Posts Tagged ‘Shel Talmy’

The Move / Jimmy Miller

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Listen: Blackberry Way / The Move
Blackberry

Certainly one of my favorite singles ever, I dare say one of the greatest records ever released. Fact not opinion.

The recent BBC documentary, THE JOY OF THE SINGLE spotlighted ‘Blackberry Way’ as just that for a teenage Holly Johnson, who relived a long walk to and from a nearby record shop, whereby The Monkees’ ‘(Theme From) The Monkees’ wasn’t available. In fact, that track was never issued on a 7″ when current, luckily. The shop clerk talked him into the latest release by The Move instead, a sale amongst many that would have contributed toward the record reaching #1 on the UK charts.

The program was another in a long list of reminders that pulling out a copy of ‘Blackberry Way’ and letting it play on repeat was yet again, a solid hour well spent in my house.

Along with high school pals Denny and Mark, I sent off to England for copies of this pre-release. We wanted it shipped day one. God knows how we’d hear about these records sentenced to teen life in upstate New York, but we did. In fact, our crowd were so into The Move that there was no messing about by this, the release of their sixth single. And one titled ‘Blackberry Way’, heaven help us, we knew it’d be stunning. I can vividly remember opening that cardboard mailer and playing it for the first time. Stunning doesn’t do the song justice.

Years later, employed in Elektra’s A&R department meant a constant search for new signings and a resulting schedule of meetings with everyone from managers, agents, lawyers and occasionally, name UK record producers with their newest projects. Through the years Gus Dudgeon, Don Arden, Jonathan King, Stuart Colman, Malcolm McLaren, Wayne Bickerton, Hugh Padgham or Shel Talmy might book in while passing through New York. On one occasion, I got a call requesting some time for Jimmy Miller.

His visit was not going to be wasted on me. I was only too keen, as was usually the case, to talk about the less travelled topics covered by most fellow A&R reps, in this instance his more obscure British productions, of which The Move was one. Turns out, he was always happy to recount his histories, including a well repeated run down of that period with The Rolling Stones. But my curiosity in The Move brought out a unexpected tale, all presented with the enthusiasm of a kid.

For starters, ‘Blackberry Way’ was the only song he ever recorded with them, and then just sitting in for the band’s usual producer, Denny Cordell. The details were rather simple and verify the often documented flying by the seat of their pants 60′s music industry. Denny and he were co-workers at Straight Ahead Productions, to whom The Move were signed. Denny was double booked on a session with Joe Cocker & The Grease Band and asked Jimmy to cover for him with The Move. These details, to be clear, were laughingly verified by Denny years later.

As a result, the band’s only UK #1 was produced, not by the guy who worked with them on every other track prior, but by his pal in the next office. A jovial recollection actually.

So as Jimmy Miller sat across from me recounting these details for the first time in my office on the 20th floor of the Warner Brothers building, I pulled out the above copy for an autograph, which seriously pleased him to no end.

Jim Sullivan

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

Listen: Toad Stool / Jim Sullivan
Toad

From what I can uncover, this was a US only release, apparently before Big Jim Sullivan became big.

No doubt, he can’t recall who played on this, although you never know. I hope to ask him someday. I like to think that’s Bobbie Graham on the drums, and from the songwriting credit, my guess is Shel Talmy also produced.

That’s logical, as he used Jim Sullivan on many of his other productions during the period: The Kinks and The Who being the most familiar.

Ever a work in progress, a Jim Sullivan discography could make for a good book. You’ll need to stop down every page of so just to take it all in.

Tintern Abbey

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Beeside / Tintern Abbey

Listen: Beeside / Tintern Abbey
Beeside

Many years back, in the late 80′s, a friend John Stainze had stumbled on a bunch of Deram singles. I seem to recall them being from a UK Mom & Pop record shop or something. He called asking if I wanted him to pick any up, running a bunch of titles past me. They were around $5 each so I said yes to a few including The 23rd Turnoff record.

Amongst their stock was the sole release by Tintern Abbey, ‘Beeside’, of which they had five copies. I took them all, even though they were $20 a piece back then. When the box arrived, I was bragging to Corinne that I’d gotten five copies of this, and she berated me for wasting even money on more useless records, not to mention multiple copies. One recently sold for $1135 on eBay. She remains unimpressed. Now I just need to unearth the remaining four somewhere in the black hole of extras.

The record is often sighted as classic British psych, to these ears not unlike Love in parts. It’s truly up there with The Smoke, Tomorrow and The Pretty Things ‘Defecting Grey’. But that’s just one useless opinion.

Vacuum Cleaner / Tintern Abbey

Listen: Vacuum Cleaner / Tintern Abbey
Vacuum

Both sides of the record are often compiled on psyche compilations, and it seems many have confused ‘Vacuum Cleaner’ as being the A side, given ‘Beeside’ sounding like a clever play on words I’m guessing.

Not sounding unlike a Shel Talmy production, I suppose in a pinch, it could pass for The Creation.

For the record, drummer John Dalton is not the same John Dalton who played bass with The Kinks for centuries.

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.

The Mickey Finn

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

mickeyfinnnightcomesusa, The Mickey Finn, T. Rex, Shel Talmy, World Artists, Jimmy Page

Listen: Night Comes Down / The Mickey Finn MickeyFinnNight.mp3

Often confused with the bongo player from T. Rex, this is actually a band, not that person. The Mickey Finn’s career highpoint, according to most, was a two single association with producer Shel Talmy. And if you want to have your heart freeze for kicks, check out his discography.

Out of that came ‘Night Comes Down’ / ‘This Sporting Life’, their only US release via World Artists. Seems Shel Talmy had some juice there, having produced a few big hits for Chad & Jeremy. Although not listed on the above discography, I do believe he also produced The Moments version of Ray Davies’ ‘You Really Got Me’ for the label. The Moments were Steve Marriott’s first band, predating The Small Faces. That single, as with The Mickey Finn release, are stupid rare, making them very fun items to have and hold.

I got an unsolicited call from Shel Talmy many years back, I think when I was either at Elektra or Island. He had moved to LA, and was looking for work, still in that has-been stretch, not yet having graduated to legend status. I foolishly didn’t follow up, not necessarily with getting him some work, but neither forging a friendship, something I do regret.

mickeyfinnidoloveuk, The Mickey Finn, T. Rex, Shel Talmy, World Artists, Jimmy Page

Listen: I Do Love You / The Mickey Finn MickeyFinnIDoLove.mp3

Of lesser notoriaty is the band’s ’66 single “I Do Love You’. And I’m not sure why. Even amongst those who live for all things underrated, this is very underrated. It starts out noticeably similar to ‘Heart Trouble’ by The Eyes Of Blue, and then proceeds to a perfect groove a la The Foundations. I’d give anything to know how many copies would have been pressed of a single like this.