Archive for the ‘Mick Jagger’ Category

Ian & The Zodiacs

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

Listen: So Much In Love With You / Ian & The Zodiacs

Usually not one for the Liverpool sound, even I found the occasional exception. Top of the list would indeed be The Cryin’ Shames, and included somewhere, Ian & The Zodiacs. Yes, despite their twee delivery, I suppose it’s the nostalgia in me that finds this soft spot toward them. Plus I liked their name, and was always a big fan of their label group, Philips/Mercury/Fontana/Smash.

I recall seeing their album in a local shop, it may have even been my introduction to the band. Back in 1965, to be afforded an album, with only a single or two to spark it’s sale, especially when they were stiffs, was rare. But it gave us all a chance to see a color photo of them, itself a treat.

As was the case with Ian & The Zodiacs, their label Philips jumped on the US youth market’s insatiable taste for anything British Invasion related. Hence it seems the whole marketing plan for this band was to simply announce themselves as such, right there on the front cover of their debut, and as it turned out only, album:

“We’re new. We’re from England. We have a new sound”.

The last bit wasn’t really true at all, this debut single being a Mick Jagger / Keith Richards cover, made somewhat famous as the only UK chart hit by The Mighty Avengers, who like The Rolling Stones were also managed by Andrew Loog Oldham.

Also covered by The Herd, ‘So Much In Love’ or ‘So Much In Love With You’, as it’s titled here, possibly to avoid crediting the correct songwriters (Mick and Keith – see label above), is a rather perfect British Invasion, not my term btw, song. At least that’s my opinion.

And so, on July 31, 1965, ‘So Much In Love With You’ sat at #131 on BILLBOARD’s Bubbling Under The Hot 100 chart, whatever on earth that meant. Airplay in some small town? A few boxes sold by mistake when the warehouse were meant to ship a much bigger current hit? A nice dinner for the chart compiler at BILLBOARD’s main office? I do recall when working at Elektra during a weekly Wednesday marketing meeting, our company trade publications rep mentioning ‘begging for bullets during her BILLBOARD lunch’. Hmm.

Regardless, hopefully Ian & The Zodiacs basked in their seven days of US fame during that fateful hot July week, as they were never to chart again.

The Moody Blues

Saturday, July 9th, 2011

Listen: Everyday / The Moody Blues
Everyday / The Moody Blues

Another case of one band name, but two completely different sounding lineups, making it easily possible to love/hate one and not the other, or something like that.

Me, I was into both. And it began logically, with the first of the two. The Denny Laine years I suppose you could say.

As lead singer, his tenure started May ’64 at their onset, lasting until Fall ’66. This was when you really had to be able to sing in order to get a deal and make records. Denny Laine trained himself on, you guessed it, soul and RnB. At this, he was winner.

All the singles released during his time are equally great. Most surprisingly weren’t hits, but still, they’re classics. The Moody Blues really stalled their momentum after the worldwide smash ‘Go Now’ by issuing a couple of dirge ballads that struggled for airplay. Hey, I loved them, but programmers didn’t.

After which, ‘Everyday’ came, but the mess had been made and it all slowly went flat for the Denny Laine lineup. Too bad. ‘Everyday’ is the kind of record that probably would have helped change their history a bit had it followed ‘Go Now’. All speculation here.

Another top Denny Cordell (not to be confused with the aforementioned Denny Laine) production though. Not that he totally agreed with me on that one. I met Denny at Island, and elsewhere on this blog there’s a more in depth post about all that. Let me tell you this. Denny was a blast, an absolute class act, had great history, impeccable musical taste and instinct, a wonderful soul. I’m still knocked out that we became good friends.

One time, in the days when we had pretty extravagant parties at our place, Denny came along, swirling in through the front door and b-lined toward the kitchen with a plan to whip up some Jamaican dish, and a bag of supplies for just that purpose. He simply crashed right into it all. That was Denny.

Later in the evening, Duane, with a you gotta hear this look on his face, nudged me toward he and Marianne sitting at the then, newly found 50′s wrought iron and glass patio set, a garage sale miracle with a story all it’s own, deep in stuffy English brogue conversation, so upper class thick, you literally had trouble deciphering what the fuck they were saying. The two of them were all giddy, reminiscing about the old days, smuggling hash into England, dishing through folks at Decca, Mick’s parents, you name it, no one was spared. I just sat right down, refilled their margaritas, listened in, a conspicuous fly on the wall. Cool as a cucumber on the outside, fourth of July fireworks inside. Exactly as anyone else would have felt.

