Monday, June 13, 2011

The Groove - The Wind / Play The Song 7" ITA Parlophone 4C006-80109, 1969

For me The Groove are a bit of a dull band. Skilled musicians, sure. Lots of feel, it's just their choice of musical styles doesn't excite me. In 1968 they moved to London and recorded a last 7" which was released by Parlophone in the UK (R5783) and Italy, in a sleeve.

As far as the A-side goes, I feel I have to paraphrase Forced Exposure's one line review of 7 Seconds New Wind LP, "Something is blowing here, but, uh, is it the wind?" All gags aside, it's one of those big London winter ballads - piano, choral voices, big vocals.

The flipside is more interesting - uptempo, Hammond driven, swinging London - not too bad.

Issued in Australia by Columbia (DO-8811).

After this the band morphed into Eureka Stockade and had a 7" released in the UK, Germany and Belgium.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cherokees - It's Gonna Work out Fine 7" USA Gary GA 1001, 1965

I thought I'd closed the book on overseas Cherokees 7"s with their New Zealand 45. However it is pleasing that a year after I started this, obscure foreign issues are still popping up.

Prior to their run of seven singles on Go!!, The Cherokees had two 7"s and an LP on W&G label. This was their second release (W&G WG-S-2377).  It's Gonna Work Out Fine is a ballad, so we go to the B side for kicks. I've Got Something To Tell You is a decent beat track with good guitar flourishes, but the lyrics are lamesville, unfortunately. This one is written by Bill Martin and Tommy Scott. I can't figure out the vector by which it got to Melbourne but there seems to be another 1965 version by a Scottish Band, the Boston Dexters.

Oddly the songwriting credit for the A side on both the Australian issue and this one is to Senecel-Lee. Senecel should be Joe Seneca.

Ben Ghazi -  Saturn Music gives no clues either. We'll have to record an open verdict on this one.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Master's Apprentices - Undecided 7" GER Metronome M-981, 1967

Here's a undeniably handsome German sleeve for the Masters Apprentices first single. The band photo is great, the red song titles are florid, and of course the music is pretty damn good too. A double sided masterpiece in fact.

Quite astounding that this got a release in Germany. Go!!, which was distributed by Astor, was proactive in getting their records out outside Australia, but Astor itself wasn't. Mind you they didn't release a lot of Australian bands, really. And on the other hand they did distribute a lot of overseas labels and bands, and I assume they had reciprocal arrangements with some of them. 

I think I've got the line-up in the photo right - it's a 1967 photo. From left to right: Jim Keays, Steve Hopgood, Gavin Webb, Mick Bower and Tony Sommers. The actual line-up that recorded the single had Rick Morrison and Brian Vaughton instead of Sommers and Hopgood. The Australian issue was Astor A-7071 from November 1966.

Monday, October 4, 2010

M.P.D. Ltd EP NZL Salem XE3012, 1965

Previously we looked at the Cherokees 7" on the Salem label from New Zealand. M.P.D. Ltd also had two 7"s and this rare EP released on Salem.

The EP was originally issued in Australia as Go!! GEP1004 and contains the tracks Little Boy Sad / You Might As Well Forget Him // Lonely Boy / Lonesome Traveller. The Go!! version has a full colour version of this cover pic but I kind of like this black and blue design.

Lonesome Traveller only ever appeared at the time on these EPs, but, that's not really a reason to track it down, it's not much of a song. You Might As Well Forget Him did turn up on the flipside of their last single from 1967, Paper Doll.

Little Boy Sad and Lonely Boy were of course the band's first two singles and were huge hits. These were the two 7"s also released on Salem in NZ.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tommy Adderley - I Just Don't Understand 7" CAN Chess, M-314 1964

Tommy Adderley was a baller. A merchant seaman from Birmingham (UK) who lobbed up in Wellington (NZ) in 1959 and proceeded to shag his way through both islands for the next 35 years.

One of his early 45s is this very cool, brooding, beat number, backed by Max Merritt & the Meteors. It came out in New Zealand and Australia on Viking 156.

Normie Rowe also did a pretty cool version of this track. I'm not sure which I prefer but I dig Brummie Tommy hamming up a Liverpool accent.

I also really dig this Canadian Chess black and silver label - very classy. The song was apparently a small hit in  both the USA and Canada, so much so that it got released on two different labels in Canada (see below).

You can hear it here. And if you'd like to read more about Tommy Adderley's antics browse pages from an oddly endearing book written by an admirer here, or buy it here.

Here's the other releases - on Mar Mar 314 from the USA (this label was a Chess subsidiary), and the other Canadian issue on Quality 1672.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Blue Stars - I Can Take It 7" UK Decca F.12303, 1965

The UK release of kiwi band the Blue Stars revved up beater I Can Take It came out three months prior to its NZ release (NZ Decca DEC-361).

The first modern article written about the Blue Stars was by John Baker in The Livin' End 7. He states that the Please Be A Little Kind / I Can Take It 7" was "also released in Europe and Japan!!" A few years later in the excellent article by Andrew Schmidt in Social End Product this was extended to "the single was also released in Australia, Japan and the United States, where Billboard reviewed it favourably." Then goes the whole hog: "the single was released in Britain and the Continent, as well as the US, Japan and Australia."

