28 June, 2011


Bob Opdyke explains:

The King Bees were the first band in which I played that rehearsed enough to have two full sets of music.
We were formed in 1963 and composed of high school and church friends. Our Pastor's son was the lead guitarist.
Like many groups of the time we took our name from a Rolling Stones song. We were a cover band that played at school functions and private parties. The lead singer and I were on the high school swim team, but our school didn't have a pool until our Junior year.
Therefore, we travelled to other schools to practice and for competitions. One of those schools was Hinsdale.

The King Bees
Hinsdale had a tremendous swim team, plus members in several really great bands.
As I've mentioned before, at that time Chicago had many really great bands which formed, merged and re-formed. This provided me with the opportunity to work and play with some of the groups that were getting studio time.
I began to do sideman work and worked in many clubs in the Chicago area.
In 1965 I graduated from high school and went to NIU.
The King Bees - L-R Richard Jensen, Bob Opdyke, Terry Grant, Ken Macik, Nick Angelo

The King Bees drifted apart and I ended up in a group called The InSex.  
Since our group started during the height of Beatlemania and John Lennon came up with their band name as a play on the Buddy Holly group, we did the same.
Our group was originally called "The Insex" (slightly randy, but we were college boys at the time).

In September of 1965 luck brought Dick Stock and I to a new dormatory tower at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois (about 65 miles north of Chicago). Sam and Dick Stock had gone to high school together and both their parents lived in Morton Grove (a northern suburb of Chicago).

I think I saw Dick carry his guitar through the dorm lobby, which started our conversation. He told me that he had a friend who was a singer and so it began. Days later I think we were playing around and someone said they knew a really great drummer from Elmhurst. Dick Miles brought his drums from home. Jim Gienko was a guitarist who came by and asked if we needed a guitar player. We told him we had enough guitar players, but we needed a bass player. Jim got his guitar and amp, tuned down the last four strings and auditioned. Obviously he got the job.

The Insex publicity picture 1965
The picture was taken on "Freshman Rock", on the campus of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois.
Sam Siegel sits in the top center and then clockwise are Dick Stock (standing), Jim Geinko (seated), Bob Opdyke (half seated) and Dick Miles (standing).

The Insex - mid-song. Jim's back is to the camera, Sammy singing lead and Bob singing a harmony part. Dick Miles is behind the PA cabinet.
Dick Stock had taken guitar lessons from a professional jazz player, so his approach to guitar solos was very cool handed and technically smooth. Over the years I played with lots of guitar players, but only one or two had Dick's smooth!
Dick played a cherry burst Gibson Barney Kessel standard guitar through a Fender Twin Reverb. That combination was killer no matter where we played.
Dick Miles was trained as a percussionist through high school. He had a suit case in which he carried his drum stands and sticks, and the inside top had rows of drumming medals he had won in various competitions. Most were blue ribbons (1st Place).
 Sam was as confident and agile a front man as you'd ever want. Good vocals and boy, could he ever work a crowd!
I provided back up vocals and would sing lead occasionally.
The guys at the Phi Ep Pi house, which Sam later joined, would let us practice in their basement. We played lots of parties and bashes there. Just like the "Animal House" movie.
By the end of the school year (June 1966) we lined up day time jobs in Chicago and started booking performances for evenings and weekends. Since my folks were in New Jesery Sam's folks were kind and let me stay in their home.
The start of that summer (1966) was great, but I became more and more unsure of what I wanted to do with my life.  By July I had decided to not return to school, so my folks retrieved me in August 1966 and Pat took my place.
The Insex - Bob to the right, Dick Stock to the left and Dick Miles up on the drum risers (Note the name on the front of the drum kit)
The Insex - Bob Opdyke, Dick Stock and Jim Geinko. Dick Stock was a great guitar player, but not a singer.
The Insex - Sam out front, Dick Stock playing lead guitar and Bob Opdyke on rhythm guitar and vocals.
These four pictures were taken at a Catholic girls college in St. Charles Illinois in May 1966.
We had been concerned about how the school administrators would react to our music, but shortly after we started one of the younger Nuns was out dancing so all went well.
Sam, Dick Stock (he goes by Richard now), Dick Miles and Jim were great guys and we had great times together.
I believe each of them stopped playing after each left the band, but I continued on with several other groups.

