Posts Tagged ‘John Mayall’

Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band

Monday, April 11th, 2016

ZootWillie, Zoot Money, Decca

Listen: The Uncle Willie / Zoot Money ZootWillie.mp3

If you ever see the double LP, HARD UP HEROES, do yourself a favor, buy immediately. Released on UK Decca in ’74, the compilation is a proper collection of their deep 60′s catalog, mostly gritty blues leaning acts, and packaged beautifully. It was here that I first heard ‘The Uncle Willie’.

As with other tracks by The Graham Bond Organization, Alexis Korner, Them, The Birds and John Mayall, it epitomized what I imagined the seedy clubs of London’s Soho to sound like. I’ll never know, but bet I’m right.

Zoot Money already had his Big Roll Band rolling by then. For whatever reason, their moniker was left off the label copy, but their signature sound was sure there to be heard. Man, did I want to own this single from that first listen. Took me a few years, but I got it. Just as expected, the audio on the 7″ was even more authentic than the LP pressing, which in original mono, sounded pretty great already.

Years later, like thirty or so, a live cd from The Flamingo was issued. This band was clearly full and exciting live, as their rendition of ‘The Uncle Willie’ proved.

ZootBigTime, Zoot Money, Epic

Listen: Big Time Operator / Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band ZootBigTime.mp3

Pretty sure it was 2003, the Maximum Rhythm & Blues Tour, a yearly-ish event, played The Royal Albert Hall, and by sheer luck, I was there for work. Jackie Hyde arranged not only tickets, but passes to the after show. As if having just watched Manfred Mann, with both Paul Jones and Mike D’Abo doing their respective hits, Chris Farlowe, The Alan Price Set and Colin Blunstone wasn’t enough, the post show bit was a corucopia of their musician friends from the 60′s. I’m sure there were guys milling about, by now unrecognizable, that would’ve been great jukebox tab scores, but who could tell.

Not the case with Zoot Money. You couldn’t miss him. Jovial and very approachable, he laid a bunch of Marquee stories my way and had no idea ‘Big Time Operator’ came graced with a picture sleeve in the US.

ZootJukebox, Zoot Money, Jukebox Tab

What a great guy to talk with, and pretty good memory too. Wanting a jukebox tab, I didn’t know the B side to ‘The Uncle Willie’, but he did.

Wilbert Harrison One Man Band / Prince La La / Derek Martin

Monday, December 30th, 2013

THE SUE SOUL BROTHERS / Various Artists:


Listen: Let’s Work Together (Parts 1 & 2) / Wilbert Harrison One Man Band

Side 2:

Listen: She Put The Hurt On Me / Prince La La

Listen: Daddy Rollin’ Stone / Derek Martin

Just check my previous two posts. Not hard to guess, I’ve been picking through the various artists section of my wall shelf.

Weirdly enough, this is usually a head scratching process. I don’t do it often, but every time seems to unearth a multi-artist record, usually an EP, that I’d never really noticed before, suddenly falling into the ‘where on earth did I get this from’ category. And honestly, it happens every single time. One source, the UK weeklies, who for a few years there during the late 80′s/early 90′s were including free EP’s, whether it be NME, Music Week or Melody Maker, with each issue. I religiously grabbed every one and stuck them in that VA section for a rainy day. The entire chunk now being a treasure trove of both obscure and focus tracks.

When the Ensign label got all hot and bothered about the Sue Records catalog, which I’m guessing they could suddenly access via their 1983 Island distribution deal, they issued a series of four song EP’s religiously honoring the labels iconic history. Some were single artist compilation EP’s by Ike & Tina Turner or Inez & Charlie Foxx. Others were theme centric: SUE INSTRUMENTALS, THE SUE SOUL SISTERS and this, the latter’s partner, THE SUE SOUL BROTHERS. I played all three in the past few hours and basically did a blindfold drill to choose today’s 31 Days Of December – All EP’s post.

