Archive for the ‘The Rolling Stones’ Category

Unit 4 + 2

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Listen: Concrete And Clay / Unit 4 + 2
Concrete

Always loved this band’s name. It pre-dated tags given to electronic music acts by about thirty years or so. As it turned out, their acoustic guitar style had a Flamenco thing about it, I guess. It was a thread pretty common to the majority of Unit 4 + 2′s records, even though as a kid, the wilder, trashier, bluesy guitar stuff appealed the most, especially when maracas were involved.

Anything from Decca UK, and released via their London Records Group in America was moved to the top of my pile though. Even the MOR productions of Tom Jones and The Fortunes were fine by me.

‘Concrete And Clay’ would’ve gone Top 10 here, no doubt, if another competing copy cat version by Eddie Rambeau hadn’t been grabbing airplay and sales simultaneously. So instead of reaching a placing near it’s UK #1 slot, the record topped out at #28 on BILLBOARD, victim to a wank American singer who hadn’t moved on fashion wise since Fabian from about five years earlier.

Nice intro as well, ironically similar to but predating label mates, The Rolling Stones’ ‘Honky Tonk Women’ by about three years.

Listen: (You’ve) Never Been In Love Like This Before / Unit 4 + 2
Unit4+2NeverBeen.mp3

Even more appealing was the followup. ‘(You’ve) Never Been In Love Like This Before’, complete with my favorite, an unnecessary bracket within the title, continued their pattern of re-writing the previous single, as ‘Concrete And Clay’ had done with it’s predecessor, ‘Sorrow And Pain’. This can double as either developing a sound, or becoming a perfect target for hater journalists. Both outcomes are common.

Basically, a stiff, it hovered around the lower reaches of the Top 100 for several weeks, eventually topping out at #93. I can still see that unsold chunk in a W.T. Grants record rack, back when vast areas of department store walls were lined with rows and rows of the latest 45′s. There they sat for weeks, until one day, gone. Well, all but the copy pictured above.

Herman’s Hermits

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Listen: You Won’t Be Leaving / Herman’s Hermits
You

Somehow I found myself pulling out a bunch of Herman’s Hermits singles the other night. I guess I really liked quite a few, but moved along through the years never much remembering them or revisiting either. They are in one of those pockets on the wall shelf that seems to get minimal browsing.

Whatever. There I was. Oh right, why was ‘You Won’t Be Leaving’ ever released as a 7″ in the US? Never could quite figure that one out. If you look closely, their string of hits were pretty intense for a few years, with often two or more records in the Top 100 simultaneously, some being released a mere four weeks after the previous one.

As with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, my local Top 40′s would premier a new song as quickly as a copy could be airmailed over from England. ‘You Won’t Be Leaving’ was no exception. As with a few others (‘No Milk Today’, ‘There’s a Kind Of Hush’, ‘Silhouttes’), this was a one listen for me.

Funny enough, it never did get released, but instead found it’s way onto a then current US album that I somehow ended up with, so I was content.

Years later in the late 80′s, an easy find at the Record & Tape Exchange, Notting Hill, for pennies. Not so sure this one time bargain A label would be so cheap nowadays though.

The McCoys

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Listen: Beat The Clock / The McCoys
Beat

If ever there was a slogan, ‘Beat The Clock’ may take the cake. I guess it’s what we all try doing throughout life.

The McCoys had endless great singles. I don’t recall a bad one actually.

‘Beat The Clock’ was released spring ’67, and stumbled around the lower rungs of some radio playlists, only managing a pathetic peak of #92 nationally. Unlike with many of the garage bands and English groups nationally, there was a consistent loyalty toward their releases by the local Top 40′s in the northeast, certainly the upstate New York region. In this case, both Syracuse stations, WNDR and particularly WOLF, played every record by The McCoys. ‘Beat The Clock’ was no exception.

I still love the sound of time dripping by via the keyboard intro, and the continual return to it throughout the song.

