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.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Jon - Upstairs, Downstairs 7" NZL Leedon, LK-1667, 1967

Here is Jon's fab, Gibb brothers penned ode to Anglo girl desire. A particular favourite of mine, seething with obsession and need; her mysterious ways "tor-men-tinnngggggggg myyyyyyy braaaa-iiinnnn..."

But wait on, I thought this blog was about odd O/S pressings? Well look closely - this one's 'Made in New Zealand'. I've only seen a few records like this and this seems to be the only one I've kept. I mean sure there's Delltones and Johnny O'Keefe NZ pressings - but what else is there from the more interesting end of the Leedon spectrum? Hint: Other Leedons from around this time are Tony Cole, a couple of Pogs, Others, Syssys, R. Black and the Rockin Vs...

The Aussie Leedon press has exactly the same catalogue number. Hear the track on Pretty Ugly and Peculiar Hole In The Sky.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Peter Best - Carousel Of Love 7" USA Capitol P 2092, 1967

What a mess! That's my first reaction on hearing these kitchen sink psych operettas - orchestration, sound effects, rich melodies which fall down, break or twist (to replicate the psychedelic experience). Or is the breakdown to replicate the cycle of falling in love, then everything falling apart? Overall a good pop-psych track - hear it on A Forest Of Gold Tops.

This Peter Best was a member of the Pogs from Sydney's North shore. He has a mess of songwriting credits on late 60s records (Tony Shepp's Pretty Dull for one), and two solo singles of his own (this one came out on Columbia here (DO 5039)). Later he composed film scores - Bazza McKenzie is one of his. Interestingly at least half the internet still thinks this single is by the Beatles' drummer, which may have been at least some of the thinking behind Capitol's original US release.

Billboard also reported he'd made a colour film to go with the song which he was sending over to Capitol. I wonder what became of that. They also tantalisingly mention a possible Dutch press - contact me if you're holding (not talking about microdots).

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Jimmy Hannan - Beach Ball 7" USA Atlantic 45-2247, 1964

Yikes. Jimmy Hannan - big toothed, big haired TV show host as I remember him. Well he put out one ok surf record in early '64. I avoided this for years because, well, it's Jimmy Hannan, and how could a song about a beach ball be any good? On the second point the subject of the song is actually balls, you know - parties, soirees, gatherings - same subject as AC/DC's Big Balls, but set on a beach.

Anyway it's a pretty good example of Sydney surf from around that time, instrumentally kicks along really well - I don't actually know who the band is doing backing on this, though the Bee Gees are in there vocally somewhere. 

My source for all things Aussie surf is Stephen McParland's Waltzing The Plank, a pretty great compendium of info. My man Stephen makes the valid point that Jimmy could've Australianised the lyrics of this Jim McGuinn penned piece of Californiana.

Aussie release on Reg Grundy's RG label (RGK-557).

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Merv Benton - Yield Not To Temptation 7" USA Marvel GHGA 401, 1965

Here's the American issue of Merv Benton's seventh single, and the only one to be released outside Australia. I suppose many find Merv to be a bit of a suited square - I don't mind some of his mid period gear and he did cover some unusual songs.

Backed by the Tamlas, this is a good, gutsy version of a Bobby Blue Bland track. On the plus side is the big sound, good vocals from Merv, cool organ, and handclaps. The jury is out, however, on the dollybird chorus providing backing vocals. As a device this can work: see for example some of Mike Furber's Kommotion stuff; or it can distract from an otherwise cool track - I'm thinking of Tony Barber's Wait By The Water. I'll give it a pass on this one, it's a little shrill for my ears.

Issued in Australia in a picture sleeve by W&G (WG-S-2432).

Friday, January 22, 2010

Clefs - Bring It To Jerome 7" GRE Leon LE107, 1967

One of the most unknown overseas pressings is this Greek release of an already obscure Adelaide recording originally on Melbourne label Phono Vox. The general commentary attached to this is "How the hell did this get a Greek release?," and I suppose I'd like to know the answer too.

A good, driving r&b workout with plenty of punky attitude evident. Of course being the Clefs the organ is upfront, though not overly so - guitar and bass get equal time.

The Greeks, as is their wont, flipped the backside and frontside. A Boy Like Me, the Australian A-side, is an organ driven number, and it's alright. Hear both sides here, where there's also photos and history of the band.

Cherokees - I've Gone Wild 7" NZL Salem XS115, 1967

I love a song with just two, two-line verses; then third verse - same as the first. But Melbourne's Cherokees' finest moment has so much more - rollicking punk rhythms, guitar (or rudimentary electronics, or theremin or something) freakouts, screams, plaintive pleading.

An old garage taxonomist once observed "if it mentions 'brain,' it's punk; and if it mentions 'mind,' it's psych". Here we have "Feel what you've done to my brain" and "Please let out of my mind", so I suppose we have punk/psych. No arguments here.

Regular Australian release on Go!!, here's the NZ issue on Salem who put out a handful of Go!! records there. Hear it on Ugly Things Volume 2.