Archive for the ‘The Mighty Avengers’ Category

Ian & The Zodiacs

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

Listen: So Much In Love With You / Ian & The Zodiacs

Usually not one for the Liverpool sound, even I found the occasional exception. Top of the list would indeed be The Cryin’ Shames, and included somewhere, Ian & The Zodiacs. Yes, despite their twee delivery, I suppose it’s the nostalgia in me that finds this soft spot toward them. Plus I liked their name, and was always a big fan of their label group, Philips/Mercury/Fontana/Smash.

I recall seeing their album in a local shop, it may have even been my introduction to the band. Back in 1965, to be afforded an album, with only a single or two to spark it’s sale, especially when they were stiffs, was rare. But it gave us all a chance to see a color photo of them, itself a treat.

As was the case with Ian & The Zodiacs, their label Philips jumped on the US youth market’s insatiable taste for anything British Invasion related. Hence it seems the whole marketing plan for this band was to simply announce themselves as such, right there on the front cover of their debut, and as it turned out only, album:

“We’re new. We’re from England. We have a new sound”.

The last bit wasn’t really true at all, this debut single being a Mick Jagger / Keith Richards cover, made somewhat famous as the only UK chart hit by The Mighty Avengers, who like The Rolling Stones were also managed by Andrew Loog Oldham.

Also covered by The Herd, ‘So Much In Love’ or ‘So Much In Love With You’, as it’s titled here, possibly to avoid crediting the correct songwriters (Mick and Keith – see label above), is a rather perfect British Invasion, not my term btw, song. At least that’s my opinion.

And so, on July 31, 1965, ‘So Much In Love With You’ sat at #131 on BILLBOARD’s Bubbling Under The Hot 100 chart, whatever on earth that meant. Airplay in some small town? A few boxes sold by mistake when the warehouse were meant to ship a much bigger current hit? A nice dinner for the chart compiler at BILLBOARD’s main office? I do recall when working at Elektra during a weekly Wednesday marketing meeting, our company trade publications rep mentioning ‘begging for bullets during her BILLBOARD lunch’. Hmm.

Regardless, hopefully Ian & The Zodiacs basked in their seven days of US fame during that fateful hot July week, as they were never to chart again.

Twice As Much

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Listen: Step Out Of Line / Twice As Much TwiceAsMuchStep.mp3

Just as there was never any question in my mind who conquerd the decades old Beatles vs. Rolling Stones challenge, so too did that boil over and apply to their respective managers. Brain Epstein vs. Andrew Loog Oldham.

Opinions don’t matter. The facts are the facts.

Brain Epstein’s roster: The Beatles, Gerry & The Pacemakers, Billy J Kramer & The Dakotas, Cilla Black and The Remo Four.

Andrew Loog Oldham’s roster: The Rolling Stones, Marianne Faithfull, The Poets, The Mighty Avengers, Vashti and Twice As Much.

Then there was ALO’s Immediate Records roster: The Small Faces, The Nice, The Amen Corner, The Outer Limits, P.P. Arnold, Chris Farlowe and again, The Poets and Twice As Much.

Okay…..I will stop now and show some mercy.

Focusing on the clear champion had me thinking today about Twice As Much. In a constant quest to emmulate Phil Spector’s production style, ALO applied many attempts to the squeaky clean Twice As Much. Possibly going a touch too far by giving them a very California ’67 sound, a year earlier in ’66 funny enough.

On this second single, David Skinner and Andrew Rose were allowed to write both sides, unlike their first and much of their other records, which conveniently slotted in Jagger/Richards and Marriott/Lane songs.

Listen: Simplified / Twice As Much TwiceAsMuchSimplified.mp3

It’s this B side which is their real gem, maybe their best ever. Pretty dependable at picking hits, I’m not sure how Andrew fumbled hiding ‘Simplified’ on a flip side.

I recall my pal Denny getting a copy of this in late summer of that year, and we both played in relentlessly for weeks.

The Poets

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

The below post, originally from 1/15/09, is worth revisiting. Firstly, one can never hear The Poets enough, and secondly, thanks to Lindsay Hutton from Next Big Thing, he snagged me the jukebox tab below, which is well worth sharing.

Now We're Thru / The Poets

Listen: Now We're Thru / The Poets PoetsThru.mp3

Probably by fluke, The Poets first single ‘Now We’re Thru’ perfectly captured what we Americans heard as the black and white sound of drizzle drenched England in a 2:13 sonic snapshot. Black and white? We only ever saw these bands that way. Color photos of brand new groups were thin on the ground. As for the magazines: newspaper style, with color covers at best.

Then there was TV. Who had a color set in ’65? Sure by ’67 TV, like everything else, went to eleven, to technicolor. But those early UK bands the world was insatiable for, all in black and white, and usually photographed on some wet cobblestoned street. Think about shots of Them, The Pretty Things, Manfred Mann, whoever, shivering from the damp.

‘Now We’re Thru’, it’s a minor key classic, a perfect balance of over echoed background vocals, cymbal free distant drums and that ever present Decca tambourine, possibly a non negotiable contractual boiler plate item. Andrew Loog Oldham produced their early releases, probably managed, obviously owned the publishing and gave them a leg up in many situations I’m guessing. A deal with Decca for starters. He even elbowed them on to America’s teen weekly SHINDIG:

“You want The Rolling Stones, take The Poets too”, just an educated guess mind you.

Above: Jukebox Tab signed by George Gallacher

He had a few others signed up at the time: Marianne Faithfull, Adrienne Posta, The Mighty Avengers, Vashti and clearly got a taste for his own label.

What the hell, let’s give The Poets credit for helping create Immediate Records. They certainly were the only act he took along but no one ever seems to mention that bit.

Call Again / The Poets

Listen: Call Again / The Poets PoetsCall.mp3

‘Call Again’ was issued as Immediate 006 (theoretically the label’s 6th release). By now that destinctive vocal sound of singer George Gallacher was in place. If only they’d had a chance to work extensively in a studio, OGDEN’S NUT GONE FLAKE style….if only if only if only.