Archive for the ‘Beverley’ Category

Leon Russell

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Listen: Roll Away The Stone / Leon Russell LeonRussellStone.mp3

Despite Denny Cordell cutting his teeth during the 60′s as producer of The Moody Blues, The Move, Beverley and Joe Cocker & The Grease Band, he seemed to take a nasty turn in the period that immediately followed. He set up shop in Los Angeles, forming Shelter Records. Other than issuing a few reggae singles in the States for Chris Blackwell (The Maytals, The Wailers), Denny pretty much shifted gears musically. To this Anglophile, he betrayed his own greatness, suddenly producing and/or releasing super Americana stuff like Phoebe Snow, JJ Cale, Mudcrutch…..and Leon Russell.

I despised everything about Leon Russell. I hated his country boogie blues singalongs, his clothes, his grey hair – every last thing about him. Mind you, I was hard core pro England. The Kinks were the ultimate, Glam was preferred, I was not a believer.

Isn’t it crazy how one’s tastes can change, or in my case, grow. Man, was I wrong about Denny and Shelter. Fast forward a decade, and I’m jonesing for every last act on that roster, catching up on filling in the record collection with the Shelter singles.

Leon Russell’s history ran way deeper than I originally knew, back to Phil Spector’s Philles days where he led his house band, and he performed in the TAMI show and was a regular on SHINDIG and….and….and. Check the writer’s credits on some of those Phil Spector B sides: Leon Russell. Seemingly overnight, I needed everything attached to his long, long discography of contributions.

Well there aren’t many things I like more than a UK A&M A label. All the busy conflicting fonts, the bright yellow label, the red ‘A’ and the onslaught of release date/time/publisher info (Reminder: click on any of the records pictured to enlarge). It became a quest to get all Denny Cordell / Shelter via UK A&M 7′s. Took years but now pretty much complete. One of the first to be issued back on the old 700 series: ‘Roll Away The Stone’.

Do you think Mott The Hoople ever listened to Leon Russell?

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.


Saturday, September 20th, 2008

Happy New Year / Beverley

Listen: Happy New Year / Beverley 01 Happy New Year (01) (01) 1.mp3

The year was 1966. UK Decca are about to launch their hip subsidiary Deram. The first release was a now period piece by Beverley, before she married John Martyn and became one half of the Island act, John & Beverley Martyn. ‘Happy New Year’ was the first of two solo singles, both on Deram and both produced by Denny Cordell. The record is so ‘live’ and was mastered so loudly – it’s just the ultimate vinyl sound with some very extreme production ideas – not out of line for Denny Cordell.

Luckily I got to work with him years later at Island. He was just full of stories and info. Never a day would pass without him dropping some tidbit my way. He knew I was a trainspotter and fed it well. You know the loud techno sound in The Move’s ‘I Can Hear The Grass Grow’ at exactly 2:08? I asked him once how he got such an other worldy electronic sonic back then. He simply raised his two little fingers to the corners of his mouth and whistled. Exactly like on the single. Awesome.