The McCoys were one of the support acts to The Rolling Stones that previous summer, when they toured the AFTERMATH album. As a little kid, each moment was a lifetime of excitement, and The McCoys’ sing-a-long set was no exception. We all walked out of the place more addicted to The Rolling Stones than ever, but no short changing the other bands as a result. Every friend I knew went out and bought whichever McCoys records they could find within days.

The Ramones

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Listen: Babysitter / The Ramones
Babysitter

Historically, there are endless B sides worthy of the preferred A side status. In the 50′s and 60′s, many were played and charted alongside their flip side counterpart. Certainly The Beatles and often The Rolling Stones achieved this.

For instance, ‘Ruby Tuesday’ was originally relegated as the flip to ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’, but due to the resulting lyrical controversy over ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’, combined with the undeniable songwriting strength and band arrangement/performance of ‘Ruby Tuesday’, the latter ascended up to a US #1.

Well, ‘Babysitter’ went to #1 in my world, and that of many Ramones fans as well. Despite being originally designated to the B side of ‘Do You Wanna Dance’, and never included on an album at the time, it’s arguably one of the very best songs from the Tommy Ramone era. I mean, there are so many, without a doubt, but ‘Babysitter’, well it’s hard to believe it’s seldom sighted as important. No explanation for that one.

Despite it’s intended second fiddle status, I thought it a great way to ring in the new year. Have a great 2012.

Above: Jukebox Tab signed by Tommy Ramone

Sam Cooke

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

Listen: Little Red Rooster / Sam Cooke
Little

Even if Sam Cooke hadn’t name checked “Billy” at the onset of the organ solo, he, being Billy Preston, would have been on my shortlist of guesses. Jimmy McGriff, Jimmy Smith, Brian Auger, Hank Jacobs to also name a few too, they played in the same Hammond jazz/funk/soul, or whatever it’s called, pocket during the mid to late 60′s.

I was not initially attracted to this record, nor Sam Cooke for that matter, when current. Given the single came out in ’64, and peaked at #11, I’d never heard it. Not until decades later, when rummaging through a Salvation Army pile of discards did this remake of the Willie Dixon tune, a year later (’65) made popular by The Rolling Stones, seem a worthwhile 25¢ gamble.

For the longest time, the song’s swing shuffle approach sounded too dated, too safe and too like something my parents would listen to. Just recently did I give it a play and only because this UK promo pressing beauty entered my collection, thank you Vicki Wickham.

Boing. How did I not notice the organ playing ever before? Even as part of the song’s MOR slush style, it stands out.

Then that “Billy” namechack had me curious. So my world wide web digging began. Now I’m completely intrigued by the events of December 10, 1964. It was fun Google mapping all of Sam Cooke’s stops that night from his Los Angeles home on Ames Street to dinner and clubs on Sunset to a no tell motel on South Figueroa Street in South Central to the Los Angeles County morgue. Fun stuff.

And I found this too, confirming Billy Preston.

Buster Brown

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

Listen: Fannie Mae / Buster Brown
Fannie Mae / Buster Brown

Buster Brown, at 48 years old, had his first BILLBOARD chart hit with ‘Fannie Mae’, scaling #1 on the RnB charts, and #38 Pop in December ’59.

Christmas in that decade meant loads of Lionel train sets under the trees, and plenty of heart attack inducing home baked cookies left out for Santa on Christmas Eve. Plus it must have been a great time to be on Fire Records. Just imagine going into the office, cupboards bulging with records, office staff in that truly giving holiday spirit and inviting you to have a pick through. Honestly, I get shivers at the thought.

Listen: Don’t Dog Your Woman / Buster Brown
Don't Dog Your Woman / Buster Brown

A few years later, he basically rewrote the song lyrically, becoming the brilliant ‘Don’t Dog Your Woman’. Everything about this, especially the harmonica, soon after identified with many of the songs on the first few Rolling Stones albums. I never recall them name checking him, though Roger reminded me that they may have recorded ‘Fannie Mae’ very early on.

Listen: The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man / The Rolling Stones
The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man / The Rolling Stones

I wonder if Buster Brown ever heard The Rolling Stones original composition ‘The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man’ and if so, what he thought of it?

