Archive for the ‘U2’ 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.

Ricky Nelson

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Listen: Lonesome Town / Ricky Nelson RickyNelsonLonesomeTown.mp3

Somewhere during their DATE WITH ELVIS / STAY SICK period, The Cramps were doing ‘Lonesome Town’ live. It was around then that I’d joined Island Records and rang Lux and Ivy to update them with my new contact info.

Ivy and I got into a long conversation about all kinds of trivia, which was not uncommon. She and Lux were always the most interesting and intriguing people. We would sometimes stay on the phone for hours.

As we were winding it down, I asked would she like any records from the label.

“What do you have?”

“There’s Robert Palmer, U2, Anthrax, Grace Jones, Julian Cope……”

“Hmmm. I’ve never heard of any of those people. Do you have any Ricky Nelson records?”

Shirley Scott

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Listen: It’s Your Thing / Shirley Scott ShirleyScottThing.mp3

In my world, there is no bad version of ‘It’s Your Thing’. Unlike many, many original classics that are pointless to try re-doing (‘Be My Baby’, ”Sheena Is A Punk Rocker’ – someone please tell The Red Hot Chili Peppers and U2 to stop making fools of themselves trying, ‘See Emily Play’….the list is looooong), some songs seem written to be personalized, reinterpreted. This is one.

Now Shirley Scott can do no wrong in my small place of the universe. Ever seen a bad picture of her? No.

From the great era when being black and trying to get your hair blond resulted in a beautiful orange do, Shirley Scott was queen. And when she got behind that Hammond B3 in those southern juke joints, it had to be heaven.

Found this, her version of ‘It’s Your Thing’ featuring King Curtis in Cleveland a week or so back. On tour with Matt & Kim not only means I get to watch one of the world’s greatest bands every single night, but also allows me to wander the streets looking for used records after soundcheck.

I didn’t need to go far. Stumbled on this, right there inside the Beachland Ballroom complex (2 live music rooms, 2 additional bars with incredible 7″ jukeboxes plus a hip antique clothing/kitch collectables/ great junk/record shop in the basement). In addition to about one hundred-ish 7″ singles that I struggled back to the bus with (Kim commenting ‘How do you plan to hide these from Corinne?’), this particular one had the additional value of it’s original jukebox tab stapled to the sleeve. I already had the promo back home, but a stock copy with the tab intact was just calling out my name.


Monday, January 11th, 2010

XTCSensesPS, XTC, Steve Lillywhite, Virgin

Listen: Senses Working Overtime (Single Version) / XTC [audio:]

You have to hand it to Steve Lillywhite. He can produce a record alright. God, he was on a roll during this early 80′s stretch. XTC, Peter Gabriel, The Psychedelic Furs, Simple Minds, Joan Armatrading, U2. If you couldn’t make great records with that bunch, you’d be pretty useless – but seminal ones as they turned out to be – well not necessarily that easy.

Having a great engineer is the magic formula – one who can eventually learn the craft and rise to the occasion. Such the case with Hugh Padgham, Steve’s original engineer who produced this – and The Police among others.

Early on, XTC opened a US tour for The Police, the only time I got to see them. And I’m honestly not sure how many times thereafter they returned. Their saga is long. And this is a well known hit, but never one I tire of.