SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Girl In A Million (The Complete Recordings) Twinkle 2cd set

GIRL IN A MILLION (The Complete Recordings)  Twinkle
Housed in a deluxe digipack, as the title suggests, this release brings together all of Twinkle’s output for the first time, from the hit Decca period through to later releases on Instant. President and Bradleys. Twinkle (real name Lynn Ripley) is of course remembered for ‘Terry’ a so called (by the press) ‘death disc’ coming on the heels of others like ‘Tell Laura I Love Her’ and the Shangri-La’s ‘Leader of The Pack’ released a couple of months before ‘Terry’ became a no.4 hit in December 1964. ‘Terry’ might have been a simplistic teenage angst song, however it should be noted that she was a mere 14 when she wrote it, and having racked my brain I can’t think of another female singer/songwriter who had been in the charts before. Twinkle’s background couldn’t have been any further from the world she was writing about. Growing up in a mansion in Surrey hers was a world of priviledge and wealth, she attended school with the likes of Camilla Parker-Bowles, frequented Royal Ascot and went to the South of France with Dame Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev. She was however a rebel and from a tender age hung out at London clubs Esmeralda’s Barn (notoriously owned by the Krays at one time) and The Cromwellian. Her boyfriend was Dec Cluskey (the Batchelors) and it was Dec that arranged the demo of ‘Terry’ to be heard by Decca, who immediately signed her. Although she’ll always be remembered for ‘Terry’ there was so much more to Twinkle. Her follow up single ‘Golden Lights’ is a glorious slice of pop and one of my own personal favourite female vocal songs of the 60’s, a view shared by Morrisey in the 80’s when he covered it in The Smiths, he simply loved her.
Her vocal on Golden Lights is far more representative of her work, highlights of Disc 1 include ‘Aint Nobody Home By Me, ‘Tommy’, a great cover of Skeeter Davis’s ‘The End Of The World’ , ‘Micky’ an insanely catchy earworm of a song (not the Toni Basil song!) and topped off with the previously unissued live ‘Sha-La-La-La-Lee’ (Small Faces), which could have come from the NME Poll Winners show? Disc 2 mainly comprises of the ‘Michael Hannah’ LP.
Michael was the great love of Twinkle’s life who died at an early age in a plane crash, the songs are poignant ‘Caroline’ ‘Joanna’ and ‘Soldier’ in particular and shows the fragile state of Twinkles mind at the time. Concluding the set under ‘Later Recordings’ is a take on Neil Diamonds ‘I’m A Believer’ and her self penned ‘Holiday Romance’ another glorious and mature track. Twinkle was never concerned with the money and adulation of the music business, in her won words she ‘just wanted to be famous’. Well she certainly achieved her goal. Sadly after a five year battle with cancer she passed away on the 21st May 2015 after a happy life. RIP Twinks and thanks for the music. The 2cd set is released this Friday 19th on RPM Records,

Til next time……………..Happy Easter To All,

Colin

Alan Esdaile… According to Keith Tooke, Twinkle spent here honeymoon in Hastings 72/73 staying at the Queens Hotel.

Tony Court-holmes… poor girl

Sue James… I have Terry the single

Josie Lawson… I loved this song. I had the 45 record. Must have worn it out. Played and played it cos my first boyfriend had a motorbike..no he didn’t crash but he broke my heart. Anyway, listening today and seeing Twinkle singing it, in my opinion didn’t give the same impact. I find this with many songs. Listening to them either from record, tape, radio gives them more of an impact than seeing the singers sing them. There has only being two singers in my opinion who are great at both and that are Gerry from Gerry and the Pacemakers and Gene Pitney…

Pete Brazier… Can’t wait! Sounds like A Good Album to get!

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……………………………….

