Friday, June 30, 2006


Frog –Pourquoi Pas/ Dragster –Philips 6042 287 (France 1977)

Yep, you read it right… this came out in 1977 and not 1973. It’s a marvel that these guys were wearing those outfits and still proudly sprouting those damn ‘taches by then. Check out those yellow boots, that gorgeous red creation and the arrogant French sneer of the owner. It looks like the guy in silver has just been “seen to” by those Great Danes as part of the group’s new drummer initiation ritual, he won’t be any trouble now anyhow…

The sleeve is a classic even if the record isn’t -Pourquoi Pas is an amiable Gallic rocker in a let’s-go-out-tonight-and-have-a-good-time type of way. The B side Dragster is more interesting: It’s starts off like Interplanetary Twist for 10 seconds and then goes into jolly rock mode until….
the tempo shifts and The Frogs turn “English” - One by one Hollywood sunshine, two by two Hollywood my blue… followed by a voice over telling us to move away from your Dragster…very puzzling.

Oh and The Frogs are dressed by Daily Blue…

J.C. Livingstone –Momma Was A Steamroller Lady

J.C. Livingstone –Momma Was A Steamroller Lady/ OO La La Me – Penny Farthing BF 18223 (German issue 1973 )

Don’t be fooled by the toothy Donny Osmond grin as an evil smirk and darkness lies within… Propelled by savage pounding drums and featuring a nifty slide riff and brash guitars, Momma Was A Steamroller Lady (what a great title) is a real blustering rocker somewhere along the lines of Fortune Teller with a bit of Jumpin’ Jack Flash thrown in for good measure..

Momma was a steamroller lady, sister had a problem or two
Poppa was a freeloading son of a gun who never left money for food
But we were high high high…

This is Glam Rock filtered through 60’s garage Punk and it’s a real classic through and through.

Click below for soundclip

Monday, June 26, 2006

New Release: Cheap Trick –Rockford

Cheap Trick –Rockford –Big 3 Records 804983678825 (2006 US)

After their atrocious Special One album from 3 years ago, it’s an astonishing surprise to find The Trick so reinvigorated with this, probably their most consistently great album since their 70’s heyday. At least 8 of the tracks sit nicely next to some their best output in any case. Opening with the wake up call of Welcome To My World followed by Perfect Stranger the album just keeps racing along at an amazing speed. The first breather is on track 5, but O Claire is a wonderfully catchy ELO affair and is a pure delight. And then we’re back aboard the hurtling Pop express. You just keep getting hook after hook and the album ends sounding like a virtual greatest hits package Perhaps the real star of the show is Robin Zander; his range, inflections and delivery shine throughout the album. My favourite track is perhaps the rocking Give It Away and the result, as with the rest of the album, is pure Cheap Trick as we knew them and the way we always wanted them to be. Magic...

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Small Wonder –Ordinary Boy

Small Wonder –Ordinary Boy/ Ride A Black Sheep –Dawn DNS 1094 (1974 UK)

Anyone for a Raga Glam track? Ordinary Boy is an incredible mish-mash of stomping Glitter beat with double -tracked handclaps, detuned E string to D guitar, sitar resonance and gritty vocals. The effect is startling. The song is good with a great call to arms chorus. Glam stomping Raga rules!
The other side Ride A Black Sheep is a total T Rex cop. It’s pure Jeepster with a fun Marc Bolan impersonation. You can find the B side on the Glitter From The Litter CD (Sanctuary CMQCD675)

Both tracks were written by Mike Berry who 8 years later would sign us to a music publishing deal…A man of decidedly niche tastes indeed…

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sisters –There’s A Raver Coming Home

Sisters –There’s A Raver Coming Home/ Help The Music -Warner Bros 16445 (French issue 1974)

This is Probably the band’s 2nd single following the wonderful Kick Your Boots Off (Bell 1307). There’s A Raver Coming Home is a gloriously over-produced Glam classic. It starts off with the heaviest of shuffle beats punctuated by some very manly Glitter Band style HEYs. The song then develops into a 4 chord 50’s chord progression, but doesn’t veer into any retro pastiche and stays true to the band’s laudable motto of anchoring everything to the most basic glitter beat. By the end of the song you may have female backing vocals and deep saxes, but they never deviate and their mission is fully accomplished The B side is also very cool, we’re more into Slade territory and the track has some great over the top lead guitar. Truly amazing.

Click on title for soundclip

Streak –Bang Bang Bullet

Streak –Bang Bang Bullet/ Black Jack Man - Deram 84.133 9 (French issue 1973)

Featuring future Arrows members Jake Hooker and Paul Varley (ex Little Free Rock), Bang Bang Bullet is full on New York Dolls through and through. The attitude, groove and lyrics are all there, but with less make up... It rocks, it bites and hooks you immediately. The B side Black Jack Man is also good, but it plods a bit and doesn’t quite have the spark that lights up the obvious choice for the A side.

