Posts Tagged ‘Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames’


Sunday, December 8th, 2013

THEM / Them:

Side 1:

Listen: Don’t Start Crying Now / Them

Listen: Philosophy / Them

Side 2:

Listen: Baby Please Don’t Go / Them

Listen: One Two Brown Eyes / Them

I can see now, very clearly, why Van Morrison grimaces at some of the material recorded with his original band. I read once that he disliked his vocal early on, and from the very first notes of this EP’s lead off track, ‘Don’t Start Crying Now’, I suddenly understand why.

Fast forward to November 30, 1989, Denny Cordell, by then an Island co-worker and a true friend, arranged for us to meet after Van’s Beacon Theater show in order to get my blank jukebox tab signed. Looking back, I’m still amazed. As promised, I was led into one of the small second floor dressing rooms by his tour manager where he was waiting. He’d been previously coached by Denny on my request, to fill in the A and B side songs, as well the artist name, in this case Them, on a blank jukebox tab for my collection and had agreed.

By quick explanation, my entire Seeburg 222 is filled with records whereby the corresponding jukebox tab is filled in, i.e autographed, by the artist or a member of that specific band. I always carry blanks just in case.

Knowing he had a distaste for all things Them, I timidly made my request very clear: I preferred this tab be for one of their singles, so as not to have any issue or weirdness once face to face. I was assured this was not going to be a problem. Disbelief grew but there we were, together in that small room. Van pleasantly asked me which single I wanted it for, I said one by Them please, in essence asking yet again, was that ok. He responded. “Sure, which song?”

“Richard Corey”.

“Okay, do you know what was on the B side, because I can’t remember”.

“Yes, it’s ‘Don’t You Know’, at least on my US pressing”, in an effort to make clear that was the song title as opposed to a cheeky question directed to him.

He took the pen, leaned over the table where the blank tab lay, and again asked, so where do I write the song title, to which I pointed at the top of the tab. He scribbled his name, tossed, didn’t throw nor didn’t gently set down, the pen and strolled out of the room leaving his tour manager and I somewhat baffled, to which he rolled his eyes, shrugging his shoulders with a “he’s unpredictable” or something like that.

I was rather pleased though. The stories about his mere true. How fun. I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve gotten to tell people about Van Morrison’s manners.

Jukebox Tab signed by Van Morrison (above).

But they say every cloud has a silver lining. And it applies here.

Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames were Van Morrison’s backing band during this visit. They even were afforded a three song solo spot mid show whereby they performed ‘Yeh, Yeh’, ‘Get Away’ and ‘The Ballad Of Bonnie & Clyde’. Let me tell you, this surprise was an unexpected treat for many in the house besides me. Even before meeting up with Van, I was already plotting to find Georgie Fame later for an autographed tab request, which turned out most simple given he was in the very next dressing room. My only concern being, not having had a clue prior he was part of the lineup, I hadn’t prepared myself with B side info. Nonetheless, I proceed.

Georgie Fame was jovial and kindly, excitedly even, agreed to do the autograph on the spot, all smiles asking which song I’d like. ‘Yeh Yeh’ was honestly in my jukebox then, still is, and man does it sound terrific through those tube amps and speakers by the way. But I admitted, I wasn’t sure about the B side.

“No problem mate. It’s ‘Preach & Teach’, at least in England it was.”

Wow, Georgie Fame actually knows his releases all the way back. And he was right. ‘Preach & Teach’ is was.

A solid fifteen minute conversation began, him happily pouring out all kinds of stories about The Flamingo, The 100 Club, former manager Rik Gunnell and in full circle, his producer Denny Cordell, who by now had found us and had joined in. Once the two of them got going, well it was heaven.

Jukebox Tab signed by Georgie Fame (above).

Georgie Fame & Alan Price

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Listen: Rosetta / Fame & Price, Price & Fame Together

By the time these two guys teamed up, they’d outgrown their hardcore, grimy beginnings, especially having to play the late, late, late night white blues and soul clubs that typified 60′s Mod. Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames and The Alan Price Set respectively had done their time in the all-nighter trenches of London’s Flamingo, and other even nastier spots around the UK. Miraculously, even though they were having mainstream hit singles, their labels allowed both to record what each clearly preferred, jazz funk and RnB.

But I guess hits meant tasting success and some money, so by the early 70′s, both Georgie Fame and Alan Price were involved with televsion, films and soundtracks. Somewhere in that mix, a suggested musical partnering reflecting their apparent camaraderie actually took way.

Great plan. Their voices sounded superb together, and the first single released as Fame And Price, Price And Fame Together landed them a #11 UK hit in ’71.

