Archive for the ‘The Zombies’ Category

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

DDDBMTZabadakUSA, Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick & Tich, Imperial

Zabadak / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich

Listen: Zabadak / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich
Zabadak

In honor of yet another year owning ‘Zabadak’, one of my all time favorite singles by an all time favorite band, I’m continuing my annual tradition of reposting that original entry about the single’s history from December 28, 2008 at SO MANY RECORDS SO LITTLE TIME.

Footnote: In the original post linked above, I mention the single’s strong airplay at the time. Click here after reading the post to check out some of the US Top 40 stations that played and charted the record. This link organizes the airplay by date, and note there are 6 pages of station listings viewable. See upper right corner to scroll though all 6.

The Birds

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Listen: No Good Without You Baby / The Birds
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The Birds, like their leader Ronnie Wood, seemed forever destined to second tier, always in supporting roles. Yet years later, their lack of first division ideas wonderfully tarnished them with a rather perfect time period sound, ideally suited for the musical backdrop of some British beat boom documentary. But after all, they were on Decca, which in hindsight is regarded as one of the holy grail UK labels for the genre.

To many, Decca has forever been saddled as the company that passed on The Beatles. I however say that’s only one of their greatest achievements. Signing The Rolling Stones being the other. Whether by design or accident, it certainly led them down a path that attracted Them, The Moody Blues, The Graham Bond Organization, The Zombies, The Beazers, The Artwoods, The Small Faces, The Nashville Teens, Zoot Money, The Move and other such hard up heroes, of which The Birds were included.

Several years back, while in London for work, I had conveniently scheduled my trip around The Olympia Record Fair. Getting there somewhat early, but not when doors opened, the first dealer I encountered, off to the left most side of the venue, was not surprisingly unbothered by any customers. His make shift boxes of 7′s unattractively assembled across his table, with as many sloppy boxes below, about two dozen in all. No wall hangings highlighting high end items, no colorful signs, no sizzle of any kind. Everything was either £1, £3 or £5.

Having decided to systematically cover the entire event, I began with this fellow, technically the first dealer far left, with every intention of moving right across the entire lot to the other side. Despite his unkept presentation, I reminded myself there was a plan and not to abandon it by skipping his table, before even starting.

Barely through the first box, I realized it’s entire contents were Decca or Decca distributed A Labels. Temporarily skipping to the second and discovering it to be the same, I asked him about his wares, inquiring was it coincidence they were all Decca’s. Turns out he didn’t regularly sell at the fairs, pretty obvious from the shabby boxes alone, but had stumbled on a retired Decca employee with an attic full of records from his 60′s heyday, and here they all were.

Well, I nearly blacked out. Luckily, a friend had come along with me, and immediately had the defensive sense to inform any other customers wandering up that the entire table was being sold. This gave me time to plow through and grab pretty much all of them. In hindsight, I still stress about leaving Les Reed or Ted Heath type singles behind, and wonder constantly if there was something I’d missed.

The unexpected discovery was one of life’s greatest moments, and a reminder to never judge a book by it’s cover. Amongst the many, many, many incredible purchases that day at that table: ‘No Good Without You Baby’ as well the other two Decca singles from The Birds.

The London Olympia Record Fair, which happens regularly, is in fact this weekend. Never ever pass it up.

The Move

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

Night Of Fear / The Move

Listen: Night Of Fear / The Move
Night

I think I first noticed The Move in the UK charts section of BILLBOARD. In the 60′s, they used to print Hits Of The World over one page, Top 10′s from all the countries, but always a Top 30 or 50 from the UK. This was of course, during the tail end of the British Invasion, December ’66 to be exact. My local shop, Smith’s Records, in Oneida NY, would save their week old BILLBOARD for me, and on Fridays, when my Mom & Dad would do their shopping, they’d drop me at Smith’s. I’d get to play the new releases in their listening booth and read BILLBOARD at the counter. Basically studying it, especially the Bubbling Under The Hot 100 section. That was always a goldmine for me, ever changing, probably bought mentions by the labels of their new records, all hoping to help them jump into the proper Hot 100 chart. Missing a week meant you might not be aware something was out. Then later, back home with last week’s issue, I’d really comb it over for details.

