27 September, 2012

DAVE BERRY - AND THE CLOCK IN THE STEEPLE STRUCK 13


DAVE BERRY - 'And The Clock In The Steeple Struck 13' (Decca LK 4932) 1968

My look at the best Dave Berry recordings ends with a cut from his 1968 album simply titled '68'. The majority of songs on this are soulful ballads and gentle pop, which is not my scene. For some reason the early 60s raver 'My Baby Left Me' is included, surely that is a mistake. It's a bit like The Beatles placing 'Long Tall Sally' on the 'White Album' (ie) from a past and earlier dimension.

The toytown pop psych charmer of 'And The Clock In The Steeple Struck 13' is a classic if you like this twee English genre, although this does have a dark edge with lyrics like,

"With one small fox upon their heels
A pack of hounds tore through"

I don't know where this particular song came from as it's not something you'd associate with Dave Berry. I'm glad he recorded it though as it's a classic waiting to be discovered.

26 September, 2012

DAVE BERRY - LATISHA


DAVE BERRY - 'Do I Still Figure In Your Life'/'Latisha' (London 45-LON-20038) April 1968

1967 proved to be commercially unsuccessful for Dave Berry in Britain but he was still a huge star in Holland. Much of his music post '66 is not 'Flower Bomb Songs' worthy, falling short of any excitement for my particular taste in music. He released several 45s but in the twee pop ballad vein with soul moves.

Much more interesting is 'Latisha' hidden away on the flip of 'Do I Still Figure In Your Life'. The song is a rare excursion into psychedelia and probably his only psych effort, although I could be wrong as I haven't heard everything he recorded.

Interesting trippy guitar and some cool vocal phrasing. Classy with quite a sparse production job by Dick Rowe.

25 September, 2012

DAVE BERRY - FANNY MAE


DAVE BERRY - 'Fanny Mae' (Ace Of Club Records 1218) 1966

The studio album 'One Dozen Berrys' (as the title suggests) has twelve songs, equal part R&B ravers and beat ballads. As usual, the ballads are not dangerous enough for me but the R&B movers like 'Hey Little Girl', 'Round And Round', 'Casting My Spell' and 'I Love You Babe' are impressive.

Best of all is the Buster Brown cover 'Fanny Mae', recorded by the latter in 1959.

Here, Dave Berry sticks to a traditional blues format. Great tune, shame it wasn't a single. The cover of the album shows the mysterious Berry dressed in black wearing a chunky silver bracelet. Such a cool look.

Here's more Dave Berry promo photographs from his official website. Go here





24 September, 2012

DAVE BERRY AND THE CRUISERS - HIDDEN


DAVE BERRY and the CRUISERS - 'If You Wait For Love'/'Hidden' (Decca F.12337) February 1966

Next up under the microscope is a long forgotten B-Side called 'Hidden' which is credited to Dave Berry and the Cruisers. By 1966 Berry's backing band The Cruisers were made up of completely different musicians than the original Cruisers from the early 60s period.

'Hidden' is a folk rock gem with some cool moody vocals that float above the twangy guitar leads. Total coolsville and for my money, the last truely great 45 side that Dave Berry recorded, although the psych tinged 'Latisha' is excelent.


Belgium release

23 September, 2012

DAVE BERRY - I'M GONNA TAKE YOU THERE


DAVE BERRY - 'I'm Gonna Take You There'/'Just Don't Know' (Decca f.12258) October 1965

The next Dave Berry single to come under the 'Flower Bomb Songs' spotlight is the huge pop sounding 'I'm Gonna Take You There' which would have sounded amazing coming out of those small 60s transistor radios. Such a big and powerful production job by Mike Smith, who of course helped create hit songs by The Tremeloes and Love Affair.

'I'm Gonna Take You There' was written by Graham Gouldman who wrote many hits for The Yardbirds and The Hollies of course and was a member of a little known beat outfit called The Mockingbirds. The single was not a hit in Britain although it did sell well in some countries on the Continent, especially Holland.


