29 July 2020

Offered With Very Little Comment #8 - The Hood/ Jimmy Wilson/ Laughing Jack/ Peppi/ Les Reed

Five 45s long waiting for their moment on the blog

It's time again for me to flick through my vinyl to-do pile and upload a bunch of tunes which may or may not be of interest to readers - but to be honest, I couldn't think of much to say about.

Finding material for "Left and to the Back" is not an exact science, and frequently involves me returning from the record shop (or Discogs or eBay) with a lot of flotsam and jetsam. Some of this material is so uninteresting I never even get around to digitising it, while other bits are perfectly good but hard to get much interesting information about.

So then, behind the link please find five more 45s which have been gathering dust next to my record player for months now, waiting for the moment when I finally realised that the lead singer behind one of them was actually a future actress on Eastenders, or used to play bass for Joe Brown's backing band, or... I don't know, anything.

Feel free to fill in any blanks in the comments. If the previews don't seem to be working properly, go right to the file source to download them from there.

Artist: The Hood
Single: You Never Can Tell/ I Am The Hood
Label: RAK
Year of Release: 1973

This very nearly got its own entry, purely by dint of being a rare example of Mike Chapman - of Sweet, Suzi Quatro and Chinn and Chapman production team fame - striking out as the lead singer on a record. His previous attempt had been "Lord I Want To Know" under the pseudonym Chapel.

It's not a half-hearted effort as well, being filled with the kind of fruity-tooty rock and roll boogie I can imagine the seventies era John Lennon appreciating, but doesn't really bring much new to the table either. For the kids out there who hadn't heard Chuck Berry's original, it might have been a treat, but there's virtually no glam about this rock at all. 

I had high hopes for the flip side being a wigged-out, freaky jam, but sadly it's just marking time and taking space. 

Artist: Jimmy Wilson
Single: See That Girl/ Dime A Dance
Label: Decca
Year of Release: 1966

Jimmy Wilson was one of many pop crooners who found the mid-sixties cold and unwelcoming towards his fireside balladry, and as such he never scored a hit. 

Wilson was an ex-seaman hailing from London who managed to release four singles in the sixties, none of which picked up sufficient attention to excite the public. They're all well performed and you can hear why Decca showed him such enormous faith, but they were clearly lost back at sea during what was an unbelievable boom time for British music.

Artist: Laughing Jack
Single: Do You Wanna Dance/ Caramel De Leight
Label: Young Blood
Year of Release: 1980

While thought of as being a seventies label, Young Blood did actually have a relaunch in the eighties to zero success. This cover of "Do You Wanna Dance" is one of the singles that hoped to make the label an industry name again, but it fell a long way short of anyone's expectations, just like everything else they issued that decade.

This has all the hallmarks of a studio group trying to score a quickie hit with a cover version. Good choice, but there was possibly little to set this one apart from the competition at the time. 

Artist: Peppi
Single: So Used To Loving You/ Don't Trust My Friend
Label: Fontana
Year of Release: 1964

Peppi - real name unavailable/ untraceable - was a child dancer from Florida, born to showbiz parents, the sort of chap who is normally assured success.  He eventually moved on to singing as an adult and Andrew Loog Oldham was so impressed with his ability to put on a show he managed him for a period in the mid-sixties, determined to break his act to a British public. 

This didn't happen, and Peppi's five singles - all on Decca apart from this one, strangely - are a mix of beat pop and yearning balladry. This one comes from the "yearning balladry" category and underlines Peppi's vocal skills without necessarily producing anything that sounded like an obvious hit.

Artist: Les Reed
Single: Rain Of Love/ Well I Did
Label: Chapter One
Year of Release: 1969

And lastly but not least(ly), the master songwriter and arranger Les Reed - penner of "It's Not Unusual", "The Last Waltz", "There's A Kind Of Hush", "Tell Me When" and countless others - has a turn behind the mic with one of his own tunes.

It's pleasant enough but its scarcity in the record bins these days highlights just how little the public took notice of the master delivering his own material, and Les fairly swiftly returned back to easy listening arrangements and writing songs for the great and good. 


Anonymous said...

Marvelous Dave !!

Thank you so !!


Arthur Nibble said...

You probably know this, so apologies, but Les Reed Orchestra's "Man Of Action" was the unofficial theme tune of pirate radio station Radio North Sea International. The tune played throughout a mayday sent live over the airwaves when someone on a launch threw a bomb onto RNSI's ship causing a big fire.