Click below for soundclip

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Ellie Greenwich

The single...

Ellie Greenwich –You Don’t Know

Ellie Greenwich –You Don’t Know/ Baby –Red Bird RB 10-034 (US 1965)

Masterfully produced By Shadow Morton and Jeff BarryYou Don’t Know is a big tasteful production that’s totally built on mood, atmosphere and emotion. Ellie’s vocal performance is simply breathtaking. She sings with an enchanting quaver in her voice that is just so heartbreakingly pure, it really gives you shivers down your spine. The timbales and double bass bestow depth and foundation to the general frisson and the deep echo cloaks the haunting performance. You don’t know what I’ve been going through… The lyrics are enigmatic. Who exactly is she pinning for? You can imagine that the sentiment is akin to the Secret Love episode in Grace Of My Heart…The mystery is all there, make up your own mind

You don't know what I've been going through

Since the day I laid eyes on you
You don't know how hard it is to hide
All my love (baby) deep inside
And I'll pray that's the way it's gonna stay
Day by day I'll just pretend 'cause she's my friend
And I can't let her know I really love you so, oh oh
Won't somebody help me?
Oh help me, please help me, oh

You don't know what I've been going through
'Cause till I die (baby) I'll love you
And I'll try not to cry when you walk by
'Cause she's just like a sister to me and she, yes she
Is so in love with you, I don't know what to do, no oh
Won't somebody help me? Oh help me, I love you, oh
You don't know what I've been going through

Since the day I laid eyes on you
You don't know what I've been goin' through
Don't know what I'm goingto do
'Cause till I die baby I'll love you

It had taken me quite a few years to find a copy of the original single, this was not helped by the fact that the B side Baby is highly prized by Northern Soul collectors, but whatever the cost, You Don’t Know is a priceless masterpiece.

Friday, June 16, 2006

New Release: The Nines –Calling Distance Stations

The Nines –Calling Distance Stations- T.A.S Gold ( Canada ’06)

One sunny afternoon in ’97, I picked three albums that for me crystallised all that was noble about the Pop reawakening that was taking place at the time. Michael Penn’s Resigned , the first Roswells album and Wonderful World Of Colour by The Nines helped reaffirm my belief that something was indeed brewing and that Power Pop was not just for losers…Nearly 10 years later and I got that same warm glow on first hearing the new Nines album. Steve Eggers and cohorts have weaved one of those albums that is totally immediate, yet with enough depth and variety to invite you back for repeat spins (well CDs spin as well don’t they?). Smart, but not too clever-clever, The Nines wear their influences on their collective sleeves: You can roll off names like Badfinger, Jellyfish, Birdwatchers, XTC or Squeeze, yet the songs are instantly recognisable as being wholly Nines. The opening 4 track salvo will have you gripped: Drama Queen and Hard Luck are bright Pure Pop rockers. Marigold is a perfect Baroque Left Banke homage and Driving Myself Insane is simply catchy as hell. The album has at least 4 other songs just as good with a special commendation to Take What You Want and the closer Receiving Me. It’s nice to know that there are still some top class new releases out there if you look beyond the obvious parapet of crap

Beach Boys: Brian, Mike, Al and Bruce together June 13th 2006!

Hard to believe...but where’s that hatchet again????

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Records that sound like The Flamin' Groovies pt 3

The New Legion Rock Spectacular –Wild One/ Second Cousin –Spectacular Records 11075 (1975 US)

The A Side is a rowdy version of Wild One with cool distorted electric piano and panto rockabilly vocals. It ends up sounding like a collision between Jerry Lee Lewis and Suicide on Chipmunk drugs…But it’s really the B Side that interests us here as it’s a carbon copy of The Groovies' Second Cousin. They have the sound down pat and when you first hear it you would swear that it was an alternate mix off Flamingo. The guitars are Jordan/ Lynch through and through, the vocals are pure maniac Roy Loney (albeit a bit forced ) and the drums emulate Danny, even if the snare skin is tighter…but what’s the point you may ask? Well…er…It’s fun and the guys really rock out on both sides of this single. They later released an album and I think they covered Heading For The Texas Border on it. Eat your hearts out Raconteurs

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Snapp – Cheat, Cheat

Snapp – Cheat, Cheat/ So Many Reasons –Cube Records BUG 45 (1974 UK)

Produced by John Worsley, Cheat, Cheat is a fun and authentic 60’s girl group recreation full of castanets, cavernous echo and teenage girl vocals. It’s very surprising that this dates from ’74 as the single captures that Gold Star sound so perfectly. The vocal delivery is somewhere between the Dixie Cups and The Tammys ( Egyptian Shumba) and falls just the right side of cute…All together now…you’re a CHEAT CHEAT!

