Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sandy Bloody Sandy

Well it had to happen I suppose: the chaos caused by Hurricane Sandy has persuaded me to cancel my Long Island trip for the doowop festival which, as I write, may or may not take place. This is the second overseas trip in succession that I've been denied after buying the plane ticket: last month I was due to fly to Madrid from Manchester but got stuck in a three hour tailback on the A34 and couldn't get there. Hopefully 2013 will bring me better luck.
Anyway, the last blog on doowop favourites attracted quite a bit of interest and various top tens by blog readers. Gordon has now suggested a weather related top ten, as follows:
MARQUEES The Rain (Grand)
PLATTERS - Washed Ashore (Musicor)
NOLAN STRONG & DIABLOS  The Wind (Fortune) (pictured below)
JESTERS The Wind (Winley)
INTERVALS Here's That Rainy Day (Class)
INSPIRATIONS Raindrops (Apollo)
5 BARS Stormy Weather (Money)
FIVE SHARPS Stormy Weather (Jubilee)
PRISONAIRES Just Walking In The Rain (Sun)
TRUE-TONES Whirlwind (DC)
To these I would like to add some water related titles of my own (not necessarily doowop):
FATS DOMINO It Keeps Raining (Imperial)
DEE CLARK - Raindrops (Vee-Jay)
JAMES CARR - Pouring Water On A Drowning Man (Goldwax)
RAY CHARLES - Drown In My Own Tears (Atlantic)
IRMA THOMAS - It's Raining (Minit)
ELVIS PRESLEY -Kentucky Rain (RCA)
EVERLY BROTHERS - Crying In The Rain (Warner)
CASCADES - Rhythm Of The Rain (Warner)
SAMMY TURNER - Raincoat In The River (Big Top)
And not forgetting, of course,

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Doowop favourites

With the Long Island Doowop festival fast approaching (Hurricane Sandy permitting), talk at the Woodies meet up last night turned to favourite doowop records. Almost impossible to pick out a favourite top ten, but regular blog reader Gordon Fleming had a go (although he said that the list would probably have changed by today!) Here they are (with Youtube links):
DRIFTERS - White Christmas (Atlantic)
DUBS - Could This Be Magic (Gone)
FLAMINGOS - Golden Teardrops (Chance)
CARDINALS - The Door Is Still Open (Atlantic)
DOMINOES - These Foolish Things (Federal)
SPANIELS - Peace Of Mind (Vee-Jay)
DELLS - Oh What a Night (Vee-Jay)
COASTERS - Zing! Went The Strings of My Heart (Atco)
OTIS WILLIAMS & THE CHARMS - I Knew It All The Time (DeLuxe) Flipside:
"5" ROYALES - Think (King)
Here's a top ten of my own. I've cheated a bit by selecting just from the acts who will be appearing next week:
GENE CHANDLER - Duke Of Earl (Vee-Jay)
HARPTONES - Sunday Kind Of Love (Bruce)
JIVE FIVE - My True Story (Beltone)
PENGUINS- Earth Angel (Dootone)
PARADONS - Diamonds And Pearls (Milestone)
CAPRIS - There's A Moon Out Tonight (Old Town)
FLAMINGOS - Nobody Loves Me Like You (End)
EL DORADOS - At My Front Door (Vee-Jay)
FIVE SATINS - In The Still Of The Night (Ember)
Other suggestions more than welcome. I may choose another bunch of favourites at some point.

And here's the contribution from 'Soulboy' John Jolliffe:
Following on from last night, I'll get the ball rolling with my top ten Doo-Wop's + 2 bonus ones
A dozen classic ageless Doo-Woppers, that have worn out many needles.
Jerry Butler & the Impressions - For Your Precious Love
The Moonglows - Ten Commandments Of Love
Jesse & Marvin - Dream Girl (Who are Jessie Belvin & Marvin Phillips, later Marvin & Johnny fame)
Danny & the Juniors - At The Hop
The Fascinators - Oh Rosemarie (Brilliant)
The Diamonds - Little Darlin'
The Rainbows - Mary Lee (Also brilliant)
The El Cords - Peppermint Stick (Amazing)
The Earls - Remember Then
The Medallions - Buick 59
Rudy & the Rialtos (feat Wolfman Jack) - Christmas Tears Will Fall
Dion & the Belmonts - I Wonder Why (below)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Number Tens

