Reviews of tasty and obscure hook-filled rock'n' roll releases (Glam, Heavy Bonehead Crunchers, Powerpop, Pop/psych,Garage, Surf, 60s Girl Group Rock)...Plus any quirky musings that tickle my fancy...
I created this blog in order to stimulate interest, share discoveries and encourage people to go out and search for the original vinyl. Hopefully this blog might also encourage labels to actually compile some of this stuff officialy.
Misty –Resurrection Shuffle/ Baby, I Love You –Princess 100 (197? US)
Hearing is disbelieving... words pretty much fail me on this one and the mind boggles how such a record could ever been released. It’s a cover (if that’s the right word) of the Ashton, Gardner and Dyke hit, but it goes somewhere else entirely. Now if you thought the A side was weird, wait until you hear the B side...It’s unsettling to say the least. You may consider yourself “lucky” as there are plenty of cheap copies of this one around. So come on –what do you make of it?
Here is a quick round up of the finds I made at the fair. OK, it’s not Utrecht, but it did mean that I could pick records from a different spectrum than in Utrecht. About a third of the singles below were traded as part of Popswap encounters or purchased from stock before it hit the fair.. I really enjoyed the three days and meeting up with names that I only knew from the blog...always good putting a face to a comment! Anyhow, here goes, I will try and get some individual reviews and sound clips up soon
Rockids –She’s A Cartoon –TKO (I am now the proud owner of both singles by these Teen Hard Rock Bubblegum merchants) Kiss Inc. –Hey Mr Holy Man –Admiral (weird European fuzzed-up Quaalude dancer with Gregorian chants–beautiful sleeve with some alien with a huge brain...) And speaking of Aliens... The Green Slime –The Green Slime –MGM (housed in a great psychotronic sleeve with one-eyed alien) Stefan And The Wild Boys –Dying in ST. Louis Gonna Make You Blue –Artists of America (kind of bar band/Punk crossover –more like Five Dollar Shoes without the Tom Waits...) Bob Seger and The Last Heard –Vagrant Winter –Cameo Misty –Resurrection Shuffle –Princess. Yes, it’s Resurrection Shuffle, but not as you might know it. Perhaps one of the weirdest singles I have ever had the joy to own. The B side is beyond unsettling. It’s coming soon!!!! Viletones –Screaming Fist –Vile Records –(Nice signed copy of this Canuck Punker) Sparrow –Hello Goodbye –Spark The Selfkick –Gosh! I’m Your Woman Not Your Wife –Delta (really WILD Dutch Freakbeat/punk from 1966 with two killer breaks –snottier than the Pretty Things or The Outsiders) Cherry Slush –I Cannot Stop You –USA (written and produced by Dick Wagner, this is a mighty catchy uptempo psych number, incredible drone effect and orchestration) Scruffs –Break The Ice/She Say Yea –Power Play The Boppers –Dancing In Rocket City –Kare (Lovely track, don’t anything about it, but it will be featured here shortly) Coachmen –Mr. Moon –MMC (Catchy Frat/Garage) Sound of Imker –Train of Doomsday –Opart (reissue of manic Dutch mutoid extravaganza) Christopher Robbins –Fancy Rings and Things –RCA (Good P.F. Sloan-like Folk Rock) Geeza –Sydney City Ladies –Laser (Dumb but fun Aussie Hard Rock/boogie) Captain Kirk –Space Baby/ Small Town Cop –Cognito (Small Time Cop is the winner –linked to Dacotah and the Renegade single below Tasty –Just A Little Too Much –DJM (their second single –nice cut sleeves on the T shirts lads...) Jody Miller –Home of The Brave –Capitol (passable cover of the Bonnie & The Treasures masterpiece) Chilly Chimes –Join The Army -private (Once said to be the first Swedish Punk record...It ain’t, but a heavy dumb boogie number with strange self-produced sleeve with Neo Nazi/Pagan logo in 1975...) Teacher’s Pet –You’re Too Young –Flapping Jet (Kenny meets a more fey Milk & Cookies???? A recent release) Velvet Underground –We’re Gonna Have A Real Cool Time Together/If You Close The Door (came with Johan Kugelberg’s book, but 100 copies were housed limited silk screen sleeves) Willie Alexander and The Boom Boom Band –Hit Her Wid De Axe –Garage Records Russell Morris –Part Three Into Paper Walls –Columbia (yes the third part of Real Thing...not your average single!)
