Wednesday, 29 January 2014


Artist: BLONDIE; Title: ATOMIC; Label: TONPRESS; Format: 7"; Cat. No.: S-342; 
Year: 1980; Country: POLAND

Still sticking with the euro theme of the last few most - today's vinyl is the Polish issue of Blondie's 1980 "Atomic".  The label, Tonpress, was a division of the state owned KAW media company, and was used as the outlet for mainly non-Polish recordings - which includes this one from Debbie Harry and Co.

The single's flip side is as per the UK issue - "Die Young Stay Pretty" which like the A Side comes from the 'Eat To The Beat' LP, and one that I've always kind've liked - having pretty much grown up with the song.  The A Side's not bad either!  Valuewise worth about the same as the UK issue - ie only a couple of quid, but nice to have for the qurio value.

And a quick thanks to whoever posted the original info on Tonpress on Discogs - much appreciated!

Monday, 27 January 2014


Artist: THE ANIMALS; Title: BOOM BOOM; Label: COLUMBIA; Format: 7"EP; 
Cat. No.: ESRF 7632; Year: 1965; Country: FRANCE

Carrying on the French theme of the last post - today I'm featuring this 1965 EP from The Animals.  Side One opens with this excellent version of John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom" - and which amply shows there was a lot more to Eric Burdon and Co than 'The House of the Rising Sun', mainly in the field of R'n'B.  Next up you have an Animals original in the form of "Club -A-Gogo" which I think was one their regular venues as well as that of then current bands and blues legends - hence the name-checks on the fade-out.

Side Two opens with what could've so easily been the lead track on this EP - their sublime interpretation of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood".  Originally written for and recorded by Nina Simone - this version really does do the song justice. It's this version was my intro to the song when I came across it on that early 70's MFP compilation of the Animals stuff from their time with Columbia.  The proceedings are rounded off with a version of Bo Diddley's "Roadrunner" which again doesn't disappoint.

Sunday, 26 January 2014


Artist: FOUR TOPS; Title: IF A WERE A CARPENTER; Label: TAMLA MOTOWN; Format: 7"; Cat. No.: FT 125; Year: 1968; Country: FRANCE

Carrying on with a French theme on today's post - focusing on this 1968 offering from the Four Tops.  And by the way you can tell roughly when this is from (if you didn't know exactly) - as up to 1967 the preferred format for gallic 45's tends to be the 4 track EP (you do get 2 track singles but generally these tend to be jukebox issues - although there are exceptions to that rule!).  After '67 as EP's faded in popularity and the focus shifted to the UK/US standard format of on  2 tracks per side - either that or you bought the LP.

Back to the music - the A Side is a rather excellent version of Tim Hardin's "If I Were A Carpenter".  This could have so easily been a disaster - but thankfully when the song's in the hands of a singer of the calibre of Levi Stubbs then you know you can't go wrong.  Something that can't be said for the Tempations 'In A Mellow Mood' set from the same period where it did do so badly.

The flip side gives you the sublime "Baby I Need Your Loving" - which has to be one of the group's finest moments ever!  Penned by the Holland brothers and Lamont Dozier this is one of those that encapsulates and defines what Motown did best! Listen and enjoy!  Can't really say much more than that

Friday, 24 January 2014


Artist: THE BEATLES; Title: ROCK AND ROLL  MUSIC; Label: ODEON; Format: 7";
Cat. No.: M0 20007; Year: 1966; Country: FRANCE

Focusing today on this 1966 French 45 from the Beatles - featuring two tracks from their 1964 'Beatles For Sale' LP.  It's the one where you can hear that creativity was wearing thin in places - and the reason why about half the set is cover versions.  But having said that what's on offer here - especially the A Side does deliver. Came across about 12 years ago in 2nd hand/junk shop (remember them?) in Banbury, for about £3. One thing that has always intrigued me about this is why it was issued 2 years after the parent LP? Perhaps due the anticipated wait for 'Revolver' - and this was all that the Beatles French label had left to release at the time.

The A Side gives you the excellent "Rock And Roll Music" - featuring Lennon in full rock'n'roll mode. and doing this Chuck Berry classic justice.  The piano part's done by producer George Martin - and the song was used as the title for the 1970's double LP featuring the band's more uptempo stuff.

The flip side gives you "I'm A Loser" - again features Lennon on lead vocal.  It's from his Dylan influenced period, which came to fruition with 'You've Got To Hide You Love Away on the subsequent 'Help' LP.  And with a nice bit of close harmony work on the intro.

Thursday, 23 January 2014


Cat. No.: 7N.25443; Year: 1967; Country: UK 

Today's post is this 1967 offering from Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - featuring Ry Cooder on slide.  The A Side is the rather wonderful "Yellow Brick Road" and features that immortal intro that only Beefheart could've come up with: "The following tone is a reference tone, recorded at our operating level."  The song's the usual mutant delta blues that you'd tend to expect from the Magic Band from this period - but not yet developed into weirdness of the subsequent 'Trout Mask Replica' set  - which I've heard described as Howlin' Wolf meets Ornette Coleman.  A pretty apt description of Beefheart.

The flip side gives you "Abba Zaba" again from the parent 'Safe As Milk' LP.  Which is another great tune - and (something I'd never realized - assuming it was a typical Beefheart nonsense title) the name of a american peanut toffee bar.  And the good Captain's favourite snack treat as a kid.  Learn something new everyday doing a music blog folks!  Both sides feature the 2nd line-up of the Magic Band - which with the exception of Ry Cooder - lasted the longest before being sacked around 1973 - and then regrouping as Mallard in the mid 70's.