And are the records that just about scraped into my personal top ten, reaching the giddy heights of number ten. Again, some good ones here - and some rather poor ones.
1960: Cradle Of Love - Johnny Preston; Cathy's Clown - Everly Brothers; You're Singing Our Love Love Song - Jerry Wallace; Kookie, Kookie - Ed Byrnes & Connie Stevens (pictured right); The Urge - Freddie Cannon; River Stay Away From My Door - Frank Sinatra; Top Teen Baby - Garry Mills; Alone At Last - Jackie Wilson; Doll House - Donnie Brooks.
1961: North To Alaska - Johnny Horton; Push Push - Billy Fury; Leave My Kitten Alone - Johnny Preston; I Count The Tears - Drifters; What Am I Gonna Do - Emile Ford; You Can Depend On Me - Brenda Lee; Five Pennies Saints - Danny Kaye & Louis Armstrong; She She Little Sheila - Gene Vincent; Breaking In A Brand New Broken Heart - Connie Francis; Michael Row The Boat - Lonnie Donegan; Drivin' Home - Duane Eddy; Together - Connie Francis; Don't Blame Me - Everly Brothers; A Sweet Love - Crickets; Fool No 1 - Brenda Lee.
1962: Town Without Pity - Gene Pitney; If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody - James Ray; Hit Record - Brook Benton; Oh You Beautiful Doll - Donnie Brooks; King Of Fools - Gene Vincent; Rinky Dink - Dave (Baby) Cortez; Minnesota Fats - Johnny & The Hurricanes; Love Me Do  -Beatles (whatever happened to them?); Do You Love Me - Contours (pictured above); Let's Go - Routers; A Bird Flies Out Of Sight - Tokens; I'm Gonna Be Warm This Winter - Connie Francis.
1963: 2000lb Bee - Ventures; Java - Floyd Cramer; Every Day I Have To Cry - Steve Alaimo; South Street - Orlons; Forget Him - Bobby Rydell; Ain't That A Shame - 4 Seasons; String Along - Rick Nelson; This Empty Place - Dionne Warwick; Memphis - Lonnie Mack; True Love Never Runs Smooth - Gene Pitney; Detroit City - Bobby Bare; When I'm Walkin' - Fats Domino; Blue Velvet - Bobby Vinton; Red Sails In The Sunset - Fats Domino; Sue's Gonna Be Mine - Del Shannon; It's All Right - Impressions.
1964: Do The Dog - Georgie Fame; Can You Do It - Contours; Tennessee Waltz - Sam Cooke; Ain't Love Good, Ain't Love Proud - Tony Clarke; Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut - Bo Diddley; Just Be True - Gene Chandler; Let It Be Me - Betty Everett & Jerry Butler; Blue Christmas - Elvis Presley.
1965: Too Many Fish In The Sea - Marvelettes; Jolly Green Giant - Kingsmen; Wild One - Martha & The Vandellas; Blind Man - Little Milton; Maggie's Farm - Solomon Burke; One Step At A Time - Maxine Brown; Concrete Jungle - Tams; My Girl Has Gone - Miracles.

When I wrote down my top ten I would always choose a 'Pick Of The Week'. Occasionally these would fail to make it into my top ten proper. So here, for completeness, are the 'picks' that didn't make it:
1960: Cindy - Teddy Vann; Made You - Adam Faith; Think - James Brown; Lucille - Everly Brothers.
1961: Where The Boys Are - Connie Francis; Easy Going Me - Adam Faith; Summertime - Marcels; Standing In The Need Of Love - Clarence Frogman Henry.
1962: Duke Of Earl - Gene Chandler (pictured right); Don't Break The Heart That Loves You - Connie Francis; I've Been Twisting - Jerry Lee Lewis; I Don't Know Why - Eden Kane; This Here - Cannonball Adderley; Hey Baby I'm Dancing - Barry Mann.
1963: Boss Guitar - Duane Eddy; Shake Sherry - Contours; Losing You - Brenda Lee; Hot Pastrami & Mashed Potatoes - Joey Dee; You Always Hurt The One You Love - Fats Domino; My Baby Loves to Dance - Chris Montez.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Number Nines

