Tuesday, 25 February 2014


Artist: TIM BUCKLEY; Title: MORNING GLORY; Label: BAND OF JOY; Format: CD; 
Cat. No.: BOJCD 009; Year: 1994; Country: UK

Tracks: Dolphins; Honey Man; Morning Glory; Coming Home To You (Happy Time); Sing A Song For You; Hallucinations/Troubadour; Once I Was.

Looking now at this set of Tim Buckley's stuff recorded for the BBC - live on the Old Grey Whistle and a session for John Peel's Radio 1 show.

The opening two tracks come from a performance from BBC 2's Old Grey Whistle Test broadcast on the 21st May 1974.  The opener is "Dolphins" written by Fred Neil is one that had been in Tim Buckley's live set since the late 60's - but which didn't make it on to record till 1974's 'Sefronia' hence the Whistle Test appearance.  Next up is "Honey Man" again from 'Sefronia' and the following track on the parent LP. This is Tim Buckley in his full sexed-up funk mode, which pretty much came about by hanging out with Sly Stone - and between 'Starsailor' and 'Greeting From L.A.' Tim was working as Sly's driver amongst other things!

The next batch of songs recorded on the 2nd April '68 as a session for John Peel's show, and in the main are taken from the 'Goodbye & Hello' set.  And generally better suited to the minimal set of musicians that the slightly overdone arrangements on the original LP.  The reason it's just Tim Buckley, guitarist Lee Underwood and Carter CC Collins - was the cost of bringing over the full band (not to mention the still slightly sniffy attitude of the Musicians Union around this time).  Onto the songs then!
First up is "Morning Glory" and one of those songs that still does it to me - and well worth checking in this version rather than aforementioned 'Goodbye & Hello' set.  Next up is another personal fave "Coming Home To You (Happy Time)" from the 'Blue Afternoon' LP (which is an LP worth checking out!) and one of that you're likely to hear me do on the open mic night at my local. It's followed by "Sing A Song To You" - again originating from the 'Goodbye...' LP and again excellent.  Next up is the biggie - the 11 minute plus opus that is "Hallucinations/Troubadour".  It's what you tend to associate with Tim Buckley from this period - launching into a piece that could go anywhere and morph unexpectedly into something you don't expect - in this case "Troubadour" and in the case of 'Pleasant Street' from the 'Dream Letter' set recorded on the same visit 'You Keep Me Hanging On'.  The proceedings are rounded off with "Once I Was" - another great tune and flute-free (unlike the original LP version).


Label: GRAPEVINE; Format: 7'; Cat.: GRP 110; Year: 1978; Country: UK

Looking today at a couple of Northern Soul released issued on Richard Searling's Grapevine label - distributed via RCA here in the UK.  One you'll know and one you may not (depending how much a talcum spin devotee you are!).
The first up is the more obscure of the two - 1978's offering from The Happy Cats.  The A Side gives you their take on the Lee Hazelwood penned "These Boots Are Made For Walkin' ".  First issued on Omack it's one of those instrumental Northern tracks that were popular in the latter half of the 70's - especially at Wigan Casino. And as in a lot of these things it's a question of whether you're a fan of the happy-clappy type/instrumental type Northern tunes - personally I'm not generally but I do like this one. Mainly in part due it being a Lee Hazelwood song who I'm a fan of, and that it's got a bit of Mod/Ramsey Lewis vibe to it.  Taste has a lot to do with I suppose.
The flip side is the rather good "Destroy That Boy" and unreleased until it's appearance here on Grapevine.  A good uptempo track that nods in the direction of Ray Charles and Margie Hendrix - especially on that intro and horn riff that almost sounds like The Genius' 'Don't Set Me Free'.  Valuewise  - this seems to worth around the £8 mark.  And thanks also to Soul Forum post on the Soul Source website for some the info here.

Artist: JUDY STREET; Title: WHAT; Label: GRAPEVINE; Format: 7"; Cat. No.: GRP 106;
Year: 1977; Country: UK

Next up is a Northern track that you should know!  Judy Street's classic "What".  Recorded and originally released in the State in 1968, the song's written and produced by H.B. Barnum.  Again it's one of the tunes that found favour at Wigan Casino - and it's also the only Northern track I know that's got a cello solo on it!  First came across the song via the Soft Cell hit version of the early 80's which then put me on to this one - and finally tracking down a copy at a stall at the first All-Nighter I went to at Stoke Town Hall.

