27 December, 2009

ROUND UP OF 2009 - CDs

Out of the CDs I did purchase during 2009 the ones pictured stole the show.

LOVE IS THE SONG WE SING - 4 CD collection of San Francisco garage and psych. You also get a superlative booklet for your money. £39
WHERE THE ACTION IS! - This time around Rhino Records make the switch from San Francisco to Los Angeles with another GREAT 4 CD collection. The booklet is also impressive even though I read that they had half the budget of the 'Love Is The Song We Sing' coffee table piece. £35
13th FLOOR ELEVATORS - Sign Of The 3 Eyed Men - Simply the best release I've ever seen. They're all sold out now. £75
CHOCOLATE WATCH BAND - I've bought many Chocolate items since the 80s but none finer than this 2 CD set on Big Beat. The sound quality is simply unmatched. £11

26 December, 2009

A ROUND UP OF 2009 - LPs

I didn't realise that I'd bought as many vinyl LPs in 2009 as I did. Most of them were re-issues, especially releases on Sundazed Records. Those folks at Sundazed just get better and better. I picked up several 80s garage comps that I missed out on at the time and also some originals. The mono mix of Zodiac 'Cosmic Sounds' on Elektra was a good find, Bobby Comstock 'Out Of Sight' LP mono mix on Ascot and the stereo mix of Freak Scene 'Psychedelic Soul' on Columbia were a classy addition to my collection.

My favourite four LPs this year are pictured:

BRUM BEAT - A rare original compilation of Birmingham beat groups released on Dial Records way back in 1964. It appears that The Shadows and The Ventures meant more to Brummie kids than The Beatles. £30
THE REMAINS - 1st Album in mono plus all mono 45s and an unreleased song called 'Morning' recorded in May 1966. Sundazed out did themselves with this gem. £34
- 'Illesek Es Profonok' Hungarian psych pop...charming £20
THE WIG - 'The Jade Room' a way cool collection of Wig material released by Texas Archive Recordings label back in 1983....a very hard album to find these days at a reasonable cost. £20

25 December, 2009

A ROUND UP OF 2009 - 45s

So how did I fair in 2009? Well, due to the ever decreasing £££ sterling against the US $$$ my spending on garage 45s took a huge dent. It just wasn't worth it as much as it had been in the previous couple of years when the £ was double the $ rate.

So I decided to pick apples from the lower branches of the trees and started to fill the missing pieces in my collection that didn't cost too much such as singles by The Standells, The Turtles, The Association and The Enemys etc etc. I only ever buy items in at least EX condition (UK Record Collector guide)....

Even though the credit crunch did take away some of my spending power I still bought 322 singles during 2009, 78 vinyl LPs and 21 CDs (including Box Sets)

My top four singles are pictured. They were not among the most expensive items I bought, they're here because they're my favourites. Pictured are: The Sex Pistols 'Anarchy In The UK' @ £39, Crystal Chandlier 'Suicidal Flowers' on Cobblestone Records @ £67, The Free '(Day Of) Decision For Lost Soul Blue' @ £19 and The Bare Facts 'Bad Part Of Town' @ £60

24 December, 2009


JOHNNY HALLIDAY - 'N'Y Crois Pas' EP (Philips 437.191 BE) 1966
60s French pop is very inconsistant and most of it sounds terrible to my ears, however, some of it is underrated especially when the sound rises above mediocrity. Some would say it usually doesn't even reach that level.

I take chances on many EPs by lots of French artists hoping to find a jewel. Take this EP by Johnny Halliday for instance. It's from 1966 and contains 3 pedestrian cover versions of the hits of the day (ie) 'In The Midnight Hour', 'Girl' and 'If You Gotta Go, Go Now' but the original fourth song 'N'Y Crois Pas' (on Circles - Volume 2) written by Blackburds member Mickey Jones is a minor key moody winner with great Hallyday vocals.

The cover sleeve is also rather GREAT with Johnny still looking like a rocker.


22 December, 2009

MONTY - Un Verre De Whisky

MONTY - 'Un Verre De Whisky' EP (Barclay 70649) 1966
I'm staying in France with this EP by Monty. This fellow has a good voice but his songs are mostly not 'Flower Bomb Songs' worthy. However, he does branch out from the twee souly French ballads and love songs with some decent material.

'Un Verre De Whisky' is a cover of Dozier-Hollands 'Can I Get A Witness' and it stays faithful to the original. If any of my French visitors know anything about Monty be sure to let me know.

MONTY - Un Verre De Whisky

20 December, 2009

THE BLACKBURDS - Absolument Hyde Park

THE BLACKBURDS - 'Absolument Hyde Park' (Philips 437.260) 1966

This 1966 French EP was mainly a vehicle for superstar Johnny Hallyday's mod take of 'Noir C'est Noir' (Black Is Black) however, it contains a couple of hidden treasures by his backing band The Blackburds.

The Blackburds would eventually release some records of their own and of course the two Brits from the combo, guitarist Micky Jones and drummer Tommy Brown would strike out on their own with some crunching mod psych 45s as The State of Micky & Tommy.