I'm on to the penultimate list of records that made it into my personal top ten between 1960 and 1965. This time it's the turn of those that made it as high as number nine but no higher. The very good, the rather bad and the rather obscure here.
1960: This Love I Have For You - Lance Fortune; Handy Man - Jimmy Jones; Chatanooga Choo Choo - Ernie Fields; Angela Jones - Michael Cox; Comin' Down With Love - Garry Mills; Shakin' All Over - Johnny Kidd; My Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own - Connie Francis; Don't Be Cruel - Bill Black's Combo.
1961: Don't Worry - Billy Fury; Ain't That Just Like A Woman - Fats Domino; Gee Whiz - Carla Thomas; The Great Snowman - Bob Luman; All In My Mind - Maxine Brown (pictured right); African Waltz - Johnny Dankworth; Easy Going Me - Adam Faith; I Told Every Little Star - Linda Scott; Brass Buttons - String-A-Longs; Big Chief Heartbreak - Johnny Preston; Those Oldies But Goodies - Nino & The Ebbtides; Please Stay - Drifters; Don't You Know It - Adam Faith; Should I - String-A-Longs; Let's Twist Again - Chubby Checker (1st entry); Pretty Little Angel Eyes - Curtis Lee; All These Things - Kestrels; Sweets For My Sweet - Drifters; Anybody But Me - Brenda Lee; Tower Of Strength - Gene McDaniels; Heartaches - Marcels; Door Of Paradise - Bobby Rydell; Goodbye Cruel World - James Darren.
1962: Spanish Twist - Bill Haley; Newcastle Twist - Lord Rockingham's XI; Baby It's You - Shirelles; The Party's Over - Lonnie Donegan; It Keeps Right On A'Hurtin' - Johnny Tillotson; Picture Of You - Joe Brown; Adios Amigos - Jim Reeves; Rik-A-Tik - Fireballs; Down In The Valley - Solomon Burke; Itty Bitty Pieces - James Ray; Life's Too Short - Lafayettes (pictured above); She's Gone - Buddy Knox; Pick A Bale Of Cotton - Lonnie Donegan; Your Tender Look - Joe Brown; You're Much Too Young - Jimmy Jones; Welcome Home Mr Blues - Hank Lochlin; What Kind of Love - Joey Dee; Limbo Rock - Chubby Checker; Hully Gully Baby - Dovells; Copycat - Gary (US) Bonds; I Keep Forgetting - Chuck Jackson; Lonely Bull - Tijuana Brass.
1963: All Alone Am I - Brenda Lee; Mixed Up Faculty - Gary (US) Bonds; The Jealous Kind - Clarence Frogman Henry; Half Heaven Half Heartache - Gene Pitney; You're The Reason I'm Living - Bobby Darin; Leavin' On Your Mind - Patsy Cline; Tell Him I'm Not Home - Chuck Jackson; Mecca - Gene Pitney; If Mary's There - Brian Hyland; Let's Go Steady Again - Neil Sedaka; Ask Me - Maxine Brown; Bo Diddley - Buddy Holly; Get Him - Exciters; Just One Look - Doris Troy; Dance Dance Dance - Joey Dee; Don't Cha Know - Lockets.
1964: Monkey Diddle - Bo Diddley; Who Cares - Fats Domino; It's Over - Roy Orbison; Ask Me - Inez Foxx; Wish Someone Would Care - Irma Thomas (pictured right); It Hurts Me - Elvis Presley; Ferris Wheel - Everly Brothers; Dang Me - Roger Miller; Mercy Mercy - Don Covay; Gone Gone Gone - Everly Brothers.
1965: Back In My Arms Again - Supremes; Last Chance To Turn Around - Gene Pitney; It's The Same Old Song - Four Tops; I Found A Girl - Jan & Dean; Let's Hang On - 4 Seasons; Don't Have To Shop Around - Mad Lads.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Number eights

I've started so I'll finish: it's on to the records that made it as high as number eight in my personal top ten as recorded at the time between 1960 and 1965. Another mixed bag with quite a few classics included this time.
1960: California Here I Come - Freddie Cannon; Feel So Fine - Johnny Preston; A Woman A Lover A Friend - Jackie Wilson; Charming Billy - Johnny Preston; Sway - Bobby Rydell.
1961: Muskrat Ramble - Freddie Cannon; Sweet Elizabeth - Acker Bilk; Shu-rah - Fats Domino; Some Kind Of Wonderful - Drifters; Halfway To Paradise - Billy Fury; Come Along - Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs (pictured right); Ring Of Fire - Johnny Cash; Ain't It Baby - Miracles; Merry Go Round - Marv Johnson; More Money For You And Me - Four Preps; It Wouldn't Happen With Me - Jerry Lee Lewis; Nag - Halos; Theme From Silver City - Ventures; For Me And My Gal - Freddie Cannon; Jeannie Jeannie Jeannie - Eddie Cochran; My Heart Belongs To Only You - Jackie Wilson; What A Crazy World - Joe Brown; Please Mr Postman - Marvelettes; Peppermint Twist - Joey Dee & Starliters; Rock A Hula Baby - Elvis Presley.
1962: Unchain My Heart - Ray Charles; A Little Too Much - Clarence Frogman Henry; Dreamy Eyes - Johnny Tillotson; She's Got You - Patsy Cline; What's So Good About Goodbye - Miracles; Hide Nor Hair - Ray Charles; Run Romance Run - Bruce Channel; Mashed Potato Time - Dee Dee Sharpe; Dr Feelgood - Dr Feelgood; You Know Me Much Too Well - Ray Peterson; When I Get Through With You - Patsy Cline; Speedy Gonzales - Pat Boone; Gravy - Dee Dee Sharpe; The Wrong Girl - Showmen; Mary's Little Lamb - James Darren; Ballad Of Paladin - Duane Eddy; Every Night - Paul Anka; It Started All Over Again - Brenda Lee; You Don't Know Me - Ray Charles; Send Me The Pillow - Johnny Tillotson; Green Onions - Booker T & The MGs; Sherry - 4 Seasons; Popeye - Chubby Checker; Did You Ever See A Dream Walking - Fats Domino; The Guitar Man - Duane Eddy; Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee; Ride - Dee Dee Sharpe; Only Love Can Break A Heart - Gene Pitney; Your Cheating Heart - Ray Charles.
1963: That's What Love Will Do - Joe Brown; Brown Eyed Handsome Man - Buddy Holly; End Of The World - Skeeter Davis; Remember Me - Johnny Burnette; How Can I Forget - Ben E King; Killer Joe - Rocky Fellers; Road Runner - Count Victors (pictured left); Blue On Blue - Bobby Vinton; Rock Me In The Cradle Of Love - Dee Dee Sharpe; Fingertips - Little Stevie Wonder; Twist It Up - Chubby Checker; Nobody But Me - Isley Brothers; Susie Baby - Bobby Comstock; Memphis Tennessee - Chuck Berry; Busted - Ray Charles; Talk To Me - Sunny & The Sunglows.
1964: Need To Belong - Jerry Butler; New Orleans - Gary (US) Bonds; Dawn (Go Away) - 4 Seasons; I'm So Proud - Impressions; The Way You Do The Things You Do - Temptations; Hurt By Love - Inez Foxx; Hi-Diddle Diddle - Inez Foxx; Soulful Dress - Sugar Pie DeSanto; Selfish One - Jackie Ross (pictured right); My Babe - Little Walter; Always Something There To Remind Me - Lou Johnson; Do I Love You - Ronettes.
1965: Share Your Love With Me - Bobby Bland; Ain't It The Truth - Mary Wells; Keep Searching - Del Shannon; Give Him A Great Big Kiss - Shangri-Las; Jerk And Twine - Jackie Ross; Do You Wanna Dance - Beach Boys; It's Gonna Be All Right - Maxine Brown; Let's Stick Together - Wilbert Harrison; The Entertainer - Tony Clarke; From All Over The World - Jan & Dean; Pride And Joy - Marvin Gaye; It's An Easy Question - Elvis Presley; Since I Lost My Baby - Temptations; We Didn't Ask To Be Brought Here - Bobby Darin; My Baby - Temptations; Ain't That Peculiar - Marvin Gaye.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Vinyl Obscurities - Brunswick label