Sunday, 19 January 2014


Artist: BETTY EVERETT; Title: GETTING MIGHTY CROWDED; Label: FONTANA; Format: 7"; Cat. No.:TF 520; Year: 1965; Country: UK

Following on from the last post on Kiki Dee, I thought I'd focus on two tracks that were first issued here in the UK on Fontana.

First up is this Northern Soul classic from Betty Everett,  the Van McCoy penned "Getting Mighty Crowded".  Originally issued on Vee Jay in the States this is a wonderful track - and one of those on that still does it for me.  I first came across it via the Elvis Costello version which he'd put out as the B Side to 'High Fidelity' in 1980 - so having heard that and the original on the radio - the hunt was on to own a copy.  Firstly on one of those budget Soul/Blues double tape compilations of the early 80's (remember them?), and then finally getting hold of a copy at one of the first Northern Soul all-nighters (appropriately enough).  Togetherness at Stoke Town Hall if memory serves.)

The flip side gives you "Chained To A Memory" is the slower tempo of the two tracks - and rather wonderful too.  And as always well worth checking out.

Artist: THE MARVELETTES (feat. Marvin Gaye); Title: PLEASE MR. POSTMAN;   
Label: FONTANA; Format: 7"; Cat. No.: H.355; Year: 1961; Country: UK

 Next up is this 1961 offering from the Marvelettes - the classic "Please Mr Postman".  It's one of only a couple of Motown tracks that appeared on Fontana - the only other I can think of is The Miracles 'What So Good About Goodbye'.  Prior to that Motown's stuff had been issued on London, and after this it was Oriole, before passing to EMI; firstly on Stateside then finally the Tamla Motown imprint in 1965.  The song's downright brilliant - and again it's one I came to via a cover version, in this case The Beatles on their 'With The Beatles' LP.  The track generally only gets credited to Brian Holland  and Robert Bateman - but was originally penned by William Garrett alongside original Marvellette  Georgia Dobbins, and was then reworked by Brian Holland, Robert Bateman and Freddie Gorman Freddie Gorman.  Later Berry Gordy added his name to the writing credits. Confused?  The drummer on the track is none other than Marvin Gaye.

The flip side gives you "So Long Baby" is more in the doo-wop style and features lead vocals by   Wanda Young (who went on to be the long serving member of the group - lasting till they finally folded in 1970).  It's certainly more in the early Motown style that you hear on the early Miracles stuff from this period - i.e. rooted in R'n'B rather what than emerging Soul sound of the A Side.

Saturday, 18 January 2014


Artist: KIKI DEE; Title: WHY DON'T I RUN AWAY FROM YOU?; Label: FONTANA; Format: 7";
Cat No.: TF 669; Year: 1966; Country: UK

Today's single under the spotlight is the great bit of British Northern Soul from Kiki Dee - dating from the so called golden year for Northern Soul - 1966. And a decade before her breakthrough duet with Elton John. 

The A Side is Kiki's superb version of this Bert Berns penned tune "Why Don't I Run Away You?". Originally done by Tami Lynn on Atlantic - this is one of those songs from the period when the UK labels flew to the States to see what the US (labels more as often Atlantic) to see what they had that was about to be released, then getting the tracks back over here and getting ta UK cover version out before the original version was issued.  (And hopefully having a hit in the process!) The Tami Lynn version was actually a hit when in was reissued on Mojo in the early 70's - and one I remember hearing on the radio at the time.  The version here doesn't disappoint - and Kiki really gives in her all. Which shouldn't really comes a surprise considering her work with fellow soul fan Dusty Springfield. Plus Dusty's on backing vocals too!

The B Side's good too!  I'm more than happy to consider "Small Town" as Brit Northern Soul too, as it has the same feel - allbeit at a slower tempo.  Written by Les Reed it's an excellent showcase for Kiki's voice, and in a couple of places the arrangements put me in of the 'Barbarella' soundtrack.  As to whether Bob Crewe was a fan or aware of it I don't really know.  And like the A Side well worth a listen.

Thursday, 16 January 2014


Artist: ANNA KING; Title: IF SOMEBODY TOLD YOU; Label: SMASH; Format: 7"; 
Cat. No.: S-1858; Year: 1963; Country: US.

Starting off 2014 with this 1963 release from Anna King - who was at the time part of the James Brown band/revue - coming as she did as a replacement for  Tammy Montgomery (aka Tammi Terrell).  The A Side "If Somebody Told You" is a great slow smoking soul number, written and produced by JB, and credited as 'Jim Jam' on the label. (Possibly due to copyright - as he also recorded only instrumentals for Smash within about a year of the release of this material when he was in dispute with his normal label King.)

The flip side is cover of the Holland-Dozier-Holland/Martha & the Vandellas tune "Come Get These Memories" which like the A Side is well worth a listen.  Both side and the subsequent duet with Bobby Byrd appear on the parent 'Back To Soul' LP.

What other info I've managed to find on her comes mainly from AllMusic's site - so many thanks to them for the following info.  After leaving James Brown she then recorded some stuff for End in 1965, then worked with Duke Ellington's band before joining the Brockington Choral Ensemble