Wednesday, 27 August 2014

RAY POLLARD - IT'S A SAD THING - UNITED ARTISTS UP 1133 (1966)


Ray's immortal recording of The Drifter (United Artists UP 1111) never charted in the UK but it was certainly not an unknown as versions appeared over the next couple of years by Long John Baldry, Don Charles and an unissued version by Stuart Smith.  Baldry even issued a version of Drifter's B side, Let Him Go (And Let Me Love You).  But nobody bothered covering Ray's next single, issued 6 months after The Drifter.  It's A Sad Thing is a MONSTER of a record, from it's bass intro, brass fanfare and in comes Ray accompanied by chime bars, backing vocalists and soon, a chorus featuring a full orchestra.  The middle eight is a latin-mariacchi affair, again, string laden, leading up to the climactic last chorus where Ray sings his heart out, but to no avail - she's not coming back.
A magnificent arrangement once again by Arnold Goland, and a fantastic vocal by Ray. Ten out of Ten from the Wolverhampton jury.
(How much? I hear you ask - about £250 for the one above)


THE MAR-KEYS - LAST NIGHT - LONDON HLK 9399 (1961)


This instantly recogniseable instrumental classic sold a million copies in the United States and made no.3 in the charts in 1961, kicking off things big time for the Memphis based Stax label.  Containing the backbone of the group who would go on to become the legendary Booke T & The MG's, the Mar-Keys became Stax's houseband and played on countless tracks.  Their follow up, Night Before, didn't do too much but their superb version of "Philly Dog" was a hit in 1965.
Younger readers may probably know the tune better as the theme for the Ade Edmondson / Rik Mayall (rip) sitcom "Bottom"!
Nice demo though eh?

NINA SIMONE - BREAK DOWN AND LET IT ALL OUT - PHILIPS BF 1465 (1965)


Marmite anyone?  Nina Simone is a little like Esther Phillips when it comes to appreciation - I'm not a fan of Esther's voice, I do like Nina's but boy does she warble on this one.  In fact it's an extraordinary vocal performance which draws on gospel and blues for it's influences - mix that with the uptown production of Horace Ott and a great Van McCoy song, and you're in for a treat.  Originally this was thought to be LP only in the UK, but it did slip out on the flip side of Nina's version of the Gladys Knight minor hit, Either Way I Lose.  So I nice midtempo dancer with lots of stop starts, the only bit I don't really like is when it speeds up at the end but that's just a minor quibble.
This is the first copy I've seen for around 20 years!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0Ntj9mw5z4


TIKKI, TAKKI, SUZY, LIES - DREAM STEALER - UPC 109 (1970)


Talk about an oddball release.  First of all, this is one of the UK's most obscure labels.  A partial discography of it is here on 45Cat  http://www.45cat.com/label/upc
It's a very UK sounding pop soul dancer of the "A Man Like Me" variety, and apparently it got spins in the early 70's.  The group are apparently Indonesian and are actually named Dara Puspita, maybe they changed it to Tikki, Takki, Suzy, Lies as it sounded more commercial (lol) (I thought Tikki Takki was that sleep enducing method of football that Barcelona played?)
The horrible A side, Ba-Da-Da-Dum sound slike a Eurovision Song Contest entry with added fuzz guitar.

THE TIFFANIES - IT'S GOT TO BE A GREAT SONG - CHESS CRS 8059 (1967)


I actually know the first time I heard this - April 10th 1976 - that was the first time I ever went to Wigan casino and this was played twice that night.  Instantly recogniseable by it's "Beethoven's 5th" intro, it's a classic girl group dancer which went totally under the radar on it's UK release in 1967.  I've seen a couple of stock copies lately - usually sell for £50 or £60 but they are by no means common - I traded my yellow demo for a copy of Ray Merrell on Jayboy back in 1993.
Original US release was on Artie Kornfield's KR label and sells for £30 to £40.

THE BATS - LISTEN TO MY HEART - DECCA F.22534 (1966)


Another in the endless line of UK pop stompers from the Decca label, this is a good uptempo sound from a South African band (although I am sure I originally read that they were from Ireland!), issued in 1966 on Decca 22534 but as you can see, this copy is a blank demo label test pressing - I know it looks like it says "Baps" on the label but it says Bats and someone's put a question mark on top.
Anyway, a minor hit in the Radio London charts, it didn't threaten the main Top 40 and was quickly deleted.  Cost you about £20 for a copy.