This time my Vinyl Obscurities are from the UK Brunswick label (Decca in the US),formed in 1916, which was possibly the most famous UK label in the early days of rock and roll because of its association with Bill Haley. Most of my selections are from these early days, with a couple of later releases thrown in. A lot of the label's product was rather conservative, but it had its moments now and then, and with Haley, Brenda Lee and, later, the Who, it had its hitmakers too.
1. Patsy Cline - Walkin' After Midnight/ A Poor Man's Roses. Mint value £50.
This is a one sided demo and was the first hit for a country singer whose voice still sounds amazing today, even though she died aged just 30 in a plane crash in 1963. Later she made such classics as Crazy, I Fall To Pieces and She's Got You, but this is where the legend really began, back in 1957, largely thanks to Decca producer Owen Bradley.

2. Bill Haley & The Comets - R-O-C-K/ The Saints Rock 'n' Roll. Mint value £15.
Strange to think that a rather boring looking man approaching middle age was the catalyst of rock and roll and all that followed. But Bill Haley and his excellent band was where it all began. I've chosen this one because it's an excellent double sider and also the first rock and roll 78 that I can remember my older sister bringing home - and playing to death.
3. Owen Bradley Quintet - Big Guitar/ Sentimental Dream. Mint value £20.
As a record producer Owen Bradley was one of the architects of the Nashville sound and artists who recorded at his studio included Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee, Conway Twitty, Buddy Holly and Gene Vincent. This instrumental hit from 1958 features the guitars of Grady Martin and Hank Garland, Bob Moore's bass, Buddy Harman's drums, Dutch McMillin's tenor sax and piano of Owen Bradley himself.
4. The Shirelles - I Met Him On A Sunday/ I Want You To be My Boyfriend. Mint value £70.
This is another one sided demo from 1958 and shows that even then the Shirelles were quite brilliant. This was recorded for the small Tiara label and licensed to US Decca and was a minor hit, but it was only when they signed to Scepter that they began their incredible run of smash hits, including Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Dedicated To the One I Love, Baby It's You, Soldier Boy and many others.
5. Bobby Helms - Schoolboy Crush/ Borrowed Dreams. Mint value £15.
Indiana born Bobby had big US pop hits with Fraulein, My Special Angel and Jingle Bell Rock. This was a more modest hit, but was later covered by Cliff Richard. It's another entry for my whistling records (see earlier blog entry). Bobby continued recording into the 1980s, with success in the country charts.
6. Earl Grant - The End/ Hunky Dunky Doo. Mint value £7.
A multi-instrumentalist from Oklahoma, Earl could be categoried as middle of the road, as this Nat King Cole styled number shows. But this was a big US hit, as was his million selling Ebb Tide.
7. Brenda Lee - Bill Bailey Won't You Please Come Home/ Hummin' The Blues Over You. Mint value £20.
Brenda was just 13 when she recorded her first hit Dynamite in 1957 and went on to have dozens of hits during the sixties. Her success is largely forgotten now, but she was a true star with a fantastic voice.  This was one of her earlier releases, from 1958. The live Youtube clip (with lots of background info) comes from the Oh Boy! show in 1959.
8. Carl Dobkins Jr - Lucky Devil/ (There's A Little Song A-singing) In My Heart. Mint value £10.
Another somewhat forgotten pop star of the late 50s/ early 60s, Dobkins had success with My Heart Is An Open Book and this one, a minor hit, was covered in the UK by Frank Ifield.
9. Carl Perkins - Lonely Heart/ Big Bad Blues. Mint value £15.
Carl was one of the rockabilly greats with Sun recordings such as Blue Suede Shoes, Matchbox, Glad All Over, Honey Don't and Lend Me Your Comb. Had it not been for a car crash in 1956 he might have been as big as Elvis. He toured the UK in 1964 with Chuck Berry (I remember it well!) and recorded this single with the Nashville Teens.
10. Jon-Mark - Baby I Got A Long Way To Go/ Night Comes Down. Unlisted.
This one's a bit obscure as it's not listed in the Rare Record Guide and it's not on Youtube, but it would appear to be by acoustic guitarist Jon Mark Burchell, who accompanied Marianne Faithfull and later teamed up with flautist-saxophonist John Almond, and recorded with the John Mayall band on The Turning Point album. Here's a track Jon-Mark recorded with Almond in the early 70s.

