label’s debut ‘Everlasting Love’ entered the UK charts in the first few days of January ’68, ending up at #1. Someone had egg on their face, including me.

I was so excited to see a copy in a local department store, and without a penny in my pocket, I decided to shoplift it. Got caught, almost arrested. Threatened to call my folks, which they didn’t, but it did cure me of that one.

LoveAffairRainbowUKPSFront, The Love Affair, Steve Ellis, CBS, Date

LoveAffairRainbowPS, The Love Affair, Steve Ellis, CBS, Date

Listen: Rainbow Valley / The Love Affair

‘Everlasting Love’, like all their singles, was a cover, this one originally released by Robert Knight. Even U2 have taken a stab at it, but no one has one upped that version by The Love Affair.

The followup, ‘Rainbow Valley’, was just as powerful. In particular, it continued to make obvious the strength of lead vocalist Steve Ellis. I’m sure I’ve read many times that this patch of singles, all Top 10 in the UK, were indeed Steve Ellis with studio musicians, a persistant trend in the 60′s. Probably to great frustration, the calculated pop made the band member cringe but who can say.

LoveAffairDayWithoutUKA, The Love Affair, Steve Ellis, Mike Smith, Mike Vernon, Date, Decca, CBS, Philip Goodhand-Tait

LoveAffairDayWithoutUS, The Love Affair, Steve Ellis, Mike Smith, Mike Vernon, Date, Decca, CBS, Philip Goodhand-Tait

Listen: A Day Without Love / The Love Affair

New producer Mike Smith had a simple formula down, which with ‘A Day Without Love’, now included recording the songs of non-member, singer/writer Philip Goodhand-Tait.

LoveAffairBringingUSA, The Love Affair, Steve Ellis, Mike Smith, Mike Vernon, Date, Decca, CBS, Philip Goodhand-Tait

Listen: Bringing On Back The Good Times / The Love Affair

What seemed to rub the more hip, progressive rock fan of the day wrong is exactly what attracted me to The Love Affair. Big, over the top productions, with loud brass and orchestration, almost Motown-esque, and a perfect showcase for that great Steve Ellis voice.

The Tremeloes

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Listen: (Call Me) Number One / The Tremeloes TremeloesCallMe.mp3

Never liked Liverpool bands. No, that’s wrong. Never liked Merseybeat. I may be mixing up adjectives here though. Sorry Liverpool. Most of The Swinging Blues Jeans singles are good, particularly ‘Don’t Make Me Over’ and ‘Rumours, Gossip, Words Untrue’. They were Merseybeat, I guess. And if The Applejacks or The Cryin’ Shames fall into Merseybeat, then they shouldn’t.

A band that did get that Merseybeat tag were Brian Poole & The Tremeloes. Never followed them, yet once The Tremeloes lost Brian Poole, things got way more updated in keeping with the times. They co-existed alongside the formula pop The Love Affair and The Marmalade, which was fine by me.

It was surprising to hear their first few singles all over the US airwaves and see them in the charts. As time went by (’68 – ’70), the quality of releases stayed high, but the US airplay didn’t. Without reason or logic, The Tremeloes were forced into my ‘I’m pissed off these bands don’t get radio play’ column.

I could name a few of their singles that could have been, should have been. And I’m surprised Epic didn’t use their muscle to turn the momentum from downward to upward. But they didn’t.

‘(Call Me) Number One’ should have been just that. Great Mike Smith production and when the song delivered one more hook than most other songs can muster, another freaking one swings round at you. Try counting them yourself.

The Marmalade

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Listen: Baby Make It Soon / The Marmalade MarmaladeBabyMake.mp3

Apparently, The Marmalade’s ‘I See The Rain’ was one of Jimi Hendrix’s favorite records. Their most collectable release, considered a psych classic, on and on.

All good, a deserved single. Having released a few musically revered but consumer ignored 7′s, UK CBS decided they’d had enough. Onto their pop assembly line The Marmalade went.

Perfect. The more manufactured or schlock, as one friend arrogantly puts it, the singles became, the more I liked them. Indeed, pop/schlock 60′s and 70′s UK singles in general – especially non-hits by nobodies get me excited every time.

‘Baby Make It Soon’ was probably a song the band hated and most likely didn’t even play on. Who cares….it’s a period classic, and many a person’s guilty pleasure. That, I would bet my life on.

Definitely a keeper.