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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