Wednesday, 31 December 2014


Artist: JOHNNY KIDD & THE PIRATES; Title: SHAKIN' ALL OVER; Label: HMV; Format: 7"; Cat. No.: 45-POP 753; Year: 1960; Country: UK

Last post of 2014 - and hoping all you out there in blog-sphere have had a excellent festive period!  Looking today at what has to be a prime chunk of bona fide British Rock 'n' Roll.  Namely this 1960 classic from Johnny Kidd & The Pirates.

The A Side gives you what has to be one of the best bits of home-grown Rock 'n' Roll (yes I know I'm repeating myself but it's a point worth making!) in the shape of "Shakin' All Over".  So what it makes it a classic?  For starters there's that opening guitar riff courtesy of Joe Moretti.  Then there's that clear, clean production - with not a single angelic chorus, or string section in sight.  In short everything a Rock 'n' Roll record should be.

And from the sublime to the downright bloody awful - as the B Side gives you the kitch-fest that is "Yes Sir, That's My Baby".  Which needs to be avoided like the plague!  Just wondering if that was the trade off with EMI - allowing them to do their own thing with the A Side, and then having to record this drivel for the B Side.  It's the type of thing that appears on the 'Can't Believe It's Not Better' slot on Graham Norton's radio show.

That's if from The Vinyl Consultancy for 2014!  See all you vinylheads in the New Year!!!!

Sunday, 7 December 2014


Artist: STEVIE WONDER; Title: I DON'T WHY I LOVE YOU; Label: TAMLA MOTOWN; Format: 7"; Cat. No.: TMG 690; Year; 1969; Country: UK

Carrying on the theme of singles flipped in favour of their B Sides which I mentioned in connection with the recent Shirelles post, looking today at what's probably one of the classic cases of this happening.  This 1969 offering from Stevie Wonder.

The A Side as it was originally issued is the rather excellent "I Don't Why I Love You".  Which finds Stevie Wonder in fine form on this excellent bit of late 60's Soul/Funk - and you can hear creative muscles beginning to be flexed - as the bosses at Motown were beginning to be aware of just what this blind kid was capable of.  I actually came to the song via the Stones cover of it that surfaced on the mid-70's 'Metamorphosis' set which they'd recorded around the time this came out - ie 1969 when their relationship with Decca had soured somewhat.

And what's on the B Side you may ask?  Only what went on to become one of Stevie Wonder's biggest ever hits. A little ditty entitled "My Cherie Amour".  Still prefer the A Side though!

Saturday, 15 November 2014


Artist: DAVID BOWIE; Title: HEROES; Label: RCA VICTOR; Format: 7"EP;  
Cat. No.: 60629; Year: 1980; Country: AUSTRALIA.

Inspired to do this post on after seeing BBC Newsnight last Friday - and their coverage of the 25th Anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down and guess whose song they used? Yep Bowie's anthem from his 2nd LP from 1977 - "Heroes".

So as a result of that, I'm today looking the 1980 Aussie EP that pulls together all three versions of the song.  Side One kicks off with the original English version - and one of those songs that can justifieably be called a classic! Next up is the less than brilliant french version - mainly due our David's french phrasing being ropy at best, and best regarded as acollectionj filler to be honest.

Side Two gives you "Helden" - the German version and probably the one that works the best. The German translation was handled by backing singer Antonia Maass, who was one of the lovers kissing by by The Wall that the song's about, and her lover? None other than producer Tony Visconti who she was having an affair with at the time.  The proceedings are rounded off nicely by Bowie's tribute to Kraftwerk's Florian Schneider - in the shape of "V-2 Schneider", and I really love the honking sax on the track.  Sounds like the band were enjoying themselves!

Saturday, 11 October 2014


Format: 7"; Cat. No.: 7N.25386; Year: 1966; Country: UK.

