Posts Tagged ‘Dusty Springfield’

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich / The Herd / Scott Walker / Dusty Springfield

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

SWEETIE BRA EP / Various Artists:

Side 1:

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

Listen: I Don’t Want Our Loving To Die / The Herd
I

Side 2:


Listen: Come Next Spring / Scott Walker
Come

Listen: My Colouring Book / Dusty Springfield
My

No, it’s not an ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS artifact, it’s the real deal SWEETIE BRA EP from the British Exquisite Form Brassiere Company in 1968.

If you’re like me, you didn’t know the record existed. I stumbled on a copy years ago, digging through boxes rather early at the Portobello Road Saturday flea market. And by rather early, I mean it was still dark. Getting there at the crack of dawn was, and still is, the only way to find the cardiac arresting level items at low prices or more probably at any price.

I was on a mission that morning, having anticipated it all for a few days leading up. We were staying at the then hopping, now closed, Pembridge Court Hotel, with a back door entrance that literally spilled out onto the starting tip of Portobello Road.

What a place that hotel was. The manager Valerie had two gentle orange cats that happily visited the room and would occasionally stay the night if allowed. Her staff delivered sandwiches with tea and cakes at any hour. It was like staying at a great aunt’s house in old time Ennland. Corinne and I were loyal guests for years, we loved it there.

So on that particular morning, I schlepped out on my own before dawn, flashlight in pocket, to mingle with the aggressive dealers in search of their next slice of income and the collectors, in search of their next fix. No idea why I even pulled the record out of this sleeve to have a look, I guess it was an exercise in being thorough. To my surprise and pleasure, four of my favorite acts were featured. This was clearly a promotional item via some sort of relationship between the bra company and Philips/Fontana Records, given that all the artists were from the company’s roster and the actual label was the Philips signature deep shade of blue.

An amusing introduction starts Side 1, then leads into ‘Zabadak!’, a December 28th landmark in my measly little existence of a life.

Elton John & Kiki Dee

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Listen: Don’t Go Breaking My Heart / Elton John & Kiki Dee
EltonKiki.mp3

‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ meant to the 70′s what Dusty Springfield’s ‘I Only Want To Be With You’ did to the 60′s. Is there anyone on the face of the earth capable of switching either one off? Be hard to convince me the answer to that question is yes. They’re the kind of songs that allow you to just worry about whatever is the problem in three minutes or so. All issues go on hold.

‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ had the energy and pep of Northern Soul. I suppose the genre purists will cringe at that one, but seriously, this was pop oddly out of step when released. A kind of throwback to the 60′s, most likely intentional. Just like Northern Soul itself.

For history’s sake, Kiki Dee was the first white artist to be signed to Motown. If that’s not Northern Soul, nothing is.

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.

Maxine Brown

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

maxineohnouk, Maxine Brown, Ace Records, Wand, Manfred Mann, Carole King, Goffin, Fontella Bass, Dusty Springfield, Dee Dee Warwick

Listen: Oh No Not My Baby / Maxine Brown MaxineBrownOhNo.mp3

Infamous Carole King (did you know she married one of The Myddle Class) / Gerry Goffin classic. Like many of their compositions, ‘Oh No Not My Baby’ was recorded by a whole bunch of folks. Cher, Manfred Mann, Fontella Bass, Dusty Springfield and Dee Dee Warwick amongst my favorites.

The US hit version went to Maxine Brown (#24, 1964). Unfortunately, most of her singles for Wand (Pye International in the UK for this one), as well her duets with Chuck Jackson, achieved undeserved low Billboard pop chart peaks, Bubbling Under The Hot 100 entries or non hits whatsoever. Hence, their place in every last Northern Soul price guide.

As with most of her work for the label, Cissy Houston and The Sweet Inspirations provided backups. It had to have been a magical time around the New York studios that catered to the RnB sessions in those days. Seems a day didn’t pass without a classic being recorded, just think of all the unreleased, forgotten songs.

Worth getting: BEST OF THE WAND YEARS, a flawless cd comp from Ace UK with the usual amazing booklet. The details will have you drooling.

