31 May 2015

The Detours - Whole Lot of Lovin'/ Pieces of You

Label: CBS
Year of Release: 1968

I've talked a lot online already about how much I admire the work of Cardiff's Gene Latter. A persistent, powerful but unlucky producer of wonderful singles throughout both the sixties and the seventies, he's definitely not somebody you should skip past in the second-hand record racks. From psychedelia to abrasive mod pop to northern soul ("Sign on the Dotted Line") to glam rock to disco, he pretty much covered all bases, fashions and trends without embarrassing himself too much (although his  seventies single "John Travolta You Are A Superstar" is a mite strange).

Liverpool's The Detours were his backing band for a time in the late sixties, and it's unclear how involved he was with this release beyond production and songwriting duties. But it's safe to say his thumbprints are all over this one - it's as close to a rip-roaring Stax single as an English group ever got, and he did have a skill for mimicking these styles very closely. It screams out at you from the speakers and threatens to leave your ears ringing even at low volumes - and the drumming and hyperactive organ playing on the B-side (better than the official A-side, in my view) propels everything along to a demented degree. If this doesn't tempt you towards the dancefloor, you're probably close to death. 

The Detours seem to have had so many line-up changes, and there's also uncertainty about whether they were even two bands doing the rounds with the same name, so I'm going to resist the temptation to  make any definite claims about the musicians on this record. However, the original line-up was Billy Churchill on lead guitar, Ritchie Quillan on guitar, Charlie King on bass, John D Pudifier on drums and Pete Flannery on vocals. It also seems certain that they supported The Beatles in Liverpool at least once (with a gig at the Liverpool Jazz Society). 

And yep, this record is a reissue rather than the original CBS pressing, but beggars can't be choosers.

27 May 2015

Reupload - The Calliope - Clear Mud/ Wiser

Label: Uni
Year of Release: 1970 (recorded in 1969)

Remember what I said about rare psychedelic/ dancefloor crossover records? One would have imagined that the era would have been shot through with such gems, but the reality is that those thoughtless hippies left behind very few records which swung. For all their versatility, even The Beatles left only slow groovers like "Get Back" and "Ballad of John and Yoko" behind, neither of which tend to set people's feet on fire (although you can - kind of - move a bit to "Paperback Writer" if you're feeling ambitious).

Here's another exception to the rule, then. "Clear Mud" is a messy, domineering, bongos-and-organ driven workout which slipped out in Britain in January 1970, long past the point where anyone cared for chipper little records with cheery hippy vocals in this country. A deep shame, because beneath the puffing flutes and bashed bongos lies a record which sounds like a distant cousin of Deep Purple's "Hush", utterly loose, carefree and actually quite wonderful for all that. Whereas most psychedelic pop had an obsession with the idea of catchy choruses, this is more interested in the rhythms and the mantra-like repetition of the song title, giving it more in common with a lot of the soul and mod records being released during the late sixties than perhaps you'd rightfully expect it to have.

The flipside "Wiser" restores order to the proceedings and is a brief, wistful ballad mentioning hope and rainbows. It's OK and comes with plenty of studio-glossed shimmering effects, but fails to defy your expectations in the manner of the A-side.

Little is known of The Calliope, but their line-up was apparently Jim Andron on guitar, organ and vocals, John Ray on guitar and vocals, Tony Riparetti on guitar, Sue Ferrel on flute and vocals, Dan Protheroe on bass guitar and Jim Saad on drums and vocals. Online evidence points towards a band active in Santa Barbara who had a couple of minor local hits but failed to take America as a whole. How "Clear Mud" ending up getting issued in the UK is a mystery which is clearly perplexing some record collectors online as we speak - US psych flops could hardly have been in much demand in Britain by 1970, and there's no evidence to suggest that this picked up any unexpected radio or club play prior to release. Nonetheless, here it is, proof that UK pressings of obscure records from across the Atlantic should never fail to surprise in their quantity.