The Bubblegum corner: I didn’t quite find as many as expected, but several of these are great discoveries Fire and Ice –Sugar Shaker –Crazy horse (uptempo driving bubblegum) Bohanna –Jamaica –Scepter (has Joey Levine ever sounded this “nasal”?) The Wildflower –Butterfly –US (Top Notch Bubblegum) Torresdale Junction –I Love It/ Boy Oh Boy –Randor Records (Girl Group Bubblegum, the accent on Boy Oh Boy has to be heard to be believed, Cute and catchy! Carnaby Street Runners –While You Were Out Looking for Sugar –Super K Hungry Tiger –Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum/ Tic Tac Toe –White Whale. Great loud and fast A side, finally got a copy with the B side, which is a great moody Garage number and not the Magid Triplets number)
And last but NOT least...
A whole bunch of Heavy Bone-Head singles. All released on obscure US indie labels these single are incredible no brain crunchers. All of them deserve individual appraisals and will get the full treatment on Purepop over the next few months –all from 1969 -1977. I know next to nothing about these bands at the moment but they all have completely blown me away Supa Chief –Red Brained Woman/Animal Women –Prince (Like a more petulant Blue Cheer) Volt Rush Band –Love To You –Red Rock (really wild FUZZ PUNK) Black Death –Rock ‘N’ Roll with Ork/ In Need –Cathedral (from 1969, ROCKS!) 3’s -Do You See/Threez –Tranceporter (Like Swell Maps channelling Hawkwind in Frat Rock mode in 1974???) Stone Axe –Slave of Fear/Snakebite –Rampart Street Records (Heavy A side, but the B side is the real deal –no brain matter involved whatsoever!) Renegade –Don’t Stop Let’s Rock –Magic (been after this one for a while –Iowa’s New York Dolls? Not really, but a great loud rockin’ No Brainer...Thanks Collin)
I'm off to the land where singles have no centres (or centers for the yokels) to check out the WFMU fair in NYC. Partly to get into shape for next month's Utrecht, but also to plug the gaps in my Surf/Garage/Girl Group/Bubblegum collection...If you spot me, be sure to say "Hi" and any 40% discounts are always most welcome...
Vanda & Young: Inside Australia’s Hit Factory by John Tait
At last a well-deserved book on the near-genius of Harry Vanda and George Young . Apart from the great Bomp article in the Power Pop issue (1978!) there hasn’t been any worthy recognition in print of the dynamic duo. From the beginnings in rough immigrant hostels, through blossoming friendships to the formation of the Easybeats, the early days are very well documented. You are there, following all the twists and turns, the move to the UK in 1966 and the unleashing of the global hit Friday On My Mind. There is a good amount of insightful detail on studio sessions but the lack of direction required to follow up such a hit, is painfully apparent. You are left with a lot of what ifs… If only Heaven and Hell wasn’t banned, if only Good Times had followed Friday etc… Still 66-68 was a creative golden age and they wrote and recorded so many classic 3 minute operettas with most remaining unreleased. Vanda and Young covered a variety of styles during this period and a lot of their output was in fact recorded by other artists. As the Easybeats disintegrated, Vanda & Young released a whole slew of singles during their “four year binge “under assumed names such as Haffy’s Whiskey Sour, Paintbox (with brother Alexander Young/George Alexander), Tramp and The Marcus Hook Roll Band with the perfect Natural Man (thanks to the book for pointing out that there are two versions, the Regal Zonophone UK version and the Demo Australian one). Although chart action eluded them during this period, success returned upon their relocation in Australia with hits by William Shakespeare (RIP), John Paul Young and later with Flash & The Pan. The book is an “easy” read and will appeal to wider audiences as well as the record collecting geek. George Young didn’t participate in any interviews, but Harry Vanda contributed along with other key players, and there are plenty of quotes from George throughout, so the book doesn’t come across as second hand information. You are there witnessing the creation of these pop jewels as well living through all the trials and tribulations. There’s a good appendix and discography, but there is still a gap to be filled… Vanda & Young deserve a full excavation of their entire songbook and of every recording session from their golden age, but this would be more the remit of a fanzine-like publication (If the Beatles and Beach Boys got this treatment, then so should Vanda & Young!)
John Tait was kind enough to answer some questions to clarify a few points and to keep us in the loop on the latest developments:
With so much unreleased material recorded during their golden period are there any plans afoot to get more of this material released?