THE SUE SOUL BROTHERS, most likely by design, builds around much covered songs from Sue’s UK catalog. And there were many songs to choose from here, not forgetting, the Sue UK label issued the American Sue releases along with various blues and RnB singles from small and indie US labels. Initially, Juggy Murray, who owned Sue in the US was reportedly furious with Chris Blackwell and Guy Stevens, the day to day guy at Island/Sue in London. Apparently, neither had cleared the idea of picking up product from other US companies and slapping a Sue label on it for the UK.

As a result, other than the bothersome bad blood, Sue’s British catalog and discography rivaled the majors like Decca’s, who bolstered their output and image by repping Atlantic, Monument, Tribe, RCA, Coral and others in Britain. Island became the little indie that could, even harder in the 60′s, when swimming against the tide of Decca, CBS, EMI and Pye was near impossible.

And so, the team at Ensign picked some solid originals here that went on to become widely popular as covers. Loads of bands, including The Who and John’s Children released Derek Martin’s ‘Daddy Rollin’ Stone’ during the Mod era.

Canned Heat, blues experts themselves, took Wilbert Harrison’s ‘Let’s Work Together’ Top 40 in 1970, delaying their version to give the original a chance to sell and reach #32 on BILLBOARD. In a loose full circle chain of events, John Mayall chose to record Wilbert Harrison’s ‘Let’s Work Together’ for his fantastic, and I do mean fantastic, Island album, A SENSE OF PLACE from 1990.

John Mayall

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

Listen: Walking On Sunset (Mono) / John Mayall

I recall vividly awaiting each new album from John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers during their vast and frequent output of the late 60′s. There was something very British about it all. Seemingly via coincidental osmosis, to me, this band personified the damp, cold and grimy UK club circuit. Photos of their decidedly uncomfortable, barely heated van imply a situation closer to say, a jail sentence than an accommodating overnight transportation mode. And that’s just the travel bit.

So by the release of the BLUES FROM LAURAL CANYON album, summer ’68, it was well fun to hear a bright, almost happy version of blues rock. In this case, documenting what must have been like the world changing from black and white to color, for an English band usually grinding through the drizzly UK and then suddenly ending up in Southern California performing a week of shows at Los Angeles’ Whisky A Go Go.

John Mayall himself returned, or maybe stayed on for a week or two, and hence the resulting documentation of the trip. References to The Mothers Of Invention, Canned Heat and The GTO’s make for fun musical name checks. But it’s the almost pop-like songs that entertain the most.

‘Walking On Sunset’ was always a favorite, along with ’2401′, a UK 7″. Again, having the promos of these means owning the scarce mono versions, as posted above.

‘Walking On Sunset’, to this day, can still invite you along for the stroll, envisioning what it must have been like, mid century architecture overloading one’s senses from all directions, and a list of upcoming club shows in the vicinity that could rival London’s Marquee with heart stopping effect.

Years later, having morphed from fan to A&R, I signed John Mayall and he made his terrific comeback album for Island, A SENSE OF PLACE. One of the nicest, most dependable, problem free guys you’d ever want to work with quite frankly.

Only a few years back, I ran into he and his family as we both waited for outbound flights at LAX. We sat for a good hour and caught up. John, as always, sharing endless details about those days. Love the guy.

Mark – Almond / Johnny Almond Music Machine / Jon-Mark

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

markalmondwhat,Blue Thumb, Deram, Bob Krasnow, John Mayall, Marianne Faithfull, Columbia, Patto, Joe Cocker & The Grease Band, Mark - Almond, Johnny Almond Music Machine,  Jon - Mark

Listen: What Am I Living For / Mark – Almond MarkAlmondWhatAmILiving.mp3

markalmondcityusa, Blue Thumb, Deram, Bob Krasnow, John Mayall, Marianne Faithfull, Columbia, Patto, Joe Cocker & The Grease Band, Mark - Almond, Johnny Almond Music Machine,  Jon-Mark

Listen: The City / Mark – Almond MarkAlmondTheCity.mp3

I was lucky enough to see one of the early shows John Mayall did in support of his then brand new album TURNING POINT, basically himself, Jon Mark, Johnny Almond and Steven Thompson. A fantastic drumless lineup – so different at the time. If you have the album, well the live show was exactly the same. A perfect evening.