Sorry about the surface noise on this record in some places, by the way. I did my best to minimise it, but unfortunately I don't have a perfect copy of this record.

(This blog entry was originally uploaded in November 2011. Little extra information has come to light since then, but I should add that The Calliope's regional US hit "Ryan 5" is well worth tracking down as well - you can hear it on Youtube). 

24 May 2015

I Shinko - The Shining/ Daze of Pleazure

Label: Gem
Year of Release: 1980

Kenny Young is no stranger at all to this blog. As a songwriter, he'll also be familiar to the public as the pensmith of some timeless classics like "Under The Boardwalk" and "The Captain Of Your Ship". As a singer-songwriter, he might jangle some memory bells as the frontman of one-hit wonders Yellow Dog.

Like most of his kind, though, his huge hits fell between hectares of flops, and hence Young has also fallen on to psychedelic obscurity compilations where his non-sellers have picked up underground appreciation. His late period flops are rather less well recorded, though, and "The Shining" is one particular peculiarity - a piece of psuedo-Japanese futuristic pop with tinges of Jeff Lynne about it. Kicking off with backwards vocals which sound like "I've been to a shit party", the track continues with squeaking synths, pie-eyed innocent girlish vocals and a very "Time"-era ELO vocoder (though for the sake of fairness, I should point out that "Time" had yet to be released at this point, so Young was pre-empting their direction rather than copying it).

It could have been a hit, but it wasn't. Instead, it fell between the cracks and was largely utterly ignored, even until now. It's very much a period piece, but none the worse for it. Of equal interest is the B-side "Daze of Pleazure" which sounds more like Bis than Bis.

Apologies for the sound quality of the vinyl - I did the best I could to clean this up.

23 May 2015

Legion of Extraordinary Traders - May Event

I'll be back DJ'ing at the LOET market event at Earl Haig Hall, Crouch End on Sunday 31st May. Vintage pinball machines, coffee, cake, booze and roasts will combine with the sounds of soul, funk, mod, psychedelia and classic pop, with efforts from me and semi-legendary London old-school DJs Sean Bright and John The Revelator.

This will be the last event of its kind before the usual London summer doldrums kick in, so go and click on the Facebook event here. And attend. That's the most important part. 

21 May 2015

Eurovision Song Contest (Part Two)

Apparently, Bob Dylan only watched the Eurovision Song Contest once, in his hotel room during a tour in the year 2000. Sat with his various band members and friends, he critically dissected all the entries with a voice of disgust. We do not have a record of his precise comments, which is something of a shame - clearly Bobby does not keep a biro and pad by his side during the contest, like you and I both do at home - but he apparently expressed disbelief that something so ridiculous should occupy so much television schedule time.

When Lativa's entry (Brainstorm's "My Star") came on the television screen, however, his mood changed somewhat. Pointing an authoratative digit at the lead singer Renārs Kaupers, he announced "That guy... he's got something... what's he doing taking part in this crazy circus?" Whenever Renārs was asked this particular question, he simply shrugged and replied "We have taken part in many song contests before Eurovision". So there you go, then.

Dylan had a point, though. Brainstorm were a genuinely eccentric proposition on the evening, delivering the decidedly poppy "My Star" in a bow legged, pie-eyed manner that managed to disturb plenty of people, but not enough to prevent it from climbing into third place on the final scoreboard. The band are successful throughout Eastern Europe, having supported bands such as Supergrass on regional tours, and continue to do well on the continent to this day. In fact, they're possible candidates for a "Left and to the Back" entry in themselves, since their albums can frequently be found scattered around stores in East London, presumably discarded by people from other countries (their discs sold poorly here, despite being hyped to Kingdom come by none other than Jonathan King).

