As promised, here are some of my record reviews from the pages of the Croydon Advertiser back in 1966. More to follow (possibly)! You have been warned.
Wilson Pickett: 634-5789, That’s A Man’s Way. (Atlantic
tremendous soul singing on this pounding effort by the ‘In The Midnight Hour’
man. Good song with a girl vocal group chanting the numbers (it’s the guy’s
phone number) in the background. Gets really wild towards the end. Flip is a
slower blues-tinged song with organ backing.
James Brown: I Got You, I Can’t Help It. (Pye
International 7N 25350). This is great soul-filled singing and shouting from James on a
forceful, punchy number. Powerful backing from the Famous Flames with some
pumping sax work well to the fore. Very exciting and great for dancing. Flip is
slower but with the dramatic singing and strong backing.
Gene Pitney: Backstage, In Love Again. (Stateside
SS 490). Typical
Pitney material – orchestral backing, dramatic singing with double tracking in
parts, building to a climax. Not his best but a good performance.
Elvis Presley: Blue River, Do Not Disturb. (RCA
Victor 1504(. There’s
absolutely nothing to arouse interest in this song and it’s a disappointing
Presley. Flipside is slightly better.
by William Shakespeare (adapted by Howard Blaikley) and music by Franz Schubert,
I thought Who Is Sylvia? By The Honeycombs on Pye 7N 17039 ought to be
interesting. But no! The vocal is dreary and off key at times and the backing
is dull on this mid tempo song. The flipside, ‘How Will I Know?’ is no better –
just dull singing of a dull song.
Yardbirds: Shapes Of Things, You’re A Better
Man Than I. (Columbia DB 7848). Latest from the successful group and it’s a fastish number with a
heavy thumping beat. Quite commercial, with a group vocal and some strange
sounds going on towards the end. However, it’s lacking a strong melody. Not
bad, but hardly their most exciting disc so far. Flip is a slower number but quite
Donovan: Josie, Little Tin Soldier. (Pye YN
didn’t want this record to be released and I can hardly blame him. It’s the
usual Dylanish, pseudo folk stuff sung in a voice lacking expression. Similar
styled song on the flip with Donovan’s little boy voice telling a sort of fairy
tale with a message.
Hollies: I Can’t Let Go, Runnin’ Through The
Night. (Parlophone R 5489). Good intro to upbeat number with a complicated series of vocal
harmonies from the boys. A hit, like every other Hollies record, but I fail to
see the attraction of this group’s records. Flip is a country and western
Sam The Sham: Red Hot, A Long Long Way. (MGM
1298). This is a
real old fashioned piece of rock from the ‘ Wooly Bully’ man. There’s a gruff,
gravel-voiced vocal and the beat moves along at a fair old rate. Perfect for
rock fans but otherwise rather dated. Flipis another piece of uncompromising
rock and roll.
Junior Walker & the Allstars: Cleo’s Mood,
You Know You Ain’t Right. (Tamla Motown TMG 550). Slowish, bluesy instrumental track this one,
with a powerful gutsy sax taking the
honours. Strange organ work at times. Not chart material. Flip is more
interesting: a punchy vocal which brings back memories of Junior Walker’s
Small Faces: Sha-la-la-la-lee, Grow Your Own.
This one, by the group who had a hit with What-cha Gonna Do About It is a beaty
number written by Kenny Lynch and Mort Shuman. A catchy commercial song with lead
singer Steve Marriiott and the boys fairly belting out the lyrics. It’s bound
to sell well. Flipside is a raucous organ-led instrumental.
The Ugly’s: A Good Idea, Quiet Explosion. (Pye 7n
17027). The best
part of this record is probably the strange bass noise on the introduction.
Thereafter it’s a steady beat number which gets progressively more boring.
Flipside is, I suppose, a sort of protest about the population explosion.
The Marvelettes: Don’t Mess With Bill, Anything
You Wanna Do. (Tamla Motown TMG 546). Unusual bass intro on this one, followed by a
soft sexy lead voice and good group harmony on a slowish bluesy song. One of
the group’s best ever records. Flip is not so good, but there’s some soft
warbling sax work in the backing.
Clyde McPhatter: Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool, I
Belong To You. (Stateside SS 487). The hitmaker of the late 50s here trying to make a comeback with a
revival of the old Connie Francis hit. Clyde talks his way through the song
while a girl backing group does the singing. Nevertheless the song builds and
builds and gets really exciting. More talking on the B side which is more of a
ballad and not really too exciting.
Lee Dorsey: Get Out Of My Life Woman, So Long.
(Stateside SS 485).
Very similar tune to Lee’s last raucous record ‘Ride Your Pony’ but far
superior. Much slower bluesy sort of song with a very pronounced beat. Flip
side every bit as good.
Downliners Sect: All Night Worker, He Was A
Square (Columbia DB 7817) Rufus Thomas song given a typically British approach by a group who
has been trying to get into the charts for quite a while. Backing is noisy but
ordinary and vocal is unexciting.
