Archive for the ‘Immediate’ Category

Chris Farlowe

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Listen: Air Travel / Chris Farlowe
Air

A perfectly beautiful late Sunday afternoon in London during November, for me means cold, damp and drizzly, with plenty of grey. It was one such day in ’07 that Roger Armstrong and I made our way to the long standing Agra Indian Restaurant on Whitfield Street just near the Warren Street tube station after a long day at his big wooden kitchen table, rigged up with a turntable, his 45 library room at arm’s reach, post that morning’s Record Fair on Great Portland Street.

Agra has been around for decades. By many standards, the place needs a proper remolding. Not by my standards though. A half step down off the sidewalk onto the tatty, sticky carpet, the main room complete with that old England smell would convince anyone the place has serious history. It’s too close to hundreds of historic music landmarks not to. Capitol Radio was just the other side of the tube, Jonathan King’s UK Records office on Warren at Whitfield, University College where David Bowie & The Lower Third, The Riot Squad and Timebox amongst so many others played, not to mention the square adjacent, the precise spot where The Syn did their photo shoot on the tarmac of Whitfield Place.

In addition, the food is great. Not all fusion fussy and overly decorated. Not decorated at all really, just old fashioned home style Indian. Despite being about two blocks from where I lived that summer ’73, it wasn’t until decades later that Roger introduced me to the place.

Upon our exit on that particular day, what better than to find Chris Farlowe at that very first table, right near the doorway, sitting in front of a spread fit for three people. Apparently, he lived with his Mom just down the block for years.

More history in the making, not unlike this miserably rare UK EP, released in ’66 off the back of his new found chart success on Immediate that summer. Assembled from the A and B sides of his only solo single for Decca plus two unreleased songs from the same time. That time by the way, was ’64. Seemingly lifetimes prior to said summer and sounding it too. Pretty interesting to hear how unblemished his voice was just those few years earlier.

Acid Gallery / The Outer Limits / Roy Wood

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Dance Round The Maypole / Acid Gallery

Listen: Dance Round The Maypole / Acid Gallery
Dance

It was December 2000, and I was stranded in England for a few days of Sony meetings. Actually, I was jamming to get home on the Friday, when early that morning I got a call from Will Botwin, then president at Columbia, asking very nicely if I could stay through Monday night for an Emiliana Torrini showcase. Will was always the greatest guy, awesome boss. How do you say no? I mean, he could have just told me I needed to do it. Period. But it was never his way.

So I suddenly found myself with three full days/nights on my hands. Reading the latest MOJO on the flight over, I was annoyed to be missing The Roy Wood Christmas Extravaganza Tour. I should have juggled the trip to take it in but by then it was too late. Now that I was there for a few days extra, I rechecked his schedule.

Sure enough, that evening Roy Wood was a couple hours away, in Wolverhampton. Jackie Hyde in the touring/artist relations department at Sony got me tickets and passes God love her. And I was on the 6 pm train heading north I think, alone. No one was interested in joining me. Grass is always greener.

I get there around 8, and decided to try speaking with Roy Wood. The band/crew etc are all around and tell me Roy has gone down the road to the pub. Ok. I wander off down the wet, deserted streets and find said establishment. Walk in, there propped up against the bar is a lone Roy Wood, nursing a pint. I proceed over, and no problem, he’s as friendly as I’d hoped. All talk about the past welcomed. Really fun guy.

I was always curious about the Acid Gallery single. He wrote and produced it, but it sure did sound like The Move to me. Was it? He confirmed his participation but no, it wasn’t The Move. Instead it was “some guys who were on Deram back then, name escapes me”.

Well was it The Syn, or The Eyes Of Blue, um, Tintern Abbey?

“No, these guys had a hit a few years later with ‘Yellow River’ “.

Bingo: The Outer Limits.

“That’s them” he confirms.