If Brainstorm had indie-ish leanings, it should be noted that 2007's contest had a fantastic entry of that ilk from France which barely anyone voted for. Les Fatals Picards "L'Amour a la Francaise" was a wonderful piece of string-laden pop which in places sounded slightly like Jack at their poppiest. It was, quite simply, far too good for a contest which traditionally attracts a middle of the road audience, and bombed near the bottom of the board. It did go on to become one of the biggest sellers of the contest on iTunes in the UK, though, proving that it wasn't totally ignored. The video for the track should be viewed first:

But their performance at the final - which partly consisted of a man in a pink suit running around going beserk with a stuffed cat on his shoulder - may have alienated some:

And finally, let us not forget Iceland's entry from Paul Oscar in 1997. Here was a man who clearly predicted both the eighties revival and Hoxtonite stylings way before anyone else had even bothered - roundly mocked at the time, I wouldn't be at all surprised if nobody batted an eyelid at this now. Then again, the stageshow was perhaps a bit much.

Enjoy the second semi-finals tonight, and the finals on Saturday night. Remember, Bob Dylan was right - the Eurovision most definitely is a circus, but it doesn't hurt to indulge in such frivolities once in a while. 

20 May 2015

The Amboy Dukes [UK] - Judy In Disguise/ Who's Foolin' Who/ Simon Says/ The Marquis

Label: Polydor
Year of Release: 1967

Cratediggers the length and breadth of the UK have regularly been confused by the fact that there were two Amboy Dukes releasing records at around roughly the same time. The one most people will keenly be searching out is obviously the US Garage Group featuring Ted Nugent, but there was also a British soul/ ska outfit sharing the moniker. 

Still, record collectors chancing a spare pound or two on the British group will very rarely go home disappointed. Many of their 45s - and they did gain quite a brace of releases on Polydor due to their strong reputation on the live circuit - are actually pretty nifty. The real prize of the pack, which tends to go for quite hard cash, is "High Life In Whitley Wood", a ska song about a housing estate in Reading which mentions various local facilities (such as the by-pass) in a joyous fashion. This is on my personal "wants" list.

But even their management's utterly cynical attempts at carving hit singles for the group contained gems on the flip side. The Amboys were given "Judy In Disguise" on the false understanding that the original version wouldn't otherwise be gaining a release in the UK. We all know what balderdash that proved to be, and sadly the group's sales suffered. Buried on the B-side, though, is a version of Arthur Conley's "Who's Foolin' Who" which is fine stuff indeed, and evidence of their powerful live sound.

Label: Polydor
Year of Release: 1968

And if at first you don't succeed, try again… and with much the same format and results as before. The version of "Simon Says" on offer here is frankly nothing to write home about, but once again, if you flip the side over you get a more remarkable B-side. "The Marquis" has become a northern soul spin in recent years and is as smooth as an eel, all prowling basslines and dramatic brass stings. 

Talking about the membership of the group is hard work, as they went through numerous different line-ups and at any given time seemed to have a cast of thousands. Nonetheless, by the point of these recordings it seems that the group consisted of the following:

Dave Kislingberry (Vocals)
Trevor Lock (Guitar)
Pete Howard (Bass Guitar)
Mick Jerome (Drums)
Rod Lee (Trumpet)
Steve Gregory (Tenor Sax & Flute)
Buddy Beadle (Baritone & Alto sax)

Steve Gregory went on to play the saxophone on George Michael's "Careless Whisper" - probably one of the most known pieces of popular saxophony after the work of not-Bob Holness on "Baker Street". Trevor Lock is now in "Magic", a Queen tribute band. Pete Howard became a sound engineer at the BBC, but sadly passed away in 2007. The whereabouts of the rest is slightly unclear.

19 May 2015

Eurovision Song Contest (Part One)

(Back in 2008 during the earliest months of this blog, I uploaded some blog entries about lesser known Eurovision Song Contest entries to coincide with the appearance of the contest's semi-finals on television. Hardly anyone read them. This might partly be because hardly anyone knew about the blog at that point, or it may have had something to do with the fact that "Left and to the Back" doesn't have a very Eurovision-friendly audience. But I'll be repeating both the entries here this week because… well… why not? The times have moved on a bit, and there's every chance they will actually be read this time around.

