Does anyone remember Battersea Fun Fair? asks Colin Bell

photo Stewart Townsend. Cover from the 2020 book. More details… https://joylandbooks.com/books_new/battersea-fun-fair.htm

Colin Bell… After recently watching the film, ‘The Day The Earth Caught Fire’ which featured lots of memories of Battersea Fun Fair, I wondered who else has memories of this fair?

Robert Carey… Worked right on Queenstown Roundabout in 60s and always over there. Great fun.

Paul Crimin… Sure do!

Steve Thorpe… Went there as a kid, I remember the high level walk through the trees and the water splash

Alan Esdaile… I remember going on The Rotor at Battersea funfair and probably about 9/10 years old. Excited to tell my mates at school and explaining it went really fast, then you got stuck to the wall when the floor disappeared. No one believed me!

Phil Little… Used to visit Battersea funfair when I first moved to London in 1972, it was one of the cheapest things to do.

Jane Hartley… I remember going as we had friends in South London, can’t be more specific though!

Colin Bell… The best thing for me was the Schweppes Grotto with its four caves ‘air’ ‘fire’ ‘earth’ and ‘water’ i’ll never forget crossing over the ‘molten lava’ in the fire cave, it was all magical for a 10 year old. The tree walk at night was amazing with its illuminated ‘dragons’ ‘pixies houses’ and animals etc. Then when you had seen all that next to it was the Guinness Clock with all its animations, a version of which came to Hastings seafront opposite the entrance to Robertson Street in the 1950’s. Different world but brings back so many happy memories in this grim time. Stay safe and well everyone x

Rick Pentecost… I went there a few times when I was very young. I loved it! Was there a Guinness Clock,- or did I imagine that?

Nicola Dobson… Yes my dad used to take me there..loved it and the roller coaster

Peter Houghton…My partner comes from Battersea And he used to ride the rides before the fun fair opened. And he used to work on some of the stalls + worked in the cafe there

Janet Horton… I had relatives in Middlesex at the time, it would be 1964 and I was 10. They took me to the fun fair, and I went in the grottos. Magic. It was funny at the time though, because I didn’t know you glowed purple and this woman came walking towards me. I thought she was a ghost, lol. Then she said, look at your own clothes and I was glowing purple. I remember it so well, we all laughed about it for ages.

G Tatton… In reply to Colin Bell, Yes I do 1969, School trip for a week in London.
Last night was spent at Battersea fun fair. My favourite was the motor boats three times on them. There was a governor on them below the accelerator, needless to say I wound mine down on one of them. We were under orders not to use the big dipper, because of our age. I’m watching , “Up The Junction” at the moment with Susan Kendal. The movie is from 1968. All about Battersea.

Dennis Torrance… Used to go there a lot late sixties with mates apart from the Big Dipper remember the gondola ride with mates there holding on tight to boat then seeing the walls go around we all cracked up lol

Samantha’s Club – New Burlington Street. What clubs and venues do you remember in London? Tiffanys Club and Gullivers People chat.

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All images supplied by Colin Bell

Colin Bell… I was looking for something in my archives (I must organise them one day!) and came across this. I was struck by the artwork and how creative it was then. Samantha’s was in a basement off Regent Street and I was introduced to it on a night out with Clem (from the Foundations) and Jimmy James, from memory  it was around late 1969 early 1970. A great place with soul bands appearing and the D.J. ‘booth’ was the body of an E Type Jag (very swinging sixties). Drinks 2/6d! You could get well pissed for a coupla quid! I was lucky enough at that time to have the use of a mate’s flat in Berwick Street Soho, ideally placed to go to all the great clubs. Many hours spent at the Marquee, Whisky-a-go-go, the Flamingo, Middle Earth and Hatchetts in Piccadilly, a great club over 3 floors with a chill out bar level, a restaurant with a glass wall overlooking the ‘disco’ floor. I’d be interested to hear any memories of this period from other Smart members? Great times and great memories…………..

