Archive for the ‘Flamingo’ Category

Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band

Monday, April 11th, 2016

ZootWillie, Zoot Money, Decca

Listen: The Uncle Willie / Zoot Money ZootWillie.mp3

If you ever see the double LP, HARD UP HEROES, do yourself a favor, buy immediately. Released on UK Decca in ’74, the compilation is a proper collection of their deep 60′s catalog, mostly gritty blues leaning acts, and packaged beautifully. It was here that I first heard ‘The Uncle Willie’.

As with other tracks by The Graham Bond Organization, Alexis Korner, Them, The Birds and John Mayall, it epitomized what I imagined the seedy clubs of London’s Soho to sound like. I’ll never know, but bet I’m right.

Zoot Money already had his Big Roll Band rolling by then. For whatever reason, their moniker was left off the label copy, but their signature sound was sure there to be heard. Man, did I want to own this single from that first listen. Took me a few years, but I got it. Just as expected, the audio on the 7″ was even more authentic than the LP pressing, which in original mono, sounded pretty great already.

Years later, like thirty or so, a live cd from The Flamingo was issued. This band was clearly full and exciting live, as their rendition of ‘The Uncle Willie’ proved.

ZootBigTime, Zoot Money, Epic

Listen: Big Time Operator / Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band ZootBigTime.mp3

Pretty sure it was 2003, the Maximum Rhythm & Blues Tour, a yearly-ish event, played The Royal Albert Hall, and by sheer luck, I was there for work. Jackie Hyde arranged not only tickets, but passes to the after show. As if having just watched Manfred Mann, with both Paul Jones and Mike D’Abo doing their respective hits, Chris Farlowe, The Alan Price Set and Colin Blunstone wasn’t enough, the post show bit was a corucopia of their musician friends from the 60′s. I’m sure there were guys milling about, by now unrecognizable, that would’ve been great jukebox tab scores, but who could tell.

Not the case with Zoot Money. You couldn’t miss him. Jovial and very approachable, he laid a bunch of Marquee stories my way and had no idea ‘Big Time Operator’ came graced with a picture sleeve in the US.

ZootJukebox, Zoot Money, Jukebox Tab

What a great guy to talk with, and pretty good memory too. Wanting a jukebox tab, I didn’t know the B side to ‘The Uncle Willie’, but he did.

Them

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

THEM / Them:

Side 1:

Listen: Don’t Start Crying Now / Them
ThemDontStart.mp3

Listen: Philosophy / Them
Philosophy

Side 2:

Listen: Baby Please Don’t Go / Them
Baby

Listen: One Two Brown Eyes / Them
One

I can see now, very clearly, why Van Morrison grimaces at some of the material recorded with his original band. I read once that he disliked his vocal early on, and from the very first notes of this EP’s lead off track, ‘Don’t Start Crying Now’, I suddenly understand why.

Fast forward to November 30, 1989, Denny Cordell, by then an Island co-worker and a true friend, arranged for us to meet after Van’s Beacon Theater show in order to get my blank jukebox tab signed. Looking back, I’m still amazed. As promised, I was led into one of the small second floor dressing rooms by his tour manager where he was waiting. He’d been previously coached by Denny on my request, to fill in the A and B side songs, as well the artist name, in this case Them, on a blank jukebox tab for my collection and had agreed.

By quick explanation, my entire Seeburg 222 is filled with records whereby the corresponding jukebox tab is filled in, i.e autographed, by the artist or a member of that specific band. I always carry blanks just in case.

Knowing he had a distaste for all things Them, I timidly made my request very clear: I preferred this tab be for one of their singles, so as not to have any issue or weirdness once face to face. I was assured this was not going to be a problem. Disbelief grew but there we were, together in that small room. Van pleasantly asked me which single I wanted it for, I said one by Them please, in essence asking yet again, was that ok. He responded. “Sure, which song?”

“Richard Corey”.

“Okay, do you know what was on the B side, because I can’t remember”.

“Yes, it’s ‘Don’t You Know’, at least on my US pressing”, in an effort to make clear that was the song title as opposed to a cheeky question directed to him.

He took the pen, leaned over the table where the blank tab lay, and again asked, so where do I write the song title, to which I pointed at the top of the tab. He scribbled his name, tossed, didn’t throw nor didn’t gently set down, the pen and strolled out of the room leaving his tour manager and I somewhat baffled, to which he rolled his eyes, shrugging his shoulders with a “he’s unpredictable” or something like that.

