Archive for the ‘Jimmy Page’ Category

Bobby Graham / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

Listen: Grotty Drums / Bobby Graham

Listen: Hold Tight / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich

Possibly you’ll notice a distinct similarity between these two singles. Both on Fontana and both released during February ’66 in the UK.

‘Grotty Drums’, the B side to infamous session drummer Bobby Graham’s second solo release ‘Teensville’, was co-written with Jimmy Page. At the time not only a member of The Yardbirds, but like Bobby aka Bobbie, he was a very in demand session player himself. Both played on hundreds of singles from the era, many recorded for Fontana, the label in common. It’s also one of the loudest cut singles I can think of. Upon close inspection, the grooves resemble a graph of the Dow Jones during a volatile month.

Probably coincidental but fun to imagine one or the other being impressed by the instantaneous drive and swing of that 4/4 attack, and borrowing it a bit.

Bobbie Graham

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

Listen: Skin Deep / Bobbie Graham

The mere concept that Bobbie Graham, aka Bobby Graham, played drums on an estimated fifteen thousand singles is mind boggling. Seriously, we probably don’t have time in our remaining years to listen to them all, not to mention the hours it took to record them. His discography, lifted from the official website, is frustratingly short. This abridged version is possibly a good thing though. As with the various drug warnings on television nowadays, the entire song list may cause convulsions or death.

In ’64, Bobbie Graham’s session work with The Pretty Things resulted in him becoming their producer, apparently Fontana’s various in-house staff not having a grasp for the job. A&R manager Jack Baverstock had the good sense to sign him as an artist, issue a few singles, he having recently appeared in a spectacular segment of the film GONKS GO BEAT, playing the blue kit and dressed in a matching blue shirt:

Preceding the film’s release, ‘Skin Deep’ was in the stores. Possibly viewed as a corporate attempt at capitalizing on the beat group sound of the day, it’s bombastic production teeters on overkill and surf all at once. In hindsight, you can’t find a better snapshot of the colorful period.

Listen: Zoom, Widge And Wag / Bobbie Graham

Unlike most throwaway B sides, this one was clearly planned. A co-write between Bobbie Graham and Jimmy Page, ‘Zoom, Widge And Wag’ calculated the access they’d have to a full orchestra while in the studio recording ‘Skin Deep’. Released in January of ’65 meant ‘Zoom, Widge And Wag’ was clearly recorded in ’64, during which time the pair were professionally the most sought after studio team around London. Other than Big Jim Sullivan, it was Little Jim as Jimmy Page was known, who played on just about as many singles as Bobbie Graham.

‘Zoom, Widge And Wag’ spills into surf in my twisted head, not unlike it’s A side. It’s great to think back to a time when instrumentals were positioned into the mainstream. Not until electronic music became Top 40 during the late 90′s, and then in the UK and Europe, did the trend begin to resurface. The US, usually twenty years and five hours behind England when it comes to the radio, is just now surrendering to instrumental dance hits on daytime broadcasts. US programmers. What a bunch of boobs.

The Creation

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

How Does It Feel To Feel / The Creation

Listen: How Does It Feel To Feel / The Creation

The Creation, undisputed masters of British psychedelia. Eddie Phillips is as stellar a guitarist as he is a songwriter. He wrote, or at least co-wrote, most, if not all of their original material. Plus he was the first to use a violin bow on the instrument, combining his mastery of feedback with scraping, screeching chaos to ultimate effect. Jimmy Page later brought the technique mainstream on ‘Whole Lotta Love’, but fairly, has always credited Eddie Phillips for the idea. It’s also widely documented that indeed he asked him to join Led Zeppelin as second guitarist.

They recorded two versions of ‘How Does It Feel To Feel’ in summer ’67. Oddly, this one specifically for the US market, apparently deeming the violin bowed manic version more suitable to American programmer. Huh? Nonetheless, it’s a super version and top single to own and cherish, which I do.