Coincidentally, this year's British entry - which has so far received what can only be politely called a "mixed" reception - is written by David Mindel whose flop popsike single we talked about a mere few entries ago.)

It's Eurovision Song Contest week, ladies and gentleman, and I'm afraid it's beyond my ability to ignore that very significant fact. Whilst the songfest is often mocked by people who haven't watched it in over a decade and therefore seldom know what they're talking about, lovers of backwater pop oddments (which must be you - what are you doing reading this blog otherwise?) will find at least a few ditties to treasure every single year. They normally crash and burn on the final scoreboard, of course, as the majority of international voters favour middle of the road efforts rather than the more peculiar aural trinkets out there.

The trouble is, whilst the contest might seem like easy meat for a blog like this one, it's difficult to find entries that haven't already had maximum publicity elsewhere in the media. If they're unfathomably bad, chances are the BBC showed them in one of their slightly condescending "Crikey, look at these funny foreigners who think they're talented! Who'd have thunk it, eh?" historical summaries they seem to show every year. Any artist who finished with nul points at the bottom of the board enters an unenviable hall of fame, and becomes known in a manner they almost certainly wouldn't be if they'd just released their song on a small record label and let it sell the twenty copies it was probably destined to.

There are exceptions, however. The rather marvellous Telex from Belgium - bottom rung finishers in 1980 - deliberately entered the ridiculous Kraftwerk styled "Eurovision" to scattered applause. Their concessions to choreography on the night revolved around the gentle movements of their scarves, a piece of sly subversion which would have earned them a vote from me at the very least.

If you're in any doubt that the above isn't especially representative of the band's fare, here's the video to "Moskow Discow", which proves they were utterly ace when they wanted to be.

If you think such electronic diversions are a rarity in Eurovision, you wouldn't be entirely wrong... but the times they are a-changing, as Georgia's Bjorkish entry for 2007's contest proves. Sopho's "Visionary Dream" is still on my iPod playlist now, and shows that when you combine throttling diva-ish vocals with squelching, honking keyboards, you get something which... doesn't perform that well on the final scoreboard, really. Nonetheless, this is genuinely one of my favourite Eurovision songs of the past decade:

And finally, for this entry, let's finish on one of the few Ska entries there's ever been on Eurovision (to the best of my knowledge), Athena's "For Real" in 2004. If the lead singer hasn't considered growing himself some hair and becoming the Turkish Kevin Rowland on the tribute band circuit, he certainly should do - there would be a pretty penny in it for him, and that's for sure. This finished in a quite creditable sixth place at the time, though it deserved to romp home given the feeble competition that year.

I will be back with some more Eurovision material later in the week, before the main contest on Saturday night. 

18 May 2015

Emerging #4 - Hazel English, Peaness and Smoking Trees (and The Pre New)

Time for a quick look at some of the new and emerging music that's caught my ears and imagination this month…

First off the bat is the Australian-born but Oakland, California-dwelling Hazel English whose debut Soundcloud appearance "Never Going Home" is unexpectedly compelling. Like an aural representation of a faded sepia photograph, "Never Going Home" is a beautifully foggy song, filled with Boards of Canada-esque wobbly synth sounds but a down-home folky melody. The lyrics themselves appear to be tinged with nostalgia and yearning but also breaking away for the future, and indeed the song pulls precisely the same melodic stunt - this is classic sounding songwriting being towed straight into the present.

It's completely impossible to say whether Hazel English has any other work like this hidden away, but this is an exceptionally promising start.

