Archive for the ‘16 Magazine’ Category

A Band Of Angels

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Listen: Invitation / A Band Of Angels

A Band Of Angels are possibly the most unique of any British Beat group. You see, they actually managed a national US television spot, yet never achieved a domestic release. Not even one single in America. True.

In early ’65, they were on Brian Epstein’s black and white UK segment of HULLABALOO, a weekly installment positioned as a live feed direct from England. It didn’t last long, but I recall a barefooted Marianne Faithfull, also interviewed post song and a bunch of suit/tied Merseybeat acts getting similar looks. Parallel with his management roster, he was very safe, dare I say, white. So forget about seeing anything with a blues or RnB influence in said segment. Never happened. Still, A Band Of Angels were a real treat to this little kid.

I’d seen their photo in 16 MAGAZINE, and was itching for a listen. They performed ‘Not True As Yet’, even crazier given the track was a B side of ‘Me’, a colossal UK flop on United Artists. One listen on that program, and I sang it for years to follow, almost ten, until I landed a copy for myself. That’s both how much I wanted to retain it and how strong the song’s hook was.

Jump forward to summer ’66, and the band’s recorded peak, ‘Invitation’, gets a UK release. The single has become more appreciated through the years, slowly revered in the Northern Soul clubs and deemed as one of Mike D’Abo’s best lead vocals ever. Now that’s saying something, given his later hits with Manfred Mann, like ‘The Mighty Quinn’ and ‘Semi Detached Suburban Mister James’ particularly.

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.

The Bo Street Runners

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Listen: Bo Street Runner / The Bo Street Runners BoStreetBoStreet.mp3

If you recall the period (’64 – ’65), literally every week there were more English and US garage, blues based bands releasing singles, and some of us were twitching increasingly by the day. It was impossible to keep up, and the really obscure singles (like The Bo Street Runners), were probably hard enough to find around the UK, forget about in America and definitely in upstate New York. I’d seen a photo of this band in 16 Magazine – the publication always had one page toward the back with about 8 new band photos per issue, accompanied by a sentence or two (most likely press photos that arrived at the office with a record/bio).

The Bo Street Runners’ blurb mentioned winning a READY STEADY GO competition and releasing ‘Bo Street Runner’ via UK Decca as a result. Little did I know that years later RSG producer Vicki Wickham would become a close friend and gift me her entire record collection. True story. Good thing, I’d have been one of the first kids, in his single digits, to keel over from a heart attack.

Up there with some of the better tracks from The Yardbirds, Them, The Downliners Sect or The Pretty Things. ‘Bo Street Runner’, surprisingly an original song, is pure blue eyed RnB, right down to the maracas and obligatory tambourine keeping time with the beat.

Listen: Baby Never Say Goodbye / The Bo Street Runners BoStreetBabyNever.mp3

In hindsight, some signature names passed thought the ranks of their lineup, including a few guys from both Timebox and Patto, as well as Mick Fleetwood. His timeline is right up there with Ron Wood’s, having been with not only The Bo Street Runners, but also The Peter B’s, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and the original Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac.

Although a rather long standing BSR member, he only ever played on ‘Baby Never Say Goodbye’, the competitive cover of the Unit 4 + 2′s original and charting composition.