RAY CHARLES - I DON'T NEED NO DOCTOR - HMV POP 1566 (1966)


Ashford, Simpson and Armstead's son has been covered by everyone from Humble Pie to Styx, but this is the definitive version, two and a half minutes of excitement from the first note to the last.  Brilliant to dance to (if you're fit) and a great, wild vocal from Ray.  
It says 1966 on the label but I think this was issued in the UK in January 67.  The demo is green and white but I've had a later HMV number on a red and white.  Strange.

KETTY LESTER - PLEASE DON'T CRY ANYMORE - RCA 1403 (1964)


I love this record.  I've always loved it.  I wish it was a green and silver demo but we can't have everything.  Now going back to around 1990, I used to run a mag called Beatin' Rhythm which dealt exclusively with UK label 45's, one of our most famous discoveries via that magazine was Ketty's "Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid" and the only reason I bought that in the first place was because it had the original of a song covered by Marc Almond, 'The House Is Haunted" on the A side.  Good job I played the other side...
Anyway this one is much more laid back, a very simple arrangement with quite minimal orchestration but beautiful vocals and backing.  It's just stunning in every department.  You will not spend a better £25 honestly.

CASTLE SISTERS - STOP YOUR LYING - SKA BEAT JB.257 (1966)


I like to think I don't make that many mistakes when buying records blind but oh dear, I made a big one here!  Possibly the weediest Ska record ever released by Studio One, the backing is so lame it sounds like half the band hasn't turned up, and the sister's vocals are almost whispered they have such limited vocal power.  The boring ballad on the flip side doesn't help either.  Terrible.  

Thursday, 21 August 2014

JACKIE MITTOO - GOT MY BUGALOO - RIO R 123 (1966)


Jackie Mittoo is usually noted for his amazing keyboard dexterity rather than his vocal ability - is he actually the vocalist here, and did he sing on anything else?  Well one thing is for certain, this is one of the hottest and most in demand of all Ska 45's recently.  When I last had this, maybe 10 years back, it was worth maybe £50 - there's one on eBay now for £495 and while he's never going to get that, I reckon £250 to £300 is what you'd have to pay for a nice copy nowadays.  
There's actually nothing outstanding going on here, just a frenetic beat with insistant horns driving it along, and a corking organ solo two thirds of the way through.  So not one of my favourites by any means but am glad to have it tucked away for a rainy day.
Of course, there's a cheaper way of getting hold of this track, and that's on a fantastic Trojan compilation of Rio 45's called You Left Me Standing (1969) which usually fetches £20 to £25.
The flip side is noteable for being possibly the worst ever version of I Don't Know What To Do With Myself (by The Ethiopians)

DUDLEY SIBLEY - GUN MAN - ISLAND WI-3034 (1967)


Apologies for the blur on the record label, it had massive writing at the bottom which said "C.B. The Cool One".  Well listen to me C.B., there is nothing cool about writing on record labels!  
Joking apart, it didn't make a lot of siffernce to me because while I've had this record a couple of times before, it's always been a no centre and VG copy whereas this one was in great shape.
A pretty understated, lilting Rude Boy tune with stand out harmonica riffing and a nice little solo which incorporates the nursery rhyme Three Blind Mice (loads of tunes used this for some reason).
Produced by Coxsone Dodd and originally released on JA Muzik City, it's a 1966 recording issued in the UK in early 1967 and is a great example of Ska morphing into Rocksteady.
Flip is an uncredited Denzil Thorpe doing a makeover of Dave Bartholemew's R & B classic The Monkey Speaks His Mind.


THE SKATALITES - DR. KILDARE - ISLAND WI-191 (1965)


And the Island's keep coming!  Flushed with my success of obtaining Killer Diller and Independent Anniversary Ska last week, incredibly I got another missing classic this week, the Skatalites brilliant rendition of the theme to the massively popular US TV series of the same name which ran from 1961 to 1966.  It translates brilliantly to Ska, and as a bonus, the frantic version of Tarenteno Rojas' dance / song Sucu Sucu is also amazing.  A Coxsone Dodd production.
Not cheap but what is these days?