I still remember seeing ‘Night Of Fear’ by The Move progressing #17 to #2 up that British chart. At this point I had watched it since debuting at #42 the previous week. The Move was simply the best name for a band ever. I needed to hear this group, and see photos, which luckily, I quickly did. Both their sound and look represented the black and white, rainy England that we heard about as kids, an exotic place with the greatest bands, a new perfect one emerging almost weekly.

My loyalty to The Move was blind, only lately can I admit by ’69, they went downhill slowly but steadily, eventually bringing Jeff Lynne in to grind them to a Beatles influenced halt. But their beginning was never to be repeated for me. A week or so later, Dick Clark played the single on his weekly AMERICAN BANDSTAND Rate A Record, two song competition. I have no recollection of the other single played, or which came out on top, but I still have my reel to reel recording of ‘Night Of Fear’ off the TV. I dove for the red record button, mike and recorder permanently positioned by my bedroom TV set. Technically I was a criminal then, that era’s version of file sharing I suppose. I listened to that tape hundreds of times.

You couldn’t buy ‘Night Of Fear’ anywhere. London, Deram’s parent company, clearly wasn’t promoting or payola-ing it at radio and hence the one stops weren’t inclined to stock it. In small town America, the stores all bought from one-stops, so they primarily sold the hits.

It always pissed me off when I’d read in the Melody Maker back then that The Move weren’t big in The States. They weren’t played. Kids here didn’t get to decide.

So my record company letter writing continued. Someone at London in NY had a deal with me, I’d send him $1.50 per record, which was extortion in those days but he’d send whatever I needed. He was basically selling promos through the mail, genius. Worked for both of us. The stuff I bought off this fellow: The Cryin’ Shames, The Attack, The Syn, World Of Oz, The Honeybus, non-hits by Them, The Small Faces, Unit 4 + 2, The Zombies. Even then I knew I should get extras, but I didn’t have the cash. On this particular occasion he sent me the stock copy above of ‘Night Of Fear’, not easily found then or now.

Over the years, I’ve acquired many copies, US and UK. The Dutch picture sleeve above, Roy Wood signed when I got to meet him during Wizzard’s first and only US tour. Then there was the time ten or so years ago, somewhere on Long Island where Duane and I were garage sale-ing very early one Saturday morning. Walking up the driveway I see a pile of singles on a table. The top one is on Deram. Probably White Plains or Procol Harum I think to myself, but it was ‘Night Of Fear’. I froze. I said, “Duane you need to buy this”. I just couldn’t handle the high.

Denny Cordell produced this perfect record. The mp3 post is from my overplayed original $1.50/extortion copy.

The Move 1966

The original lineup of The Move, who played on ‘Night Of Fear’, are pictured above. If there’s a better shot of a band anywhere on earth, go right ahead and send it to me.

The above is a repost, originally from June 8, 2008.

The Zombies

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Listen: I Love You / The Zombies
I

‘Whenever You’re Ready’, one of three non-hit followups to ‘Tell Her No’ in ’65, helped fuel a three year downward spiral for The Zombies, reaching only #110 on BILLBOARD’s Bubbling Under The Hot 100 chart. I wonder what might have happened if it’s flip, the Valentine’s Day staple, ‘I Love You’, had been issued as the A side instead. Considering the song’s strength, and ultimate success when covered by People, providing the one hit wonders with a massive Top 40 placement, #14 during an eighteen week chart run in ’68, must bug the hell out of The Zombies to this day. Who wouldn’t have preferred they had taken home that prize instead?

Nothing has ever challenged Colin Blunstone’s voice. By ’69, The Zombies ODESSEY AND ORACLE, now rightfully regarded as one of the most important albums of all time, was the ultimate spotlight for his vocal power and thankfully gave them the multi platinum achievement they deserved. Justice for a change.

