Archive for the ‘Stuart Colman’ Category

The Move / Jimmy Miller

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Listen: Blackberry Way / The Move
Blackberry

Certainly one of my favorite singles ever, I dare say one of the greatest records ever released. Fact not opinion.

The recent BBC documentary, THE JOY OF THE SINGLE spotlighted ‘Blackberry Way’ as just that for a teenage Holly Johnson, who relived a long walk to and from a nearby record shop, whereby The Monkees’ ‘(Theme From) The Monkees’ wasn’t available. In fact, that track was never issued on a 7″ when current, luckily. The shop clerk talked him into the latest release by The Move instead, a sale amongst many that would have contributed toward the record reaching #1 on the UK charts.

The program was another in a long list of reminders that pulling out a copy of ‘Blackberry Way’ and letting it play on repeat was yet again, a solid hour well spent in my house.

Along with high school pals Denny and Mark, I sent off to England for copies of this pre-release. We wanted it shipped day one. God knows how we’d hear about these records sentenced to teen life in upstate New York, but we did. In fact, our crowd were so into The Move that there was no messing about by this, the release of their sixth single. And one titled ‘Blackberry Way’, heaven help us, we knew it’d be stunning. I can vividly remember opening that cardboard mailer and playing it for the first time. Stunning doesn’t do the song justice.

Years later, employed in Elektra’s A&R department meant a constant search for new signings and a resulting schedule of meetings with everyone from managers, agents, lawyers and occasionally, name UK record producers with their newest projects. Through the years Gus Dudgeon, Don Arden, Jonathan King, Stuart Colman, Malcolm McLaren, Wayne Bickerton, Hugh Padgham or Shel Talmy might book in while passing through New York. On one occasion, I got a call requesting some time for Jimmy Miller.

His visit was not going to be wasted on me. I was only too keen, as was usually the case, to talk about the less travelled topics covered by most fellow A&R reps, in this instance his more obscure British productions, of which The Move was one. Turns out, he was always happy to recount his histories, including a well repeated run down of that period with The Rolling Stones. But my curiosity in The Move brought out a unexpected tale, all presented with the enthusiasm of a kid.

For starters, ‘Blackberry Way’ was the only song he ever recorded with them, and then just sitting in for the band’s usual producer, Denny Cordell. The details were rather simple and verify the often documented flying by the seat of their pants 60′s music industry. Denny and he were co-workers at Straight Ahead Productions, to whom The Move were signed. Denny was double booked on a session with Joe Cocker & The Grease Band and asked Jimmy to cover for him with The Move. These details, to be clear, were laughingly verified by Denny years later.

As a result, the band’s only UK #1 was produced, not by the guy who worked with them on every other track prior, but by his pal in the next office. A jovial recollection actually.

So as Jimmy Miller sat across from me recounting these details for the first time in my office on the 20th floor of the Warner Brothers building, I pulled out the above copy for an autograph, which seriously pleased him to no end.

Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Don't Stop Loving Me, Baby / Pinkerton's Assorted Colours

Don't Stop Loving Me, Baby / Pinkerton's Assorted Colours

Listen: Don’t Stop Loving Me, Baby / Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours PinkertonsDontStop.mp3

True story. I know you will think this is a lie, but I swear on a stack of Ramones albums that it is not.

UK manager Dennis Muirhead paid me his yearly visit at Columbia Records in the late 90′s. We’d met back in ’85 when I’d first joined Elektra and he always stopped by when he came through town. One of his clients at the time was Stuart Colman. Stuart lived then in Nashville and had produced many successful country acts, but had prior UK hits with Shakin’ Stevens. Dennis gave me a package including all his producers latest discographies which I browsed while catching up. I noticed Stuart had started his career in the 60′s with The Shadows. So I said to Dennis, hey this guy goes back a bit, is he English? Affirmative. I proceeded to say I wish these fellows would list all those really early engineering jobs they would have started out doing prior to that first producer opportunity. “I mean, Dennis, he could have worked on something obscure like…..Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours or something”. I just grabbed that fun, eccentric example out of my head.

Dennis looks me square in the eye and says “He was IN Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours”. Silence. Neither of us could believe what had just transpired. “You’re not kidding are you, well call him now”. He suggested one better, that I ring his place asking for him as a member of the band, which I did. I let Stuart know fairly fast that Dennis was there with me, and we had a very nice chat. I mailed him this jukebox tab, he autographed it and sent it straight back.

Pinkertons Jukebox tab

Above: Jukebox Tab signed by Stuart Colman

As for the group, I was interested because of the name. When I saw their first single ‘Mirror Mirror’ entering the UK charts, I had to hear them asap. But it wasn’t to be for ages. Even though released Stateside, it was nowhere to be heard or found. WMCR, the little station that gave me all those unwanted promo singles at the time, weren’t serviced by London, parent company of Parrot Records – home to Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours. Damn. I was jonesing by the time their second single hit. ‘Don’t Stop Loving Me, Baby’ limped into the UK Top 50 at #50 for one week. I love a good followup flop usually more than the previous hit, so this was reaching fever pitch.

Finally I was successful, finding it in a 25ยข bin at The House Of Oldies on Bleeker Street in NYC when my Aunt Nancy invited me along to visit some relative for a few days. I got a ton of London titles there – The Cryin’ Shames, Lulu & The Luvvers, The Gonks, Hedgehoppers Anonymous and Jonathan King among them – all nice orange swirl promos. This is a great double sider. Not overly special but a solid British staple. Actually, just tonight I realized some similarities to Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich thereby explaining a lot of it’s appeal for me.

Will Ya / Pinkerton's Assorted Colours

Will Ya / Pinkerton's Assorted Colours

Listen: Will Ya / Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours PinkertonsWillYa.mp3

The B side ‘Will Ya’ is my favorite of the two, but just. That timid but still wildish fuzz solo is the tie breaker. Mike Goldsmith picked me up the stock copy pictured, only a few months ago, at Academy Records in Brooklyn. I had never seen nor heard of one being pressed as it seemed likely this would never have made it beyond the promo stage – but here it is.