Archive for the ‘The Alan Price Set’ Category

Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band

Monday, April 11th, 2016

ZootWillie, Zoot Money, Decca

Listen: The Uncle Willie / Zoot Money ZootWillie.mp3

If you ever see the double LP, HARD UP HEROES, do yourself a favor, buy immediately. Released on UK Decca in ’74, the compilation is a proper collection of their deep 60′s catalog, mostly gritty blues leaning acts, and packaged beautifully. It was here that I first heard ‘The Uncle Willie’.

As with other tracks by The Graham Bond Organization, Alexis Korner, Them, The Birds and John Mayall, it epitomized what I imagined the seedy clubs of London’s Soho to sound like. I’ll never know, but bet I’m right.

Zoot Money already had his Big Roll Band rolling by then. For whatever reason, their moniker was left off the label copy, but their signature sound was sure there to be heard. Man, did I want to own this single from that first listen. Took me a few years, but I got it. Just as expected, the audio on the 7″ was even more authentic than the LP pressing, which in original mono, sounded pretty great already.

Years later, like thirty or so, a live cd from The Flamingo was issued. This band was clearly full and exciting live, as their rendition of ‘The Uncle Willie’ proved.

ZootBigTime, Zoot Money, Epic

Listen: Big Time Operator / Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band ZootBigTime.mp3

Pretty sure it was 2003, the Maximum Rhythm & Blues Tour, a yearly-ish event, played The Royal Albert Hall, and by sheer luck, I was there for work. Jackie Hyde arranged not only tickets, but passes to the after show. As if having just watched Manfred Mann, with both Paul Jones and Mike D’Abo doing their respective hits, Chris Farlowe, The Alan Price Set and Colin Blunstone wasn’t enough, the post show bit was a corucopia of their musician friends from the 60′s. I’m sure there were guys milling about, by now unrecognizable, that would’ve been great jukebox tab scores, but who could tell.

Not the case with Zoot Money. You couldn’t miss him. Jovial and very approachable, he laid a bunch of Marquee stories my way and had no idea ‘Big Time Operator’ came graced with a picture sleeve in the US.

ZootJukebox, Zoot Money, Jukebox Tab

What a great guy to talk with, and pretty good memory too. Wanting a jukebox tab, I didn’t know the B side to ‘The Uncle Willie’, but he did.

The Alan Price Set

Thursday, December 5th, 2013


Side 1:

Listen: Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear / The Alan Price Set

Listen: Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo / The Alan Price Set

Side 2:

Listen: I Put A Spell On You / The Alan Price Set

Listen: Iechyd-Da / The Alan Price Set


Speaking of amazing, it just doesn’t cease to, as they say, amaze me that on June 18, 1966, ‘I Put A Spell On You’ reached #1 at WLOF, Orlando Florida’s Top 40. Even before global warming, Orlando was one hot and sticky town that time of year.

But basically this record always reminds me of cold weather. You see my cousin Anne in London and I used to trade singles in the post. Actually, she stiffed me on a few, and I still regularly remind her of just that on the occasions when we speak. It’s a bit comical these days, but it wasn’t always. Stiffing me on a record swap creates a grudge decades long.

As a result of one of those successful fair exchanges though, I ended up with ‘I Put A Spell On You’ by the newly formed Alan Price Set. He was always my preferred member of The Animals, and so when departing to form his own more jazz influenced outfit, I became anxious for a copy. This was a few months earlier, when Winter still crippled upstate New York. Hence my connection with this record as a soundtrack to that season.

Of equal interest was the B side ‘Iechyd-Da’. Similar to The Graham Bond Organization’s ‘St. James Infirmary’ or anything from John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers’ CRUSADE album, the single featured brass. That added component was then all the rage if you dug deep into the back pages of MELODY MAKER whereby reviews of live shows at Klooks Kleek and The Flamingo resided. Both were London all-nighter venues where my guess is, the air was sickly thick with smoke and the club rammed with liquor fueled servicemen getting belligerent regularly. Nonetheless they were still sharp enough to wander down Oxford Street or the specialty shops in London’s West End the next day buying just these type singles. That’s my dream anyway.

Each 7″ by The Alan Price Set from then forward was a no need to listen prior acquisition. I just wanted every last one upon release. And so when this EP recapped three recent A sides and the aforementioned signature ‘Iechyd-Da’ B side, I lost sleep until it arrived courtesy Anne, my dear sweet partially dependable UK cousin.

The Hollies

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

HolliesAliveUK, The Hollies, Imperial, Parlophone

HolliesAliveUSA, The Hollies, Imperial, Parlophone

Listen: I’m Alive / The Hollies
I'm Alive / The Hollies

Talk about an explosive and immediate intro, here’s one of the most. This tore through my hand sized orange AM transistor radio, an item that almost needed surgically removing from my hand after a couple of years. We went everywhere together, to school, on lunch breaks, to the barber, dentist, shopping for records, the shower and even to bed.

I would wait religiously for the latest single from the UK’s Hit Parade to get an initial airing. Decades before info was a click away, we seemed to know pretty fast about new singles from the English groups, and would wait for that first listen. Many times wait and wait and wait to hear them, unsuccessfully.

I recall writing a letter to Jim O’Brien, the 7-midnight disc jockey on Syracuse’s WNDR, asking would he please play more of the new English bands and he actually read it. This was spring ’66, when playlists were fairly loose but didn’t exist at all to a kid listener. Back then, the stations took and played requests and as well, read letters on-air. I mentioned a few bands, The Alan Price Set being the only one I can recall at this moment. And he read my letter, rattled off all my requests and said “We’d love to play these but they just don’t get released in the USA”.

