30 June, 2016


KATE - "Hold Me Now" / "Empty World" (CBS 3815) November 1968

This short lived pop group from London enjoyed three singles on CBS and then disbanded. "Hold On Now" was their second release at the back end of 1968. It's a bouncy pop affair with brass, no touches of psychedelia. It appears that these boys wanted to be as commercial and radio friendly as possible.

In their ranks was Chris Gilbey who would leave Britain in the early 70s to live permanently in Australia. He then became managing director of ATV Northern Songs and ventured into production work. He signed The Church and produced their early recordings including one of their most famous songs "The Unguarded Moment"  


Q65 - "World Of Birds" / "It Came To Me" (Decca AT 10 263) April 1967

The first time I heard "It Came To Me" was during the mid eighties but it wasn't by Q65 it was a recording by R&B revivalists The Tell Tale Hearts. And a fine job they did too.

Both songs on this 45 were taken from the Q65 album "Revival" recorded at the end of 1966 at Phonogram Studios in Hilversum, Holland. I don't know if the Q65 were big hitters in the Netherlands like The Outsiders for instance. Not surprisingly nothing was ever released in Britain as far as I know.

"It Came To Me" is a fierce blast of rhythm and blues, quite basic in places, especially the drums. Vocalist Willem Bieler gives it his best shot in a Phil May kind of way. A Dutch classic.


THE HUNTERS - "Russian Spy And I" / "Spring" (RCA Victor 1541) September 1966

Amsterdam based beat group The Hunters hit the Top 10 in the Netherlands with the unique sounding "Russian Spy And I" but subsequent singles failed to match this success. The record was released three months later in Britain, no doubt trying to repeat the hit status enjoyed in Holland.

It was not to be and the single may not have even made it beyond the promo stage. The song made it's way to America and California group The Regents released their version of "Russian Spy And I" on Dot Records during October 1966.

The Hunters may have been completely forgotten about had it not been for lead guitarist Jan Akkerman who ended up in prog rock group Focus in the late sixties.

29 June, 2016


GRAPEFRUIT - "C'mon Marianne" / "Ain't It Good" (RCA Victor 1716) July 1968

Continuing my Grapefruit trip with this, their third single. The top side was a cover of The Four Seasons "C'mon Marianne" which is pleasant enough and had hit potential but it only climbed to #31 in the charts and was probably considered a disappointment after so much backing.

Better still is the nugget on the flip. "Ain't It Good" offers the listener fuzz, psych leads and close knit harmonies. I doubt if this side would have shifted more units than "C'mon Marianne" though.


GARY WALKER & THE RAIN - "Come In, You'll Get Pneumonia" / "Francis" (Philips BF 1740) January 1969

This is the second time out for Gary Walker & the Rain on my music blog, the first occasion was way back in 2007 when "Spooky" was under my spotlight. This time around it's their final single released in early 1969 but recorded the previous year.

"Francis" was the B-Side and it appeared on their No1 long-player released in Japan. It's a strong group composition with powerful instrumentation. The other side "Come In, You'll Get Pneumonia" is a Vanda / Young song and is none album.


HERMAN'S HERMITS - "Herman's Hermits" (Regal SREG 1117) 1968

From what I can gather this album is a "Best Of" or at least an interesting collection of Herman's Hermits recordings, mostly singles but with some surprisingly good album cuts including a take on the folk-rock classic "Where Were You When I Needed You", The Hollies "Bus Stop" and a satisfying cover of the rocker "Jezebel".

My choice is the bouncy pop tune "If You're Thinkin' What I'm Thinkin' written by Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart. As far as I know The Monkees did not record this song, nor did Boyce & Hart when they started releasing records. Teen group Dino, Desi & Billy recorded a version so it must have been a song that was doing the 'rounds' at the time.


MARIANNE FAITHFULL - "Marianne Faithfull" (Decca DOA3) 1965

Angel blonde hair swirling in the wind, large wide eyes, grey and distant...heavy sweater, mittens, nose pressed against the window of a large department store...long evening gown, and wine, clear and red....a large, silver ring...a little girl alone on a windy common...her dog...a dalmation called Sara...the elegant, sophisticated young panellist on the TV programme...laughter, frothy coffee. Joan Baez on the record player.

