SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing The Complete Bell Recordings 1966-1969 – James & Bobby Purify 2CD

THE COMPLETE BELL RECORDINGS 1966-1969  James & Bobby Purify

James Lee Purify and his cousin Robert Lee Dickey (died 2012) formed as a duo in 1966, with the latter adopting Purify. Both hailed from Florida and were steeped in soul music. Signed to Bell Records they scored a million seller with their debut single ‘I’m Your Puppet’ written by prolific songwriter Dan Penn (who wrote many hit songs including ‘Cry Like A Baby’  for labelmates The Box Tops). Nominated for a Grammy and an enduring soul hit IYP was in fact completely disliked by the duo. Originally written as a country song it was too lightweight and ‘poppy’ for James & Bobby who were not shy of telling the press at the time. I can see their point of view. This compilation includes the two albums they recorded, singles and bonus/unissued tracks and IYP does sound out of place when compared to the rest of the tracks. Their follow up hit (in the US) ‘Wish You Didn’t have to Go’ is much more representative of their soul credentials and sounds like a Stax/Atlantic/VJ release as indeed does the rest of their output. In fact both IYP and the other tracks were recorded at Fame Studio’s Muscle Shoals, a legendary place to be sure. Their first album features some superb covers of, in particular, Eddie Floyds ‘Knock On Wood’ Otis Redding’s ‘Ive Been Loving You Too Long’ ( a great arrangement) Sam Cooke’s immortal ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ and Sam & Dave’s ‘Blame Me’. Sam & Dave were undoubtedly the pre-eminent soul duo at the time, so its interesting that they actually covered IYP! Their second album contained here ‘The Pure Sound Of The Purifys’ carried on the Sam & Dave link with ‘I Take What I Want’, ‘When Something Is Wrong With My Baby’ and ‘Soothe Me’, in retrospect it seems a bit much to cover 3 songs by what are basically your main rivals, however when you think back nearly all black soul acts were doing it, in particular Tamla and Motown being the most guilty. Anyway be that as it may there are some fine vocal performances ‘Hello There’ (another Dan Penn original), ‘When Something Is Wrong With My Baby’ and ‘Shake A Tail Feather’ with backing vocals by no less than Melba Moore, Doris Troy and Ellie Greenwich, which was recorded with a ‘live’ feel in the style of Geno Washington, who incidentally covered…yes you’ve guessed it..IYP! All in all the 38 tracks gathered here are a real trip back to those heady days in the 60’s when soul MEANT soul, not what purports to be ‘soul’ nowadays. Ok I’m biased and getting on but listening to this its 1967 and im young and full of hope and energy. SoulMusic Records have done a great remastering job coupled with a 16 page booklet and whatever James & Bobby originally thought their music stands the test of time. Enjoy.

For more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk

Til next time……………Colin

Stallion – Live At The Lyceum September 1976

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Of the many obscure, trench-coated progressive rock groups that germinated in the garages, sheds and rehearsal studios of England in the early ’70s, Stallion deserve to be recognised as one of the great lost bands of the first progressive era. Hailed critically, and by those lucky enough to see them perform, Stallion appeared on the same stage as many of their more well-known contemporaries including Motörhead, Stackridge, Rare Bird, Stray, The Edgar Broughton Band andTraffic. Despite winning a Melody Maker magazine competition and playing on the main stage at Reading Festival in 1976, and having successfully merged progressive rock moves with punk attitude, major label success eluded Stallion and they broke up in the late ’70s a well-kept secret.This new CD contains their rare single and fragments of “the album that never was”, together with a history of the band and previously unseen photographs.

Sound Engineer… Dave Hinde.

Phil Thornton….Stallion play ‘The Hard Life’ recorded live at the Lyceum Ballroom, London. September 1976 supporting Motorhead.

Paul E Newcomb… Stray were the headliners that night… Motorhead second and  Dirty Tricks (?) third. Stallion had won the MM folfkRock competition that year I believe

Phil Gill… Correct as to line up, but Motörhead might have headlined.

Phil Thornton… Yes I think it was Motörhead headlining – the PA was theirs and they were charging other bands to use it !!