Alan Esdaile… Happy days in Wardour Street at The Marquee. Also the Speakeasy. Also remember auditioning bands at Tiffanys nightclub in Shaftesbury Avenue and a club in Piccadilly with the disco on the top floor, mirrored lift and the club had records stuck to the wall. 100 club, Roxy, Ronnie Scotts etc.

Peter Fairless… Went to some dodgy, some good clubs in London. Some were very dodgy but very good! Can’t remember all the names but most of those listed above.

Steve Gage… My mate Ray was a bouncer at Samanthas where are you now mate??? 🙂

Mick O’Dowd… Went to The Q Club in Paddington after seeing James Brown at The Rainbow in the 70’s I think. JB turned up after we got there and jammed with the band. Awesome!

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Pop All Niter – Black Widow, Casuals, Voodoo Chile, Martyn James Expression and Colin Bell Disco Show. Hastings Pier 20th August 1971

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Mick ODowd… Was that the same Casuals that hit with Jesamine? If so they are a strange addition to a “heavy” bill.

Jan Warren… yes, I remember this track and included on a compilation double album called “Fill your head with Rock” which I used to have!!

Den Bray… Oh dear…

Colin Bell… So, this was what i was doing 39 years ago on this day. I had to glue the night together with one of the strangest line ups. from lightweight pop band The Casuals (Jesamine) to ‘satanic rockers’ Black Widow, who needed a volunteer ‘virgin’ for their ‘sacrifice’ on stage, i politely told them they were asking the wrong person….

Conan Howard… was that not truly awful? what utter rubbish

Gerry Dawson… was roadie for Voodoo Chile, best Hendrix tribute band ever, note for note…..

 

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Harpers Bizarre: Come To The Sunshine – The Complete Warner Brothers Recordings, 4CD Box Set

COME TO THE SUNSHINE : The Complete Warner Brothers Recordings (4CD)   Harpers Bizarre