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

ALAN DAVID - AWARE OF LOVE - DECCA F.12227 (1965)


Alan David is quite a collectable artist, maybe via the Mod scene, not sure but I know I've featured him before on this page.  This, his rarest 45, is a cover of a lesser known Impressions number from 63 or 64 I think (it didn't come out on LP until 1967 as far as I can tell), Alan David's version sweetens the song up a little (in other words, makes it sound wimpy) and it's another one that you'd file under 'pleasant' but wouldn't go back to very often.  
You see the word rediffusion on the label - this came from Rediffusion in Hong Kong of all places, Mick Smith and (I think) John Anderson got in there in the 90's and all the 45's had this writing on them unfortunately.
I kid you not there are ten copies of this on Popsike which sold for over £100.

THE SOCIALITES - YOU'RE LOSING YOUR TOUCH - WARNER BROS WB 148 (1964)


This is a lovely little girl group classic, almost forgotten (or not ever really known) and I doubt if it's really been played anywhere.  I remeber having one in my first big UK collection on a no centre demo and always fancied getting another copy - that was in 1992 when I sold it, so it's only taken 22 years to find another one!  I'm not saying it's a super rare record - just that it's well under the radar.

DARRELL BANKS - I'M THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU - STAX 124 (1969)


This one has always been a bit of a puzzle to me.  Don't get me wrong, I love Darrell's amazing double sider from 1966 Our Love / Open The Door To Your Heart and his Atco album was great, it's just that this later (1969) track has never really done anything for me and I can't understand how it got to be so popular.  I think the reason I probably don't like it so much is that of course by 1969, what we call the 'traditional' Northern Soul sound was not being made anymore and this record is proof of the apparent progress.  Where Northern morphs into Crossover is a somewhat blurred line but I think this may be the start of that era.  Needless to say, this is where I leave the building...

PATSY - A MAN IS TWO FACED - DOCTOR BIRD DB-1113 (1968)


OK well I did realise that I have featured this record before but I had to show you this.  How many mint Doctor Bird records do you see?  Trust me, I've had about 150 on this label and maybe two were mint.  This copy of Patsy is actually unplayed.
I've never seen a Doctor Bird in this condition.  I got it off eBay at the weekend for £100, sold it 2 days later for £300, which is a shame actually as I'd like to have kept this, but when you sell records for a living, you get to keep very few in the end.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

GENE McDANIELS - THE POINT OF NO RETURN - LIBERTY LIB 56480 (1963)


I guess you'd call this an R & B / Pop crossover, Gene McDaniels had quite a few hits in the early 60's with this one being one of the biggest.  This 60's dancer is pretty common to be honest but not as a glorious red and white demo of course.  You may remember this one being featured on a very early Kent album (the title which slips my mind right this minute) and it was also covered by Elvis Costello 20 years on.

TIMI YURO - HURT - LONDON HLG 9403 (1961)


Mainly featured here because it's such a lovely London demo, a hard to find one too, amazingly nobody wanted this for £8 except me.  Timi had such a great voice, almost masculine at times, and she sings the hell out of this 1954 Roy Hamilton hit.  This began a string of quality 45's, many of which were issued here on the Liberty label.

THE OUTER LIMITS - JUST ONE MORE CHANCE - DERAM DM 125 (1967)


A well known and popular pop-psych track which surprisingly got some plays on the Northern Soul scene circa 1979-1980 when an instrumental version by The Patrick Bradley (US Decca) began to become popular.  It's pop all the way but incredibly catchy with it's harpsichord intro and breaks.  Written by Jeff Christie who went on to have a number one hit in 1970 with his composition Yellow River, released under the name Christie.

ROBERT JOHN - IF YOU DON'T WANT MY LOVE - CBS 3436 (1968)


A very pleasant, almost sunshine pop-soul dancer, which I guess was a big hit in the States as I can remember hearing it on the radio over here as well, where it did actually reach number 42 in the charts.  Better known for his later Raindrops, Love And Sunshine on the Northern Soul scene, he also recorded as Bobby Pedrick as a 12 year old in 1958, having a minor hit with White Bucks And Saddle Shoes (I have this on UK London), and finally a number one in the States in 1979 with Sad Eyes (which I don't remember unfortunately)

DELLA REESE - BLOW OUT THE SUN - RCA 1306 (1962)


No release date on the label for this infectious early dancer from the great Della Reese, but I'd guess at 1962 or 1963 at the latest.  I was always surprised that the annoyingly bad Clock That's Got No Hands was preferred over this far superior track, maybe this was a minor hit and therefore off the playlist.  Anyway, first time I've seen this green UK RCA demo and very nice it is too.  £10 off eBay.