Just One More Chance / The Outer Limits

Listen: Just One More Chance / The Outer Limits
Just

Actually The Outer Limits changed their name to Christie and had that smash with ‘Yellow River’. Main writer in both bands was Jeff Christie and he’d originally written ‘Yellow River’ for The Tremeloes but decided to record it himself after they dragged their feet. The rest is history, I guess. I loved that Outer Limits single, ‘Just One More Chance’ at the time, summer ’67.

Great Train Robbery / The Outer Limits

Listen: Great Train Robbery / The Outer Limits
Great

But the follow up, ‘Great Train Robbery’, holy whatever, talk about British sounding. And on Immediate’s subsidiary imprint, Instant. Even better. Now why Immediate needed another in house label is pretty funny actually. Still very nice label and stock sleeve from Andrew Loog Oldham.

The Roy Wood Christmas Extravaganza was a total treat that night. Twelve piece, all female band. Sounding full scale, Phil Spector live. Reproducing all those Wizzard hits flawlessly. Roy dressed in black teddy boy jacket, purple lapels, purple streaks in the infamous hair and a lavender Strat. Once a star, always a star.

The finales, ‘Blackberry Way’ and ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’ being sung along loudly by a full theater audience with fake snow falling on the stage, well it doesn’t get much better.

One last closing bit to the Roy Wood pub conversation:

Will you fill out my juke box tab?

“Sure. No problem”.

The Move Blackberry Way Jukebox Tab

Above: Jukebox Tab signed by Roy Wood

Savoy Brown / The Nice / Family

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

Savoy Brown The Nice Family Poster

The Weaver's Answer / Strange Band

Listen: The Weaver’s Answer / Family
The Weaver's Answer / Family

One of the great triple bills from ’70, still trading on the English Invasion angle that was becoming a distant marketing ploy.

No problem here. My friends and I ate it up. Couldn’t leave early enough that morning to make a day of hanging out on the campus, pretending to be college kids. The serious Anglofiles, crowded onto the entrance steps of The Palestra Auditorium for a solid few hours prior to doors opening, provided the ultimate social scene. Everyone opinioning and bragging about one record after the other. It was almost as much fun as the show.

I think it was well attended, up front there was no looking back.

We were very seriously not prepared for the power of Family live. No one in the room was. And I do mean no one. I’d only seen their three albums in the store, never heard them and as much as I wanted ownership of at least one record, some other title always took their purchase slot. Turns out, this was my favorite lineup, having become obsessed as a result of the show and then seeing them many times. Poli Palmer on xylophone most of the night, a stunning player. And John Weider on guitars and violin. It was the first band I saw playing any of these instruments (except Brian Jones on vibes during ‘Under My Thumb’), not to mention changing them up for each song.

The ace in the deck for Family was always Roger Chapman. Definitely an acquired taste vocally, you still seldom see a madman like him, totally possessed. Once you experienced Family in person, their recordings made perfect sense, vividly bringing back his on stage intensity.

They couldn’t catch a break in The States. Bill Graham banned them from The Fillmores. Don’t know why. This particular night the audience was into it, but a few years later, opening for Elton John, things didn’t work out the same. I remember many of the crowd booing. I couldn’t believe such a sophisticated group of great musicians were being booed. I was embarrassed. But the band tore threw it unflinched. This was ’72. Sadly it was to be the last time they toured the US. Props to Elton John for having them.

The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack / The Nice

Listen: The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack / The Nice
The

The Nice were on Immediate. This was a big deal.

Immediate was a serious label to this bunch. A lot of conversation was had earlier on the steps about the greatness of the roster. Everyone was clued into the supposed stage antics of Keith Emerson, still I don’t think we were really ready. When he mauled his organ during ‘America’, it was shocking. Everyone took a step back as the knives came out. All these skinny English people with crazy energy. The flower power stuff from their albums interested me a lot. I think they stopped playing that stuff pretty quickly as the prog symphonic material took center stage, plus I assume Emerson, Lake & Palmer were right around the corner. I remember hearing this tour was simply honoring contractual commitments. Didn’t seem like it being a wide eyed kid upfront.