The flip side is a cover of Melinda Marx's "You Turn Me On" - which has intended as the A Side - but getting flipped in favour of 'What' when it arrived in the UK.  Tunewise it's the slower tempo of the two sides on offer - okayish but nowhere in the same league as the A Side.
As is in a lot of these cases Judy Street was unaware of the popularity of "What" until around 2005 - as she'd never toured in the UK. The song's been ranked as being the 23rd most popular Northern Soul tune out of the 500 listed in a poll.  Thanks on this occasion to Judy Street's Wikipedia page for some of the info used here.

Monday, 24 February 2014


Artist: Tim Hardin; Title: HANG ON TO A DREAM; Label: VERVE-FOLKWAYS;  
Format: 7"; Cat. No.: VS 1504; Year; 1966; Country: UK

Looking today at this 1966 debut from one Rock's lost souls - Tim Hardin. Released on Verve's Folkways imprint this features two achingly beautiful but ultimately hopeless songs, that in a way typify this singer's tragic life and the seemingly constant battle with drugs - in particular the big H.

The A Side gives you "Hang On To A Dream" - opening with a simple bit electric piano before developing into a waltz tempo.  A really great song - and one that caught the ear of Francoise Hardy who cover it on her 'En Anglais' set released in 1968.

The flip side gives you the song that Tim Hardin's probably best know for "Reason to Beleive".  Like a lot of people I came to this via the Rod Stewart from the mid 70's, and it's always interesting to hear these songs done by the original artist.  One thing that's immediately apparent is how short it is (like the A Side) and the other is the Country tempo.  One other I remember hearing was that Rod tried to help out being a fan of his music- and had him as support for one of the Faces tours. However by that time (I'm guessing this the early to mid 70's) the heroin addiction had really taken hold - with the inevitable results.

A sad end.

Thursday, 20 February 2014


Cat. No.: UP-1034; Year: 1963; COUNTRY:UK

Continuing the Soul tango theme from the last post, the only place you can really go next is this 1963 offering from The Isley Brothers issued on United Artists.

The A Side is the aforementioned "Tango" - but a tango done in that distinctly Isley Brothers style.  Topped off with a  great lead vocal from Ronnie Isley the production comes courtesy of Bert Berns, and it's one of those tunes that doesn't disappoint in the slightest.  Although the image that thrown up is a bit of an interesting one to say the least!
The B Side's pretty good too!  Which in this case is another Isley's penned tune in the shape of "She's Gone".  A great bit of dramatic Soul in the style of Jackie Wilson (and don't forget that 'Shout' was developed from a improvised vamp on another Jackie Wilson tune) and again well worth a listen.  Like the A Side it's one that I first came across on the compilation that Stateside put out in the late 80's 'Let's Go' which pulled together most of the sides the Isley's did for United Artists - with the exception of the one that came out on Veep just before they signed to Motown (and alleged to feature Hendrix on guitar).

Wednesday, 19 February 2014


Artist: Bettye Lavette; Title: LET ME DOWN EASY; Label: MOJO; Format: 7"; 
Cat. No.: 2092-030; Year: 1972; Country: UK

Today I'm featuring this 1972 3 track single from Bettye Lavette issued on Polydor's Mojo imprint.  The A Side is the searing bit of Soul that is "Let Me Down Easy".  Originally released on Calla (102) in the US in 1965 and co-written by Dee Dee Ford, the best way to drescribe the tune - a Soul-Tango.  There's a slightly longer take of this which surfaced on the rather excellent Bettye Lavette/Carol Fran set that came out on EMI's Stateside label in 2005.  There's a later version that Bettye cut for Karen in 1969 - but the version here (as far as I'm aware and playing the 7" against an LP version AND the CD version assures me that the Mojo issued version IS the original!


The flip side gives you two tracks.  First up is "I Feel Good (All Over)" Again originally released on Calla (104) - and a cracking bit of a Northern Soul foot-stomper that doesn't disappoint in the least.  And well worth checking for few talcum spins! The proceedings are rounded off with "What I Don't Know (Won't Hurt Me)" - another good Hammond-driven dancer, originally from the flip side of Calla 102, that like the other two tracks are well worth checking out (if you're not already familiar with them that is !).

