Archive for the ‘Roger Armstrong’ Category

Baron Daemon & The Vampires

Friday, October 30th, 2015

Listen: Ghost Guitars / Baron Daemon & The Vampires
Ghost

Here’s one I never ever hear about anywhere. Not since it came out and I was a kid, until today. Sirius radio are doing a ton of great Halloween programs this weekend, and this popped up on XMU Channel 35. See my screen shot below, apologies, it was sunny and I was driving. I couldn’t believe my eyes nor ears. Damn, I am impressed.

Even Roger Armstrong from Ace didn’t know details surrounding Baron Daemon & The Vampires. Only as a result of his THESE GHOULISH THINGS compilation did I mention them in the first place. So that’s how scarce they and their only single are.

‘Ghost Guitars’ was a very local release in the Syracuse area, I’m guessing around ’64. Lots of cities had their own AMERICAN BANDSTAND record hop programs. Given that Saturday afternoon scary movies were the rage, they were usually tied in with teen music, and in this case, a home town radio personality host done up in vampire gear.

The local guy who did all this was Mike Price. He mc’d the scary movies job, on which Baron Daemon was his alias. And he’s still living there today, having recently retired from WSYR, where he began his career in ’62. During Mike Price’s Syracuse tenure, while doubling as Baron Daemon, he released this single. It’s exactly the kind of record that resulted in The Cramps eventually festering into a top rock and roll band.

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.

The Damned

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Listen: Smash It Up (Single Version) / The Damned DamnedSmash.mp3

The other day, my super pal Brian Traister maintained the real UK punk band, best ever, were The Damned. I agree.

Every single was just flawless, for ages. Their run on Chiswick being one of those career peaks, and they had several. Produced by Roger Armstrong, I forever hassle his memory cells for details of those sessions. Talk about endless stories of greatness.

When Joey’s Mom and brother Mickey still had the promised 50th birthday party for him, which he unfairly missed by a month and four days, The Damned were the only UK band that flew themselves over to honor what they maintained in the press since day one: The Ramones were the true fathers of punk – it proved who was the real deal from England and who were the money machines, copy cats and fakes.

Hearing the roar when Little Steven announced them (all the acts were kept secret but regardless, 4400 tickets were completely sold out in fifteen minutes to Joey Ramone’s well earned honor) still brings chills. Up came the curtain, and there were The Damned.

Some things were meant to be: Roger was in NY that week, and we made sure he sat right there, in the first box, with Joey’s Mom.

God bless The Damned.

Above: Jukebox Tab signed by Captain Sensible

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.

Tobi Lark

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

tobilark1, Tobi Lark, Aretha Franklin, Ace, Roger Armstrong, Kent, Columbia, Atlantic

Listen: Sweep It Out In The Shed / Tobi Lark TobiLark.mp3

This one’s from the latest batch of Kent 7′s, released by parent company Ace Records on a regular basis. Roger Armstrong has kept me up to date on these since single number one. They’re all still shelved together as a series – I’ve yet to have the courage of filing them separately like just about every other single I own.

Hey, this is the third Tobi Lark Kent single to date. In the current world, that’s a configuration privilege reserved for superstar artists. Does Beyonce even get three singles on 7? No.

‘Sweep It Out In The Shed’ was a very favorite from the DETROIT DANCERS comp CD, and it’s an absolute joy to have on a single. Not expecting it made for even more fun when I opened the package. It’s the kind of song someone should have found Aretha back in ’66 during her hitless Columbia streak. Or it could have worked just as perfectly being a Muscle Shoals production had Atlantic made the suggestion a year or so later. But to be honest, I’m glad no one did.

Sonny Boy Williamson

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

sonnyboywilliamsonhelpme, Sonny Boy Williamson, Chess, Checker, Paul Jones, BBC 2

Listen: Help Me / Sonny Boy Williamson SonnyBoyHelp.mp3

I wonder if Plyrene Atkinson misses this single – or maybe she upgraded to a cleaner copy, preferring a more recent Checker label design. Yeah right. I loved this copy when I stumbled on it in a Greenpoint junk store. The basement was FULL of records. Still is – but it’s been seriously picked. This was in 2001, just before 9/11. I spent several weekends in that basement. No one was buying the records, as the guy had loads of great chachkas, furniture, kitchen items and clothes on the ground floor level. Very few even ventured into the basement. I supplied him with boxes of promo cd’s which were selling like hotcakes, so all the 45′s came my way first.

The name sticker on the label, which I would usually remove, became a romantic attraction to another time – when blues would sell to the nooks and crannies of America, truly becoming the folk music of it’s day.

I never loved this record until Paul Jones played it on his BBC Radio 2 program. How did I not ‘hear’ this one years earlier? Before the day of streaming and/or archived BBC content, Roger Armstrong would religiously record both the Paul Jones show and SOUNDS OF THE SIXTIES onto DATs every Saturday, then drop them in the mail. Talk about a friend.

