PREVIOUSLY ARCHIVED RECORD REVIEWS FROM MY OLD BLOG
Here are some of my random thoughts and words about obscure and in-demand ’60s garage and psychedelic singles over the years. All of the original blog posts on my old website have since been deleted so no label scans or picture sleeves are available. Instead, I’ve used images scanned from ’60s music magazines.
THE DAVE CLARK FIVE – ”Everybody Knows” / ”Concentration Baby” (Columbia DB 8286) October 1967
I watched a terrific Dave Clark Five documentary recently on BBC4 and didn’t realize just how big and popular they became in America. Most of their early beat singles are appealing but they did tend to get bogged down with limp love ballads as the sixties progressed.
Fortunately some of their more adventurous gems can be found on the B-Sides of singles such as the soul tinged fuzz ’n tambourine rocker ”Concentration Baby” from 1967 – they didn’t even bother to mention this one on the documentary I watched which concentrated on the hits but none of their obscurities or ventures into psychedelia.
THE FLOWER POT MEN – ”You Can Never Be Wrong” / ”Man Without A Woman” (Deram DM-183) April 1968
This is the second time out for The Flowerpot Men on my blog, they last surfaced way back in July 2008 with their Byrdsian drone ”Blow Away.” Eight years later they’re back again with their third single and flop ”You Can Never Be Wrong.”
I’m not sure how this absolutely gorgeous psychedelic tinged harmony pop song failed to sell. Perhaps the vocal arrangements were just too complex for the casual buyer to comprehend. It’s also a song that rarely shows up on Flowerpot Men compilations and was again ignored when RPM released a CD of their obscurities back in 2000, although the liners do have a picture of a Dutch advert for the single published in ”Mini-Maat Music” magazine/trade paper.
I have other Flowerpot Men singles and I’ll try not to leave their next outing so long next time!
By the way, the main stays of The Flowerpot Men were John Carter and Ken Lewis. They also wrote ’Semi-Detached Suburban Mr James’ for Manfred Mann, ’Sunshine Girl’ for Herman’s Hermits and perhaps more famously ’My World Fell Down’ recorded by Sagittarius.
MIKI DALLON – ”Cheat and Lie” / I’m Gonna Find A Cave” (Strike JH 306) January 1966
It has taken me a couple of years to find this original Miki Dallon single on Strike but I managed just that back in April. Both sides are fabulous mod beat with forceful bass runs, riffs a plenty and brass.
Just prior to this record Miki Dallon fronted The Sessions (probably a studio group) who released ”Let Me In” / ”Bouncing Bass” on the American Fontana label. This was late 1965.
Miki was also producer for gritty R&B group The Sorrows who covered several of his songs including ”Let Me In” and ”Take A Heart” They even recorded a version of ”I’m Gonna Find A Cave” but it remained in the can for decades.
”I’m Gonna Find A Cave” was also recorded by Charlie Starr, Billy Lee Riley, Jimmy Powell & the Dimensions and The Banana Splits.
THE CHOCOLATE WATCH BAND – ”The Sound Of The Summer” / ”The Only One In Sight” (Decca F 12649) August 1967
Today’s turntable spin is an obscure Bee Gees styled harmony pop record from August 1967. More than likely copied their name from the American Chocolate Watch Band. The (UK version) were a duo featuring teenagers Jack Oliver and Gary Osborne and all of their publicity shots that I’ve seen show them dressed in fine Dandy threads.
Dave Aguilar, lead singer with American garage psych group The Chocolate Watch Band recently left this message on my YouTube Channel.
”This IS NOT THE REAL Chocolate Watchband…these are posers ripping off the name….Don’t be fooled-don’t bother listening to this garbage……..”
You can tell Dave Aguilar that the Brits had no knowledge of a US group of the same name, as they never got a UK release at the time the duo came up with their name.
GRAPEFRUIT – ”Someday Soon” / ”Theme For Twiggy” (Stateside SSL 414) December 1968
I’m on a Grapefruit trip at the moment and if you dig psychedelic instrumentals look no further than B-Side ”Theme For Twiggy.” This is the Spanish release housed in a textured colour sleeve. Greatness from late 1968.
This soothing piece of music probably written with 60s model Twiggy in mind is not that well known and is certainly a lost gem hidden away on a B-Side of a single. It turned up on a long forgotten ”Instro-Hipsters A-Go-Go” compilation back in 2001
GRAPEFRUIT – ”Elevator” / ”Yes” (RCA Victor 1677) April 1968
This was Grapefruit’s second single and first of 1968. ”Elevator” is a very catchy pop psych mover reminding me so much of the early Move. I really don’t know how this was not a hit record.