Riding in the park...a large white mare with sad eyes, head proudly raised... a small white figure on a large empty stage...darkness...sunshine...the cloistered solitude of a small Convent...the clinical mechanism of a recording studio...Byron...Bob Dylan...the haunting rhythm of a twelve-string guitar...the vibrant sensuality of a Fender bass...sunset on a lonely sea...the wind in the trees...the wistful beauty of Giselle...the wild spontaneity of a Rolling Stones concert...chattering on the telephone to her favourite girlfriend...the luxury of buying expensive cigarettes...the loneliness of a hotel room...the gunfire of applause...this is Marianne Faithfull. (Andy Wickham)


ADRIAN LLOYD - "Lorna" / "Got A Little Woman" (Sundazed S267) 2013

Sundazed re-issued this slab of raunchy rock & roll during 'Record Store Day' in 2013 and I've just picked up a copy, better late than never as they say. Sixties garage band greatness is somewhat less than infrequently associated with solo acts, especially those with a pre British Invasion, professional resume. Southern California surf legend Adrian Lloyd ranks as a towering exception.

Maybe it's just the British in him, but England born, SoCal transplanted Lloyd made the apparently effortless leap from surf (Adrian & the Sunsets) to the long haired Sunset Strip sound and the results are on this must have disc.


THE PSYCHEDELIC PSYMPHONY - "Don't Be Afraid" (Arcadia International 1) 2006

Recorded at Ryder Sound Studio in 1965 "Don't Be Afraid" is from the film "Mondo Keyhole" a little morality play about people hooked on love, sex and drugs that include LSD. It is a testimonial for those ground under in a mid-sixties Tinsel Town underground.

As much as a film can be, it's a snap shot of a season in a unique locale - Halloween in Hollywood 1965. And so we unleash this fuzzy 12 string folk rocker that's all about strung out, flustered folk. They are the denizens who take time out from dieing to dance to the sounds of The Psychedelic Psymphony at the Artists and Models Ball.

28 June, 2016


HERMAN'S HERMITS - "Dandy" / "No Milk Today" (Columbia CH 3098) October 1966

I collect vintage 60s music magazines and they're full of Herman's Hermits pictures and articles, so no doubt they were a group young teenagers (probably girls) doted upon. Much of their music is appealing in a sixties pop kind of way but they did delve a little deeper and recorded psychedelia and some choice cover versions.

"Dandy" is a Kinks klassic and no group can come close to surpassing their songs but full marks to Herman's Hermits for recording this charming little song which in lyrical content is pure English. What else would you expect from Ray Davies in the mid to late sixties?

"Dandy" was never released as a single in Britain but it was in several other countries including America where it went Top 5. My copy is the Dutch release which came housed in a picture sleeve.
The other side "No Milk Today" written by Graham Gouldman was a single in it's own right in Britain and reached #7.

"Dandy" was also released as a single in 1966 by The Rockin' Vickers who were Lemmy's beat group before he joined psychedelic rockers Sam Gopal.


PAUL & BARRY RYAN - "Two Of A Kind" (Decca LK 4878) July 1967

Paul and Barry Ryan are among the most talked about people in show business. Everyone knows they are a pair of fun loving swingers. Their exploits invariably attract attention. Somewhat removed from the world of hairy groups , their determination to establish their own vogue has made them trend-setters.

The Ryan's entered the music business with a handicap - things were good for them to start with. Theirs was a home with everything they wanted, so it's not a rags to riches story with them. Now they are richer as a result of their ventures into pop music.  They live on their own in a luxurious apartment poised at the top of a block in South Kensington. They stand on their own four feet and pay their own way.

The success story of Paul and Barry Ryan, therefore, is a different one. They know how to enjoy the wealth they are acquiring for themselves; how to enjoy themselves to the full when they are working and when they are playing.

But the swingers are singers too. And this, their first album, showcases twin vocal talents that will surprise a lot of people. Paul and Barry did not find it difficult to cause a sensation with their stage appearances and the cynics could say that this had something to do with their instant fame. However, these handful of songs must prove to be one and all that the Ryan's justify their high placing on pop ladder of success.

Dedicated to their music they spend hours perfecting each track and the results prove a genuine understanding of their work. They have come a long way since they made their first British stage appearance at a ballroom in Crawley. Tours, a major pantomime, concert appearances all over the world. Into a short space of time they have crammed a lot of show business experience. It shows in the way they handle this album.

As we said, the swingers are singers too.

Disc and Music Echo - 22 July 1967


THE BUFFOONS - "My World Fell Down" / "Tomorrow Is Another Day" (Imperial IH 744) September 1967

Despite their horrendous name The Buffoons were actually no real life buffoons and if their version of "My World Fell Down" is anything to go by, could actually sing perfect harmonies.

The Netherlands were never noted for producing harmony groups so I was more that intrigued when I saw this disc for sale on a list a month ago. I was buying other records but decided to add a few cheapies to my order, this being one of those cheapies.