Thanks in part to the great discography on the Soulful Kinda Music website (a must for Soul fans!) and the official Bettye Lavette website for confirming what I've got down is as right as possible.  Otherwise I'm not doing my job on this blog!

Saturday, 15 February 2014


FREDERICK JORDAN; Label: PYE; Format: 7"; Cat. No.: 7N 17615; Year: 1968; 
Country: UK

Obscure vinyl of the week is this British Pysche classic issued on Pye in 1968 from The Glass Menagerie.  They're one of those bands is pretty hard to find any info on but this is what I did managed to find on AllMusic (thanks to the original poster):-

After moving from their native Lancashire to seek commercial success in London, England, this psych pop quartet released a series of singles for Pye Records and Polydor Records without ever completing an album. Comprising Bill Atkinson (drums), John Medley (bass), Alan Kendall (guitar) and Lou Stonebridge (vocals/harmonica), the group made their debut in 1968 with the typically floral ‘She’s A Rainbow’. Two further singles followed for Pye in the same year, ‘You Don’t Have To Be So Nice’ and ‘Frederick Jordan’, but neither reached the charts. Transferring to Polydor in 1969, ‘Have You Forgotten Who You Are’ and ‘Do My Thing Myself’ failed to rectify their commercial misfortune. By now the group had adopted a heavier, progressive rock styled sound, which might have been better sampled on a full album release. However, despite the existence of an album acetate, Polydor declined to release it officially and the group broke up. Kendall subsequently joined Toe Fat, while Stonebridge worked with Paladin and McGuinness Flint.

The A Side gives you "I Said Goodbye To Me" - which is a decent-enough bit of Pop-Pysche penned by Harry Nilsson. Coming complete with false fadeouts, sound effects and Barry Ryan stylings which you'd expect from this period in time.  And if it was just that then you'd be looking at £40-£50 value - that's until you hear what's on the flip side!
What you get on the flip side is the full-on Hammond-driven Pysche-mod that is "Frederick Jordan", It's got more than a whiff of what the type of stuff Deep Purple were doing around this period especially when the guitars kick in. Currently available on a couple of Pysche compliations it's well worth checking out. And once you've heard it you'll understand why it's currently valued around the £150-£200 mark.

On this occasion I'm looking to sell my copy which is the demo - date stamped 7th October 1968, and am willing to consider all reasonable offers, and more than happy to ship-worldwide (unlike some on-line sellers who won't ship outside their home country!).


Artist: THE AD LIBS; Title: THE BOY FROM NEW YORK CITY; Label: PYE; Format: 7"; Cat. No.: BC-102; Year: 1965; Country: NEW ZEALAND

Carrying on the with Soul stuff issued in New Zealand - today's post features The Ad Libs wonderful debut from 1964, released on Leiber & Stoller's Blue Cat label - and via Pye in the UK, as well as in New Zealand where this copy originated.  And from the record library of New Zealand's equivalent of the BBC!
The A Side is the downright brilliant "Boy From New York City" with a suberb lead vocal by Mary Ann Thomas. What I really love it is the way it weaves in elements of Doo-Wop into the background the belting souful lead vocal. And it's one of those tracks that typifies the emerging Girl Group sound of the mid 60's. See The Shirelles output for further fine examples of the genre!

The flip side gives you "Kicked Around" - another good tune, this time with a more jazzy vibe to it. It's one of those tracks that's indebted to the Shirelles, and Mary Ann Thomas does sound a lot like Shirley Owens on this.  But given that Lieber & Stoller were also writing & producing stuff for the Shirelles around this time maybe that should come as that much of a surprise!

Friday, 14 February 2014


Artist: SAM COOKE & BUMPS BLACKWELL ORCHESTRA; Title: YOU SEND ME; Label: LONDON; Format: 7"; Cat. No.: 45-NZ.281; Year: 1958; Country: NEW ZEALAND

Looking today at this New Zealand issued classic from Sam Cooke - so we're back onto the international pressings again vinyl fans!

