Archive for the ‘Taste’ Category

Georgie Fame

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Daylight / Georgie Fame

Listen: Daylight / Georgie Fame

I think this song may qualify as a bit of a guilty pleasure, as it is a touch schmaltzy, although my pal Phil, who has super taste in music, loves it. Then again, it was written by Bobby Womack and now a sought after hit on the Northern Soul circuit. Plus Georgie has such a great voice, and the whole idea that he perfected his sound doing all-nighters at the Flamingo Club on Wardour Street in London during the swinging 60′s alongside Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, is, well, all I really need. Basically he always emulated Mose Allison and conventiently helped invent mod-jazz in the process.

As with some of his early hits like ‘Get Away’, this was produced by the great Denny Cordell. When I worked at Island in the early 90′s, Chris Blackwell brought Denny in to oversee A&R. Most everybody got their noses out of joint by his arrival but not me. I mean this was the guy who had produced The Move. He did the whistle sound, fingers to mouth, on ‘I Can Hear The Grass Grow’, helped start Deram and Regal Zonophone, and then Shelter. So we hit it off immediately, and I often think of the many great times and meals we had together. He was a serious cook. Plus he introduced me to so many people from the UK, all of whom would stop by to see him when passing through town. I remember when he brought Tony Colton into my office. He was the vocalist for Heads Hands & Feet who I became an instant fan of when seeing them open for Humble Pie. Tony had also produced a then obscure, now kind of appreciated gem: ON THE BOARDS by Taste. So this was a big deal to me.

Yeah, Denny was a great great pal….he produced this track as part of the 2nd album Georgie made for Island that the company then proceeded not to issue, still. Seriously, what hasn’t been released at this point? Island was a great place in many ways, but they had a very bad habit of making albums and not releasing them. I know of a few still in the vaults from Marianne Faithfull, and unfortunately countless others from The Smoke to Don Covay.

So this track, ‘Daylight’, and it’s B side, ‘Three Legged Mule’ came out in ’77 as 7″ & 12″ singles, and has finally been reissued as part of the ISLAND YEARS ’74 – ’76 anthology.

Merle Haggard / The Youngbloods

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Listen: Okie From Muskogee / Merle Haggard
Okie From Muskogee / Merle Haggard

I think it was on the Johnny Carson Show where I first encountered ‘Okie From Muskogee’ and in fact, had initially even heard of Merle Haggard. He and his song became the enemy in three short minutes. It was, at the time, a clear antagonistic attack on youth culture. And I was a member.

Many years later it became obvious that the world of country music was as twisted by drugs and sex as any other. Made Merle Haggard become something like an unregistered hypocrite. And once everyone discovered he’d been in jail and all that, he crumbled into a joke.

As it turns out, he claimed the song to be tongue in cheek, and nowadays, I guess everyone believes him. He’s certainly made a lot of good records since. Who knows – the single is quite funny in the 21st century, even hard to hate.

Listen: Hippie From Olema / The Youngbloods
Hippie From Olema / The Youngbloods

There was some relief in the day though. The Youngbloods shot back with a fantastically hysterical response in the form of ‘Hippie From Olema’, a very under heard, under appreciated non-LP track. I don’t believe it’s ever been compiled.

It was the local Syracuse University station, WAER, that started to spin it heavily. The single was perfect for campus radio. And we all glued ourselves to their frequency, given in the late 60′s, they were the only progressive format in town.

I, for one, loved the station. Half the student disc jockeys were Anglophiles jamming out Blodwyn Pig, Juicy Lucy, Chicken Shack, Taste, King Crimson etc over the airwaves. WAER was a Godsend.

The Youngbloods came to the school’s gymnasium about then as well. Despite their unwashed, American folk rock angle, I always loved their records. Never did they release a bad single either, whether it be the early, more pop intended ones (which Jesse Colin Young often accused RCA of forcing them to do) to later, underground album tracks.

So off to the show we went. Let me tell you, they were a serious live band, incredibly musical and entertaining. Collected every last release ever since.

The closing lyric: “We still take in strangers if they’re haggard” gets a SO MANY RECORDS SO LITTLE TIME lifetime lyrical achievement award for being right up there with both The Ramones’ “I don’t care about poverty, all I care about is me” and Lux Interior’s “From your bottom to your top, you’re sure some lollipop”. Congratulations guys.

Heads, Hands & Feet

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

headshandsfeetonewomanuk,Heads Hands & Feet, Atco, Atlantic, Tony Colton, Chas Hodges

headshandsfeetonewomanusa, Heads Hands & Feet, Atco, Atlantic, Tony Colton, Chas Hodges

Listen: One Woman / Heads, Hands & FeetHHFOneWoman.mp3

Albums came in rapid succession during the 70′s. The first by Heads, Hands & Feet was a double, and not long after came it’s followup, TRACKS. These were issued on Island UK and Capitol US, during the era when those Capitol labels were that beautiful lime green. I wasn’t paying much attention to the band, they had an intentionally American sound. I was put off.

Fast forward to summer ’72. They’re third on the bill to The J. Geils Band and Humble Pie. I was certainly not about to miss Steve Marriott. So, we got there early to see Heads, Hands & Feet. After all, they were English. By now, I was becoming a fan. They’d recently switched labels to Atco/Atlantic, and their single ‘One Woman’ was pretty great. I particularly appreciated that lead singer, Tony Colton, doubled as a producer for one of my all time favorite albums: ON THE BOARDS by Taste.

Plain and simple, they were tremendous live. I would say they stole the show, certainly preferring them to the headliner by miles. At this point, Peter Frampton had left second-on-the-bill, Humble Pie, but it was sure fun being invited back to the Holiday Inn by Steve Marriott for a party. More on that in some other post.

So yes, Heads, Hands & Feet ripped up a storm, and their extended version of ‘One Woman’, the show closer, took the cake. I mean these guys were super great musicians. You can hear it in the recordings. Guitarist Albert Lee has been cited as a bit of a virtuoso over the years, and he certainly was on fire that night. Chas Hodges on bass was equally important to that fire, playing off of Albert Lee almost like a second guitarist.

We wormed our way into their crowded dressing room and they seemed somewhat impressed to have a few fans. It was fun complimenting Tony Colton on his work with Taste. I remember him being appreciative, and a bit surprised. All in all, it was obvious they weren’t having a very good time, and I’m pretty sure they called it a day soon afterwards. Too bad.

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.


Friday, December 26th, 2008

What's Going On / Taste

What's Going On / Taste

Listen: What’s Going On / Taste TasteWhatsGoinOn.mp3

Railway And Gun / Taste

Listen: Railway And Gun / Taste TasteRailway.mp3

The first show I booked as concert chairman at college was Rory Gallagher. I spent all the school’s money on the various English groups I wanted to see: Savoy Brown, Atomic Rooster, The Pretty Things, Chicken Shack, Renaissance, The Incredible String Band. It was a free for all. However, my loyalty to Rory predated this solo career and time period – via his original band, Taste. They made two studio albums. The first, TASTE, was blues rock of a rather irritating quality. The second, ON THE BOARDS, however, was a stunning improvement, and is still a very favorite. Despite my disinterest in pressings from countries other than the US or UK, I made an exception when stumbling on this in a Munich vinyl shop back in ’87. Two tracks from ON THE BOARDS. Nice.