"My World Fell Down" was originally recorded by The Ivy League then again by Sagittarius in America. The Buffoons version is every bit as good as those other two. Digging a little deeper I've noted that they released numerous singles and a couple of albums in Holland. Maybe their recordings from 1967 - 1969 are worth tracking down.

Both sides of this disc were produced by David Paramor who worked with Simon Dupree & The Big Sound, The Gods and The Nocturnes. Perhaps The Buffoons traveled to London for the sessions.

Maarten Assink (drums)
Gerard van Tongeren (guitar)
Hylke ter Heide (vocals)
Eilert van Tongeren (lead guitar)
Bob Luiten (bass)
Bjinse de Groot (vocals)


26 June, 2016


THE DILLONS - "Simple Way Of Living" / "Night Winds" (Impression 101) September 1965

Not a lot is known about The Dillons but in my educated view I suspect that they were from California. TV footage of them does exist and is on YouTube, here they perform "Simple Way Of Living" on the "Shivaree" music show. Interestingly, they are a rather square looking duo. I was expecting a four piece folk-rock group in Sunset Strip threads with bowl haircuts.

Perhaps they were a studio concoction to cash in on the Los Angeles folk-rock sound, even adopting a group name similar to 'Dylan'. Whatever The Dillons intentions "Simple Way Of Living" is a knock-out tune and deserves wider recognition.

The song was written and produced by Dorsey Burnette who captures the 'sound' of the times perfectly. If 12 string merseybeat folk janglers are your bag you're sure gonna dig "Simple Way Of Living." The other side "Night Winds" sounds like it's from another era, it's OK but not really my scene.

According to an online source The Dillons performed two songs on "Shivaree", the other cut was "Great Shakin' Fever" which may have been recorded but was presumably was left in the can when this single went to nowheresville because after their one stab at fame The Dillons were no more.

Other noteworthy singles on the Impression label include those by The Tangents, The Dirty Shames and Lonnie & the Legends.


TWICE AS MUCH - "Crystal Ball" / "Why Can't They All Go And Leave Me Alone" (Columbia C 23512) August 1967

Twice As Much were English songwriting duo David Skinner and Andrew Rose who were signed to Immediate Records by Andrew "Loog" Oldham after impressing him at an audition. Their first single, a Rolling Stones song,  "Sittin' On A Fence" became a decent sized hit in Britain during mid 1966 but the singles that followed didn't really do much.

"Crystal Ball" was their final single as a duo and as you can see came housed in a fab picture sleeve in Germany on the Columbia label. It was August 1967 by the time it was released over there. The B-Side "Why Can't They All Go And Leave Me Alone" is the highlight. A dramatic and intense piece of orchestral rock tinged with psychedelia and made memorable by the duo's perfect harmonies.

It's interesting to note that Twice As Much wrote songs for other Immediate artists including Chris Farlowe, P.P. Arnold and Del Shannon. During the 70s David Skinner played keyboards for Roxy Music.

25 June, 2016


ST. LOUIS UNION - "English Tea" (alternative version) 1966

St. Louis Union were a short lived mod group from the mid '60s. They had a hit with a tame version of The Beatles ballad "Girl", however, on another level is their fab (mostly) instrumental "English Tea" housed to the brim with soulful vocals, way-out hammond with lashings of fuzz..... killer!
This version was never released but St Louis Union performed it on 1966 British film "The Ghost Goes Gear" and contains much more fuzz guitar. The single version, on the back of April 1966 single "Behind The Door" uses saxophone.

Find it on "Mod Meeting" Volume 1

21 June, 2016


PETER JAY & the JAYWALKERS - 'Before The Beginning' / 'Solitaire' (Piccadilly 7N.35259) August 1965

 I'm still in a killer instrumental mode and 'Before The Beginning' by Peter Jay & The Jaywalkers is where it's at....such a fabulous backbeat that hints at the happenin' beat sound which would become a whole lot more freakier in 1966.

They were quite a popular 60s instrumental group with many of their singles produced by Joe Meek. A recent CD on Cherry Red showcases their many singles. ‘Big Boy’ Pete Miller was a member of the Jaywalkers.

This 45 on Piccadilly is a valuable collector’s items among the mod fraternity.

17 June, 2016


You might know that I've got a decent sized archive of vintage 60s music magazines. I've decided to create a 'page' (not a group) where I'll upload scans, reviews, photos, interviews and adverts. The reason for this is to keep everything in one place and not scattered about all over the place.

I won't 'add' anyone cos that's not my style so I'll send out the odd reminder every now and again.
"Like" the page for updates on your own timelines...