I have a strong feeling they heard his.

Primal Scream

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Listen: Swastika Eyes / Primal Scream
Swastika

Yesterday’s Super Furry Animals post had me recollecting those last few years of Creation Records’ partnership with Sony. During summer ’99, Alan McGee was shopping for one of the US outlets to release the upcoming XTRMNTR album by Primal Scream. So he brought Bobby Gillespie into the New York office to play me a few tracks. As often as Primal Scream had changed direction, so too did I change my interest in them. Given their most recent sound at that point was directly influenced by Rolling Stones style blues rock and despite the resulting single ‘Rocks’ achieving by far Primal Scream’s biggest US radio breakthrough yet, this Southern boogie woogie couldn’t have been further from my musical palate in ’99. So I was rather uncomfortable about wasting Bobby’s time. Alan insisted otherwise, that instead I would love where XTRMNTR was heading, being well aware of my insatiable taste for dance, techno and the like.

Was he ever right. This album wiped the floor with all their previous material including SCREAMADELICA. Most critics still attach to that one, and in the bigger picture, I suppose I agree. But for Primal Scream specifically, nothing touches XTRMNTR. Alan suggested I visit Bobby and Andrew Innes at their Primrose Hill studio to hear the finished version. The place was jammed tight, and jamming out. Besides listening to the album, we found plenty to agree on in general: The Cramps, Suicide, and a bottomless pit of records. Easy conversation when it came to musical history, plus any reason to go to London.

‘Swastika Eyes’, the single and album version produced by the band and Jagz Kooner, actually takes my preference over The Chemical Brothers’ mix, also included on XTRMNTR. In fact, my belief was this track could perform as well as ‘Block Rockin’ Beats’ or ‘Setting Sun’ had for The Chemical Brothers at radio in the States, with Primal Scream coming off the back of their biggest US airplay record as well. Suspiciously, senior management at Columbia agreed after a quick conversation of presenting said theory. The green light was on.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, ‘Swastika Eyes’, by then at #22 in the UK Pop chart, was too controversial, too insulting, to issue here. Huh, this from the company that changed music with Bob Dylan? This from the company that was having platinum success with Nas? Honestly guys, was spineless suddenly part of the label’s character description? Now in hindsight, having dropped 50 Cent around then too, it clearly was play it safe.

Turns out the whole idea was moving forward based on the Southern boogie style of ‘Rocks’, and when so and so finally got round to listening to the music, it was easier to stubbornly remain rooted in the musical past than embrace tomorrow. Indeed, a policy good for Our Lady Peace, but not Primal Scream.

Keith Wood over at Astralwerks, who released the album in America, didn’t have any such corporate trappings.

Gus Jenkins

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Listen: Chittlins / Gus Jenkins
Chittlins

Damn, I wish I knew more about Gus Jenkins. I know he recorded as early as ’56, under the name Gus Jinkins, and he’s up there as one of the most mysterious raw blues obscurities around.

Someone at Capitol decided to release ‘Chittlins’ via their newly formed subsidiary, Tower, in late ’64.

The Tower label went on until ’68, amassing a small, but fairly collectable bunch of releases, the most famous of course being all the very early US singles by The Pink Floyd. But there were more, Joe Meek masters by Heinz and Tom Jones, Ian Whitcomb & Bluesville, The Chocolate Watch Band, The Standells…pull up a Tower discography sometime. Nice stuff.

Even on first listen, you’ll agree, a wonderfully noticeable amount of Gus Jenkins’ swagger may have influenced The Cramps just a bit, and even more, The Rolling Stones, sounding not unlike any number of tracks from their first few albums.

