Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Goldfingers (The Jets) - Santa Claus à Go Go (1966)

The Jets was a very successful Dutch instrumental/beat group from the mid-sixties. They even had a lot of success in Japan as The Goldfingers -- Japan already had a group called The Jets. Here an instrumental Christmas Gem from the Japanese market that sold 300.000 ex over there, but never was released in Holland.

In 1960 beginnen Eddy Geurtsen, Nico Witkamp, Ton Mulder en Karry Mulder -- geïnspireerd door de indorock -- de instrumentale band de Rocking Explosives. De band probeert bij platenlabel Bovema aan de bak te komen, maar zonder succes. In 1961 voegt Zanger Peter van Meel zich bij het viertal, maar ook nu blijven plaatopnamen en nationaal succes uit. Als in 1963 de Rocking Explosives hun naam veranderen in The Jets verandert het tij en in 1964 brengt Margarinefabrikant Leeuwenzegel op een eigen label, Lion Tops, een EP van The Jets uit. Op de EP staan de covers 'Shake Hands' en 'Memphis Tennessee'. Naast The Jets zijn ook twee nummers van zangeres Marjolein op het album te horen. Dit plaatje is alleen te verkrijgen door veertig zegeltjes te sparen bij de margarine. Later in het jaar verschijnt de eerste 'officiële'single van The Jets bij Fontana: 'Jets Fly' met op de b-kant 'Baby Elephant Walk'. The Jets begeleiden Ernie Bender op Strandfeest en Hey Lulu.

Phonogram wil een instrumentale versie van de James Bond-hit 'Goldfinger' op de Japanse markt uitbrengen en contracteert daarvoor The Jets. Omdat er al een Japanse band bestaat die The Jets heet, veranderen ze hun naam in The Goldfingers. Het wordt een enorm succes. Ook in Nederland slaat het nummer, uitgebracht bij Fontana, aan (1965 #5). Zowel in Nederland als in Japan verschijnt de single 'Thunderball'. The Jets richten zich met een aantal albums helemaal op de Japanse markt. De kerstplaat 'Santa Claus à Go Go' gaat meer dan 300.000 keer over de toonbank. Met 'Pied Piper' is de tweede hit van The Jets in Nederland een feit (1965 #2). Het nummer is geschreven door Artie Kromfeld. Nadat Crispian St. Peters een uitvoering van The Jets hoort brengt ook hij het nummer uit en komt gelijktijdig in de Nederlandse hitlijst terecht. Ondertussen blijft het Japanse succes van The Jets aanhouden. De single 'If I Could Start My Life Again' verschijnt, met op de b-kant het door Peter Koelewijn geschreven 'The Worker In The Night'.

Aan het eind van het jaar verschijnt de voorlopig laatste single van de band: 'Please Send Me A Letter'. Om de fanclub een plezier te doen verschijnen 'Memphis Tennessee' en 'Shake Hands' alsnog samen op een single. The Jets begeleiden Bonnie St. Claire op haar debuutsingle 'Tame Me Tiger'. Het is voorlopig het laatste wapenfeit van de band. Hier het zeer moeilijk verkrijgbare Japanse album: 'Santa Claus à Go Go'.

1966 LP Santa Claus A Go Go (Japan Fontana SFON-10020)

01. Jets - White Christmas
02. Jets - Jingle Bells
03. Jets - Silent Night
04. Jets - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
05. Jets - Rudolph The Red Nose Rendeer
06. Jets - Auld Lang Syne
07. Jets - Help
08. Jets - Poupée De Cire, Poupée De Son
09. Jets - (I Can Get No) Satisfaction
10. Jets - On The Beach
11. Jets - A Ticket To Ride
12. Jets - California Girls

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Johnny Hallyday - Salut Les Copains! / Amerika's Rockin' Hits (1961)

Johnny Hallyday -- born Jean-Philippe Smet on June 15, 1943, in the Malesherbes area of Paris -- began his performing in French clubs and cabarets, which some of them kicked him out for singing the new American music. Having adopted the name Johnny Hallyday, he caught his big break in late 1959, when an appearance on the Paris Cocktail television show led to a record contract with Vogue. Hallyday released his first single, "Laisse les Filles," in early 1960. Its follow-up, "Souvenirs, Souvenirs," became his first major hit, and when he performed at France's first rock festival at the Palais de Sport in early 1961, he set off a near-riot that led to a ban on rock & roll shows for several months.

He switched from Vogue to Philips later that summer, and issued the smash LP Salut Mes Copains, which kicked off the so-called "yé-yé" era of French pop and made him a full-fledged teen idol. His tour of France that year touched off a hysteria not unlike the furor surrounding Elvis in the States. Toward the end of the year, Hallyday took French citizenship, appeared in the film Les Parisiennes, and had an enormous hit with "Viens Danser le Twist," an adaptation of Chubby Checker's "Let's Twist Again." Hallyday's success continued to snowball over the next few years, mixing American covers (as on the LP Johnny Hallyday Sings America's Rockin' Hits) with more traditional French pop: "Retiens la Nuit" (penned by Charles Aznavour), "Elle Est Terrible," "Be Bop a Lula," "Pas Cette Chanson," and two of his biggest hits, "L'Idole des Jeunes" and "Da Dou Ron Ron."

1961 LP Salut Les Copains! (FR Philips 77.374)

01. Johnny Hallyday - Wap-dou-wap
02. Johnny Hallyday - Si Tu Me Telephones
03. Johnny Hallyday - Retiens La Nuit
04. Johnny Hallyday - Nous, Quand On S'mbrasse
05. Johnny Hallyday - Twistin' U.S.A
06. Johnny Hallyday - Toi Qui Regrettes
07. Johnny Hallyday - Sam'di Soir
08. Johnny Hallyday - Viens Danser Le Twist
09. Johnny Hallyday - Let's Twist Again
10. Johnny Hallyday - Douce Violence
11. Johnny Hallyday - Danse Le Twist Avec Moi
12. Johnny Hallyday - Tu Peux La Prendre
13. Johnny Hallyday - Avec Une Poignee De Terre
14. Johnny Hallyday - Il Faut Saisir Sa Chance

EP Johnny Hallyday - Ya Ya Twist
EP Johnny Hallyday - La Faute Au Twist

1961 LP-25 Johnny Hallyday - Viens Danser Le Twist (FR Philips B 76.534 R)

1961 EP Johnny Hallyday -Retiens La Nuit (FR Philips 432.739 BE)

1961 LP Sings America's Rockin' Hits (FR Philips PHM 200.019)

01. Johnny Hallyday - Shake The Hand Of A Fool
02. Johnny Hallyday - Blueberry Hill
03. Johnny Hallyday - Hello Mary Lou
04. Johnny Hallyday - Feel So Fine
05. Johnny Hallyday - Take Good Care Of My Baby
06. Johnny Hallyday - Bill Bailey
07. Johnny Hallyday - I Got A Woman
08. Johnny Hallyday - Be Bop A Lula
09. Johnny Hallyday - You're Sixteen
10. Johnny Hallyday - Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
11. Johnny Hallyday - Maybellene
12. Johnny Hallyday - Diana

Adam Faith - Adam (1960)

The late '50s in England saw a legion of young teen idols, groomed for music stardom by managers eager to see their clients land a chart hit or two on their way to careers as all-around entertainers, or even television or movie actors. A few of them, like Cliff Richard and Billy Fury, were genuinely exciting rock & rollers when they started out, although most were just playing at rock & roll, and lacked the talent to make much lasting impact in any area of entertainment.

Adam Faith was one of the better ones, a late-'50s/early-'60s singing star who went on to a respectable acting career in television, movies, and theater. Born Terence Nelhams in Acton, West London, he made his first appearances in public at the legendary 21's Coffee Bar in London's Soho. He came to the attention of producer Jack Goode, which, in turn, introduced Faith to bandleader John Barry (the music director of Goode's music showcase series Oh Boy! and the music director of the Drumbeat series), which resulted in the invitation to audition for a role in Drumbeat. Faith first emerged on the music scene on the Top Rank and HMV labels, but he saw little chart success until Drumbeat came along in 1959. Read on +/-

Faith became an immediate star, with his matinee-idol looks and charismatic screen presence. He was signed to EMI's Parlophone label soon after he began work on Drumbeat. In November of 1959, he cut the single "What Do You Want," which soared to number one on the British charts in the course of a 19-week run. With a pleasing, upbeat arrangement built around pizzicato strings and a sort of peppy variation of Elvis' scowling, mumbling demeanor, Faith's career at this point was closer to teen pop than rock & roll, although his stuff is eminently listenable. His next single, "Poor Me," was a better song and also reached number one, while his third, "Somebody Else's Baby," got to number two. Although hardly cutting-edge rock & roll (and one has to ignore singles like "When Johnny Comes Marching Home"), it was all pleasant, rather reminiscent of Buddy Holly songs like "True Love Ways." The best of his singles was the John Barry co-authored "Made You," which owes a bit to songs like "Nervous Breakdown" -- it also showed what Faith could do with a real, straight-ahead rock & roll number.