I was rather pleased though. The stories about his mere true. How fun. I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve gotten to tell people about Van Morrison’s manners.

Jukebox Tab signed by Van Morrison (above).

But they say every cloud has a silver lining. And it applies here.

Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames were Van Morrison’s backing band during this visit. They even were afforded a three song solo spot mid show whereby they performed ‘Yeh, Yeh’, ‘Get Away’ and ‘The Ballad Of Bonnie & Clyde’. Let me tell you, this surprise was an unexpected treat for many in the house besides me. Even before meeting up with Van, I was already plotting to find Georgie Fame later for an autographed tab request, which turned out most simple given he was in the very next dressing room. My only concern being, not having had a clue prior he was part of the lineup, I hadn’t prepared myself with B side info. Nonetheless, I proceed.

Georgie Fame was jovial and kindly, excitedly even, agreed to do the autograph on the spot, all smiles asking which song I’d like. ‘Yeh Yeh’ was honestly in my jukebox then, still is, and man does it sound terrific through those tube amps and speakers by the way. But I admitted, I wasn’t sure about the B side.

“No problem mate. It’s ‘Preach & Teach’, at least in England it was.”

Wow, Georgie Fame actually knows his releases all the way back. And he was right. ‘Preach & Teach’ is was.

A solid fifteen minute conversation began, him happily pouring out all kinds of stories about The Flamingo, The 100 Club, former manager Rik Gunnell and in full circle, his producer Denny Cordell, who by now had found us and had joined in. Once the two of them got going, well it was heaven.

Jukebox Tab signed by Georgie Fame (above).

The Alan Price Set

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

THE AMAZING ALAN PRICE / The Alan Price Set:

Side 1:

Listen: Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear / The Alan Price Set
Simon

Listen: Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo / The Alan Price Set
Hi-Lili,

Side 2:

Listen: I Put A Spell On You / The Alan Price Set
I

Listen: Iechyd-Da / The Alan Price Set
Iechyd-Da

THE AMAZING ALAN PRICE.

Speaking of amazing, it just doesn’t cease to, as they say, amaze me that on June 18, 1966, ‘I Put A Spell On You’ reached #1 at WLOF, Orlando Florida’s Top 40. Even before global warming, Orlando was one hot and sticky town that time of year.

But basically this record always reminds me of cold weather. You see my cousin Anne in London and I used to trade singles in the post. Actually, she stiffed me on a few, and I still regularly remind her of just that on the occasions when we speak. It’s a bit comical these days, but it wasn’t always. Stiffing me on a record swap creates a grudge decades long.

As a result of one of those successful fair exchanges though, I ended up with ‘I Put A Spell On You’ by the newly formed Alan Price Set. He was always my preferred member of The Animals, and so when departing to form his own more jazz influenced outfit, I became anxious for a copy. This was a few months earlier, when Winter still crippled upstate New York. Hence my connection with this record as a soundtrack to that season.

Of equal interest was the B side ‘Iechyd-Da’. Similar to The Graham Bond Organization’s ‘St. James Infirmary’ or anything from John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers’ CRUSADE album, the single featured brass. That added component was then all the rage if you dug deep into the back pages of MELODY MAKER whereby reviews of live shows at Klooks Kleek and The Flamingo resided. Both were London all-nighter venues where my guess is, the air was sickly thick with smoke and the club rammed with liquor fueled servicemen getting belligerent regularly. Nonetheless they were still sharp enough to wander down Oxford Street or the specialty shops in London’s West End the next day buying just these type singles. That’s my dream anyway.

Each 7″ by The Alan Price Set from then forward was a no need to listen prior acquisition. I just wanted every last one upon release. And so when this EP recapped three recent A sides and the aforementioned signature ‘Iechyd-Da’ B side, I lost sleep until it arrived courtesy Anne, my dear sweet partially dependable UK cousin.

Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

Listen: Tell It Like It Is / Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band
Tell

Here we have a song, ‘Tell It Like It Is’, so perfect via it’s most known rendition by Aaron Neville, that it takes a brave contender to even attempt one upping it. These challenges usually scare off all the competition.

I guess the magic in a strong composition can also be it’s greatness when indeed delivered competently. Enter Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band. Making their mark in the UK back when you really had to sing in order to make records, these guys perfected themselves during those all nighters at London’s Flamingo and such. Covers of current US RnB hits being a priority for the many US servicemen in attendance, if history has been accounted accurately. And it shows on ‘Tell It Like It Is’.

