Archive for the ‘Wings’ Category

The Scaffold

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Listen: Liverpool Lou / The Scaffold

Never modeling themselves as a band, but instead three guys basically doing comedy and poetry routines set to music, gave The Scaffold an out of jail free card in the image department. The fairly logical result of Liverpool and British themed material afforded The Scaffold a very local sound, and became pretty appealing to the Anglophile trait some of us had.

It was with great surprise to suddenly be hearing their first big UK hit, ‘Thank U Very Much’ on American Top 40 stations in the spring of ’68, and somehow it did okay. Probably the last very British sounding record, bar possibly The Kinks ‘Come Dancing’, that performed as such.

Fast forward to ’74, Warner Brothers US issues ‘Liverpool Lou’ that summer. Having lost no part of the pub/soccer singalong characteristics common to most Scaffold singles, it was most likely Paul McCartney’s production that promoted such decision, and the fact that Wings were the backup band.

It has often been said, you never win or lose the race until you enter, so why not give a current UK Top 10 single with Wings in the wings a shot here.

I heard it a lot in Discount Records that summer, where I worked, and at home. Beyond that, not an airing in sight.

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….