He placed six songs in the Top Ten during 1960, and three more in 1961. His string of major hits was pretty much exhausted by the summer of 1962, just before the Beatles and the other Liverpool bands came along and changed the entire musical landscape, but he made one more run into the Top Ten in late 1963 with "The First Time." Listening to this stuff, it's easy to understand why acts like the Beatles, not to mention ballsier, older rock & rollers from Liverpool like Tony Sheridan and the Big Three held performers like Adam Faith in such contempt -- he could be lethally "cute" on novelty songs like "Lonely Pup (In a Christmas Shop)," a number four single over Christmas of 1960, and had no compunction about it.

Despite his shortcomings as a rock & roller, Faith left the post-Beatles era with one major gift in the form of his superb backing band, the Roulettes -- featuring future Argent members Russ Ballard and Bob Henrit -- who recorded some of the best music of the early British Invasion era. Beginning in 1963, they had a separate recording and performing career as well, including a series of superb recordings for EMI (available on BGO Records). Their records with Faith were also exceptionally good, and were among the last of his major hits. In 1965, Faith released his last new album, the concert recording Faith Alive, featuring him and the Roulettes, a surprisingly exciting and unretouched account of their work on-stage together.

Faith's handful of early film appearances generally enhanced his musical image, most notably Beat Girl (1961), a fairly gritty British delinquency drama. He turned increasingly to acting on the stage during this period, and by the '70s he'd moved on to a career in business, with a successful finance company and a directorship of the Savoy Hotel. He returned to repertory theater work in the '70s and created the title role of the series Budgie, which he later brought to the stage. Faith also resumed his film career, most notably with a major supporting role in the 1975 Michael Apted movie Stardust, starring David Essex, the Roger Daltrey-starring vehicle McVicar (1980), and the television version of Murder on the Orient Express (1985). He also went into music management during the '70s, and the most important of his clients was Leo Sayer. Adam Faith died of a heart attack at age 62 on March 8, 2003, the day after becoming ill following a stage performance of Love and Marriage at Stoke-on-Trent, North Staffordshire, England.

1960 LP Adam (UK Parlophone PMC-1128)

It may have ensured his own longevity, but Adam Faith's transformation from successful pop star to even more successful actor deprived the world of pre-Beatles Brit-pop of one of its most spellbinding practitioners. The erstwhile Terence Nelhams was playing skiffle when TV producer Jack Good advised him to change his name, but Faith was still an unknown film editor when he was rediscovered by John Barry and catapulted to fame by the Drumbeat TV series. A string of chart-topping singles followed, but even before work on his first album commenced, Faith had already shown where his heart really lay. Sessions for the record were postponed for seven months after the singer landed a role in Peter Sellers' Never Let Go movie. Adam finally appeared in late 1960, and initially amazes by its lack of past hit singles. No "What Do You Want," no "Poor Me," no "How About That," and no future smashes either. While the album itself quickly soared to number six, there would be no singles whatsoever taken from it...ah, those were the days!

The most remarkable thing about Adam is the sheer dynamic strength of the material. It has long been fashionable to regard British pop from this era as weak-kneed pap, with Cliff Richard alone leading the campaign for quality music. Adam punctures the point with singular ease. Much of the credit for the album's quality must, of course, go to Barry, whose signature string and girlie chorus arrangements dominate the proceedings. But an interesting selection of material indicates Faith's own versatility. Without ever stepping too far out of the balladic mode, he does indicate far broader tastes, most notably during the finger-popping "Greenfinger," the salutary tale of a young man who bought his girl a cheapo ring, then watched as her finger turned green. There is a reasonably rocking version of "Singing in the Rain" and a crazed swing through "Hit the Road to Dreamland." "Summertime," the George Gershwin standard that seems to have been in the repertoire of every band of the 1960s, is also given an especially punishing workout, without ever resorting to anything so crass as "rock & roll" stylings. Quite simply, it could have escaped from a Bond theme, while Faith's vocals have an addictively dreamy quality to them. The end result might be a million miles removed from what Janis Joplin would wreak upon the same defenseless tune, but pressed for a definitive reading, Faith even has the edge on her. So, it's all very classy and yes, a little old-fashioned, too. But since when has that been a bad thing? The Beatles aren't exactly cutting-edge technologists either, anymore.

01. Adam Faith - Wonderful Time
02. Adam Faith - Diamond Ring
03. Adam Faith - Summertime
04. Adam Faith - Greenfinger
05. Adam Faith - Piper Of Love
06. Adam Faith - A Girl Like You
07. Adam Faith - Turn Me Loose
08. Adam Faith - So Many Ways
09. Adam Faith - Singin' In The Rain
10. Adam Faith - Fare Thee Well My Pretty Maid
11. Adam Faith - I'm A Man
12. Adam Faith - Hit The Road To Dreamland

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The Hullaballoos - The Hullaballoos (1965)

Who thought The Police was the first blond British rock band that entered the US hit parade is terribly wrong. Exact 15 years earlier Roulette records brought by vice president Hugo Peretti and A&R director Luigi Creatore a bleached blond rock quartet, from Hull, England, to the States. The Hullaballoos -- named to their home city -- were Ricky Knight, Harry Dunn, Andy Woonton and Geoff Mortimer. The Hullaballoos, arguably the most exploitative act of the first wave of the British Invasion with their wig-like helmets of bleach-blond hair that vied with the Pretty Things and the Stones in length, had an immediately striking visual presence. Musically it was another matter. The Hullaballoos were actually not even stars in England. They were just arrived in London after only local performances. By signing Roulette most of their music came from hack Brill Building songwriters, who let the band sound like Buddy Holly. Their first small U.S. hit was a cover of Holly's "I'm Gonna Love You Too" and the other, "Did You Ever," was a Holly-esque down to the hiccuping vocal. Numerous television appearances -- most notably in the Hullaballoo show -- did not bring further fortune. After two Billboard entries (1964/1965) and two albums, the show was over. Knight left the group and was replaced for a short time by Mick Wayne (born Michael Wayne, 1945, Kingston upon Hull.) In 1966 they broke up completely.

1965 LP The Hullaballoos (US Roulette R-25297)

According Richie Unterberger of 'allmusic' the group plays like a cross between the Searchers and Gerry & the Pacemakers on amphetamines on most of their self-titled album, which includes both "I'm Gonna Love You Too" (US#56) and "Did You Ever" (US#74) enjoyable despite itself. And I agree. "I'll Show You How to Love" is actually a pretty and tuneful beat ballad worthy of a more skilled group. But the album was reasonable successful in the US and that was special for a British beat group with almost no success in their homeland.

01. The Hullaballoos - Beware
02. The Hullaballoos - I Couldn't Get Along Without You
03. The Hullaballoos - Did You Ever
04. The Hullaballoos - If You Don't Know By Now
05. The Hullaballoos - Can't You Tell
06. The Hullaballoos - Party Doll
07. The Hullaballoos - I'll Show You How To Love
08. The Hullaballoos - Every Night
09. The Hullaballoos - Why Do Fools Fall In Love
10. The Hullaballoos - Wouldn't You Like To Know
11. The Hullaballoos - Who Do You Think You're Foolin'
12. The Hullaballoos - I'm Gonna Love You Too

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The Hullaballoos - On Hullabaloo (1965)

The Hullaballoos' second LP stuck to much the same format as their first. A few Buddy Holly covers were stuck a midst new songs, supplied to the band, that aimed to combine Buddy Holly with the Merseybeat sound, in a simple and exploitative way. Like the debut, it's not bad in spite of all that, though the material is a little weaker this time around. "I Won't Turn Away Now" is about the best of the batch, with something of a melodramatic New York pop influence in the songwriting; it wouldn't be too hard to imagine the Shangri-Las doing it with a totally different arrangement, for instance.