THE BLOSSOMS - STAND BY - PAMA PM 814 (1970)


Quite simply, one of the greatest records ever made and the fact that it's available for around £10 at any given time gives nobody the excuse not to own it.  If I say Beat Ballad Perfection...that's putting it mildly.  Stand By was originally a Righteous Brothers LP track (it's B side, Soul And Inspiration, was a big hit for the Bros) but The Blossoms version blows the original out of the water.  Sounding for all the world like a Phil Spector epic, it's actually Righteous Brother Bill Medley in the producers seat and boy does he get the best out of Darlene Love's beautiful voice on this one.  
As I say, common on both UK Pama and US Bell, this should be heard by everyone and I think I'd go as far to say that it is THE best of all Beat Ballads.
that's The Blossoms version - here is The Righteous Brothers version, also produced by Bill Medley

THE RUDIES - TRAIN TO VIETNAM - NU BEAT NB.001 (1968)


I'm not a fan of UK produced Reggae but the Rudies could match anyone as their work with Dandy for  the Down Town label proves.   Train To Vietnam (actual title is probably Train To South Vietnam) is similar in style to Prince Buster's Train To Girls Town and The Pyramids Train Tour To Rainbow City from the previous year.  The B side, Skaville To Rainbow City, is not surprisingly along the same lines.
I think the most noticeable thing about Train To Vietnam is that it's based on The Maytals' "54-46" rhythm.  I say noticeable, I've heard it a hundred times and only just noticed it!
First ever release on the Nu Beat label by the way.


RUPIE EDWARDS ALL STARS - GRANDFATHER'S CLOCK - SUCCESS RE-902 (1969)


Success was a Pama distributed label set up to release product for Rupie Edwards, though Trojan responded in kind a year later by giving him their own outlet, Big Records.  I don't think I've featured anything on Success before, mainly because most of it sounds the same - typical 69 organ instrumentals.  Grandfathers Clock is, not surprisingly, My Grandfathers Clock, a song written in 1876 and a favourite on Junior Choice if I remember correctly!  Some good organ work (Winston Wright again) and a chugging rhythm keep this one interesting.  Promotors Grouse on the flip side is very similar, minus the organ, and featuring unintelligible patois most of the time.  I can make out "Reggae like dirt" but not much else.

THE GAYLETS - SILENT RIVER RUNS DEEP - ISLAND WI-3129 (1968)


Very late Rocksteady-turning-into-Reggae track which came to attention via a wonderful Trojan LP called Ride Your Donkey which featured some of the best singles issued on Island a couple of years previously.  (There are two other similar albums, Guns Of Navarone and Independent Jamaica, both are very highly recommended).   The Gaylets, led by Judy Mowatt, made some beautiful records in the late 60's including the fabulous If You Can't Be Good Be Careful on Big Shot, oh how I'd love that one back again.
The producer credits here are to (Ken) Khourie but RKR says that it was produced by Sam Mitchell & Keith Scott.  These guys were resident producers for the Merritone label.
Anyway, a really nice happy go lucky tune, check it out below.

JACKIE MITTOO & THE SOUL BROTHERS - KILLER DILLER - ISLAND WI-293 (1966)


So not only do I get Independent Anniversary Ska, but also this masterpiece from organ maestro Jackie Mittoo backed up ably by the remaining Skatalites, now renamed The Soul Brothers.  Has a record ever had a more apt title?  One of the last great Ska instrumentals, this one starts off like a house on fire and gets more intense with every second.  Mittoo's organ work is phenomenal in the later stages of the track and I think only Winston Wright's work on the classic Liquidator can match this performance.
Such a rare record these days, I sold my last one for (relatively) peanuts compared to what it's been fetching recently - £200+ in some cases.
B side is a fairly undistinguisged Ska cut by Patrick Hylton entitled Oh Lady which features some of the most annoying percussion effects I've ever heard, sounds like someone banging two halves of a coconut together.