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Running Free :The Jet Recordings 1976-1977 (2cd) by Widowmaker and Black Is Black -the Anthology 1966-69 (2cd) by Los Bravos

RUNNING FREE : THE JET RECORDINGS 1976-1977 (2CD)    Widowmaker
A new remastered release with a previously unreleased track ‘Talk To Me’. The early to mid 70’s saw what was to become named the formation of ‘supergroups’, musicians from broken up name bands getting together, some to better effect than others. Widowmaker boasted a distinguished line-up. Steve Ellis (Love Affair), Ariel Bender (Mott The Hoople), Huw Lloyd-Langton (Hawkwind), Bob Daisley (Chicken Shack) and Paul Nicholls (Lindisfarne). Signing to Jet Records, run by the infamous Don Arden they released their debut album in 1976 ‘Widowmaker’. 10 tracks and a running time of just 40 minutes most of the songs were written by Ellis and Bender (aka Luther Grosvenor). Running loosely from straight rock to blues rock with some odd country-rock flourishes ‘Pin A Rose On Me’ its Steve Ellis’s powerful vocals and Benders guitar work that catch the attention. Ellis sounding at times like his old friend (and mine) Roger Daltrey and Bender getting in some neat, at times, wigged out guitar.  The overall impression is a good down to earth rocking band in the same vein as Dr. Feelgood. ‘On The Road’ and ‘Straight Faced Fighter’ being two examples. I saw the band open for The Who at Charlton in 76 and I remember thinking they were pretty dynamic live, and therein for me lies the crux, I don’t think the studio output captures that element and that’s a pity and maybe the reason they didn’t sell more records. By the time they came to record their second album ‘Too Late To Cry’ the following year Ellis had departed amongst a clash of, I suspect ego’s and differences, he was replaced by John Butler a acquaintance of Daisley. Butler brought a more laid back vocal to the party and indeed the whole album is certainly less raw, more refined, but for me lacking the bite of the debut outing, there is still some highs ‘Sky Blues’ notably with its Rod Stewartesque vocal and some excellent guitar work. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened had Ellis stuck around and built on the first album but many ‘supergroups’ met the same fate. All the musicians involved however went on to have long careers. As a time capsule of its time this release does its job and no doubt for fans of the guys involved will be lapped up.

BLACK IS BLACK -THE ANTHOLOGY 1966-69    Los Bravos
2CD’s and 60 tracks that bring together all their A’s and B’s, album and rareties from their beat period. Inevitably and certainly here in the UK they will always be remembered for million seller and No 2 in 1966 ‘Black is Black’, it also made no 4 in the States. From my days of doing disco’s it was always certainly a floor filler, and probably still is at retro nights. Madrid based LB were huge in their native Spain and all over the continent making 2 movies (one sort of Monkees style) Playing at the prestigious San Remo Festival and making many TV appearances. The lead singer Mike Kogel (aka Mike Kennedy) was actually German and could sing in German, Spanish and English! I struggle to sing in English, indeed sing at all! anyway be that as it may I thought I was the only one that thought he sounded remarkably vocally like Gene Pitney but having read the sleeve notes so did many people. Never again achieving the success of BIB their follow up ‘I Don’t Care’ did make a respectable No 16 in the UK charts, and I must confess i’d forgotten it til hearing it again on this compilation. Its fascinating listening to this retrospective and hearing the influences that English beat bands clearly had on them, makes me wonder what other Spanish bands of the Sixties we haven’t heard of that were putting out good stuff. As previously mentioned all their singles and albums are represented here and so you have a mix of songs in English, Spanish and indeed sometimes ‘Spanglish’. Other bands clearly rated them as George Young and Harry Vanda (of Easybeats fame) gave them their original composition ‘Bring A Little Lovin’ prior to recording it themselves. At 60 tracks some may consider it a lot of material to get through for a band famous for one huge seller but there is plenty here to reward listening and its always good to broaden your horizons in my view. If you have an interest in beat bands of the Sixties you will enjoy this I have no doubt. Excellent sound quality and extensive sleeve notes make this latest RPM a definite collectors piece.