I discovered Chester's Peaness through the ever-reliable and long-standing "Sweeping The Nation" blog, and while they have arguably the worst new band name of the year so far, their debut offering "Fortune Favours The Bold" affords angsty teenage vocal harmonies and sharp and peppy indie melodies. More to the point, they appear to have seriously developed songwriting chops for ones so young - "Fortune" is riddled with the kind of nagging yet crafted catchiness most bands take years to master. If this were the late nineties and John Peel still had a late-night radio show, they'd be potential candidates for a Festive Fifty place.

The appearance of Los Angeles' Smoking Trees on this blog may seem like a fix as I'm sure there's already been some backwards-forwards linking between "Left and to the Back" and Sir Psych's blog, but in truth they're an obvious shoe-in for us anyway. Latest recording "Home In The Morning" is evidence of why even the hardest among you nostalgia-freak readers may find a lot to love - it's raw but psychedelic and a brilliant aural approximation of an early morning stoned head-fog, two minutes of reverb-heavy bliss.

Finally, The Pre New have their roots in both World of Twist and Earl Brutus - the latter of whom are one of my favourite groups of all time - and have already had one album out, 2012's fantastically biting "Music For People Who Hate Themselves". Therefore, they don't really qualify for this section of the blog as new, emerging artists, but their new LP "The Male Eunuch" is out TODAY and all the signs are it's going to be a step up from their last effort.

Preview track "Photographic" below combines eighties synth pop with a creeping 21st Century menace and takes the purity of old Brutus tracks such as "On Me Not In Me" and raises the grit up a notch.

17 May 2015

Legay - No-one/ The Fantastic Story of the Steam Driven Banana

Label: Fontana
Year of Release: 1968

Of all the psychedelic obscurities to enjoy an unofficial seven-inch reissue, Legay's "No-one" is perhaps one of the least expected but most deserved. Unlike a lot of "psych monsters", "No-one" was surprisingly overlooked by the big-hitter compilation series of the eighties and nineties, rejected (or perhaps undiscovered) by "Rubble", ignored by "A Perfumed Garden", snubbed by "Chocolate Soup"… and as for an appearance on the "Nuggets II" box set, forget it, obviously.

This is an absurd state of affairs, because while most of those compilations tended to dub any pop song with flowery lyrics and a tiny bit of phasing on the drums during the bridge as "psychedelic", "No-one" is full-on sitar chaos. Thrashing exotically away, it's like a bubblegum "Tomorrow Never Knows" or, perhaps, like an American garage band filled with Eastern Promise. Filled with excellent driving beats, it makes an immediate and positive impression.

Of equal interest is the B-side "The Fantastic Story of the Steam Driven Banana", which surely wins the much-coveted prize for "The Most Popsike Song Title In The World Ever". Poppy, breezy and riddled with chiming keyboard hooks, it rivals The Blossom Toes for both absurdity and beautifully insistent melody. As for why a steam driven banana would be owned by a farmer, I'm not the person to ask.

Legay were apparently a very big deal in their native Leicester where their live set partly consisted of convincing and hard-hitting soul and Motown covers, meaning that this single only scratches the surface of their abilities. Consisting of John Knapp on guitar, keyboards and vocals, Dave McCarthy on Bass, Robin Pizer on guitar and vocals (and clearly songwriting duties), Rod Read on guitar and vocals and the oddly named Moth Smith on drums, they later evolved into the seventies outfit Gypsy.

Circle Records are planning a seven inch EP of previously unreleased Legay tracks for the beginning of June.

(Someone has correctly pointed out to me that "Steam Driven Banana" is commercially available on various websites, so I've deleted it from the box below. However, the curious can still hear it over on YouTube). 

13 May 2015

The "You Know Who" Group - Roses Are Red My Love/ Playboy

Label: London
Year of Release: 1965

Groups or performers refusing all interviews and veiling their true identities is, by modern day standards, unusual behaviour but not especially original. The reasons behind it have varied enormously, but tend to be for either artistic or practical reasons. The Art of Noise spent their early career hiding behind masks to encourage a greater focus on their music, whereas TISM masked themselves up purely because the edgy, satirical Australian pop group had a few schoolteachers in their ranks who might have lost their day jobs had their identities been revealed.

