Monday, May 31, 2010

Stonehenge –Stonehenge

Stonehenge –Stonehenge/Groundunder –Bumble GE 118 (UK 1972)

The heavily Hammond infused Stonehenge is at the cusp of Library, Prog and Heavy Rock with a certain hum-along quality over a Proto Boogie/Glam chug with the intro’s crashing chords returning strategically throughout the track. Not quite Witch Hunt by Frog, put pretty cool in its obscurity. The B side is another instrumental written and produced by De Wolfe regular Barry Stoller (AKA Rhett Stoller) who wrote the Match of The Day Theme! Groundunder is Nice ‘n Heavy and highlights his dual octave guitar arrangement. Bumble is a fun label to collect with its mix of novelty and outright pop items. Barry Blue (Green) was involved with at least two releases on the label which are worth seeking out: Tank and Cartwright.

Hear a full version of Stonehenge

Hear a full version of Groundunder

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Blood Chains –Suzie

What with the Divshare sound clip issues and having recently picked up a second copy, here is a good occasion to rediscover this single by the mysterious Blood Chains. The A side is a Roger Holman/Simon May composition. Since my original review (September 2006), I would say that my appreciation of it has increased by quite a few notches...or perhaps my quality threshold has dropped in the last 4 years...? You'll be the judge –see the original post below. More Holman/May coming next...

Blood Chains – Suzie/Tired Guy Of The Road –Telefunken 6.11740 (1975 German issue)

With a name like Blood Chains you could expect visions of dripping ripped flesh being torn apart by Cenobite hooks…but then again I sometimes have “high” expectations! But no, you will have to make do with a trio of dorky teens frolicking on swings. It’s a pretty good record, Suzie is medium-paced stomper with a good T. Rex-style lead doubled by sax. There’s an underlying Rubber Bullets rhythmic synth, but the production is a bit weak and the track never really takes off. The B side is more like a rockier Flintlock track (or a wimpier Jook). Once again the potential is not fully realised and the group certainly don’t live up to the promise that their name may suggest. This is a German issue, but the group and production team seem to be English.

Hear a full version of Suzie

Hear a full version of Tired Guy On The Road

Monday, May 24, 2010

Feather –Stupid Girl

Feather –Stupid Girl/You Got Troubles –Sam Sam 0352016 (1975 Bel)

Welcome to one the most sought after “Punk before Punk” singles and one the more successful attempts to fit in with the Neo Stones/ NY Dolls ethos. It certainly sits nicely next to the Streak singles and Hollywood Brats LP. Apart from the A side being a spirited run through of the Aftermath cut, the B side has obvious Stones inflexions in terms of the riff and slide. Both sides are cut loud and proud and sound as good now as they were intended to then.

Feather was an Alan Ward and Mike Butcher studio project –Here is detailed information as supplied by James D of the essential Worthless Trash website:

Alan Ward and Mike Butcher were both were working as studio technicians at Morgan Studios in Brussels when they recorded this single. Both previously worked at Morgan's UK studio in London in the early 70s. Alan Ward was also the singer with Bastard which also featured a pre-Damned Brian James.

Bastard moved to Brussels around 1974 but broke up the following year. It was then that Alan Ward and Mike Butcher (who by now had also moved to Brussels) recorded the Feather single with Alan Ward on vocals and Mike Butcher on guitar with two local musicians playing bass and drums. Rollerball’s Savage Eyes came next, recorded late '76 and released only in Holland in 1977. The other musicians on the Rollerball record were two brothers Alex (bass) and Pascal (drums). The Rollerball single has recently been reissued by Sing Sing:

As Elton Motello, Ward then wrote Jet Boy Jet Girl and Pogo Pogo with Lou Deprijck and Yves Lacomblez (Yves was also the brains behind Silex Pistols by female duo Too Much). Mike Butcher played guitar on Jet Boy Jet Girl and Pogo Pogo which were also used as the backing tracks for Plastic Bertrand's Ca Plane Pour Moi. Butcher played guitar on both Elton Motello albums and co-wrote most of the material with Ward.

Jet Staxx was Mike Butcher's solo alter ego, two singles were released: I'm Gonna Be The Best Guy and French Girls. He sang, played guitars and bass, and produced the records (with help from Alan Ward). Pascal from Rollerball played drums. Both A sides were Butcher/Ward compositions with the B sides credited solely to Butcher...


Hear a full version of Stupid Girl

Hear a full version of You Got Troubles

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Susan Lynne –Don’t Drag No More

Susan Lynne –Don’t Drag No More/ In His Car –Capitol 5201 (1964 US)

And now for something completely different...
I begged him to not drag anymore
But he sped off in a roar
I knew he'd head off to dead man's curve
Just to prove he had the nerve...

Don’t Drag No More is the perfect Surf/Car/ Girl Group Sound crossover. It can be seen as the prelude and answer song to Deadman’s Curve...and it is expected that the guy did not heed his girlfriend’s plea, so another Teenage tragedy was bound to ensue. Unless I misunderstood the concept and the girl in question is in fact tired of her beau wearing her underwear prior to going down the strip...
The lyrics are killer, how can you resist a line like “Won’t you put your keys away for me...?” The backing track is totally great and probably features Wrecking Crew regulars. The B side is also classic in a more subdued and gooeyIn My Room mode.
Written and produced by record executive Artie Kornfeld (he also co-wrote Deadman’s Curve BTW) Artie is/was quite the mogul and was also of the main instigators of the original Woodstock Festival. From the Brill Building to Woodstock and beyond, the man has quite a story to tell...You can check it out here

Baby Please...