The Beazers

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Listen: Blue Beat / The Beazers BeazersBlueBeat.mp3

What it must have been like. Probably more glamorous as a fantasy than in actual reality. Like life on the chitlin circuit, or what this song has always captured for me: the Beat Group circuit, if I may. English touring combos, most with an undeservingly flop single or two out, driving up and down the UK in nasty, smelly, unheated vans, getting paid squat, existing on grease drenched, vile motorway fry-ups to compliment their dirty clothes, hair and fingernails…check the photo on the back cover of Decca’s compilation HARD UP HEROES to capture the essence. Why The Beazers’ ‘Blue Beat’, a Decca master, wasn’t included on that comp baffles me. It’s about my only criticism though, a superb, must have collection and package.

A slightly eerie and haunting soundtrack to that predominantly regretful lifestyle, ‘Blue Beat’ also marks one of Chris Farlowe’s earliest recordings, actually his third release, and second for Decca. Apparently recorded to cash in on the brief bluebeat movement, which seems to have resurfaced more times than we can all count, it’s a pretty fine record, faux ska guitar pattern and all.

About ten years back, armed with a page of blank jukebox tabs, I approached Alan Price for a signature at an after party for the 60′s Extravaganza show featuring his band, The Alan Price Set, plus The Zombies, Manfred Mann and Chris Farlowe at The Royal Albert Hall. Having done his jukebox tab duty with ‘Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear’, he was only too happy to volunteer Chris Farlowe sign one as well. Shouting across the room for him to come quick, our man B lined my way.

Upon arrival, Alan Price proclaims, “Chris, you have to do this, it’s a top idea”.

Baffled, Chris Farlowe obliged. Pretty handy that these guys were from a generation that would, sometimes catastrophically, sign anything, hence here was my chance:

Above: Jukebox Tab signed by Chris Farlowe

The Hullaballoos

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

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hullimgonnaps

Listen: I’m Gonna Love You Too / The Hullaballoos
HullaballoosGonna.mp3

Do not mistake this British band as the resident pop group on the US HULLABALOO show from ’65 – ’66. They did appear, six times to be exact, but were only coincidentally sharing a similar name. Admittedly their second album, THE HULLABALLOOS ON HULLABALOO would confuse even the most attentive. Alas, the band’s name was indeed spelled differently than the program’s. So no – they were not the house band.

As with just about every group in those days, we saw their pictures way before getting to hear the music. I was too young to be aware of all the Buddy Holly similarities they shared, so to me, they were completely original. I vividly remember seeing the sleeve to ‘I’m Gonna Love You Too’ in a local shop and being instantly smitten. Bleach blond, all four – this was even more radical than The Pretty Things, who had the longest hair yet. Hullaballoos’ drummer Harry rivaled any member of The Pretty Things to date, not only in hair length but color too, hence out doing them in my book. My parents were aghast to find I planned to bleach my hair as well. It never happened – not yet that is.

Despite endless stories of infamous thievery directed toward Roulette Records, they did get their singles distributed and heard. ‘I’m Gonna Love You Too’ got played a bunch initially.

hulldidusa
hulldidps

Listen: Did You Ever / The Hullaballoos
HullaballooosDidYouEver.mp3

The followup, ‘Did You Ever’ was played slightly less, but performed more than any other song on US television.

hulllearningusa
hulllearningps

Listen: Learning The Game / The Hullaballoos
HullaballoosLearning.mp3

Unfortunately, ‘Learning The Game’, my favorite of the four, was not played at all in my hometown. The single made it to the Bubbling Under Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at #121 during a short two week run, so some play obviously was achieved. Once I got my copy, I cherished it all the more.

hullwontusa
hullwontps

Listen: I Won’t Turn Away Now / The Hullaballoos
HullaballoosWontTurn.mp3

The very hard to get fourth single and sleeve, ‘I Won’t Turn Away Now’ is classic British beat. Little Steven played The Hullaballoos recently. I was in the car and thought, justice after all these years. God bless Sirius.