Back in the sixties, the motives tended to be a lot more cynical. The Guess Who shot to success in Canada in the USA by presenting themselves as a British band hiding under a new identity. The Moles and The Score tried to create some kind of enigma around themselves in the expectation that someone would think they were Beatles, Stones or Kinks in exile, but failed to hit home. Then there was the less catchily named "You Know Who" Group…

"Roses Are Red My Love" was released in the USA a full two months before The Guess Who's gambit, and is a piece of remarkable craftiness. Imitating the British beat sound and even getting the lead singer to vocalise with an English accent (with inevitable Dick Van Dyke styled consequences) it desperately wants to dupe the public into thinking this is a famous band moonlighting for reasons known only to themselves. And one can only speculate - what could those reasons have possibly been? Spare cash on the side behind the record company's back? Running away from their manager who had gangland connections? Shits and giggles? Clearly people were a lot more credulous about cynical marketing ploys in 1965 than they are these days. 

Unbelievably though, one rumour suggests that the members of The "You Know Who" Group were far closer to The Beatles than one might suppose. Merseybeat group The Undertakers (featuring future Apple signing Jackie Lomax) are alleged to be behind the backing tracks here, and all were mates with The Beatles on the live circuit. The group decamped to the USA at the end of 1964 following the termination of their contract with Pye, hard-up and desperate for work, and found some luck through the producer Bob Gallo who also happened to be responsible for this record. However, there is absolutely no concrete evidence to suggest that this is them, and they've never gone on record to confirm it - and those vocals sure as hell don't sound like Lomax. But whoever else was responsible, they've been very shy about coming forward, remaining as masked as they ever were. 

"Roses Are Red My Love" was enough of a minor hit in the USA to ensure that it still crops up on one hit wonder compilations, putting it outside the remit of this blog. It's available on YouTube, though, and you can hear for yourself that it's a cute period piece, all rasping harmonicas and teenage angst. The flip  "Playboy" (below) is a bit more raw and minimal.  

I'm hedging my bets wildly here and almost asking for trouble, but if you had any associations with this group and would like to take this opportunity to come forward, please do so. I have absolutely no idea what evidence you would need to provide to convince me that you're being genuine, but this is worth a try. 

10 May 2015

The Pickwicks - Little By Little/ I Took My Baby Home

Label: Warner Bros
Year of Release: 1965

Consisting of Alan Gee on guitar, Malcolm Jenkins on drums, Tony Martin on bass and Johnny Miles on lead guitar and vocals, Coventry's The Pickwicks were one of many sixties beat groups who utilised costumes on stage to strike an eccentric presence. Donning top hats, period costumes and pulling pompous faces, their inventive use of clobber got them noticed, but ultimately didn't score them a hit. Two Decca singles, "Apple Blossom Time" and "You're Old Enough To Be In Love" didn't chart, and this, their final hurrah on Warner Brothers, was equally luckless.

The A-side "Little by Little" is an incredibly minimal, almost garagey effort which isn't so spiky as to be uncommercial, but certainly isn't populist enough to break through. Nonetheless, its insistent keyboard riff and simmering attitude is enticing.

Of far more interest to most readers, I suspect, will be the flip, the Ray Davies composition "I Took My Baby Home". Clattering and crashing into the tune with aplomb, it's a lovely and uplifting two minutes. 

Rumours abounded for many years that Jimmy Page played on both sides of this single, but there's now some dispute over whether that was actually the case. Whatever, it's an innocent and joyous slice of vinyl, and isn't really talked about as much as it deserves to be. 

