MARTY WILDE – “By The Time I Get To Phoenix”
How many readers remember the heyday of the Marty Wilde / Cliff Richard / Billy Fury rock ‘n’ roll era in England? It was long ago, and the new Marty is a changed man.

A cover version of Glen Campbell’s American hit, it’s a slowish, well-produced sound and, even if it doesn’t come crashing into the top twenty, it lets us know that Marty is alive and in better form than ever. A polished, attractive performance.

HANK B. MARVIN – “London’s Not Too Far”
Hank, spectacle man of The Shadows, goes solo with his own composition. It’s a tuneful, understated sound, the story of a girl who leaves home to go to London in search of the pop star she loves.

And it turns out in the last line that she’s only five years old. Hank hasn’t got a remarkable voice – but he puts over the strange story very effectively.

It’s distinctive enough to make chart progress, with the added attraction of the rest of The Shadows on the other side with a goodie called “Running Out Of World”.

THE YOUNG RASCALS – “It’s Wonderful”
And so says all of me! This is a turbulent, brain-warping single with a bagful of strange, happy and disturbing noises round a first-rate bluesy song.

These noises include croaks, Boys’ Brigade drumming, whistling, a stampede, screams, kazoo outbursts, and you’d be forgiven for thinking the barnyard had invaded the studio.

It’s nothing if not original and imaginative, and the singing (yes, they sing too!) is among the best from an American group. This is a daring sort of record – but the experiment is a huge success. Great stuff!

THE KINKS – “Live At Kelvin Hall” (LP)
I suppose somebody must buy these live LPs, but it sure enough ain’t me. All you get is a barrage of screams and general uproar with perhaps one word in ten managing to fight its way through the chaos to your poor, struggling ears.

Perhaps the idea behind it is to sacrifice quality for excitement and spontaneity – but plastic grooves just can’t convey the electric atmosphere of a live performance.

So, I’m sorry to report that this LP is a crude substitute for the real Kinks. Some glimmerings of light do come through – on the beaty numbers like “I’m On An Island” and “You Really Got Me”.

But we all know that the beauty of the Kinks is the subtlety and expressiveness of Ray’s voice on songs like “Waterloo Sunset” over a precise, controlled backing. So why bother to release this LP?

GENO WASHINGTON and The RAM JAM BAND – “Shake A Tail Feather Baby” (LP)
This is the third LP from Geno and The Ram Jam Band. The mixture is very much as before with two sides of songs from Arthur Conley, Eddie Floyd, and any other soul brother you can think of, given the Geno treatment.

His band must be one of the most exciting in England, and the kingpin Geno just radiates joy and exuberance with his powerful athletic voice above a solid beef backing – with some very tasteful piano as a contrast.

Great music for a rave-up with infectious good spirits all the way. So on with those tail feathers, ladies, and shake the night away!

KALEIDOSCOPE – “A Dream For Julie” / “Please Excuse My Face”
This is another good one from the West London progressives, Kaleidoscope. Above a buoyant rhythm, lead singer Peter Daltry puts tons of feeling into the odd, but evocative lyrics about Julie, strawberry monkeys and life.

Also very nice is the guitar work from Eddie Pumer, the co-writer of the song. Perhaps even better than the “A” side is “Please Excuse My Face”, a track from their LP. Again, lyrics which say something, and some beautiful, classical style guitar. This is a group busting out all over with talent and originality.

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