1965 LP On Hullabaloo (US Roulette R-25310)

01. The Hullaballoos - I Won't Turn Away Now
02. The Hullaballoos - Rave On
03. The Hullaballoos - I Got This Feeling
04. The Hullaballoos - Better Change Your Ways
05. The Hullaballoos - You Were There
06. The Hullaballoos - Never Ever Will
07. The Hullaballoos - Learning The Game
08. The Hullaballoos - Don't Stop
09. The Hullaballoos - My Heart Keeps Telling Me
10. The Hullaballoos - That'll Be The Day
11. The Hullaballoos - Don't Cha Know
12. The Hullaballoos - It's About That Time

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Soul Christmas (1968)

1968 LP Soul Christmas (US Atco SD 33-269)

01. Clarence Carter - Back Door Santa
02. King Curtis - The Christmas Song
03. Otis Redding - White Christmas
04. Joe Tex - I'll Make Everyday Christmas (For My Woman)
05. Booker T & the MG's - Silver Bells
06. Carla Thomas - Gee Whiz, It's Christmas
07. Otis Redding - Merry Christmas Baby
08. Solomon Burke - Presents For Christmas
09. Booker T & the MG's - Jingle Bells
10. William Bell - Everyday Will Be A Holiday
11. King Curtis - What Are You Doing New Year's Eve
12. Carla Thomas - All I Want For Christmas Is You
13. Ray Charles - Christmas Time
14. Booker T & the MG's - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Black Arrows - Solid Sound In Guitars (1963)

In the early sixties – as all over the world – The Netherlands had many instrumental guitar groups. Almost every town had its own favorite band(s). But although many of this early guitar heroes were dreaming of big record sales, this was only reserved for a small number of groups, and even fewer reach some national fame. Usually the cause was a lack of technique and creativity, but often also a lack of technical capabilities of their amplifiers, echo units or electric guitars. The three brothers Anthonio plus drummer Laurens Müller however did not disconcert those handicaps. All born in Indonesia, and came to the Netherlands in 1949, they were accustomed to persevere in a country where the culture and the moral climate was much differently than in their homeland. Making music was, from their cultural background, therefore in the center of their attention.

Father Anthonio played violin, guitar, piano and drums and mother played piano. It soon became clear that this musical sensation, supplemented with good equipment, could form the basis of three outstanding musicians. In 1960 they decided to form a band with their good friend Lauren. From that moment it was practicing, and to spent every earned penny in new instruments. In the first month a significant repertoire was built and soon they had a good reputation. Besides the many performances at community centres, The Black Arrows had their own 'base' in Amsterdam, where a very active fan club organized dance parties every Saturday and Sunday night. There they also drawn the attention of some record companies, which resulted in their first record (January 1962). Eddy Denver – their vocalist at the time – and The Black Arrows with “Forty Days” b/w “Tough Enough”.

More records followed, instrumental and vocal, with different vocalists. More and more The Black Arrows developed themselves as one of the leading Dutch guitar groups. It was during this period that the LP “Solid Sound In Guitars” found its release. With this record they wanted to prove that they had managed to rise above the mediocrity of many local groups. And I think (like the writer of the original liner notes) they succeeded. “Solid Sound In Guitars” is one of a few LP's of Dutch guitar groups from the early sixties, and as an original it’s an absolute collector's item. Lees verder in het Nederlands +/-

In het begin van de jaren zestig waren er, zoals in heel Europa, veel instrumentale gitaargroepen in Nederland. Bijna elke stad had z'n eigen favoriete bandje(s). Maar hoewel veel van deze vroege gitaarhelden van een grote platenverkoop droomden, was dit slechts aan een klein aantal voorbehouden en daarvan bereikten er nog minder enige landelijke bekendheid. Meestal lag de oorzaak in een gebrek aan techniek en creativiteit, maar vaak ook aan een tekort aan technische mogelijkheden van hun versterkers, echo-units of elektrische gitaren. De drie broertjes Anthonio, aangevuld met drummer Laurens Müller lieten zich echter niet door die handicaps uit het veld slaan. Allemaal geboren in Indonesië en in 1949 naar Nederland gekomen, waren ze gewend om door te zetten in een land waar cultuur, moraal en klimaat zoveel anders waren dan in hun moederland. Het maken van muziek stond dan ook, vanuit hun eigen culturele achtergrond, in het middelpunt van de belangstelling.

Vader Anthonio speelde viool, gitaar, piano en drums en ook moeder speelde piano. Het was al snel duidelijk dat dit muzikale gevoel aangevuld met goede apparatuur, de basis konden vormen voor drie uitstekende muziekanten. In 1960 besloten ze samen met hun goede vriend Laurens een band te vormen. Vanaf dat moment werd er geoefend en elke zuur verdiende cent uitgegeven aan nieuwe instrumenten. In de eerste maanden kon een aanzienlijk repertoire worden opgebouwd waardoor er al snel een goede reputatie ontstond. Buiten de vele optredens in buurthuizen en andere lokaliteiten, hadden de Black Arrows ook een eigen 'honk' in Amsterdam waar een zeer actieve fanclub elke zaterdag- en zondagavond dans-party’s organiseerde. Hier werd ook de aandacht van platenmaatschappijen getrokken, wat in januari 1962 resulteerde in hun eerste grammofoonplaat. Eddy Denver, (hun zanger in die periode) en The Black Arrows in "Forty Days"/"Tough Enough".

Meer platen volgden, instrumentaal en vokaal, met verschillende vocalisten. Meer en meer ontwikkelden de Black Arrows zich tot één van de toonaangevende gitaargroepen. Het was in die periode dat de LP ‘Solid Sound In Guitars’ werd uitgebracht. Een langspeelplaat waarmee ze wilden bewijzen dat het hun gelukt was om boven de middelmaat van de vele plaatselijke groepjes uit te stijgen. En ik denk (net als de schrijver van de oorspronkelijke hoestekst) dat ze daarin op een heel bijzondere manier geslaagd zijn. ‘Solid Sound In Guitars’ behoort tot een van de weinige LP’s van Nederlandse gitaargroepen uit het begin van de jaren zestig en is, als origineel exemplaar, een absoluut collector's item. Meer informatie is te vinden op de uitstekende indo-rock site van Piet Muys.

1962 LP Solid Sound In Guitars (NL CNR LPT-35.011)

01. The Black Arrows - Rococo
02. The Black Arrows - Tulip Fields
03. The Black Arrows - Little Lonely Train
04. The Black Arrows - World Of Fire
05. The Black Arrows - Wonderland By Night
06. The Black Arrows - Johnny Guitar
07. The Black Arrows - Midnight Blues
08. The Black Arrows - Hernando's Hideaway
09. The Black Arrows - Jumbo
10. The Black Arrows - Slave Girl
11. The Black Arrows - September Song
12. The Black Arrows - Lady Of Spain

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Sounds Of The Tornados

The Tornados burst onto the record scene in 1962 with their massive instrumental hit Telstar. But their story began a little earlier, before the world was aware of the Telstar telecommunications satellite, and before that distinctive keyboard sound had been conceived by their maverick producer Joe Meek. Joe had brought the band together the previous year to provide backing for the numerous artists recording at his independent studio in North London. The core of this group were drummer Clem Cattini, bass player Heinz Burt and guitarists Alan Caddy and George Bellamy who were joined by two sax players, Pete Newman and Pete Corton, for some of the sessions and live Work. It wasn't long before The Tornados were recruited for the prestigious role of Billy Fury's live band, where the saxophones were replaced by keyboards. Norman Hale was first to fill this slot but Roger LaVern soon established himself as the fifth Tornado after the release of their first single.

The live album "We Want Billy" introduced the group's name to the record-buying public as it was credited to Billy Fury and The Tornados, a link that was emphasised by the title of the group's own first release. Their single "Love And Fury" btw "Popeye Twist" was issued on Decca in the spring of 1962 but failed to find chart success despite having many of what were to become trademark Tornados sounds. With an insistent, galloping rhythm and biting guitar break, the whole piece was characterised by its surreal keyboard lead played on a clavioline. Their second single was to have been "The Breeze And I" but UK guitar group The Fentones beat them to it. Read on +/-

Fortunately, this turned out to be a cloud with silver lining. The first television pictures broadcast across the Atlantic on July 11th, 1963, had inspired Joe Meek to create, his greatest work as a tribute to the Telstaf satellite and The Tornados were on hand to record it. However, with their commitment to a summer show in Great Yarmouth, they did not have time to complete their recording of "Telstar" before dashing back for an evening appearance. Hence the clavioline lead was played by Meek's collaborator, classically trained pianist Geoft Goddard. With a little more studio tweaking, including the crucial addition of introductory sound effects, a genuine pop classic was in the can.

