Friday, August 29, 2008

Speedies –Let Me Take Your Foto / Something On My Mind

Speedies –Let Me Take Your Foto/No Substitute –Golden Disc Records GDR 1003 (US 1979)

Speedies - Something On My Mind/Time –Speedy Delivery MS 1 (US 1981)

Once in a while a reissue programme will alert me to the existence of a band that I may have been unaware of before, and in this instance Radio Heartbeat Records’ issue of the Speedies album opened up a can of worms that led to me buying these two great singles. Both singles a fabulous examples of perfect Powerpop. It seems the Speedies were quite well known on the NYC scene often opening for visiting UK New Wave bands and they garnered quite a following. It’s hard sitting here now, to understand why a CBS or a Seymour Stein didn’t jump on them at the time as they come across as a perfect hit making machine. They had the hooks and the sound with songwriting abilities which could have turned them into real contenders. They fall somewhere between the US Titan Powerpop sound with a touch of UK New Wave and by the time they released their second single produced by Clem Burke, they could have tagged on to the success of a band like The Cars. It’s a crime an album wasn’t released at the time…

Click on title for an edit of Let Me Take Your Foto and Something On My Mind

Radio Heartbeat Records

This has now been rectified by Radio Heartbeat Records who have released a Speedies LP (Yes, it’s on Vinyl folks!) that collects both sides of their singles along with unreleased material mostly recorded during sessions in Canada. There are many other top tunes on the LP including the opener You Need Pop. The sound is loud and proud, like a tougher version of The Fast.
As well as Speedies, Radio Hearbeat have also issued a true labour of love –A ridiculously sublime gatefold issue of the Milk ‘N’Cookies LP which features a second disc with outtakes and tracks that didn’t appear on the original album. I first discovered the band back in 1975 and picked up the German issue of the LP that year (it’s release was delayed for over a year in the UK). The band looked so perfect to me at the time, but I was slightly put off by the fey vocals, although the tunes were topnotch. That LP fell into a similar bag to The Quick insofar as their wildness seemed to have been curtailed in the clutches of their respective producers (Muff Winwood and Earl Mankey) who seemed to have attempted to turn both acts into the new Sparks. So for me the real surprise was the unbridled energy of the bonus tracks. The alternative version of Not Enough Girls (In The World) is certainly much tougher, Tinkertoy Tomorrow and Typically Teenage are damn near perfect while Wok N’ Woll is a cataclysm that will blow your socks off. If only that last track was released at the time, I would have put Milk ‘N’ Cookies right at the top of my favourite bands at the time.
Radio Heartbeat Records are not ending their release programme there either, below are the next scheduled releases including unreleased 20/20!!!! And The Quick LP. All will appear on vinyl as well…

OUT NOW:RHB -101 SPEEDIES "Speedy Delivery" LP / CD

RHB - 701 20/20 "Going Up With My Girl" c/w "World of Fools" PS45 (AUG 2008)
RHB - 106 RADIO CITY "Class of '77" LP (SEPT 2008)
RHB - 107 20/20 Unreleased/Demos 2LP (OCT 2008)
RHB - 702 AMBULANCE "It's All Up To You" PS45 (OCT 2008)
RHB - 108 THE STRAND "Seconds Waiting" LP (NOV 2008)
RHB - 109 THE QUICK "Mondo Deco" LP (DEC 2008)
RHB - 110 AMBULANCE "It's All Up To You" LP (JAN 2009)

So what can I say except to urge you to contact the label: and show your support by buying these gems. A label like this with top taste and such dedication appears once a blue moon, so please ensure you help turn this venture into a success.

Click on title for a soundclip of Wok N’Woll

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Catapult -Teeny Bopper Band

And while we're at it, here's a fun clip of Leiden's finest performing their 3rd single.
Just dig the fancy leg work...So c'mon and Clap Your Hands and Stamp your Clogs!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Francis Butler's Sixty-Niners - Flash

Francis Butler's Sixty-Niners -Flash/Back Street Drivin' -Earth ESP 008 (1974 Aus)
Flash is a sublime piece of moronic Colonial Boogie/Glam. I'm sure you'll dig the idiocy of the grunts (and Yippees!!) and the inane repetitiveness which will hammer the hook right into your frontal lobes (and beyond...). You will certainly swoon to the beefy guitar in any case, which is similar to the guitar-slinging found on both Streak singles. A killer song and performance, but perhaps using the name Francis might have limited its demographic appeal...This was the band's last single in any case.
The B side Back Street Drivin' is pure Pub Rock and somehow reminds me of The Solid Senders or a harpless Lew Lewis.
Read about the band here:

Click on title for a full version of Flash

Sunday, August 03, 2008

My Version Is Better Than Yours Part 8: Miracles -Oppo vs Anita Garbo

Oppo –Miracles (A Mini Epic)/The Flame-EMI 2451 (1976 UK)

Originally an instrumental used in a (British) Leyland Mini advert filmed in Amsterdam in 1975 (see the clip below), the song was re-recorded by Jeff Boult and Fred Gardner (The Tapes)with added lyrics sung by Angela Allen (Carmen). Not sure if Oppo was an actual band, but Geoff Trickley, James Bradley, G. Hunt, Donald Supner shared the publishing with Jeff Boult. The single version is a bit of a quirky mish-mash reminiscent of Sparks with Art Rock deficiencies…

Anita Garbo –Miracles/ Do It With Me –Poker S643 (1977 NL)

Anita’s version is a much more realised affair. With its rousing string section arranged by an un-credited Jeff Lynne, the track drives along superbly. If anything this version has a heavier Sparks touch to it and was deservedly a hit in Holland in 1977.

Anita Garbo seems to have been of Swedish origin and released at least 2 other singles on Basart/Papillon : Race With The Devil / Mean Mean Mean and Mean Mean Mean / Show the way (written by Boult / Gardner).

Click on title for an edit of both versions of Miracles.

And here's the fun period piece advert... The "band" really looks dated and out of place for '75