THE SKATALITES - INDEPENDENT ANNIVERSARY SKA - ISLAND WI-260 (1966)


My fourth copy of this over the years, and one of my all time favourite Ska instrumentals, first heard by myself on one of the magnificent Intensified compilations, issued in 1979 at the height of the 2-Tone era.  This is a great version of The Beatles' tune I Should Have Known Better and it translates really well into Ska, and it's unusual in that it lasts almost 4 minutes, with everyone getting a chance to solo.  It's always been hard to find, but that may because it has a Wailers track on the flip (Jumbie Jamboree) which makes it all the more collectable.
Call me paranoid but I noticed that this record was mint and had the number scratched in, not stamped, and I don't ever remember seeing an Island record with a scratched in matrix - so I checked every one of my red and whites and found that The Wailers single Put It On also has a scratched in number, with the same handwriting.  By the way, sound quality is not brilliant on this pressing, this latest one is the best I've heard but it must have originally been dubbed from a Jamaican vinyl copy.


Tuesday, 29 July 2014

DON DRUMMOND & DRUMBAGO - TREASURE ISLAND - ISLAND WI-195


I know, just how many Skatalites records does this guy have, f*cking loads is the answer and here's another one, a UK B side to The Riots (aka The Techniques) "You Don't Know" which is good if very poorly reproduced Treasure Isle ska, Slim Smith on vocals.  The B side "Treasure Island" (correct title "Treasure Isle") is a tip-top Ska instrumental, as with most of them, consisting of a repetitive intro riff, then a couple of verses, and a middle section where the soloists do their thing.  Don Drummond's trombone and Roland Alphonso's sax battle it out then come together for the final riffings.  Brilliant, as always.

PRINCE BUSTER & THE ALL STARS - DOCTOR RODNEY (BLACK POWER) - FAB 82 (1969)


This scorching early reggae stomper appeared in a few different guises and it's history is littered with mistitled releases.  It appeared on the Rough Rider album and was entitled The Scorcher.  That one begins "Don't watch that, whatch this, it's a scorcher, reggae time".  Now as far as I know, that one is not on a UK 45.  A record bearing that title was issued on Fab 81 as the B side to the fast version of Wine And Grind but it actually plays a song called The Reggae Sound, same backing as The Scorcher but definitely a different song ("We have a new dance in town, we call it the reggae sound").  I also have The Reggae Sound on a Jamaican blank with Wine And Grine on the other side.  I also had a straight instrumental cut on a Jamaican blank, which I stupidly sold and never saw again.
Doctor Rodney (Black Power) is the same backing track but begins "It's a scorcher, don't you torture, Doctor Walter Rodney, Black Power"....and then it's a full tilt instrumentals with a vfew interjections from Buster (Boss, Boss, Reggae) and then the statement "To be black with ambition in Jamaica, is a dangerous thing".  
For anyone who is interested, Doctor Walter Rodney was a political activist who was assassinated in 1980.  You can read about him here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Rodney
This one cost me just over £30 which for a record in this condition - unplayed, never seen a stylus before - is a bargain.  Great stuff.

JOE HIGGS - I AM THE SONG (THE PROPHET) - ISLAND WI-3026 (1966)


Pesky red and white Island's, they know I can't resist them!  Especially mint ones.  A 1966 Coxsone Dodd production from the last days of Ska, this is the great and very underrated Joe Higgs first recording of a number he would come back to from time to time, probably best known on his album Life Of Contradiction.    Sadly Joe died of cancer in 1999 and never really made the big breakthough, but his prodigies, The Wailers, did alright for themselves.

RUPIE MARTIN - DEATH IN THE ARENA - PUNCH PH 43 (1970)


Those reggae label owners, I swear their sole purpose in life was to confuse the customer.  Firstly, this is not the same tune as the Soul Vendors track of the same name, which is a version of Pretty Purdie's "Funky Donkey".  Same title, different track.  This one is another instrumental, an electric organ dominated effort with a few DJ interjections and it's not very good, honestly.  Probably sounds great played out loud.  Anyway, the confusion I mentioned comes via a release a few months previously to this one by an act called Naturality on the Ackee label - it's the same track as this one!

