Archive for the ‘Georgie Fame’ 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.

Long John Baldry

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Listen: When The Sun Comes Shining Thru’ / Long John Baldry

Long John Baldry, as with Georgie Fame and Alan Price, was another guy from the early 60′s London blues and soul club circuit. Then known as Long John Baldry & The Hoochie Coochie Men, he and his band can be found on numerous schedules from The Flamingo and The Marquee clubs, double billing with several similar up and coming American RnB music enthusiasts, all hell bent on reinterpreting their worshiped heroes.

Like with yesterday’s post, he too took a more commercial route as the 70′s approached, successfully achieving mainstream pop hits in England. A switch of labels in both the UK and US, as well a change in musical style and the recruitment of Tony Macaulay as producer resulted in ‘Let The Heartaches Begin’, which went to #1 in Britain during November of ’67. A year later, ‘When The Sun Comes Shining Thru”, written by Manfred Mann’s lead vocalist Mike D’Abo, went Top 30, although neither caught much traction in America.

Around ’68, Tony Macaulay began cornering many of my favorite records, either as writer, producer and in some cases, both. Current day British pop had become his forte with Scott Walker, Pickettywitch, The Marmalade and The Foundations amongst his successes. I guess he had a sound, and quite frankly, in my world, these two were a perfect pair.

Come ’71 though, Long John Baldry had reverted back to his original boogie woogie style, as he called it. Teaming up with Elton John and Rod Stewart as producers, both struggling newcomers in the early 60′s but by then successful superstars, afforded their old friend some decent US traction. Good for John Baldry of course, but for me, the music wasn’t as much fun nor more memorable than that period anchored by Tony Macaulay and ‘When The Sun Comes Shining Thru”.

Georgie Fame & Alan Price

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Listen: Rosetta / Fame & Price, Price & Fame Together

By the time these two guys teamed up, they’d outgrown their hardcore, grimy beginnings, especially having to play the late, late, late night white blues and soul clubs that typified 60′s Mod. Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames and The Alan Price Set respectively had done their time in the all-nighter trenches of London’s Flamingo, and other even nastier spots around the UK. Miraculously, even though they were having mainstream hit singles, their labels allowed both to record what each clearly preferred, jazz funk and RnB.

But I guess hits meant tasting success and some money, so by the early 70′s, both Georgie Fame and Alan Price were involved with televsion, films and soundtracks. Somewhere in that mix, a suggested musical partnering reflecting their apparent camaraderie actually took way.

Great plan. Their voices sounded superb together, and the first single released as Fame And Price, Price And Fame Together landed them a #11 UK hit in ’71.

Fuck was I pissed ‘Rosetta’ never got airplay in America. Initially, the single was included in a pile gotten off Harry Fagenbaum, the Syracuse University college radio rep for Warner Brothers. Despite Harry being another Anglophile, he hardly mentioned it. Supposedly, this record was just too adult and schmaltz for him. He wrongly assumed I would agree.

Can recall vividly returning home that Sunday evening, having spent the day trolling the SU campus record shops, then hanging out at Harry’s dorm, listening to The Pretty Things GET THE PICTURE album. Seriously, we played it at least twice, as I still hadn’t scored my copy. That was a damn hard one to get even in ’71. Imports were starting to become more common, but not older titles. So I’d always run straight for it in his wall shelf.

I remember him trying to edge in Ron Nagle’s BAD RICE album, and Deep Purple’s ‘Strange Kind Of Woman’ 7″, both of which he’d just given me. My logic was to promise I’d listen once home, but in the meantime, let’s hear The Pretty Things. And I did check those out that night, as well John & Beverly Martyn’s ‘Primrose Hill’, yet it was ‘Rosetta’ that hands down stole the thunder.


Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Listen: A Satisfied Mind / Bobby Hebb BobbyHebbASatisfiedMind.mp3

I hated his hit ‘Sunny’ when it was current in ’66. Absolutely loathed that sucker. Got rammed down everyone’s throat, plus being so safe and mellow it managed to cross all the formats – you literally couldn’t get away from it. Logically it peaked at #2 during it’s healthy fifteen week US chart run.

Yet ‘Sunny’ was so strong that everyone from Ella Fitzgerald and The Electric Flag to Georgie Fame and Les Mc Cann were covering it too. Now I wish I’d had better taste at the time. Not only has it become a favorite through the years (I’ve collected over 30 covers on 7″) but I’m hooked on his voice as well. Like Jon Lucien years later, and probably Mel Torme prior, he has this calming tone that appeals to my valium side. His follow ups were pretty great too. I think he should’ve been around a lot longer.

The followup single, released just after ‘Sunny’, was a great double sider. ‘A Satisfied Mind’, despite possibly being a bit ‘Sunny’ sounding, has held up – I know cause it’s on my jukebox and plays a lot. I never tire of it. Not so with the public, peaking at #39, and lasting only six weeks total on the Billboard Top 100.

Listen: Love Love Love / Bobby Hebb BobbyHebbLoveLoveLove.mp3

The B side, ‘Love Love Love’, is now considered to be his ‘other’ hit – having gained UK Northern Soul success in ’72. When re-released there due to demand, it sold well and charted at #32. Most tracks on his one and only Philips LP, SUNNY BY BOBBY HEBB are worth many listens too. Get it if you can.

The Riot Squad

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

I Wanna Talk About My Baby / The Riot Squad

I Wanna Talk About My Baby / The Riot Squad

Listen: I Wanna Talk About My Baby / The Riot Squad RiotSquadIWannaTalk.mp3

Cry Cry Cry / The Riot Squad

Cry Cry Cry / The Riot Squad

Listen: Cry Cry Cry / The Riot Squad RiotSquadCry.mp3

How It Is Done / The Riot Squad

Listen: How It Is Done / The Riot Squad RiotSquadHowItIsDone.mp3

Despite a decidedly dated sound, I have a soft spot for The Riot Squad. A lot of ground was covered during the two or so years they existed. Their prestigious associations included both Larry Page and Joe Meek as producers, plus Mitch Mitchell (pre Jimi Hendrix Experience) and Jon Lord (post Artwoods / pre Deep Purple) as members. 1965′s ‘I Wanna Talk About My Baby’ was a picture perfect reproduction of Georgie Fame’s then current sound – almost to the point of plagiarism. Still, a great track which was afforded a US picture sleeve. Who decided that?

As life should be, I was actually turned on to them when my local Top 40, WOLF, started playing the B side to ‘Cry Cry Cry’ – a Joe Meek production ‘How It Is Done’. This was winter ’66 and it brings me right back to that snow day in March when I first heard it. This track still shines, and captures the romantic British Beat sound that we all craved at the time – well my friends and I that is. Being a major Joe Meek fan, this is a double sided must. Hat’s off to whoever chose to play ‘How It Is Done’. Excellent call.

WOLF chart 4-16-66

Sorry for this poor repro of the WOLF chart above (click to enlarge), with The Riot Squad at #19. I don’t own the original, but it’s such a good one, I decided to share it despite the quality.