11. Fred Hughes - Baby Boy/ Johnny Jones & The King Casuals - Purple Haze. Mint value £10.
Finally we move on to the late 60s when Brunswick re-emerged as a label specialising in soul music under the control of Nat Tarnopol. Artists included Jackie Wilson, The Artistics, The Chi-Lites and this one - a Northern soul favourite - by Arkansas-born Fred Hughes.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Two more music deaths

There are a couple more deaths to report I'm afraid.
The first is Memphis native B B Cunningham, aged 70, who is best known in recent years as a member of Jerry Lee Lewis's band, who was shot dead while working as a security guard. The son of Buddy Cunningham, who recorded for Sun, and brother of Bill, a founding member of the Box Tops, BB was a session musician, record producer and songwriter who first recorded Trip To Bandstand and Electrode for his dad's Cover label. He joined the Ronnie and the Daytonas touring band, although he didn't play on their records. The band became the Hombres and had a hit with Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out) in 1967, with B B on vocals and keyboards. When the band broke up B B returned to session work before becoming bass player in Jerry Lee's band in 1997, visiting the UK on several occasions.
The second death (reportedly in August, although I haven't seen it confirmed) is that of southern soul singer Paul Kelly. Originally from Florida he joined the Valadeers before recording a solo record with Clarence Reid for Dade and then being spotted by Buddy Killen of Dial Records and releasing Chills and Fever, a significant US hit also released in the UK, in 1965. After four singles with Philips he moved to New York where his career really took off with the release of the controversial Stealing In The Name Of the Lord, about the hypocrisy of some southern evangelical preachers, which became a hit. He followed this with Dirt, for Happy Tiger, and Hooked, Hogtied and Collared and Stand On The Positive Side for Warner. He released an album called 1984, comprising tracks recorded in that year, last year.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Number Sevens

I'm continuing with my lists of records that made it into my personal top ten between 1960 and 1965 and this time it's the turn of discs that made it as high as number seven. A mixed bag here, with a couple of trad jazz clangers in 1960, but plenty of classics from then on, including the likes of Fats Domino, Ernie K-Doe, the Drifters, Chuck Jackson, the Miracles, Lazy Lester and Ronnie Hawkins.
1960: Summer Set - Acker Bilk; Walkin' To New Orleans - Fats Domino; White Cliffs Of Dover - Acker Bilk; Three Nights A Week - Fats Domino; Let The Good Times Roll - Shirley & Lee (pictured right); Sweeter As The Day Goes By - Mickey & Sylvia; Humdinger - Freddy Cannon.
1961: Who's Gonna Take You Home Tonight - Garry Mills; Pony Time - Chubby Checker; What A Price - Fats Domino; Blue Moon - Marcels; When Johnny Comes Slidin' Home - Hollywood Vines; Stayin' In - Bobby Vee; Good Good Lovin' - Chubby Checker; Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey - Della Reese; Sleepy Eyed John - Johnny Horton; Buzz Buzz A Diddle It - Freddy Cannon; Temptation - Everly Brothers; You Always Hurt The One You Love - Clarence Frogman Henry; You Thrill Me - Ray Peterson; Te Ta Te Ta Ta - Ernie K-Doe; Jealousy - Billy Fury; I Just Don't Understand - Ann-Margret; Years From Now - Jackie Wilson; School Is Out - Gary US Bonds; The Great Impostor - Fleetwoods; Hit The Road Jack - Ray Charles; The Fly - Chubby Checker; As Long As I Live - Jerry Lee Lewis; School Is In - Gary US Bonds; Blue Moon - Ventures; Walk On By - Leroy Van Dyke; Language Of Love - John D Loudermilk; Let's Twist Again - Chubby Checker; Revenge - Brook Benton.
1962: I Cried My Last Tear - Ernie K-Doe (pictured left); So Deep - Brenda Lee; Jambalaya - Fats Domino; When My Little Girl Is Smiling - Drifters; Clown Shoes - Johnny Burnette; Love Letters - Ketty Lester; Lover Please - Clyde McPhatter; Last Night Was Made For Love - Billy Fury; Deep In The Heart Of Texas - Duane Eddy; Sharing You - Bobby Vee; The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance - Gene Pitney; Don't Ever Change - Crickets; I Can Mend Your Broken Heart - Don Gibson; Chills - Tony Orlando; Roses Are Red - Bobby Vinton; Bring It On Home To Me - Sam Cooke; If I Didn't Have A Dime - Gene Pitney; Lonesome Waters - Johnny Burnette; Come On Little Angel - Belmonts; Don't Hang Up - Orlons.
1963: Hotel Happiness - Brook Benton; The Puzzle - Gene McDaniels; Butterfly Baby - Bobby Rydell; So It Always Will Be - Everly Brothers; On Broadway - Drifters; I Got What I Wanted - Brook Benton; Who Do You Love - Ronnie Hawkins; Rocking Crickets - Rockin' Rebels; Devil In Disguise - Elvis Presley; Shake A Tailfeather - Five Du-Tones; Candy Girl - Four Seasons; Mickey's Monkey - Miracles; A Love So Fine - Chiffons; Will Power - Cookies; Wild - Dee Dee Sharpe; Don't Think Twice It's All Right - Peter Paul & Mary; You Lost The Sweetest Boy - Mary Wells; Hey Little Girl - Major Lance.
1964: Whispering - Nino Tempo & April Stevens; Girls Grow Up Faster Than Boys - Cookies; Borne On The Wind - Roy Orbison; California Sun - Rivieras; I'm A Lover Not A Fighter - Lazy Lester; The Man In You - Miracles; Tell Me What Can I Do - Tony Orlando; Lonely Heart - Carl Perkins; All Grown Up - Crystals; You'll Never Get To Heaven - Dionne Warwick; Under The Boardwalk - Drifters; Rag Doll - Four Seasons; You're So Fine And Sweet - Miracles; Remember (Walking In The Sand) - Shangri-Las; Cousin Of Mine - Sam Cooke; Any Day Now - Chuck Jackson; Sidewalk Surfing - Jan & Dean.
1965: Come See About Me - Supremes; Amen - Impressions; The In Crowd - Dobie Gray; Boy From New York City - Ad-Libs; Baby Baby Baby - Anna King & Bobby Byrd; Ooh Baby Baby - Miracles; Peaches And Cream - Ikettes; We're Gonna Make it - Little Milton; I Do -Marvelows (pictured right); Boomerang - Junior Walker; Papa's Got A Brand New Bag - James Brown; Ride Your Pony - Lee Dorsey; If I Didn't Love You - Chuck Jackson; Dance Dance Dance - Beach Boys; My Heart Belongs To You - Wilson Pickett; I Believe I'll Love On - Jackie Wilson.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Recent LP finds