Paul McCartney worked with the band on a promo video of ”Elevator” at London’s Albert Memorial. I’ve never seen this but perhaps it will surface on YouTube one day!
”Put yourself on an elevator going……HIGH”
JASON CREST – ”Turquoise Tandem Cycle” / ”Good Life” (Philips BF 1633) January 1968
Jason Crest have been posted on my music blog a couple of times in the past. Today I’ll concentrate on their beginnings and first single for Philips.
They formed in the suburbs of Kent, first calling themselves The Spurlyweeves but by early 1967 they were playing regular gigs and making a name for themselves as The Good Thing Brigade. By the end of ’67 they had secured a record deal with Philips and began recording their first single.
The beautifully psychedelic ”Turquoise Tandem Cycle” was released during January 1968 as Jason Crest. During the recording session(s) they had obviously decided to change their moniker inspired by an imaginary composer ”Justin Crest.”
”A turquoise tandem cycle has wheels of rubber rings
A choir of silent voices, a book of silent hymns.”
THE HOLLIES – ”Peculiar Situation” / ”Pay You Back With Interest” (Odeon 23 535) July 1967
So it was ”Record Store Day” today and once again I never bothered going to any record shop. Come to think of it I’ve never bothered participating in RSD ever!!!
But those who did came away with some swag judging by the photos coming up on my Facebook timeline. That’s good cos they’re going to genuine collectors and not the bearded hipster fly-by-night types.
It’s ”Vinyl Day” every day of the year for me and this obscure Hollies German release from 1967 came way this week. Unique too cos both songs never appeared on any UK single. Both songs appeared on The Hollies fifth studio album ”For Certain Because” and were recorded at Abbey Road Studios between August – October 1966.
THE GRAPEFRUIT – ”Dear Delilah” / ”Dead Boot” (RCA Victor 45-15050) January 1968
I don’t suppose The Grapefruit are that well known among non 60s freaks but they released a few worthy singles on RCA during 1968 including ”Dear Delilah.” They evolved out of beat group Tony Rivers & the Castaways. Dig the phasing on ”Dear Delilah” – a classy pop psych tune and check out the rare promo video recently restored by ”Revolver TV”
The Grapefruit were the first signing to The Beatles’ Apple Publishing company, and the launch party to celebrate the event was attended by various fans, plus Donovan and a bearded Brian Jones. Paul McCartney even directed a promo film for the band’s ”Elevator” single at London’s Albert Memorial.
EPISODE SIX – ”Morning Dew” / ”Sunshine Girl” (Pye 7N.17330) June 1967
Episode Six had previously released several singles but none of them reached the Top Fifty. The group had high hopes that their version of ”Morning Dew” would provide them with their breakthrough hit and the record certainly had the attention of the Pirate Radio Stations.
Despite this push and an article in renowned music publication ”Beat Instrumental” Episode Six suffered another disappointment.
”Morning Dew” has been recorded by many artists and groups over the years. Most people think that Tim Rose wrote the song but this is contested by Canadian singer songwriter Bonnie Dobson who claimed that she wrote the tune back in the early 1960s.
Bonnie Dobson did not receive a credit on the Episode Six Pye label although she does receive co-writer credit on my US Compass label release. I have taken a photo of this label too.
EPISODE SIX – ”I Can See Through You” / ”When I Fall In Love” (Pye 7N.17376) October 1967
This is yet another single released during October 1967 that simply soared outta the psychedelic airwaves but as with so many records back in those heady tripped-out days this one by Episode Six went to nowheresville.
”I Can See Through You” is a very under-rated psych masterpiece that rarely (if ever) gets mentioned in those trendy lists of Top 10 this or Top 100 that of 60s psychedelic songs. I can’t think why this particular trip eludes the writers. Perhaps this is the greatest song future Deep Purple member Roger Glover ever wrote.
Another future Deep Purple member was Ian Gillan and his vocals here are treated in the mid ’67 style makin’ them a joyous rush of Who-like aural sorcery. The Revolver period bass notes are superb and the obscure psychedelic lyrics are mind melters.
Then half way through this exhilaration everything stops except for flutes and voices, then it all starts up again. The middle section seems likes its taken from a motion picture epic as the Roman army marches off to war…then flutes and coral voices return….Perfection!
MARIANNE FAITHFULL – ”Is This What I Get For Loving You?” / ”Tomorrow’s Calling” (Decca F.22524) February 1967
Today’s spotlight is on Marianne Faithfull (again) with her 1967 flop ”Is This What I Get For Loving You?” The song was recorded first in 1965 by The Ronettes. Their version flopped too.
