Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Loog Oldham’

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.

Acid Gallery / The Outer Limits / Roy Wood

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Dance Round The Maypole / Acid Gallery

Listen: Dance Round The Maypole / Acid Gallery

It was December 2000, and I was stranded in England for a few days of Sony meetings. Actually, I was jamming to get home on the Friday, when early that morning I got a call from Will Botwin, then president at Columbia, asking very nicely if I could stay through Monday night for an Emiliana Torrini showcase. Will was always the greatest guy, awesome boss. How do you say no? I mean, he could have just told me I needed to do it. Period. But it was never his way.

So I suddenly found myself with three full days/nights on my hands. Reading the latest MOJO on the flight over, I was annoyed to be missing The Roy Wood Christmas Extravaganza Tour. I should have juggled the trip to take it in but by then it was too late. Now that I was there for a few days extra, I rechecked his schedule.

Sure enough, that evening Roy Wood was a couple hours away, in Wolverhampton. Jackie Hyde in the touring/artist relations department at Sony got me tickets and passes God love her. And I was on the 6 pm train heading north I think, alone. No one was interested in joining me. Grass is always greener.

I get there around 8, and decided to try speaking with Roy Wood. The band/crew etc are all around and tell me Roy has gone down the road to the pub. Ok. I wander off down the wet, deserted streets and find said establishment. Walk in, there propped up against the bar is a lone Roy Wood, nursing a pint. I proceed over, and no problem, he’s as friendly as I’d hoped. All talk about the past welcomed. Really fun guy.

I was always curious about the Acid Gallery single. He wrote and produced it, but it sure did sound like The Move to me. Was it? He confirmed his participation but no, it wasn’t The Move. Instead it was “some guys who were on Deram back then, name escapes me”.

Well was it The Syn, or The Eyes Of Blue, um, Tintern Abbey?

“No, these guys had a hit a few years later with ‘Yellow River’ “.

Bingo: The Outer Limits.

“That’s them” he confirms.

Just One More Chance / The Outer Limits

Listen: Just One More Chance / The Outer Limits

Actually The Outer Limits changed their name to Christie and had that smash with ‘Yellow River’. Main writer in both bands was Jeff Christie and he’d originally written ‘Yellow River’ for The Tremeloes but decided to record it himself after they dragged their feet. The rest is history, I guess. I loved that Outer Limits single, ‘Just One More Chance’ at the time, summer ’67.

Great Train Robbery / The Outer Limits

Listen: Great Train Robbery / The Outer Limits

But the follow up, ‘Great Train Robbery’, holy whatever, talk about British sounding. And on Immediate’s subsidiary imprint, Instant. Even better. Now why Immediate needed another in house label is pretty funny actually. Still very nice label and stock sleeve from Andrew Loog Oldham.

The Roy Wood Christmas Extravaganza was a total treat that night. Twelve piece, all female band. Sounding full scale, Phil Spector live. Reproducing all those Wizzard hits flawlessly. Roy dressed in black teddy boy jacket, purple lapels, purple streaks in the infamous hair and a lavender Strat. Once a star, always a star.

The finales, ‘Blackberry Way’ and ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’ being sung along loudly by a full theater audience with fake snow falling on the stage, well it doesn’t get much better.

One last closing bit to the Roy Wood pub conversation:

Will you fill out my juke box tab?

“Sure. No problem”.

The Move Blackberry Way Jukebox Tab

Above: Jukebox Tab signed by Roy Wood

Womack & Womack

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Listen: Celebrate The World (Radio Edit) / Womack & Womack
Celebrate The World (Radio Edit) / Womack & Womack

I’m a huge fan of Sirius radio here in the US. Certainly compared to our totally tuckered terrestrial stations, it’s an oasis in a very dry desert. You see, Sirius, via it’s many channels, provides endless variety, with easily one hundred or so to pick from. But put the whole lot up against the UK’s BBC Radio 2, and even collectively, they can’t compete.

Not sure why or how, but every last presenter on BBC’s various stations pack more excitement and personality into their on-air style than many of those from Sirius in America. Here, there’s this persistent problem of a time warp delivery rut. Well, funny enough, not Bob Dylan. Nor most of Little Steven’s crew. And yes, Sirius does have Andrew Loog Oldham, but he kind of counts as English to me, clearly weened on UK radio.

Basically, my preference and the opinions above boil down to one thing. Variety. Not necessarily variety over that one hundred or so channel options, each with a narrow genre to offer, but as in programming variety within each show throughout the day.

Yes, Radio 2 has dedicated programs: Sounds Of The Sixties, Sounds Of The Seventies, specialty country or blues shows and such. But otherwise, each host and their producer pick a wide range of genres to mix within their respective daily time slots.