In the early 80′s, when I started working at Elektra, the lure of free phone calls to the UK were too much to pass up. I called Hull directory information, and secured two of the four Hullaballoos’ phone numbers. Ultimately, I only spoke with Andrew Woonton. Initially our conversation proceeded as follows:

“Hi is this Andrew Woonton?”

“Yes, who’s calling?”

“My name is Kevin, from Elektra Records in New York and I was wondering, were you once a member of The Hullaballoos?”

“Uuuuuum, aaaaah, yes why?”

I launched into being a fan, but later in the conversation he revealed his initial hesitation. Turns out he was still getting calls from creditors wanting payment for hotels, vehicles and other expenses obligated some 20 years prior by Roulette on behalf of The Hullaballoos.

Did this band get what they deserved in any way. No. In fact, their youtube footage recently had the audio removed, apparently by the song publishers. Come on, cut these guys a break.

And I’m still miffed at not seeing the shows they shared with The Zombies and The Nashville Teens back in ’65 at the Brooklyn Paramount.

Below my postcard from their fan club:

hullaballoospostcard

The Zombies

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

zombiesfeelsogood, The Zombies, Parrot, Decca, The Nashville Teens, The Hullaballoos, Colin Blunstone, Rod Argent

zombiesfeelsogoodb, The Zombies, Parrot, Decca, The Nashville Teens, The Hullaballoos, Colin Blunstone, Rod Argent

Listen: You Make Me Feel So Good / The Zombies ZombiesGood.mp3

The fact that my blog is pushing the two year mark, and I’ve yet to write about The Zombies is pathetic. Thought about it often, so in case I croak, now I’ll rest easier.

Luckily much praise and appreciation, despite years of delay, has been afforded this band – to the point whereby they can tour the world consistently and get the admiration for ODESSEY AND ORACLE they deserve.

‘You Make Me Feel So Good’, the B side to ‘She’s Not There’, may indeed be the first seed planted that years later would spawn androgynous 70′s rock and 90′s Britpop, who can say. But the swish and swagger in Colin Blunstone’s delivery is not deniable. At the end of the day, it was basically his normal vocal styling and not too much needed to be read into it. There’s something about the combination of his voice and Rod Argent’s hollow electric keyboard tones that are as magical as Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek’s.

In ’65, The Zombies played The Brooklyn Fox Theater with The Nashville Teens and The Hullaballoos. Way too young to even know it was happening, my parents lucked out, because I would have tortured them into taking me.

zombiesindicationusa, The Zombies, Parrot, Decca, The Nashville Teens, The Hullaballoos, Colin Blunstone, Rod Argent

zombiesindication,  The Zombies, Parrot, Decca, The Nashville Teens, The Hullaballoos, Colin Blunstone, Rod Argent

Listen: Indication / The Zombies ZombiesIndication.mp3

Of their several overlooked later Parrot / Decca singles, ‘Indication’ was my favorite, an indeed hard call to make. Subsequent anthologies and reissues all use the longer, stereo take with an extended keyboard solo at the end. This US mono 7″ version (streamed above), I think, works best.
ZombiesJukebox, Jukebox Tab, The Zombies, Colin Blunstone

Above: Jukebox Tab signed by Colin Blunstone

The Mindbenders

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

mindbendersgroovyusa, The Mindbenders, Fontana, 10CC, Wayne Fontana

Listen: A Groovy Kind Of Love / The Mindbenders
A

Listening to BBC2 a few weeks back, I was loving that ‘Days’ by The Kinks just normally got a spin. Immediately followed by The Mindbenders ‘A Groovy Kind Of Love’, I realized once again, England was always a natural habitat for me. Had I been a native, I could’ve simply turned on the radio in the car for musical bliss.

Despite ‘A Groovy Kind Of Love’ becoming a massive mainstream hit, reaching #2 in both the US and England, it still sounds freaking great every time. Talk about an intro. I was on the phone with Duane when the above Kinks/Mindbenders segue went down and had to take a breather for a brief moment as it happened.