Made Up My Mind / Savoy Brown

Listen: Made Up My Mind / Savoy Brown
Made Up My Mind / Savoy Brown

Savoy Brown were theatrics-free, but never mind, they tore it up. In keeping with the evening looks wise, the underfed, velvet and stacked heeled Englishness prevailed. Can still remember these fair haired frail guys playing wicked blues. Probably very white, but this was prior to seeing any of the originals, so all new, all impressive. RAW SIENNA had just been released, and their set covered a lot of it plus some prior singles (‘Made Up My Mind’, ‘Train To Nowhere’) and their theme at the time, Muddy Waters’ ‘Louisiana Blues’. Like Family, this was a classic Savoy Brown lineup, with Chris Youlden on vocals and Tone Stevens on bass.

I'm Tired / Savoy Brown

Listen: I’m Tired / Savoy Brown
I'm Tired / Savoy Brown

My vivid memory of Kim Simmonds starting off ‘I’m Tired’ is as plain as day. It was my first time up super close, literally with elbows on the stage, and thinking ‘he makes it look so easy’, the true sign of a great guitarist.

Above: Jukebox Tab signed by Kim Simmonds

On the way out of town after the show, we stopped at a late night record/head shop near the campus, figuring out who would buy what, strategizing so that collectively we arrived home with records by all three bands. Picked these handout charts up at the counter, with some pretty interesting playlist titles. Yes, the days of underground radio…..and the ‘Super Heavy Sound’ of Janis Joplin. See them below:

WHFM 3-5-70

WHFM 11-5-70

WHFM 12-4-69

P. P. Arnold

Friday, December 30th, 2011

PPArnoldGrooveyUKA, P. P. Arnold, Immediate, Steve Marriott, The Small Faces

pparnoldgroovyusa, PP Arnols, P. P. Arnold, The Small Faces, Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Immediate

Listen: (If You Think You’re) Groovy / P. P. Arnold
(If

Seems there was a family spirit happening at Immediate for a while. Songs, musicians and productions were being swapped out all over the place. I’m sure there are precise details documented in some book about all this. I haven’t read it, but would like to if one exists.

Without question, this Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane produced track was recorded around the time, possibly in the same sessions and studio (Olympic I think) as The Small Faces’ ‘Tin Soldier’. The tones and drum sounds are identical. The ambience too. Given that P. P. Arnold was guest vocalist on ‘Tin Soldier’ has got me believing my own story.

As clearly as you can hear her on ‘Tin Soldier’, you can pick out Steve Marriott even quicker on ‘(If You Think You’re) Groovy’. And how about those brackets around some of the words. Nothing beats brackets in a song title.

Fleetwood Mac

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Listen: The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown) / Fleetwood Mac
The

To my recollection, this 1970 non-LP A side was Peter Green’s final, officially planned single with Fleetwood Mac. Almost feels like they were veering toward the sound de jour: those beginnings of heavy guitar arena rock, as Deep Purple and The Jeff Beck Group seemed to happily forge.

In fact, around the same time ‘The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown)’ was released, so too was Deep Purple’s ‘Black Night’. And given Peter Green’s imminent departure, that musical default could very well have been Fleetwood Mac’s path of least resistance.

Luckily, guitarist Jeremy Spencer’s love of late 50′s/early 60′s doo wop/ RnR influenced the direction for their next album, KILN HOUSE, and disaster was averted.

Technically, KILN HOUSE was an extension of ‘Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight’, the B side of a previous single, ‘Man Of The World’, their only ’69 release on Immediate Records, issued a year or less, between their periods on Blue Horizon Records and Warner Brothers/Reprise. The band even adopted the comical moniker Earl Vince & The Valiants for that side of the single’s label copy.

If ever you were lucky enough to see the Peter Green lineup pictured above on that beauty of a rarer than rare 7″ sleeve, you know how powerful these five were on a stage. Simply unforgettable.

Peter Green’s closing guitar solo twists and turns once again provided musical fear as only he could.