Pete Fisher… I was living in London then, but didn’t come along to the gig…guess I didn’t hear about it…funnily enough the band I joined that year got to the final of the MM Folk/Rock competition the following year in 1977 (after winning the semi-final at the Marquee), but didn’t win…

Dave Nattress… Just wonderful to hear this. Stallion were just so good and this proves it. In Damaris we had the privilege to play support a few times on the pier and we totally loved, respected, revered and admired this band. They were where we wanted to go. 43 years ago. Frightening. Brilliant that there are these recordings and my clear recollection of their tight musicianship and the spectacular whirling dervish performances of John Wilde come right back to me, and visuals aside John was a wonderful vocalist, great tone and delivery. Congrats to all, great memories and sad that not all the guys who took the Stallion road are no longer with us. Got the CD album a few years ago and play it a lot, great that Phil T and the guys were able to get it out

Phil Gill… Damaris were none too shabby as I recall. I remember a song about a “city punk” that always stuck in my head.

Dave Nattress… Thanks Phil, nice one. I have the lyric somewhere, just found it, yes I was big on rhyming and City Punk was followed by the line “Lived on Junk”, a not so obsure double meaning which was also something I liked to put in. We had some out-there tracks and themes and lyrics, tracks about weird stuff like “Star Tiger” which was the call-sign of an aircraft that disappeared over the Bermuda Triangle, “Alien Tomorrows” a space journey influenced piece, eampling part of the planet suite, never can remember if it was Mars or Jupiter – Iain Cobby puts me right. Trawled up a load more lyrics of our songs, “The First Survivor” one man thinking he’s alone on the planet after the proverbial nuclear war, “Rubic’s Cube”, “Jack the Ripper”, another with references to characters from Lord of the Rings – blimey were we up ourselves or what!! Anyway good, good days!! Best wishes Phil.

John Wilde… thank you Dave. It was an awesome time. I very much appreciate your comments.

Phil Thornton… yes I remember enjoying Damaris sets – I’m sure we all went along to support them at a gig in Ore ? ( not sure about venue ) they were I think the only other band around Hastings at that time who were doing original stuff – great times indeed !

SMART SOUNDS By Colin Bell reviewing Black Flower by Nirvana (UK) CD

BLACK FLOWER     Nirvana (UK) CD

Having brought you reviews of Nirvana’s other albums, its with great personal pleasure I bring you this review of their third ‘lost’ album. Their debut album ‘The Story of Simopath’ is now considered the first ‘rock opera’ and the follow up (and most commercially successful album) ‘All of Us’ contained the sublime single hit ‘Rainbow Chaser’, another first with its use of ‘phasing’. The third album release should have been Black Flower. On completion Chris Blackwell boss of their label Island Records rejected it as not right for his label. In a, however, generous gesture gave them the master tapes and released the duo from their contract and bade them good luck to find a home for it.

Eventually a deal was done with Metromedia in the U.S. and Pye International in the U.K. Unfortunately Metromedia was caught up in a huge payola scandal and folded having just pressed up 500 promo copies (now worth £1000!) if you could find one. So Black Flower vanished into obscurity, it didn’t help that the title was also printed wrongly on the copies that were pressed, it became ‘Dedicated to Markos 111’ which was in fact exactly what it read a cover note dedication to a family member who had helped out the duo with financial assistance for re-mixing the masters. Now 50 years on Esoteric Records have got all the elements right and issued the album remastered with bonus tracks. one might say ‘Black Flower’ has finally bloomed. Patrick and Alex’s style of Baroque pop/psyche, odd time signatures and ethereal melodies and lyrics is most likely a ‘marmite’ one, you either get it and love it or not. Their songs are whimsical, sometimes dark but always interesting. Black Flower is a departure in some ways from the aforementioned 1st and 2nd albums, its more orchestral, more diverse, more cinematic. The opening track ‘The World Is Cold Without You’ could have easily been a Bee Gee’s number, with a twist, and I think a beautiful arrangement. The 2nd track ‘Excerpt from the Blind and the Beautiful’ is pure Nirvana at its best psyche/baroque style. Track 3 ‘I Talk To My Room’ is probably one of the best expressed ‘break up’ songs ever committed to vinyl/cd. ‘Christopher Lucifer’ moves more upbeat and poppy. Title track ‘ Black Flower’ is a tour-de-force with a snarling guitar part (Spooky Tooth members I believe). Female vocals were courtesy of Lesley Duncan, arrangements by Mike Vickers (Manfred Mann) and production by Mike Hurst (Cat Stevens, PP Arnold) and Tony Visconti ( T.Rex, Bowie etc). An awful lot of premier talent was involved. As I write this with the rain lashing against the windows Nirvana are able to transport you to sunny days and able to take you to a better place and live up to the definition of nirvana being ‘ A place or state characterized by freedom from or oblivion to pain, worry and the external world’. Can’t better that. Enjoy……….