By way of a change, here are three LPs by white American 60s acts that I've picked up for next to nothing in the last few days at car boots and markets. All of them are new to me and interesting in their own way. Well worth seeking out if you don't know them.
1. The 4 Seasons - The Genuine Imitation Life Gazette. Philips SBL 7880.
Released in 1968 on the Philips label this was unlike anything else that the 4 Seasons produced. Frankie Valli's famous falsetto went down an octave or so on this psychedelic flavoured album, which bears more resemblance to the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds than the Sherry/Walk Like A Man sound that we had grown to know and love. It's not entirely successful, and certainly didn't sell very well, but there are some stunning tracks, including American Crucifixion Resurrection, the incredbly sad Saturday's Father, the title track and Soul Of A Woman. All the tracks are written by Bob Gaudio and lyricist Jake Holmes and, although slightly pretentious at times, the album is interesting throughout and well worth a listen.
2. Creedence Clearwater Revival - Mardi Gras.  Fantasy FAN 9404.
This 1972 LP was the seventh and last by Creedence and the least effective. The band was on the verge of breaking up and the LP comprised three tracks written by John Fogerty and six by fellow band members Stu Cook and Doug Clifford which strayed towards country, plus a cover of Hello Mary Lou sung by Fogerty. I think the Fogerty tracks, especially Sweet Hitch-Hiker, are the stand outs, but overall the record falls short of the rest of Creedence's catalogue.
3. Tony Joe White - Tony Joe White, Warner Bros K 46068.
This 1971 album was Tony's first Warner LP and is well up to the standard of his Monument recordings. The 'Swamp Fox' is a master of understated blues with deep lyrics and mysterious undercurrents. Tracks such as They Caught The Devil And Put Him In Jail in Eudora Arkansas, Black Panther Swamps and Five Summers For Jimmy are atmospheric gems. I saw Tony at the Baton Rouge Blues Festival a couple of years back and I thought his voice was mesmerising. Wish he would visit the UK more often.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

R B Greaves/Sonny Childe RIP + a 'strange fish'

Sorry to hear of the death, aged 68, of R B Greaves, a nephew of Sam Cooke, best known as the writer and singer of Take A Letter Maria. Born in Guyana at a US army base, he grew up in a Seminole Indian reservation before moving to England in 1963. Once there he recorded under the name of Sonny Childe, releasing a single on Decca and a further two on Polydor, plus an LP called To Be Continued. Photo shows his second single (not the Mary Wells song). Here it is on Youtube
Returning to the States, he wrote 'Maria', but it was recorded by Tom Jones and Stevie Wonder, before he recorded it himself for Atco under the name of R B Greaves, at the instigation of Ahmet Ertegun, at Muscle Shoals. Other records included covers of Always Something There To Remind Me and A Whiter Shade Of Pale. He released an LP on Atco which included a track called Home To Stay, which is surely one of the eeriest songs ever written - about a soldier coming home and apparently singing from his coffin! Excellent song though.

