Archive for the ‘EMI’ Category

Wilbert Harrison One Man Band / Prince La La / Derek Martin

Monday, December 30th, 2013

THE SUE SOUL BROTHERS / Various Artists:


Listen: Let’s Work Together (Parts 1 & 2) / Wilbert Harrison One Man Band

Side 2:

Listen: She Put The Hurt On Me / Prince La La

Listen: Daddy Rollin’ Stone / Derek Martin

Just check my previous two posts. Not hard to guess, I’ve been picking through the various artists section of my wall shelf.

Weirdly enough, this is usually a head scratching process. I don’t do it often, but every time seems to unearth a multi-artist record, usually an EP, that I’d never really noticed before, suddenly falling into the ‘where on earth did I get this from’ category. And honestly, it happens every single time. One source, the UK weeklies, who for a few years there during the late 80′s/early 90′s were including free EP’s, whether it be NME, Music Week or Melody Maker, with each issue. I religiously grabbed every one and stuck them in that VA section for a rainy day. The entire chunk now being a treasure trove of both obscure and focus tracks.

When the Ensign label got all hot and bothered about the Sue Records catalog, which I’m guessing they could suddenly access via their 1983 Island distribution deal, they issued a series of four song EP’s religiously honoring the labels iconic history. Some were single artist compilation EP’s by Ike & Tina Turner or Inez & Charlie Foxx. Others were theme centric: SUE INSTRUMENTALS, THE SUE SOUL SISTERS and this, the latter’s partner, THE SUE SOUL BROTHERS. I played all three in the past few hours and basically did a blindfold drill to choose today’s 31 Days Of December – All EP’s post.

THE SUE SOUL BROTHERS, most likely by design, builds around much covered songs from Sue’s UK catalog. And there were many songs to choose from here, not forgetting, the Sue UK label issued the American Sue releases along with various blues and RnB singles from small and indie US labels. Initially, Juggy Murray, who owned Sue in the US was reportedly furious with Chris Blackwell and Guy Stevens, the day to day guy at Island/Sue in London. Apparently, neither had cleared the idea of picking up product from other US companies and slapping a Sue label on it for the UK.

As a result, other than the bothersome bad blood, Sue’s British catalog and discography rivaled the majors like Decca’s, who bolstered their output and image by repping Atlantic, Monument, Tribe, RCA, Coral and others in Britain. Island became the little indie that could, even harder in the 60′s, when swimming against the tide of Decca, CBS, EMI and Pye was near impossible.

And so, the team at Ensign picked some solid originals here that went on to become widely popular as covers. Loads of bands, including The Who and John’s Children released Derek Martin’s ‘Daddy Rollin’ Stone’ during the Mod era.

Canned Heat, blues experts themselves, took Wilbert Harrison’s ‘Let’s Work Together’ Top 40 in 1970, delaying their version to give the original a chance to sell and reach #32 on BILLBOARD. In a loose full circle chain of events, John Mayall chose to record Wilbert Harrison’s ‘Let’s Work Together’ for his fantastic, and I do mean fantastic, Island album, A SENSE OF PLACE from 1990.

John Leyton

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Listen: Johnny Remember Me / John Leyton

Nothing quite like a Geoff Goddard written, Joe Meek produced early 60′s all black and white and damp and drizzly track on a cold November night.


Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Listen: Expo 2000 (Kling Klang Radio Mix 2002) / Kraftwerk
Expo 2000 (Kling Klang Radio Mix 2002) / Kraftwerk

Commissioned to write the theme song for Expo 2000, at least that’s my educated guess, this one snuck out in December ’99. Well in Germany that is, then the rest of Europe one month later, peaking at #27 in the British singles chart. Although a decent showing, no one ever seems to mention ‘Expo 2000′ much, despite, at the time, being Kraftwerk’s first commercial recording of new, original music since the release of ELECTRIC CAFE in ’86.

They performed ‘Expo 2000′ at Hammerstein Ballroom on their last New York trip, June ’05, a show never to be forgotten.

When released, EMI were smart enough to accompany the commercial version with numerous promotional 12″ and cd pressings, sprawling many remixes and edits. The UK company, as with most British labels, must have felt obligated to couple two of them for the dj only 7″ pictured above.

I almost blacked out when hearing about the 45 for the first time, as if all the other promo configurations weren’t enough to send any sane human over the edge.

Thanks to Merck Mercuriadis, a small box turned up at the Sony offices for me with all the bits. Fond memories still linger of the moment I unwrapped that package.

Roy Wood’s Helicopters

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Listen: Green Glass Windows / Roy Wood’s Helicopters

Okay, I’d agree, there were some patches there when Roy Wood lost his way fashion-wise. Maybe this was one (’81). Unlike his early days with The Move and their pastel colored suits or his inventing multi colored hair decades before the rest of the world caught up (’73) in Wizzard, the short lived Roy Wood’s Helicopters were visually very out of step. And most likely, musically as well.

But to the Roy Wood addict, he could, can, nor ever will, do any wrong. All is forgiven, especially when he kept and keeps churning out dependable singles like ‘Green Glass Windows’.