The Insex business cards

The name change to The Sound Carnival came about after a Summer gig in Wisconsin (1967).
At that time we played mainly top 40 covers we heard on WLS Radio from Chicago.
Northern Illinois University, located in DeKalb, Illinois was about an hour north of Chicago.
It actually worked out better, because we joined the Musician's Union in DeKalb and could play in Union Clubs in Chicago.
Our song list consistened of the most current Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks, Yardbirds, Beach Boys, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry and Chicago Blues like 'Messin' With The Kid' (later recorded by Jim Belushi of Saturday Night TV fame).
We had two or three originals that were written by Dick Stock, but it was the covers that would make them jump. We couldn't get enough British Invasion group music.
Sometimes we'd realize that we were hearing Chicago Blues tunes coming back at us fom England. Crazy.
I remember when the Beatles album "Rubber Soul" came out. We stayed up trying to figure out all the newest songs. My girlfriend was a French major and I kept playing 'Michelle' over and over on the telephone until we figured out all the phrases in the song. Crazy times were when new equipment like the Fuzztone came out and was used on "Satisfaction". Tunes like "Gloria", "Tell Her No", "Summer In The City" and the like kept the dance floors full.
We also had a huge number of great groups that came out of the Chicago area at that time such as The Shadows of Knight, The Buckinghams, The Cryan Shames, The Flock, The Little Boy Blues and the groups which later formed CTA and Chicago to name just a few. We had gone to high school with many of the guys in those bands. This was really a magical time to play music!

For a previous article about The Sound Carnival and a review of their amazing double sided 45 go here

Sometime in mid 1967 Bob left The Sound Carnival and joined the military and was based at the Sonar School in Key West Naval Air Station in Florida. Whilst there Bob formed a group called The Alligator Bag Factory with fellow recruits Phil Leonard (drums) and Larry NeSmith (organ)....bass player unknown. The Alligator Bag Factory became the house band at The Night Beat Lounge for nine months in 1968-69

The Alligator Bag Factory

The Alligator Bag Factory
further insights from Bob: 
Shortly after arriving in New Jersey I worked with a couple of club band for about 6 months, but knew my draft notice wasn't far behind. The decision in those days for someone my age was "do I go to Canada or enlist"? I could not find an opening in the Air Force, I wasn't going to Viet Nam in the Army or Marines, so I enlisted in the US Navy.

The ironic twist was I sent to Great Lakes Training Facility (just north of Chicago) for basic training. Right back to where I started. About the second day of basic word went out that they needed guys who could play an instrument for special services entertainment. My Dad had told me not to volunteer for anything in the Navy. This time he was wrong.
After a short audition I was given the opportunity to join with the best of the guys who auditioned and put together a rock band to play for special dances and entertainment events. This meant no marching or drilling throught basic!
Several of the guys from that group stayed in that base area for 8 more weeks of electronics training, so we continued to play and book ourselves into local clubs. It was a bit strange for us to have military haircuts, but be playing current tunes.
After electronics school I was shipped to the Fleet Sonar School in Key West, Florida. At that time Key West had a strange mix of shrimpers, military and motor cycle hippies. It was like the east coast Haight Ashbury.
For a couple of weeks it was fun to snokle or go to Miami on weekends, but it didn't take long. I wanted other musicians to work with.
Phil Leonard grew up in Indiana watching his father play drums in a C&W bands. Phil was a natural. Mike Nesmith for a trained pianist, but he could really a keyboard jump!
We picked up a bass player and lead player for Boston who could really cook and called ourselves The Aggregation. The name fit because we did a full collection of blue, rock and cover tunes.
 When the bass and lead guys were shipped out we hooked up with two Air Force guys and became the house band at the Night Beat Lounge. The Night Beat was on the main drag (Duval Street) of Key West. 
I don't remembr how the name came around, but they called us The Alligator Bag Factor
For about 9 months we played 4 nights a week and backed up other "attraction" bands that the bar owner brought into the club. Some were really great!
What a great place to spend late 1967 and most of 1968.  While we were there music was beginning to undergo some changes. The Jimi Hendrix Experience came out with their first album and within a couple of days we added 'Fire', 'Purple Haze' and several other selections to our set list. What a combination.........Blue Eyed Soul and Hendrix!
 The next few years in the Navy gave me the opportunity to play with guys who brought totally different styles. Groups like Crosby Stills & Nash and American brought acoustic music to the forefront. Southern rock wasn't far behind. The Allman Brothers and Lynard Skynard.

