Archive for the ‘Denny Laine’ Category

The Moody Blues / St. Louis Union

Friday, February 10th, 2017

Stop / Moody Blues

Listen: Stop! / The Moody Blues
Stop! / The Moody Blues

When it comes to vinyl or artifacts, oddly, The Moody Blues are not a collectible band. I guess the mainstream success of Moody Blues lineup two unfairly squashed that.

But still, lineup one, well that was a very different sounding group and should be a very different story. It’s where the collectible piece is baffling. Not surprisingly, the band were recycling US blues and RnB, not unlike most other collectible UK acts during the mid 60′s. But singer Denny Laine was special, and had an authentic, recognizable voice. The hits disappeared quickly after their second 7″, ‘Go Now’, although the quality of singles did not. All of them should command more worth, being pressed in very limited quantities.

‘Stop!’, a US only 7″, was taken from the Denny Cordell produced debut UK LP and their only full length with lineup one. The US album version was similar but didn’t included ‘Stop!’, presumably because American label London spotted the track as a potential hit.

‘Stop’ received confident airplay throughout the northeast upon release. I heard it often at both my local Top 40′s in Syracuse. The single charted for one week on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 at #98 and was a decent snapshot of Winter ’66, basically dreary and cold, just as I vividly remember it and personally preferred.

Listen: Girl / St. Louis Union
Girl / St. Louis Union

Dreary and cold, or dark and downbeat were indeed the sounds de jour. Enter the St. Louis Union’s cover of ‘Girl’. Despite being a nice time piece, the record was part of an already risky strategy: covering Beatles’ songs to achieve hits. The process initially worked for Peter & Gordon, The Silkie and a handful of others, yet the idea had primarily dried by the time post ’65 late comers released theirs.

London tip ad

BESSIE BANKS / THE MOODY BLUES

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

bessiebanksuka1, Bessie Banks, Denny Laine, The Moody Blues, London Records, Red Bird

Listen: Go Now / Bessie Banks BessieBanksGoNow.mp3

Listen: Go Now / The Moody Blues MoodyBluesGoNow.mp3

Yes, even the blues and purples of the Decca, London and Soul City labels compliment each other. A lot of purists claim Bessie Banks’ original recording of ‘Go Now’ surpasses The Moody Blues later cover. I say we have endless love for many things, why not multiple versions of songs too?

Bessie Banks sounds so young here, and The Moody Blues vocalist at the time, Denny Laine, has such an authentic delivery, what’s not to like? That band never did replace him, nor did they try. Seems the guys were bright enough to go after a completely different, post Denny Laine sound.

Usually, it’s impossible to mess with the magic of an original song the calibre of Bessie Banks’ ‘Go Now’, especially given this Leiber & Stoller production. But thanks to the courage of The Moody Blues, I guess you could say we ended up with a win/win.

The Moody Blues

Saturday, July 9th, 2011

Listen: Everyday / The Moody Blues
Everyday / The Moody Blues

Another case of one band name, but two completely different sounding lineups, making it easily possible to love/hate one and not the other, or something like that.

Me, I was into both. And it began logically, with the first of the two. The Denny Laine years I suppose you could say.

As lead singer, his tenure started May ’64 at their onset, lasting until Fall ’66. This was when you really had to be able to sing in order to get a deal and make records. Denny Laine trained himself on, you guessed it, soul and RnB. At this, he was winner.

All the singles released during his time are equally great. Most surprisingly weren’t hits, but still, they’re classics. The Moody Blues really stalled their momentum after the worldwide smash ‘Go Now’ by issuing a couple of dirge ballads that struggled for airplay. Hey, I loved them, but programmers didn’t.

After which, ‘Everyday’ came, but the mess had been made and it all slowly went flat for the Denny Laine lineup. Too bad. ‘Everyday’ is the kind of record that probably would have helped change their history a bit had it followed ‘Go Now’. All speculation here.

Another top Denny Cordell (not to be confused with the aforementioned Denny Laine) production though. Not that he totally agreed with me on that one. I met Denny at Island, and elsewhere on this blog there’s a more in depth post about all that. Let me tell you this. Denny was a blast, an absolute class act, had great history, impeccable musical taste and instinct, a wonderful soul. I’m still knocked out that we became good friends.

One time, in the days when we had pretty extravagant parties at our place, Denny came along, swirling in through the front door and b-lined toward the kitchen with a plan to whip up some Jamaican dish, and a bag of supplies for just that purpose. He simply crashed right into it all. That was Denny.

Later in the evening, Duane, with a you gotta hear this look on his face, nudged me toward he and Marianne sitting at the then, newly found 50′s wrought iron and glass patio set, a garage sale miracle with a story all it’s own, deep in stuffy English brogue conversation, so upper class thick, you literally had trouble deciphering what the fuck they were saying. The two of them were all giddy, reminiscing about the old days, smuggling hash into England, dishing through folks at Decca, Mick’s parents, you name it, no one was spared. I just sat right down, refilled their margaritas, listened in, a conspicuous fly on the wall. Cool as a cucumber on the outside, fourth of July fireworks inside. Exactly as anyone else would have felt.

Denny Laine / Trevor Burton

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

DennyLaineSayUK, Denny Laine, Trevor Burton, Denny Cordell, The Moody Blues, The Move, Balls, Deram, Epic
DennyLaineSayUS, Denny Laine, Trevor Burton, Denny Cordell, The Moody Blues, The Move, Balls, Deram, Epic

Listen: Say You Don’t Mind / Denny Laine
Say

In 67, when The Moody Blues ditched the blues, they ditched Denny Laine with it. Lead singer extraordinaire, his voice is the one we heard on ‘Go Now’, ‘Everyday’ and ‘Stop’, three favorites. Their version of ‘Go Now’ still holds it own against the Bessie Banks original. What were these guys thinking?

To this day, current members refuse to acknowledge that first lineup, excluding any of their tracks from Greatest Hits and anthology packages. Lighten up guys.

Still apparently signed to Decca, Denny Laine resurfaced on their newly formed subsidiary Deram, this being the first of two singles and getting a US release. Denny Cordell, The Moody Blues original producer, went in the layoffs too, so decided to stick with the other Denny. Their work together was terrific. Just listen for yourself.

TrevorBurtonFightUSA, Denny Laine, Trevor Burton, Denny Cordell, The Moody Blues, The Move, Balls, Deram, Epic
TrevorFightUS, Denny Laine, Trevor Burton, Denny Cordell, The Moody Blues, The Move, Balls, Deram, Epic

Listen: Fight For My Country / Trevor Burton
Fight

Within a year or so, Trevor Burton left The Move, teaming up with Denny to form Balls. Their lone single, ‘Fight For My Country’, was released in the US under his name, as a one-off for Epic. Unlike the UK version, which ran upwards of five minutes, the US promo and stock were edited down to under three, making for a better track which would not have been out of place on SHAZAM. It’s power deserves the attention much lesser records have achieved, packing so hard a punch, it knocked the wind out of both the band and Trevor’s solo career.