12 June, 2016


PAUL MESSIS - "A Matter Of Opinion" (State Records THSLP-005) April 2013

As the modern world wakes, eager to check the latest technology for their next hit of adoration, Paul Messis delivers reality right under their noses!

What with the "NOW" generation drowning in their own apathy...like this, like that...liking a Paul Messis record isn't as lazy as staring at the blue screen, pushing a button and letting everyone know you mindlessly think something is good! Paul's take on music and indeed life itself, although seemingly complex, is in fact quite simple...let the reality prevail.

Don't be a slave to connectivity if the prize is the empty feeling sensed from screen-bound isolation...Paul writes and records real songs, from the heart of that which drives him, whist understanding there is a real world out there...way beyond the virtual one of today's illusion!

Case closed.

Marty Ratcliffe

Combine loner folk-rock with mordant punk and you get Paul Messis "Case Closed" - this came out on the ever reliable State Records three years ago. Check out his incisive trip into the world of 1965/66 folk jangle with "A Matter Of Opinion"


RONNIE BURNS - "Coalman" / "All The Kings Horses" (Spin EK-1578) January 1967

Turntable spin of the day is this fab pop 45 by Australian Ronnie Burns. "Coalman" was written by the Gibb brothers (Bee Gees) and I've read that they provided backing vocals on this early 1967 Beatles inspired beat. According to the liners on the Raven release "Five by Four" "Coalman" and his next hit "Exit Stage Right" were actually Bee Gees tracks with Barry's voice taken off.  The originals can be found on the "Birth Of Brilliance" album from the early 70s.
Ronnie Burns turns in a great vocal performance, just right for the sound which reminds me of "Revolver' period Beatles psychedelia.... should have made the ending last longer Ronnie, would have made a better trip...

11 June, 2016


THE BYSTANDERS - "Renaissance Fair" (Top Sounds TSLP 003) 2007

"Shapes & Sounds" is a premier series of compilations unearthing rare radio broadcasts from the late 1960s to early 1970s. Few if any of these unique performances have been heard in public since their original transmission making these comps a must have for psychedelic connoisseurs.

I recently wrote about The Bystanders when covering their single "Pattern People" and here they are again, this time from a radio broadcast. It's certainly an obscurity and one in particular for Byrds fans. This is their version of "Renaissance Fair" recorded for the David Symonds Show on 6th May 1968.

Remember that this is a radio recording and was never given the full studio treatment and released as a single. It's only available on "Shapes & Sounds" Volume 2 (Top Sounds).


08 June, 2016


THE SCOTT BEDFORD FOUR - "You Turned Your Back On Me" / "Manhattan Angel" (Congress CG-247) August 1965

I've had this great record for several years but somehow never got around to posting it on my blog and doing some research. That all changed the other day when I was in one of my many boxes filing away my Seeds 45.... I flicked onto this disc by The Scott Bedford Four.

Incredibly, "You Turned Your Back On Me" has only appeared on one compilation, that being "Kicks And Chicks" on Eleventh Hour way back in 1990. That in itself is not the easiest album to locate and never was, even back in the day.

According to 'Teenbeat Mayhem' The Scott Bedford Four hailed from Northampton, PA. Prior to recording for their first label Joy Records they had been known as The Corvairs.
Today's disc under spotlight is their only release on Congress so I'll just concentrate on this one.

"You Turned Your Back On Me" is a scintillating beat pounder with a tough approach and aided by ringing 12 string guitars, cool background vocals, a fierce lead break with an ace harmonica burst. This song simply jumps outta my speakers, it's mastered so loud. The disc was a 'Chart Spotlight' in Billboard during August 1965 but no success became of this fabulous slab of vinyl.

I hadn't realised this until today but The Scott Bedford Four left Congress after this release and signed to Philips, changing their name to The Elusives then released "You Won't Find Better Than Me" / "Lost Love" in September 1966.

05 June, 2016


THE SEEDS - "The Wind Blows Your Hair" / "Six Dreams" (GNP Crescendo 398) October 1967

The Seeds are no strangers to my music blog and various singles have been written about over the years. This week I was fortunate enough to find a copy of their 1967 flop "The Wind Blows Your Hair" which has eluded me for years. It rarely turns up for sale so when it does you gotta strike fast.

A full and descriptive post about this particular Seeds classic was posted on http://www.skysaxonseeds.com/

"The Wind Blows Your Hair" is a scintillating and spooky 1967 psychedelic non-album single by The Seeds, and it is the best song they achieved.

"The Wind Blows Your Hair" achieves its odd and unsettling feel by mixing upbeat lyrics about a wedding celebration with a snaky, descending keyboard riff (and Sky Saxon's provocative vocals) that gives the merry tale a darker and queasier aspect. This is partially explained by the fact that it's original lyrics were also dark — a sneering put-down in the vein of 1965-era Dylan, with "Prince Satan" in a starring role.