*  A quick Final Word for rockabilly singer and guitarist Nick Curran, who played with Ronnie Dawson, recorded as a solo artist and later played with the Fabulous Thunderbirds.

* On a different topic, I said on the blog when he died last October, that Jimmy Savile was a strange fish. Just how strange a fish he was, neither I nor the general public knew. The revelations of sex with under age girls have been shocking, and the rubbishing of his reputation has been total, with his name being removed from a road named after him in Scarborough and his gravestone being taken away (no doubt to stop it being defaced). His charity efforts, which were considerable, have been forgotten in this avalanche of oppobrium. Of course, it's all a bit pointless, as it's far too late to have the accusations challenged in court. But it's a reminder of just how fleeting fame can be. Now he is not famous - just imfamous. How about that then Jimmy.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Red Atlantic Part two

Here are another ten Vinyl Obscurities released on the red Atlantic label in the UK between 1967 and 1970. Most of them are one off UK releases by artists who are not particularly well known, although there are a couple by big soul names included.
1. Mary Wells - (Hey You) Set My Soul On Fire/ Coming Home. Mint value £18.
Mary was one of Motown's top songstresses (and therefore hardly obscure) with some wonderful soul releases in the sixties. After a less successful spell with 20th Century, Mary recorded some tracks for Atco, including this one with her by then husband Cecil Womack (misspelt on the label). Can't find this track on Youtube so here's a fairly similar version by Vilma Valera.
2. Percy Wiggins - Book Of Memories/ Can't Find Nobody (To Take Your Place). Mint value £10.
Percy, brother of Spencer Wiggins, had just one 45 released in the UK. He was one of many soul singers to emerge from Booker T Washington High School in Memphis and after meeting up with locals Larry Lee and Jerry Crutchfield he recorded for RCA before signing for Atco in 1967. Percy sang in the church for many years but appeared at the Ponderosa Stomp in 2006 and, memorably, with brother Spencer, at Porretta in 2009 and 2011.  Both of these excellent soul sides are worth a listen. 
3. Harvey Scales & the 7 Sound - Get Down/ Love-Itis. Mint value £15.
Harvey is another soul man who had just one 45 released in the UK in the 60s and another who has appeared at Porretta in the last few years. He hailed from Milwaukee and was influenced by James Brown and Wilson Pickett and he is best probably best known for being the co-writer of Johnnie Taylor's Disco Lady. This double sider was recorded for the Magic Touch label in the US.
4. Fleur De Lys - Stop Crossing The Bridge/ Brick By Brick (Stone By Stone).  Mint value £65.
By way of a contrast, this is by a UK band from Southampton who recorded half a dozen collectable freakbeat singles in the sixties on Immediate, Polydor and Atlantic, of which this is the least valuable. They were managed by UK Atlantic boss Frank Fenter and also recorded with Sharon Tandy (see previous blog entry). This one was produced by Graham Dee, who was involved with many UK groups in the 60s. 
 5. Vamp - Floatin'/ Thinking Too Much. Mint value £90.
This is another UK psych group who had just two singles released under that name. Members were Viv Prince (previously with the Pretty Things), Andy Clark, Mike Hutchinson and Pete Sears (hence the name VAMP, after their first name initials). Pete was in a number of other groups, including Sons Of Fred, Steamhammer and Jefferson Starship.  
6. Jeanie Greene - Sure As Sin/ I've Been A Long Time Loving You. Mint value £10.
Back to soul now, and this is a sizzling deep soul track by a white singer who began her recording career with three country singles under the name of Jeanie Johnson. She then recorded a couple of singles for RCA including one written by Dan Penn and future husband Marlin Greene. She recorded backing tracks at Chips Moman's American studio and backed various artists including Elvis. Sure As Sin, co-written by Eddie Hinton, was probably her peak, despite a later album produced by Don Nix and recorded at Muscle Shoals.  
 7. Ralph 'Soul' Jackson - 'Cause I Love You/ Sunshine Of Your Love. Mint value £25.
Another one off UK release by a soul singer who calls himself the Alabama Love Man and stills performs today. I saw him at the Ponderosa Stomp a few years back and he was excellent. Produced by Spooner Oldham in Muscle Shoals, this is a good double sider. As you can see from the label, this record came from Roger St Pierre's collection and I bought it when Nick Sands was selling off some of Roger's records. Here is the B side.  


8. Mack Rice - Love's A Mother Brother/  Coal Man. Mint value £12.Yet another one off UK 45 release, this time by 'Sir' Mack Rice, best known as the writer of Mustang Sally, who is another soul artist to have appeared at Porretta in recent years. Originally from Clarksdale, Mississippi, he was a member of the Falcons (with Eddie Floyd, Wilson Pickett and Joe Stubbs) and wrote many other soul hits, including Respect Yourself, Cheaper To Keep Her and Do The Funky Penguin. As the label says, this was recorded at American Studios in Memphis. I can't find either of these sides on Youtube so here is Sir Mack doing Mustang Sally.
9. Ronnie Hawkins - Down In The Alley/ Matchbox. Mint value £7.
Rocker Ronnie Hawkins needs no introduction and had big US hits with Southern Love, Thirty Days, Mary Lou and Who Do You Love? having made his name in Canada. He formed The Hawks, who later became The Band, and this track, recorded in Muscle Shoals, features Duane Allman. 
 10. Wilson Pickett - Cole, Cooke and Redding/ Sugar Sugar. Mint value £5.
I've included this final record for John Jolliffe, who drew it to my attention. I'm not sure if I had ever flipped the record over to listen to this one. It's Abraham Martin and John, but dedicated instead to Pickett's musical heroes Nat King Cole, Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. The official A side is his version of the Archies tune.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Vinyl Obscurities - red Atlantic Part one