Not true.

I knew about these records via BILLBOARD. Not only were they printed in the HITS OF THE WORLD section of the publication, whereby they reproduced international Top 10′s and in the case of the UK, their Top 50 chart; but the magazine also listed weekly new US releases in their SINGLES REVIEW section, with label and catalog number. They were all released here, it’s why I wrote the letter.

And so, in hindsight, my mistrust of American radio officially began.

I will say this, Jim O’Brien clearly got some free plays during his shows. For a short period, he did a feature called ECHOES OF ENGLAND, during the British Invasion years. I heard some great stuff on that program: Them, The Silkie, The Yardbirds, The Honeycombs, even The Pretty Things ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’. And for a few weeks in September ’67, he opened most of his shows with The Pink Floyd ‘See Emily Play’. But he did tell a disappointing fib that night.

Regardless, to his credit, it was the grand man himself who played ‘I’m Alive’ one evening. Holy whoever, did it sound fantastic. Dwarfed the songs on either side of it. I loved ‘I’m Alive’ immediately, and excitedly thought I’d be hearing it often, but never did, not ever again.

It had an equally short lived life nationally, a one week spike at #103 on BILLBOARD’s BUBBLING UNDER THE HOT 100 chart, and that my friends, was that.

The Beazers

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Listen: Blue Beat / The Beazers BeazersBlueBeat.mp3

What it must have been like. Probably more glamorous as a fantasy than in actual reality. Like life on the chitlin circuit, or what this song has always captured for me: the Beat Group circuit, if I may. English touring combos, most with an undeservingly flop single or two out, driving up and down the UK in nasty, smelly, unheated vans, getting paid squat, existing on grease drenched, vile motorway fry-ups to compliment their dirty clothes, hair and fingernails…check the photo on the back cover of Decca’s compilation HARD UP HEROES to capture the essence. Why The Beazers’ ‘Blue Beat’, a Decca master, wasn’t included on that comp baffles me. It’s about my only criticism though, a superb, must have collection and package.

A slightly eerie and haunting soundtrack to that predominantly regretful lifestyle, ‘Blue Beat’ also marks one of Chris Farlowe’s earliest recordings, actually his third release, and second for Decca. Apparently recorded to cash in on the brief bluebeat movement, which seems to have resurfaced more times than we can all count, it’s a pretty fine record, faux ska guitar pattern and all.

About ten years back, armed with a page of blank jukebox tabs, I approached Alan Price for a signature at an after party for the 60′s Extravaganza show featuring his band, The Alan Price Set, plus The Zombies, Manfred Mann and Chris Farlowe at The Royal Albert Hall. Having done his jukebox tab duty with ‘Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear’, he was only too happy to volunteer Chris Farlowe sign one as well. Shouting across the room for him to come quick, our man B lined my way.

Upon arrival, Alan Price proclaims, “Chris, you have to do this, it’s a top idea”.

Baffled, Chris Farlowe obliged. Pretty handy that these guys were from a generation that would, sometimes catastrophically, sign anything, hence here was my chance:

Above: Jukebox Tab signed by Chris Farlowe


Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear / Alan Price Set

Listen: Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear / Alan Price Set
Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear / Alan Price Set

His original band, The Alan Price Combo, morphed into The Animals once Eric Burdon joined up. A few years later though, he left forming The Alan Price Set, a six piece that included a few brass players. Weened as many of the Flamingo All-Nighter keyboardists were, on Jimmy Smith and Jimmy McGriff, he and the band’s live show was probably way more blues, rootsy and jazzy than the singles released. All but the first (‘I Put A Spell On You’) were polished up for the charts, but it worked. They had a string of hits, and like Manfred Mann during the period, chose really interesting material to cover. One example being this Randy Newman song. With a great voice like his, these singles just had magic. I remember seeing a B&W clip of this on AMERICAN BANDSTAND back then. God I wish it would turn up on youtube.


Saturday, October 11th, 2008

Listen: Rock The Nation / Montrose
Rock The Nation / Montrose

Montrose. If it’s good it’s always good. You may remember a time in punkcentric ’77 when Montrose was a nasty word, representing the hard rock, metal hair band, LA Sunset Strip. A frozen in time culture when we were all teens and knew way more than those folks did. Yeah right. Like the reality of every musical movement, there were great things happening which we happily turned our nose to at the time. I secretly didn’t. Montrose was one. I went to LA for the 1st time in May ’73 at the invitation of Rich Fazekas, then promotion guy for United Artists. We’d stuck up a friendship (lasting until this day) as a result of him promoting their UK signings (The Move, Family. Hawkwind, Man, Help Yourself). This resulted in my self-serving position of playing them on my college station even though no one was probably listening, which was basically the situation for all of us in small towns acting as cities. Still it got me a relationship with Rich. So in May ’73, at his invitation, I schlepped to LA. Bless his heart, Rich introduced me to mexican food, took me to the Troubadour for a jaw dropping Tim Buckley show, we raided a publishing company with Greg Shaw that was dumping all their 7″ singles (I got many sick things like several copies of The Alan Price Set’s ‘I Put A Spell On You’) and took me to see The Pretty Things 1st US shows at the Whisky (which was the ultimate point of the trip originally). Somewhere in that 4 day blur, we went to Warner Brothers Studios to see Montrose making their 1st album. I vividly remember this song being recorded – but I’m not choosing to post it for nostogia or show off reasons – instead becuase it is so ‘the real thing’ and sounds it until this day – and in mono my friends, straight from my 7″. I hope you love it like I do. I never hear it anymore – not that I did then. Hopefully someone will discover it here and make Montrose some well deserved $.