A big thanks to Bob Opdyke for taking time out to provide me with details of his 60s groups and sending me so many cool photographs.

26 June, 2011


PAUL NICHOLAS - 'Reggae Like It Used To Be'/'Lamp Lighter' (RSO 2090 185) March 1976

Paul Nicholas is best known in Britain for his acting roles in theatre and on TV, although few people probably realize that he was a member of Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages in the early/mid 60s. Soon after he became a solo performer releasing several singles as Paul Dean and Oscar. He then moved into acting in the late 60s playing lead roles in stage productions of Hair and Jesus Christ Super Star.

Curiously, in 1971 a Paul Nicholas 45 was released in some European countries. 'The World Is Beautiful'/'Lamp Lighter'. This single did not get a release in England.
However, in 1976 Paul Nicholas started releasing records again in the UK and 'Reggae Like It Used To Be' reached #17 in the charts. As you can imagine the majority of recordings in 1976 were terrible and not worthy of my investigations or breathing space on my site.

The flip 'Lamp Lighter' is a memorable late 60s early 70s rocker with a tinge of psychedelia. This song happenend to be the flip of that 1971 European release I mentioned earlier and sounds like it was recorded from even earlier. 'Lamp Lighter' was written by Paul Nicholas (label shows Paul Beuselinck which was his birth name) and moves along nicely with those basic drum beats, wah-wah guitar and some fuzz. The song is short and in my opinion ends far too quickly. The guitar solo in the outro sounds great and I could have listened to more.

PAUL NICHOLAS - Lamp Lighter

25 June, 2011


DANTALIAN'S CHARIOT - 'Madman Running Through The Fields'/'Sun Came Bursting Through My Cloud' (Columbia DB 8260) September 1967

The short lived psych group Dantalian's Chariot released their one and only record during the Summer of '67. The epic 'Madman' is now rightly regarded as one of the finest recorded examples of English psychedelia with it's heavy use of studio trickery such as backward tapes, fade-ins, weird sound effects and a trippy dream sequence. Despite being well received, including a 'Single Of The Week' in Disc & Music Echo, the 45 bombed, along with (as it turned out) any hope of Dantalian's Chariot releasing a follow up.

The gentle psych of the flip 'Sun Came Bursting Through My Cloud' is beautiful sonic lysergia that is just right for June in England. As I write this (here in Old Blighty) we've had heavy overnight rain and indeed the sun is now bursting through the clouds. An absolutely perfect mellow ballad.

"Sunlight came bursting through my cloud
Breaking daylight through the misty shroud."

DANTALIAN'S CHARIOT - Sun Came Bursting Through My Cloud

Dantalian's Chariot played ultra hip London hang-out's like Middle Earth and the U.F.O.

Dantalian's Chariot wore white clothes and played white instruments to enhance the visuals as they played bathed in their glorious technicolour light show

23 June, 2011


THE ATTACK - 'Hi Ho Silver Lining'/'Any More Than I Do' (Decca F.12578) March 1967

Tha Attack, led by teenage lead singer Richard Shirman, were one of London's premier white soul groups. They got a deserved repution on the live circuit playing hard driving soul covers (that were unknown at the time in England) at hip hang-outs like The Marquee and Blaises. However, on record, they were a different kind of combo delivering art-pop psychedelia and blistering beat music (now tagged freakbeat).

A debut 45 'Try It'/'We Don't Know' released in January 1967 surprisingly flopped. Soon after, The Attack recorded their second single for Decca in February and according to Richard Shirman (interview in Ugly Things #25) they all thought that 'Hi Ho Silver Lining' would have been their break through pop hit. Sadly, delays at the pressing plant meant copies of the record were slow to hit the shops and Jeff Beck's version stole a march and became a huge hit.