Dutch release



22 September, 2012

DAVE BERRY - NOW


DAVE BERRY - 'This Strange Effect'/'Now' (Decca 23.641) July 1965

In my opinion 'This Strange Effect' is Dave Berry's greatest musical achievement. Such a fabulous moody song by the enigmatic singer which was written by Ray Davies specifically for Berry. This is confirmed in October 2012's Record Collector magazine in an interview with Davies.

"Yeah, I wrote that in Melbourne, Australia on our first world tour. But I had it in mind for Dave Berry. It's a lovely thing. He's a star. He's got this Northern accent but he looks like something out of a Western; such a great look. And he had a really good stage presence. I wrote that with him in mind. I'm so pleased he could do it".

Surprisingly, 'This Strange Effect' failed to light up the charts and scraped into the top 40, although it faired better in some European countries, hitting the top spot in Holland and Belgium.

The flip, 'Now' is pure pop with a catchy riff throughout and is a sound that Dave Berry should have experimented with more.




20 September, 2012

DAVE BERRY - CAN I GET IT FROM YOU


DAVE BERRY - 'Can I Get It From You' (Decca DFE 8625) June 1965

The second and last Dave Berry EP was released in June 1965 and I'm not sure what he was thinking of recording this tame 60s pop music tinged with soul. In my opinion it's a poor release with Dave going all soppy with these four love songs. I'm sure some people will like these sounds but I just can't listen to souly stuff, I just don't get it.

I remember buying this EP and was bursting with anticipation to hear some long forgotten beat and R&B killers but was extremely disappointed with the contents. This sounds like it was released with teenage girls in mind to lap up his every word.

tracklist:
Can I Get It From You
Why Don't They Understand
Always, Always (Yesterday's Love Song)
He's With You 

19 September, 2012

DAVE BERRY - I'VE GOT A TIGER BY THE TAIL


DAVE BERRY - 'Little Things'/'I've Got A Tiger By The Tail' (Decca F.12103) March 1965

'Little Things' was a huge hit for Dave Berry in the Spring of '65 and cemented his status as a pop star in Britain and most European countries especially Holland. The song is a radio friendly beat number with a strong vocal performance from Berry complimented with some twelve string acoustic guitar from Jimmy Page.

I prefer the more uptempo R&B numbers so flip this one over for the The Kinks like 'I've Got A Tiger By The Tail'. The production is a bit neat and tidy. It could have been better with a more 'dangerous' approach with perhaps a killer Page guitar solo and no female backing singers. Never mind though, this will do.



Another 1964 album worth obtaining is 'At The Cavern' on Decca. It's got some prime time live Dave Berry and the Cruisers performing 'Little Queenie' and 'Diddley Daddy'.


Dave Berry's 1964 debut album is mostly light beat pop but there are some prime R&B numbers worth investigating including 'Go On Home', 'Just A Little Bit' 'St James Infirmary' and a folky 'C.C. Rider'.
   


17 September, 2012

DAVE BERRY - ME-O-MY-O


DAVE BERRY - 'Me-O-My-O (Decca DFE 8601) November 1964

It was a busy time for Dave Berry at the end of 1964 with a debut album and this first four song EP released during November. The latter had two exclusive tracks not on the album with readings of Jack Scott's 'Me-O-My-O' and Fats Dominoe's 'If You Need Me.'

'Me-O-My-O' is a bluesy outing with some wailing harp and is my favourite track from the EP. All songs are worthy though and Berry was certainly on top of his game during this period.




15 September, 2012

DAVE BERRY - DON'T GIMME NO LIP CHILD


DAVE BERRY - 'The Crying Game'/'Don't Gimme No Lip Child' (Decca F.11937) July 1964

The top side 'The Crying Game' was a huge hit for Dave Berry, reaching #5 in Britain. It's an introspective beat ballad written by Geoff Stephens, who managed Donovan at the time. Not a tune though for Berry to enthral the audience with his 'human sloth' moves.