'Absolument Hyde Park' is a swingin' London au go go instro with fuzz and cool organ interplay.
'Promenade' is just as good.
tracks on EP:

Johnny Hallyday
'Noir C'est Noir' (Circles - Volume 2)
'La Generation Perdue'

The Blackburds'Promenade Dans La Foret Du Brabant' (Circles - Volume 2)
'Absolument Hyde Park' (Circles - Volume 1)

THE BLACKBURDS - Absolument Hyde Park

17 December, 2009

MICHEL POLNAREFF - Ne Me Marchez Pas Sur Les Pieds

MICHEL POLNAREFF - Love Me Please Love Me EP (AZ EP 1053) 1966
This was the second EP released by French singer songwriter Michel Polnareff with the plug side being the poppy 'Love Me Please Love Me'. It was a big hit in several European countries.

However, the more rockin' B-Side 'Ne Me Marchez Pas Sur Les Pieds' is the song that caught my ear and can be found on Circles Volume 1.
Polnareff's '66 songs were recorded in England with the aid of London's top sessionmen (including Jimmy Page).

MICHEL POLNAREFF - Ne Me Marchez Pas Sur Les Pieds

13 December, 2009

THE SOUL AGENTS - Don't Break It Up

THE SOUL AGENTS - 'I Just Want To Make Love To You'/'Let's Make It Pretty Baby' (PYE 7N.15660) June 1964
This Southampton band delivered a tough R'n'B sound that was very much in vogue throughout England during 1964 although The Soul Agents failed to dent the charts with any of their releases.

They were all still teenagers when the mod flavoured cover of 'I Just Want To Make Love To You' was released, even better was the slowed down blues take of 'Mean Woman Blues' on the flip

A second 45 was released on (PYE 7N.15709) in October 1964 and once again the gritty, tuff R'n'B of 'Let's Make It Pretty Baby' bw 'The Seventh Son' sank without trace which must have dampened the spirits of the band. They were still an attractive draw on the local scene though and their gigs were always sell outs.

THE SOUL AGENTS - 'Don't Break It Up'/'Gospel Train' (PYE 7N.15768) Feb 1965

The third and final Soul Agents release was a gritty pop number called 'Don't Break It Up' written by the Howard & Blaikley team who wrote the hits for Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick & Tich.

It's perhaps their finest slab of music recalling the Dave Clark Five sound but sadly the single sold in small numbers and chart action never materialised. The flip 'Gospel Train' is a classy hammond organ mod dancin' instrumental.

THE SOUL AGENTS - Don't Break It Up

Sometime in '65 the band relocated to London and Rod Stewart became The Soul Agents lead singer. This would have been around the time that he departed Long John Baldry's Hoochie Coochie Men. The band got a residency at The Marquee Club in the Centre of Soho.

No records were released with this line up.

An early promo shot of the band: From L to R Don Shinn (organ), John Keeping (vocals), Jim Sachs (bass), Tony Good (guitar), Roger Pope (drums)

Roger Pope would later play drums for The Loot then after their demise early 70s rock band Hookfoot.

The first two Soul Agents 45s were released as a four track EP but only in Spain. Expect to pay at least 400 Euros for a copy.

'The Seventh Son'/'Let's Make It Pretty Baby' got a picture sleeve for the Danish release.

09 December, 2009

PAUL DOWELL and the DOLPHIN - The Last Time I Saw You

PAUL DOWELL and The DOLPHIN 'The Last Time I Saw You'/'It's Better To Know You' (Sire 45-4107) 1969

This was the final 45 by The Dolphin. This time around though the name of the band on the label were billed as Paul Dowell And The Dolphin but I'm not sure why, especially when both songs on the record were written by a teenage Nils Lofgren.
Maybe Nils Lofgren and The Dolphin would have been more appropriate!

This band of course featured ex members of The Hangmen (see my previous Hangmen feature) and this release was produced by Richard Gottehrer of The Strangeloves.

08 December, 2009

THE KLAN - Wait And See

THE KLAN - 'Already Mine' EP (Palette EPPB 7277) 1966

Over the next couple of months my blog entries will concentrate on European mod and psych records in anticipation of a few new Circles compilations I intend to put together.
The Klan were based in Belgium and contained some English musicians. The band appear to have done quite well in Belgium and France but are virtually unknown outside of these two countries.

05 December, 2009


NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND - 'I Wish I Was A Punk'/'Down In The Basement' (Vanguard VRS 35073) 1968

One of the most interesting 'second tier' bands of the West Coast were this rather scruffy looking hippie group from Berkeley who become a fixture on the scene and eventually took over from Country Joe and the Fish as residency band at a local hang out called The Jabberwock.

The Notes even shared Fish producer Sam Charters.

The music on this 45 is an odd mix of jugband, blues and jazz and will be an acquired taste as they say in the trade. I dig both sides of this stereo record and also recommend tracking down a copy of the out of print 1995 Big Beat CD release 'The Berkeley EPs' where you'll find more Notes music (including several previously unreleased recordings as well as all songs from their rare 'Changes' EP)