I don’t recall any love or hate, even indifference to this one when issued. Well, that’s not true. Roy Wood was beginning to ascend the legend curve around this time. Regardless of current trend, he was respected and if you didn’t love his output, seemed most people just kept it to themselves.

Roger and I played this on our Import/Export show for a few months straight. I bet we were the only DJ’s on any major commercial US rock station to do so. We may have been the only guys in all of America to play ‘Green Glass Windows’ ever, bar possibly Rodney Bingenheimer.

Largely forgotten and under appreciated, this is one of Roy Wood’s greats. Fact.

Cockney Rebel

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Listen: Mr. Soft / Cockney Rebel

Early on, Cockney Rebel were inconveniently caught somewhere between glam and suave Roxy Music, despite being nothing near suave visually. A US slot supporting for The Kinks on their SCHOOLBOYS IN DISGRACE tour, and getting a bit of ‘Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)’ radio play, didn’t change their US fortunes much, well, not at all.

This was a time when The Kinks were struggling, on the tail end of their has-been to legend penance. They could hardly help themselves, let alone Cockney Rebel.

We saw the show at SUNY Brockport, in the gym. Despite being permanently affixed to stage edge, drooling for The Kinks to transcend us into heaven, every last pal in all directions loved Cockney Rebel’s set. The band seemed genuinely surprised.

‘Mr. Soft’ never saw a US 7″ release, despite EMI giving them a few serious gos with several tracks. Not that such a British centric tune would have changed their fortunes in America. Therefore acquiring a UK pressing needs be a must for every responsible citizen.

Despite nary a mention that I can recall, it seems blaringly obvious Blur honored this band’s many ideas. Good choice fellows.

T. Rex

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Listen: I Love To Boogie / T. Rex
I Love To Boogie / T. Rex

Everyone loves Marc Bolan. If you don’t, then you are not being honest with yourself. He made so many great records, never stopped trying in the early rejection years, and became a advocator for punk as it overtook glam in the later years. He didn’t get into that us-against-them frame of mind. Instead, he found love and warmth for the new voice of youth. He was never going to grow old. Did any of his peers invite The Damned on tour? We all know the answer.

‘I Love To Boogie’ was called throwaway by singles critics in the weekly UK music press. But critics tend to try dragging you into their poor, frustrated and unpleasant misery….if you let them.

‘I Love To Boogie’ has stood the test of time. It’s simplicity now a greater power than the most produced, orchestrated and probably commercially more successful tracks at the time by the likes of, say, Queen, The Electric Light Orchestra and Toto too.

Just as with Prince’s ‘Sign Of The Times’ or ‘Kiss’, less is more. Way, way more.

Peter Tosh

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Listen: Johnny B. Goode / Peter Tosh
Johnny B. Goode / Peter Tosh

Those first few years of MTV, when it was a free for all, the network really aired a bunch of unable-to-get-radio-play songs/acts. The Ramones’ ‘Rock N Roll High School’ and Joan Armatrading’s ‘(I Love It When You) Call Me Names’ come to mind.

EMI had made a clearly inexpensive clip for Peter Tosh’s ‘Johnny B. Goode’, looking typically washed out just like everything from Jamaica was then. Even THE HARDER THEY COME and ROCKERS films were of poor grainy quality with minimal color saturation. MTV apparently didn’t care, because this was played a lot.

Despite the rather obvious cover choice which kind of kept a tradition of reggae-ing up US pop, soul and rock hits, it was Peter Tosh.

You didn’t want to miss a Peter Tosh show in those days, with Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare thundering along behind him on stage. He was always the real deal. Had Steel Pulse or Inner Circle chosen this one, we’d have all dismissed it on arrival, but not when is was the bush doctor.

Corinne loved this track, and I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard it as a result. Morning, noon and night. She’d definitely go with the extended 12″ version. Me, I’m loyal to the 7.


Friday, July 30th, 2010

Listen: Magic / Pilot Pilot.mp3

Even in the 70′s, nobody wanted 7″ singles. Not the employees at Discount Records on the Syracuse University campus, where I worked that is. It was all about albums.

Excellent. That meant when the salesmen from the various labels made their weekly rounds, I had zero competition rifling through their trunks for the latest releases.

I had seen this one enter the UK charts, and a week or so later, landed a copy from the local Capital rep. My eyes bulged later that night after the first spin. This was flawless. I moaned for months about it’s lack of US airplay, when slowly but surely, ‘Magic’ actually gained ground, eventually charting, then peaking at #5 on Billboard’s Top 100, even higher than it’s UK #11. Now that’s a first.

Listen: Just A Smile / Pilot PilotJustASmile.mp3

Having begun as former Bay City Rollers, most of Pilot ended up joining The Alan Parsons Project – not surprising given he himself produced all their recordings. A later single, their last UK chart entry, should have made it higher than #31.

Something about Pilot’s sound and songwriting that pointed towards The Buggles in a big way. Anyone else notice that?