"Telstar" b/w "Jungle Fever" crashed into the UK charts at the end of August 1962 and stayed there for no less than 25 weeks, five of them at number one. It was also a major international success, most notably in America where The Tornadoes (as they were known there) became the first British group to top the Billboard charts - a whole year before the much heralded triumph of The Beatles. Their American record company quickly called for an album to capitalise on this success and one track started getting a lot of airplay. Thus it was that "Ridin' The Wind" (with additional thunderclap effects) became their second American hit single, reaching a respectable number 63.

In the UK, "Globetrotter" was the follow-up whilst "Ridin' The Wind" featured on the EP Sounds Of The Tornados. "Globetrotter" b/w "Locomotion With You" reached the charts in January of 1963, peaking at number five during its 12-week stay. Drawing comment at the time for its similarity to the Jimmy Clanton/Mark Wynter hit "Venus In Blue Jeans", it was a more straightforward melodic piece than its predecessor. Robot was closer in style to their first hit with its sound effects integrated into a punchy arrangement, although the lead featured a more conventional organ sound. Coupled with "Life On Venus" it enjoyed a full 12 weeks in the charts during the second quarter of 1963, peaking at number 17.

The final single from the Telstar lineup of The Tornados was "The Ice Cream Man" btw "Theme From The Scales Of Justice" which reached number 18 during its nine week chart run in the summer of '63. It was after this that blond bassist Heinz Burt left to concentrate on his vocal career as a series of replacements joined and departed in rapid succession. Brian Gregg joined fellow former Johnny Kidd's Pirates Clem Cattini and Alan Caddy for the "Dragonfly/Hymn For Teenagers" single which was The Tornados last chart entry, reaching number 41 in a two-week spell during October 1963. "Hot Pot" took its inspiration from "Jungle Fever", the popular flip of "Telstar", but failed to chart. Coupled with Joystick, it was released in February of 1964 on Decca.

"Monte Carlo", theme from the BBC television programme "Know Your Car", was backed with "Blue, Blue, Blue Beat" (April 1964) but suffe red the same fate whilst the line-up of the band underwent further changes. George Bellamy and Roger LaVern had left following Dragonfly, and then finally Alan Caddy departed to leave drummer Clem Cattini as the only original member to stick it out to the release of their final Decca single. "Exodus" was recorded "live" during their summer season at Blackpool's South Pier; supported by "Blackpool Rock" was released in August 1964. Subsequent releases on the Columbia record label were recorded by various different line-ups employed by Joe Meek to benefit from the remaining popularity of The Tornados' name. Although they were also successful in the EP charts and eventually had an LP released in the UK in the summer of 1963, The Tornados were essentially a singles band who enjoyed all their hits on the Decca label.

1963 LP The Sound Of The Tornados (UK Decca DFE-8510) [See tracklist US LP]

1963 Lp The Sound Of The Tornados (US London LL-3279)

01. The Tornados- Telstar
02. The Tornados- Red Roses And A Sky Of Blue
03. The Tornados- Chasing Moonbeams
04. The Tornados- Earthy
05. The Tornados- Swinging Beefeater
06. The Tornados- Love And Fury
06. The Tornados- Theme From A Summer Place
07. The Tornados- Dreamin' On A Cloud
08. The Tornados- Ridin' The Wind
09. The Tornados- The Breeze And I
10. The Tornados- Jungle Fever
11. The Tornados- Popeye Twist

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1963 LP Away From It All (UK Decca LK-4552)

01. The Tornados- Indian Brave
02. The Tornados- Flycatcher Listen
03. The Tornados- Dreams Do Come True
04. The Tornados- Lullaby For Gulia
05. The Tornados- Costa Monger
06. The Tornados- Lonely Paradise
07. The Tornados- Cattanoga Choo Choo
08. The Tornados- Rip It Up [vocal]
09. The Tornados- Alan's Tune
10. The Tornados- Cootenanny
11. The Tornados- Night Rider

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Left Banke Too

This New York group pioneered "baroque & roll" in the '60s with its mix of pop/rock and grand, quasi-classical arrangements and melodies. Featuring teenage prodigy Michael Brown as keyboardist and chief songwriter, the group scored two quick hits with "Walk Away Renee" (number five) and "Pretty Ballerina" (number 15). Chamber-like string arrangements, Steve Martin's soaring, near-falsetto lead vocals, and tight harmonies that borrowed from British Invasion bands like the Beatles and the Zombies were also key elements of the Left Banke sound. Though their two hits are their only well-remembered efforts, their debut album (Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina) was a strong, near-classic work that matched the quality of their hit singles in songwriting and production.

The Left Banke's internal dynamic wasn't nearly as harmonious as their sound, and their history goes some way toward explaining their short career. Initially, the group made some recordings that were produced by Brown's father, Harry Lookofsky. When these recordings failed to interest companies in signing the band, the Left Banke broke up, Brown moving to California with the group's original drummer. A backing track for "Walk Away Renee" had already been completed, and the other members overdubbed vocals in Brown's absence. The song was released on Smash and became a hit, and the musicians reunited to tour and continue recording. Read On +/-

Unfortunately, the group, which showed such tremendous promise, was quickly torn asunder by dissension. Due to the nature of their music (which often employed session musicians), the Left Banke's sound was difficult to reproduce on the road, and one could sympathize with Brown's wishes to become a Brian Wilson-like figure, concentrating on writing and recording while the rest of the musicians took to the road. A variety of guitarists, as both session musicians and ostensible group members, flitted in and out of the lineup; Rick Brand, credited as the guitarist on the first LP, actually plays on only one of the album's songs. Adding fuel to the fire, Brown's bandmates wanted to oust Brown's father as the act's manager. In early 1967, Brown went as far as to record a Left Banke single without them, using vocalist Bert Sommer.

That single ("And Suddenly") flopped, and for a brief time in September 1967 the original members were recording together again. After just one single ("Desiree"), though, Brown left for good. Most of the group's second and final album, The Left Banke Too, was recorded without him. While it still sported baroque arrangements and contained some fine moments, Brown's presence was sorely missed, and the record pales in comparison to their debut. Brown went on to form a Left Banke-styled group, Montage, which released a fine and underappreciated album in the late '60s. He later teamed up to form Stories with vocalist Ian Lloyd.

There were some confusing son-of-Left Banke recordings over the next few years, although the band really came to a halt in 1969, after the second album. Brown, Martin, and unknown musicians made a few recordings in late 1969; then, oddly, the original group re-formed for a fine early-1971 single on Buddah ("Love Songs in the Night" b/w "Two by Two"), although the record itself was credited to Steve Martin.

1967 Walk Away Renée (US Smash SRS-67088)

01. The Left Banke - Barterers And Their Wives
02. The Left Banke - Evening Gown
03. The Left Banke - I Haven't Got The Nerve
04. The Left Banke - I've Got Something On My Mind
05. The Left Banke - Lazy Day
06. The Left Banke - Let Go Of You Girl
07. The Left Banke - Pretty Ballerina
08. The Left Banke - Shadows Breaking Over My Head
09. The Left Banke - She May Call You Up Tonight
10. The Left Banke - Walk Away Renee
11. The Left Banke - What Do You Know

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1968 LP The Left Banke Too (US Smash SRS-67113)

01. The Left Banke - Bryant Hotel
02. The Left Banke - Dark Is The Bark
03. The Left Banke - Desiree
04. The Left Banke - Give The Man A Hand
05. The Left Banke - Goodbye Holly
06. The Left Banke - In The Morning Light
07. The Left Banke - My Friend Today
08. The Left Banke - Nice To See You
09. The Left Banke - Sing Little Bird Sing
10. The Left Banke - There's Gonna Be a Storm

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Here's Larry Williams

A rough, rowdy rock & roll singer, Larry Williams had several hits in the late '50s, several of which -- "Bony Maroney," "Dizzy, Miss Lizzy," "Short Fat Fannie," "Bad Boy," "She Said Yeah" -- became genuine rock & roll classics and were recorded by British Invasion groups; John Lennon, in particular, was a fan of Williams, recording several of his songs over the course of his career.

As a child in New Orleans, Williams learned how to play piano. When he was a teenager, he and his family moved to Oakland, CA, where he joined a local R&B group called the Lemon Drops. In 1954, when he was 19 years old, Williams went back to New Orleans for a visit. During his trip, he met Lloyd Price, who was recording for Specialty Records. Price hired the teenager as his valet and introduced him to Robert "Bumps" Blackwell, the label's house producer. Soon, the label's owner, Art Rupe, signed Williams to a solo recording contract. Read on +/-

Just after Specialty signed Larry Williams, Specialty lost Little Richard, who had been their biggest star and guaranteed hitmaker. Little Richard decided to abandon rock & roll for the ministry shortly after Williams cut his first single, a cover of Price's "Just Because," with Richard's backing band; "Just Because" peaked at number 11 on the R&B charts in the spring of 1957. After Richard left the label, the label put all of its energy into making Williams a star, giving him an image makeover and a set of material -- ranging from hard R&B and rock & roll to ballads -- that was quite similar to Richard's hits.