Above: Jukebox Tab signed by Maxine Brown

Mel Brown

Friday, May 14th, 2010

MelPreacher, Mel Brown, Impulse, Bob Thiele

Listen: Son Of A Preacher Man / Mel Brown MelBrownSonPreacher.mp3

I recall seeing Mel Brown playing guitar with Buddy Guy in a small club near the RIT college campus. Saw Freddie King there quite soon afterwards as well. For the life of me, I can’t remember the name of the place. It was not glamorous by any stretch and must have made any one of these national acts think ‘how did I end up here?’. But in the well known tradition of blues guys, they’d just blister through it all, eyes closed. It was on that night my interest in Mel Brown was sparked.

I’d seen a few of his Impulse albums in the college station’s library, logically tucked away (as all Impulse releases immediately were) in the jazz section. Most of those albums were in close to mint condition as very few college radio dj’s knew jack about jazz, me included – and certainly none of us played the stuff on our tomorrow’s hip rock music today programs. Wouldn’t be surprised if they’re all still sitting there….clean as a whistle.

Thing was he’s really a blues player, as I discovered that evening. I dug around the piles of singles in the ‘free – take what you want’ boxes back at the station right after the show, positive I’d seen at least one of his in there and sure enough – bingo.

I was a bit bummed discovering it to be a cover of the Dusty Springfield hit, ‘Son Of A Preacher Man’ and it sounded all muzak-y, but held on to it anyways. Now I’m glad I did. It makes for a nice breather, and through the years my penchant grew for instrumental covers of big pop hits.

MelBrownChitlins, Mel Brown, Impulse

Listen: Eighteen Pounds Of Unclean Chitlings (Part 1) / Mel Brown MelBrownChitlins.mp3

Along comes this single with a hip title. Like many before it, who can pass up one called ‘Eighteen Pounds Of Unclean Chitlings’. First spin reminded me of just about any track from Ten Years After during their STONEHENGE period. Not a bad thing.

Warning: initial listen might sound a bit ho-hum. Give it a few plays – it really sticks.

MADELINE BELL / BLUE MINK

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Randy / Blue Mink

Listen: Randy / Blue Mink 07 Randy.mp3

She made good pop records with Blue Mink in the late 60′s/early 70′s as one of their two lead singers (songwriter Roger Cook was the other). Anyone into the happening music of the day would turn their nose to them, preferring prog or glam; writing off mainstream radio music as with every generation. Their ‘By The Devil I Was Tempted’ is a great period piece and sounds fine still.

‘Randy’ was a summer ’73 UK smash, it was always on the radio, and I vividly remember it blaring out of the market stalls on Wardour and Rupert Street while trolling for records.

Picture Me Gone / Madeline Bell

Listen: Picture Me Gone / Madeline Bell 01 Picture Me Gone.mp3

Before, during and after the Blue Mink run, Madeline Bell continually released her own solo stuff which soul nuts seem to appreciate, although most of those singles were heavily A&R’d with attempts at pop/RnB crossover. A cult artist she was not being tailored into. In the end, that’s what she became. Partially due to her lack of any chart hits, (‘I’m Gonna Make You Love Me’ was a Top 40 success here in the US), for being a backup voice on many a Dusty Springfield record (and Dusty on hers); but mainly for ‘Picture Me Gone’ which became a Northern Soul collectable. A few others recorded it, but her’s became the official version. It was actually relegated to the B side of ‘I’m Gonna Make You Love Me’ in America. Most US shops have no idea it’s valuable, therefore plan to find it for $1 or so. I did that just the other day at Academy here in New York, and this one probably brings the number of copies within 1000 feet of me to ten.

Doris Troy

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Jacob's Ladder / Doris Troy

Listen: Jacob’s Ladder / Doris Troy
DorisTroyJacob'sLadder.mp3

Although having recorded with The Rolling Stones, Humble Pie, Kevin Ayers, Dusty Springfield, Nick Drake, Junior Campbell and Pink Floyd, it was The Beatles, and especially George Harrision, who seemingly had the real jones for Doris Troy. Signing to their Apple label, she was afforded a self produced long player, DORIS TROY. Apple issued two singles from it, the second being a remake of the biblical folk/gospel standard, ‘Jacob’s Ladder’.