Recording of the song was attempted four separate times by The Seeds. The first was during a January 1966 session, and the other three times were during 1967. For the latter two sessions, "The Wind Blows Your Hair" had its lyrics re-written (from Satan to wedding), and the sessions were booked specifically to record this song as a single.

Three separate recordings have been released officially: the original GNP Crescendo single from October 1967 (with the wedding lyrics), and two of the Satan versions — the January 1966 run-through and a mid-1967 take (in both mono and stereo mixes).

The recording history of "The Wind Blows Your Hair"

The song was first recorded in January 1966 at a session in which The Seeds also recorded both sides to the "Try To Understand" b/w "The Other Place" single. This version has a sparser and slower arrangement, though the basic structure is already present. It is a remarkable recording for January 1966, convincingly psychedelic and audaciously eerie. And there's the prominent appearance of "Crown Satan, Prince Satan again!" (This "version 1" is available on the Big Beat 2013 expanded CD reissue of A Web Of Sound as a bonus track.)

On May 12, 1967, during sessions for Future, The Seeds revived "The Wind Blows Your Hair", at a faster tempo and with more ambitious instrumentation, but with the original Satan lyrics. Sky Saxon double-tracked his vocals. There was only one take, first released in 1977 on the Fallin' Off The Edge rarities LP (misleadingly titled "The Wind Blows Your Hair (reprise)" with a mono mix released for the first time in 2013 on the Big Beat expanded reissue of Future, identified as "version 2".

The May 1967 take of "The Wind Blows Your Hair" was considered and then rejected for the Future album, but after the album's release, The Seeds entered the studio twice more in mid-1967 for two more attempts at the song. Sky rewrote the lyrics, but the music remained mostly the same. The take that was deemed best was released in October 1967, with the head spinning "Six Dreams" from Future as it's B-side: one of the most satisfyingly psychedelic singles ever released.

It is this most-famous version of "The Wind Blows Your Hair" that can be found most readily on several different compilations, as well as the original GNP vinyl single.


THE BYSTANDERS - "Pattern People" / "Green Grass" (Piccadilly 7N.35399) August 1967

The Bystanders hailed from Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales who managed to hang around long enough in the sixties to release several singles mostly all based around their tight harmonies and heavily influenced by The Beach Boys and The Four Seasons.

My particular pick is their fifth single "Pattern People", released during the Summer of 1967. This song was plucked from The Fifth Dimension's album "Up Up And Away" album. The Bystanders version switches the lush harmonizing chorus to the beginning and adds a recorder hook. It was an ideal Summer sound for '67 but it somehow swerved the Charts.

Another fab song which was never released at the time was "Royal Blue Summer Sunshine Day" written by Ronnie Scott (not the famous jazzman as stated on wikipedia). The version I've included below was an unused mix of their fourth single adding trumpet overdubs.

02 June, 2016


THE LORDS - "Don't Mince Matter" / "No One Knows" (Columbia C23278) August 1966

This is the first time for The Lords on my blog and it's all about their Troggs effected beat pounder "Don't Mince Matter". I've got no idea what they mean by the song title, perhaps it's been lost in translation or something as they're singing in English on this .

The Lords were from Dusseldorf, Germany and were part of the very popular Beat Scene attracting loads of British Beat and R&B groups to that Country during the early to mid 1960s. The Lords formed in 1959 for instance and their first single was a cover of "Shakin' All Over" by Johnny Kidd and the Pirates. As you can see from the record sleeve they all had very odd moptop hairstyles.

TV footage of their Beat-Club performances exist and are on YouTube demonstrating that The Lords were one of Germany's premier groups.

01 June, 2016


THE WEST COAST POP ART EXPERIMENTAL BAND - "Smell Of Incense" / "Unfree Child" (Reprise 0776) October 1968

The enigmatic and mysterious West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band were still no nearer a hit record at the end of 1968 despite releasing several previous singles on Reprise. These singles were incredibly uncommercial though and didn't really stand much of a chance. I can't see how the kids would have rushed out to buy "1906" or "Help, I'm A Rock".

Perhaps their most chart worthy and commercial single they released was the psychedelic "Smell Of Incense" with it's irresistible chorus and strong instrumentation. The 45 version was more than half the length of the album cut. It's been basically cut to bits and remixed to get it radio worthy and under three minutes.

Southwest F.O.B. had a huge regional hit with a cover of "Smell Of Incense" and it even hit the Top 60 in the US National Chart.