The Attack's version of 'Hi Ho Silver Lining' is at the very least a match for Jeff Beck's and with a proper advertising campaign and organised distribution would surely have brought The Attack a deserved hit. As it was, the record stalled although John Peel played the flip on a regular basis on his pirate Radio London show where he utilized 'Any More Than I Can Do' as one of his jingles.

'Any More Than I Can Do' is a freakbeat classic with a blistering guitar break from an eighteen year old called Davy O'List. According to the liners of the Bam Caruso/RPM CD 'The Attack - About Time', O'List was approached by John Mayall to become one of his Bluesbreakers when he was hustling around the London talent for a new lead guitarist. That job never materialized and he eventually ended up in The Nice after The Attack's first line-up of the group broke up soon after this 45 flopped. Drummer Alan Whitehead returned to Marmalade.

THE ATTACK - Any More Than I Do

probable line-up of The Attack at the time of 'Any More Than I Do' L-R Richard Shirman (vocals) Bob Hodges (organ) Gerry Henderson (bass) Davy O'List (lead guitar) Alan Whitehead (drums) 

22 June, 2011


MANDRAKE PADDLE STEAMER - 'Strange Walking Man'/'Steam' (Bam Caruso PABL 033) June 1985 - original release on (Parlophone 5780) May 1969

I'll continue my "Made In Britain" series of reviews with this fabulous record by a group of teenagers from North London calling themselves Mandrake Paddle Steamer. The core members of the group formed at Walthamstow Art College in 1968 with an influence of and a love for American West Coast psychedelia and the hippie ethos.

Brian Engel (vocals)
Martin Briley (lead guitar/vocals)
Paul Riordan (bass)
Martin Hooker (farfisa)
Barry Nightingale (drums)

After securing regular gigs at the Asgard Club in Streatford their reputation grew but were somewhat fortunate to find that a demo tape of a song called 'October Country' had made it's way to EMI. They were sufficiently impressed to invite Mandrake Paddle Steamer to one of their studios to make a set of demos of their original material.

This then led them to a record deal with EMI where they were teamed up with producer Rob Finnis and engineer Jeff Jarrett at Abbey Road studios during February and March 1969 to record 'Strange Walking Man' and 'Steam'.

'Strange Walking Man' is an absolute classic example of late 60s UK psychedelia tinged with a progressive edge. I first heard this mindblowing song on the Bam Caruso re-issue pictured. This 45 was released in mid 1985 and I bought it because of the psychedelic front cover. I thought anything housed in a cover like that had to be wyld....and I was right of course (as usual).

According to the notes written on the sleeve of this re-issue single, Mandrake Paddle Steamer insisted on playing every instrument during the sessions. They refused all attempts by the producer to use session musicians. Rob Finnis (producer) did however splice a tape of music played by sessionmen playing 'Maybe Sunday' by The Incredible String Band as an end coda of the song that completely adds to it's psychedelic appeal.   

As is usually the case with new groups Mandrake Paddle Steamer got no publicity for their new single on Parlophone. According to bass player Paul Riordan they wanted the record to come out on Harvest Records and that total advertising was one three inch advert in Melody Maker the week of release in May 1969.

The group recorded four songs for John Peel's "Top Gear" Show in April 1969. These were as follows:

The Ivory Castle Of Solitaire Husk
Cooger and Dark
The Janus Suite
Senlac Lament

Bootlegs exist containing these songs (I've not heard them) but the sound quality is by all accounts appalling and dubbed from second or third generation tapes.

Mandrake Paddle Steamer also released a Swedish only single 'Sunlight Glide'/'Len' on Parlophone. According to the liners of Psychedelia Volume Two (The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke) released on Tiny Alice Records during the early 90s, both songs were written by the film producers of 'Skottet', a 1969 Swedish film. The music was produced by Brian Engel. This single came out under the moniker Mandrake.

Mandrake Paddle Steamer were no more by the end of 1969 but members did continue in the music business. Martin Briley and Brian Engel recorded an album as members of The Liverpool Echo in 1973. Briley then joined Greenslade for a short time before moving to New York in the 70s becoming a session musician for Meatloaf and Mick Ronson. He then had a hit record with 'Salt In My Eyes' as a solo performer in 1983. It hit the Top 40 on Billboard.