 The Mindbenders, Fontana, 10CC, Wayne Fontana, Lulu, To Sir With Love, Graham Gouldman

Listen: : Ashes To Ashes / The Mindbenders
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Beginning with ‘Ashes To Ashes’, The Mindbenders’ success began an unfair linear downward erosion, with each single being played less and achieving lower and lower chart numbers each time, then no chart placings at all. The trajectory was softer in the UK, but more severe here, with this single being the big hit’s followup and doubling as The Mindbenders’ last US chart entry (#44. ’66). It worked out fine in the end for the fellows. Basically, they turned into 10cc.

mindbenderswantherusa,  The Mindbenders, Fontana, 10CC, Wayne Fontana, Lulu, To Sir With Love, Graham Gouldman

Listen: : I Want Her, She Wants Me / The Mindbenders
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Most obscure is their US pressing of ‘I Want Her, She Wants Me’, Rod Argent’s’ song from The Zombies’ ODDYSSEY AND ORACLE. They deserve an A+ for cover choice, this version being as equally necessary to a full, healthy life as the original. Admittedly, the band suffer from the lack of Colin Blunstone’s angelic voice on this one, a set back not only for The Mindbenders, as well, for every other musical combo till the end of time.

mindbendersharderusa,  The Mindbenders, Fontana, 10CC, Wayne Fontana, Lulu, To Sir With Love, Graham Gouldman

Listen: : It’s Getting Harder All The Time / The Mindbenders
MindbendersHarder.mp3

mindbendersoff,  The Mindbenders, Fontana, 10CC, Wayne Fontana, Lulu, To Sir With Love, Graham Gouldman

Listen: : Off And Running / The Mindbenders
Off

They landed a two song technicolor spot in the classic TO SIR WITH LOVE film, performing ‘It’s Getting Harder All The Time’ and ‘Off And Running’. But despite the movie’s success, and character lead, Lulu, achieving her US #1 as a result, unbelievably it did The Mindbenders zero good in ressurecting their US presence.

Almost cookie cutter in beat group song perfection, Fontana US issued both tracks as a double A side. Promos occasionally turn up, but stock copies are very thin on the ground. Despite my constant search through the years for such a pressing, I only found one a recently, pictured above.

Freddy Cannon / Where The Action Is

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

freddycannonaction, Freddy Cannon, Where The Action Is, Dick Clark, American Bandstand

Listen: Where The Action Is / Freddy Cannon FreddyCannonAction.mp3

Let’s face it. The theme song to ABC’s syndicated daily pop show, WHERE THE ACTION IS, titled ‘Action’ by Freddy Cannon, was so good, even The Ramones could have covered it.

I lived for WHERE THE ACTION IS and saw many a great act each day after school. Our local Syracuse affiliate, WSYR-TV, was wishy-washy, and many times pre-empted it with other things. Looking over the complete, chronological list of episodes and guests, I’ve only just discovered missing Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours, The Action and Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick & Tich for just that reason. Indeed, I’m a bit crushed having now discovered these atrocities. Scumbags.

But seeing an LA centric act almost daily, given they were basically down the street from the studios, must have been daily bliss. To name a few: The Guillteens, The Ikettes with and without Ike & Tina Turner, The Vejtables, The Leaves, The Seeds, Gary & The Hornets, Love, Dino Desi & Billy, The Buffalo Springfield, Jan & Dean.

Not to mention the RnB stuff: Martha & The Vandellas, Doris Troy, The Royalettes, Mary Wells, Brenda Holloway, The Toys, Maxine Brown, Kim Weston, Carla Thomas, Billy Stewart, Bobby Hebb, Alvin Cash & The Crawlers or Felice Taylor. I still replay The Vibrations doing ‘My Girl Sloopy’ vividly in my memory.

Then there were the black and white segments from England, a real high for we Anglophiles: The Small Faces, Gary Farr & The T-Bones, Them, The Mindbenders, The Zombies, The Moody Blues, The Kinks, Unit 4 + 2, The Who, Wayne Fontana, Marianne Faithfull, The Yardbirds and The Cryin’ Shames.