Marie Knight

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Listen: Cry Me A River / Marie Knight
Cry Me A River / Marie Knight

Hey thanks Vicki Wickham, for keeping this one since the 60′s. Yes, it was part of her 45 collection that I was gifted by Saint Vicki herself last fall.

You know, I love you Vicki Wickham.

Let’s talk about Vicki Wickham. We first met in ’89, when she managed Phranc during her Island days. I remember exactly where we first shook hands: backstage at the Beacon Theater, in the the very stairway where Ahmet Ertegan took his last spill. Phranc had just hired her, and was at that time on tour with The Pogues.

I was actually meeting thee Vicki Wickham. The one that booked READY! STEADY! GO!, managed Dusty Springfield, co-wrote ‘You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me’ with Simon Napier-Bell, produced Labelle. The one who not only booked the infamous Saville Theatre series, brought the Motown Review to England, worked at Track Records with The Who, Thunderclap Newman, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Marsha Hunt, The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, John’s Children, and yes, The Cherry Smash; but also knew Scott Walker…and Brian Jones. I was nervous and in awe. Vicki Wickham was a higher form of life.

Fast forward. Nowadays, we meet often for lunch, on 9th Ave and 44th Street at Marseilles, possibly her favorite restaurant. She always orders the asparagus omelette and eats about half. I grill her for details: RSG, The BBC during the 60′s, Rediffusion Television, Top Of The Pops not to mention every band and everybody she ever encountered. Did she visit the Immediate Records office, Deram, Philips, Fontana. What was the Ready Steady Go canteen like, did she know Tony Hall, Steve Marriott, Inez Foxx, Joe Meek, Dozy. When did she last speak with Andrew Loog Oldham, P.P. Arnold or Madeline Bell…..we cover, discuss, judge and trash tons of people. Yes, we are guilty. Needless to say, there’s never a loss for topics.

On one such occasion last year, she mentions having just found boxes of 45′s in storage, and the only one she can remember seeing in the whole bunch was the Bessie Banks ‘Go Now’ UK A label pressing. Was I interested in the lot? That’s like asking Alago, Duane, Joe and I if we’d like a free bump in the VIP bathroom at The Ritz in the 80′s. Ahh, yeah.

Vicki, you ARE a saint, and a beloved friend.

And you turned me on to Marie Knight. Praise be.

Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Listen: Dawn / Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds
Dawn / Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds

A perfectly beautiful late Sunday afternoon in London during November to me is cold, damp and drizzly, with plenty of grey. It was one such day in ’07 that Roger and I made our way to the long standing Agra Indian Restaurant on Whitfield Street just near the Warren Street tube station after a long day at his big wooden kitchen table, rigged up with a turntable, his 45 library room at arm’s reach, post that morning’s Record Fair on Great Portland Street.

Agra has been around for decades, and by many standards, needs a proper remolding. Not mine though. A half step down off the sidewalk onto the tatty, sticky carpet, the main room complete with that old England smell, convinces me the place has serious history. It’s too close to hundreds of historic music landmarks not to. Capitol Radio was just the other side of the tube, Jonathan King’s UK Records office on Warren at Whitfield, University College where David Bowie & The Lower Third, The Riot Squad, and Timebox amongst so many others played, not to mention the square adjacent, the precise spot where The Syn did their photo shoot on the tarmac of Whitfield Place.

Yikes.

Oh yeah, the food is great too. Not all fusion fussy and overly decorated. Not decorated at all really, just old fashioned home style Indian. Despite being about two blocks from where I lived that summer ’73, it wasn’t until decades later that Roger introduced me to the place. We took our time, covered a lot, as we do.

Upon our exit, what better than to find Chris Farlowe at that very first table, right near the doorway, sitting in front of a spread fit for three people. Apparently, he lives with his Mom just down the block. More history in the making.