Now here’s a song one of those musically vacant white girls blessed with wonderful black voices should cover. Someone send this post to Joss Stone please.

Long John Baldry

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Listen: When The Sun Comes Shining Thru’ / Long John Baldry
When

Long John Baldry, as with Georgie Fame and Alan Price, was another guy from the early 60′s London blues and soul club circuit. Then known as Long John Baldry & The Hoochie Coochie Men, he and his band can be found on numerous schedules from The Flamingo and The Marquee clubs, double billing with several similar up and coming American RnB music enthusiasts, all hell bent on reinterpreting their worshiped heroes.

Like with yesterday’s post, he too took a more commercial route as the 70′s approached, successfully achieving mainstream pop hits in England. A switch of labels in both the UK and US, as well a change in musical style and the recruitment of Tony Macaulay as producer resulted in ‘Let The Heartaches Begin’, which went to #1 in Britain during November of ’67. A year later, ‘When The Sun Comes Shining Thru”, written by Manfred Mann’s lead vocalist Mike D’Abo, went Top 30, although neither caught much traction in America.

Around ’68, Tony Macaulay began cornering many of my favorite records, either as writer, producer and in some cases, both. Current day British pop had become his forte with Scott Walker, Pickettywitch, The Marmalade and The Foundations amongst his successes. I guess he had a sound, and quite frankly, in my world, these two were a perfect pair.

Come ’71 though, Long John Baldry had reverted back to his original boogie woogie style, as he called it. Teaming up with Elton John and Rod Stewart as producers, both struggling newcomers in the early 60′s but by then successful superstars, afforded their old friend some decent US traction. Good for John Baldry of course, but for me, the music wasn’t as much fun nor more memorable than that period anchored by Tony Macaulay and ‘When The Sun Comes Shining Thru”.

The Graham Bond Organization

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Listen: Long Tall Shorty / The Graham Bond Organization
Long Tall Shorty / The Graham Bond Organization

Okay, I have a thing for The Graham Bond Organization. From three thousand miles away, they seemed the underdog’s underdog. Attached to the Flamingo/Marquee/Soho nightlife sleaze fueled by American blues and black music makes only for a romantic validation. Rubbing shoulders and sharing stages with Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Peter B’s Looners and Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band has me, many times, starring into space wishing I could turn back time.

Nice thing about this bunch, they always looks dirty, miserable and most capable of genuinely playing earthy RnB.

I had wanted a demo copy, well actually any copy, of ‘Long Tall Shorty’ for decades. Four going on five to be exact. Just last week, my luck changed. I scored the first one to pop up on eBay for ages. Man, does it sound spectacular, almost worth the wait and certainly worth every penny.

Listen: Long Legged Baby / The Graham Bond Organization
Long Legged Baby / The Graham Bond Organization

Having lived life without this record until now meant deprivation of it’s B side. I have many, basically all the remaining 7′s by the band, and this, given the authenticity of ‘Long Legged Baby’, now equals their US only Ascot single ‘St. James Infirmary’, posted elsewhere on SMRSLT, as tied for being their best.

The grime of late, late night smokey smelly 60′s London, devoid of 24 hour food options, convenient public transport and particularly omissions control standards, is wonderfully captured here, at least how I fantasize it to have been.

Julien Covey & The Machine / Wynder K. Frog / Jimmy Miller

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

juliencoveyuk, Julien Covey & The Machine, Wynder K. Frog, The Spencer Davis Group, The Kinks, Ray Davies, Jimmy Miller, Island, Philips

Listen: A Little Bit Hurt / Julien Covey & The Machine
A Little Bit Hurt / Julien Covey & The Machine

I guess you might call them a supergroup. Julien Covey, real name Phil Kinorra, played with Brian Auger in his early days. As well as fronting the band vocally, he also drummed. Amongst it’s members were John Moreshead on guitar, who played with Johnny Kidd & The Pirates, The Shotgun Express and The Ansley Dunbar Retaliation. In addition, the band included Peter Bardens (Them, Camel), Jim Creagan (Blossom Toes, Family) and Dave Mason at various times. Their lone release, ‘A Little Bit Hurt’, was co-written and produced by Jimmy Miller in ’67, who brought along his freshly used prodcution techniques, successful on The Spencer Davis Group’s ‘Gimme Some Lovin” and applied them to The Kinks ‘You Really Got Me’ riff, to help create this now, Northern soul classic, according the Northern soul classic experts.