The A Side is the classic and sublime early Soul that is "You Send Me" - and interesting it's co-credited to Bumps Blackwell's Orchestra, which as far as I remember isn't the case on the UK issued singles from the same period.  I seem to remember that I can across this one Brighton, and bought at the same time as a couple of singles by The Drifters.

The B Side is another good one - this rather good version of "Summertime" - and like the A Side well worth checking out! It's interesting to see how Sam Cooke took what started out as almost classical piece in Gershwin's black opera 'Porgy & Bess', and transformed it into this piece of Soul music. It's one of Sam Cooke's tunes that doesn't get heard too often these day, which is a bit of a shame.

The other thing I noticed with this is it's on Decca's London imprint (which was their main outlet of blues R'n'B, and what we'd later regard as Soul) but here pressed up their behalf by HMV in New Zealand - one of those quirky things that being a record collector is about to a level.

Thursday, 13 February 2014


Artist: VAN MORRISON; Title: DOMINO; Label: WARNER BROS.; Format;7"; 
Cat. No.: WB 7434; Year: 1970; Country: UK

Bit of Northern Soul curio for you today - not that artist is concerned one you'll never had heard, quite the opposite in fact, but that this 1970 single from Van Morrison was picked up by the Northern Soul scene.  Although the sight of Ole Grumpy Draws doing a few talcum spins on the dance at the Wigan Casino would have been something to see!  Anyway onto the music.
The A Side gives you "Domino" the opener from Van yer Man's 'His Band And The Street Choir' LP and slad bang in the middle of his Celtic Soul period.  It's a bit of a good one - and you can see why the N. Soul crowd picked up it - something that's pretty obvious when you see the state of the labels on this copy.  You can see where it's been covered so as to make it look like it's a real obscure track (which you could get away in those pre internet days of the early 70'), rather than who it actually was.

The flip side gives you "Sweet Jannie" - again from the parent 'His Band And Street Choir' set, and again another great bit of Van-styled Blue-Eyed Soul.  And again suffering from label damage - so again I'm assuming that had been picked up for plays at the Northern nights.  Presumably when the DJ's got bored of the playing the A Side.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014


Format: 7"; Cat. No.: F 12502; Year: 1966

1966 single from Eric Burdon and the Mark II version of the Animals - in this case Eric Burdon and drummer Barry Jenkins and the deliberate move away from the type of material increasing foisted on them by their producer at EMI, Mickie Most.  A year before the Animals had left EMI and signed with their US distrubution label MGM - with UK distribution switching over to Decca - but as with a lot of bands in the 60's the constant pressure of touring/promoting that you do on a worldwise basis and when you're one of the spearhead bands of The British Invasion starts to take it's toll.  Various founding members left - most noticeably Alan Price and Chas Chandler - and others only lasting a year or so.  So by the time this 1966 single is released it's pretty much Eric Burdon and whoever else was to hand.

But having said the above "Help Me Girl" is a a bit of brilliant tune - produced by Tom Wilson (who's other clients at this time included both Dylan and The Velvet Underground) - and (something I wasn't aware till I hear it at an allnighter) one of those tracks that had found favour on the Northern Soul scene.  It surprised me a bit at the time, but having listened to it again tonight while preparing this post I can easily see why. Plus with Eric Burdon being a R'n'B/Soul fan I'm fairly certain he's happy with the kudos it's got in that respect.

The flip side gives you "See See Rider (See What You've Done)" which a Blues standard which has gone under a number of slight title variations over the preceding decades, and one of those tunes that any self-respecting and aspiring blues musician knows down deep into their DNA.

 This single's one I've picked up a few copies of over the years - obviously the UK original on Decca, a Yugoslav copy - which has the same B Side as the UK version - labels scans included.  And the US version on MGM which doesn't.  The B Side is this case is a track called "That Ain't Where It's At" - another Blue-Eyed Soul flavoured track which like the A Side comes from the US only issued  'Eric Is Here' LP. Again well worth checking out/tracking down on that there internet and all good music retail type places!


Artist: THE POLICE; Title: FALL OUT; Label: ILLEGAL; Format: 7"; Cat. No.: IL 001; Year: 1979; Country: UK

Carrying on with the 1977 theme and stuff released on Miles Copeland's Illegal label, this is obviously where to go next after the last post on John Cale - as the drummer of the band featured today was the brother of the label boss.  Stewart Copeland, the band's The Police, and it's their only one to feature original guitarist Henry Padovani. 