Brian Engel joined MOR group The New Seekers in the 80s and even wrote a couple of songs used in The Muppet Show.

Paul Riordan moved into recording film library music and TV commercials. When Nick Saloman conducted his interview with him in 1991, Riordan confirmed that he was gigging with his own band called The Disciples at venues such as Dingwalls and the Mean Fiddler.


Ptolemaic Terrascope #23 (1997)
Bam Caruso 45 release 

20 June, 2011


THE REMO FOUR - 'In The First Place' (Pilar 02V) unreleased 1967 recording 

Back in the late 90s American director Joe Massot decided to re-release his 1968 film 'Wonderwall' after it started to get some recognition from the music press and in particular Noel Gallagher who was the lead guitarist and songwriter for Oasis. He'd seen the movie on late night TV during the early hours and decided to write a song with the same title. A massive hit followed, along with renewed interest for the ignored 60s flick 'Wonderwall'.

The movie soundtrack was created by George Harrison who recruited Liverpool group The Remo Four to be his backing band. It has since been revealed that John Lennon, Ringo Starr and Eric Clapton also participated, although they remained uncredited due to contractual reasons at the time.

Massot set about tracking down all the original elements of the soundtrack. Several masters were located in the tape libraries of Abbey Road Studios and EMI’s Bombay studios. However there were still some music cues missing. Massot decided to contact George Harrison to see if he could be of assistance.
Harrison searched deep in his personal vaults and eventually located all the multi-track masters that he had created for the movie. He passed the tapes to Massot to be used for the soundtrack restoration. It was then that Joe Massot made his startling discovery....

The tapes contained most of the missing music cues. The Wonderwall tapes also included a hidden gem. Apparently Harrison had been working on a SONG for the movie - called "In the First Place". However since the commission had been for instrumental music and there seemed to be no obvious location for a song in the movie - he had not bothered to submit the track to the film’s director!

The song was an extremely strong piece of psychedelic pop - in the style of the Beatles’ 'Blue Jay Way' recorded by Harrison just weeks before the Wonderwall sessions. The atmospheric style perfectly matched the movie’s mood. Since he was in the process of re-editing the film, Massot felt that he could find a way to include this long-lost gem. In fact he wanted to use it as the film’s theme song. He approached Harrison with news of his discovery and his request.

REMO FOUR - In The First Place - original Abbey Road mix by EXPO67

Wonderwall flyer from 1998 - taken from 45cat
Wonderwall is apparently a project Harrison still feels great pride in. It was the first time that he was commissioned for a project as a creative person outside of the Beatles. Harrison considered the request - and he readily agreed to the use of his recording in the film. He even gave permission for the song to be commercially released as a single in conjunction with the reissue of Wonderwall.

He sought just two minor conditions. Though the song was produced by him, clearly features his lead vocal, and is heavily influenced by his 'Blue Jay Way' eastern/psychedelic style of composition and arrangement - he was not actually the song’s composer. It had been written by two of his session players for the Wonderwall soundtrack. The composers were Colin Manley and Tony Ashton - two members of the disintegrating Remo Four group.

Harrison first of all wanted to be sure that his fellow Liverpudlian musician pals were properly credited for their composition - and that the song was not erroneously represented as having been his composition. (He acknowledged having been the sole producer of the recording - and agreed to accept the official credit as producer.)

Secondly, Harrison did not want to be officially credited as the artist or as a vocalist on the record. The song had been written by two members of a group that was barely in existence at the time of the recording - and that had indeed officially disbanded shortly after the Wonderwall sessions. But the recording had included the instrumental playing of its four members. The group - though never commercially successfully - was a well-respected Liverpool group which had provided instrumental backing for many local artists. Harrison’s guest performance on the 1970 Ashton, Gardner & Dyke album attested to his affection for his ex-Remo Four musician pals.

The shy and retiring “quiet Beatle” - Harrison requested that the track be officially credited as a performance by The Remo Four. At the time he took this decision, Harrison was also aware that none of the four members of the defunct group were in good financial health and that one of the song’s two composers - Colin Manley (who in recent years played with another old Liverpool group The Swingin’ Blue Jeans) - was also in poor physical health. In fact Manley died just a few months later.