In ’01, The Creation finally made it to America, playing The Warsaw Theater here in New York. I had injured my leg, it was a very cold November night, none of my friends wanted to attend, so I struggled along alone. The pain vanished when the musty maroon curtain lifted and there were The Creation, looking weirdly not a day older than those pictures from back when, sharp haircuts, great colored shirts and pants, but not dressed too young for their age. Sorta like if today’s Paul Weller would tone his image down a bit. Huge Union Jack backdrop. Sounding so powerful, my jaw dropped. Everyone’s did.

Bob Garner, original bassist and then sometimes singer, now permanantly on lead vocal, executing the red and purple spray paint free form psychedelic graffiti routine during the closing song ‘Painter Man’. Truly worth the 34 year wait.

Afterwards, I did my jukebox tab signing routine, Eddie and Bob both filling one out (see below). Flattered, appreciative, friendly, talkative, great, great guys.

Little Steven brought them back a few years later for his Randall’s Island Festival. Still powerful. Still one of a kind.

Above: Jukebox Tabs signed by The Creation. Eddie Phillips (left), Bob Garner (right)

Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Listen: She’s Fallen In Love With The Monster Man / Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages ScreamingLordMonster.mp3

I finally got around to reading the Screaming Lord Sutch feature in the June issue of MOJO. Try to do the same, maybe it’s even online. A few priceless pictures and so many stunning details, I really don’t know where to start. He was everything I already knew and way more as well. Some of the live show descriptions and antics, well we now know where Alice Cooper got more than one idea. Don’t blame him for lifting a few, they’re just too good to waste. Okay, here’s a tiny bit: “cherry food dye, cold scrambled eggs with a few masticated inches of seaside rock and it’ll look like you’re spitting out teeth”.

No question about it, his recordings were made very inexpensively, several produced by Joe Meek, complete with dreadful sound effects – and I mean that in a good way. As the ’70′s arrived, more than one act paid respects. The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, The Damned and The Revillos even covered and released as their A side as well, ‘She’s Fallen In Love With The Monster Man’. You’d think the song was written just for them listening to the original above.

Listen: Dracula’s Daughter / Screaming Lord Sutch ScreamingLordDracula'sDaughter.mp3

So many soon to be name musicians passed through the ranks of being Savages in the ’61 – ’63 period, prior to their own later successes. The list, also in the article, is long and fairly jaw dropping. Jimmy Page plays lead on ‘She’s Fallen In Love With The Monster Man’, and Jeff Beck on ‘Dracula’s Daughter’. Even then, in ’64, his style was recognizable and it’s easy to see how much he moulded The Yardbirds’ sound from one listen.

The usually precise MOJO does flub one detail. ‘Dracula’s Daughter’ was not his last for Decca, it was his first for Oriole after being dropped by Decca. While I’m at it, the above Cameo Parkway 7″ is the only US release from his period with The Savages.

The Shotgun Express

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

ShotgunExpress, The Shotgun Express, Rod Stewart, Peter Bardens, Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green, Columbia

Listen: I Could Feel The Whole World Turn Around / The Shotgun Express ShotgunExpress.mp3

’65 – ’66 was a busy time for so many major stars as they did a non stop jig of musical chairs, seeming all a bit desperate in hindsight.

In this internet age, where everything is at your fingertips instantly, and anyone can record some songs with only their laptop, it’s wildly ironic that in the 60′s, bands, records and record deals moved much faster than today. Within months you could jump ship to another company, with two, four or more singles under your arm ready to release. Yet nowadays, despite all our resources, it seems to take like sometimes two years for a band to issue a followup.

Again, none of that was the case back then. And talk about musical chairs, Jimmy Page is rumored to have been on dozens, maybe hundreds of hits and flops as an in demand session player and John Paul Jones too. Rod Stewart went from solo deal to a very short stint as vocalist with The Kinks (thank God and heaven above that didn’t work out) to Long John Baldry & The Hoochie Coochie Band, on to Steampacket – a sort of super star ensemble that featured Baldry, Stewart, Brian Auger, Julie Driscoll, Micky Waller and others, back to a solo contract (this time recording ‘Shake’ with The Brian Auger Trinity on backup), then onto The Shotgun Express. Often viewed as a poor man’s Steampacket supergroup, with members Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood, Peter Bardens (later of Camel) and female vocal sparring partner, the unknown Beryl Marsden, they lasted only a few months, but it didn’t hinder a singles deal with Columbia UK and this lone, flop 7′ release, by official NME chart position that is. Over at pirate station Radio Caroline, it had a decent first week at # 25, unfortunately also it’s peak, by two weeks later, it was gone from their Top 50.