For more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk

Til next time (with some excellent reggae)………Colin

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Hazel O’Connor – Son’s & Lovers (Expanded Edition) cd

SON’S & LOVERS (EXPANDED EDITION)   Hazel O’ Connor

Had this on vinyl back in the day and reviewed it the first time round! So here we are 37, can it really be so, years later! and this newly remastered expanded release. The original 12 tracks are augmented by 5 bonus tracks and the album now clocks in at a shade under the hour. Sons & Lovers followed up the huge success Hazel had been enjoying with the Broken Glass soundtrack and glorious hits ‘Eighth Day’ and ‘Will You’.

However S&L was in fact written before BG and showcases Hazel’s talent for her observational ability to turn experiences into great songs. ‘Decadent Days’ which kicks off the album and became a top ten hit was the result of Hazel’s experience of attending a fledgling New Romantic Club in London and clocking the poseurs and ‘people looking very bizarre’ as she put it. As it says in the sleeve notes and indeed as she herself has been keen to point out over the years S&L is very much a bridge between Punk and New Wave.

I’d agree with that wholeheartedly, along with Toyah and Siouxsie that’s exactly where i’d put Hazel at the forefront. There is so much to recommend this album, ive always loved the biting track ‘Zoo’ the short and snappy ‘Gigolo’ where mention must be made of the sax playing of Wes Magoogan’ he is so rhythmic in his playing and again on the glorious ‘Do What You Do’, also in the lineup was Andy Qunta of course with his deft keyboard strokes. As aforementioned the original 12 tracks are all present and correct and have been bolstered by 5 bonus tracks ‘Ain’t It Funny’ ‘Time is Free (original version)’ 2 mixes of D-Days and a spirited rendition of Bowie’s ‘Suffragette City’ recorded live at the Dominion Theatre in December 1980 featuring a young Simon Le Bon. It might be 37 years and unmistakeably 80’s but S&L still stands up well unlike so much else from that era, but then Hazel is a unique performer. This SFE deluxe digi-pack sounds great and the accompanying booklet is informative with some great photo’s.

In conclusion as Andy Q and Wes are of course well known to SMART members, what are your recollections guys?

for more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk

Til next time……………….Colin

Alan Esdaile… I see your in the video but were you not on the album Steve Kinch?

Tony Ham… Got this on vinyl.

 

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Something Here In My Heart (The Complete Recordings 1968-1970) The Paper Dolls cd

SOMETHING HERE IN MY HEART (THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1968-1970) The Paper Dolls

Firstly, Happy New Year to all friends and fellow Smarties I hope its a good one for you.