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

Til next time……. Colin

Dave Nattress… How I remember Black is Black by Los Bravos!! The Summer of 66 and it was one single of 6 I bought on some special deal from a shop in Bexhill, St Leonards Road, I think the shop was called Boyds half way along on the South side. Sold all electrical goods, record players, stereograms. TV’s and radios and one of several stores selling records obviously. They did some deal where you paid so much every week/month and went away with 6 singles. I also had Paint it Black by the Stones, Opus 17 by the Four Seasons, Pretty Flamingo, Manfred Mann, California Dreaming, Mamas and Papas and one more – long forgotten. Now Widowmaker, tagged as a bit of a Supergroup by some? Contained Steve Ellis on vocals – ex. Love Affair, Ariel Bender, Bob Daisley. Huw Lloyd-Langton, and Paul Nichols – Lindisfarne. A mate had the first album on Vinyl – “Widowmaker”. Played it to death. I have a double CD – 2002, with “Widowmaker”, and tracks off “Too Late to Cry” and “Live at Paris Theatre London”. I think the line-up changed a good bit after the first album maybe didn’t trouble too many sales, but the first album is good.

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing The Two Faces Of Fame – The Complete 1967 Recordings by Georgie Fame (2Cd Deluxe Edition)

THE TWO FACES OF FAME -THE COMPLETE 1967 RECORDINGS  Georgie Fame (2CD Deluxe Edition)

Co-incidentally it was only the other week elsewhere on the site we Smarties were discussing our favourite year in music, which in mine, Alan’s and several others was….1967..and into my letterbox drops this new 2CD set for review.

Why does this concentrate on just 1 year in Georgies long and illustrious career? Simply because it was the year he switched record companies and signed with CBS, a label that had a different approach to how it would promote Georgie. ‘ The Two Faces’ refers to the fact the album consisted of ‘live’ recordings from the Festival Hall and studio recordings and that his music meant different things to different people. Having of course scored two previous huge hits with the pop/r’n’b singles ‘Yeah Yeah’ and ‘Getaway’ casual listeners would probably just think of him as another blue eyed soul/pop singer. But avid fans were only too aware of his main drive which was fusing jazz, swing, r’n’b and soul in his own unique way and with his awesome mastery of his Hammond. A consummate musician he had been playing all the top London clubs like The Flamingo etc for years and numbered The Beatles amongst his fans and peers. He was/is also blessed with a warm vocal style which is instantly recognisable. This deluxe 2cd set is an expanded edition of the original album release with both stereo and mono mixes and a plethora of bonus and some unreleased tracks. The exhaustive liner notes tell the story of this period excellently, its a complicated one! However the mix of material is far ranging and encompasses all the previous elements previously mentioned from the blues of ‘Bluesology’ to the jazz/swing of ‘Green back Dollar Bill’ (a great track!) to the (bonus) old soul standard ‘Knock on Wood’. Now those with good memories will also recall this was also the year of his third big chart hit (included here) ‘The Ballad of Bonnie & Clyde’. Space doesn’t permit a long foray into this, however TBOB&C sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the other tracks, lets just say the aforementioned CBS had a vision not shared by Georgie! Personally I also have always had an aversion to it as well! Of course these days fusing jazz with pop is all the rage and paradoxically that makes Georgie as relevant now as he was all those years ago, not that it bothers him one jot I imagine. He’s been making superb classy music for over 5 decades. Ive had the pleasure of working with him twice, solo and when he teemed up with Alan Price (see elsewhere on the SMART pages for that). Ive also seen him playing on at least 3 occasions with Van the Man.

A genuine affable and nice guy he is too. I have to be honest and say I generally shy away from ‘jazz’ its a genre ive never really go into, but Georgies style and fusion makes for a great listen and I have enjoyed listening to this album tremendously. Die hard fans will welcome and treasure this set without a doubt, and more casual listeners like myself will find much to reward listening. Its certainly given me a new perspective or should that be a retrospective view of his art.