Always collectable mostly due to it’s various members instead of the music, on first spin, it’s a big let down – more often a “what the hell did I spend all that money on this dog of a record for?” Even I thought that too, yet on second listen, I quite liked the obvious frustration of it’s members sounding ‘forced’ into recording a track against their instincts, back in the day when you obeyed your label, their chosen producer and accompanying material. I kinda think it’s pretty great now, and not only because of that tension, I like the song too. Plus it’s a co-write by a favorite: Heads, Hands & Feet vocalist/Taste producer Tony Colton.

The Mickey Finn

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

mickeyfinnnightcomesusa, The Mickey Finn, T. Rex, Shel Talmy, World Artists, Jimmy Page

Listen: Night Comes Down / The Mickey Finn MickeyFinnNight.mp3

Often confused with the bongo player from T. Rex, this is actually a band, not that person. The Mickey Finn’s career highpoint, according to most, was a two single association with producer Shel Talmy. And if you want to have your heart freeze for kicks, check out his discography.

Out of that came ‘Night Comes Down’ / ‘This Sporting Life’, their only US release via World Artists. Seems Shel Talmy had some juice there, having produced a few big hits for Chad & Jeremy. Although not listed on the above discography, I do believe he also produced The Moments version of Ray Davies’ ‘You Really Got Me’ for the label. The Moments were Steve Marriott’s first band, predating The Small Faces. That single, as with The Mickey Finn release, are stupid rare, making them very fun items to have and hold.

I got an unsolicited call from Shel Talmy many years back, I think when I was either at Elektra or Island. He had moved to LA, and was looking for work, still in that has-been stretch, not yet having graduated to legend status. I foolishly didn’t follow up, not necessarily with getting him some work, but neither forging a friendship, something I do regret.

mickeyfinnidoloveuk, The Mickey Finn, T. Rex, Shel Talmy, World Artists, Jimmy Page

Listen: I Do Love You / The Mickey Finn MickeyFinnIDoLove.mp3

Of lesser notoriaty is the band’s ’66 single “I Do Love You’. And I’m not sure why. Even amongst those who live for all things underrated, this is very underrated. It starts out noticeably similar to ‘Heart Trouble’ by The Eyes Of Blue, and then proceeds to a perfect groove a la The Foundations. I’d give anything to know how many copies would have been pressed of a single like this.

The Yardbirds

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

Goodnight Sweet Josephine / The Yardbirds

Listen: Goodnight Sweet Josephine / The Yardbirds YardbirdsJosephine.mp3

The band’s stock had nose dived by April ’68, the month their final single ‘Goodnight Sweet Josephine’ was released. Maybe because having both Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck in the lineup, as well as producer Mickie Most, all pretty much deciding on their material. It was a recipe for disaster, although I love the final few singles that resulted. Their live show was moving toward what would become Led Zeppelin, yet the records were being positioned for pop radio success (‘Ha Ha Said The Clown’, ‘Ten Little Indians’ and this). ‘Goodnight Sweet Josephine’ was my very favorite single for months, it’s psychedelic attack still sounds incredible. The guitar tone, lead line and solo being signature Jimmy Page. The band lip synched this on the syndicated UPBEAT show out of Cleveland, whose archive is apparently still intact but being hideously under exploited. There’s a lot of fantastic stuff in those file cabinets guys.

Despite one week on Billboard’s Bubbling Under The Hot 100 chart at #127, (see below), there were apparently very few copies in actual circulation. Impossible to find for years, the occasional one that does appear still commands a $75+ price tag. I bought mine week of release. Somehow, our local shop got the obligatory three (always started with three to test the water) copies. A best friend and record nut at the time, Denny and I scooped one each and the third…an old girlfriend Marsha. Hmmm. I think she lives close to my sister still.

Billboard’s “Bubbling Under The Hot 100″