31 March, 2007

THE SEEDS

Here are a couple of cool Seeds photos from an old music magazine. I've been cutting articles and pics from mags since the 80s. Glad I did because the magazine would have been tossed out years ago.

I've got plenty of obscure English band shots to follow in the coming weeks.



25 March, 2007

Pop Cycles - Volume 5 CDR

Just in this week is the latest Pop Cycles CDR compiled by erstwhile record collector and Shindig magazine reviewer Paul Martin. Pop Cycles has been around for the past 3 years or so and Volume 5 is now circulating among fellow collectors and lovers of the more off-beat sounds from the world of underground and obscure pop 45s and album tracks.

This time around Pop Cycles takes the listener on a ride through toy town, pop beat, soft pop and early 70s underground. Some tracks even date from 1979/80. The sound quality of the music on the CDR is as good as you get from vinyl records mastered to the digital format. Expect loud mastering that is full of clarity. I'm not sure if Paul masters his own vinyl, maybe he can expand on this. Whoever is responsible has done a fine job.

There are many highlights on this disc for me and I'm sure many will feel the same way. Almost every track was new to me. I have heard the rather excelent psych 45 by These Vizitors before. Both sides of the record are present here. 'Happy Man' and 'For Mary's Sake' are pure 1967 flower poweresque psych, the kind of sunshine pop I've always thought was cool even before it got kind of popular with those Soft Sounds For Gentle People and the Fading Yellow CDs.

The opening track by Prowler 'Pale Green Vauxhall Driving Man' is a cracking tune with a fab guitar break. Who would have thought it was recorded in 1972? According to the liners Prowler had formally been Mandrake Paddle Steamer of 'Strange Walking Man' fame.
The Imp-acts impress with their rare 45 from 1965 'If I Were The Only One'. This may have only ever had a release in Germany.

I was also very impressed by both Hollins Ferry tracks. These two songs were culled from the private press album put out by the band in 1977. Those who appreciate Big Star will certainly dig these tracks.
We are also treated to several rare 'toy town' type songs. Only the English could possibly record such ditties. If you're not sure about what I mean have a listen to The Laurels 'Threepence A Song' and Marvin Welch and Farrar's 'Strike A Light'.

The liners are well researched and informative. Sadly no cover art exists yet but when it is available I'll post it here.

All in all, Pop Cycles Volume 5 is a fantastic addition to my CD collection.

20 March, 2007

RANDY and the RADIANTS - Peek-A-Boo


























 RANDY and the RADIANTS - Peek-A-Boo / Mountain's High (Sun 395) 1965

Most garage freaks know the killer track 'My Way Of Thinking' from this Memphis band that was released on Sun 398. It's been comped a few times, firstly on Boulders Volume 9 and then the 2CD set Ya Gotta Have Moxie Volume 2.
However, the first 45 by Randy and the Radiants is a little known gem. 'Mountain's High' written by Dick St John is a primitive beat style number reminiscent of the early Kinks.
'Peek-A-Boo' written by Bob Simon is my favourite cut out of the two tracks on offer. It moves along nicely and would have so much better with a devastating guitar break.
My advice would be to buy this record if you see it for sale, you won't be disappointed.

The JAYBIRDS - IT WASN'T RIGHT



THE JAYBIRDS - "Happy Day" / "It Wasn't Right" (Ilsa Records 69009) 1999


Austrian band The Jaybirds are well worth your efforts in tracking down their records. These are becoming harder to locate especially the early EPs on Ilsa.

This Vienna based neo R&B band's passion was the mid 60s English blues influenced combos and their early recordings are faithful to this type of music. Fortunately almost all of the 45 tracks were band originals and immaculately conceived sounding like long lost treasures from 1964/65.

One look at their cool mod image and bowl haircuts means that these guys are gonna take themselves seriously. This record contained two surprising covers of very obscure bands from 60s Austria.

'It Wasn't Right' was first recorded back in 1968 by a 3 piece group called Expiration, who were considered the Austrian 'Cream'. The song doesn't sound like Cream what so ever. It's got a 'mod' sound but not the soul sound if you know what I mean? More in keeping with English legends like Fleur de Lys or The Attack. Anyway, you'll dig the swirling organ that's way up front in the mix and the cool guitar break.

'Happy Day' was originally recorded by Charles Ryder's Corporation. Charles Ryder, also known as Karl Ratzer was the former lead guitarist of The Slaves. The Jaybirds really pull this cover out of the bag with a more soulful approach, again with nice organ flourishes and good solid musicianship and vocals. It's quite a powerful performance.



18 March, 2007

THE OTHERS - CAN'T HELP BUT CRY




THE OTHERS - Can't Help But Cry EP (Twist 36T 017) 1997
 
What did the Romans ever do for us? or something like that, was a famous quote from Monty Python Film 'The Life Of Brian'...Well apart from roads and sanitation they gave us The Others in the mid 90s!

I completely LOVE The Others. I'm a sucker for 12 string jangle and these guys used it in abundance on their records. I was so glad I discovered them by reading Italian fanzine Misty Lane, and they could well be my all time favourite neo garage psych group.

This 4 track EP came out in '97. Your loss if you've never heard it so be sure to track it down. The first track is 'Can't Help But Cry'. This is fast paced 12 string mayhem with a cool backbeat. It really is excellent folk punk showing that these Italian hipsters were on their game when this was recorded live at Delta Studios in Rome.

A cover of 'Elevator Operator', the Gene Clark classic follows next and it's a faithful rendition of the song with plenty of 12 string action and fuzz leads. The vocals are crisp and polished.
Side B kicks off with 'Do You Believe What I Say?' This song is firmly set somewhere in a 1966 garage. It could be The Leaves! This time around we are not treated to jangle but fuzz and punky attitude. There is a cool lead guitar break mid way through.