According to BILLBOARD’s November 14, 1964 RnB DJ Roundup below, along with Jimmy Reed’s ‘I’m Going Upside Your Head’, Ed Wright at WABO Cleveland was spinning it, Ed Hardy over at KDIA in San Francisco chose ‘Chittlins’ as well as Little Jerry Williams’ ‘I’m The Lover Man’, a filthy sleaze fest of a single, a no fucking around must for every collection. And let’s not forget WYLD’s Ed ‘Screaming’ Teamer in New Orleans, who was not only jamming Gus Jenkins and Little Jerry Williams, but was playing the mad great ‘My Country Sugar Mama’ by Howlin’ Wolf.

The New Vaudeville Band

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Peek A Boo / The New Vaudeville Band

Listen: Peek A Boo / The New Vaudeville Band
Peek A Boo / The New Vaudeville Band

The New Vaudeville Band did not get their due respect, even though they never made a bad single, and their albums are full of flawless…..vaudeville. A genre cornered successfully by The Bonzo Dog Band and later dabbled into by The Kinks, I’m guessing maybe these guys were just a touch ahead of the credibility curve. Add to that, their first single ‘Winchester Catherdral’ became a worldwide #1 and, even back then, they landed into the mainstream before the press could give them praise, so they didn’t. Never mind, these singles speak for themselves.

The two followups to ‘Winchester Catherdral’ in order were ‘Peek A Boo’ and ‘Finchley Central’.

Although hits in the UK, only ‘Peek A Boo’ made the Top 100 here (#74 in February ’67), due in part to a great performance on the then, newly ‘In Color’ version of popular Saturday night variety show HOLLYWOOD PALACE. Singer Tristam The VII, Earl Of Cricklewood wore a blue sparkley jacket identical to the one Mick Jagger pranced in just a month earlier on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW (January ’67) when they caved, changing the lyrics for the boss, Ed himself, and thereby performing ‘Let’s Spend Some Time Together’ as a worldwide one-off.

Finchley Central / The New Vaudeville Band UK Picture Sleeve

‘Finchley Central’ Picture Sleeves: Above (UK) / Below (US)

Finchley Central / The New Vaudeville Band US Picture Sleeve

Listen: Finchley Central / The New Vaudeville Band
Finchley Central / The New Vaudeville Band

‘Finchley Central’ followed in late spring. Although not housed in a now very hard to find color UK picture sleeve, indeed US Fontana sprang nonetheless for a cover, except in black and white. Both are pictured above. Despite climbing to #16 in England, for places like Texas and Florida, a single in the style of your parents music (with a vocal that doesn’t even begin until 1:04 into the song, and then lyrically about the London subway system) during the summer of psychedelic ’67 meant…little.

Well actually it did Bubble Under The Top 100 at #102 for a stubborn three weeks. Maybe people equated it to something off SGT PEPPER or YELLOW SUBMARINE and thought it so far out that it was actually in, as it got some play and sold a handful.

See, The New Vaudeville Band were so good even The Beatles wanted to sound like them, and occasionally did.

The Rolling Stones

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Listen: Sad Day / The Rolling Stones
Sad Day / The Rolling Stones

A terribly under rated and overlooked Rolling Stones classic, ‘Sad Day’ got played as much as A side ’19th Nervous Breakdown’ in my bedroom growing up. It wasn’t even name checked on the US picture sleeve (above), and never included as part of a proper album.

Someone at Decca UK had the seemingly good sense/terrible judgement to make it a British A side in April ’73. Huh? Must have been a featured track on one of the many, theme-less compilations Decca were shoveling out at the time.

Corinne hates that I put my foot down recently and situated a small, 45 only, early 60′s RCA stacker on the headboard of the awesome blond Hollywood bedroom set I found at a house sale almost twenty years ago, in factory fresh condition. And ‘Sad Day’ has gotten many more plays in the past few weeks than it’s equally fantastic A side. Just for the record.

Always scour sleeves in used vinyl shops for jukebox tabs. It’s amazing the ones you will find, and the shops could care less about them. A warning though, once you start you’ll have a hard time stopping.

Jack Nitzsche

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

Listen: The Lonely Surfer / Jack Nitzsche
The Lonely Surfer / Jack Nitzsche

Somewhere in this collection a US copy of ‘The Lonely Surfer’ lurks. Must have taken it out to dj with, because my recollection of it sounding huge and rather scary through the sound system at Brooklyn Bowl is quite vivid.