wyndergreen,  Wynder K. Frog, Island, Jimmy Miller, Mick Weaver

Listen: Green Door / Wynder K. Frog
Green Door / Wynder K. Frog

Between ’64 – ’67, the sound of the Jimmy Smith/Jimmy McGriff hammond B3 was the prevalent connection that bridged hip rock and soul, bringing the jazzy black Flamingo club stuff (Brian Auger & The Trinity, Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, The Graham Bond Organization) to a more mainstream public, as with The Spencer Davis Group. Jimmy Miller’s production played a part. He worked as house producer for Chris Blackwell then and recorded some successful and some less successful, well commercially for the time that is, singles, like the aforementioned Julien Covey & The Machine track, and ‘Green Door’ by Wynder K. Frog. Although not chart records, they became club hits, and apparently still are to this day, on the Northern circuit, wherever that is.

The Square Set

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

That's What I Want - The Square Set

Listen: That’s What I Want / The Square Set ThatsWhatIWant.mp3

Nice thing about collecting records, you always find something you didn’t know you needed. Thankfully that never ends. This record is an example.

Apparently, pretty sought after by mod jazz collectors, I stumbled on it via an eBay listing. I have a daily search set up for UK A labels. So one day, there it was, and on UK Decca, which is a favorite. Luckily, the dealer posted an mp3 too. I checked it out and was immediately interested. I wasn’t prepared for the closing price though, about $200, and therefore got horribly outbid.

Been searching ever since, about three years, waiting for another copy to be listed. Still don’t know much about these guys. I think they’re from South Africa, and like the B side in a retro psych style, their charm was all about sounding quite out of date in their time.

Although released in ’71, it has a perfect mid 60′s jazz organ sound, not unlike Manfred Mann, if they’d attempted a Flamingo Club all nighter styled single. It’s since become a party staple.

Jimmy Smith

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

JimmySmithPorkChop, Jimmy Smith, Blue Note, Verve

Listen: Pork Chop (Part 1) / Jimmy Smith JimmySmithPorkChop.mp3

It is just not possible to walk away from any Blue Note single titled ‘Pork Chop’. Doesn’t matter who it’s by.

Jimmy Smith, credited for having revolutionized the way Hammond B3′s could be played, set the bar for an early 60′s Mod style that was as much a part of that scene as bulls eye jackets. When attacking it wild, he’s sometimes hard to tell apart from Brian Auger or closely named Jimmy McGriff, but a bunch of his singles play ever so smooth, especially on my Seeburg 222, like ‘Pork Chop’. Want to go straight back and pretend you’re at The Flamingo, or a 60′s dive in Harlem very late – just combine a jukebox with this single – and you are there.

Rosco Gordon

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

RoscoGordonJustUKA, Roscoe Gordon, Stateside, Vee Jay, Flamingo

Listen: Just A Little Bit / Rosco Gordon
Just A Little Bit / Rosco Gordon

Who knew. Rosco Gordon is cited as having created a style of piano playing known as ‘The Rosco Rhythm’, placing the accent on the off beats, which is credited as the foundation of Jamaican bluebeat and reggae music. Besides which, he lived a few blocks away from me – something I also didn’t know until recently. Maybe I stood behind him Pathmark. How great would that have been?

‘Just A Little Bit’ was a well covered song by London’s Flamingo Club regulars. Even Rory Gallagher did a version around the time of TATTOO, which was eventually included as a bonus on the CD reissue.

RoscoGordonWhatUKB, Roscoe Gordon

Listen: What I Wouldn’t Do / Rosco Gordon
What I Wouldn't Do

His New Orleans blues stylings were way more obvious to me than bluebeat though, as on the single’s B side, ‘What I Wouldn’t Do’.

ALAN PRICE SET

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear / Alan Price Set

Listen: Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear / Alan Price Set
Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear / Alan Price Set

His original band, The Alan Price Combo, morphed into The Animals once Eric Burdon joined up. A few years later though, he left forming The Alan Price Set, a six piece that included a few brass players. Weened as many of the Flamingo All-Nighter keyboardists were, on Jimmy Smith and Jimmy McGriff, he and the band’s live show was probably way more blues, rootsy and jazzy than the singles released. All but the first (‘I Put A Spell On You’) were polished up for the charts, but it worked. They had a string of hits, and like Manfred Mann during the period, chose really interesting material to cover. One example being this Randy Newman song. With a great voice like his, these singles just had magic. I remember seeing a B&W clip of this on AMERICAN BANDSTAND back then. God I wish it would turn up on youtube.