Looking today at this overlooked 1966 gem from from one my all time favourite Girl Groups of all time The Shirelles - and one of that records that reflects the changing times of this period in the mid 60's.
The A Side gives you the rather excellent "Shades Of Blue", and I suppose the easiest way to describe it as psychedleic-tinged Soul.  Which doesn't mean you'll find Shirley Owens and co backed by backwards-looped feedback guitars or droning sitars, but that sense of things of a more psyche-feel are certainly there in the arrangements and structure of the song.  And Shirley Owens herself is in particular voice on this one - and first heard by yours truly at a Northern Soul all-nighter up in Stoke many moons ago.

The flip side gives you the more standard Shirelles type sound with "When The Boys Talk About The Girls" - which in the US was the single's A Side.  It's an interesting thing that I've come across collecting Soul stuff over the years, in that the UK issue will more than often favour the more uptempo sides over the US preference for the ballady tune as the lead side for the single.  This one's good, but for me nowhere as excellent as the A Side - so top marks for the people at Pye who favoured "Shades Of Blue" as the A side for the UK market!

Sunday, 24 August 2014


Artist: VARIOUS; Title: THE LONDON BOYS; Label: DECCA; Format: 7" EP; 
Cat. No.: FR 13864; Year: 1980; Country: UK

Side One: - 
David Bowie: The London Boys
Dobie Gray: The "In" Crowd

Side Two: -
Small Faces: Hey Girl
The Birds: Leaving Here

Looking today at this 1980 EP featuring 4 faves then current with the revived Mod scene from the late 70's, compiled by Gary Crowley (remember him) and a few like-minded individuals.  Just one quibble with the sleeve blub.  This has 4 tracks which makes it an EP rather than a Maxi Single, having said that it does an alittrative ring to to it.

Anyway onto the most important thing - the music!  Side One opens with the title track, Bowie's 1966 masterpiece that is 'The London Boys".  It's probably the first of Bowie's song dealing with alienation, and the fag of the Mod dream (fag being used here in the British rather the US context) where maybe it's not really all it's cracked up to be.  Next up is Dobie Gray's classic "The "In" Crowd" and of those tunes that quite happily made the transition from the Mod to the Northern Soul scene.  And rather fine it is too!

Side Two has another brace of fine tunes.  Starting off the Small Faces' rather excellent "Hey Girl" from 1966, which sees Steve Marriott and co in particularly fine form.  The proceedings are rounded off with the band that introduced the world to the talents of Ronnie - The Birds and their version of Eddie Holland's "Leaving Here".  It's one of those tracks that I'd tend to associate more with Freakbeat - but that's the great that a song can be picked on one music scene/genre whilst quite happily associated with another one at the time.  The only other example of that i can think of is The Seeds 'Pushin' Too Hard' which works both as a Psyche tune as well a Northern track!

Monday, 9 June 2014


Artist: THE SUPREMES; Title: WHERE DID OUR LOVE GO; Label: CBS; Format: 7"; 
Cat. No.: 1475; Year: 1964; Country: GERMANY.

Carrying on the euro theme from the previous post - thought this would be a good to highlight as well. The Supremes on German CBS no less!
 The A Side gives you the classic HDH penned and produced "Where Did Our Love Go".  Whilst the flip side offers up "He Means The Wold To Me" which is a decent enough tune - thought not really in the same league as the A Side, and sounds like it would've been better handled by Florence Ballard rather than Ms Ross who'd effectively established herself as the group's lead singer by this point.

So what's the reason is that is on CBS as opposed to EMI's Stateside's imprint?  As far as I can tell the reason's probably the following:- Motown stuff in the UK (at least) had being issued by Oriel (up till 1963 before the license passed to EMI) and that CBS subsequent bought the label. And in the process giving themselves an outlet and pressing plant in the process - as opposed to being licensed via Philips/Fontana.  And that the Oriel/CBS licensing deal was still in existence in Europe and that Stateside wasn't at the time (1964) licensed for use in Europe.

Saturday, 10 May 2014


Format: 7"; Cat. No.: 07-396; Year; 1967; Country: SPAIN

Seeing as tonight's the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest - thought I'd focus on this 1967 offering from Catalonia's finest Los Stop.  The group tired their luck on a couple of occasions to represent Spain - and on their last attempt in 1970 got pipped at the post by a certain Julio Iglesias.