Click below for soundclip

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Marcus Hook Roll Band and William Shakespeare pics

Can't seem to be able to add these to the actual post...oh well

Vanda & Young: Marcus Hook Roll Band and William Shakespeare

In my not always so humble opinion; these guys were purveyors of top notch Pure Pop brilliance. Every time I go back to the Easybeats releases, I am always amazed at just how much they crammed into their little 2:30 minute operettas. Beyond Friday On My Mind, there are countless gems that still sound so fresh and inventive today. From 1966 onwards songs like Heaven and Hell, Do You Have A Soul, Made My Bed, Happy Is The Man or Land Of Make Believe are testaments to their genius. Even The Shame Just Drained (compilation of unreleased tracks) LP contains amazing tracks like Amanda Storey, Me and My Machine and Station On Third Avenue that could have been hits in their own right. Vanda & Young continued writing, performing and producing throughout the 70’s often using made up names (Tramp, Haffy’s Whiskey Sour etc..) as outlets for their ever consistent songwriting factory. They hit the big time again with more mainstream releases by John Paul Young and Flash In The Pan before concentrating on managing AC/DC

Anyhow I recently picked up a couple of worthy releases just to vindicate my belief…

Marcus Hook Roll Band – Natural Man / Boogalooing Is For Wooing –Regal Zonophone RZ 3061 (UK 1972)

Much closer to the rockier Easybeats material such St. Louis, Good Times or Rock And Roll Boogie, Natural Man is totally exhilarating. It’s a tough little number featuring clanging power chords, shaking maracas with an incredibly catchy chorus that will remain engraved on your brain. The delivery of the verse also reminds me of Alan Price’s Lucky Man. It’s a real bona fide classic. The B side is another fine rocker written by Wally Allen (Pretty Things).

William Shakespeare –Can’t Stop Myself From Loving You/ Goodbye Tomorrow, Hello Today –Albert Productions AP -10470 (AUS 1974)

Also known as “Billy Shake” –get it? in some countries (UK release on Youngblood), would-be Teen Idol William Shakespeare actually had a hit with this in Australia and you can understand why. It’s an anthemic Glam number that relies heavily on repeating its great chorus. The song builds nicely up to it and there’s a great chord sequence during the pre-chorus. Vanda & Young pulled out all the stops with the production and boy does it shine…

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Flamin' Groovies -Cyril Jordan sells Hofner Bass...

Here is the man with the Beatle bass he recently sold online...

A little shopping trip...

Saturday was a real scorcher, the sky was blue, Eng-er-land beat Jamaica 6-0, the Epsom derby was in full swing in the sweltering heat and I spent 5 hours rummaging through piles of singles in a record shop in Addlestone (off Jct 11 off the M25). The shop is called Archive Records and it's a pretty amazing place, there is just so much stuff (10s of thousands of singles, albums, 78's etc... The shop is kept in glorious chaotic order, with piles of unsorted stuff as well as the most stringently alphabetisised boxes you will ever see. If you follow the link -the Website has downloadable spreadsheets of part of the stock, but there is much more to find on the premises. Prices are sometimes over-inflated and there seems to be a blanket pricing policy on most of the singles I was looking at (£ 2-£4), but the experience is just amazing if you have the stamina!
This is a list of some of the stuff I found during 2 visits to the shop:
First Class -Beach Baby (Sunny Records), Smiffy -See You Later (Antic), Alvin's Heart-Beats -Chilli Willi( Magnet), Sisters -Kick Your Boots Off (Bell), Snapp -Cheat Cheat (Cube), Crunch -Let's Do It Again (YoungBlood), Roky Erickson -Bermuda (Virgin), Tartan Horde -Bay City Rollers We Love You (UA), Beano - Little Cinderella (Deram), Rossal -It's No Use Telling Me No (20th Century), Angel -Good Time Fanny (Cube), Granny -Lady (DJM), Balls (Trevor Burton) -Fight For Your Country (Wizard), Andy Kim -Be My Baby (Paramount)

You will need several hours to go through the stuff and Addlestone has very little else to offer (apart from the UK's 2nd oldest Oak tree???) - There was nowhere decent to eat -so beware!

Coming up soon -A Vanda & Young special

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Yellow Bird –Attack Attack

Yellow Bird –Attack Attack/ Right On – Magnet MAG 16 (UK 1974)

Somehow this one hasn’t cropped up yet on any Junkshop Glitter CD comps, but it rings all the right bells and truly delivers with its Eddie Cochran handclapped intro, crunching beat, killer chorus and a wild guitar solo which is nearly on a par with Hector’s Wired Up (DJM). The chorus has a rockin’ Dwight Twilley feel to it, although it sounds like there’s one syllable too many: The meter would surely have been improved by naming the song Shark Attack instead, but they would have missed out cashing in on JAWS by 2 years anyhow... Both tracks are written by Marty Wilde (Kim’s dad) and Peter Shelley (Alvin Stardust).

Click on title for soundclip