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.