This new box set from e’l Records brings together the original 4 albums recorded by Harpers Bizarre between 1967 & 1969, They are ‘Feelin’ Groovy’, ‘Anything Goes’, ‘The Secret Life Of Harpers Bizarre’ & ‘Harpers Bizarre 4′. The band were from California and grew out of an earlier outfit The Tiki’s. In 1967 Warners record executive & producer Lenny Waronker heard Paul Simon’s 59th Bridge Street Song (Feelin’ Groovy) and developed a passion to turn it into a hit single. The main 2 guys from The Tiki’s Ted Templeman & Dick Scoppettone together with major musicians from the famous LA session guys ‘The Wrecking Crew’ went into the studio & fulfilled that mission, emerging with the desired hit with ‘Feelin’ Groovy’. With a name change to Harpers Bizarre (a play on words of the famous fashion mag) they were on their way to major success with their blend of sunshine/baroque pop. I’ve written previously of my love of the genre of baroque pop. If you’re not acquainted with the term it’s basically a form of music that flourished for a brief 2 or 3 years between 1966 & 1969. It’s distinguished by its inclusion of orchestral instruments fused with conventional guitar/drum line-up’s. Added to lyrics that are usually, but not always, about the mystic & ethereal side of life. It can really be traced back to The Beatles & the release of ‘Rubber Soul’ & in particular the track ‘In My Life’ with its use of harpsichord as a main instrument (actually it was a studio engineered piano) but the harpsichord would become a staple & much favoured instrument of the bands that created the new genre, The other influence on Baroque was the multi-layered vocals & harmonies which the Beach Boys & their seminal ‘Pet Sound’s album were the major exponents of. This fusion created classics like the original ‘Walk Away Renee’ by The Left Banke. Harpers Bizarre were however probably the ultimate purveyors of this new genre. The debut album ‘Feelin Groovy’ was perfectly timed to cash in on the single and was a big seller rising to 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. Apart from its catchy title song it featured a wide range of the bright & unexpected from the show tune of Oscar Hammerstein’s ‘Happy Talk’ to a treatment of Prokofiev’s ‘Peter & The Wolf’ to the offbeat compositions of Randy Newman represented here by his ‘Simon Smith & His Amazing Dancing Bear’ (to be honest a track i’ve always loathed) by whoever performs it. More talent surrounds the album with tracks being produced by a young Van Dyke Parks. who had of course been working with Brian Wilson, so the harmonies link is clear. Plus a nascent Leon Russell also getting into his arranging/producing stride. The second album ‘Anything Goes’ again named after the second hit single of the same name build’s on and extends the foundations laid down by ‘Feelin Groovy’, it’s another kaleidoscope of sounds with songs by Cole Porter, original material by the band & another contribution with ‘Snow’ from Randy Newman. The album feels altogether more well thought out and it’s certainly ambitious in its orchestrations and arrangements & is more polished than its predecessor. By the time of the release of the 3rd album ‘The Secret Life Of Harpers Bizarre’ in 1968 the formula was well established. This time though it didn’t yield another big hit single. It managed a minor one with ‘The Battle Of New Orleans’, a song probably better known here in the UK through Lonnie Donegans hit version. This time around the ‘classic’ composers are represented by George & Ira Gershwin with ‘I’ll Build A Stairway To Paradise’, the band’s own compositions really come into their own with numbers like ‘Green Apple Tree’ & ‘Mad’ and there is a rather good sped up version of the Ivy Leagues classic ‘Funny How Love Can Be’. Future Carpenters hit songwriter Paul Williams also weighs in with ‘The Drifter’ a delightful light & airy piece. The 4th & final album in the box set ‘Harpers Bizarre 4’ released in 1969 is maybe the most diverse with treatments of soul classics like ‘Knock On Wood’ & ‘Hard To Handle’ to Lennon/McCartneys ‘Blackbird’ & all climaxing with John Denvers ‘Leaving On A Jet Plane’. It also contains the bands Ted Templemans best original material in my opinion. I did feel however that by the time i reached Disc 4 the stream of beautifully crafted compositions had reached a surfeit, a bit like having too much ice cream or candy floss in one go. I think it would be a better approach to leave a little time between listening to each album to derive the maximum enjoyment.  Overall though i thoroughly enjoyed getting re-acquainted with a favourite genre played & arranged by masters of the art. It would have been nice to have the collection housed in a sturdy clamshell box rather than a slipcase, but that’s a minor niggle, the accompanying booklet is well produced with a wealth of information. If you need to chill (and who doesn’t in these times) this is a splendid way to do it. Enjoy.

for more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk
Til next time…….stay safe…….Colin

 

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell. Reviewing Hello: The Singles Collection 2CD

THE COMPLETE SINGLES COLLECTION    Hello   (2CD set 7T’s Records)
Following in the footsteps of 60’s footstompers The Dave Clark 5 the 4 lads that formed Hello also came from Tottenham, North London.