For more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/the-two-faces-of-fame-the-complete-1967-recordings/

Til next time………. Colin 

Colin Fox… I still love the sound of Hammond organ through a Leslie speaker.

Andy Qunta… Can’t argue with that, Colin!

Colin Searle… Got that gorgeous warm sound

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Time Hasn’t Changed Us – Love Affair & Steve Ellis

love affair

‘TIME HASN’T CHANGED US’ (complete CBS recordings 1967-1971} Love Affair/Steve Ellis

L.A. are no doubt remembered famously, or should that be infamously, for being ‘outed’ for not playing on their hits. When ‘Everlasting Love’ hit No.1 in February 1968 the music press had a field day. Well it was no surprise to me, or anyone else in the business. I could write a list as long as my arm of ‘bands’ doing the same then and now.
So leaving all that to one side what did we have? Over roughly an 18 month period 5 beautifully crafted pure pop songs. Kicking off of course with ‘Everlasting Love’ followed by ‘Rainbow Valley’ (a personal favourite) both covers of Robert Knight American releases. Phillip Goodhand-Tait a very talented songwriter gave L.A. their next 3 hits with ‘A Day Without Love’, ‘One Road’ and ‘Bringing on Back The Good Times’ and then it was basically all over. Steve Ellis with his blue eyed soul voice, reminiscent of Steve Marriot moved on to a solo career with mixed levels of success. L.A. recruited Gus Eadon and soldered on but with little success. This 3CD set neatly divides the years with CD1 focusing on the hit period and cover versions of contemporary hits by other artists e.g. ‘Hush’, ‘First Cut Is The Deepest’ ‘Handbags and Gladrags’ etc.
CD2 kicks off with another great PGT song ‘Baby I Know’ and a recently discovered acetate, yet again by PGT, ‘Time Hasn’t Changed Us’ which would surely have given L.A. another big hit had it seen the light of day.
Takes on ‘All Along the Watchtower’ and ‘Walk on Gilded Splinters’ make for interesting listening. By track 8 Steve Ellis has left the building and the aforementioned Gus Eadon takes over, sounding remarkably like Paul Jones at times. CD3 is devoted to Ellis’s solo recordings, such as ‘Loot’ (from the film) and a plethora of ‘covers’ ranging from Jimmy Webbs ‘Evie’ to ‘Rainy Night in Georgia’ ‘Somethings Gotten Hold of My Heart’ ‘Holly Holy'(probably Neil Diamonds worst song!) ‘Gimme Shelter’ etc an eclectic mix, some work well others frankly (for me) don’t. This is the first ‘anthology’ to get a comprehensive release, sound quality is excellent, the lush orchestral arrangements that featured so prominently on the hits fill the speakers, informative sleeve notes and packaging is to a high standard. Overall to sum up a satisfying package for completists and fans. And whether you agree or disagree on the issue of session musicians at the end of the day some great pop music was created that has stood the test of time.    For more information go to http://www.cherryred.co.uk/rpm/

Til next time…………colin-head-111x150

 

Barry Newton… Its been awhile since I last heard this, good times

Dave Nattress… Everlasting Love – fabulous pop single and so reminds me of my school days. I have a cassette of the LA hits and have often thought of getting a CD – will look out for this one as the sound on the old cassette is a bit poor now. Steve Ellis also went on to form Widowmaker a quite often (back then), so-called Supergroup with Ariel Bender, Paul Nicholls, Huw Lloyd-Langton and Bob Daisley, and did one album but then left. Widowmaker then made a 2nd called Too Late to Cry. A friend had the vinyl of the first album yonks back and I’ve got a CD containing the first album, some live tracks and some off the 2nd album.

Sandra Cunningham… Saw them on the pier about 1968 I think x

Mick O’Dowd… Steve Ellis has always been a rated singer in my books.