John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers

Friday, February 4th, 2011

I'm Your Witch Doctor / John Mayall's Bluesbreakers

Listen: I’m Your Witch Doctor / John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers
I'm Your Witch Doctor / John Mayall's Bluesbreakers

Back during that second wave of late 60′s blues influenced UK acts like Savoy Brown, Ten Years After and Led Zeppelin, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers constantly evaded my collection. Those first several albums seemed to appear so quickly, and I always needed something other than their releases. Oddly, no one I knew had any copies either.

By ’66, I was already in a pattern of getting un-needed Rock and RnB singles off a little MOR station near my parent’s house. I turned up there one Friday claiming to be from the local Children’s Hospital and seeking out a donation…of records.

I knew about donations, having spent time in physical therapy rehab, learning to walk again, after jumping off our carport roof as a result of a childhood dare. So technically, I was in rehab at six years old. Spent half a year confined to a wheelchair, then another half doing the aforementioned physical therapy. Even though I was reaping great quantities of records as a result of the station’s donations, never once did a John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers single appear in their weekly handouts. Not until late ’67. And ‘I’m Your Witch Doctor’ was it – taken off that very first ANTHOLOGY OF BRITISH BLUES compilation on Immediate which was everywhere. CBS, Immediate’s US distributor, did the job back then as far as getting LPs into the stores.

Wow. What a single. I pretty quickly prioritized some of the band’s releases for purchase, the CRUSADE album in particular, with that top version of ‘Hideaway’. Little by little, I filled in those early London titles. They were pretty hard to find back then too.

Years later, I signed John to Island. He made a terrific album for us, A SENSE OF PLACE. It deservedly got much critical praise and sold well. Amongst the advantages of working at Island was the label’s credibility. John was considered passe at the time, but signing to Island was hip, and because he delivered such a strong album, it was a relatively smooth path to success.

A nicer man you will not meet. Dependable and honest. Generous too. He gave me a beautiful framed print of a photo he’d done. The subject: three of his handmade guitars, pictured many, many times in live shots and on album covers. No reason, just to say thanks for helping him.

Twice As Much

Sunday, November 14th, 2010


Listen: Step Out Of Line / Twice As Much TwiceAsMuchStep.mp3

Just as there was never any question in my mind who conquerd the decades old Beatles vs. Rolling Stones challenge, so too did that boil over and apply to their respective managers. Brain Epstein vs. Andrew Loog Oldham.

Opinions don’t matter. The facts are the facts.

Brain Epstein’s roster: The Beatles, Gerry & The Pacemakers, Billy J Kramer & The Dakotas, Cilla Black and The Remo Four.

Andrew Loog Oldham’s roster: The Rolling Stones, Marianne Faithfull, The Poets, The Mighty Avengers, Vashti and Twice As Much.

Then there was ALO’s Immediate Records roster: The Small Faces, The Nice, The Amen Corner, The Outer Limits, P.P. Arnold, Chris Farlowe and again, The Poets and Twice As Much.

Okay…..I will stop now and show some mercy.

Focusing on the clear champion had me thinking today about Twice As Much. In a constant quest to emmulate Phil Spector’s production style, ALO applied many attempts to the squeaky clean Twice As Much. Possibly going a touch too far by giving them a very California ’67 sound, a year earlier in ’66 funny enough.

On this second single, David Skinner and Andrew Rose were allowed to write both sides, unlike their first and much of their other records, which conveniently slotted in Jagger/Richards and Marriott/Lane songs.


Listen: Simplified / Twice As Much TwiceAsMuchSimplified.mp3

It’s this B side which is their real gem, maybe their best ever. Pretty dependable at picking hits, I’m not sure how Andrew fumbled hiding ‘Simplified’ on a flip side.

I recall my pal Denny getting a copy of this in late summer of that year, and we both played in relentlessly for weeks.

The Ikettes

Monday, May 24th, 2010

This blog began two years ago with The Ikettes post below. As with SO MANY RECORDS SO LITTLE TIME’s first birthday, on this it’s second – I am re-posting that very first entry, and plan to do it every year to come.