The sport of surfing was not big in the UK, nor was the musical genre, unsurprisingly. Given that UK pressings of surf singles are thin on the ground, finding this Jack Nitzsche 7″ in a tattered box of 45′s on a freezing October morning along the Portobello Road market indeed felt quite the anomaly.

Jack himself, well he was so entrenched in LA’s recording scene during the early 60′s that coining the ultimate surf anthem isn’t really a shocker. His many credits often included arrangements, something no one really does these days, not exclusively and certainly not for money. The guy kept a lot of plates in the air, working with Phil Spector at Philles, organizing THE TAMI SHOW, taking Doris Day to #1 in the pop charts, arranging for The Rolling Stones when they were at the RCA studios and managing to keep up a solo career on Reprise. There alone his array of releases included Chopin style renditions of then current pop hits to, well, surf anthems like ‘The Lonely Surfer’.

Having arranged and orchestrated Ike & Tina Turner’s ‘River Deep – Mountain High’ would be a pretty daunting accomplishment for anyone to top, but in many ways that’s exactly what he does on ‘The Lonely Surfer’. From the title to the eerie horns, he’s captured a dark and alarming side of the supposedly sunshine and fun theme. Sorry but this record has always reminded me of seedy old Hollywood, the unsolved Bobby Fuller murder and Sal Mineo’s as well.

By the way, ever noticed that some of the best surf records have the most unhappy horn bits on them.

Terry Reid

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Listen: Stay With Me Baby / Terry Reid
Stay With Me Baby / Terry Reid

Other than ‘Better By Far’, a preview to BANG BANG YOU’RE TERRY REID, his first album, no further UK singles were issued from that or the even better followup, TERRY REID. Mickie Most was not only producing, but managing, if you can call it that.

Never got to meet Mickie Most, but had that opportunity occurred, inquiring into the lack of Terry Reid singles would have been the first words spoken. He’d have hated me pretty quickly, because I’m still steaming about it and probably would’ve remained unsatisfied despite his reply. Very obnoxious indeed, given the many terrific records he produced, most of which I own. Truthfully, I certainly would have behaved, shown respect. After all, there’d have been a lot to talk about and who the fuck am I compared to Mickie Most?

In the States, Terry Reid was the opening act for The Cream in ’68, and then The Rolling Stones on their ’69 tour. By that time, said classic second album, TERRY REID, was out. Epic had enough sense to pull a few tracks off the record and press up 7′s, if only to focus the underground disc jockeys, as they were known, toward the more obvious airplay choices.

‘Stay With Me Baby’ could’ve taken off, so give it a 7″ kickstarting chance. Why not? A mid chart hit (#64 in ’66) for Lorraine Ellison, the Jerry Ragovoy song (although wrongly credited on the label copy here to members of Savoy Brown, they too had a then current song titled ‘Stay With Me Baby’) seemed purposely written for Terry Reid’s voice.

Live, it was so powerful, almost frightening, a career moment, a show stopper.

Listen: Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace / Terry Reid
Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace / Terry Reid

He never did play near my home in upstate New York when I was a youngster. He seldom played the States at all really. After those initial two albums came out and miraculously underperformed, it was a few years before he ventured back. By then, the crazy teenager in me decided I could wait no more, and hitchhiked to NYC summer ’73, seeing him at Central Park’s Wollman Skating Rink during their yearly Schaefer Music Festival summer concert series. My lord, what a lineup that series had. It’s hard to read quickly, you’ll need to go slow.

Yes, I hitchhiked from Syracuse, along the New York State Thruway. No money in my pocket to speak of, about $30. And nowhere to stay after the show, I hadn’t even thought about that part. Post concert, I made my way down to The Village Oldies. They were open until 2am, stocked up on 25¢ unsleeved promo 45′s, had some pizza, then it was time to head back. Almost can’t believe I did it. My folks were in a true panic. Wow, crazy stuff. I should be dead, instead I was possessed, 45′s under one arm, the other with a thumb out along the West Side Highway.