They were Bob Bradbury (lead vocalist/guitar), Keith Marshall (lead guitar), Vic Faulkner (bass) & Jeff Allen (drums). All born in 1956 they got together as 12 year olds in 1968 calling themselves ‘The Age’ In 1970 they briefly took on their agents daughter Caroline who became their lead singer and were billed as Caroline Hall & The Age. During that year they performed in front of The Queen at the Albert Hall and made an appearance on popular ITV kids show ‘Magpie’. In early 1971 Caroline left and the 4 lads went it alone attracting the attention of Argent member and songwriter Russ Ballard and also gaining an experienced music business man David Blaylock as their manager.  Their debut single was going to be Ballards ‘Can’t Let You Go’ but they were pipped to the post by Barry Ryan’s recording of the song which became a minor hit for him. Instead they released another Ballard composition ‘You Move Me’ in April 1972, a lightweight uptempo pop song which got them on TV’s ‘Lift Off’ (remember Ayshea?). It failed to trouble the charts but it got their faces into the ‘teenybopper’ mags that were popular then like Record Mirror. Their second single in October 72 was another Ballard song ‘C’Mon’ another straightforward upbeat. lightweight pop ditty, with a touch of ‘Crazy Horses’ guitar work. However this too failed to chart for the 4 new school leavers. In May & June of the following year their profile was greatly increased when they became a regular support act for their labelmate and then king of Glam Rock Gary Glitter. This is when i first remember them from, as myself & Chris Gentry were working with Glitter at that time.  Their next single was going to be Dyna-Mite but this ultimately went to Mud and Glitter’s producer Mike Leander was brought on board to fashion a hit sound for the band. The influence of Leander/Glitter was evidenced on their next release’s ‘Another School Day’ & ‘C’Mon Get Together’, neither of which gave them their breakthrough. The band then fell back on an industry favourite by looking for a previous hit record they could revamp in their style. They chose the catchy ‘Tell Him’ a hit for The Exciters & Billie Davis. The single released in August 1974 proved a slow burner but eventually by November it rose to peak at No 6. At last they had a hit, the follow up continued the Glitter connection with The Glitterband’s lead guitarist Gerry Shephard penned ‘Game’s Up’, this however only ‘bubbled under’ the charts for a few weeks in the UK, but was more successful across Europe, especially in Germany (where the band remained popular for years). In May 1975 the band tried another re-tread of a previous hit. This time they chose the Amen Corner/American Breed song ‘Bend Me Shape Me’, however unlike ‘Tell Him’ this failed to repeat the trick and only became a moderate hit in Germany. It was beginning to look a downward slope when the band were handed what would become their ‘magnum opus’ the Russ Ballard composed ‘New York Groove’. Released in August 1975 it took a while again but rose into the Top 10 in October. It’s now probably the main song/reason the band are remembered for, finding it’s way onto dozens of compilation’s and being successfully covered by Ace Frehley of Kiss fame. Despite valiant attempts the band couldn’t come up with another hit and by 1976 they were becoming (along with many others) an anachronism as Punk arrived sweeping away all that remained of the pop rock/glam bands. The band would limp on til the end of the 70’s changing labels in the process but eventually called it a day. This new 40 track compilation from 7T’s Records brings together all their singles for the first time together with a couple of bonus solo tracks by drummer Jeff Allen. It comes complete with a detailed booklet and some nostalgic record cover images. Unlike other Glam Rock band’s, Sweet being the best example. Hello didn’t really evolve or move away from their lightweight roots, which leaves this release, in my view, with a somewhat limited appeal and as such will probably be best enjoyed by completists and lovers of the Glam Rock years.

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

Til next time…….stay safe……Colin

Mick O’Dowd… Crikey! Didn’t realise they had enough tunes to fill 1 CD let alone 2. Couple of good covers and that was it

Colin Bell… Hi Mate, i have to say you are largely right, there is nothing wrong with the other tracks, but they don’t really jump out at you.

Alan Esdaile… I remember interviewing the singer for Melody Maker and all I could think of, was god, I’ve never seen another person as thin as that!

 

Tuesdays Children on the pier, when? & Paul Kendrick chat.

tuesday children

supplied by Colin Bell

Anyone remember when this band played the pier? Maybe a last minute support replacement? Colin Bell has the autographs but can’t remember when they appeared.

Terry Pack… Paul Kendrick used to live in Hastings, and was a member of Hill St.

Robert Searle… Whats happened to Paul Kendrick?

Alan Esdaile… I got a couple of his singles somewhere and I think Phil Cordell was involved.

Terry Pack… Kendy did work with Phil at one stage, it’s true, when Phil was out at Ninfield in what later became Wing Studios (see Pete Prescott’s photos of Andy Qunta and myself ‘dancing’).

Robert Searle… Paul had a record released written by Phil Cordell which became Tony Blackburns record of the week

Colin Fox… At the moment all I can find regarding playing in Hastings is, 5 April 1968 Hastings College of Technology, Hastings, East Sussex, but Tony had left the group in august 1966 for a solo career.