An added bonus this time round is the addition of the single’s B side and accompanying story.

Listen: What’cha Gonna Do / The Ikettes
ikettes.mp3

The Ikettes only Phi-Dan release came out in early ’66. This was around the time of Phil Spector’s involvement with Ike & Tina, not just producing, but also including them on his Big TNT Show, filmed in November of ’65. The lineup on this record, courtesy of the fantastic booklet from Ace Records’ recent Ikettes anthology, CAN’T SIT DOWN….’COS IT FEELS SO GOOD, was P. P. Arnold on lead vocals, with Tina, Brenda Holloway and her sister Patrice on backgrounds. I’m launching this blog with The Ikettes simply because it’s a record I’m currently nuts about. Actually, right now, I’m in a serious Ikettes phase, fueled by the aforementioned CD. I was in London last week with Matt & Kim, and staying with Roger Armstrong, a great friend who founded Ace. It was one of the discs he gave me, and I just poured over the booklet on the entire flight back home to New York. The CD is a must. And also try finding the single (the CD only draws from their releases on Modern Records). As you can hear, it’ll be worth the search. I picked it up off eBay a few months back having no idea it had existed. $65 later, it’s one of those great moments when you realize there’s always something else to add to the collection.

Listen: Down Down / The Ikettes
IkettesDownDown.mp3

On May 16th – just last week, I had the shocking honor of receiving an email from Rose Smith aka Rose Ikette. Rose, along with Pat Arnold (P. P. Arnold) were in the ’65 – ’66 lineup of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue featuring The Ikettes.

Rose had found the blog while searching for a copy of ‘What’cha Gonna Do’ and it’s flipside ‘Down Down’. She was at these sessions and as it turns out, does the lead vocal on ‘Down Down’.

What a fantastic song, it feels very gospel, almost religious. Apparently getting some decent airplay on LA soul radio at the time of release, Rose hadn’t heard it for years. I sent her an mp3 of the track, and we plan to talk, later today in fact. How’s that for a coincidence? She has kindly promised to share many details about the period, lineup, various sessions and her infamous trip to the UK when they shared a tour with The Rolling Stones. Pat never came back, but instead became P. P. Arnold, signed to Immediate and had a decent run of UK hits. Rose also hung around London long enough to contribute some vocals on various Immediate singles as well.

Meanwhile, here’s ‘Down Down’, with Rose and The Ikettes.

The Poets

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

The below post, originally from 1/15/09, is worth revisiting. Firstly, one can never hear The Poets enough, and secondly, thanks to Lindsay Hutton from Next Big Thing, he snagged me the jukebox tab below, which is well worth sharing.

Now We're Thru / The Poets

Listen: Now We're Thru / The Poets PoetsThru.mp3

Probably by fluke, The Poets first single ‘Now We’re Thru’ perfectly captured what we Americans heard as the black and white sound of drizzle drenched England in a 2:13 sonic snapshot. Black and white? We only ever saw these bands that way. Color photos of brand new groups were thin on the ground. As for the magazines: newspaper style, with color covers at best.

Then there was TV. Who had a color set in ’65? Sure by ’67 TV, like everything else, went to eleven, to technicolor. But those early UK bands the world was insatiable for, all in black and white, and usually photographed on some wet cobblestoned street. Think about shots of Them, The Pretty Things, Manfred Mann, whoever, shivering from the damp.

‘Now We’re Thru’, it’s a minor key classic, a perfect balance of over echoed background vocals, cymbal free distant drums and that ever present Decca tambourine, possibly a non negotiable contractual boiler plate item. Andrew Loog Oldham produced their early releases, probably managed, obviously owned the publishing and gave them a leg up in many situations I’m guessing. A deal with Decca for starters. He even elbowed them on to America’s teen weekly SHINDIG:

“You want The Rolling Stones, take The Poets too”, just an educated guess mind you.

Above: Jukebox Tab signed by George Gallacher

He had a few others signed up at the time: Marianne Faithfull, Adrienne Posta, The Mighty Avengers, Vashti and clearly got a taste for his own label.

