SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing The Turning Tide cd by PP Arnold


This year marks the 50th anniversary of PP’s career in the music business and of a remarkable talent. Classic Rock recently remarked ‘is PP Arnold the most overlooked soul singer of all time?’. In a word as far as I’m concerned a huge yes! Everybody remembers the early classics that established PP in the late Sixties ‘The First Cut Is The Deepest’ ‘Angel Of The Morning’ If You Think You’re Groovy’ and my favourite ‘The Time Has Come’. All recorded for Andrew Loog Oldhams Immediate Records. However when Immediate folded in 1969 all went quiet. But PP was far from inactive. The next phase of PP’s career should have been the album that is now finally seeing the light of the day in The Turning Tide. The story is a long and complex one but i’ll condense it as much as possible. Jim Morris assistant to big time impresario and manager of the Bee Gees Robert Stigwood suggested introducing PP to Barry Gibb. PP had already recorded Gibbs ‘To Love Somebody’ on her second album the marvellous ‘Kafunta’. Keen to work together PP and Barry entered the studio and put down 10 tracks, eight of which appear hear. Then owing to the Bee Gee’s heavy commitments the sessions didn’t get completed. Stigwood then arranged for PP to tour and open for Eric Clapton on his tour with Delaney and Bonnie.Eric was so impressed with PP he needed no urging to go into the studio and lay down another 3 tracks (all covers) which added to the previously recorded 8 became The Turning Tide album. All good, no, for inexplicable reasons these tracks then sat on shelves mired in industry and record label politics for the next four decades until now. PP was naturally heartbroken that these recordings never got a hearing and went on a mission to redress this. Of course in the intervening years she continued to work solidly, solo, and with a host of others, notably, Beatmasters, Roger Waters and Ocean Colour Scene. But that ‘lost’ solo album which would have maintained her continuity remained unreleased. In 1998 Steve Cradock (Ocean Colour Scene) produced a great single for PP in ‘A Different Drum’ and it is Steve and wife Sally with additional help that have now, after a great deal of work, sorted out all the legalties and mixed and finally got the album ready for release on October 6th. Now we can finally enjoy that ‘lost’ album in all its glory and glorious it is. The power and soul of PP’s voice captivates from the get go. I mentioned earlier Clapton produced 3 covers and The Turning Tide kicks off with Traffics ‘Medicated Goo’ which PP makes her own in the way Aretha did with Respect. She also pulls it off with Blood Sweat and Tears ‘Spinning Wheel’ and The Stones ‘You Can’t Always Get What you Want’ to great effect. The title track a huge ballad is ‘classic’ PP with emotion oozing from every line, the bluesy/gospel of ‘Children of the Last War’ is another sure fire winner. For me the crowning track has to be the Gibb penned ‘Bury Me Down By The River’ a gospel performance that is simply stunning in its power and range that truly shows PP at her finest, its epic and worth buying the album for that alone. It might have been a long wait but God its worth it.

To coincide with the albums release PP’s autobiography ‘The First Cut Is The Deepest’ is being released by St. James Publishing shortly and she is touring the UK this month and October. She will be appearing at The Ropetackle in Shoreham on October 29th. Don’t miss the chance to be there! And in conclusion next year will see the release of a new album (produced by Steve Cradock) currently being mixed including a new version of ‘I Different Drum’. Much to look forward to for Pat and all her many fans.

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Til next time……..Colin

who remembers Top of The Pops – cover version albums

They used to play these in lots of shops, remember hearing them in Woolworth and the Wimpy bar.

Geoff Peckham… Before that, does anyone remember the EPs you could buy for about 3/11 that contained four current hits covered by session men? I had one with I Wanna Hold Your Hand, so that dates it to 1964.

Kev Towner… I saw some in a charity shop yesterday actually.

Darren Johnson… Could you get them free with petrol too I recall?

Jim Breeds… I have a couple of the LPs. And here’s a blog site dedicated to the subject.

Jan Warren… They were terrible!

Martyn Baker… Yes they were.

Peter Thomson… I once read that an album existed called something like “Thin Lizzy Sings Deep Purple” but I never found it. I might Google it quickly before some other smartass gets the chance. Found it Funky Junction.

Pete Millington… Many of the Top of the Poppers became Cliff Richard’s backing band in the mid 1970s. Have a listen to the cover of Bohemian Rhapsody created in days not weeks and you’ll realise what a stunning bunch of talent they were.

Pete Fisher… I played on recording sessions in 1976 with Alan Tarney (bass) and Trevor Spencer (drums), who were then also Cliff’s rhythm section, and Alan Tarney wrote and produced “We Don’t Talk Anymore”

Peter Thomson… I saw a Dutch covers band while living in Germany, who performed a note perfect version of Bohemian Rhapsody, including the operatic mid section. Queen, who I’d seen in ’76 in Hyde Park, could never do that live.

Dave Nattress… Well I definitely remember the covers!! – Woolies specials weren’t they? I think my Wife has some of these LP’s stashed away in the loft. If I recall correctly were the copies a bit dodgy on the vocals? i.e. not actually very good copies of the originals. Jaffa (Geoff Peckham) mentioned some cheap EP’s. Don’t recall those but I did buy a couple of single/EP sized (EP’s I suppose – Duh) which were I think on the “Disc-a-Fran” label – I did say I think, it was long ago, in about 1966. These had 6 tracks I think and seemed like a bargain – not original tracks but copies and noticeably different. I can’t recall the tracks other than I think Long John Baldry’s Let the Heartaches Begin was on one of them. God alone knows where they came from.