Fuck was I pissed ‘Rosetta’ never got airplay in America. Initially, the single was included in a pile gotten off Harry Fagenbaum, the Syracuse University college radio rep for Warner Brothers. Despite Harry being another Anglophile, he hardly mentioned it. Supposedly, this record was just too adult and schmaltz for him. He wrongly assumed I would agree.

Can recall vividly returning home that Sunday evening, having spent the day trolling the SU campus record shops, then hanging out at Harry’s dorm, listening to The Pretty Things GET THE PICTURE album. Seriously, we played it at least twice, as I still hadn’t scored my copy. That was a damn hard one to get even in ’71. Imports were starting to become more common, but not older titles. So I’d always run straight for it in his wall shelf.

I remember him trying to edge in Ron Nagle’s BAD RICE album, and Deep Purple’s ‘Strange Kind Of Woman’ 7″, both of which he’d just given me. My logic was to promise I’d listen once home, but in the meantime, let’s hear The Pretty Things. And I did check those out that night, as well John & Beverly Martyn’s ‘Primrose Hill’, yet it was ‘Rosetta’ that hands down stole the thunder.

The Graham Bond Organization

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Listen: Long Tall Shorty / The Graham Bond Organization
Long Tall Shorty / The Graham Bond Organization

Okay, I have a thing for The Graham Bond Organization. From three thousand miles away, they seemed the underdog’s underdog. Attached to the Flamingo/Marquee/Soho nightlife sleaze fueled by American blues and black music makes only for a romantic validation. Rubbing shoulders and sharing stages with Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Peter B’s Looners and Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band has me, many times, starring into space wishing I could turn back time.

Nice thing about this bunch, they always looks dirty, miserable and most capable of genuinely playing earthy RnB.

I had wanted a demo copy, well actually any copy, of ‘Long Tall Shorty’ for decades. Four going on five to be exact. Just last week, my luck changed. I scored the first one to pop up on eBay for ages. Man, does it sound spectacular, almost worth the wait and certainly worth every penny.

Listen: Long Legged Baby / The Graham Bond Organization
Long Legged Baby / The Graham Bond Organization

Having lived life without this record until now meant deprivation of it’s B side. I have many, basically all the remaining 7′s by the band, and this, given the authenticity of ‘Long Legged Baby’, now equals their US only Ascot single ‘St. James Infirmary’, posted elsewhere on SMRSLT, as tied for being their best.

The grime of late, late night smokey smelly 60′s London, devoid of 24 hour food options, convenient public transport and particularly omissions control standards, is wonderfully captured here, at least how I fantasize it to have been.

Nero & The Gladiators

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Listen: Entry Of The Gladiators / Nero & The Gladiators
Entry Of The Gladiators / Nero & The Gladiators

The mystique of the early 60′s is impossible to shake. A constant return to it seems my endless circle. Instrumentals were a lot more abundant then, as A side singles that is. Electronic and dance records nowadays don’t count. No one expects them to go Top 40.

I’d always assumed Nero & The Gladiators were produced by Joe Meek. These early 60′s singles don’t even mention producers. In fact, label copy went downhill once more than the producer needed crediting. A nice, minimal information label still looks the best.

Come to find out, Joe Meek only did a non-Nero Gladiators single ‘Tovaritch’, their final release in ’63. It’s the intro on this one, ‘Entry Of The Gladiators’ that led me to assume otherwise.

There’s a lot detail involving this band’s musicians through the years: Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, The Ivy League, The Flowerpot Men. In fact, Mike O’Neill, Nero himself, was an original member of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, playing organ in their initial four piece lineup during Fall ’66.

Julien Covey & The Machine / Wynder K. Frog / Jimmy Miller

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

juliencoveyuk, Julien Covey & The Machine, Wynder K. Frog, The Spencer Davis Group, The Kinks, Ray Davies, Jimmy Miller, Island, Philips

Listen: A Little Bit Hurt / Julien Covey & The Machine
A Little Bit Hurt / Julien Covey & The Machine

I guess you might call them a supergroup. Julien Covey, real name Phil Kinorra, played with Brian Auger in his early days. As well as fronting the band vocally, he also drummed. Amongst it’s members were John Moreshead on guitar, who played with Johnny Kidd & The Pirates, The Shotgun Express and The Ansley Dunbar Retaliation. In addition, the band included Peter Bardens (Them, Camel), Jim Creagan (Blossom Toes, Family) and Dave Mason at various times. Their lone release, ‘A Little Bit Hurt’, was co-written and produced by Jimmy Miller in ’67, who brought along his freshly used prodcution techniques, successful on The Spencer Davis Group’s ‘Gimme Some Lovin” and applied them to The Kinks ‘You Really Got Me’ riff, to help create this now, Northern soul classic, according the Northern soul classic experts.