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell. Reviewing Oh! You Pretty Things: Glam Queens And Street Urchins 1970-76: 3CD Various Artists

Oh! You Pretty Things: Glam Queens & Street Urchins 1970-76 (3CD set)   Various Artists

So here is the latest in Grapefruit Records ever excellent series of themed 3CD box sets. It is very rare that i quote from a Press Release, but on this occasion….’We focus on the twin central strands of Glam Rock: the cerebral and the visceral’ Ok we’ll see about that and also the other claim of examining the link between the ‘seedy’ played out London scene of the early 70’s and it’s comparison with the underbelly of New York of the same period.  CD 1 gets off on a ‘cerebral’ foot with Roxy Music & their follow up to debut hit ‘Virginia Plain’ in the shape of ‘Pyjamarama’ whose delights i must confess to having forgotten but it’s a pleasant reminder of 1973 for this reviewer. Next up is ELO and here i must question what they are doing here?, i really don’t see them as any part of ‘Glam’ and the choice of Ma-Ma-Ma-Belle is jarring being without doubt the ‘heaviest’ rock track the band ever recorded. It is however certainly ‘visceral’.  Anyway a small niggle. Much more suited to the albums theme are the likes of Be Bop Deluxe, Sparks, Heavy Metal Kids, Blackfoot Sue & Mick Ronson who as well as featuring in his own right with the track ‘White Light, White Heat’ Mick is to be found alongside Mott The Hoople’s ex frontman Ian Hunter with ‘Once Bitten Twice Shy’ taken from one of my all time favourite albums 1975’s ‘You’re Never Alone With A Schizophrenic’ (Best album title ever). Dana Gillespie’s ‘Andy Warhol’ & The Hollywood Brats ‘Tumble With Me’ are suitably camp & sleazy respectively. On to CD2 which opens with another well loved track of mine with everybody’s favourite Glam rockers Slade and the anthemic ‘Take Me Bak’Ome’, although Mr Holder has never cared for the ‘Glam’ label. Other big names, albeit with lesser known tracks featured are Curved Air, Bryan Ferry, Iggy & The Stooges’ & Lou Reed with ‘Satellite Of Love’. There are some rare delights to be had with Tim Curry’s ‘ Sweet Transvestite’ & Wayne County’s ‘Queenage Baby’, an artist i have always enjoyed as Wayne or Jayne. Another band i have a lot of time for Third World War also weigh in with ‘Rat Crawl’ and the rather clever inclusion of an unexpected Trogg’s track ‘Strange Movies’ is welcome. The CD closes with Sweet at their best bridging the gap between the pop of Chinnichap & their move to self written material with one of their greatest singles ‘The Sixteens’. CD3 plunges us straight into the New York scene with the primary, and yes again ‘visceral’ New York Dolls and ‘Personality Crisis’. This of all the 3 discs contains the mostly undiscovered gems from some rarely heard bands such as The Winkies, Bullfrog, Hard Stuff & a band i confess i’ve never heard of by the name of Fumble with their very individual take on ‘Not Fade Away’ which is somewhat glorious in a surreal sort of way! Of the bigger and well known names to be found are The Strawbs, Leo Sayer, Mott The Hoople & another crowd pleaser The Sensational Alex Harvey Band with the 7 minute wonder that is ‘The Last Of The Teenage Idols’ which i’ve always thought was a real tour-de-force of a song. At 66 tracks there is plenty to explore in this compilation and if you were around the first time to witness the likes of Bowie and all the androgynous acts that followed in his & The New York Dolls footsteps you will enjoy this latest collection enormously. As ever the 3CD’s come housed in a sturdy clamshell box with an accompanying well written 40 page booklet. Grapefruit Records remain the current masters of the themed compilation market. Enjoy.

