Archive for the ‘Date’ 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.

Peaches & Herb

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Listen: Two Little Kids / Peaches & Herb Peaches2Little.mp3

When I pulled out a handful of their singles to play over the weekend, my kids asked who was singing.

“Peaches & Herb.”

“Sounds like a new tea choice from Celestial Seasonings.” Man, they can so be quick sometimes.

But most of us know otherwise. Me, I considered them my RnB Sonny & Cher.

Through the years, there was one Herb and several Peaches. Six to be exact. Initially signed to Date Records from ’66 – ’70, it’s former vocalist with The Sweet Things, Francine Day, who took the lead on all the recordings and is admittedly my favorite. Even after her retirement from touring two years in (Marlene Mack from The Jaynetts replaced her live), she remained Peaches in the studio. Every last Peaches & Herb single on the label is a must for any proper collection.

Listen: Shake Your Groove Thing / Peaches & Herb PeachesGroove.mp3

Despite my penchant for Northern Soul, and for Date Records, it’s this later single that is the riot worth posting. Everyone knows it. And once I got the riff into my head this morning, it was unshakeable, for the entire day.

Linda Greene, the third Peaches, indeed does a great vocal on this one.

‘Shake Your Groove Thing’ – think about it. In some ways, the mainstream was much looser twenty or so years ago (Culture Club for example) than now. No matter. The record was massive (#5 US). Did every programmer just turn an blind eye to the lyrics? I guess so.

So what exactly is a groove thing?

The Glories

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Listen: (I Love You Babe But) Give Me My Freedom / The Glories GloriesFreedom.mp3

Like a lot of people, I have a soft spot for anything on Date, and Direction for that matter. They were sister US/UK companies and had great A&R. I wish I knew more about The Glories, but really don’t. Most of their stuff is in the Northern groove, so I’m in.

Listen: Try A Little Tenderness / The Glories GloriesTenderness.mp3

Obviously not a Northern ‘stomper’ as they like to say, but I love any version of ‘Try A Little Tenderness’. Luckily, everyone I know that recorded it had pipes, although Nico or The Flying Lizards would have made interesting listens.

Listen: Sing Me A Love Song / The Glories GloriesSing.mp3

There’s a beautiful trade ad from a ’67 issue of Billboard for this one. Full page. Awesome shot of the girls. Wish my scanner could have handled it’s size. Spun ‘Sing Me A Love Song’ at the Otis Clay show recently – sounded killer through the big speakers

Cannibal & The Headhunters

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Listen: Land Of 1000 Dances / Cannibal & The Headhunters Cannibal1000.mp3

Often covered through the years, there were two ‘Land Of A Thousand Dances’ floating around during the mid 60′s. Thee Midnighters and this one. For some reason, Cannibal & The Headhunters’ rendition was live with an audience, sounded wilder, and with a band name like that, I couldn’t help it becoming my preferred version. Oddly enough, this wilder take was also the bigger hit, peaking on Billboard’s Hot 100 at #30. Through it’s entire initial chart run the single was always listed on the Rampart label, yet I have both a Rampart and Date pressing in my collection.

I never thought twice about it, just figured the logical explanation was Rampart was a tiny indie (indeed it was – from East LA) and when the record started getting traction, a major, or in this case, a major’s smaller imprint (CBS distributed Date) picked it up to take national. Oddly enough, that’s not what happened. Charting in early ’65 and peaking a few months later in May – for some reason (who will ever know?), Date reissued it a year or so later in summer ’66, when it sort of re-charted, meaning it Bubbled Under The Hot 100 for two weeks, peaking at #106.

Now why should anyone care about this? As far as I’m aware, no one does. But little things, about a record business era gone forever, I find vastly interesting. I wish someone out there was a former Date employee. I’d have a lot more questions about that infamous lime green label.

Clefs Of Lavender Hill / Dee Jay & The Runaways

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

ClefsLavender, Clefs Of Lavender Hill, Date, WOLF

Listen: Stop – Get A Ticket / Clefs Of Lavender HillClefsStop.mp3

I’m sure this happens to us all – occasionally there are a couple of records that basically get connected at the hip in one’s memory. For whatever reason, with me it’s usually a time period that links them.

On first airing, I was sure ‘Stop – Get A Ticket’ was the new Byrds single. Must’ve been that electric twelve string sound in the solo. Still feels like a Roger McGuinn moment.

No. it was a local garage band, one of hundreds that sprung up as a result of the British Invasion. The Clefs Of Lavender Hill were from Florida, and their followup singles were just, well not very good. This, in fact, was originally a B side, eventually getting national release and reaching a Billboard #80 as a result of play and instant reaction in Miami.

When Corinne, the kids and I ventured down for a long weekend last winter, there was an arts and crafts street fair just off the main drag of Collins Ave, with it’s endless blocks of beautifully restored art deco hotels and such. One local oldies station, their van set up, complete with free bumper stickers and ghastly t-shirts, was blaring a live feed, audible a couple blocks away. I was pleasantly surprised when The Small Faces ‘Itchycoo Park’ came on – man did it sound great and definitely out of place, but when The Clefs Of Lavender Hill got played about half an hour later, I was genuinely floored. Huh? What’s up? I had no idea then it was in fact a massive local smash.

Trust me, when both these songs were mixed in amongst a pretty common array of the usual overplayed hit staples, they were hands down standouts.

DeeJayPeterRabbit, Dee Jay & The Runaways, Smash, WOLF

Listen: Peter Rabbit / Dee Jay & The Runaways DeeJayPeterRabbit.mp3

You’ve all heard of Spirit Lake, Iowa I’m sure. If not, let me tell you ‘Peter Rabbit’ probably still gets played down / over there. This band put the town on the map and from all accounts, the place is still pretty proud of the fellows.

Why not, great single. Heard it constantly at the time. It and ‘Stop – Get A Ticket’ always getting back to back spins on WOLF. These singles played a big part in my soundtrack of that summer. Proof below:

WOLF6_4_66, WOLF, Dee Jay & The Runaways, Clefs Of Lavender Hill