Hear a full version of Don’t Drag No More

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Divshare Server Failure

More than half the sound files on the site have gone astray...I believe I am not the only blog with this problem (Proudfoot -you also have some sound files missing) . Divshare has been a great service -it's easy to use, storage space is ample and they promise that your files will be "online forever". Plus it's free...

I contacted Divshare Support and this is the reply

"We experienced a server failure which has resulted in the loss of a
small number of files. Currently our recommendation is that affected
users re-upload any files which are missing. Please accept our
apologies for the interruption of service. We are continually working
to improve the DivShare service and have already taken steps to ensure
this does not happen again"

This ticket got a low priority

In my case it is not a "small number of files". By my estimate we are talking about 250 sound files on two Divshare accounts. I only have perhaps 50 of the missing files on my current laptop, which means I would have to re-record 200 singles.
Now it's very incovenient to say the least and I wonder if the files are truly lost. If they simply replaced the hardware, the content should still be there. Is anyone a premium client (ie pays for the service)? Were the files reinstated for these customers?

I would have no issue upgrading to a full account, but can anyone who uses Divshare, please let me know what your situation is and perhaps a more concerted approach could be taken, or perhaps you have set a precedent and your files have been reinstated.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Unknown Acetate: Guitar Love/ Let Me

Unknown Acetate: Guitar Love/ Let Me –EMIDISC (UK 1974?)

It’s total mystery time here, so the hunt is on for any clues. Guitar Love appears to have been the planned A side and is a strange Country/Glam hybrid with an Eli Culbertson-like vocal interspersed with some typical 1974 HEYs. The real killer is the B side Let Me. The Neo Elvis inflections are less present, replaced by more of a Leader of The Gang type delivery with pseudo gregorian chants. The track is a great Fuzz Glam Cruncher reminding me a lot of The Boston Boppers' Did You Get What You Wanted (Could there be an Eddie Seago connection here?). It’s Catchy, loud and Fun with great guitar licks – what more could you want?

Hear a full version of Let Me

Hear a full version of Guitar Love

Thanks to Pooka who has rightfully linked this to the B side of the superlative Off Down The Road by TAG. Guitar Love was written by Brian Keith and Jeff is the TAG version of Guitar Love. Very similar, but slightly different...

Hear a full version of TAG's Guitar Love

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Rousers –Rock ‘N Roll Or Run

The Rousers-Rock 'N Roll Or Run / Get Out Of My Show-Torso 101.507 (1980 NL)

Along with De Cylinders, The Rousers were the Prime Dutch Powerpop purveyors from the cusp of the 80s. Rock 'N' Roll Or Run was the short, sharp and sparkling opener of their Swarte artwork-ed first LP. Both their first single Magazine Girl ( 1979) and Rock 'N' Roll Or Run are top notch classics, combining an Undertones-like drive with lush harmonies and super catchy chord progressions. The Rousers released two albums then split with the De Jong brothers later reappearing as The Thought. I look forward to hearing more of their stuff ...

Hear a full version of Rock 'N' Roll Or Run

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Billy J. Kramer –Blue Jean Queen

Billy J. Kramer –Staying Power/Blue Jean Queen –BASF BA 1006 (1974 UK)

10 years on from the big time, Billy J. Kramer reacquaints himself with Ex Dakota and Pirate Riff Master Mick Green (then with Shanghai) for this odd solo release. Staying Power is a commercial 50s throwback as expected, but the B side Blue Jean Queen finds Billy moving on from Little Children to lusting after Teens in a similar manner to Harpo, Ken Khury or Miki Anthony...Music-wise, it’s a sturdy Glam influenced rocker with an unexpected tempo shift where Billy gruffs it up rather unconvincingly in juxtaposition with the glossy backing vocals.

Hear a full version of Blue Jean Queen

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Fat Daddy –Fat Funky Rock ‘n’ Roll

Fat Daddy –Fat Funky Rock ‘n’ Roll/ Roxeen –BL 289 (1976 Aus)

This is the 2nd and last release from the Melbourne Sharpie favourites (first single reviewed here ( Fat Funky Rock ‘n’ Roll starts off with a hint of Cheap Trick/Artful Dodger on the intro, the track then gallops into full-on Aussie Boogie mode with lead vocals sung behind clenched teeth. Thank god there no “funky” involved here except for in the title. There's a good use of cowbell ¾ of the way through underlining a modicum of lunacy. The B side is as good if not better, as it chugs along in meaty fashion without any sense of complication and a hint of flange.

Hear a full version of Fat Funky Rock ‘n’ Roll

Hear a full version of Roxeen

Sunday, May 02, 2010

The End of an Era...

Yesterday saw the closure of the shop that was once known as Plastic Passion which had opened its doors in the early 80s. About 20 years ago or so, the two partners split the shop down the middle into two camps; creating Minus Zero (Bill Forsyth) and Stand Out (Bill Allerton).It was a strange situation, especially at the beginning when both shops had pretty much the same stock. At times, in order not to show any favouritism, I sometimes discovered a new release in the shop(s) and ended up buying it somewhere else in order not to offend either of the Bills...In the 90s, the choice became easier. Minus Zero was at the forefront of the 90s Powerpop renaissance whilst I saw Stand Out as the embassy of 60s Psych and Garage Punk, although there was some overlap, this cleared things up in my mind and helped to ease my conscience. The Bills were always welcoming and Plastic Passion was the perfect meeting place when friends visited from overseas. Also it was the place to hook up with Jesse Hector as he was always there propping up the counter on Saturdays...Where are we going to go now? Certainly not Intoxica or Rough Trade! A sad day for sure, Plastic Passion was one of a kind and a paradise for record collectors, but life goes on...

.............................................Bill Forsyth ......................................