FREDDIE NOTES & THE RUDIES - SHANGHAI - TROJAN 7713 (1969)


I'm no fan of UK produced reggae - apart from maybe Dandy's stuff on DownTown, on which this group, The Rudies, were the house band for most of the tracks anyway.  They, to me, are the best of all the UK bands and they do stand up well against Jamaican instrumental bands.  The vocalist Freddie Notes was already a veteran on the music scene when they cut this one in 1969, he would go on to have ahit with Montego Bay and perform at Mick Jagger's wedding to Bianca of all things, and appeared at a London Ska Festival in 2013.
"Shanghai" is a piano and organ instrumental accompanied by a DJ intro and superb piano playing.  Some readers may recognise it as a tune better known as "Shang-I" by Lloyd Chalmers & The Hippy Boys which came out on UK Escort.  (Not to be confused with the same artists' "Hi Shan" on Escort!)
B side is a nice vocal from Freddie Notes "Rome Wasn't Built In A Day".

KENNY LYNCH - IT'S TOO LATE - HMV POP 1577 (1967)


Ladies and gentlemen, you are looking at a piece of history here, the end of something truly beautiful.  Kenny Lynch's pounding version of the Bobby Goldsboro near-hit is a pretty good blue eyed dancer, but this, as far as I know, is the last ever red and white HMV demo before it was replaced with the green and white version.  EMI changed all of their labels over to green and whites at exactly this point, though Ray Charles' "I Don't Need No Doctor" is on a green and white and is an earlier number to this, so not sure what happened there.  But it doesn't matter, any excuse to print a picture of a R & W demo.

JOANIE SOMMERS - WHY DON'T YOU DO RIGHT - WARNER BROS 45-WB 23 (1960)


The lady who gave us the wonderful "Don't Pity Me" in 1965, here she is with one of her earliest recordings, a fairly sleazy version of the standard "Why Don't You Do Right" originally written in 1936 as "The Weed Smokers Dream"!  I shit you not, it says so on Wikipedia LOL.  Anyway, probably best known via Peggy Lee's version, you can imagine this being used in a nightclub scene in black and white Hollywood 'noir' movie.  
Not sure how to categorise this, Jazz probably, but whatever it is, two and a half minutes of fun and a super obscure UK release.

ERIC BARNET - THE HORSE - GAS 100 (1968)


First release on the Gas label from late 1968, and a huge record in UK clubs of the time apparently, this is the instrumental version to Rhythm Hips by Ronald Russell which came out on UK Nu Beat around the same time.  A driving, quite monotonous early reggae instrumental, the correct artist is Theo Beckford's Group, Eric Barnett being the producer of some brilliant tunes circa 68-69, mainly for the Deltone label (was he the owner) such as The Slickers "Nana", The Termites "Push It In", Keeling Beckford "Combination", The Natives "Live It Up" and loads more.  IN fact the B side by The Versatiles is a light hearted spoken word effort over the Combination backing track.
I feel a podcast coming on!


DAVE WALTON - LOVE AIN'T WHAT IT USED TO BE - CBS 202057 (1966)


At some point in 1966, the writing team of Val Simpson, Jo Armstead and Nick Ashford delivered dozens of songs to UK publishers in the hope of getting them picked up and recorded by British acts.  Among these were tunes such as It's Just Love (John Andrews), Surrender Your Love (The Carrolls) and Looky Looky (Brothers Grimm).  Two decades later, many of these publishers demos would be discovered by Ady Croasdel and he played these original cuts at various venues.
I've had a couple of records by Dave Walton before, there's a fairly pedestrian version of Walter Jackson's song After You There Can Be Nothing, it's taken too slowly; and an excellent and very obscure beat ballad entitled Every Window In The City, also released in 1966.  On these records Dave is obviously being groomed as a crooner but if what my research leads me to believe, if I'm right, he was the original singer with the group The First Gear who cut R&B favourites Leave My Kitten Alone, A Certain Girl and The In Crowd for Pye, the former being produced by Shel Talmy.
Anyway, Love Ain't What It Used To Be is an almost note for note cover of The Diplomats on US Wand, and very good it is too, but again, not the strongest song that the trio ever wrote.
Pretty tough record to find on CBS and I've never seen a stock copy.
(After writing this I actually 'found' Dave Walton on YouTube and asked him if he was the singer here, and got this very nice reply:

