29 April, 2010


THE FAMILY - 'Scene Through The Eye Of A Lens'/'Gypsy Woman' (Liberty LBF 15031) Oct 1967

October '67 signalled on record, the arrival of cult Leicester group The Family whose debut single 'Scene Through The Eye Of A Lens' not only had a trippy title but was also one of the very best psychedelic records from England (and there were many killers).

'Scene' starts off real slow with Roger Chapman's famous warble combined with a hypnotic slightly eastern sound. But mid way into this psychedelic classic the pulsating lysergic rhythms take the listener beyond the stars.

THE FAMILY - Scene Through The Eye Of A Lens

The flip 'Gypsy Woman' is a straight blues song with no hint of acid.

Sadly, I don't have an original 45 (expect to pay close to £200 for a mint copy) but both sides of this Liberty single were added to the late 90s re-issue of 'Music In A Doll's House' on See For Miles. I bought this album on CD again just for 'Scene'.

The song was compiled in the 80s on Electric Sugar Cube Flashbacks Volume 1 in poor sound.

26 April, 2010

THE ANIMALS - I'm Crying

THE ANIMALS - 'I'm Crying'/'Take It Easy' (Columbia DB.7354) Sept 1964

This was the ultra cool follow up single that The Animals unleashed after their million selling number 1 worldwide hit 'House Of The Rising Sun'. It could be said that the latter record lit the touch paper for thousands of American kids to form their own rock group.

'I'm Crying' written by Eric Burdon and Alan Price is a pulsating R'n'B gem with prominant organ, some wild guitar breaks and Burdon's great vocal performance. He seems to get faster as the song progresses and is singing with lung bursting shouts by the end of the song.

'Take It Easy' on the flip, another Burdon/Price song, is a restrained R'n'B tune that would have been wild with a faster tempo.

Mickie Most produced.

THE ANIMALS - I'm Crying

23 April, 2010

LES GYPSYS - Je Ne Te Pardonnerai Pas - 2nd Part - Jean Pierre Hipken

LES GYPSYS - 'Je Ne Te Pardonnerai Pas' (Tryptic Records TR01) re-issue

Earlier this month I posted rare and exclusive pictures of French group Les Gypsys. Jean Pierre Hipken, bass player from Les Gypsys has been in touch with me several times over the past few weeks and I had a big surprise the other day when he sent me a signed copy of the super cool re-issue of his old band's 45 'Proletaire'.

The re-issue is very limited (500 copies) and is already SOLD OUT!!
This time around for my second and final Gypsys post I've uploaded the tough R'n'B flip 'Je Ne Te Pardonnerai Pas' which you will hear is pure Pretty Things in sound and structure. 

20 April, 2010

BARRY MASON - Collection Of Recollections

BARRY MASON - 'Over The Hills And Far Away'/'Collection Of Recollections' (Deram DM 104) Oct 1966

Barry Mason is an English singer/songwriter who wrote and no doubt made millions on the back of his song 'Delilah' recorded by Tom Jones. He also wrote songs for Rod Stewart, Elvis Presley and Barbara Streisand but don't let that put you off.

Both trips on this disc are fine examples of sombre psych that didn't have much hope of being a hit. Here, Barry Mason teamed up with Paul Samwell-Smith from The Yardbirds. To my ears both sides have a similar sound to The Yardbirds song 'Still I'm Sad' from the same period. The B-Side 'Collection Of Recollections' is still uncompiled.

BARRY MASON - Collection Of Recollections

17 April, 2010

NICK DRAKE - Day Is Done

NICK DRAKE - Day Is Done (Island Records) Sept 1969

I discovered Nick Drake's music 18 years ago after reading an article about him in Record Collector Issue 150.

He never released any singles but was fortunate to be contracted to Island Records and released three albums all of which got no publicity, little airplay and sold badly.
This situation was not helped with the fact that he refused to perform live after some unhappy appearances at a few folk club gigs or engage with anyone. His depression turned him into a virtual recluse.

Sadly Nick Drake committed suicide in 1974, overdosing on his prescribed drugs for his deep depression.

'Day Is Done' is my all time favourite Nick Drake song and has been since I heard the 1969 album 'Five Leaves Left' back in the early 90s.

It's such a devastating piece of music dripping with melancholy and so well crafted with his completely unique finger picking acoustic guitar style making this one of the most exquisite folk songs I've ever heard.....

When the bird has flown
Got no-one to call your own
Got no place to call your home
When the bird has flown.

NICK DRAKE - Day Is Done

15 April, 2010

TRAXTER - Glandular Fever

TRAXTER - 'Glandular Fever' (Immediate IMS 107) May 1976 (recorded 1966)

This is a very strange release but one worth seeking out, although I don't suppose that many copies surfaced. It appears that during the early 70s when Immediate were having a financial crisis they re-released several singles as a bankrupcy clawback.

For some reason the backing track of The Truth's 1966 purple pilled freakbeat swinger 'Hey Gyp' was used by producer David Nicholson but renamed 'Glandular Fever'. This was the B-Side of the record and unlikely to be heard. The A-Side was given over to Crispian St Peters with a cover version of 'You Were On My Mind'...

As a footnote I'll add that I contracted the virus glandular fever when I was 18 years old and I can safely say that it ain't no picnic but this particular glandular fever is mod nirvana.

TRAXTER - Glandular Fever

10 April, 2010


LES GYPSYS - 'Proletaire'/'Je Ne Te Pardonnerai Pas' (Relax Iramac 17.001) 1967

A superb but little known 45 was released by French group Les Gypsys in early 1967. Sadly only 500 copies were pressed by the tiny label Relax Iramac and original copies are now sought after but very expensive. Expect to pay 200 Euros for a copy.