Williams' first post-Little Richard single was the raucous "Short Fat Fannie," which shot to number one on the R&B charts and number five on the pop charts in the summer of 1957. It was followed in the fall by "Bony Maronie," which hit number four on the R&B charts and number 14 on the pop charts. Williams wasn't able to maintain that momentum, however. "You Bug Me, Baby" and "Dizzy Miss Lizzy," his next two singles, missed the R&B charts but became minor pop hits in late 1957 and early 1958. Despite the relative failure of these singles, Williams' records became popular import items in Britain; the Beatles would cover both sides of the "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" single (the B-side was "Slow Down") in the mid-'60s. However, Williams' commercial fortunes in America continued to decline, despite Specialty's release of a constant stream of singles and one full-length album.

In 1959, Williams was arrested for selling narcotics, which caused Specialty to drop him from the record label. During the '60s, he drifted through a number of labels in the early '60s, recording songs for Chess, Mercury, Island, and Decca. By the mid-'60s, he had hooked up Johnny "Guitar" Watson and the duo cut several sides for OKeh Records in the mid- and late '60s, including the Top 40 R&B hits "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" (spring 1967) and "Nobody," which was recorded with Kaleidoscope (early 1968). Williams also became a house producer for OKeh Records in 1966, although very few of his productions became hits.

1959 LP Here's Larry Williams (US Specialty SP-2109)

01. Larry Williams - Short Fat Fannie
02. Larry Williams - Make A Little Love
03. Larry Williams - Hootchy-Koo
04. Larry Williams - Lawdy Miss Clawdy
05. Larry Williams - Peaches And Cream
06. Larry Williams - Give Me Love
07. Larry Williams - Bony Maronie
08. Larry Williams - Little School Girl
09. Larry Williams - Dizzy, Miss Lizzy
10. Larry Williams - Teardrops
11. Larry Williams - You Bug Me, Baby
12. Larry Williams - Ting-A-Ling

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Monday, November 8, 2010

The Association

Here the complete review of The Association from Bruce Eder. Not because I can't tell you some, but because it's a really good and complete story. So sit back and read... The Association was one of the more underrated groups to come out of the mid- to late '60s. Creators of an enviable string of hits from 1966 through 1969, they got caught in a shift in popular culture and the unwritten criteria for significance in that field and never recovered. The group's smooth harmonies and pop-oriented sound (which occasionally moved into psychedelia and, much more rarely, into a harder, almost garage-punk vein) made them regular occupants of the highest reaches of the pop charts for two years -- their biggest hits, including "Along Comes Mary," "Cherish," "Windy," and "Never My Love," became instant staples of AM play lists, which was a respectable achievement for most musicians at the time. That same sound, along with their AM radio popularity, however, proved a liability as the music environment around them changed at the end of the decade. Additionally, their ensemble singing, essential to the group's sound and appeal, all but ensured that the individual members never emerged as personalities in their own right. The Association was as anonymous an outfit as their contemporaries the Grass Roots, in terms of any individual names or attributes, despite the fact that both groups generated immensely popular hits that millions of listeners embraced on a deeply personal level. Read on +/-

The group's roots go back to a meeting in 1964 between Terry Kirkman, a Kansas-born, California-raised music major, proficient on upwards of two dozen instruments, and Jules Alexander, a Tennessee-born high school drop-out with an interest in R&B who was a budding guitar virtuoso. Alexander was in the U.S. Navy at the time, serving out his hitch, and they agreed to link up professionally once he was out. That happened at the beginning of 1965, and they at once pursued a shared goal, to put together a large-scale ensemble that would be more ambitious than such existing big-band folk outfits as the New Christy Minstrels and the Serendipity Singers. The result was the Men, a 13-member band that played folk, rock, and jazz, who earned a spot as the house band at the L.A. Troubadour. The group's promising future was cut short, however, when the group's lineup split in two after just a few weeks with seven members exiting. The remaining six formed the Association, the name coming at the suggestion of Kirkman's wife Judy.

Ted Bluechel, Jr. was their drummer, Brian Cole played bass, Russ Giguere was on percussion, and Jim Yester, brother of Easy Riders/Modern Folk Quartet alumnus Jerry Yester, played rhythm guitar behind Alexander. Each member was also a singer -- indeed, their vocal abilities were far more important than their skills on any specific instruments -- and several were multi-instrumentalists, able to free others up to play more exotic instruments on stage. The group rehearsed for six months before they began performing, developing an extremely polished, sophisticated, and complex sound.

The Association shopped itself around Los Angeles but couldn't do any better initially than a single release on the Jubilee label -- their debut, "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You," wasn't a success, nor was their subsequent 1965 recording of Bob Dylan's "One Too Many Mornings" on Valiant Records, which was an early folk-rock effort that was probably a little too complex for national exposure -- though it got decent local radio play in Los Angeles. The group came completely into its own, however, with the recording of the singles "Along Comes Mary" and "Cherish."

The recording of those songs was to set a new standard in the treatment of rock music in America. As Ted Bluechel recalled in a 1984 Goldmine article by Marty Natchez, the voices were recorded at Columbia studios, while the instruments -- played by Terry Kirkman and Jules Alexander, plus a group of studio musicians -- were cut in an improvised four-track studio owned by Gary Paxton. Those two songs, and the entire album that followed, revealed a level of craftsmanship that was unknown in rock recordings up to that time. Producer Curt Boettcher showed incredible skill in putting together the stereo sound on that album, which was among the finest sounding rock records of the period. The fact that most of the members didn't play on their records was not advertised, but it was a common decision in recording in those days -- Los Angeles, in particular, was home to some of the best musicians in the country; they worked affordably and there was no reason to make less-than-perfect records. Even the Byrds, apart from Roger McGuinn, had stood on the sidelines when it was time to do the instrumental tracks on their earliest records, although this sense that the Association's music was a "production" rather than the work of an actual band probably helped contribute to their anonymity as a group.

Considering their lightweight image in the later 1960s, the Association made a controversial entry into the music market with "Along Comes Mary" -- apart from its virtues as a record, with great hooks and a catchy chorus, it was propelled to the number seven spot nationally with help from rumors that the song was about marijuana. No one is quite certain of what songwriter Tandyn Almer had in mind, and one wonders how seriously any of this was taken at the time, in view of the fact that the song became an unofficial sports anthem for Catholic schools named St. Mary's. "Cherish," a Kirkman original (which was intended for a proposed single by Mike Whelan of the New Christy Minstrels), was their next success, riding to number one on the charts. Among the most beautiful rock records ever made, the song has been a perennial favorite of romantic couples for decades since.

It was just at this point that the exhaustion that came with success and the avarice of their record label, along with a couple of artistic and commercial misjudgments, combined to interrupt the group's progress. Their next single, "Pandora's Golden Heebie Jeebies," was not an ideal choice as a follow-up to one of the prettiest and most accessible rock records of the decade, reaching only number 35, and "No Fair At All," the next single, also fared poorly. Equally important, the group was forced to rush out a second album, Renaissance (produced by Jim Yester's brother Jerry Yester), while they were honoring the burgeoning tour commitments attendant to a pair of huge national hits. It was also during this time that Valiant Records, including the Association's contract, was absorbed by Warner Bros. Records.

A major personnel problem also arose as Jules Alexander, one of the core players in the group, decided to leave. He headed off to India, where he spent most of the next year. He returned in 1967, intending to form his own group, which never got off the ground. In the meantime, the Association recruited multi-instrumentalist Larry Ramos of the New Christy Minstrels to replace Alexander. The group's lineup change coincided with their getting access to a song by Ruthann Friedman called "Windy." Another number one single, it was tougher to realize as a finished work, cut over a period of 14 hours with Friedman and Yester's wife, arranger Cliff Burroughs, and his wife, along with numerous others, all singing with them.