6 May 2015

Reupload - Patrick D Martin - I Like Lectric Motors/ Time

Label: Deram
Year of Release: 1979

I've blogged at some length before about how much revisionism has occurred on the topic of eighties (or in this case, cusp seventies/ eighties) electronic music. This isn't necessarily surprising in itself - history is generally written by the winners, and why would the Great Book of Rock and Pop waste its time devoting entry space to Karel Fialka, The Techno TwinsTik and Tok and other such robo-jerking comrades when the battle was conclusively won by people who attempted to give machines a soul, who realised that focussing all their artistic and lyrical efforts on the novelty of modern electronic devices would eventually be regarded as nothing more than a novelty itself?

Indisputable though this may be, "Left and to the Back" has never been about analysing victories in pop, and "I Like Lectric Motors" by Patrick D Martin is yet another electronic obscurity which, instead of utilising electronics gracefully a la Soft Cell, New Order and The Human League, judders all over the show like a giant angry mutant wasp zig-zagging its way towards the party food. Focussing its lyrical efforts on the benefits of non-combustion engines, and being a damn sight better at predicting the future than most music of this era in the process, "I Like Lectric Motors" manages to avoid sounding hackneyed by actually being damn good. A simple idea based upon stomping, jerky repetition, it's brief, to the point, and a welcome splash of cold water to the face. A popular DJ spin choice at the "Blitz Club" at the turn of the eighties, it's been surprisingly overlooked by revivalists since, turning up for mere buttons in record stores and on internet auction sites.

As for who Patrick D Martin was and what else he did, good question. Another strangely prophetic song entitled "Computer Dating" came forth from his pen (whoever he was, he was certainly good at this malarky, perhaps he should have become a Science Fiction writer) and he appeared to get minor press reviews in, amongst other places, "Billboard" magazine, but beyond that there's very little to go on. Please do comment if you know more.

And remember - Electric motors have no fears.

(This blog entry was originally written in August 2011. Reinhard Steinbrecher dropped by to comment:

"Patrick D. Martin from London lived in Erlangen near Nuremberg Franconia Bavaria Germany since the Seventies.

He sold London Avantgarde Jeans and Jackets in his Boutique in Erlangen near Disco Marco Polo.His songs were recorded in Moehrendorfstudios near Erlangen with A.Buehler (from Erlangens CULT_BAND WIND, legendary Stefan Fischer and on bass: John Davis - Fuerth later famous as the real voice of Milli Vanilli.")

3 May 2015

David and David - In The City/ Good Morning Morning

Label: Columbia
Year of Release: 1970

While this piece of popsike hasn't quite slipped through the net - it did end up on the "Curiosity Shop" compilation last year - it has, it's safe to say, been rather largely ignored since its release despite the Gus Dudgeon production credit. Shunned even by the mighty Bible of all things sixties and esoteric, the "Tapesty of Delights" encyclopaedia, it's inexplicable that this one has been left to gather dust for so long.

There's an unquestionable Moody Blues air about the proceedings on "In The City", with a great deal of melodramatic vocalisations and despairing orchestrations about the angst of urban life, but the song has enough of a pop edge to succeed by the time the chorus rolls around. It's naive, charming, slightly silly and sweet and also somehow a tad epic with it, qualities that rarely occur in the same song at the same time. If Elton John actually had got around to covering Nick Drake, it might have ended up sounding a bit like this.

David and David were clearly a duo (and spare me the jokes about David Steel and David Owen of the Liberal/ SDP alliance, please). The identity of one of these Davids is unclear, but the other is clearly David Mindel, who would later go on to join the widely compiled Esprit de Corps whose "If (Would It Turn Out Wrong)" has been a mainstay of sixties rarity LPs. I think this is a slightly better single than that, though - not as woozy or psychedelic sounding, despite its earlier release date, but certainly a much more convincing and strident piece of work.

Besides working with the DJ Mike Read in the aforementioned Esprit de Corps, Mindel went on to become a respected soundtrack man and TV themes writer, whose biggest money spinner must surely be the British National Lottery theme. Don't feel too sorry for him, readers, I'm sure he copes.