Atlantic can justly claim to be the greatest R and B, jazz and soul record label in history, with literally hundreds of great records being produced during its heyday from its formation in 1947 to its takeover by Warner in the late sixties, after which it developed largely as a rock label with Led Zeppelin, Crosby Stills Nash and Young and others.
In the UK, Atlantic records were released for a while on Columbia and then famously on London, before getting its own black label in 1965. Polydor took over distribution in 1966 and the red label with black writing was born, releasing many great records, including those recorded for Stax, by soul stars such as Wilson Pickett, Joe Tex, Otis Redding, Percy Sledge and Rufus and Carla Thomas. For part one of my Vinyl Obscurities feature on the red Atlantic label, I've chosen ten records by some of the lesser known artists released in 1966 and early '67, including a couple which fall under the heading of rock, rather than soul. Check the Youtube links.
1. Shadows Of Knight - Oh Yeah/ Light Bulb Blues. Mint value £35.
A rock band from Chicago, these guys were originally called the Shadows until they belatedly found out there was a British group of the same name. After enjoying a big US hit with a cover of Them's Gloria they turned their attention to this Bo Diddley number, released originally on the US Dunwich label and picked up by Atlantic.
2. Mable John - It's Catching/ Your Good Thing (Is About To End). Mint value £15.
I've had the pleasure of seeing Mable perform at Porretta on several occasions and she never fails to excel. The sister of Little Willie John, she was the first female artist to be signed by Motown and sang with the Raelettes before joining Stax and releasing this excellent double sider, and some other great tracks in 1966.
3. Rex Garvin & the Mighty Cravers - Sock It To 'Em J.B Parts 1 and 2. Mint Value £18.
Rex had a couple of releases on Atlantic, recorded originally for Link, but his story began several years earlier when he teamed up with Zelma Sanders and helped formed doowop group the Hearts. Later he wrote Over The Mountain, Across The Sea for Johnnie and Joe, recorded a duet with Marie Adams (I Can't Sit Down), and had several successful records under his own name, including My Darling Dear and Emulsified, This funky homage to James Bond also pays tribute in style to the other JB, James Brown.
4. Little Mack & The Boss Sounds - In The Midnight Hour/ You Can't Love Me (In The Midnight Hour). Mint value £25.
This is a great organ-led version of the Wilson Pickett number which still gets plays on the soul scene today. The B side, which is well worth a listen, featues the excellent voice of Ann Mason, who for some reason is not credited on this Atlantic release.
5. Mike Williams - Lonely Soldier/ If This Isn't Love. Mint value £25.
This beautiful deep soul record was produced by Gene Barge (Daddy G of Quarter to Three fame) in Chicago, but I haven't found much information about him on line. The song was later recorded by Gregory Isaacs, but this was Mike's only UK release.
6. Loretta Williams - Baby Cakes/ I'm Missing You. Mint value £50.
Alabama born Loretta was a protege of Otis Redding and this excellent double sider was originally released on Otis's short-lived Jotis label. The B side is a deep soul classic, while Baby Cakes is a Northern soul favourite.
7. Barbara Lewis - Make Me Belong To You/ Girls Need Loving Care. Mint value £15.
Barbara Lewis has one of the greatest voices in soul music, as evidenced by classics such as Hello Stranger, Baby I'm Yours and Baby What You Want Me To Do. This Billy Vera/Chip Taylor song is another beauty.
8. The Mad Lads - Sugar Sugar/ Get Out Of My Life Woman. Mint value £15.
John Garry Williams of the Mad Lads was one of the stars of this year's Porretta Soul Festival, but he didn't sing this one, the third Atlantic release by the Mad Lads in the UK and recorded for Volt. The B side is the Lee Dorsey number.
9. Art Freeman - Slipping Around/ Can't Get You Out Of My Mind. Mint value £175.
This is a rare Dann Penn/Spooner Oldham composed Northern soul favourite, hence its high value. It was recorded for Fame down at Muscle Shoals but its Motown feel is untypical of the rest of Art's material, which was very much in the deep southern soul style. Definitely worth a listen though.

10. Sharon Tandy - Toe Hold/ I Can't Let Go. Mint value £20.
Sharon was a blue eyed soul singer from South Africa who made her name in England, but later recorded this single for Stax: the A side was written by Isaac Hayes and David Porter and the B side by Steve Cropper. Later she teamed up with the Fleur De Lys, but by 1970 she had returned to South Africa. Strangely this record isn't on Youtube, so here's her version of Lorraine Ellison's Stay With Me.