Insight Out, their third album, was a tough one to record as well. Initially to have been produced by Jerry Yester, it fell apart after it was half done when the group became unhappy with the sound and shape he was giving it. Instead, they turned to Bones Howe, an engineer and producer (most noted for his work with the Fifth Dimension, among many other popular acts), who finished the album with them. Insight Out was a better album than Renaissance, with pop, folk-rock, and hard rock elements that hold together reasonably well, although its audio textures lacked the delicacy of the group's debut long-player. The album's two hits, "Windy" and "Never My Love," were among their most popular and enduring records and helped drive sales of the 12" platter. The final track, "Requiem for the Masses," which featured a Gregorian chant opening, was a strange song mixing psychedelia and social commentary -- its lyrics were a searing social indictment, originally dealing with the death of boxer Davy Moore (Bob Dylan had written a song, very little known at the time, on the same subject four years earlier).

Immediately prior to the release of Insight Out, the group played the most visible live gig in their history, opening the Monterey International Pop Festival. The group didn't seem absurdly out of place, in the context of the times, on a bill with Simon & Garfunkel, the Who, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Eric Burdon and the Animals, and the Mamas & The Papas. It was an ideal showcase, and as the tapes of the festival reveal, the group was tight and hard that night, their vocals spot-on and their playing a match for any folk-rock band of the era -- Ted Bluechel's drumming, in particular, and Larry Ramos's and Jim Yester's guitars are perfect, and even Kirkland's flute came out well on stage.

Had any part of their Monterey set been released, it might've helped correct the image that the Association were rapidly acquiring of being a soft, pop/rock group. Instead, their performance took some 20 years to see the light of day and longer than that for a pair of songs to show up on CD. The group's next album, Birthday, was a departure from its three predecessors, their attempt at creating a heavier sound. It was around this same time that they cut the single "Six Man Band," a very nasty critique of the music business written by Kirkman. The measures that the group took to change its image came too late -- Birthday fell largely on deaf ears when it was issued in 1968, and the singles "Six Man Band" and "Enter the Young," the latter a re-recording of a song that highlighted their debut album, charted only moderately well.

Warner Brothers' release of a greatest hits album in 1969 boosted the group's album sales and consolidated the audience that they had, but did nothing to stop the rot that had set in. By 1969, the sensibilities of the rock audience had hardened, even as that audience splintered. Suddenly, groups that specialized in more popular, lighter fare, usually aimed at audiences outside the 17-25 age group, and especially those with a big AM radio following, such as Paul Revere & the Raiders and the Grass Roots, and the Association were considered terminally out of fashion and uncool by the new rock intelligentsia. If they got mentioned or reviewed in the pages of Rolling Stone, Crawdaddy, or Circus magazine, it was usually for a lark rather than in a fully serious context. They were usually lumped together with bubblegum acts such as the 1910 Fruitgum Company and the Ohio Express and represented the kind of music you left behind (especially if you were a guy) once you got out of ninth grade, if you had any intentions of being considered cool.

One positive development was the return of Jules Alexander to the lineup in 1969, which turned the group into a septet and gave them the services of three talented guitarists. The group's Goodbye Columbus soundtrack album, which included incidental music from the film of that name composed by Charles Fox, was the kiss of death for the group's credibility, regardless of the musical merits of their work. It was one thing for movies like Easy Rider to make use of music by the likes of the Byrds -- that was part of a new wave of filmmaking -- but as a film, Goodbye Columbus was a piece of Hollywood product. Coming out in the same year that Woodstock took place, it spoke volumes about where the Association was in relation to music and audiences.
1966 LP And Then...Along Comes The Association (US Valiant VLS-25002)

01. The Association - Enter The Young
02. The Association - Your Own Love
03. The Association - Don't Blame It On Me
04. The Association - Blistered
05. The Association - I'll Be Your Man
06. The Association - Along Comes Mary
07. The Association - Cherish
08. The Association - Standing Still
09. The Association - Message Of Your Love
10. The Association - Round Again
11. The Association - Remember
12. The Association - Changes

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1967 LP Renaissance (US Valiant VLS-25004)

01 The Association - I'm The One
02 The Association - Memories Of You
03 The Association - All Is Mine
04 The Association - Pandora's Golden Heebie Jeebies
05 The Association - Angeline
06 The Association - Songs In The Wind
07 The Association - You May Think
08 The Association - Looking Glass
09 The Association - Come To Me
10 The Association - No Fair At All
11 The Association - You Hear Me Call Your Name
12 The Association - Another Time, Another Place

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11968 LP Birthday (US Warner Bros. WS-1733)

01. The Association - Barefoot Gentleman
02. The Association - Birthday Morning
03. The Association - Come On In
04. The Association - Everything That Touches You
05. The Association - Hear In Here
06. The Association - Like Always
07. The Association - Rose Petals, Incense & Kitten
08. The Association - The Bus Song
09. The Association - It Is Today
10. The Association - Time For Livin'
11. The Association - Toymaker

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Sandy Nelson - Not Just A Drummer Boy (1961-1962)

Sandy Nelson was the biggest -- and one of the few -- star drummers of the late '50s and early '60s era in which instrumental rock was at its peak. He landed two Top Ten hits, "Teen Beat" (1959) and "Let There Be Drums" (1961), which surrounded his Gene Krupa-inspired solos with cool, mean guitar licks that were forerunners of the surf sound. Nelson had only one other Top 40 hit, "Drums Are My Beat" (1962). He ground out a quick series of instrumental albums in the early '60s -- eight within 18 months, as a matter of fact -- with several other top Hollywood rock and pop session musicians. Nelson was not that great a drummer, although he was good. His principal importance is that he found a place for drum rock solos in hit instrumental singles, and the more reckless elements of his style no doubt influenced other musicians, such as surf drummers and, later, Keith Moon.

Nelson started to play rock & roll as a teenager in Los Angeles in the 1950s, forming a group that included Jan Berry, Dean Torrence, and Bruce Johnston, all of whom would be important to the surf and hot rod scenes a few years down the line. By the late '50s he was playing sessions, including drums on the Teddy Bears' chart-topper "To Know Him Is to Love Him." After his "Teen Beat" became a hit for Original Sound in 1959, he signed with Imperial as a solo artist, and continued to work as a session musician. For instance, he's heard on Gene Vincent records of the time, as well as the Hollywood Argyles' big hit "Alley Oop," on which he also did some screams. Nelson's numerous solo albums, despite the assistance of top fellow sessioneers like Steve Douglas (sax), Ernie Freeman (piano), and Rene Hall (guitar), had a lot of basic and unimaginative instrumental rock, whether original material or covers of well-known hits of the day. As with Duane Eddy's recordings, however, these simple albums might have helped inspire aspiring musicians as things to play along and learn with, if nothing else.

Near the end of 1963, Nelson was involved in a serious motorcycle accident that necessitated amputation of his right foot and part of his leg. Nonetheless, he managed to resume his drumming career and continued to churn out albums, as well as some singles.

1961 LP Let There Be Drums (US Imperial LP-12080)
  1. Sandy Nelson - Slippin' and Slidin'
  2. Sandy Nelson - Tequila
  3. Sandy Nelson - My Girl Josephine
  4. Sandy Nelson - Big Noise From Winnetka
  5. Sandy Nelson - Let There Be Drums
  6. 0Sandy Nelson - Bouncy
  7. Sandy Nelson - Birth Of The Beat
  8. Sandy Nelson - Quite A Beat
  9. Sandy Nelson - Get With It
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1962 LP Drums Are My Beat (US Imperial LP-12083)
  1. Sandy Nelson - Drum Roll 9
  2. Sandy Nelson - My Blue Heaven
  3. Sandy Nelson - Hawaiian War Chant
  4. Sandy Nelson - Twisted
  5. Sandy Nelson - Caravan
  6. Sandy Nelson - Drums Are My Beat
  7. Sandy Nelson - Day Drumming
  8. Sandy Nelson - Drum Stomp
  9. Sandy Nelson - Hum Drum
  10. Sandy Nelson - Topsy
  11. Sandy Nelson - The City
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tijd voor Teenagers! (1962-1964) [Re-up on request]

After a little time for my own, I'm back. Some of you asked me to re-up the three Dutch LP's of 'Tijd voor Teenagers'. So here we go. Tijd voor Teenagers (Time For Teenagers) was the first music program on Dutch radio especially for teenagers. It started in 1959. Young radio producer Co de Kloet would like to air a program with only pop records. His chef brought it to VARA broadcast president Jan Broeksz. He didn't like the idea in the first place, but his program director stood for the young program maker and suggested with a wink: "let the punk take its course." From that moment on, every Friday afternoon Dutch teenagers had their own radio program with 'one hour' of pop music. One condition was however provided by Broeksz: the presenter had to educate the youth sometimes about the "alarming level" of some songs! In addition, the broadcast of advertising was absolutely forbidden. The program quickly became a success with the young audience and the presentation was the first two years in the hands of the first real 'Dutch disc-jockey' Dick Duster (aka Dick van 't Sant). Herman Stok -- later also presenter of the Dutch TV program 'Top of Flop' (Juke Box Jury) -- succeeded him in 1961. By the success of the program -- and the impact it had for selling records -- Philips decided in 1962 to release a sampler under the name 'Tijd Voor Teenagers.' And also the following years they released two LP's with various Dutch teenage stars. Because of time limits, Philips added just short versions of the songs, but I provide you of the full tracks. The recordings are special gems these days, but here they are and they give a good overview of Dutch pop music in the early sixties. If you like original Dutch LP's on CD... Go here:

