Sunday, 31 July 2011


Artist: Francoise Hardy; Title: L'Amour S'En Va; Label: Vogue; Format: 7"EP; Cat. No.: EPL. 8076; Year: 1963; Country: France

Kind of sticking my neck out on this one a little bit - but if I'm wrong then so be it!  Today's post is this 1963 EP from la belle Francoise.  The lead track is "L'Amour S'En Va" ('Love Goes Away' for the non-french speakers out there) and is the song that she sung when she represented Monaco in that year's Eurovision song contest, and the thing that stands out is that her voice is stronger with the jazz-flavoured backing and production of Marcel Hendrix. Good, but not as excellent as the subsequent UK recorded material with Charles Blackwell - which Francoise rates as her best work of the 1960s.  Side One's rounded off with "Je Pense A Lui" - English title 'Wonderful Dream' and again with the french translation penned by FH herself.

Side Two opens with the track that's the focus for this post - the excellent "L'Amour D'Un Garcon".  Written by Bacharach and David as 'The Love Of A Boy' and released by Dionne Warwick (B Side to her 2nd single issue in the UK on Pye International) this version sounds like Francoise's being very close attention to the work of The Shirelles, and her phrasing is pure Shirley Owens (lead Shirelle).  And here's my problem - after doing some digging I'm unable to come across a released Shirelles version of it - so whether they only cut a publishers demo, which Francoise subsequently heard (which would be ironic as Dionne Warwick famously started out doing demos for the bulk of Burt & Hal's tunes) is the best solution I can come up.  The last track on the EP is a Francoise original "Comme Tant D'Autres".

Friday, 15 July 2011


Artist: Billy Bragg; Title: St. Swithin's Day/Between The Wars; Label: Go! Discs; Cat. No.:107 067; Year: 1984; Country: Germany.

Didn't realize until I heard it on the radio this morning that today is St Swithin's Day - and suddenly remembered I had the song of the same name in the collection. So here it is - as today's post.

This 1984 german 45 is the first one the Bard of Barking Billy Bragg put out as a single (UK record buyers would have to wait for the 'Between The Wars' EP issued later in the year).  The song come his 2nd LP 'Brewing Up With Billy Bragg', and is a great poignant love song, and drawing on the fokelore tradition on what the weather will do for next 40 days dependent on how it is on 15th of July.  Listened to this just before writing this and it still holds up as a great tune - just shows what you can do with only a voice and a guitar - and I remember during the mid 80's just how bad music had gotten with yer Spandau Ballet, and the over produced PWL drivel.  Then this comes along like a complete (and very well needed) breath of fresh air.

The flip side is the Billy Bragg anthem that is "A New England", and comes from his 1983 debut "Life's A Riot With Spy Vs. Spy".  I'd always found that title sliughtly puzzling till I read in an interview that it was the name he did his first solo gigs under after having got out of the army.  The song was of course a hit for the late great Kirsty McColl - and had an extra verse written for her to bring it up to the 3 minute mark; and in the process making it more radio friendly.  And it didn't do Billy Bragg's career any harm either!

Sunday, 10 July 2011


Artist: The Temptations. Title: "Check Yourself"; Label: Miracle; Cat. No.: MIR 12; Year: 1961; Country: US.

Today I'm featuring this 1961 single from the Temptations issued on the short-lived Motown subsidiary Miracle.  The label issued 12 single during it's lifetime stating with Jimmy Ruffin's 'Don't Feel Sorry For Me' - MIR 1, and ending with this one - MIR 12.  The label wasn't scapped, but it's changed to name mainly to avoid confusion with Smokey's group to that which most music fans will be immediately familiar with - Gordy.

The A Side "Check Yourself" is very much in the style of the time - with traces of doo-wop, and showing the influences of the period - specifically the Drifters, and was the Temptations 2nd issued single (their first being 'Oh, Mother Of Mine' c/w 'Romance Without Finance' - Miracle MIR 5), and also pretty well as a N Soul tune. It's pretty much the same story with the flip side - "Your Wonderful Love".  Which seems to have more of a proto-Soul feel to it.  And again highlighting the impact of the Drifters, alongside that of Jackie Wilson too - not too surprising considering Berry Gordy's connection to the latter.

Have to say a big thanks to Soulful Kinda Music for their exhaustive discographies which were invaluable in checking/confirming the info on release dates and catalogue numbers - and a site well worth visiting in its own right:-

Friday, 8 July 2011


Artist: The Beatles; Title: "Eleanor Rigby"; Label Parlophone; Cat. No.: R 5493; Year: 1976; Country: UK

Couple of Beatle curios for today's post.  First up this "Gold" disc of the 1976 reissue of "Eleanor Rigby"/"Yellow Submarine".  Which some enterprising soul decided to take a standard copy of this single and paint it gold. Still plays fine, and the reason for buying it was that it caught my eye - and as I seem to remember I only paid a fiver for it Reddington's Rare Records in Brum, when they were directly opposite Moor Street Station back in the mid 80's.

Artist: The Beatles; Title: "Love Me Do"; Label: Parlophone; Cat. No.: R4949; Year: 1982; Country: Ireland

The second disc featured today is this Irish issued copy of "Love Me Do" which I found in Dublin a few years back.  The thing that immediately caught my eye is that label design is based on that used for the Beatles LPs issued in the UK from the late 70's through to the early 80's.  That, and the publishing's credited to McCartney's company MPL Communications Ltd.  I'm guessing this is the Irish equivalent of the 20th Anniversary release - although if anyone knows different then feel free to get in touch! And valuewise - £5 at a guess.

Monday, 4 July 2011


Been a bit since I posted on the blog - job-hunting if you must know.  Still looking, so anyone out the blog-shere based in and around Manchester/UK Northwest looking for someone with a semi-encylopaedic knowledge of music then I'm available - contactable via the email here, and via Facebook!

Artist: The Miracles.  Title: Bad Girl.  Label: Chess.  Cat. No. : 1734.  Year: 1966.

Today's post is hails from the embryonic days of Motown - The Miracles "Bad Girl" released in 1959 on both Motown and Chess.  The main reason being that like Barrett Strong's 'Money', Berry Gordy's fledgling label was unable to cope with the potential demand - hence the deals with other labels who could distribute over a wider area, rather than just the local areas; in the case of the Barrett Strong track via Anna records - run by the then Mrs Marvin Gaye - and in the case of this Miracles tune - via Chess.  Catalogue for those interested on the original Motown 45 only issued locally to the Detroit area was G1 (or with money to burn at a N. Soul auction/record fair/ebay auction) or on the Chess version 1734, which they reissued in 1966 - which this pressing is, and worth around the £20 mark the last time I checked.

Songwise with "Bad Girl" what you get is the that point where Doo-Wop/R'n'B is making that transition into what we'd now regard as Soul - Smokey here co-writing with Berry Gordy - and subjectwise the guy's having his heart broken, but still trying to man enough about it so that the hurt doesn't show - at least too much!

The flip side is the rollicking "I Love You Baby" - again co-written by Smokey and Berry Gordy - and a fair hint of where Lennon and The Beatles drew a fair amount of their early influences/inspiration from. Of course it goes without saying - but it's going to be said anyway, that both of these sides are well worth checking out!