27 February 2019

The New Jump Band - The Only Kind Of Girl/ Seven Kinds Of Sweet Lovin'

Two swinging sides of mod soul - this really should be hugely collectible by now

Label: Domain
Year of Release: 1968

Just when I think that record collectors everywhere had managed to suss out every last drop of sixties goodness and send the value of records stratospheric, I magically find one more that commands modest prices. 

Side A here, "The Only Kind of Girl", has nudged its way on to some slightly under-the-radar obscurities compilations and can be bought on iTunes - so sorry, no freebies here, though YouTube is also your friend - but it's the flip that really kicks with its smoky Soho basement club grooves. "Seven Kinds of Sweet Lovin'" pounds and blasts its way into your heart, never once dropping the hooky intensity of its performance. The vinyl itself is also cut respectably loud so nobody in the room can be in any doubt about its worth.

The New Jump Band came from Walthamstow in East London, and by the point of this release consisted of Laurie Beazley on lead vocals, Trevor Hubbert on guitar, Al Mayne on organ, John Cushen on bass, George Mugele on tenor sax, Geoff Condon on alto sax, and John Herridge on drums. Such a bloated line-up was obviously necessary for the group to perform soul with the necessary power, but inevitably resulted in an ever-changing personnel which means earlier group line-ups featured almost entirely different members - The Garage Hangover website does an excellent job of unpicking the knots here.

23 February 2019

Reupload - Reparata - Shoes/ A Song For All

Fantastic piece of mid-70s art-pop which should have been huge

Label: D'Art
Year of Release: 1975

1975 isn't renowned for being a year when a lot of quirky pop music found its way into people's lives, and the public were clearly crying out for some slightly skewed musical moments. They nearly got some, too - for this single is a prime example of something which only fell by the wayside due to a particularly tangled web of misfortune.

Reparata had previously had a modestly successful career with the sixties Brooklyn outfit Reparata and the Delrons, whose chirpy "Captain of Your Ship" single burst out of the USA and took the world by storm. Later in the nineties, to the complete befuddlement of everyone in the UK (or at least me) the very same song enjoyed a slight revival as the backing to a Mullerice advert, with Reparata's trilling, girlish words being mimed by a cartoon captain with an Uncle Albert beard who appeared to be commandeering a man's stomach. But let's park that thought for now, viewers, because things start to get even more confusing in a minute.

"Shoes" was originally issued as a promotional copy by Surrey International in 1974, then failed to make the shops for reasons which are unclear. Polydor picked it up for release in 1975, it became Tony Blackburn's single of the week, then immediately ran into enormous legal difficulties. Firstly, one of the remaining members of the Delrons claimed the rights to the Reparata name, and issued a legal challenge. This failed, but no sooner had that case been dropped than the independent D'art Records emerged crying foul, issuing an injunction and insisting that the rights to the single were actually theirs under the terms of a previous contract and Polydor had no business to be releasing it. Tedious music industry chaos ensued for some time before a compromise was reached whereby copies would be produced on both the Polydor and D'Art labels, both distributed and pressed by Polydor, with the profits presumably split in some undisclosed way.

20 February 2019

Offered With Very Little Comment #5 - Nanette Workman, The Odd, The Memories, Dane Hunter, Soft Sensation

Some regular readers will be aware of the fact that from time to time, I throw a whole batch of singles up on to this blog in one swoop while writing very little about them.

This is usually for one of a few very simple reasons:

  • I know virtually nothing about the artist(s) in question
  • I have very little to say about the music
  • The record in question didn't really seem to me to warrant a lot of dissection. Nothing wrong with that. Sometimes things just are what they are. 
So then, with no apologies offered for the lack of background reading, and with no expectations raised, please see the latest batch behind the link.

17 February 2019

Paul Dean and The Thoughts - You Don't Own Me/ Hole In The Head

"Sorry Pen". It's an angry song by Paul Nicholas telling his partner what's what and what's not.

Label: Decca
Year of Release: 1965

Paul Nicholas is one of light entertainment's most flexible characters. From pop singer to stage actor to comedy actor to director, the man has jumped on every opportunity going, and impressively enough, managed to succeed at all of them. While the British public are most familiar with his charming but flawed character Vince in "Just Good Friends", his career actually began in the recording studio.

"Paul Dean" was one his early aliases, and "You Don't Own Me" is a very unexpected cover of a Lesley Gore near-hit. In Lesley's hands, it sounds like the defiant cry of an independent young woman who doesn't want to be saddled with a serious and possessive relationship. At the point of its 1964 release, it must have sounded like a fairly radical and powerful piece of work. Paul Nicholas swaps the gender roles around for his version, and it just sounds sneering and boorish, and at the point of Paul protesting that he doesn't just want to be an attractive piece of fluff on his woman's arm, slightly unusual (though he is Paul Nicholas, I suppose). It's hard to imagine female record buyers being attracted to it, and judging by its low sales, the men didn't bother either.