1962 LP Tijd Voor Teenagers (Philips P 600.369)

01. Willeke Alberti - De Winter Was Lang
02. Rob de Nijs - Loop Naar De Maan
03. Trea Dobbs - Tennessee Waltz
04. Johnny Lion - Loddy-Lo
05. Anneke Grönloh - Rozen Hebben Doornen
06. The Sunbeams - Saturday Night
07. Ria Valk - De Jodeltwist
08. Blue Diamonds - He! Ba-Be-Re-Bop
09. Jumping Jewels - Irish Washer Woman
10. Don Mercedes - (You're The) Devil In Disguise
11. Karin Kent - Halleluja I Love Him So
12. The Spiders - Oze-Wieze-Woze
13. Wanda - Wow Wou Wee
14. René & His Alligators - Counter Point
15. Johnny Lion - Let's Make A Habbit Of This
16. Anneke Grönloh - Cimeroni
17. Don Mercedes - Willie And The Handjive
18. Willeke Alberti - Spiegelbeeld
19. The Telstars - He's Your Lover
20. Trea Dobbs - Parel Van De zuidzee
21. Rob de Nijs - Wit Satijn
22. The Explosions - Harem.mp3
23. Johnny & His Cellar Rockers - Close Your Eyes
24. The Fouryo's - Tot Zondagavond, Mary
25. The Blue Diamonds - Rag Mop
26. Ria Valk - Lasso-Lilly
27. Jerry Rix - I'm Watching My Watch
28. The Lords - The Lord's Night Out

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1963 LP Tijd voor Teenagers 2 (Philips P 600.701)

01. Rob de Nijs - Ritme Van De Regen
02. Anneke Grönloh - Paradiso
03. Blue Diamonds - Ev'rybody Loves Saturday Nights
04. Willeke Alberti - Nee Jongen, Ik Trouw Niet Met Jou
05. Johnny Lion - Blame It On The Bossanova
06. Ria Valk - Wini-Wini
07. René & His Alligators - Telstar
08. Fouryo's - Loop De Loop.mp3
09. Marijke Hofland - Bobby's Schat
10. Carlo - Selene
11. Anneke Grönloh - Het Leven Kan Mooi Zijn
12. Jumping Jewels - Africa
13. Johnny Lion - Count On Me
14. Anneke Grönloh - Soerabaja
15. Rob de Nijs - How Do You Do It
16. Fouryo's - Walk Like A Man
17. Blue Diamonds - Alice In Wonderland
18. Willeke Alberti - Perché Perché
19. Jumping Jewels - Wild Geese
20. Trea Dobbs - Casanova Bacia Me
21. Don Mercedes - This Little Girl
22. Wanda - De Loco-motion
23. Carlo - Giovane, Giovane
24. Explosions - Long Long Ago

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1964 LP Tijd voor Teenagers 3 (Philips PL 12.946)

01. Willeke Alberti - De Winter Was Lang
02. Rob de Nijs - Loop Naar De Maan
03. Trea Dobbs - Tennessee Waltz
04. Johnny Lion - Loddy-Lo
05. Anneke Grönloh - Rozen Hebben Doornen
06. Sunbeams - Saturday Night
07. Ria Valk - De Jodeltwist
08. Blue Diamonds - He! Ba-Be-Re-Bop
09. Jumping Jewels - Irish Washer Woman
10. Don Mercedes - (You're The) Devil In Disguise
11. Karin Kent - Halleluja I Love Him So
12. Spiders - Oze-Wieze-Woze
13. Wanda - Wow Wou Wee
14. René & His Alligators - Counter Point
15. Johnny Lion - Let's Make A Habbit Of This
16. Anneke Grönloh - Cimeroni
17. Don Mercedes - Willie And The Handjive
18. Willeke Alberti - Spiegelbeeld
19. Telstars - He's Your Lover
20. Trea Dobbs - Parel Van De zuidzee
21. Rob de Nijs - Wit Satijn
22. Explosions - Harem
23. Johnny & His Cellar Rockers - Close Your Eyes
24. Fouryo's - Tot Zondagavond, Mary
25. Blue Diamonds - Rag Mop
26. Ria Valk - Lasso-Lilly
27. Jerry Rix - I'm Watching My Watch
28. Lords - The Lord's Night Out

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Impalas - I Ran All The Way Home (1959)

The Impalas were a racially integrated vocal group from Brooklyn who are best remembered for their 1959 hit 'Sorry (I Ran All the Way Home),' which scored them their only Top 20 hit (number two pop, number 14 R&B). Forming in 1958, the group -- Joe 'Speedo' Frazier (the only black singer), Richard Wagner, Lenny Renda, and Tony Carlucci -- were signed to the Cub label, a subsidiary label of MGM that also issued high-quality stereo recordings by the Five Satins, the Harptones, the Stereos, the Velours, and the Wanderers, to name a few. In August of 1959, Cub issued an album, Sorry I Ran All the Way Home, which featured other recordings the Impalas made for the label. After a second 1959 charting #86 with 'Oh, Wat A Fool', unfortunately no further hits ever came. They disbanded in 1961.

1959 LP Sorry (I Ran All The Way Home) - CUB 8003

01. The Impalas - Sorry (I Ran All The Way Home) (1959 US#2)
02. The Impalas - Fool Fool Fool
03. The Impalas - Woodchuck Song
04. The Impalas - Sandy Went Away
05. The Impalas - Chum
06. The Impalas - The Loves We Share
07. The Impalas - Mommy-O
08. The Impalas - All But The Memory Of You
09. The Impalas - Oh, What A Fool (1959 US#86)
10. The Impalas - (You Want) Too Much Too Soon
11. The Impalas - She Belongs To Me
12. The Impalas - Cupid
13. The Impalas - Peggy Darling (Bonus Track)

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Just Singin' to My Baby - 5 EP's (1957-1960)

1958 EP Susie Darlin' (Dot DEP-1092)

1960 EP Tell Laura I Love Her (RCA Victor EPA-4367)

1957 EP Just A Dream (Ace ZTEP-60765)

1958 EP Jimmy Bowen (Roulette EPR-1-302)

1958 EP Singin' to My Baby (Liberty LEP 3-3061)

Eddie Cochran - Cradle Baby
Eddie Cochran - I'm Alone Because I Love You
Eddie Cochran - Lovin' Time
Eddie Cochran - One Kiss

Jimmy Bowen - Ever Since That Night
Jimmy Bowen - I'm Stickin' With You
Jimmy Bowen - Raggedy Anne
Jimmy Bowen - Warm Up To Me Baby

Jimmy Clanton - Angel Face
Jimmy Clanton - Just A Dream
Jimmy Clanton - My Love Is Strong
Jimmy Clanton - Ship On A Stormy Sea

Ray Peterson - Fever
Ray Peterson - Suddenly
Ray Peterson - Tell Laura I Love Her
Ray Peterson - The Wonder of You

Robin Luke - Bad Boy
Robin Luke - Chicka Chicka Honey
Robin Luke - Susie Darlin'
Robin Luke - Won't You Please Be Mine

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Johnny & The Hurricanes (1960-1961)

One of the most distinctive instrumental groups of the '50s and '60s, Johnny & the Hurricanes produced the Top Ten hit 'Red River Rock' and scored several other instrumental hits that mixed rock & roll with traditional melodies. Originally known as the Orbits, the group formed in Toledo, OH, in 1958 and was led by saxophonist Johnny Paris; other members included organist Paul Tesluk, guitarist Dave Yorko, bassist Lionel 'Butch' Mattice, and drummer Tony Kaye. After a stint recording with rockabilly singer Mack Vickery, the group traveled to Detroit, hoping to become a backing band for up-and-coming singers. However, a pair of music promoters, Harry Balk and Irving Michanik, signed them as a group on their own, and they recorded their first single, 'Crossfire,' for the Twirl label in 1959. 'Crossfire' went to number 23 and the group moved to the Warwick imprint for 'Red River Rock,' a rock & roll instrumental of the standard 'Red River Valley' that peaked at number five. The Hurricanes responded to their success with more of the same, delivering 'Reveille Rock,' 'Rockin' Goose,' 'Revival,' and 'Beatnik Fly' over the next year, touring extensively all the while. Eventually the pace -- and lack of further hit singles -- caught up with the group, and Johnny & the Hurricanes disbanded in 1965. Paris moved to Hamburg, started his own label, Atila, and in 1970 formed a new Hurricanes lineup that toured until November 2005, two weeks before Paris took ill and was hospitalized. He died on May 1, 2006, due to pneumonia and septic blood after a splenectomy.