John Hammond

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Listen: Mellow Down Easy / John Hammond JohnHammondMellow.mp3

Never got to hear or see John Hammond in his introductory years, despite a few chances at The Fillmore. The sleeve of his Atlantic album, I CAN TELL, made me way curious. He looked like a cross between Mick Jagger and Arthur Lee. But it wasn’t until this single, a few years later, that I finally got the chance.

One of John Hammond’s consistently strong points was his ace ability to interpret classic blues tracks, using what turned into a signature style: minimal unprocessed guitar and harmonica.

His version of ‘Mellow Down Easy’ not only gave the song possibly it’s best white rendition ever, but spilled into Dr. John’s space. Like electric blues in the late 60′s, New Orleans music was brand new. Seems there were so many singles that introduced me to yet more genres and styles in a short period, and I became insatiable for them all.

Listen: As The Years Go Passing By / John Hammond JohnHammondYears.mp3

‘As The Years Go Passing By’ slotted right in with then current versions from Chicken Shack and Savoy Brown, pretty much equaling if not topping them. With no small contribution being a fantastic voice.

Both tracks on this double sider ignited a John Hammond 7″ catalog completion process on my part that took years. Basically I wanted his every single and the two on Atlantic preceding this were oddly not easy finds. All great records as it turns out and worth the effort. Don’t pass any of them up.

The Andrew Oldham Orchestra

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

AndrewLoog365, Jukebox Tab, , Decca, The Rolling Stones, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, The Andrew Oldham Orchestra

Listen: 365 Rolling Stones / The Andrew Oldham Orchestra AndrewLoog365.mp3

In ’64, Andrew Loog Oldham clearly ruled the roost at Decca Records. And why not? He managed their biggest act, The Rolling Stones. So if and when he felt like making a record, smartly the powers that be (Sir Edward Lewis I assume) turned on the green light. Despite their popularity, it was still a time when he could march his band members into the studio to do the instrumental backings for his sonic fetishes.


Listen: Oh, I Do Like To See Me On The ‘B’ Side / The Andrew Oldham Orchestra AndrewLoogBSide.mp3

Occasionally, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts, along with Ian Stewart, were allowed to stretch into muiscal territory that was more their natural habitiat than the commercial Andrew Oldham Orchestra A sides. ‘Oh, I Do Like To See Myself On The ‘B’ Side’ being the most prime example. And, how uncommonly generous too was Sir Andrew, the boys even got writer’s credit and hopefully publishing – although despite The Rolling Stones growing popularity at the time, and name checks in the song titles, none of his singles sold squat – so not sure that pub money amounted to more than a few teas and English fry ups. Not so bad I must admit. I do love a trad breakfast fry up, vegetarian that is, in some unrenovated, chilly, damp, not been changed since the 60′s cafe – usually out of gentrified Central London I’m sad to say.

AndrewLoogJukeboxTab, Jukebox Tab, , Decca, The Rolling Stones, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, The Andrew Oldham Orchestra

Above: Jukebox Tab signed by Andrew Loog Oldham

And how nice of Andrew Oldham, manager of truly the world’s greatest rock and roll band ever to generously fill in a jukebox tab for my collection when approached by dear friend Lindsay Hutton on my behalf. Thank you Lindsay. That great rock and roll band, just to be clear, were not the ones that quit after five or so years, their silly vaudeville music being continually decimated production wise by that stiff, suit and tied George Martin, who also destroyed The Action’s career with his souless ‘talent’. Yes, I’m referring to the overrated Beatles. Quitters, thankfully.

AndrewLoog5RollingStones, Jukebox Tab, , Decca, The Rolling Stones, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, The Andrew Oldham Orchestra

Listen: There Are But Five Rolling Stones / The Andrew Oldham Orchestra AndrewLoog5Rolling.mp3

Very nice Joe Meek production nick here. Some say this represents Andrew’s constant attempt to replicate Phil Spector’s sound, but no this is unquestionaably Joe Meek territory. As stated above in similar vocabulary, anyone who claims it’s not The Rolling Stones, or various members, playing on these is just stupid. Compare the guitar solo on the outro of ‘There Are But Five Rolling Stones’ with the middle break on the band’s version of ‘It’s All Over Now’. Only question being is it Keith or Brian?

Listen: Da Doo Ron Ron / The Andrew Oldham Orchestra & Chorus AndrewLoogDoRon.mp3

And before heads got too big, can you guess who Andrew wheeled in to vocal ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’ for his UK Decca album 16 HIP HITS by The Andrew Oldham Orchestra & Chorus? If this doesn’t bring you back to Denmark Street, chills up the spin included, nothing will.