Close friends say that Harrison’s insistence on sole credit going to a forgotten and long unsung band of pals (and to not take any credit for his performance) is a typically generous gesture by the reclusive ex-Beatle.

Two stereo mixes of 'In The First Place' were remastered. One of them is the original Abbey Road Mix which is much longer. The second is the movie mix. Both are supreme examples of UK psychedelia.

Much of the above information was written by Martin Lewis. More facts about the film Wonderwall and the song 'In The First Place' can be found here

THE REMO FOUR - In The First Place (movie mix)

the stunning psychedelic sleeve of the 45

THE V.I.P.'s - the classic line-up - Part 4

James Henshaw (lead guitar/piano) (died 2007)
Mike Harrison (vocals/harmonica)
Walter Johnstone (drums)
Greg Ridley (bass) (died 2003)
Frank Kenyon (rhythm guitar) (died ??)

THE V.I.P.'s - DON'T LET IT GO - Part 3

THE V.I.P.'s - 'I Wanna Be Free'/'Don't Let It Go'/'Smokestack Lightning' (Fontana 460.982 ME) October 1966 - French release

'I Wanna Be Free' b/w 'Don't Let It Go was released in Britain during October 1966 but flopped. I actually prefer the soul ballad of sorts 'Don't Let It Go' on the flip but overall I know that The V.I.P.'s had much stronger material that Island could have put out.

The French EP on Fontana added a pedestrian version of Howlin' Wolf's 'Smokestack Lightning' which I've never cared for no matter who records it. It's just one of those songs that doesn't get me stirring with any interest.

THE V.I.P.'s - Never Let It Go

German release

19 June, 2011

THE V.I.P.'s - THAT'S MY WOMAN - Part 2

THE V.I.P.'s - 'That's My Woman' (Funtona V 8600) bootleg LP

'That's My Woman' never saw a release in Britain but it was the flip of 'Mercy, Mercy',  a 1966 single released in USA. It also featured on a bootleg German EP from the 80s.
The song was also recorded by The Nashville Teens who released it on Decca in January 1967.

The V.I.P.'s treatment of 'That's My Woman' is a raw fuzztoned blast and at just over two minutes is short enough to be perfect for radio. Sadly, probably few people would have heard it's power at the time. 

THE V.I.P.'s - That's My Woman

German EP

18 June, 2011


THE V.I.P.'S - Every Girl I See (Funtona V 8600) bootleg LP

One of the very best R&B/soul groups to come out of England during the mid 60s were The V.I.P.'s. They emerged during the beat boom in the small town of Carlisle. This place was obviously far too small for their talents so they re-located (like most groups) to London.

The V.I.P.'s were hugely respected on the circuit and played all of the premier London venues such as the hip The Scotch Of St James Club. They went largely ignored by the record buying public in England though despite some strong single releases. They had loyal followings in Germany where they were regulars at The Star Club in Hamburg during 1965/66 and in France where they released three EPs. Much of the material on these EPs never saw any release in Britain.

'Every Girl I See' is one such mod mover with a slightly trippy production that was hidden away on a French EP.

The V.I.P.'s called it quits in early 1967 but soon returned as Art then changed their name again, this time to Spooky Tooth.  

V.I.P - Straight Down To The Bottom by EXPO67

THE V.I.P.'s - Every Girl I See

French EP from 1966

17 June, 2011


THE JAM - 'Art School' (Polydor 2383 447) May 1977

I don't often post YouTube promo videos on my site but I'll make the exception with this one from The Jam. It's strange that they bothered making a promo when 'Art School' wasn't released as a single. It was however, the lead track on side one of their debut Polydor album. What a start!

'Art School' would have made a great single and was ready made for the radio in dullsville England 1977. It's a punchy three chord punk blast but quite obviously rooted in 60s beat. I hear freedom and rebellion in this song, youth was about to take over from those long haired bearded twats in progressive rock groups. Hearing this now still makes me want to kick down some doors or break some windows just for the sake of it. But I'm now in my mid forties and I don't think 'Er Indoors would be too pleased.

The line "Don't need permission for everything that you want" sums up Weller's rebellion neatly. I was only 12 years old in 1977 when I first saw The Jam performing 'All Around The World' on The Marc Bolan Show. The image stayed with me ever since. I knew then that this was not the typical Top Of The Pops tripe I'd put up with for years. Plus my parents hated the 'noise'.....that was it, enough said! It was noisy fast music for me.