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

Til next time…..stay safe………Colin

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Marc Almond: The Stars We Are, 2CD/1DVD

THE STARS WE ARE   Marc Almond (2CD/1DVD)

It’s not often i stray into the 80’s in these pages as generally speaking it’s probably my least favourite decade for music. However there are always exceptions of course and one of those is Marc Almond, I’ve always thought he was a strong singer with a very powerful and distinctive vocal. Whether it be in Soft Cell or solo i pretty much love all his work. Originally released in 1988 ‘The Stars We Are’ was Marc’s 4th solo album containing 10 tracks. This excellent new package from SFE Records brings together those original tracks on Disc 1 and expands the content with the cassette only and ‘b’ side tracks. Disc 2 features all the expanded and re-mixes of the tracks known to exist, 11 tracks in all and in conclusion Disc 3 is a very welcome bonus DVD bringing together 6 Promo videos. Kicking off the whole set with the title song on Disc 1 finds Marc in his very best Torch singer (no pun intended!) vein, the song reminds me of something Scott Walker would have recorded with its big brassy background and vocals soaring and it’s a great start. It’s more in the same mode with ‘These My Dreams Are Yours’ on track 2 with another big bold ballad. Things turn more straightforwardly pop with ‘Bitter Sweet’, whilst proceedings get intense with ‘Your Kisses Burn’ featuring Nico, a moody and dramatic piece i’ve always loved which also turned out sadly to be Nico’s last ever recording. Moving on we get to the first of 2 singles that brought Marc firmly back into the limelight. First up is ‘Tears Run Rings’ a straightforward slice of pop that takes you back to the glory days of Soft Cell. However it was Marc’s inspired idea to record ‘Somethings Gotten Hold Of My Heart’ with it’s original singer the late great Gene Pitney that paid off big time becoming a No 1 hit for 4 consecutive weeks in 1989. Whenever i hear this or see them perform it i can never escape the feeling they are both trying to upstage the other but in a good way, it’s a perfect blend of two voices and all credit to Marc whose choice of revitalising old classic songs is always impeccable, i also admired his take on ‘Days Of Pearly Spencer. But back to the album in hand, as i mentioned Disc 2 is a treasure trove of extended and remixed versions featuring 2 mixes of ‘Tears Run Rings’ with both the 12inch and Dance versions. My favourite here though has to be the melodramatic Blue Mosque Mix of the wonderful ‘She Took My Soul In Istanbul’ a gloriously moody. evocative track that conjures up that fascinating East meet West city beautifully. Together with Soft Cells extended version of Say Hello Wave Goodbye’ i think it’s Marc at his finest. As aforementioned Disc 3 gives you the chance to revisit the 80’s and watch the contemporary promotional video’s including 2 versions of ‘Tears Run Rings’, one for the US market and of course that duet with Gene Pitney. The accompanying 36 page booklet is beautifully put together with a wealth of photo’s, song lyrics and essays. Altogether this remains for me probably the best solo album Marc produced and now it’s ‘gone large’ with all the extra’s it’s a real musical feast. I’ll leave you with that No 1. Enjoy.

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

Til next time, stay safe and well………Colin

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Halcyon Days: 60s Mod, R&B, Brit Soul & Freakbeat Nuggets – Various Artists, 3CD Box Set

HALCYON DAYS : 60’s MOD, R&B, BRIT SOUL & FREAKBEAT NUGGETS        Various Artists