Now Baker and Schmidt are no slouches when it comes to research but I have to make the challenge - label scans or it never happened!!!

Here's what I've found:
  • US Billboard is completely searchable on Google books. The only mention of the Blue Stars (or Bluestars) is that Social End Product was a hit in an NZ report from the Dec 31 1966 issue;
  • Here's the Australian Decca discography. No Blue Stars. There's a few gaps there, but none between Y7242 (corresponding to about the UK F12180s in early '65), to Y7336 (mid-late '66 around the UK F12500s);
  • I looked through the Japanese record porn books that I and a friend own - no Blue Stars Japanese issue pictured.
OK, nothing conclusive, and continental Europe is a black hole from where, 45 years later, we're all still finding odd releases. And while I haven't collected sixties records as fervently as my main genre I ain't never seen hide nor hair of the claimed releases. So - please be a little kind and send me hard evidence. I can take it!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ray Columbus and The Art Collection - Kick Me 7" USA Colstar 67-1001, 1967

Take yourself back to the first time you heard this monster. For most of us it was probably on Ugly Things 2 in 1983, or maybe Off The Wall in 1981, or maybe you held an original copy prior to that. Whenever, I hope your memory is similar to mine - that is being sat flat on your arse by the song. And for me, ignoring the previous 19 songs on that Ugly Things (no slouches amongst them) to play Kick Me over and over again.

Fast forward to this millenium and a copy appears on eBay circa 2005, in a lot with some other Ray Columbus 7"s on the same label. From memory that first lot went for about $500. Straight away another went up and we saw the start of the classic exponential decay of price curve that accompanies quantity finds. I think I got the fourth or fifth one by which time it had dropped to $150 or so. There haven't been too many times since then that copies haven't been up, usually from that same seller. A copy will set you back somewhere between $75-125. What are you waiting for?

There was a quantity find - the seller bought out the back stock of the label. Which reminds me of my favourite part of the legend (since I'm a record collector): the only copy of this found in the wild in NZ was at an Op Shop under the office of Ray Columbus's manager. For the rest of the story perhaps head to Andrew Schmidt's account of Ray's time in San Francisco - and at the bottom there's a clip of the song itself.

What hasn't been touched on too much elsewhere is the re-recording of She's A Mod. While enthusiastic, I've always found the original version with the Invaders to be sappy and twee. Here it is somewhat updated - the major improvement is two 12-string tinged guitar breaks and a mild freakout replacing the well known crescendo at the end. The mid-song scream is definitely better on the earlier version though.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ian Crawford - So Much In Love With You 7" USA Interphon IN-7718, 1965

The question for today is - Is this even Australian?

Let's look at both sides of the argument:

Pro: There was an Ian Crawford recording in Australia. He released four singles on HMV and Leedon in 1960-61, and one on Astor in 1969 (which Dean Mittelhauser described as "Rare!!" in a late 80s auction list). He might have even been the Ian Crawford from Crawford Productions (Homicide et al).

Con: These tracks were never released in Australia, unlike...

Pro: ...the other Australian and Kiwi records on Interphon: April Byron, John Chester & The Chessmen, Dinah Lee and ahem, Peter Posa. Interphon, you see, was a label for non-US artists, with a rich antipodean connection.

Con: The flipside - She Goes With Someone New, about a girl spreading it all around town, is written by John Walsh and Murray Wecht, songwriters who worked across the road from the Brill building, and So Much In Love With You has a production credit to John Walsh. So is it a New York production? Mind you, all sorts of songwriting and other credit scams occurred at the time (remind me to tell you about the Notables 7" sometime).

I think I know the answer, but I'll let you ponder it for a while - check back next week. Oh the song? It's beaty pop; an early Nanker-Phelge effort; nothing too special - I can see why they gave it away, first to the Mighty Avengers, from whence this version was presumably prompted.

The Loved Ones EP FRA Festival FX 1528 M, 1967

This one's quite well known, but what a great sleeve. The photo is cool, though they do all look like they are leaning to the right.

So, typically great sleeve design, for which the French are justifiably famous. But I just noticed the typo - Everlovin' Man has become Ever Lovin'man. Apostrophes always throw graphic designers. Aujourd'hui we have a mid-word French variation.

W&G released The Loved Ones EP in Australia, this French version replacing Blueberry Hill by More Than Love.

Where do you classify The Loved Ones? The Loved One itself is prime punk for me, the rest is slightly off-kilter rhythm and blues and downkey oddities (The Loverly Car for example - bizarre).

Lastly, I should mention there's a French jukebox 7" pairing The Loved One and Everlovin' Man.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cicadas - That's What I Want 7" GER RCA Victor, 47-8339, 1964

Our first foreign picture sleeve, and it's Sydney's Cicadas who scored a German release of their first 7" in a sleeve. It was also released sleeveless in the USA (same catalogue no.) and Canada (57-3314).

much covered song - this version is nice and beaty, with a strange, almost dub, intro. There's two other Australian versions. The best is a good, wyld reading by the Henchmen that wasn't released at the time and made it on to the Ugly Things CD. Tasmania's Kravats also did a slightly more subdued version.

The Cicadas had three more 7"s before moving to the UK and becoming the Gibsons.

Released in Australia on RCA 101552.