Archive for the ‘Tintern Abbey’ Category

Acid Gallery / The Outer Limits / Roy Wood

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Dance Round The Maypole / Acid Gallery

Listen: Dance Round The Maypole / Acid Gallery

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

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

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

Tintern Abbey

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Beeside / Tintern Abbey

Listen: Beeside / Tintern Abbey

Many years back, in the late 80′s, a friend John Stainze had stumbled on a bunch of Deram singles. I seem to recall them being from a UK Mom & Pop record shop or something. He called asking if I wanted him to pick any up, running a bunch of titles past me. They were around $5 each so I said yes to a few including The 23rd Turnoff record.

Amongst their stock was the sole release by Tintern Abbey, ‘Beeside’, of which they had five copies. I took them all, even though they were $20 a piece back then. When the box arrived, I was bragging to Corinne that I’d gotten five copies of this, and she berated me for wasting even money on more useless records, not to mention multiple copies. One recently sold for $1135 on eBay. She remains unimpressed. Now I just need to unearth the remaining four somewhere in the black hole of extras.

The record is often sighted as classic British psych, to these ears not unlike Love in parts. It’s truly up there with The Smoke, Tomorrow and The Pretty Things ‘Defecting Grey’. But that’s just one useless opinion.

Vacuum Cleaner / Tintern Abbey

Listen: Vacuum Cleaner / Tintern Abbey

Both sides of the record are often compiled on psyche compilations, and it seems many have confused ‘Vacuum Cleaner’ as being the A side, given ‘Beeside’ sounding like a clever play on words I’m guessing.

Not sounding unlike a Shel Talmy production, I suppose in a pinch, it could pass for The Creation.

For the record, drummer John Dalton is not the same John Dalton who played bass with The Kinks for centuries.

Whistling Jack Smith

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

WhistlingKaiser, Whistling Jack Smith, Billy Moeller, Noel Walker, Ivor Raymonde, Deram

WhistlingKaiserUSA, Unit 4 + 2, Whistling Jack Smith, Billy Moeller, Noel Walker, Ivor Raymonde, Deram

Listen: I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman / Whistling Jack Smith WJSKaiser.mp3

I know exactly what you’re thinking. Why in the hell is he writing about Whistling Jack Smith? Do I really need to bother visiting this blog again?

Well Billy Moeller aka Whistling Jack Smith (brother of Tommy Moeller who’s band, Unit 4 +2, Billy sometimes roadied for) was on Deram. All things cool in ’67 were on Deram, even The Les Reed Orchestra and Chim Kothari were hip by association – not to mention of course The Syn, The Move, Timebox, The Eyes Of Blue, The Crocheted Doughnut Ring, Tintern Abbey, Warm Sounds, The 23rd Turnoff…you get the point. And I was only too pleased that it had become a hit (#20 Billboard) in the States. I wanted Deram to stay in business, so to me this was good. Plus it was downright fun to hear it on the radio. Harmless, laugh along, don’t be so fucking serious music – nothing like droning funeral parlour label mates Procol Harum.

So yes, I liked Whistling Jack Smith.

And they released an album as well. This was crazy fun now.

WhistlingLittleMiss, Unit 4 + 2, Whistling Jack Smith, Billy Moeller, Noel Walker, Ivor Raymonde, Deram

Listen: Hey There Little Miss Mary / Whistling Jack Smith WJSMary.mp3

Next, the followup. Well a growth in sound was clearly in line if the career was to build the way Decca chairman, and apparently iron clad ruler, Sir Edward Lewis must have decided it should, given an LP was approved in short order, when hitmakers The Move or hipsters The Syn were not so fortunate. Within months of the ‘I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman’s spring/summer UK/US run, seems the public was inexplicably not following WJS’s musical moves and ‘Hey There Little Miss Mary’ was ignored by radio, press as well as said consumers – this despite regrouping the original hit making team, writers Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway with arranger Ivor Raymonde and producer extraordinaire (and he seriously did a LOT of great records) Noel Walker (not to be confused with Scott Walker of course).

Uh oh.

WhistlingJaDa, Unit 4 + 2, Whistling Jack Smith, Billy Moeller, Noel Walker, Ivor Raymonde, Deram

Listen: Ja-Da / Whistling Jack Smith WJSJada.mp3

No worries. There is proven truth to the ‘if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it’ theory- hence back to a hysterically fun, basic re-write of ‘I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman’. ‘Ja-Da’ so ridiculously similar, I’m surprised Cook/Greenaway didn’t chase the publishing. I’m glad I own it though, cause it is both fun and funny to play on occasion.

Again, not a blip, bubble or hint toward potential success. Sir Edward was not about to let this talent just wither on the branch.

WhistlingLarf, Unit 4 + 2, Whistling Jack Smith, Billy Moeller, Noel Walker, Ivor Raymonde, Deram

Listen: Only When I Larf / Whistling Jack Smith WJSLarf.mp3

Then along comes a big break, just what the label needed and was hoping for, a 60′s version of an iPod commercial: the theme to a movie. The potential box office melter ,’Only When I Larf’.

‘Goldfinger’, ‘To Sir With Love’ and ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ move aside.

Instead trip, stumble, fall. A flop.

The writing was on the wall. Poor Billy should have never left the steady work of moving Unit 4 +2′s gear around. Now not only was he finished, they were between third base and home too, so no going back.

Can you imagine how awesome it would be if Whistling Jack Smith’s career had been allowed grow as it deserved to. He would have been at Live Aid, whistled on ‘We Are The World’, been remixed by Moby, collaborated with super talent MIA, not to mention help global leaders talk through their issues, met the Pope and gotten to put on well deserved weight. Yes he could have been Bono, and I don’t mean Sonny.

Except for one other small detail, he never whistled once on his records, instead The Mike Sammes Singers were brought in for the recordings.