This is the debut release of new label Strawberry Records a new member of the Cherry Red Records family. Housed in a sturdy clamshell box containing 3 Cds in individual cardboard sleeves together with a superbly illustrated 48 page booklet this is a lavish introduction to what promises to be a great label. Taking as it’s theme the ‘Mod’ music scene of the 60’s this is a real goldmine of treasures containing as it does some first time cd debuts and previously unissued recordings coupled with early singles from the likes of future superstars such as Rod Stewart and David Bowie with ‘Shake’ & ‘Do Anything You Say’ respectively. 87 tracks to savour there are some well established names sitting alongside the obscure and forgotten. Disc 1 is mainly concerned with the ‘soul’ and r&b aspect of the Mod movement. Cue the likes of Jimmy James, Geno Washington, Zoot Money, kicking off in the best way with an early offering from Chris Farlowe & The Thundebirds in ‘Buzz With The Fuzz’a 1965 single that managed to get itself banned by the BBC (the title being slang for a run in with the Police), it’s usually a good thing to get banned by the Beeb! and this became a Mod favourite although Chris would have to wait longer to taste real commercial. success. The previously mentioned Mr Stewart was busily becoming Rod the Mod and delivers for his third single a lively version of Sam Cooke’s ‘Shake’. Also contained on Disc1 is possibly my favourite early Animals track with ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’, the legendary singer/arranger and SMART member Tony Rivers (with his Castaways) puts in an appearance with ‘I Love The Way You Walk’. A rather tasty slice of ska/r&b is served up by Mickey Finn & The Blue Men with ‘Hush Your Mouth’ followed by some more in the same vein with Rupert & The Red Devils ‘Every Time I Do’ a six piece London band featuring a guy well known to certain local readers in Ray Fenwick. Disc 2 moves more into the beat/freakbeat side opening as it does with one of the leading bands of the time The Creation with the driving ‘Biff Bang Pow’, hot on it’s heels come’s the fuzz laden ‘She’s Got Everything’ by The Kinks, i remember as the ‘b’ side to ‘Days’. It’s then the turn of David Bowie with his second single for Pye Records a beat number ‘Do Anything You Say’ produced by Tony Hatch. One of my favourite. if now largely forgotten bands The Artwoods weigh in with their version of ‘I Take What I Want’ with Ron Woods older brother on vocals and Jon Lord on organ. More driving beat follows with the ever excellent Pretty Things with ‘Buzz The Jerk’. Other highlights of Disc 2 come from The Yardbirds, The Bo Street Runners, The Graham Bond Organization, Dorian Grey & the gloriously psyched out Belfast Gypsies (previously reviewed) with the manic ‘Gloria’s Dream’. Disc 3 kicks off with the compilations title track ‘Halcyon Days’ by top Swedish band The Tages which confused me as i recognised the song as mostly The Herds ‘Our Fairy Tale’ which reading the notes it basically turns out to be! Half the fun of these compilations is finding out all the little nuggets of information and the accompanying booklet is really excellent in that respect. Another hugely popular and well respected band of the time The Action follow on with the freakbeat fest ‘Look At The View’, old friends the Fleur De Lys kick in with ‘One Girl City’. I had never heard the next cut before but The Web (a 60’s experimental band from Bournemouth) deliver a very tasty guitar driven version of Spencer Davis’s ‘I’m A Man’. a band staple number this is an excellent take. There are many highlights on this final disc from Plastic Penny, The Spencer Davis Band, The Alan Bown! Dantalions Chariot, Grapefruit (a personal favourite), local band (recently reviewed) Jason Crest and dear old Arthur Brown with ‘Rest Cure’. I’ve chosen to augment this review with another featured act Paul & Barry Ryan and their 5th hit single ‘Keep It Out Of Sight’ which i must shamefully confess i didn’t know was written by Cat Stevens until now. Well i can’t possibly know everything! but one thing i do know is this is a very good way to kick off a brand new label with a huge wealth of interesting tracks from a plethora of well chosen artistes. Here are the twins from 1965. Enjoy.

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

Til next time……stay safe…….Colin

John Warner… Used to see them in the west end with their dad Fred.

Mick O’Dowd… WOW!!!!

Terry Corder… Different tracks for a change. Brilliant! Keep it out of sight. Superb track. Loved it then and love it now.

Colin Bell… Hi Tel, yes, of the 100’s of compilations i’ve reviewed over the decades i can honestly say this is one of the best. Take care mate.

Will Cornell… Reminds me of the “Nuggets” comps over here. I have probably heard only a handful of these but one first time listen to “Keep It Out Of Sight” has me convinced this will be one heluva compilation. Aside: do they sample audience noise full of screaming Beatlemania era chickies?

Colin Bell… Hi Will, no there are no audience noise samples. But as i remarked to Terry above it is one of the best comps i’ve reviewed in a long time. I have the ‘Nuggets’ comps myself. Cheers Colin.