'Don't Gimme No Lip Child' is a tough sounding R&B swinger with killer harmonica throughout which was contributed by Jimmy Page, as was the electrifying guitar. It's a shame Dave Berry didn't record more hard hitting beat instead of the orchestral ballads that would litter his catalogue in the years to follow.




scan obtained from 45cat - note the Radio Caroline ink stamp


  

13 September, 2012

DAVE BERRY - MY BABY LEFT ME


DAVE BERRY - "My Baby Left Me" / "Hoochie Coochie Man" (Decca F.11803) January 1964

The next Dave Berry release was this wonderful double sided power pack of R&B but after the difficulties his backing band The Cruisers had in the studio last time out, Producer Mike Smith decided to employ session men. So among the musicians used were a young Jimmy Page and Big Jim Sullivan.

'My Baby Left Me' is the song popularized by Elvis but here Dave Berry adds some of the English beat magic that was everywhere in Britain during 1964 to update the tune into a beat killer. Listen out for a stellar guitar break from Page that leaves the listener wanting more.

The flip 'Hoochie Coochie Man' was also pretty good and it's a single well worth tracking down. Despite the obvious improvement on the debut 45 'Memphis Tennessee', this one fared less well in the charts reaching a disappointing #37.

I made my own YouTube video but it has been blocked in virtually every country around the World. I don't know why, but I've found this performance by Dave Berry of 'My Baby Left Me' from Shindig, March 1965. Over a year since it's release in the UK!!
USA were WAY behind the scene during the early/mid 60s.




11 September, 2012

DAVE BERRY AND THE CRUISERS - MEMPHIS TENNESSEE


DAVE BERRY AND THE CRUISERS - 'Memphis Tennessee'/'Tossin' And Turnin' (Decca F.11734) September 1963

Not a great deal of information is on the internet about Dave Berry and I certainly don't recall many column inches in the trendy music magazines or fanzines over the years. So, I've decided to focus on Dave Berry and the Cruisers on Flower Bomb Songs.

I'll highlight Dave's R&B and beat tunes rather than the many teen love ballads that he recorded.

He was actually born David Grundy but by his teens became obsessed with rock'n'roll performers like Elvis, Gene Vincent and of course Chuck Berry. He changed his surname to Berry after his hero.

It seems fitting then, that Dave Berry and the Cruisers' first single, issued in 1963, was the Chuck Berry rocker 'Memphis Tennessee'. I've always found it quite funny that the early beat groups from England covered so many USA rock'n'roll songs about places that they'd never been to. I doubt whether this combo had ever been much outside of Yorkshire, never mind hanging out in Memphis.

The song is a decent effort for '63 bearing in mind that production during the early 60s wasn't exactly dangerous and in the 'red'. That freakbeat style was still some way off.
According to the liners of the Dave Berry RPM CD from 2009, the session for both sides took over eight hours to complete, which was a long time those days. It's been suggested that his backing band The Cruisers struggled in the studio environment, although they were reportedly killer on stage.

The session was eventually completed with session drummer Bobby Graham from Joe Brown's Bruvvers. Backing singers were girl band The Breakaways. The single reached #19 in the UK.

  

01 September, 2012

ATTACK OF THE JERSEY TEENS

One of the first 60s garage comps I bought was 'Attack Of The Jersey Teens' in late 1984 or early '85. I would have bought this in the same order from Funhouse Records with other acclaimed garage comps 'Back From The Grave Volumes 1 & 2'.

To say those three comps had an impact on my life is an understatement. I was always fascinated by the picture on the front of the 'Jersey Teens' comp. Look at those young lads. The lead guitarist was 14 years old at the time. His lead guitar breaks on The Young Monkeymen 45s are killer.

I just LOVE this comp and it's been one of my very favourite collections for almost 30 years. Amazing how time flies. When I started collecting 45s in earnest about 10 years ago I decided to focus some of my attention on the discs released by groups from the small State of New Jersey. I've acquired quite a few over the years including most from 'Attack Of The Jersey Teens'.....

There are plenty other cool 45s by the likes of The Satyrs, The Yorkshire Puddin', The Trees, The Bucaneers's, The Abstract Sound, Galaxies IV and The Myddle Class...plus others...

Now that i've completed my MILAN project I've been inspired enough to create an expanded 2CD set of 'Attack Of The Jersey Teens'....It will be my next homemade creation for January 2013.