 The A Side gives you "Fall Out" written by Stewart Copeland - and a decent slice of 1977 style New Wave stuff.  The single itself got reissued in 1979 when the group had broken big with 'Message In A Bottle' - which is when I bought it (WH Smith's in Whitehaven if memory serves).  Main way to tell this apart from the '77 original is the different label design (see the Cale post to see how the original looks).
The flip side gives you "Nothing Achieving" and again not written by Sting - in this case by Stewart Copeland and his brother Ian. And like the A Side it's interesting to hear what Sting and Co sounded like when they were just starting out (and before the ego started clashing), and before fame and the pitfalls the accompanied that came along.
In case you're wondering whatever happened to Henry Padovani - he lasted till the group briefly expanded to a fourpiece when Andy Summer's joined.  Then after being sacked in favour of the more proficient Andy Summers, joined Wayne/Jane Country and the Electric Chairs before becoming vice-president of Miles Copeland's IRS label (the one that R.E.M. started with before they switched to Warners).

And Sting learned to play the lute!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014


Artist: JOHN CALE; Title: ANIMAL JUSTICE; Label; ILLEGAL; Format: 7" EP; 
Cat. No.: IL003; Year: 1977; Country: UK

Some 10 years on from the Velvet's debut John Cale issued this 3 track EP "Animal Justice" on Miles Copeland's Illegal label at the height of punk, as you'd expect from the Welsh One at this point his career he's not taking prisoners.  A case is in point is the opener on Side One "Chicken Shit" is pretty much about the vegetarian drummer in the band quitting after a) refusing to cut his hair when Cale and went for a more punk look, and b) after the refusal of doing a) when Cale cut the head off chicken live on stage (and not Ozzy as some would have it) just to really piss said drummer off.  Next up you get a rather good version of Chuck Berry's "Memphis" on which Cale displays his Rock'n'Roll in no uncertain terms, and it's a pretty faithful interpretation compared to say the direction taken on 'Heartbreak Hotel'.

Side two of the EP (and the reason it's classed as an EP rather than 3 track single - or Maxi-Single of you're of an early 70's persuasion) is devoted entirely to 8 plus minutes that is the somewhat  amazing "Hedda Gabbler".  Loosely based on the narrative of Ibsen's play it's Cale at his best - all the elements kept in check and has a spectral grace to it with the electric piano the main instrument, with guitar fills and other instruments coming when needed, and the synth stings giving that underlying sense of menace.  Which shouldn't come as too much of surprise as this is a John Cale song after all!

Monday, 10 February 2014


Artist: XTC; Title: SENSES WORKING OVERTIME; Label: VIRGIN; Format: 12" EP; 
Cat. No.: VS 462-12; Year: 1982; Country: UK

Focusing today on this 12" EP from Swindon's finest - XTC, and their 1982 classic "Senses Working Overtime".  They're one those British groups that seem have been more popular in the US than they were over here, which is a bit of a shame as Andy Partridge and co had a lot more going for them than the hits you're maybe lucky enough to hear on the radio.  The lead track being a case in point - "Senses working Overtime" is a great tune with all the inherent quirkiness that you tend to associate with this band (check out what they did to 'All Along The Watchtower in their debut LP for further research).  Next up is "Egyptian Solution (Homo Safari Series No. 3)" which is a case in point - instrumental electronica that sounds like it's more at home on a David Byrne, Brian Eno or Jon Hassell album from this period - and rather good it too - so go and check it out!

Side Two's opener gives you "Blame The Weather" (an apt title for what we're currently experiencing here in the UK!), which is more in the traditional XTC style - ie it's got vocals on it and played traditional instruments, and the catchy choruses that Andy Partridge is at good at coming up with, and with a nice bit of guitar work on the fade.  The proceedings are rounded off with "Tissue-Tigers (The Augers)" - which to me at least has more in common with their stuff from the late 70's - with a nice choppy rhythm and structure, and one of those tracks were you can see the influence on the US indie bands that emerged in the mid 80's - early R.E.M. comes to mind.  Worth a listen to see what you think - and as with the other tracks available somewhere on there on the web.