THE YOUNG IDEA - 'With A Little Help From My Friend'/'Colours Of Darkness' (Columbia DB 8205) June 1967

The Young Idea were a songwriting duo who had a big hit with The Beatles' 'With A Little Help From My Friends' in the Summer of 1967. It reached #10.

Tony Cox and Douglas Macrae-Brown penned the far more interesting flip 'Colours Of Darkness'. This side is a well produced pop psycher with touches of the baroque with the sweetening strings and finger cymbols.

This hit record gave them the opportunity to record an album which was released in '68. The cover shows the duo jazzed up in their new Kings Road threads and Small Faces haircuts. They just look like a couple of posh kids in trendy gear to me though.

Footnote: the title of the song under review lent it's name to a volume of Rubble in the early 90s.

THE YOUNG IDEA - Colours Of Darkness

16 June, 2011


THE DOWNLINERS SECT - 'Rock 'n Roll Music' (RBCSP 002) (recording 1964)

I never knew this but in 1964 The Downliners Sect recorded four songs that were gonna form their follow up EP to 'At Nite In Great Newport Street'. Unfortunately, the tape went missing and the songs have remained unheard until now!

The tape was bought in a 'job lot' of tapes from an Ebay auction in 2009 and remarkably, the missing Downliners Sect tape was among them. The music contained on the manky old tape is very lo-fi sounding but it is indeed a valuable and historic document for Downliners Sect completists available now on this limited edition vinyl only EP. Go here

15 June, 2011

THE KINKS - a signed poster

cool piece of 60s ephemera sent in by Jim Wynand


LOS CANARIOS - 'Peppermint Frappe'/'Keep On The Right Side' (Sono Play 20.051) 1967

'Peppermint Frappe' is a strange psych soul mover with a great guitar riff and maximum brassy bursts. The vocals are powerfully delivered over the mod backbeat. The song at times veers towards full blown psychedelia but twists and turns in a danceable manner. Probably why 'Peppermint Frappe' is popular at mod events (so I've read).

Both songs were recorded at Lansdowne Studios, London during June 1967. Not a great deal has been written about Los Canarios but I believe that they were from the Canary Islands, Spain.

LOS CANARIOS - Peppermint Frappe


THE SWINGING BLUE JEANS - 'Good Golly Miss Molly'/'Das Ist Prima' (Electrola E 22 734) 1964

I doubt you'll find these two Swinging Blue Jeans cuts on any 'Best Of' collection but that's where Circles 8 comes to the rescue. The group were formed in Liverpool during late 50s and were playing merseybeat at The Cavern Club long before The Beatles happened to run riot there.

It seems that The Swinging Blue Jeans recorded these songs (vocals in German) during their stint in Germany, possibly Hamburg. They were probably recorded in late 1963 or early 1964.
The English version of 'Good Golly Miss Molly' was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London on 14th February 1964.

Both sides really rock in a good merseybeat way with an almost 'live' feel. There's a crackin' guitar break on 'Good Golly' but 'Das Ist Prima' is little more restraint with heavy use of harmonica. Really hot stuff by The Swinging Blue Jeans.

Ralph Ellis (guitar/vocals)
Norman Kublke (drums)
Ray Ennis (guitar/vocals)
Les Braid (drums)


14 June, 2011


THE POETS - 'Now We're Thru'/'There Are Some' (Decca F.11995) October 1964

Glasgow beat group The Poets are now widely known among 60s beat fans but at the time they were largely ignored then forgotten. That was until they were re-discovered in the mid 80s on those super cool Bam Caruso Rubble compilations.

'Now We're Thru' was released the month I was born. I was just too young to put on a pair of Cuban heels and hot foot it down to my local Woolworths Store to buy the 45. Fortunately, my lack of purchase power did not matter as the record scrambled into the lower 30s on the Pop Chart and can be considered a minor hit.

The song is a moody and dense mix of sound, with layers of 12 string guitar. The echoey production by Andrew Loog Oldham adds to the songs ethereal sonics.

US release on Dynovox