Okay for the first review of 2018 lets hit the time travel button and return to 1968. Thirty years before the advent of the Spice Girls and their (marketing ploy) nicknames Scary, Baby, Posh etc, there were three girls who also had nicknames namely Susie Mathis (Tiger), Pauline Bennett (Spyder) and Sue Marshall (Copper) and they could really sing! Unlike the aforementioned manufactured ‘group’ The Paper Dolls were a working band hailing from the Midlands doing the clubs, ballrooms etc etc. After being spotted they were invited to Pye Records in London to meet Tony Macauley hot producer and songwriter for The Foundations and Long John Baldry amongst many others. Driven to London by one Peter Stringfellow (yes that one) they were so poor he even had to stop to buy them new tights to wear! All then went well at the audition and with a name change from the Dolly Set to the Paper Dolls by May 1st they were at number 11 in the charts with the insanely catchy ‘Something Here In My Heart’. Many TV appearances followed, the girls were the epitome of what was then dubbed ‘ Dolly Birds’ by the contemporary press of the day. An album was hastily put together (contained in its entirety on this release) and it must have been very quick as the tracks were mainly cover versions of songs that were in the charts at the same time as SHIMH! thus there are good takes of ‘Captain Of Your Ship, ‘Darlin’, ‘Simon Says’ ‘Aint Nothing but A Houseparty’ and ‘Any Old Time You’re Lonely or Sad’ a hit for The Foundations, written as previously mentioned by Tony Macauley. After the success of their debut hit the second single release would be all important. It is at this point that history dealt the girls a cruel blow. The follow up was to have been ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’ however due to a mix up the girls didn’t turn up for the recording session (not their error) and of course it was recorded instead by The Foundations and became a monster worldwide hit. Sadly therefore The Dolls were doomed to that ‘one hit wonder’ niche in the history of pop. They carried on busily working live up to 1970 before disbanding. This new 29 track compilation as the title suggests contains all their recordings and later solo singles by lead singer Susie ‘Tiger’ Mathis. The original album Paper Dolls House has in the meantime become a rare and expensive rarerity so its great to have it here at a price that all can enjoy. I must also mention that there is a really punchy take here on the much covered Angels ‘My Boyfriends Back’, indeed probably the best version ive heard (Chris Gentry take note!). Its a shame The Paper Dolls didn’t have the longtime chart career I feel they deserved, however they did leave a perfect pop footprint with SHIMH its impossible to not feel a smile coming on for a more innocent era, so on that note i’ll leave you with a glorious video from 50 years ago! Enjoy…….

For more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk

Til next time……………………………….

Fleetwood Mac – Rumours album – who had this album?

Jane Dorsett… yes, I had this LP.

Eric Peckham… I did. Great album.

Joan Crowhurst… Yes I had it .. still is one of my favourite ever albums

Leigh Wieland-Boys… Still have it. Years ago (over 30) I read somewhere that a record collection was only complete if you had Rumours by Fleetwood Mac & Bridge over troubled waters by Simon & Garfunkle – that was a proud moment for me as I had both

Sandie Carlyon… Me still have it.

Virginia Davis… Still have it

Keith Blizard… Yep, think I still have

Mandy Wright… Still have it 😝 xx

Despo Hawkins… Still have mine

Jackie Clarke… love this.

Jennie Tocock… Still have mine too

Ted Woodwood… yes on vinyl and cd

Tony Davies… We have two copies here, mine and Lisa’s but I reckon her copy is in better condition…

Mike Wright… Yep!

Dave Nattress… Got it on vinyl. Jane and Leigh on the same page again. Bexhill’s Continental famous dancing girls. xxxx

Andy Qunta… Does anyone not have it?

Leigh Wieland-Boys… – anyone of a ‘certain’ age will own this LP! 😀 xx

Neil Curtis… Yep, got this ,,, great album….

Chris Fagg… Just bought a new replacement, played often !

Phil Thornton… mine is in the car …

Jon McCallion… Still have it .not played very much still up there with Pepper etc. Brilliant album.

Nick Webb… Of course !

Chris Wood… Who didn’t…. Classic

Judie Struys… Who hasn’t?

Icilio Carlino… Stupendi (Wonderful)

 

 

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing He’s Real Gone cd by Overend Watts

HE’S REAL GONE  Overend Watts

On January 22nd this year Peter ‘Overend Watts’ sadly lost his fight with cancer and passed away leaving behind this posthumous release. Overend was of course a founding member and bass guitarist of Mott The Hoople, later just Mott after Ian Hunter and Mick Ralphs departures. Known and loved for his zany character its typical that upon realising this album wouldn’t be released til after he’d passed its original title of ‘She’s Real Gone’ was changed by himself to ‘He’s Real Gone’. Brave and class and so very him. Recorded over a long period and indeed his only solo release Overend sticks to no genre but just gives us a lyrically light hearted, witty and humorous look inside his head, just look at a sample of titles ‘The Dinosaw Market’ ‘Prawn Fire On Uncle Sheep Funnel’ Caribbean Hate Song’ and my personal favourite, so far, ‘Belle Of The Boot’ which just brings a  smile to my face, listen to it we’ve all been there! But this is no comedic album ‘Belle’ has a hook many songwriters would envy. Indeed all thirteen tracks are well crafted and Overend played (or programmed) all the instruments. Its in retrospect a crying shame it took him 40 years to make a solo album because based on this he had so much to offer outside of his fundamental contribution to MTH.

