Posts Tagged ‘Madeline Bell’

The Graham Bond Organization

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

Listen: St. James Infirmary / The Graham Bond Organization
St. James Infirmary / The Graham Bond Organization

Around ’65/’66, The Graham Bond Organization were a most evil sounding jazz/blues mixture, not only as a band, but compared to any other group during the period. Their two albums, including the Jack Bruce / Ginger Baker / Dick Heckstall-Smith lineup, were released by Columbia UK but remained unissued in the US. In fact the only American release ever from this line-up and The Graham Bond Organization in general was this lone 7″ on Ascot, both sides from that Columbia UK period. The much covered ‘St. James Infirmary’, a single only A side in the UK from early ’66, likewise took on the A side position in the US.

This American folk song of anonymous origin dates back to early 1900 and has taken on many interpretations, one of which claims the song to be written about St. James Hospital in London, which was used to treat leprosy.

Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Big Mama Thornton, Billie Holiday, Bobby Hackett, Stan Kenton, Lou Rawls, Bobby Blue Bland, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Doc Watson, Janis Joplin and The White Stripes are amongst those who have recorded the track. Yet it’s this one that competes neck in neck with the Cops ‘N Robbers version as my personal favorite.

The soon-to-be direction John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers with Dick Heckstall-Smith would assume on BAREWIRES can be heard here.

Listen: Wade In The Water / The Graham Bond Organization
Wade In The Water / The Graham Bond Organization

‘Wade In The Water’, the band’s first A side single for Columbia UK was also included on their debut album, THE SOUND OF ’65. Here in the US, it was coupled, to complete this lone US single, as B side. I’m guessing Ascot Records had released it, with an option for an album, should they get any traction.

At the time, the label was having great success via Manfred Mann, during their initial RnB influenced period with Paul Jones as lead vocalist. They were also a Columbia UK act, and Ascot was releasing other singles from that label’s catalog, including those by Long John Baldry & The Hoochie Coochie Men, The Force Five and Madeline Bell.

The smooth mod rendition of ‘Wade In The Water’ from The Ramsey Lewis Trio stole all the airplay that same year, but this jazz leaning, late night version clearly counter balanced a then ubiquitous song that seemed insatiable to just about everyone in some form or another.

The Hollies

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Listen: Jennifer Eccles / The Hollies

What on earth was Graham Nash thinking? Leaving this band?

Seems every once in a while, some visiting UK group lost a member to the lure of the Los Angeles folk contingent. None of that soft rock ever appealed to me, not to mention their unkept and drab dress sense. But probably in the 60′s, the modern living, mid-century designs that still prevail to this day were so magnetic, who could resist champagne bubble wall dividers, sparkle ceilings and aqua kitchens.

I can’t quite recall when he actually made the move, seems around ’68. Still somehow, The Hollies vocal sound didn’t really change. Not to my ears.

US radio were always very fickle when it came to their records. The wise man’s “be happy with life’s small pleasures” slogan applied here, and at least The Hollies got some airtime. I even recall, shortly after their switch to Epic, with ‘Carrie Anne’ going Top 10, former label Imperial re-released ‘Pay You Back With Interest’ as a 7″. It too got on the air, eventually charting in BILLBOARD (#28).

Luckily, all of the band’s records were played regularly on the upstate New York stations. Even WNDR, the most commercial Top 40 in Syracuse stayed loyal. ‘I’m Alive’ sounded massive over my little orange transistor, and ‘Jennifer Eccles’ was everywhere airwaves-wise during the Spring of ’68. Right there next to my other successful radio request line missions: The Small Faces ‘Lazy Sunday’, Grapefruit ‘Elevator’ and The Scaffold ‘Thank You Very Much’. Oh, and Madeline Bell too.

Doris Troy

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Listen: I’ll Do Anything (Anything He Wants Me To Do) / Doris Troy

Like a few other great vocalists from the US (Madeline Bell, P. P. Arnold), Doris Troy visited England as a backup singer yet found appreciation for her own voice from both UK fans and musicians. So much so that, like the other two, she relocated there during the 60′s, just after releasing an early Gamble & Huff track ‘I’ll Do Anything (Anything He Wants Me To Do)’ on Cameo Parkway, which later became a Northern Soul success. As a result, it was re-released a few times, including on this Mojo pressing from ’71.

When it comes to the genre, a song almost doesn’t get better than this one. A slightly over complicated chord arrangement was way more quality songwriting than careless stumbling. Possibly the original reason for it’s lack of airplay upon release, but not many years later, instead, it became the track’s appeal.

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.


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.

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.