Tim Moose Bruce… When I left school and started work in 76 the factory i worked at had piped music with covers of the recent chart hits. Prob the same musicians. Eventually got radio 1 .

Alan King… Elton John recorded a few, TOTP albums as did David Bowie and the singer out of Uriah Heap, when they were struggling of course


What Are Cassette Tapes!

Dave Nattress… This is a really nice little clip!! They sound genuine!! I put a cassette player in my second car, a Ford Anglia old “C” registered – 1965!! Really poor sound but it gave you the music you wanted. I still have the first few cassettes I bought – gonna look now, right, got ’em, “Slade Alive”, Lindisfarne, “Fog on the Tyne”, Deep Purple, “Made in Japan”, ” – Dark Side, God how that got played, Free, “Fire and Water”. They still play but sound better on CD’s now. I also bought a cassette recorder – stereo – from Lasky’s in Tottenham Court Road. Laskys was a big HiFi dealer back then. Quite a lot of money but it meant you could record your vinyls. Can’t remember the make – might have been an Akai or Technics.

Chris Meachen… I initially bought a portable Phillips mono cassette player, & teamed it with a pair of headphones to invent something similar to a ‘walkman’. I made up a lead so I could plug it into the P.A. speaker in the college common room, where it got complaints about the noise;- not bad for a 2-watt output.. When I started work I began to acquire some proper HiFi stuff, & eventually got an Akai cassette deck.. Amazingly, I still use the JVC amplifier I bought in French’s back in the mid-70’s which still powers the living room HiFi.. Think I’ve had my 18 quid’s worth out of that over the last 40-odd years..

Chris Sambrook – Bands I Have Seen On Hastings Pier

The first band i saw was Manfred Mann was around 1966 when i was a 12 year old kid. To follow on i saw the Kinks, Dave Dee, Dozy, Mick and Titch, Small Faces,the Who, Pink Floyd,  and Hendrix as part of the Sunday Club. At 13 i was right at the front facing Hendrix and his Marshall stacks. The bugger gave me tinnitus, but despite the whistling which i still have, i wouldn’t have missed it for the world, at the tail end of the 60’s The Who played Tommy on the night of the first Moon landing which is quite appropriate. Going on into the 70’s there were so many bands that played before fame or obscurity. To list them will take a long time but here goes, no year in particular, but the bands i saw. Stackridge, String Driven Thing, UFO[if memory serve me well a gig organised by Hastings College with the original line up, then with Bernie Marsden and then with Michael Schenker, Genesis, Budgie,ELO, Curved Air, Nazareth,Status Quo,Ten Years After,Steamhammer, Hawkwind, Wild Turkey, July, Gracious,Blonde on Blonde, Edgar Broughton Band[all nighter], Principle Edwards Magic Theatre,Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, The Winkies, Barclay James Harvest,Rare Bird went funky[Polydor tour],UPP [produced by Jeff Beck who was in the Bar], A Sounds Special tour with a free disc which i still have somewhere, Jon Hiseman’s Tempest,Babe Ruth with Bernie Marsden[him again] Groundhogs, Robin Trower booked but his first album was selling in the States and cancelled. Thin Lizzy booked but also cancelled, Argent, MAN & Deke Leonard’s IceBerg[Happy Daze Tour], Quicksand, Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come,Clancy,The Herd[late 60’s when Frampton was the Face of 1968}, Golden Earring[truck went through the decking], Gary Moore supporting Vinegar Joe [Elkie Brooks and Robert Palmer], Gong[Steve Hillage], Def Leppard, Magnum, Tigers of Pantang, Ginger Baker Gurvitz Army, Strife,Stray, Medicine Head, Spencer Davis Group with Ray Fenwick. the Kult[Bexhill band],Osibisa,Procul Harum, Frankie Miller with the Stranglers supporting, then the Stranglers when they went mega],Saxon, Supertramp ,Supercharge. Zebra[ Liam Genocky on Drums. I think i have just about finished. Not forgetting the Open gig at Hastings United Football Ground, August Bank Holiday 1967 with the Kinks, Geno Washington, Winstons Fumbs, Orange Bicycle and Crazy World of Arthur Brown.

Chris Sambrook

Andre Palfrey-martin….Yes I recall the Who playing Hastings Pier on 20 July 1969 – almost at the same time as the lunar Module was landing at Tranquillity Base for their historic visit – came home and the BBC were still running reports from Kennedy Space Centre. Those were really exciting times.

Andy Qunta….Great memory you have, Chris! I saw most of them too, so thanks for the reminders! Hope you’re well, btw!

Michael Mepham….Blimey Chris, what a cracking bunch of bands! I missed quite a few of them but it’s great to be reminded of the quality of bands that used to play in Hastings. Most of all, a big Hurrah for your memory!!

John Storer…Remember Status Quo encoring with a scorching version of The Door’s “Roadhouse Blues” which I thought was better than the original. The Sounds Special tour was Boxer + Moon + Crawler if i remember correctly.
The Gary Moore / Vinegar Joe gig was on 5th May 1973 (my 17th birthday – I got drunk on vodka and lime, the on-trend drink of the time)

Pete Fisher…..superb listing Chris! I was at most of those gigs too, from The Who in 1969 until mid ’74 when I moved to London….

Martin Banks… One missing band from the list Chris, Esperanto, great music and stage show. I still play the album.

Jan Warren… Wow Chris, that’s some list!!