Archive for the ‘RAK’ Category

Kim Wilde

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Listen: Cambodia / Kim Wilde
Cambodia

More Mickie Most productions. Boy, am I late on him. Stupidly never pursued meeting up during all those UK visits, searching for producers and what not. Now looking back, he’s risen to one of my all time favorites in the field.

Predating 21st century programmed/dance/electronic/whatever it’s called Pop, ‘Cambodia’ could have easily been a hit for Abba, or written by them even. No shame here in lifting their successful sound, a normal procedure in the days of Mickie Most’s earlier career timeframe.

Of all Kim Wilde’s hits, both with Mickie Most, ‘Cambodia’ captures the Joe Meek haunt, although probably without any intention. But I hear it loud and clear.

The Vibrators

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Listen: We Vibrate / The Vibrators
We

Not only did Mickie Most have probably the greatest name ever, he was unmatched as a record producer for many years. Listen to the way he weaves and mixes the instruments on Donovan’s ‘Sunshine Superman’ or how he recaptures Joe Meek’s haunting, other worldliness on Kim Wilde’s ‘Kids In America’. The story of his life and his list of production achievements is fascinating.

A consistently under mentioned work for him seems to be The Vibrators ‘We Vibrate’. Released on his RAK Records imprint, as with most of the label’s product, he produced. 100% devoid of studio polish, instead the value of how this single was recorded and approached is all about their stage sound. It’s easy to see how this early punk record was a direct descendant of The Arrows and Suzi Quatro before them, both on RAK and both his productions. The band sounded exactly like this live. I know, Corinne and I got to see them at Dingwall’s in early ’77. I want to say Chris Spedding was on stage, but honestly can’t recall.

They were about to sign with Epic and make a great debut album, apparently their RAK deal being only a one off 7″. Their followup single and first for the new label, ‘Baby Baby’ / ‘Into The Future’ came really close, but somehow didn’t quite surpass ‘We Vibrate’.

Lulu

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Listen: The Boat That I Row / Lulu
The Boat That I Row / Lulu

Mickie Most: producer. Mickie Most: never a moniker more perfect.

This guy’s name framed a 60′s pop music producer with total accuracy. Don’t know much about him, never got to meet. Yet his records from the ’66 – ’68 period really had a stamp. And the legacy continued into the 70′s, with his label RAK. But back to the 60′s….

Not sonically unlike Donovan’s ‘Sunshine Superman’ or ‘There Is A Mountain’, The Yardbirds’ ‘Goodnight Sweet Josephine and ‘Ten Little Indians’, as well Jeff Beck’s ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’ and ‘Tally Man’, all of them Mickie Most productions, I’m guessing his secret was a magic wand chock full of studio compression. Not being an engineer, I can’t say for sure, but indeed there are similarities whereby certain instruments get maxed out in a most appealing way. Maybe that’s where a play on the word most, or Most, gets a little too clever. Sorry.

Seriously though, I do recall hearing ‘The Boat That I Row’ those first few times on my local Top 40. It was warm, springlike weather and wow, did this song jump right out of the sludge. I wanted Lulu to have a US hit for seemingly ages, and now, clearly, the moment had arrived.

Technically, this single reached #1 in the States, but oddly not as ‘The Boat That I Row’. Instead, the original B side, ‘To Sir With Love’ suddenly gained momentum, given the film had just successfully debuted in theaters and was on a tear. So radio stations flipped it, as it was referred to in those days, meaning they began playing the B side and shunning the A.

‘To Sir With Love’ scaled to that coveted #1 slot, but in my world, ‘The Boat That I Row’ was always the chart topper. I mean, it technically sat right there on the pointy part of the pyramid.

Kenny

Monday, July 27th, 2009

kennybumpus, Kenny, Jonathan King, UK Records, Phil Coulter, Bill Martin, RAK, Glam, Glitter From The Litter Bin, The Space Raiders

Listen: The Bump / Kenny KennyBump.mp3

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Listen: Julie Anne / Kenny KennyJulie.mp3

spaceraidersglamraid, space raiders, kenny, skint trcords

Listen: Glam Raid / The Space Raiders SpaceRaidersGlamRaid.mp3

There’s a great compilation titled GLITTER FROM THE LITTER BIN; 20 JUNK SHOP GLAM RARITIES. It’s a fun listen but it’s the message here that counts. Long snubbed as uncool, juvenile, manufactured, throwaway – you name it, I could never quite understand everyone’s problem with glam. The production was fantastic, drum and treble heavy, fun clothes and haircuts to match, and a threatening mix of androgyny (which indeed were assets to David Bowie, T, Rex or Roxy Music when convenient). No problem here. I was a proud fan and collector.

Kenny (band not person) churned out some hits, including these two masterpieces. Written by Bill Martin and Phil Coulter, as with all their material, ‘The Bump’ is a literal blueprint of glam. Fair enough, The Sweet, Slade, Sparks and Wizzard can equally claim such feats, but that doesn’t void out ‘The Bump’. Although released on Mickie Most’s RAK Records in the UK, Kenny flip flopped from pilar to post label-wise in the US. ‘The Bump’ was picked up by Jonathan King in the States, issuing it on his UK Records imprint through London. Sampled years later by The Space Raiders on their fantastic ‘Glam Raid’ (listen above), it verified some needed credibility to the song’s worth.

‘Julie Anne’ probably veered a bit more mainstream teen pop than glam, but the effervescent sound of super K was well intact. A pop classic.