Like labelmates Stackridge I reviewed recently Overend is a one-off defying putting in a ‘box’ quirky, delightful and yes heartwarming. Echo’s of glam. punk, Jilted John tease thru the 60 odd minutes running time but in the end its a unique album from a unique artist who may have physically left us but whose musical legacy will live on to delight his many fans. If I have a down day i’ll be slapping this in the disc drawer without fail.

For more information go to http://www.angelair.co.uk

Til next time…………..Colin

SMART Sounds by Colin Bell reviewing Nirvana (UK) CD’s

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LOCAL ANAESTHETIC  Nirvana (UK)
For those of you not of ‘mature’ years like some of us, this is not Kurt Cobain etc (they nicked the name). This is the original duo of Patrick Campbell-Lyons and Alex Spyropoulos who came together in 1965 to write material and eventually named their ‘band’ Nirvana. I think I should nail my colours to the mast and say straight away that their single ‘Rainbow Chaser’ (from their second album, the glorious ‘All of Us’) is one of my favourite singles of all time, a perfect piece of psych/baroque that perfectly captured its moment in 1967/8. Nirvana scored some firsts, the first single to feature extensive ‘phasing’ and their debut album ‘The Story of Simon Simopath’ the first ‘concept’ album predating The Small Faces and The Pretty Things. Those first 2 albums were full of wonderful exquisite baroque/chamber pop ‘Tiny Goddess’ and ‘Pentecost Hotel’ being fine examples. Both albums were recorded for Island Records, a third was recorded but shelved (at the time} and then in 1970 with the amicable departure of Alex, Patrick signed to Vertigo the new ‘progressive’ label and the 4th album ‘Local Anaesthetic’ was released under the Nirvana banner in 1971. LA was a departure from what had appeared before and out went the cello’s and classical chords in favour of (as befitted the label) a progressive/jazz feel album, its to be fair a pretty schizophrenic affair, lyrics and music clash in somewhat disjointed fashion, Patrick was going through a bad time personally and used the sadness he was feeling into his work. In his own words the album was a bit ‘mad’ (think Frank Zappa). Personally I think more like ‘Gracious’ for those of you who remember them. Jumping from spoken snippets to boogie rock to harpischords with no clear direction it is nevertheless an interesting piece but probably not for everyone, especially if you originally fell in love with the first two albums. Overall its going to appeal to fans and completists of Nirvana’s canon of work, of which I include myself.

SONGS OF LOVE AND PRAISE  Nirvana (UK)
And so to Nirvana’s 5th (and last to date) album released a year later in 1972. Having worked out some frustrations as discussed on LA Patrick is back in more familiar vein. As the title suggests concentration is now back on songs and a cohesive album. Kicking off by revisiting a re-arranged ‘Rainbow Chaser’ (sans phasing etc) and also the aforementioned delightful ‘Pentecost Hotel’ also gets a re-working. Around these sit some beautifully realised tracks ‘Please Believe Me’ and ‘I Need Your Love Tonight’ being highlights. Although not (and I’m sure he’d agree)  the strongest vocalist, Patricks voice contains an ethereal element that’s very appealing, and the likes of musicians from Jade Warrior and Spooky Tooth certainly add to the mix.Overall A gentle album that paints some cinematic images in your head and lingers there. Although musically still experimental its more akin to ‘classic’ early Nirvana and completes the circle for me. This release and LA has both been remastered and contain bonus tracks and interesting essays/pictures. Well done to Esoteric for making these available for us to enjoy.
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For more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk

Til next time……. Colin

Jan Warren… Oh yes, at last a mention of the “early” Nirvana!! – interesting report and I’ve always loved their song “Rainbow Chaser”!! – lovely stuff, thank you