wyndergreen,  Wynder K. Frog, Island, Jimmy Miller, Mick Weaver

Listen: Green Door / Wynder K. Frog
Green Door / Wynder K. Frog

Between ’64 – ’67, the sound of the Jimmy Smith/Jimmy McGriff hammond B3 was the prevalent connection that bridged hip rock and soul, bringing the jazzy black Flamingo club stuff (Brian Auger & The Trinity, Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, The Graham Bond Organization) to a more mainstream public, as with The Spencer Davis Group. Jimmy Miller’s production played a part. He worked as house producer for Chris Blackwell then and recorded some successful and some less successful, well commercially for the time that is, singles, like the aforementioned Julien Covey & The Machine track, and ‘Green Door’ by Wynder K. Frog. Although not chart records, they became club hits, and apparently still are to this day, on the Northern circuit, wherever that is.

The Mose Allison Trio

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Listen: Baby, Please Don’t Go / The Mose Allison Trio
Baby, Please Don't Go / The Mose Allison Trio

Not for years after I should have paid attention, did I finally discover Mose Allison. He played local clubs when I was in college, but I foolishly missed him. Somewhere along the line, I’d noticed Georgie Fame dropping his name one too many times, so had a look. Probably picked up a dollar album or the like. Don’t remember noticing his singles much. Their voices were almost identical, and the way Georgie Fame revered him was obvious.

This would have been the early 90′s, when I started to collecting jazz singles. They were everywhere, and dirt cheap. All of them sounded particularly good in the jukebox. I used to brag about hating jazz, and how it should be a controlled substance but now admit my arrogance was out of line. Still don’t like the brassy side, but small combo piano/guitar/vibes stuff, love those. The Mose Allison Trio fit right in, definitely paved my way to a whole new genre of 7″ collecting.

John Lee Hooker / Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

I really do appreciate Van Morrison for many reasons. He toured about 10 years back, maybe more, with Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames as his band, and John Lee Hooker supporting. I figured the Georgie Fame bit would mean more cohesive song structure as opposed to some of the free form shows he’d done. True, it did. But not before giving Georgie and his band a 4 song spotlight set, whereby they played his biggest US successes (‘Get Away’, ‘Yeh Yeh’, The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde’ and remarkably ‘Daylight’). In addition Van did ‘Gloria’ much to everyone’s surprise, especially as he and Georgie kept it pretty close to the original.

JohnLeeHookerBoom, John Lee Hooker, Vee Jay, Columbia UK

Listen: Boom Boom / John Lee Hooker JLHookerBoomUKA.mp3

Up first was John Lee Hooker, during possibly his last tour. What an unexpected treat. There was none of that new material stuff to endure, instead the classics, played raw and fluidly, all the while seated. No surprise for him to play ‘Boom Boom’, ‘I Love You Honey’ and ‘Dimples’.

JLHookerBigLegs, John Lee Hooker, Vee Jay, Columbia UK

Listen: Big Legs, Tight Skirt / John Lee Hooker JLHookerBigLegs.mp3

Most surprising was when pulling out a more obscure favorite ‘Big Legs, Tight Skirt’. Not only was hearing the song a thrill, but the set up story was hysterical beyond belief. You can just imagine.

GeorgieFameYehUKA, Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, Imperial, Columbia UK

GeorgieFameYehUSA, Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, Imperial, Columbia UK

GeorgieFameYehUS, Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, Imperial, Columbia UK

Listen: Yeh Yeh / Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames GeorgieFameYehYeh.mp3

To be honest, I hadn’t realized Georgie Fame was even involved until a few days prior. Nor did I expect a solo set. To say it was a treat is vastly understating the moment. Voice still perfectly intact, players easily replicating the groove.

But the most unexpected bonus of the night: a jukebox tab.

It was originally set up for Van Morrison to do the honors via management. Rumored to be difficult, I was pretty shocked when a confirmation call came through with instructions to meet stage door right post show, and get escorted in to see Van, which I promptly adhered to. In a small dressing room, Van was standing waiting. This seemed rather bizarre. Why was I so lucky? He’d been briefed on my request, so when he inquired about song choice, I asked would he do one for Them as well. “Sure, just show me what to write and where”. ‘Richard Cory’ was my choice, I indicated clearly where to write what, Van took the penned signed his name (see tab below) and huffed from the room. Although disappointed at being so close to a signed jukebox tab for Them, I thought it was pretty interesting that this signature, and the accompanying story, was how he wanted to be remembered:

VanMorrisonJukeboxTab, Van Morrison

Georgie Fame, on the other hand, was just the opposite, even recalling the B side, which I hadn’t had the chance of researching prior to the show:

GeorgieFameJukeboxTab, Georgie Fame