13 February 2019

The Keystones - Faded Flowers/ Psychedelic Prayer

Ultra obscure and perplexing organ driven Dutch 'psychedelic' 45

Label: Omega
Year of Release: 1968

Here's a mystery for you all. This is one of those 45s barely anyone seems to own a copy of, but nonetheless isn't especially valuable. This, on first inspection, seems slightly unbelievable. Any psychedelic record - even if it only features a pub singer singing a pop standard with some heavy studio phasing - seems to go for at least a tenner these days. So what's the issue here?

In answer to my self-posed question, I suspect it's because The Keystones were only ever really a psychedelic group in their own minds. Pre-empting the trend for ebay spivs claiming anything with a 1967 release date is a "PSYCH RARITY!" they've released a track with a flip called "Psychedelic Prayer" here which doesn't really tick many boxes on the "Psych or Not" electric lemonade test sheet. True, there's an organ high in the mix on both sides, but it's more Bontempi than Farfisa, and beyond that these songs are just mellow, tuneful little jams with classical influences.

The flip is inevitably the most interesting, in that it features a primitive kind of rap which seems to act as a psychedelic incantation over the  Bontempi riffs. I'm quite sure I know roughly what The Keystones "were on", and it's nothing stronger than Tizer.

10 February 2019

Reupload - Jackie Lee - Space Age Lullaby/ Sleep

Fantastic piece of 70s futurism for an ICI Pharmaceuticals project

Label: ICI Pharmaceuticals Division
Year of Release: 1972

Jackie Lee is no stranger to this blog. Back in March 2012 we focussed on the dual-headed kinderpop sensation "Inigo Pipkin/ End of Rainbow", the B-side of which still causes outbreaks of wistful melancholy in me despite the fact that I'm almost certainly not the target audience. 

Lee is probably most known for the "Rupert The Bear" theme so far as the general public are concerned, and that's a pity. She cut a number of knockout singles throughout the sixties and seventies, of which the Northern Soul favourite "I Gotta Be With You" highlights her strengths most keenly. A fantastic and highly expressive vocalist, it's unsurprising that she found herself in demand for soundtrack and session work when the "proper pop career" failed. 

"Space Age Lullaby" is one of the odder Lee efforts, being a Bowie-influenced ballad produced for the Savlon Babycare range (say that sentence aloud, bounce it around the room, revel in how ludicrous it sounds). ICI Pharmaceuticals whisked her into the studio to beautifully whisper lines like "Put another ring around Saturn, space age boy" and "Will you circle the stars incredibly suited/ in silver with fish bowls for eyes", all while backed by a lush arrangement. While it should be the usual cheap plastic junk which is so often thrown off the corporate promotional production line, it's actually a delightful product of its era, filled with wide-eyed wonder and naiveté, embracing the future rather than fearing it. Clearly addressed to a small child, it's sad to consider that we wouldn't harbour such thoughts about a new-born now - we'd just keep our fingers crossed that the future stayed environmentally and economically stable. 

6 February 2019

Pacific Drift - Water Woman/ Yes You Do

Lovely piece of simple, mellow hippy pop from Manchester prog outfit

Label: Deram
Year of Release: 1970

Here's yet another track that originally appeared on the "Great British Psychedelic Trip" compilation series, but since seems to have fallen out of circulation. Perhaps that's not too surprising. In those environs, it sounded ever so slightly unBritish - it was originally recorded by American heavies Spirit, after all - and shot through with a mellow, countrified sheen rather than the hooky, phased pop of the other tracks.

While it never felt as if it quite fitted in there, as a stand-alone single it sounds far, far better than I remember, and the group find a ridiculous number of things to do with the simple song structure. By the time the tinkling piano enters towards the end of the track, you'd have to be a dedicated misery-guts not to raise a smile.

The flip-side isn't bad either, with Pacific Drift showing off their more natural bluesy leanings. They were, in fact, a progressive blues-rock group from Manchester consisting of Lawrence Arendes on drums, Larry Harrop on bass, Graham Harrop on guitar, Barry Reynolds on violin, guitar and vocals, Brian Chapman on keyboards and vocals, Dave Davani on horns and Jack Lancaster on "woodwind". 

3 February 2019

Hogback 'n' Pig - What Can I Say/ If You Can't Be Good - Be Bad

Driving piece of proto-glam rock from this porcine outfit

Label: CBS
Year of Release: 1971

You may remember me talking about reader Daniel Williams sending me some mp3s for an obscure outfit called The Secrets last month. In the process, he also sent me two singles by this bizarrely named group, who sound more like the trading name of a stall you'd find at a farmer's market than a rock band.

A group they were, mind you, with the members Stuart Edwards and Dave Taylor who were also in the hired band who went under the name Edison Lighthouse. While "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)" was all airy, breezy pop, Hogback 'n' Pig sees them completely letting their hair down. A simple glam backbeat acts as the foundations while subtle electronic squelches and wailing guitar licks sit beneath their growling trucker vocals. If this doesn't fill you with the desire to don denim and spray yourself in Blue Stratos, I don't know what will, and it's somewhat surprising it hasn't found a place on any glam rock compilations yet. It's a mean little number.