Chris Sambrook… Thanks Colin for the info on Nirvana re; Rainbow Chaser. I bought the Single after hearing it played on Wonderful Radio London I seem to remember ordering it from Jack London at the Record shop, Queens Road he also had in stock S.F. Sorrow. My paper round money burnt a hole in the pocket. I remember Gracious first album which i still have. Also their second album on Phillips. Looking through bands on line i understand that their Keyboard player Martin Kitkat sold his Mellotron to Coheed Cambria or something like that. Saw Gracious on Hastings Pier in the very early 70’s Kitkat made the Mellotron funky. Their first album is still a bit ahead of its time dare i say, and still stands up today. The second album, again was a head of its time. Anyway thanks for for the mention of Gracious The 3rd album was released well into the 80’s/90’s not so interesting, only the guitarist being from the original band . I will be interested to hear from anyone else who remembers seeing them. The memory banks have become blurred over the years. Well i thought they were great. One of the great lost bands, which includes T2 It’ll all work out in Boomland or pre Jig a Jig East f Eden Mercator Projected. Or Egg. Sorry end of waffle.

Alan Esdaile… Great track from Nirvana and a great video. Reminds me of the smell of joss sticks watching it. Loved Gracious and still do. With regard to Martin Kitkat (surely not his real name?) of Gracious, I’m pretty sure he worked behind the scenes with Genesis at some stage.

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Magnetic Waves Of Sound – The Best Of The Move 2CD/DVD set.

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MAGNETIC WAVES OF SOUND – THE BEST OF THE MOVE  The Move (2CD/DVD SET)
You may think right away do we need another Move best of compilation when there are many already. Answer, Yes! I have many Move recordings and they have been served badly over the years, poor sound quality, missing tracks, bad liner notes etc etc. Esoteric Records have addressed all the aforementioned and this new package is just excellent.
2 discs, the first being audio with 21 tracks in chronological order from debut Deram single ‘Night of Fear’ right thru to ‘Do Ya’ (with Jeff Lynne and later reworked for ELO). ‘I Can Hear the Grass Grow’ ‘Flowers in the Rain’ ‘Fire Brigade’ ‘ Blackberry Way’ (a No.1) the often overlooked ‘Wild Tiger Woman’, all classic pop/rock/psyche tracks. Moving on, no pun intended! to the heavier sounds of ‘Brontosaurus’ and ‘When Alice Comes Back To the Farm’ and wrapping up with lighter Wood whimsys ‘Tonight’ and Chinatown’. Roy Woods songwriting leaps out the speakers with new clarity. The remastering on ‘Here We Go Round the Lemon Tree’ and ‘Walk  Upon The Water’ revealing new subtle orchestration. A first class result all round. And then disc 2 is a REAL bonus. For the first time on DVD 21 tracks of the band performing, some live, some lip synched on TV. There’s great clips from ‘Colour Me Pop’ ‘Top of the Pops’ and the German equivalents of ‘Beat Club’ and ‘Beat Beat Beat’. Bless the Germans for preserving (in great quality for the time) early live performances of the ‘classic’ line up of Roy, Carl, Bev, Trevor and Ace. Its a great wallow in nostalgia for those of us of a certain age! and a testament to one of the best bands of the Sixties. The fold out digipack is beautifully presented with extensive liner notes and even a fold out mini poster. So there you have it, if you’re after a Move hits and more compilation, look no further this is definitive.

For more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk    Til next time, stay warm……  Colincolin-head-111x150-111x150

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing I’m A Freak Baby – A Journey Through The British Heavy Psych & Hard Rock Underground Scene 1968-1972 – Various Artists including Factory & The Kult and Concrete & Clay The Complete Recordings by Unit 4+2 cd’s.