My absolute favorite being Janice Long. Having started with the BBC in ’82, it was on 6 Music that I first found a real affinity to her via The Dream Ticket, whereby she chose a deep, multi decade variety of live sessions from the station’s library, assembling them into a…dream ticket. In essence, a concert lineup one could only dream of.

Joining Radio 2 a few years back, there’s rarely a week goes by when I don’t listen to her most recent shows on demand, all archived for up to seven days. Never a dull moment and always a surprise or ten musically. Do yourself a favor.

Today, I did some Janice Long catching up, and once again, shook my head in happy disbelief. From The Honeybus, Ivor Culter, Alexis Korner and The Maytals, amongst many, to Womack & Womack, all in the span of a few programs from last week.

And not ‘Teardrops’ by Womack & Womack either. Instead ‘Celebrate The World’, closing track and fourth UK single from their flawless CONSCIENCE album. In England, this 7″ release made it to #14 in ’89, and was a perfect live performance finale, whereby the entire Womack clan would pile onstage for an extended ramp with the audience. Wow, those shows back in the day were so good.

Working for Island at the time, like most of the US staff, I found great frustration by the lack of radio and/or media support here for such a worthy album. Back in the UK, where it went platinum, this was not the case.

Well Janice Long gave ‘Celebrate The World’ a play on one of those shows I soundtracked my afternoon with today, and let me tell you, it sounded superb.

P. P. Arnold

Friday, December 30th, 2011

PPArnoldGrooveyUKA, P. P. Arnold, Immediate, Steve Marriott, The Small Faces

pparnoldgroovyusa, PP Arnols, P. P. Arnold, The Small Faces, Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Immediate

Listen: (If You Think You’re) Groovy / P. P. Arnold

Seems there was a family spirit happening at Immediate for a while. Songs, musicians and productions were being swapped out all over the place. I’m sure there are precise details documented in some book about all this. I haven’t read it, but would like to if one exists.

Without question, this Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane produced track was recorded around the time, possibly in the same sessions and studio (Olympic I think) as The Small Faces’ ‘Tin Soldier’. The tones and drum sounds are identical. The ambience too. Given that P. P. Arnold was guest vocalist on ‘Tin Soldier’ has got me believing my own story.

As clearly as you can hear her on ‘Tin Soldier’, you can pick out Steve Marriott even quicker on ‘(If You Think You’re) Groovy’. And how about those brackets around some of the words. Nothing beats brackets in a song title.

Marie Knight

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Listen: Cry Me A River / Marie Knight
Cry Me A River / Marie Knight

Hey thanks Vicki Wickham, for keeping this one since the 60′s. Yes, it was part of her 45 collection that I was gifted by Saint Vicki herself last fall.

You know, I love you Vicki Wickham.

Let’s talk about Vicki Wickham. We first met in ’89, when she managed Phranc during her Island days. I remember exactly where we first shook hands: backstage at the Beacon Theater, in the the very stairway where Ahmet Ertegan took his last spill. Phranc had just hired her, and was at that time on tour with The Pogues.

I was actually meeting thee Vicki Wickham. The one that booked READY! STEADY! GO!, managed Dusty Springfield, co-wrote ‘You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me’ with Simon Napier-Bell, produced Labelle. The one who not only booked the infamous Saville Theatre series, brought the Motown Review to England, worked at Track Records with The Who, Thunderclap Newman, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Marsha Hunt, The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, John’s Children, and yes, The Cherry Smash; but also knew Scott Walker…and Brian Jones. I was nervous and in awe. Vicki Wickham was a higher form of life.

Fast forward. Nowadays, we meet often for lunch, on 9th Ave and 44th Street at Marseilles, possibly her favorite restaurant. She always orders the asparagus omelette and eats about half. I grill her for details: RSG, The BBC during the 60′s, Rediffusion Television, Top Of The Pops not to mention every band and everybody she ever encountered. Did she visit the Immediate Records office, Deram, Philips, Fontana. What was the Ready Steady Go canteen like, did she know Tony Hall, Steve Marriott, Inez Foxx, Joe Meek, Dozy. When did she last speak with Andrew Loog Oldham, P.P. Arnold or Madeline Bell…..we cover, discuss, judge and trash tons of people. Yes, we are guilty. Needless to say, there’s never a loss for topics.

On one such occasion last year, she mentions having just found boxes of 45′s in storage, and the only one she can remember seeing in the whole bunch was the Bessie Banks ‘Go Now’ UK A label pressing. Was I interested in the lot? That’s like asking Alago, Duane, Joe and I if we’d like a free bump in the VIP bathroom at The Ritz in the 80′s. Ahh, yeah.

Vicki, you ARE a saint, and a beloved friend.

And you turned me on to Marie Knight. Praise be.

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.