Still a BBC 2 fixture, Paul Jones is certainly the voice of authority when it comes to the blues. ‘Help Me’ was, well, an RnB hit actually, peaking at #24 in April ’63. It sure does sound good in a 1959 Seeburg 222.

The Ikettes

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

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

May 24, 2009: one year since the launch of and first ever post on SO MANY RECORDS, SO LITTLE TIME.

What better way to celebrate the occasion than:

1) Improve the blog by creating expansion abilities to include new features over the next few months. And to achieve that, we’re moving to our own .com (bookmark this new address please):

SOMANYRECORDSSOLITTLETIME.COM

2) Re-post that original entry from May 24, 2008. The Ikettes / What’cha Gonna Do (music above/text below)

3) Take a week off. Never one to sit still, I’m going to Europe with Matt & Kim – and also acquiring one sick ass 45 collection in London – lots of amazing new records to write about as a result. My dear friend, and ska/reggae expert/addict Duane Sherwood will be filling in for the next week or so. Watch for his first post tomorrow!!!!

ORIGINAL POST FROM MAY 24, 2008:

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 PP 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 and owns 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 this 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 had no idea it existed. $65 later, it’s one of those great moments when you realize there’s always something else that needs to be added to the collection.

Limmie & Family Cookin’

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

You Can Do Magic / Limmie & Family Cookin'

Listen: You Can Do Magic / Limmie & Family Cookin’ Limmie.mp3

Another UK hit from my summer ’73 spent in London. I’d wait for this one to come on the radio – couldn’t hear it enough. The English programmers loved US formula soul, still do. It wasn’t a huge hit back home. Not so in Britain, reaching #3 during July. Very much a daytime airplay staple, I’d always hear it doing my daily troll through the used/promo record stalls along Rupert and Berwick Streets, blaring out of all the vendor’s radios. Remember, there was only one pop station then, Radio 1, and no cassettes really – therefore everyone listened to the same thing.

Roger Armstrong and I sat at an outdoor cafe on Berwick Street and had tea a year or two back during the May bank holiday long weekend when I was over on some business. It was on the Monday. Soho was deserted, a true flash back to the days when the area wasn’t crowded and full of tourists, like in ’73. Do it sometime if you can.

‘You Can Do Magic’ is ripe to be revived. I bet it could do for someone what ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ did for Kiki Dee & Elton John, making a perfect duet.

Snooky

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

Listen:  Sugar Lips / Snooky

Listen: Sugar Lips / Snooky 01 Sugar Lis.mp3

I spoke with Roger Armstrong today. He was one of the guys who opened London’s Rock On record shop in the 70′s, having started out with a few standups of used records just off Shaftsbury Avenue and later, founded Ace Records, the catalog/reissue company, which he still owns and operates. Like the rest of us, he’s just a plain old record junkie. Luckily, when I bought Tony King’s 45 collection back in May, Roger offered a helping hand, and as a result, they’re still all boxed up and sitting in one of Roger’s spare rooms, waiting to come home to NYC. So we had a fun hour catch up call today. He mentioned the Camden Record Fair from a Sunday or two ago, whereby he picked up 70/80 singles, about two thirds of which he’d never heard of. Even the deepest record collectors and musicologists always are finding more records to collect. That’s the beauty of it all, there are so many records, not only to play but to discover as well, and the search is never ending. Wonderful.

Tonight Phil stopped by. We played singles for a good three hours. I pulled out a stack of Contempo releases I’d faithfully bought in the late 80′s and tucked away on a bottom shelf. The Notting Hill Record & Tape Exchange was the place to be then, for me that is. I always stayed at the The Pembridge Court Hotel, a mere block away. Sometimes I’d make a few trips to and from the shop with armloads of singles, dumping them in my room and resuming the digging minutes later. One time, Corinne dropped me off around 10 AM on her way to Soho to shop, and noticed me in the ground floor 7″ section around 4 PM that afternoon when she returned. I’d been there the whole time, by now starving and needing to piss badly. True story. All the 7′s were around a pound or so a piece then. I remember loving the look of the Contempo labels, and their stock sleeves, despite being pretty unfamiliar with the company. I did know of the BLUES & SOUL magazine that the label was loosely associated with from the 70′s. A good publication, even if they over celebrated themselves a bit too often. Well all these years later, I finally got around to playing through this chuck of Contempos, finding this, ‘Sugar Lips’ by Snooky, licensed from Feelgood Records Ltd in 1975.

Phil didn’t know a thing about this record’s history, not did I. We Googled Snooky. Googled Feelgood Records. Checked the RECORD COLLECTOR PRICE GUIDE. No info, not anywhere. Who is this? Who are Feelgood Records? No idea. Very bizarre. But in keeping with one of the great consistencies of record collecting, there’s always more records to discover. It never ever ends.

Interestingly, for such a hardcore soul label, this track sounds quite like The Tremeloes. I love it.