Archive for the ‘The Tremeloes’ Category

The Tremeloes

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Listen: Helule Helule / The Tremeloes
Helule

The fifth single in a multi year run of pretty flawless releases that lasted through the early 70′s. By then, The Tremeloes could always be depended on to come up with one or two undeniables: ‘Me And My Life’, ‘(Call Me) Number One‘.

Due to those high charting records, the occasional “too pop” comment got attached to this band quite unfairly. But ‘Helule Helule’ particularly proved them serious players as well as hit makers. This sounded so good on the air that springtime when released. I recall hearing it a lot for a few weeks, around the same time as The Small Faces’ ‘Lazy Sunday’ and Grapefruit’s ‘Elevator’ were out. The record seemed to be a payola casualty, lack of, basically. Still baffling how the powerhouse of Epic Records let this band dwindle off the airwaves in the US. Crime.

The Merry-Go-Round

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Listen: Live / The Merry-Go-Round
Live

I think summer ’67 was the sunniest ever. I remember it like yesterday, and can still feel the angst of wanting every last record that was being released. I was insatiable, riding my bike daily, many times twenty miles each way on the back country roads either between Canastota and Oneida, or into Syracuse. Every night as I lay in bed with the transistor under my pillow, listening to AM broadcasts from far away places in the Midwest or way up into the Northeast via Boston or Maine, I’d be scheming out tomorrow’s plan of where to go, looking for, asking for records.

Back then, at dusk, AM stations were required to switch from broad, local signals, to limited radius and directional. This meant those directional beams would make local broadcasts from hundreds and hundreds of miles away sound down the street. And with many of the looser US Top 40′s playing the latest underground and psychedelic releases overnight, new discoveries became a daily occurrence. Whether it be Country Joe & The Fish, The Pink Floyd, Moby Grape, The Move, The Magic Mushrooms, Tim Hardin, The Lewis & Clark Expedition, The Flowerpot Men or The Peanut Butter Conspiracy, I was hearing it all and my want list was endless.

So off I’d go, to the various shops, blagging promo records, last week’s copies of BILLBOARD, CASHBOX and RECORD WORLD, music surveys from the local Top 40′s, inventory check lists the distributors would leave with the store buyers, I hoarded them all.

Wednesdays were when the national record label reps would hit the Syracuse stations promoting their wares. None of my friends dared join me, so I’d wait alone on my bike in the parking lots for them to pull up, and got good at talking singles out of these guys, handing my high school newspaper record reviews to them in exchange for a dig through their latest releases. I’ll tell you truthfully, I’ve tried just about every drug out there, but never have I found a high near the one a free for all through a promotion man’s trunk full of 1967 promo 45′s could provide.

What became known as sunshine pop surfaced amongst the sub genres and regional music scenes during that summer. God, I hated the term and generally cringe when having to admit liking music tagged as such. Along with The Third Rail, Sagittarius, Eternity’s Children, Colours and The Sunshine Company, I guess The Merry-Go-Round’s ‘Live’ inhabited a slot. Their obvious British looking haircuts caught my eye, and when ‘Live’ started to pick up a lot of daytime play quickly, I was hooked. Critics claim a similarity to The Beatles, I don’t hear it. I preferred to associate them closer to The Hollies or The Tremeloes, they certainly looked the part.

‘Live’ almost made it nationally, but stalled just short of Top 50, which was ultimately a real shame.

You know those songs that take you right back? This is one for me.

The Tremeloes

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Listen: (Call Me) Number One / The Tremeloes TremeloesCallMe.mp3

Never liked Liverpool bands. No, that’s wrong. Never liked Merseybeat. I may be mixing up adjectives here though. Sorry Liverpool. Most of The Swinging Blues Jeans singles are good, particularly ‘Don’t Make Me Over’ and ‘Rumours, Gossip, Words Untrue’. They were Merseybeat, I guess. And if The Applejacks or The Cryin’ Shames fall into Merseybeat, then they shouldn’t.

A band that did get that Merseybeat tag were Brian Poole & The Tremeloes. Never followed them, yet once The Tremeloes lost Brian Poole, things got way more updated in keeping with the times. They co-existed alongside the formula pop The Love Affair and The Marmalade, which was fine by me.

It was surprising to hear their first few singles all over the US airwaves and see them in the charts. As time went by (’68 – ’70), the quality of releases stayed high, but the US airplay didn’t. Without reason or logic, The Tremeloes were forced into my ‘I’m pissed off these bands don’t get radio play’ column.

I could name a few of their singles that could have been, should have been. And I’m surprised Epic didn’t use their muscle to turn the momentum from downward to upward. But they didn’t.

‘(Call Me) Number One’ should have been just that. Great Mike Smith production and when the song delivered one more hook than most other songs can muster, another freaking one swings round at you. Try counting them yourself.

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.