Hi Pete.... Dave Walton. Sorry for the delay in replying. Yes, I am the singer on "Every Window In The City", CBS. I also released "Love Aint What It Used To Be" CBS, "After You There Can Be Nothing" and "Lady" for CBS. When lead singer with "First Gear", we were managed and produced by Shel Talmy, The Kinks producer. We released "A Certain Girl"/"Leave My Kitten Alone", and "The 'In' Crowd"/Gotta Make Their Future Bright", all of which featured Jimmy Page on guitar. We released a single also in the USA, "Running Out Of Kisses"/"The Night Is So Lonely" on United Artists records, but Jimmy was not playing on that. I am now in the process of forming a new "First Gear". Via a local newspaper, Jimmy Page actually wished me good luck with the idea three years ago and said he had fond memories of working with us. Anyway,  best wishes pete and kind regards.                                                    Dave Walton

BIG DEE IRWIN - YOU SATISFY MY NEEDS - STATESIDE SS 450 (1965)


I would run out of superlatives to describe this record so I won't even try, just get along to the Youtube link and listen for yourself.  This is the epitome of the Big City Beat Ballad, beautifully sung and arranged, with a very tender vocal by Dee Irwin.  One of the very hardest records to find on UK Stateside, as you can see, I put the centre in (it looks better in real life) but when I say I paid £26 for that copy, I still can't believe what I'm hearing.  Absolute perfection in every sense of the word.

MILLICENT MARTIN - GET LOST MY LOVE - PARLOPHONE R 5033 (1963)


It's been a while since I featured any 'off the wall' type 60's records I think, so to rectify that, here is Millicent Martin, the regular singer of topical songs on the legendary satire weekly TV show That Was The Week That Was.  Without going into a blow by blow account of Millicent's career, let me just explain that get Lost My Love is a jazzy bossa nova type tune with a vocal set to Quincy Jones' instrumental classic Soul Bossa Nova (aka the Austin Powers Theme).  Now how's that for obscurity?

THE JAYLADS - ROYAL CORD - PUNCH PH 95 (1971)


A bizarre 1971 release which ruins a perfectly good track by inserting a spoken DJ section right in the middle of a great song; the song in question is The Gaylads "It Comes And Goes" which came out on UK Fab in 1968.  Gaylads / Jaylads I guess.  Anyway, after the first verse and chorus in comes a very gruff DJ in strong Jamacian dialect "Don't move a muscle, them say it comes and goes, this yah music came today, and it a go stay, so mek it play to Royal Cord".  At which point the track starts again from the beginning.  What as the point of that?  The unidentified DJ is probably producer Pete Weston.
Still, at least there's an unexpected treat on the B side, "Soul Beat" is actually the tune known as "In The Spirit" by Lloyd Chalmers and/or The Hippy Boys, an excellent Skinhead reggae instrumental from 1969.


THE BELTONES - WHY PRETEND - DUKE DU-17 (1969)


A Harry Johnson production which continues a great run of 45's cut by The Beltones for that producer, but just one listen to this one and you'll realise that it's a Studio One record in all but name, right from the opening organ riff and familiar percussion.  I have no proof of this of course, but that's what my ears are telling me.  A very nice harmony vocal chugging reggae tune, with a similar B side, Home Without You.  Nice double sider on a scarce UK release.

Monday, 14 July 2014

LITTLE RICHARD - A LITTLE BIT OF SOMETHING (BEATS A WHOLE LOT OF NOTHING) - COLUMBIA DB 8240 (1967)


A breathtaking spanking mint copy of Richard's follow up to the classic I Don't Want To Discuss It.  He released that, this, Get Down With It and Poor Dog as singles in the UK within the space of 18 months and all flopped.  Criminal!  Not quite as good as Discuss It, but still a cracker, this Okeh dancer was a Twisted Wheel, Torch and Catacombs spin in the early days of the Northern Soul scene.

TONY SCOTT - WHAT AM I TO DO - ESCORT ES 805 (1969)


It amazes me that this record is still unknown in some quarters - if you heard it's instrumental you'd know it within seconds, because this is the vocal version of The Lquidator.  Well sort of.  In a chicken vs egg situation, this one came first, and to be honest, without Winston Wright's keyboard genius, it's fairly mundane stuff.  Not a great song, not a great vocal either.  It's only when Winston soups it up on Liquidator that it takes on an extra life.  I might try mixing this with Liquidator to see if it improves it!