Terry Reid played all the classics that night. The addicted amongst us were foaming up front, dangerously freaking out, like the messiah had arrived. There were moments, like during ‘Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace’ when I could’ve sworn he had. Terry Reid was that incredible.

The Miracles

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

MiraclesHoldUKA, Miracles, Smokey Robinson, Tamla, Motown, Oriole, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones

Listen: You Really Got A Hold On Me / The Miracles
You Really Got A Hold On Me / The Miracles

I do think The Beatles cover version on a very early US album turned me on to ‘You Really Got A Hold On Me’. Not one for The Beatles after about two minutes into The Rolling Stones ‘Not Fade Away’ in ’64, it must have been their second album at most. Long gone from my collection, I can’t verify. Never mind – it did the job.

Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, as time would eventually refer to them, indeed made many great singles – it’s virtually impossible to pick a favorite. But this I remember as one of those first times in life. I still feel the exact same wonderment with every listen. It has never gone away and there are very few records I can say that about.

Otis Redding

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Listen: Mr. Pitiful / Otis Redding
Mr. Pitiful / Otis Redding

The last time I saw The Rolling Stones, at The Pheonix in Toronto, they played this number. The secret club show, a warm up or some such angle, kicked off their 2005 world tour on August 10th of that year. It felt unreal, in such a small place, making eye contact with The Rolling Stones.

Listen: That’s How Strong My Love Is / Otis Redding
That's How Strong My Love Is / Otis Redding

The first time I saw them, October 30, 1965, the band played this one. Like ‘Mr. Pitiful’, ‘That’s How Strong My Love Is’ seems to have been an Otis Redding inspired choice.

That show felt unreal too, this little boy being transported to a seemingly far away land of British rock, yet right there before these unprepared eyes. Life’s first high, impossible to ever forget.

The Righteous Brothers

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Listen: Justine / The Righteous Brothers
Dear Delilah / The Righteous Brothers

Seems in the 60′s, with singles deals being the prevalent form of partnership between record company and artist, an act could basically be on two labels at once. Not an uncommon occurrence, particularly with the RnB and Soul acts. Therefore, the usual result being one label would have success, with the other forever limping behind, trying to trade off it’s back.

In the world of The Righteous Brothers, such seemed the case with Moonglow, an Atlantic imprint, and Phil Spector’s Philles Records. But in reality, they were signed to Moonglow proper from ’63 to ’66. During that time, Moonglow would also license their services to Spector. His releases were typical Wall Of Sound productions and the much bigger hits, whereas their more homegrown, raw RnB came out through Moonglow, consistently charting low as with ‘Justine’.

That single only reached #85 during July ’65, but got played into the ground on the Syracuse Top 40′s. It’s wild, Little Richard delivery a perfect showcase for the pair’s distinctive baritone grounded vs. tenor off the chain duets.

Listen: Now I’ve Got A Witness / The Rolling Stones
Now I've Got A Witness / The Rolling Stones

It’s well documented that The Rolling Stones were indeed extremely knowledgable American blues and RnB record collectors. What’s fun is to occasionally stumble on an obscure single with some uncanny resemblance toward an original song the band recorded, all the while fantasizing they picked up that very record during one of their excursions through the Mom and Pop stores of Harlem or East LA. I like to think ‘Justine’ was one such record, at least when listening to their ‘Now I’ve Got A Witness’ from the ENGLAND’S NEWEST HIT MAKERS album.

Listen: (You’re My) Soul & Inspiration / The Righteous Brothers
(You're My) Soul & Inspiration / The Righteous Brothers

The first single with new label Verve, after leaving both Moonglow and Philles in early ’66 was classic in more than one way. Clearly, Bill Medley (one half of The Righteous Brothers), paid close attention during his time in the studio with Phil Spector, thereby lifting every last technique off the master, and applying them to his very own production of their #1, ‘(You’re My) Soul & Inspiration’.