Graham Coxon

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Listen: Freakin’ Out / Graham Coxon GrahamFreakin.mp3

I always thought Graham Coxon played more like Jimi Hendrix than anyone, even Robin Trower, on Blur’s ‘There’s No Other Way’. I don’t think he repeated the sound though – not sure as I never listened to the band’s albums.

Back in the day, although it does seem odd to put it that way but….back in the day when Jo Whiley held the morning shift on BBC Radio 1 – at the time, they really cranked alternative rock stuff, this got played a lot. It became a favorite.

I’d been meaning to play it for ages, but only just stumbled on this unfiled copy. Still sounds pretty great, a touch more on the hard rock guitar side than I recall, but a fave nonetheless.

LCD SoundSystem

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Listen: Movement / LCD Soundsystem LCDMovement.mp3

2004 was the year when ‘Movement’ turned some sort of corner between me and LCD. I had remembered ‘Losing My Edge’ from ’01, really loved it for a minute, but was mostly annoyed that I didn’t have the 7″. Turns out I did, as it was recently rescued from one of the never ending ‘Need To Be Filed’ boxes.

But ‘Movement’ was my first real favorite by James and his posse. Good and noisy, a bit tuneless, beautiful chaos, as The Psychedelic Furs were once described. Always did appreciate those occasional Mark E. Smith vocal moments too.

Listen: Daft Punk Is Playing At My House / LCD Soundsystem LCDDaftPunk.mp3

If ‘Daft Punk Is Playing At My House’ had been LCD Soundsystem’s debut, I’d have been worried. Well not really, but they should’ve been. As it turns out, the band were five years into their career, so the apparent novelty was absolutely tolerable. Let’s face it – the idea is good, it’s fun. I still play it often.

James Murphy gives Suicide props on stage, mentioning both Alan and Marty’s genius. Pretty accurate so far, and then he throws in a Scott Walker shout out. If the band weren’t so good live and established, I’d be suspicious of it being politically correct name checking to gain traction. My belief is it’s not. An honorable man, that James Murphy certainly appears to be, and one I’d invite over to play singles if the moment ever presented itself.

Hot Chip / Kool Chip

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

HotChipOver, Hot Chip, EMI

Listen: Over & Over (Maida Vale Session Version) / Hot Chip HotChipOverBBC.mp3

Smart ass as it may appear to be, the two act’s names sound pretty good together, don’t you think? I’ve covered Hot Chip before, given that ‘Ready For The Floor’ was tied with Sparks ‘Good Morning’ as favorite single of the year in ’08. Nothing could touch either of them. I still go through bouts of iPod repeats with both from time to time.

But there’s nothing like ‘Over & Over’ live. It’s the anthem everybody knows, and I’ve felt the floor bounce at more than one Webster Hall show during it, which always is slightly unsettling.

I hadn’t even realized I owned this, sorry, I meant that I hadn’t realized until today that it’s not the album edit, but instead from a BBC session. As opposed to the studio version, this one hints at the high point ‘Over & Over’ still brings to every Hot Chip show.

KoolChip, Kool Chip, 4th & Broadway

Listen: Jazz It Up (Vocal) / Kool Chip KoolChip.mp3

According to the label copy, either Kool Chip or ‘Jazz It Up’ was the Mellow Sound of Summer ’87. I don’t quite recall it that way. In fact, despite working for the label, I know nothing about Kool Chip. Nice job guys.

I tried to Wikipedia him and got: did you mean KOOL WHIP?

Whatever, I always kinda liked this one. It indeed is linked to ’87 given the dated sound but it’s certainly nice to have a personal reminder of what a fun summer I had.


Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

To Know You Is To Love You / Marc Bolan & Gloria Jones

To Know You Is To Love You / Marc Bolan & Gloria Jones insert

Listen: To Know You Is To Love You / Marc Bolan & Gloria Jones 01 To Know You Is To Love You 1.mp3

Beautiful footage of them performing it on SUPERSONIC:

Hot Chip

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

Ready for the Floor / Hot Chip

Listen: Ready For The Floor / Hot Chip Hot Chip - Ready For The Floor.mp3

If you know me, then your are aware of two things. I loathe coloured vinyl and love Hot Chip. I have seen every New York show the band has played, starting with their opening slot at the now closed Rothko for Maximo Park (steer clear). That night, they got by on very little equipment (it seemed like a bunch of lap tops set up on ironing boards) with only great songs and happy vibes. They are a strange looking bunch, so strange that I think it’s part of the appeal. A few tours ago, they had a live drummer at Webster Hall. It was thunderous. The peak of their percussive brilliance. This past April, they suddenly had several guitars in the mix, at one point three being played simultaneously. Stop guys. Step back please. Don’t do the guitar thing – it reeks of trying to make it in America, even if that isn’t the purpose. But Hot Chip live still pretty much dwarf the competition and I will gladly issue them an out of jail free card on the guitar front. Despite most of their 7″ singles being released on coloured vinyl, I need them all. At least some of them are pretty, tangerines and pinks. The sleeves are always great. ‘Ready For The Floor’ is a big big big favorite. It was the only song on my shuffle for about six weeks. I didn’t need anything else. I’ve clocked in about 400 plays of it. Classic.