OWEN GRAY WITH SONNY BRADSHAW QUINTET - COME ON BABY - CHEK 45/TD 101 (1962)


In the very early 60's, many Jamaican immigrants had settled in England and due to lack of records being supplied from home, they began to set up their own labels to release the music such as Planetone, Island, Blue Beat and so on.  Chek is a great example of one of these early labels.  No information on the label as to who distributed the label, no production credits either.  The Chek releases run to 105, but only three of those have been identified as yet so 103 and 104 may be unissued.  Of the three known issues, two are by Owen Gray and one by The Continentals.  Sonny Bradshaw, "the Dean of Jamaican music", was the producer of all of the singles.
Anyway, this Owen Gray record is one for all afficionados of Jamaican R & B, and it would even cross over to the Northern R & B scene if given a chance, it's still in the New Orleans tradition of Fats Domino and Smiley Lewis but with a much more pronounced 4/4 beat.  A cracker!  Pleasant Jackie Edwards style ballad on the flip.

THE VERSATILES - WORRIES A YARD - CRAB 5 (1969)


An absolute scorcher of a record from The Versatiles, follow up to the nearly but not quite so good Children Get Ready (which sounds just like The Maytals!)  This is the B side to the excellent Spread Your Bed and has always been one of the hardest and most sought after on the Crab label, mainly because it really is the archetypcal example of the fast early Reggae sound.  Produced by Eric Barnett (not Mrs. Barnett as it says on the label!) and originally issued on JA Deltone, it also, somewhat surprisingly maybe, got a release on the German Ariola label, and also on an incredibly scarce UK Big Shot issue (BI 520) which I've never seen.

Monday, 30 June 2014

DERRICK MORGAN - HOLD YOU JACK - ISLAND WI 3159 (1968)


This is the last but one release on the great red and white Island label (the last being Errol Dunkley's The Clamp Is On mentioned elsewhere on this blog) and Reggae had certainly arrived by the time that this one was issued circa November 1968.  The backing track, as I'm sure everyone will recognise, is most famous for it's use on Max Romeo's notorious 1969 smash Wet Dream but prior to that it had also been used on at least three cuts by Derrick Morgan (including the excellent I Love You) and went on to be versioned many times.  I'm not quite sure what this song is about and if Jack is a person or a 'thing', but you can't keep a good tune down and the Bunny Lee Allstars are brilliant on this track, utilising that reedy organ that can be heard on so many of Lee's productions from this period.

DON DRUMMOND - UNIVERSITY GOES SKA - ISLAND WI 242 (1965)


Another cracking instrumental from The Skatalites, credited to just Don Drummond but again partial credit should go to Baba Brooks, and also the guiro player who totally dominates this record.  I'm not a big fan of this scraped percussion instrument, especially when as in this case, it replaces the guy who usually does the vocal effects, but a very prominent bass drum drives the track along and Don is on top form with his fantastic soloing towards the end.
Nice and fairly obscure Ska duet by Derrick Morgan & Naomi on the flip side.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aya_VkiZW9M

DON DRUMMOND & DRUMBAGO - STAMPEDE - ISLAND WI 192 (1965)


From the Treasure Isle label comes this storming Ska instrumental, featuring chick-a-chick vocal gymnastics and a duel between trombone master Don Drummond and trumpet legend Baba Brooks.  This is of course The Skatalites, though many of their records were credited to whoever played the main solo.  I'm not sure if Drumbago did play on this record but the label credit should read Don Drummond & Baba Brooks.  1964 and 1965 saw The Skatalites at their prolific peak and practically everything they touched in 1965 was pure gold.  Some excellent low-fi Ska vocals on the B side from Justin Hinds & The Dominoes with Come Bail Me.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iSbmOHlgb0

ALVIN ROBINSON - FEVER - RED BIRD RB 10 010 (1965)


A nice and quite rare demo, but not that much demand for this good double sider from the New Orleans born singer.  Top side is a very laid back, smokey blues version of the Peggy Lee classic, while the gritty R & B dancer on the flip, Down Home Girl, was regarded by Leiber and Stoller to be the best record released on Red Bird.  Tell that to Evie Sands.  Down Home Girl certainly has some unforgettable lyrics including "I swear the clothes you wear, are made out of turnip greens, every time I kiss you girl, it takes like pork and beans".
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omnkh2OTtAk