Yes, I loved the record at the time, but so wished they had their image down like The Walker Brothers for instance, who were coincidentally doing the exact same style of music but looked about one trillion times better.

Arthur Alexander / The Gentrys

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Listen: Go Home Girl / Arthur Alexander ArthurAlexanderGoHomeGirl.mp3

If you aren’t familiar with ‘You Better Move On’, probably his most successful song, you can pretty much hear it when listening to ‘Go Home Girl’. Not that this is a bad thing, which one might logically assume. Together with a few others he wrote like ‘Anna’ and ‘Everyday I Have To Cry’, Arthur Alexander is credited with premiering southern country soul. No idea if that’s true, but happy to jump on board.

GentrysEverday, Gentrys, MGM

Listen: Everyday I Have To Cry / The Gentrys Gentrys.mp3

Who doesn’t love The Rolling Stones version of ‘You Better Move On’. As well, The Gentrys rendition of ‘Everyday I Have To Cry’, both released in the mid-60′s.

The way history is written, you’d believe the days when original RnB records reaching white kids by anyone other than Pat Boone ended in the late 50′s. Not really true.

The Jess Roden Band

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Listen: Me And Crystal Eye / The Jess Roden Band
Me And Crystal Eye / The Jess Roden Band

Dream job: pulling singles from – then filing them back into – the BBC master record library. If only the dj’s still played vinyl and there was a full time, 24/7, never ending job doing just that, I’d yank every string I could to land it. But it’s never to be.

So, best pass time in the world: pulling out, then filing back singles at home. Thing is, the whole process can easily turn into an all day/night journey that bounces me from the wall shelves, to segueing 7′s on the turntables, over to my reference books checking chart numbers or values, then pulling out albums, back to the turntables, back to the singles and on and on. And that’s exactly what went down December 19, 2010 right here at home.

Filing away a few 7′s by The Riot Squad and The Rolling Stones meant my fingers did some walking straight to The Jess Roden Band’s section. Having a complete collection of their singles is a very content feeling. In fact there’s not a one Jess Roden’s ever even sang on missing from my library, be it by The Alan Bown!, Bronco, The Butts Band, The Rivets, The Keef Hartley Band, you name it.

If push came to shove, and a favorite Jess Roden single choice was really ever required, say before a firing squad, ‘Me And Crystal Eye’ would win. His white New Orleans funk was always believable, because his voice was kind of unbelievable considering, he was from England.

It’d been a while since I pulled out the albums as well. Today had me spot playing stuff from BLOWIN’, PLAY IT CLASS PLAY IT DIRTY, The Jess Roden Band’s live EP from The Marquee, even the US pressing of THE ALAN BOWN! on Deram. All a result of pulling out ‘Me And Crystal Eye’. A single can be a very powerful thing.

The Rolling Stones / Ian Stewart & The Railroaders

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Listen: I Wanna Be Your Man / The Rolling Stones RollingStomesWannaBe.mp3

Like every other kid, I was crazy about The Beatles after seeing their first Sunday night ED SULLIVAN SHOW performance, and that was quite by accident. I knew nothing of The Beatles prior to them appearing on the screen. My folks watched the program religiously, it’s how we ended the weekend basically, it’s 9pm broadcast, then off to sleep.

Most parents regretted the moment that band hit the airwaves, a nationwide frenzy occurred on the spot. Seriously, there was chaos in school that next day. It was like no one could concentrate, and Beatlemania literally avalanched the youth of America. Little did we know, the best was yet to come.

I have forever proudly said, “I loved The Beatles until one minute into ‘Not Fade Away’ on HOLLYWOOD PALACE.” For true, nothing can compare to The Rolling Stones’ US television debut. Suddenly, we’d been hit dead center, this time for real.

Two days later, by the Monday, I had somehow mustered up enough money to buy The Rolling Stones’ full length, ENGLAND’S NEWEST HIT MAKERS and their single ‘Not Fade Away’ at Perrin’s Drug Store. Having eyed multiple copies of each sitting unsold for several weeks prior, I was panicked all day Sunday they’d be gone. Luckily, there they sat, waiting. The album had the poster insert, and the 7″ was in the picture sleeve. I still tingle at the memory. How could I have been so stupid as to leave the others behind?