1960 LP Red River Rock (US Warwick 2007)

01. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Red River Rock
02. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Happy Time
03. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Buckeye
04. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Cut Out
05. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Lazy
06. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Walking
07. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Crossfire
08. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Storm Warning
09. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Bam-Boo
10. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Thunderbolt
11. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Joy Ride
12. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Rock-Cha

1960 LP Stormsville (US Warwick 2010)

01. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Reveille Rock
02. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Milk Shake
03. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Cyclone
04. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Travellin'
05. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Bean Bag
06. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Rockin' T
07. Johnny & The Hurricanes - The Hungry Eye
08. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Hot Fudge
09. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Time Bomb
10. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Corn Bread
11. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Catnip
12. Johnny & The Hurricanes - The 'Hep' Canary

1961 LP The Big Sound Of (US Big Top 1302)

01. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Molly-O
02. Johnny & The Hurricanes - You Are My Sunshine
03. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Like... Rock
04. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Beatnik Fly
05. Johnny & The Hurricanes - The Kid
06. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Bye Bye Blackbird
07. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Traffic Jam
08. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Teensville Tonight
09. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Mister Irving
10. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Sheba
11. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Tom's Tune
12. Johnny & The Hurricanes - Corn Pone

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Donnie Brooks - The Happiest... (1962) [reup on request]

Singer Donnie Brooks remains best known for the 1960 pop smash "Mission Bell," although he is also revered in rockabilly fan circles for the cult classic "Bertha Lou," recorded under the name Johnny Faire. Born John Dee Abohosh in Dallas on February 6, 1936, he was later adopted by his stepfather and given the new surname Fairecloth. While growing up in southern California, he studied under the same vocal coach who previously instructed Eddie Fisher, and in high school made his professional debut on a classical music showcase broadcast by Ventura-based station KBCC. After graduating from high school, Fairecloth earned his living singing at local clubs, fairs, and weddings, embracing rock & roll and in 1957 signing to local indie Fable Records to cut his debut single, "You Gotta Walk the Line," credited to Johnny Faire. Read on +/-

While cutting demos for the Surf label, he learned that contractual obligations were forcing friend and mentor Dorsey Burnette to abandon a completed track dubbed "Bertha Lou." Surf agreed to erase Burnette's vocal and insert Faire's performance instead, and while the resulting 1958 single earned scant attention on its original release, it is now revered as a lost classic of the rockabilly era. From there Faire adopted the alias Johnny Jordan long enough to record "Sweet, Sweet, Sweet" for the Jolt label, followed by a stint at Era, where he cut the rockabilly gem "Hollywood Party" under the tongue-in-cheek name Dick Bush. The record went nowhere, but Era owners Herb Newman and Lew Bidell were sufficiently impressed to keep the singer on the payroll -- however, they insisted on yet another name change, this time to the wry Donnie Brooks. The first Donnie Brooks single, the melancholy ballad "White Orchid," proved his biggest hit to date, selling about 50,000 copies on the West Coast and topping the Australian pop charts. The follow-up, the Dorsey and Johnny Burnette castoff "Mission Bell," did far better, vaulting Brooks into the Billboard Top Ten and earning him his first gold record. A second Top 40 hit, "Doll House," followed at the end of 1960, and early the following year Brooks scored his final Hot 100 entry, "Memphis." Subsequent singles including "Wishbone," "Boomerang," and "My Favorite Kind of Face" failed to reignite Brooks' career, and following the late-1962 release of "Cries My Heart," the label terminated his contract. Brooks spent the following year off the radar, but resurfaced in early 1964 on Reprise with "Gone." That same year, he appeared in the feature film Get Yourself a College Girl, but Beatlemania effectively spelled the end of his recording career and after one final Reprise effort, "Pickin' Up the Pieces," his tenure with the label came with a halt.

1962 LP The Happiest Donnie Brooks (US Era EL-105)

A1. Donnie Brooks - That's Why
A2. Donnie Brooks - Memories Are Made Of This
A3. Donnie Brooks - Mission Bell
A4. Donnie Brooks - How Long
A5. Donnie Brooks - The Devil Ain't A Man
A6. Donnie Brooks - Twilight Time

B1. Donnie Brooks - Memphis
B2. Donnie Brooks - P. S. I Love You
B3. Donnie Brooks - All I Can Give
B4. Donnie Brooks - What'd I Say
B5. Donnie Brooks - Doll House
B6. Donnie Brooks - Round Robin

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Isley Brothers - Twist and Shout (1959-1962)

First formed in the early '50s, the Isley Brothers enjoyed one of the longest, most influential, and most diverse careers in the pantheon of popular music -- over the course of nearly a half century of performing, the group's distinguished history spanned not only two generations of Isley siblings but also massive cultural shifts which heralded their music's transformation from gritty R&B to Motown soul to blistering funk. The first generation of Isley siblings was born and raised in Cincinnati, OH, where they were encouraged to begin a singing career by their father, himself a professional vocalist, and their mother, a church pianist who provided musical accompaniment at their early performances. Initially a gospel quartet, the group was comprised of Ronald, Rudolph, O'Kelly, and Vernon Isley; after Vernon's 1955 death in a bicycling accident, tenor Ronald was tapped as the remaining trio's lead vocalist. In 1957, the brothers went to New York City to record a string of failed doo wop singles; while performing a spirited reading of the song "Lonely Teardrops" in Washington, D.C., two years later, they interjected the line "You know you make me want to shout," which inspired frenzied audience feedback. An RCA executive in the audience saw the concert, and when he signed the Isleys soon after, he instructed that their first single be constructed around their crowd-pleasing catch phrase; while the call-and-response classic "Shout" failed to reach the pop Top 40 on its initial release, it eventually became a frequently covered classic. Read on +/-

Still, success eluded the Isleys, and only after they left RCA in 1962 did they again have another hit, this time with their seminal cover of the Top Notes' "Twist and Shout." Like so many of the brothers' early R&B records, "Twist and Shout" earned greater commercial success when later rendered by a white group -- in this case, the Beatles; other acts who notched hits by closely following the Isleys' blueprint were the Yardbirds ("Respectable," also covered by the Outsiders), the Human Beinz ("Nobody but Me"), and Lulu ("Shout").

The most essential lp's of The Isley Brothers in the sixties are in my opinion "Soul on the Rocks", witch they produced for Motown, and of course the psychedelic funky "It's Our Thing" on T-Neck Records. But also the more early rock 'n roll flavored long players "Shout" and "Twist and Shout" do find their way to collectors these days.

1959 LP Shout (US RCA Victor LPM-2156)
  1. Isley Brothers - When The Saints Go Marching In
  2. Isley Brothers - St. Isley Brothers - Louis Blues
  3. Isley Brothers - Yes Indeed
  4. Isley Brothers - How Deep Is The Ocean
  5. Isley Brothers - Ring-A-Ling-A-Ling
  6. Isley Brothers - Rock Around The Clock
  7. Isley Brothers - He's Got The Whole World In His Hands
  8. Isley Brothers - That Lucky Old Sun
  9. Isley Brothers - Respectable
  10. Isley Brothers - Without A Song
  11. Isley Brothers - Shout, Part 1
  12. Isley Brothers - Shout, Part 2
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1962 LP Twist & Shout (US Wand LP-653)
  1. Isley Brothers - Twist And Shout
  2. Isley Brothers - I Say Love
  3. Isley Brothers - Right Now
  4. Isley Brothers - Hold On Baby
  5. Isley Brothers - Rubber Leg Twist
  6. Isley Brothers - The Snake
  7. Isley Brothers - You Better Come Home
  8. Isley Brothers - Never Leave Me Baby
  9. Isley Brothers - Spanish Twist
  10. Isley Brothers - Time After Time
  11. Isley Brothers - Let's Twist Again
  12. Isley Brothers - Don't You Feel
If you want to listen to the music... Look up in the right column.
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