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Sumer Is Icumen In: The Pagan Sound of British & Irish Folk 1966-1975 – Various Artists, 3CD

SUMER IS ICUMEN IN: THE PAGAN SOUND OF BRITISH & IRISH FOLK 1966-1975 Various  (3CD Set)

The latest excellent Grapefruit Records lovingly curated set is a long awaited follow up to their 2015 offering ‘Dust On The Nettles’, which was very warmly received and praised at the time. I have to say that although i enjoy a lot of the music contained here, it is not my area of expertise and i wouldn’t pretend to be knowledgeable about the genre, and therefore for once i will quote heavily from the better informed and of course offer my own opinion. All that said i think the title is self explanatory and you know what you’re in for. A voyage through an era in music history when traditional folk collided with the counter culture sounds of the late 60’s and early 70’s. The ‘Pagan’ aspect came about through a remark from legendary Folk stalwart Martin Carthy of Steeleye Span who said back then ‘the whole scene had a strong pagan feel, dark and elemental’. He was referring to other bands like Comus, Dr Strangely Strange and The Third Ear Band, the last band would perform with the ancient order of Druids, typically at dawn solstice ceremonies at places like Glastonbury Tor. Third Ear Band kick off Disc1 of the set with ‘Lark Rise’ a number i am familiar with however it’s the next track that conjures up a mixture of emotions in me and as soon as i hear it i am transported back to a cinema in 1973 and the terrifying image of The Wicker Man. ‘Corn Riggs’ by Magnet is one of the haunting songs from the film that has always stayed with me. Magnet weren’t actually a ‘real’ band like the others on this compilation they were a bunch of musicians assembled to provide the soundtrack to the film, however they capture the spirit of the ‘Pagan’ sound and vibe perfectly and anybody that’s seen the film that i have spoken to always refers to the music with a sort of hushed reverence. Moving on, other standout tracks on Disc1 number amongst them Traffic with ‘John Barleycorn’ Vulcan’s Hammer ‘The Keys Of Canterbury’, Kevin Coyne ‘White Horse’ & the unknown to me previously Amber with ‘ Swan In The Evening’. Disc2 starts with a ‘classic’ of the genre Fairport Conventions ‘Tam Lim’ a cornerstone of their live performances i have heard many times over the years. Bridget St John who i must confess i had forgotten about over the years joins the party with ‘Lizard Long Tongue Boy’, and again i am also familiar with Comus offering ‘The Bite’.  Dr Strangely Strange, a band much championed by John Peel give us ‘Strings In The Earth & Air’ and an old friend of mines favourite band  Principal Edward’s Magic Theatre weigh in with ‘Autumn Lady Dancing Song’. These are just a few of the highlights. Disc3  is probably the most accessible to those of you yet to be exposed to this genre with the more established Pentangle ‘Cruel Sister’, The Incredible String Band ‘Witches Hat’, Curver Air ‘Elfin Boy’ Mellow Candle ‘The Poet & The Witch’. Mellow Candle were a fabled Irish band who released one album on Deram ‘Swaddling Songs’ from which this track is taken. If you can find an original vinyl copy of that you could probably swop it for a Porche……..The disc concludes with a track from Mr Fox ‘Mendle’ a husband & wife team who along with another husband & wife duo Dave & Toni Arthur were devotees of self styled ‘King Of The Witches’ Alex Sanders, who many local people may know lived here in Hastings back in the day. A man who i once had a rather big falling out with when i rightly called him a charlatan in a local pub…(a whole other story). So in conclusion if you are into folklore, May Day, The Green Man legend, fairies, corn gods and magickal tales this 3CD set with 60 tracks (over 4 hours) and as ever a highly informative 40 page booklet is definitely for you. As i said at the start this may not be my area of expertise or knowledge but it’s been a thoroughly enjoyable experience getting acquainted with. Enjoy.

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

Til next time…….stay safe……..Colin

 

 

Graham Sherrington… personally I like Capercaillie