Along with the great black and whites being printed in 16 MAGAZINE and TEEN SCREEN, the articles mentioned the band’s previous single having been a Beatles song. And this I needed a copy of. Given my cousins were in the jukebox business, they became my prime target for as much Rolling Stones content as possible, and it was my Dad who convinced Uncle Dominick to search out more records for the little pest, me.

Low and behold, he delivered a copy of ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’, as an A side, a few weeks later. I had often asked about the record’s origination, and was told it came from his regular one-stop. Years later, when I got my first job in a one stop record distributor, it all became clear, as indeed there were always a few piles of promo 7′s in the office, said copies waiting to be auditioned and considered for bulk purchase. Bless them for rescuing this gem from the rubbish bin.

The official US commercial release of ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ has forever been in question. Seems the choice was quickly overshadowed by ‘Not Fade Away’ and apparently very few copies, promo or stock, found their way to the public, making this even more cherished.

Listen: Stoned / The Rolling Stones RollingStonesStoned.mp3

As with ‘Now I’ve Got A Witness’ from ENGLAND’S NEWEST HIT MAKERS and ’2120 South Michigan Avenue’ from 12X5, B side ‘Stoned’ grabbed my ear. Where’s the singer?

Yes, I was at first disappointed with the lack of vocals, but there was always so much enjoyment coming off these instrumental tracks, you could just tell the band loved playing this stuff, almost like it was home to them. And having worked very early on with Phil Spector, it’s clear his blessing encouraged them, given so many of his singles by The Ronettes and The Crystals coupled throwaway (at the time) jams on their B sides. Quick on the studio time and easy as a publishing grab.

Listen: Stu-Ball / Ian Stewart & The Railroaders IanStewartStuBall.mp3

When Bill Wyman produced Bobbie Miller’s ‘Everywhere I Go’ for UK Decca in ’66, word is he assembled various Rolling Stones and the band’s life long silent member Ian Stewart for the session. In true Phil Spector fashion, the resulting studio jam yielded B side ‘Stu-Ball’, credited to Ian Stewart & The Railroaders. Unlike earlier instrumentals from The Rolling Stones, this copy took more than a few weeks to land. More like a few decades.

Kim Weston

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Listen: Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me A Little While) / Kim Weston KimWestonTakeMe.mp3

Tell you what, I wish I owned the actual tambourine used on ‘Take Me In Your Arms’. It must have been metal, as opposed to a wooden version. I wonder where that item is this very moment. Seriously, where would something like that ultimately end up?

Basically, we will never ever know. Shame. Because other than the rolling riff /piano playoff in the chorus, it’s the most important instrument here, the lead component. One of the most famous tambourines in the world. As famous as the maracas on The Rolling Stones ‘Not Fade Away’ or the tonette in The Troggs ‘Wild Thing’ instrumental break.

Yes. ‘Take Me In Your Arms’ is Motown’s most unique, prominent and influential tambourine song, like, ever.

UK A label and EP, both courtesy the Vicki Wickham collection. Two beauties full stop.

Jack Dupree

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Tongue Tied Blues / Jack Dupree

Listen: Tongue Tied Blues / Jack Dupree
Tongue

This was a bizarre discovery from that very first pile of singles I blagged off WMCR, claiming to be from the local Children’s Hospital and needing donations. There were many greats in that stack of about fifty (The Others, The Pretty Things, Inez & Charlie Foxx, The Mickey Finn, The Hullaballoos, Ike & Tina Turner, Jimmy Reed), but this earned an immediate spot.

I played it for everyone, all as baffled as myself on first listen. We were feeling confidently hip to this blues music The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds and The Kinks claimed as their influences, even though we simply were not. A true and pure example had yet to be served our way until that very first spin of ‘Tongue Tied Blues’. Just listen and you’ll understand.