'You'll Never Know' is again backed with 12 string and pleasant vocals. Could almost be a ballad. All songs, apart from the Gene Clark cover are band originals written by Massimo del Pozzo. He also produced the songs along with Bruno Apostoli.


THE BAN, NOW, TRIPSICHORD MUSIC BOX




The BAN - Bye Bye - Now That I'm Hoping (Brent 7049) 1966

This band started life in Lompoc, California and released a 45 as The Ban on Brent. They were comprised of Tony McGuire (guitar,vocals), Oliver McKinney (keyboards), Frank Straight (bass) and Randy Gordon (drums).
'Bye Bye' written by Tony McGuire is a great teen punker with eerie organ and tambourine frills and an amatuerish guitar break. Hear it on Garage Beat Volume 1.
The flip 'Now That I'm Hoping' is a pleasant slow paced pop song, similar to The Zombies sound (at least to my ears) and remains uncompiled.

Tony McGuire left the band soon after to be replaced by David Zandonatti. They relocated to Los Angeles and changed their name from The Ban to The Now and signed for Embassy Records.





 The NOW - I Want / Like A Flying Bird (Embassy C-1963) 1967


'I Want' credited to all four members of the Now is a fabulous punk swinger with go go organ. Whenever I think of the 66/67 LA sound I hear this kind of groovy music in my head. I'm not sure if it's ever been compiled.

'Like A Flying Bird' is also a good song. It's got a lovely melody and has far more in common with the baroque sounds of The Left Banke. Just a great 60s pop record as far as I'm concerned.

After this one 45 for Embassy thet left LA and travelled to San Francisco. There they changed their name once again, this time to Tripsichord Music Box. I'm sure more people have heard of this band as they released possibly the West Coast's finest acid/psychedelic album of the late 60s. But don't expect garage punk or baroque pop songs!

I rec'd this email from a contact who saw The Ban back in the 60s....

I heard The Ban twice when they performed at the Vandenberg Air Force Base Teen Center near Lompoc, California in late 1965 or early 1966. They were very impressive and in addition to ‘Now that I’m Hoping” and other material they covered almost all of the songs from Rubber Soul, which was quite a feat. 

Their single received some local airplay and I remember hearing it a couple of times on the school bus radio during early 1966 while completing my senior year at Lompoc High School. I always liked it, but that was the last I heard of The Ban and their song, although I remember seeing their bass player performing with another group, which may have been The Now - or Tripsichord - a year or two later at a dance in L.A.

17 March, 2007

Midsummer White

I'm always on the look out for 60s photographs and cards and I found this one a few months ago for sale in WH Smiths. Well worth the 60 pence I paid for it.

The original photograph was taken by David Bailey in July 1965 for Vogue magazine. The title of the pic is 'Midsummer White.'


I used this pic and added colour when designing a cover for my 'Action Paintings' CD comp I made for myself and a few others.

TONY JACKSON - Love Potion No. 9
























TONY JACKSON with the Vibrations - Love Potion No.9 / Fortune Teller (Pye 7N.15766) 1965

After leaving success behind with The Searchers, Tony Jackson formed his own band and signed for Pye. It was a risky decision. After all, The Searchers were very popular in England and Europe. According to Jackson, he wanted to sing much 'harder and more beaty numbers.'

'Love Potion No. 9' was Tony Jackson's third 45 release. The previous two singles sold moderately but were not huge sellers. This cover of the Leiber and Stoller song again flopped. The flip 'Fortune Teller' is a pounding R'n'B killer with cornball lyrics. The first version I ever heard was way back in the 80s when I bought The Fire Escape LP. Their version pales in comparison.
Here's a moody looking band shot of Tony Jackson and the Vibrations. This picture came from a Teenbeat annual.


English band pics from Teenbeat Annual 1966






THE BYRDS - Feel A Whole Lot Better



The Byrds - All I Really Want To Do / Feel A Whole Lot Better (CBS 201796) 1965

Not much more can be said about The Byrds right? After all they were perhaps America's finest ever group during 1965 to 1967.

Their early 45s are timeless classics and do not sound dated at all. Every year there seems to be a band emerge on the scene with the jangly guitar, mop tops and Byrds swagger.

The 45 pictured is the mono UK release on CBS and boy does it play loud. In those days they really knew how to master records to vinyl!
'All I Really Want To Do' was the top side of the record and was of course the follow up to 'Mr Tambourine Man'. Sales were disappointing and the record stumbled into the top half of the thirties in the UK charts.
It's a shame because it's a cool cover of Dylan's song. Maybe the bad press on the English tour halted it's progress up the charts.

Flip the record over and you get Gene Clark's masterpiece. What a killer performance 'Feel A Whole Lot Better Is'. Well, I guess you all know that anyway. This could possibly be my most played 45 of all time.

THE BLUEBEARDS - Come On A My House


THE BLUEBEARDS - Come On-A My House / I'm Home (Date 2-1547) Feb 1967

I dig this 45 by The Bluebeards. The top side 'Come On-A My House' is a fast paced psych mover with an 'Eastern' vibe. Not sure where the band originated from , so if anyone knows be sure to let me know. The writer credits on the label are R. Bagdasarian and W. Saroyan.

The flip 'I'm Home' is also cool but is more of a homage to the fab four. It kinda sounds like merseybeat but with the obvious updated sounds of '67...and it's a 'turned-on' swinger. Yeah! The writer credits for this song is E. Michaels.


As far as I know both sides of this 45 remain uncompiled. It's a shame it's not more widely known but at least I've got the record archived in my collection.