Archive for the ‘Rocket Records’ Category

Elton John & Kiki Dee

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Listen: Don’t Go Breaking My Heart / Elton John & Kiki Dee

‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ meant to the 70′s what Dusty Springfield’s ‘I Only Want To Be With You’ did to the 60′s. Is there anyone on the face of the earth capable of switching either one off? Be hard to convince me the answer to that question is yes. They’re the kind of songs that allow you to just worry about whatever is the problem in three minutes or so. All issues go on hold.

‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ had the energy and pep of Northern Soul. I suppose the genre purists will cringe at that one, but seriously, this was pop oddly out of step when released. A kind of throwback to the 60′s, most likely intentional. Just like Northern Soul itself.

For history’s sake, Kiki Dee was the first white artist to be signed to Motown. If that’s not Northern Soul, nothing is.

Thunderclap Newman

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Thunderclap Newman USA

Listen: Accidents / Thunderclap Newman
Accidents / Thunderclap Newman

Not enough people seem to appreciate Thunderclap Newman.

For such a British sound, they surprisingly had a pretty big US hit with ‘Something In The Air’. It, and their album HOLLYWOOD DREAM, were produced by Pete Townshend. Word is they were a studio concoction he put together to help John ‘Speedy’ Keen, a roadie for The Who. Speedy Keen had indeed quite a talent for songwriting, doing just that for all but one song on the LP. He later released two solo albums, as well as some great singles including ‘Bad Boys’, a reggae style Chris Blackwell produced favorite of mine.

This track though, was the followup to ‘Something In The Air’. A 9:40 version of ‘Accidents’ can be found on the album, complete with kitchen sink psychedelics during a long middle part, but it’s the 7″ version that out-Englishes the Englishness of ‘Something In The Air’, if you can believe that. If not, just listen.

I dare say it’s a near perfect, or perfect plain and simple, record. Despite that, the single spent only one week in each the UK and US charts: #44 UK / #100 US.

Guitarist Jimmy McCulloch was noticeably great. His intertwining parts here, and on every song, are hugely melodic and make all Thunderclap Newman’s material a little more special.

He later joined Stone The Crows and a very obscure band called Blue. They actually scored a minor hit, ‘Capture Your Heart’, when signed to Elton John’s Rocket label once he had departed, but previously had two albums on RSO, the first of which included the single ‘Little Jody’, an absolutely perfect, must own pop record, made even more perfect by his playing.

Later, he joined Wings, debuting on ‘Junior’s Farm’, undeniably one of their strongest singles.

I’m posting the mono single version of ‘Accidents’ here. A stereo version can be found on the cd reissue of that infamous HOLLYWOOD DREAM album, but for some reason they left off the mono. Sloppy….