Get Back / Doris Troy

Listen: Get Back / Doris Troy
Get

Both Apple 7′s luckily had non-LP B sides from the album sessions. For the flip of ‘Jacob’s Ladder’, the basically still current ‘Get Back’ was used. In general, the overall recording approach for the project was very 1970, it’s a total Mad Dogs & Englishmen shamble/jam. No musician credits are listed on the album sleeve although it’s widely accounted that Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills, Leon Russell, Bill Wyman and Peter Frampton all joined George Harrison in it’s recording.

The KLF / Tammy Wynette

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

KLFTammyUKPS, Tammy Wynette, Artista, The KLF

KLFTammyUS, Tammy Wynette, Artista, The KLF

Listen: Justified & Ancient / The KLF Featuring Tammy Wynette KLFTammy.mp3

The last time Tammy Wynette played New York was October 25, 1994 at Town Hall. I’d scored a pair of tickets off a friend at Epic, Michael Alago came along with me. She was spectacular. Despite all the health scares, there were no physical signs of anything but beauty and strength. The voice was other worldly. We sat awestruck the entire time. She did all the hits and should’ve-been hits. Her stories were both personal and fun.

At one point, she thanked her label Epic for their loyalty and support since the 60′s and asked if anyone from the label was present, to please stand, asking the audience to give them a round of applause. No one stood. No one from Epic bothered to go. It was humilating for her and us. And this was a living legend.

Brilliant move on The KLF’s part getting her to vocal ‘Justified & Ancient’, also known as ‘Stand By The Jams’ in the UK. Rivals The Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield as top collaboration ever.

Sunny

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

sunnydoctors, Sunny, Sue & Sunny, The Brotherhood Of Man, Roger Cook, Roger Greenaway, Geoff Stephens, CBS

Listen: Doctor’s Orders / Sunny SunnyDoctors.mp3

Basically Sunny has loads of history. Solo artist, one half of Sue & Sunny (both of whom were also members of The Brotherhood Of Man) and background voice on many, many, many hit singles (Dusty Springfield, Elton John, The Love Affair, Lulu, Mott The Hoople, T. Rex, Tom Jones, and Joe Cocker to name but a few bigger ones). She’s probably on more records than even she can remember – let alone you or me.

Often associated with the Cook & Greenaway writer/producer team, it was their song ‘Doctor’s Order’ (co-written with Geoff Stephens, himself claim to a long list of song credits: The Applejacks, Manfred Mann, Scott Walker, Dave Berry, Frank Sinatra, The Carpenters) that became a favorite for literally months in ’74. As into rock and soul as I was in ’74, the occasional pop track would bite me hard. I was never comfortable that Sunny’s version didn’t become the US hit version, it was better and smoother than Carol Douglas’. Rest of world though, the crown went to the awesome Sunny. I want to meet her someday.

Barbara Lewis

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

barbaralewisbaby, barbara mason, atlantic

Listen: Baby I’m Yours / Barbara Lewis BabaraLewis.mp3

I just remember this slummping in with Dusty Springfield and Cilla Black, the female singers we felt were British Invasion by association. It was a bit later I found her to be authentic American, signed to Atlantic. But I mean, no negative here, all positive, not only did the English bring our own urban music back to us, but they supported many an artist like Barbara Lewis, inviting them to the UK for double bills, support etc. Doris Troy was another lucky recipient. P. P. Arnold and Madeline Bell too. ‘Baby I’m Yours’ still sounds so solid today.

Dusty Springfield

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Spooky / Dusty Springfield

Listen: Spooky / Dusty Springfield DustySpooky.mp3

This is an easy one. Everyone agrees Dusty’s immortal and timeless. We all know her many classics. It’s these two very overlooked, almost forgotten B sides that are worth visiting.

‘Spooky’ from 1970 has been compiled occasionally. A hit for The Classics IV, it was a superb cover choice as was it’s A side, The Rascals ‘How Can I Be Sure’.

I Am Your Child / Dusty Springfield

Listen: I Am Your Child / Dusty Springfield DustyIAm.mp3

‘I Am Your Child’, a beautiful Barry Manilow co-write, from exactly ten years later, is a much harder one to grab. The A side, ‘Your Love Still Brings Me To My Knees’ was not a hit and it would be another seven years before Dusty returned to the charts. Both are exquisite showcases for that shimmering, delicate craftmanship of a voice.