Colin Blunstone

Friday, April 10th, 2009

Misty Roses / Colin Blunstone

Listen: Misty Roses / Colin Blunstone ColinBlunstoneMisty.mp3

I still obsess about missing the US tour by The Zombies / The Nashville Teens / The Hullaballoos. I lived in a wrong city – one the tour did not play. Long before ODESSEY & ORACLE was recorded, Colin Blunstone established his greatness in my world. The very first Zombies single, ‘She’s Not There’ tells all. Every song that ever followed was instantly recognizable because of Colin Blunstone’s other worldly voice. In hindsight, Colin was – still is – one of the greatest interpretive singers of all time. Up there with Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Scott Walker, Dusty Springfield – name anybody and he will stand equal. If not for him, would Rod Argent’s great songs have succeeded as they did? Who else could do justice to ‘Time Of The Season’?

Mercifully, years later, Rod reconnected with the struggling Colin to spin their partnership together into a dazzling and deserved business – going as far as to reform The Zombies for ODESSEY & ORACLE in it’s entirety. Sharing some of that songwriting wealth to the voice that made it all valuable, Rod will now be allowed into heaven.

Once The Zombies dissolved, and Colin abandoned his three single career as Neil MacArthur, he was back to being Colin Blunstone. Signed to Epic in 1971, he began releasing a series of under appreciated albums. A few spawned the occasional hit in the UK but not here. His version of Tim Hardin’s ‘Misty Roses’ was issued as the US B side to ‘Caroline Goodbye’. How lucky for those owning it. Just listen.

In ’72, he toured The US. Epic made a bit of effort, and presented him at a college radio convention showcase I got to attend in Washington DC. It was stunning. No idea who was in the band, but his voice and persona alone filled the room. Magnificent.

Wonderful / Colin Blunstone

Listen: Wonderful / Colin Blunstone ColinBlunstoneWonderful.mp3

I heard ‘Wonderful’ on BBC’s Radio 1 just before leaving England to return home after an extended London stay in ’73. It was one of the last singles I bought before boarding the plane. The 7″ version clocks in at 3:20, proving the power of editing. I think it works much better than the five minute plus album track.

The Only Ones

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

Out There In The Night / The Only Ones

Listen: Out There In The Night / The Only Ones OnlyOnesOutThereInTheNight.mp3

Trouble In The World / The Only Ones

Listen: Trouble In The World / The Only Ones OnlyOnesTrouble.mp3

I’m a sucker for an atonal vocalist. So The Only Ones’ Peter Perrett is right up my alley. These two singles are by far my favorites from the boys. Never did get to see them, some arrest nonsense cut their US tour short, the one whereby they were playing my town. Hence not much to say about them, except I still love these records. Oh, hold on, the sleeve pictured for ‘Trouble In The World’ was sent along, at the time, by Howard Thompson. He A&R’d the band, by assignment as opposed to choice. He doesn’t reflect fondly on it all. Whether by coincidence or design, ‘Trouble In The World’ echoes Mott The Hoople, with it’s Sue & Sunny background female vocals. Seems like an HT influence to me.

For reasons unknown, the sleeve was scrapped allowing or forcing the record to be issued in a stock CBS bag. The label was quite good at making pitiful judgement calls when it came to picture sleeves. Unlike in the US, picture sleeves were quite uncommon in England until punk. So what did CBS do? They released a bunch of punk singles without them. Although the corporate waste exponentially accelerated by the time I was employed by Columbia in 1995, it seems seeds were planted decades before. Hey, let’s actually manufacture the sleeves then destroy them, why cancel it in the pre-production phase? Kill another tree. No problem.

But the records speak for themselves. Great stuff. And although spelled differently, you have to admit Peter Perrett was pretty hip to choose, for his surname, that of the great US label, Parrot, which included Them, The Zombies, Los Bravos, Lulu & The Luvvers and Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours amongst it’s roster.