On to the music then.  The A Side gives you "Tres Cosas (Salud, Dinero Y Amor)" which is an archetypal bit of mid 60's euro-pop cheese - great if you like that sort thing - but one that really doesn't do it for me.  Which didn't stop it getting to No.1 in the spanish charts - which lead to their attempts to try and represent their country in Eurovision.  Partly as a result of that failure lead to the group going their separate ways in the early 70's.

The better prospect is the B Side (and the reason that it's even being posted, and why it's still in the collection rather than landing in the nearest charity shop) "El Remo", which is pretty good Hammond-based tack.  And although still a bit on the cheesy side it's far better than A Side - and if it puts me in mind of anything it's Dusty's old group The Springfields.  Imagine 'La Bamba' with a hammond riff and you're pretty much there!

That's pretty muc on this apart from saying - enjoy Eurovision!

Friday, 28 March 2014


Label: ATLANTIC; Format: 7"; Cat. No.: 584152; Year: 1967; Country: UK

Carrying on with The Drifters' late 60's Northern Soul tunes - I'm looking at the next 2 singles released by Atlantic in the UK following on from the previous post.

First up is this stormer from 1967.  The A Side features the amazing "I'll Take You Where The Music's Playing" which has made it on CD as the title track of one Kent CDs focusing on Northern stuff released on Atlantic.  The track's written by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich - and as already stated if you're not familiar with it already then I strongly urge you to go and check it out!  And (as far as I'm aware) this is the last Drifters track to feature production by Bert Berns.

 The flip side gives a Drifters classic from 1963 in the shape of the sublime "On Broadway".  Written by   Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil alongside producers Leiber & Stoller - and featuring Rudy Clark on vocals it really doesn't get any better than this!

Format: 7"; Cat.: No.: 584195; Year: 1968; Country: UK

Next up is this 1968 offering.  The A Side gives you "Still Burning In My Heart" written by Van McCoy with (I think) Sly Stone using his real name Sylvester Stewart.  It's another good one - and with a slight nod in the direction of Country, hence the use of the harmonica!  It's pretty good and well worth tracking down and having a listen to.

The flip side has the more uptempo psyche-tinged "I Need You Now" which has nod in the direction of Hendrix with it's nice bit of fuzz guitar on it.  Lead vocals on this occasion are handled by Bill Fredericks - and another slightly more obscure Drifters track that merits a listen.

Thursday, 27 March 2014


Artist: THE DRIFTERS; Title: BABY WHAT I MEAN; Label: ATLANTIC; Format: 7"; 
Cat. No.: 584065; Year: 1967; Country: UK

Carrying on with the Northern Soul vibe from the previous post - looking today at this one in the genre from The Drifters.
 Released on UK Atlantic in 1967 "Baby What I Mean" is a good (and here I mean really good) uptempo offering from Johnny Moore and Co.  It's from that period of their career where the big hits of the early 60's were gone - but they were still knockout gems like this that although weren't massive sellers still did the business on the dance floor; especially those in the UK where these semi-obscure 45s suddenly got picked by the DJs in the Northern Soul clubs. And doubtless part of the reason why UK Atlantic reissued this along with a number of their other tracks in the early 70's - resulting in a lot of them getting back in to the UK charts and doing the business very nicely indeed!
The flip side gives you "Aretha", and I'm thinking pretty much one of the last things Bert Berns wrote (here alongside Jeff Barry) and produced for them before dying of a heart attack.  Song-wise it's another fine Drifters tune - more in the mid-tempo range, and although not quite in the same league as the A Side well worth a listen.  It's just a shame that both sides of this single didn't make it on to that excellent double CD compilation 'The Definitive Drifters' that Rhino issued in the early 00's, as their output from the latter half of the 60's is slightly under-represented.  Any plans out there for The Drifters - The Northern Soul Years'?