Sandie Shaw: Tomorrow, Hurting You (Pye 7N
17036). Yet another
Chris Andrews song from Sandie Shaw. This time a marching song with clever
backing arrangement, but it’s not a strong one. Another Andrews song on the B
Episode Six: Put Yourself In My Place, That’s
All I Want. (Pye 7N 17018). New group with a beaty, fast moving commercial number which could get
them established. Vocal is loud and so is the backing. Flip is a dated
Adam Faith: Idle Gossip, If Ever You Need Me.
This old song is given a remarkably square and old fashioned treatment by Adam.
However, anyone who buys Ken Dodd’s records will no doubt love this one.
The Quiet Five used to be a very popular group in their home
town, Croydon. Now they’re beginning to make a name for themselves nationally,
but it would seem that Croydon is still their first love if their latest record
is anything to go by. It is called ‘Homeward
Bound’ released on Parlophone R5421 and on it the boys bemoan the fate of pop stars who are constantly
travelling around the country and never get a chance to go home. It’s a slow
mournful song given an attractive tuneful treatment by the group. This is a
cover version of a song which is hitting it big in the States for the hit making
duo Simon and Garfunkel, but it stands a fair chance of making the charts here.
German record company, are making a tremendous effort to become established as
a major company here. A new label, Reaction, has just been started up and with
their very first release they look like having a big hit. It’s called ‘Substitute’ and it’s by one of Britain’s
most popular groups, The Who. The
song, on Reaction 591001, makes up
on beat what it lacks in tune. A heavy, pounding beat featuring bass guitar and
drums backs up an almost tuneless vocal. Nevertheless it’s quite strong enough
to make the charts. The B side, Instant Party, is similar with a heavy beat and
a vague, nondescript tune.
American star of a few years ago, Del
Shannon turns up on Stateside SS494
this week with a song called ‘I Can’t Believe My Ears’. Strange organ sounds
open the disc, followed by double tracking and the usual falsetto singing by
Del on a slowish song which is reminiscent of ‘Little Town Flirt’. It’s a fair
effort but Del doesn’t seem to be able to recapture the magic of his old hits. ‘I
Wish I Wasn’t Me Tonight’ on side two, is a sad song dominated by Del’s own echo.
Righteous Brothers sang it; the Kingsmen sang it. Both groups made it a hit in
the States but not over here. The song: ‘Little
Latin Lupe Lu’. And now Mitch Ryder
and the Detroit Wheels are making it a hit for a third time in America. But
I can’t see the record. On Stateside
SS498, making it third time lucky in Britain. Like the group’s last disc,
Jenny Take A Ride, it may not make much impression. It’s got a solid beat and
occasional screaming and whistling in the background, but the singing is dull
and there’s nothing new about it.
still is ‘Baby Don’t Push Me’ by the Alan Bown Set on Pye 7N17084 – but I
doubt it will be a hit. The rhythm is jerky and the tune weak.
better, as far as the melody is concerned is ‘Splendor In The Grass’, recorded by Gulliver’s People on Parlophone
R5435. The song is written by Jackie DeShannon and has a strong tune and a
reasonable lyric and there is powerful backing. This could be a hit – though only
on the strength of the song itself.
‘Just How Wrong You Can Be’ by The Epics on Pye
7N 17053 is a fairly
pleasant, medium pace song given a fairly pleasant treatment. There’s nothing new
about it, but it may well be quite successful.
old man of song, Frank Sinatra, would never have followed up a hit record by
bringing out another almost exactly the same, I’m quite sure. But that’s
exactly what daughter Nancy Sinatra
has done with her follow up to ‘Boots’, called ‘How Does That Grab You Darling’ on Reprise R20461. Sticking to the
old theory that if you’ve found a winning combination why change it, the new
record should really be called ‘Boots Part 2’. It has the same tune, same
backing and the same rather tuneless voice Nancy has – so different from her
American who obviously agrees with Nancy about follow-up records is Lou Christie, whose latest disc ‘Rhapsody In The Rain’, on MGM 1308, is
very similar to his smash hit Lightning Strikes. In Fact, the giro vocal group
backing him even go so far as to chant ‘Lightning Strikes’ at one stage. It’s
got the same high pitched vocal work and exciting arrangement as the original.
months without a single release Manfred
Mann make a long-awaited return with
Pretty Flaingo on HMP POP 1523. It may not be as strong as some of their
earlier releases but it’s a change of style and Paul Jones does a fair job.
some very strange noises on the intro to the record by the Riot Squad, called ‘I
Take It That We’re Through’ on Pye 7N 17092, but the song itself is a drag.
This backing, however, which includes some weird Oriental-style sounds at one
point, greatly improves it.
heard of American singer Edwin Starr
before, but his new record ‘Stop Her On
Sight’, released on Polydor 56701,
is a real gas. The singer’s voice is really great.