'Proletaire' is a monstrous beat number with spiky guitar leads giving the listener an instant adrenaline rush. The flip 'Je Ne Te Pardonnerai Pas' is also great and edgy.

Les Gypsys also had a fabulous image to go with their Parisian cool and donned shaggy haircuts, white roll neck jumpers, black jeans and beatle boots. No wonder the French girls went crazy for them.

I've recently been in contact with Les Gypsys bass player, vocalist and songwriter Jean-Pierre Hipken and he has supplied me with the photographs posted with this blog entry. He also provided the details that make up Les Gypsys story.

Les Gypsys were one of the leading groups of the beat scene in Paris during 1966-68. They were:

Jacky Pujol (rhythm guitar)
Jean-Pierre Hipken (bass)
Serge Doudou (lead guitar)
Gerard Fetting (drums)

Early 1966:
The leader of Les Gypsys was 18 year old Jacky Pujol who had been playing guitar since his early teens. He was keen to form a rock group and had already recruited friends Serge Doudou (22 years old) and Gerard Fetting (23 years old) They were on the look out for a bass player and 19 year old Jean-Pierre had become acquainted with their circle of friends and had long hair so was asked to join Les Gypsys on bass guitar. He had impressed the other three with a rendition of 'Long Tall Sally' at an informal trial.

The four piece then secured their first gig at a small club in Paris called The Ivry Sur Seine. This gig went well with the French kids but the band themselves decided that they needed to tighten up and rehearse solidly before looking for any more gigs. So they practiced for two months during June/July 1966 at Jacky Puyol's parents' barn in Dordoyne.

When they were super tight they went out looking for gigs and secured some at The Moulin de Montignac and The Roxanne. These gigs paid well and Les Gypsys were well received.

Back in Paris, Les Gypsys entered a 'Battle Of The Bands' competition in September 1966 at a venue called The Golf Drouot. They won, which gave the band great confidence and the belief to turn professional which they did in October 1966.

They were able to rehearse every day on a full time basis in the basement of the local Youth Centre. The group became one of the best in Paris with every show packed with screaming girls. At this point their shows became very wild and intense. Their reputation grew which meant many more well paid gigs throughout France. Jean-Pierre mentioned that the best paying gigs were at private parties for rich Counts and Baronesses.

During their brief two year existence they played over 150 gigs a year and supported many of the leading groups including Les Sunlights, Michel Polnareff, Johnny Halliday, Les Jets, Les Shins, Rod Stewart, Vince Taylor and The Pretty Things.

Les Gypsys recorded both sides of their only single at Loulou Gaste Studios in Paris. The band played live then the results were mixed and released by Relax Iramac with little or no promotion.
500 singles were made and they sold them all at gigs.
Les Gypsys had other songs to release and Jean-Pierre confirmed with me that he had several titles ready to record for future releases but sadly their record company went bust.
The French student riots of 1968 virtually ended the live music scene in Paris for several months and many things had changed. Jacky Pujol and Gerard Fetting decided to leave the band around this time but the band carried on with replacements until late 1970 but changed their name to Quo Vadis. By now their music had adopted a hard rock heavy style. No further recordings were made.

08 April, 2010


TEN YEARS AFTER - 'Portable People'/'The Sounds' (Deram DM 176) Feb 1968

This was the first Ten Years After single, released during English brass monkey weather in February 1968. It's a good 45 to seek out because both sides are not on their October 1967 debut album, also on Deram. I might post a song from that disc in the near future.

'Portable People' is a mellow country folk tune, maybe even ahead of it's time. The lyrics deal with the growing movement of holiday makers from England to other parts of the world, especially Europe. Prior to the mid 60s I don't think us working class Brits moved too far away from where we were born never mind to another country.

TEN YEARS AFTER - Portable People

See them at the airport with their cases in their hand
Got a ten day package in another land
They're the jet age gypsies with a super-sonic sound
They're the portable people, and they take themselves around

Portable people, flyin' in the air
Portable people, goin' everywhere
The flip 'The Sounds' another Alvin Lee original, is progressive blues with flashes of acid guitar leads.

04 April, 2010


THE PRETTY THINGS - "Come See Me" /"£.s.d" (Fontana TF 688) April 1966

Where do I start with The Pretty Things? Well, I'll begin here with their sixth single for Fontana.
After enjoying three small hits that got the band plenty of exposure, TV appearances and gigs in Europe they released this vicious two sided slice of mayhem that flopped, reaching only 43 in the charts and that would have been a big flop when sounds and scenes changed so quickly in mid 60s England.

'Come See Me' is a powerful pill of fuzz, anguished vocals and killer lead guitar from Dick Taylor. The sound was probably a little too extreme for daytime Radio 1 at the time. The song was a cover of an obscure JJ Barnes soul stomper but The Pretty Things totally transformed it into the punked out snarl it became.

The flip '£.s.d' got banned by the BBC for it's LSD connotations. The pre-decimal coinage in Britain in the 60s was pounds, shillings and pence - hence the shortened and written down version of £.s.d  A very clever play on abbreviations by writers Phil May and Dick Taylor. The former would admit in later years that he did write the song about LSD.

02 April, 2010


WAYNE FONTANA AND THE MINDBENDERS - 'She's Got The Power' (Fontana TE 17449) 1965

This beat band were from Manchester and after a couple of hit singles split in two with Wayne Fontana going solo and The Mindbenders continuing as a three piece.
The big world wide hit was 'Game Of Love' which is the opener on this EP but for I'll go for the obscure flip 'She's Got The Power' to highlight here. This EP was the only place to hear this song because it did not feature on any UK album or single release at the time. This song may well be as 'beaty' as they ever got!

WAYNE FONTANA and the MINDBENDERS - She's Got The Power