What the hell, let’s give The Poets credit for helping create Immediate Records. They certainly were the only act he took along but no one ever seems to mention that bit.

Call Again / The Poets

Listen: Call Again / The Poets PoetsCall.mp3

‘Call Again’ was issued as Immediate 006 (theoretically the label’s 6th release). By now that destinctive vocal sound of singer George Gallacher was in place. If only they’d had a chance to work extensively in a studio, OGDEN’S NUT GONE FLAKE style….if only if only if only.

Gary Walker & The Rain

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

GaryWalkerSpooky, Gary Walker & The Rain, Polydor, United Artisits, Scott Walker, Allan Clarke, Philips, Charlie Crane, The Cryin' Shames

Listen: Spooky / Gary Walker & The Rain GaryWalkerSpooky.mp3

Is it possible to record a bad version of ‘Spooky’ – especially when Scott Walker is producing, or even just in the studio sharing oxygen with you? Before The Walker Brothers crumbled at the seams and eventually broke up, drummer Gary Walker was making solo singles – the first two, ‘You Don’t Love Me’ and ‘Twinkie Lee’, both becoming UK hits and as importantly, both produced by Scott Walker.

Shortly after that official breakup, Gary Walker & The Rain began what was to be a very desirable and highly collectable band. Members included Joey Molland, who prior was a member of Immediate Records recording artists The Masterminds, and after the breakup of The Rain, Badfinger.

I saw Badfinger in those days, they supported The Moody Blues. Despite their Beatles connection and Beatles sounding singles, I went along anyways – after all, it was two UK bands in my dull hometown of Syracuse. I recall speaking to the band after their set, for some reason they were all wandering around the audience looking depressed. Maybe it was bad acid.

Had no idea then he’d been a member of both The Masterminds and Gary Walker’s band. Lucky for him or the poor guy would’ve ended up running for cover.

GaryWalkerPneumonia, Gary Walker & The Rain, Philips, Charlie Crane, The Cryin' Shames

Listen: Come In, You’ll Get Pneumonia / Gary Walker & The Rain GaryWalkerPneumonia.mp3

An even more interesting member of the lineup was Charlie Crane – a very unsung musical hero of mine. Lead singer with The Cryin’ Shames (UK not US band), it is indeed his voice on their Joe Meek produced anthem ‘Please Stay’, posted elsewhere on this blog. Search it out just to see how incredible this guy’s voice was and additionally, what a terrific compliment it made to that particular tune.

Most likely by accident, seems every single Gary Walker & The Rain released had a connection to another worthy band or artist. In this case, they were neck in neck with The Easybeats’ version of the song, released a bit earlier on United Artists and selling a few more copies, but just a few. Great song, deserved better result regardless of the version.

GaryWalkerFrancis, Gary Walker & The Rain, Philips, Charlie Crane, The Cryin' Shames

Listen: Francis / Gary Walker & The Rain GaryWalkerFrancis.mp3

This B side to ‘Come In, You’ll Get Pneumonia’ was always a favorite and of great interest amongst collectors. Seems the garage fuzz fanatics find it a must. I don’t see the musical connection but do love the track.

GaryWalkerHello, Gary Walker & The Rain, Polydor, United Artisits, Scott Walker, Allan Clarke, Philips, Charlie Crane, The Cryin' Shames

Listen: Hello, How Are You / Gary Walker GaryWalkerHello.mp3

From ’69 to ’75 we jump with Gary (who in the intern was a motorbike messenger delivery fellow – so the unofficial story goes). Having left his Japan-only success, The Rain, behind him now for six years, out of nowhere pops, oddly enough, another Easybeats cover, ‘Hello, How Are You’. Nice idea – I wonder in hope, can we expect ‘Friday On My Mind’ any day? Why not and what a treat that’d be.

In keeping with the aforementioned famous friends attachment, this version was produced by Allan Clarke from The Hollies. Not sure who’s playing on it. Any ideas are welcome.