IM-A-FREAK  UNIT-42

I’M A FREAK BABY – A JOURNEY THROUGH THE BRITISH HEAVY PSYCH & HARD ROCK UNDERGROUND SCENE 1968-1972 (3CD SET) …featuring FACTORY & THE KULT…!  Snappy title! the ‘featuring’ is my own addition, I think the main title is long enough! So, here we have a glorious trawl through 3 cds (48 tracks) of the some mainstream but mostly lost and obscure bands that flourished briefly but sometimes brilliantly in those heady four years. Most compilations of this period concentrate on the baroque twee ‘psyche’ vibe ‘Elephants in Bubble Gum Trees’ and suchlike whimsical lyrics. I’m A Freak does what it says on the tin and goes with the hard edged rock that was splitting away from ‘pop’. So lets deal with the elephant(s) in the room and two tracks of great interest to Smarties! Disc 1 track 9 sandwiched between The Pink Fairies and The Groundhogs (a good place to be!) is the first official cd debut for our very own Factory and ‘Time Machine’ and sounding fresh as a remastered daisy. Now you who didn’t get one of the 99 vinyl copies originally pressed can add it to your collection! If that wasn’t enough Disc 3 track 14 and hailing from about half a mile from where I’m writing this is Bexhills very own The Kult ‘Occult’ again first time on CD. Brilliant for all of us with long memories! Of the 46 other tracks as aforementioned there are some ‘names’ Deep Purple, Chicken Shack. The Move, Yardbirds, Uriah Heep to name but 5 (and not the usually compiled tracks) but its in the obscure that some real delights spring forth such as Cycle, Stonehouse, Barnabus, Sam Gopal, names that jog dim memories for this reviewer who was always into the more esoteric!
I must also mention two bands who I worked with the excellent, and at the time highly controversial, Third World War with ‘Ascension Day’ and The Gun with ‘Race With The Devil’ a record ahead of its time for 1968, The Gun were Adrian and Paul Gurvitz, two great guys who had relationships with Ruperts People. Like the famed and never bettered ‘Nuggets’ psychedelic 3CD compilation I’m A Freak has set the standard for mining the vaults and putting together an outstanding compilation of proto power trio’s, rock experimental pioneers, the avant garde, and the really out there! I take my hat off to the compiler David Wells, a first class job. The accompanying 36 page fully annotated booklet has good potted biogs and photos of the bands featured, (Tony & Jaffa love the hats!) I’m A Freak is released this Friday (29th July 2016).

CONCRETE & CLAY-THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS – Unit 4+2 (2CD) Also for the first time on CD this collection gathers together the entire recordings from 1964-1969 remastered with detailed sleeve notes. There has been mention recently of U4+2 on the Smart website so this is a timely release! Space negates a full history of the band members (the sleeve notes are admirable). I confess I didn’t know one member morphed into Whistling Jack Smith with the er..dreaded ‘I Was Kaiser’s Bill’s Batman’ anyway that aside..i did know that one of the ‘plus 2’ was Russ Ballard. I guess the band are synonomous with the million selling ‘Concrete & Clay’ and are no doubt remembered chiefly for that which hit the top spot in April 1965 (knocking off The Stones). Many TV appearances followed on the likes of ‘Ready Steady Go!’ and ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’. They were not just a one hit wonder though, the follow up ‘You’ve Never Been In Love Like This Before’ released a coupla months later made a respectable No. 14. Two minor hits followed You’ve Got To Be Cruel To Be Kind’ and ‘Baby Never Say Goodbye’., which was a re-tread musically of C & C. Chart wise that was it for the band. However they remained a very popular and busy live draw. This 2 CD set is  split between their time with firstly Decca and their subsequent 1967 move to Philips offshoot Fontana. Up to C & C and indeed after til their move to Fontana their material was lightweight pop/harmony, a mix of original material and as was the custom of the times ‘covers’ of songs like ‘La Bamba’ ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin Feelin’ ‘The Girl From New York City’ etc. Their original material fares better if a tad forgettable at times(apart from the aforementioned hits).
However the switch to Fontana and a desire to ‘update’ themselves produced some little gems as they stretched themselves and embraced ‘the summer of love’. ‘Butterfly’ is a good example (I remember Marmalade also recording this Brothers Gibb track). A foray into Dylan ‘You Aint Going Nowhere’ comes off well. Self penned numbers ‘I Was Only Playing Games’ and I’ve Seen The Light’ show a new confidence, even if the latter sounds like they nicked the opening chords from The Troggs’ Give It To Me’ (or maybe that’s just in my head!). The penultimate track ‘The World of Broken Hearts’ (a favourite track of mine in Amen Corner’s version) works well, albeit less gritty. So to sum up, if you favour pop/harmony and a dash of mild psyche you will find much to enjoy here.  Released this Friday (29th July 2016)

For more information, full tracklists etc go to http://www.cherryred.co.uk

See you soon with a new Tony Burrows comp and more….
Til then…. Colincolin-head-111x150-111x150

 

Andy Qunta… Thanks, Colin! I think I might get myself a copy of this! Lotsa good stuff! 😉