Philip Mortlock from Alberts is in Germany currently try to do some deals to release their back catalogue. A fellow from UK was also keen to talk to Repertoire regarding a CD of lost Easybeats songs from the London years and my mate Mike Griffiths is trying to get a CD of the Four Year binge material up. There is a song I Know It listed as part of the running order of their lost LP, which the book stated is on the Steady On bootleg (Tendolar), but it isn’t on my copy
I have the Steady On CD, but apparently there exists a Steady On bootleg LP that contains Í Know It
The book ends with tantalising information on the long lost Easybeats film Somewhere Between Hell and Woolworths AKA Easy Come, Easy Go, how are plans advancing regarding a release?
Peter Clifton (Director) has the funding now to restore and release the film. He was going to fly me up to Sydney in October but I haven't got the call yet.
Springfield Revival –Riverboat Queen/Need To Be With You –Polydor 2058416 (1973 UK)
Springfield Revival was formed by ex Mixtures (Pushbike Song) Mick Flinn with Donna Jones and Ray Martin. Although sounding very commercially viable, Springfield Revival never managed to reach the charts as expected. Riverboat Queen hits all the right spots with its bright loud production, infectious melody and glimmering vocals. It also features a great cutting guitar riff making it a perfect pop performance - glossy, commercial but never bland. Mick Flinn’s association with Donna Jones would later gain some success with Pussyfoot before they both joined up with The New Seekers.
Zen –Lost Suede Shoes/ Green Crocodile II –Ariola 12553 AT (1973 NL)
It’s been a while since we took a trip to the Low-Countries for a review on Purepop, so please find enclosed the 8th single!!!! by the long-standing Amsterdam aggregation known as Zen. OK, they look like a bunch of dope smokin’ good for nothing Dutchies, but they certainly rock out and provide a fine stompfest with Lost Suede Shoes. Not too sure what they were on about, but there’s something about the way that a Dutch guy pronounces the word shoes that focuses the mind on the lyrical content... Am I too mad, or not too mad? God knows. The B side is just sooo 1970 Kinks and another strong case of Ray Davies phrasing hitting the continent as it had in Denmark (Sylvester’s Juke Box) or Norway with Saft...very cute indeed. Don’t think much about your living room though lads...
Fairchance James –I Want To Be With You/Border Line –GL 108 (1974 UK)
Stripped down and straight revamp of The Bonzo’s 69 single which was written by Neil Innes as an ode to his wife. With the flutes removed and the instrumentation tightened, Fairchance James’s (Who he?) version highlights the song’s simplicity and moves the number bang into Badfinger/ Fresh Air territory. Sweet...
Jackie Christian & Flight –Love/ The Last Time I Go To Baltimore –Albert –AP 10457 (1974 Aus)
Here is another Vanda and Young obscurity... Formerly known as The Inheritance, upon hooking up with Vanda & Young, the band changed their name and released this fine single on Albert. Featuring Jackie Christian (néeKonstantinos Kougious) on vocals and Tony Currenti on drums (who in fact also drummed on the Aussie version of High Voltage), the band unleash two tracks that are real stand outs, yet very different from each other. Love is more overtly pop and builds nicely into a neo-Spectorian finale akin to the Righteous Brothers in tight Conti cardigans. The Last Time I Go To Baltimore sits comfortably with some of the best US themed songs George and Harry wrote. It’ s a much rockier and exuberant turn of affairs with a damn catchy tune and really great vocals. More Vanda & Young soon...
Hear a full version of The Last Time I Go To Baltimore
Bullet –Rock My Lady/Mover –Chicago AC-005 (1975 Aus)
This single was the only known output from this Sydney band. Released on the Atlantics’ own label, Bullet was in fact an off-shoot from Bullett, losing a T and 3 members during the transition with only bassist Alex Smith remaining. Both Rock My Lady and Mover are solid examples of mid 70s Aussie Boogie/ Hard Rock, with perhaps Mover having the edge over the A side. Not earth-shattering, but pretty much lost in the mists of time...until now!
Hello –Teenage Revolution/Keeps Us Off The Street –Bell 1479 (Demo only 1976 UK)
Long rumoured, but rarely seen, here is the proof that copies of this single actually exist. Teenage Revolution was planned as the follow-up to Star Studded Sham (Perhaps the best single by one of my favourite bands of all time), but was withdrawn before being pressed up for public consumption. Although both tracks appear on their first LP, they sound even more sublime on a 45. Both Teenage Revolution and Keeps Us Off The Street are veritable rallying calls to arms and thump and thud in all the right places... and was there ever a better title than Teenage Revolution?