Always on the move musically, John Mayall soon reinvented himself, possibly due to the formation of Mark – Almond. They too, were a super good act live. Several of the songs from their first two albums on Bob Krasnow’s Blue Thumb label were progressive radio staples, including ‘The City’. It was frankly shocking to hear it on a JetBlue flight recently via their Sirius radio feed. It had been years since that came out of any radio. Got to hand it to Sirius, they play a lot of great stuff.

Learn something everyday: I was completely sure ‘What Am I Living For’ had charted, even peaking in 30′s/40′s on Billboard’s Top 100. Not so. Never even entered. I heard it often as a current during the summer of ’72. It was a high point of the live show as well.

Mark – Almond double billed often with plain and simple guitar bands during their 4-5 year run. Despite the company, every audience listened and appreciated their undeniable musical superiority. Jon Mark, the consummate acoustic, 12 string player, with Johnny Almond at his side, swaying to the music, eyes closed. His seemingly euphoric state took up almost as much stage time as his playing, which by the way, was superb.

jalmonduka, Blue Thumb, Deram, Bob Krasnow, John Mayall, Marianne Faithfull, Columbia, Patto, Joe Cocker & The Grease Band, Mark - Almond, Johnny Almond Music Machine,  Jon-Mark

jalmondusa, Blue Thumb, Deram, Bob Krasnow, John Mayall, Marianne Faithfull, Columbia, Patto, Joe Cocker & The Grease Band, Mark - Almond, Johnny Almond Music Machine,  Jon-Mark

Listen: Solar Level / Johnny Almond Music Machine JohnnyAlmond.mp3

Prior to the John Mayall association and subsequent Mark – Almond period, Johnny Almond made a few albums for Deram’s jazz leaning long player roster (along with the likes of Henry Lowther, The John Cameron Quartet and The Mike Westbrook Orchestra). All highly desirable now, primarily for their sampling potentials, it’s interesting to think that the label would actually release singles from said endeavors, which even more oddly, I ended up liking a lot.

jonmarknightcomesdownukb, Blue Thumb, Deram, Bob Krasnow, John Mayall, Marianne Faithfull, Columbia, Patto, Joe Cocker & The Grease Band, Mark - Almond, Johnny Almond Music Machine,  Jon - Mark

jonmarkus, Blue Thumb, Deram, Bob Krasnow, John Mayall, Marianne Faithfull, Columbia, Patto, Joe Cocker & The Grease Band, Mark - Almond, Johnny Almond Music Machine,  Jon-Mark

Listen: Night Comes Down / Jon-Mark JonMarkNightComes.mp3

Jon Mark, in fact, started years earlier, playing guitar on various Marianne Faithfull singles, like ‘Come And Stay With Me’ and ‘Summer Nights’. It was during that period (’65) that he too recorded a version of the Shel Talmy written ‘Night Comes Down’, which I post a few days back by The Mickey Finn in a much more psychedelicized style.

Cyril Davies & His R. & B. All Stars

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

cyrilpreachinuka, Cyril Davies, The Rolling Stones, Pye International

Listen: Preachin’ The Blues / Cyril Davies & His R. & B. All StarsCyrilPreachin.mp3

cyrilsweet, Cyril Davies & His R. & B. All Stars, Pye International, The Rolling Stones, John Mayall,

Listen: Sweet Mary /Cyril Davies & His R. & B. All StarsCyrilSweet.mp3

I’m just so happy I own this. I only got it off eBay a few years back, and was rather excited thinking it was the same song I knew from The Gun Club – but it is not. No big deal, it’s a nice one to have still. Like Alexis Korner and John Mayall, Cyril Davies is often credited with helping to establish skiffle into purist blues, the form so many of the soon-to-be historic bands became addicted to. After his Blues Incorporated lineup that included Charlie Watts disbanded, The R. & B. All Stars were formed with many a member from Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages. They recorded five tracks for Pye’s new ‘R&B’ imprint (basically a logo on the stock sleeve). These are two.