The Small Faces

Friday, August 7th, 2009

smallfacesuniversaluk, The Small Faces, Walt's Records Syracuse, Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Immediate

smallfacesuniversalusa, The Small Faces, Walt's Records Syracuse, Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Immediate

Listen: The Universal / The Small Faces SmallFacesUniversal.mp3

I remember reading ‘The Universal’ was a demo Steve Marriott later overdubbed some electric guitar and saxophone onto. Then somebody, apparently at Immediate Records, decided it was a single. For years, maybe a few decades, I had no idea what a demo was. When Howard hired me at Elektra in ’84, I initially couldn’t understand the concept of booking a studio to record songs, then weeks later go back in, many times to the same studio, to re-record them. Why not just record them correctly the first time? Being a kid who’s Dad was a janitor, and in a band that paid for their own recordings (done super fast because we simply didn’t have any money), this all appeared unnecessarily extravagant. Dumb even.

Well anyways, Dale Winton played ‘The Universal’ on his chart rundown from ’68 on BBC Radio’s PICK OF THE POPS a few weeks back, and it, as always, sounded clean and refreshing (if I may use a few politically correct slogans). Lots of folks rant and rave about many singles by The Small Faces, as they should. But usually, ‘The Universal’ is seldom mentioned. I think it peaked at #16 or so, and doesn’t compare chart wise to most of the others. But hey, it was a demo.

I bought this week of release at Walt’s Records, hence the US stock copy pictured above. Try finding one of those these days.

The Amen Corner

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

amencornerginuka, the amen corner, deram, decca, andy fairweather low

amencornerginusa, the amen corner, andy fairweather low, deram, decca, immediate, roy wood

Listen: Gin House Blues / The Amen Corner AmenGin.mp3

amencornerworlduka, the amen corner, andy fairweather low, deram, decca, immediate, roy wood

amencornerworldusa, the amen corner, andy fairweather low, deram, decca, immediate, roy wood

Listen: The World Of Broken Hearts / The Amen Corner AmenWorld.mp3

amencornerhighuka, the amen corner, andy fairweather low, deram, decca, immediate, roy wood

amencornerhighusa, the amen corner, andy fairweather low, deram, decca, immediate, roy wood

Listen: High In The Sky / The Amen Corner AmenHigh.mp3

It’s interesting that despite today’s technology, and all the immediacy of it, things in 1967 were happening pretty fast too. ‘Gin House Blues’, released on July 21 (according to the above hand written test pressing) actually charted 6 days later on July 26, peaking at #12. Almost as unlikely a mainstream hit, it’s followup, ‘The World Of Broken Hearts’ spent six weeks in the UK Top 50, reaching #24. Singer Andy Fairweather Low’s strangled delivery didn’t initially appear to have mass appeal, but subsequent singles, like the near US hit ‘High In The Sky’ proved otherwise. Indeed, The Amen Corner took Roy Wood’s (should-have-been-a-single for his band The Move) ‘Hello Suzie’, to a UK #1 in ’69, the band having left Deram for Immediate by then. Their album only (except in Holland) version of The Soul Survivors’ hit, ‘Expressway To Your Heart’, apparently became a much played track in the Northern Soul clubs.

For the record, let me share some factual information: all promotional A labels from UK Decca and it’s subsidiaries (Deram, London, etc), up until mid-’69, were shipped in white sleeves. As tempted as you may be to put a company stock bag on them – it’s just not correct. Hence, any of the records I post in white sleeves are there for authenticity. The UK promo of ‘The World Of Broken Hearts’ pictured above is the ’69 reissue, by then being shipped in the Deram company sleeve. Oh, in the US, Deram promo singles shipped in Deram sleeves by the label’s second release (The Move ‘Night Of Fear’). Only the very first US Deram promo 7″ (Beverley ‘Happy New Year’) came in a plain brown sleeve. What can I say, I am completely obsessed with having my records in their correct covers.