On this cut, Marianne’s vocals are at a lower register and have a similar moodiness to that of Nico on the first Velvet Underground album.
I wonder if she was singing with Mick Jagger in mind here?
THE PRETTY THINGS – ”Private Sorrow” / ”Balloon Burning” (Columbia DB 8494) November 1968
Everyone who visits my blog will know about The Pretty Things and their story has been told numerous times via fanzines and CD re-issue liners. For any novice out there start by obtaining a collection of their R&B period then move onto their psychedelic era where much treasure is available to be enjoyed.
This fabulous Pretty Things single from the back end of 1968 combines ”Private Sorrow” with ”Balloon Burning.” Both songs feature on their studio album ”S.F. Sorrow.”
Several online commentators have suggested that this single didn’t stand a chance mainly because the songs were recorded within a loosely based concept album and perhaps were lost on the buying public.
I just think lack of any promotion and the fact that the serious heads were no longer buying 45s in late 1967/68 was the reason why The Pretty Things had single miss after miss. Perhaps this is the reason why ”Private Sorrow” is The Pretty Things most difficult single to find on Columbia.
”Balloon Burning” is a fierce turned-on psych rocker with a killer guitar solo. It’s certainly one of their finest.
THE TIMEBOX – ”Don’t Make Promises” / ”Walking Through The Streets Of My Mind” (Deram DM 153) October 1967
So I finally found a copy of this fab Timebox single. It has taken a fair few years but I secured one back in October 2015. I wrote about The Timebox several years ago when I covered their ”Gone Is The Sad Man” but this disc is perhaps my favourite.
The Timebox released several 45s during the the period 1967-69 but all (apart from the small hit ’Beggin’) flopped. They even recorded a collection of songs in 1968 for an album called ’Moose On The Loose’. Unfortunately, Deram did not release it at the time.
Incidentally, the mod movin’ ”Walking Through The Streets Of My Mind” with it’s slightlydelic arrangement was also recorded by Los Angeles group The Beethoven Soul who released it on their album a month before The Timebox version hit the markets.
Mike Patto (vocals, guitar)
Ollie Halsall (vocals, guitar)
Clive Griffiths (bass)
Chris Holmes (keyboards)
John Halsey (drums)
PAPER BLITZ TISSUE – ”Boy Meets Girl” / ”Grey Man” (RCA Victor 1652) December 1967
Original copies sell for £400+ so this bootleg from years ago will suffice. Paper Blitz Tissue were part of London’s psychedelic underground scene along with The Pink Floyd, Tomorrow, Soft Machine etc – little is known about them.
”Boy Meets Girl” was written by Ron Grainer who was more accustomed to writing TV and Film theme tunes including ”The Prisoner”, ”Man In A Suitcase” and ”Steptoe and Son.”
”Boy” is pulsating pop-art freakbeat loaded with heavy fuzz, searing lead guitar and hypnotic drum and bass action. The vocals are treated and happening. The other side ”Grey Man” is also great starting off like a beat group from 1965 before exploding into Who like sound destruction.
The 23RD TURNOFF – ”Michael Angelo” / ”Leave Me Here” (Deram DM-150) September 1967
The 23rd Turnoff were named after Junction 23 of the M6 Motorway which leads to Liverpool. Prior to renaming themselves The 23rd Turnoff they released singles as The Kirkby’s. Check out their MODified merseybeat sound on ”It’s A Crime.”
The dreamy and hypnotic ”Michael Angelo” is in my top three songs of all time and the original vinyl release is a sought after artifact, expect to pay a decent sum of money for the pleasure of owning such a beautiful and melancholic record. It has obvious Beatles overtones with the use of organ drone and ”Penny Lane” style trumpets which add to the song’s haunting quality.
Singer-songwriter Jimmy Campbell made three solo albums after The 23rd Turnoff called it quits.
Love your blog & that 23rd Turnoff 45 is one of my favorites too! You said Jimmy Campbell did 3 solo albums & called it quits. In case you aren’t already a fan you gotta hear his band ROCKIN’HORSE they back him on a few songs on ”Half Baked” and they released an album on Phillips called ”Yes it it is”in 1971.
Their LP is also in my top of all time. They also toured UK as Chuck Berry’s backing band. There is one song on YouTube.
Also a live album got released on a UK budget label. I haven’t found it yet. Some day. Billy Kinsley from The Merseys was also in Rockin’ Horse. So good!
Lastly Billy Fury did some Jimmy Campbell songs like ”Green Eyed American Actress”. This is stuff you may know, just in case tho, cos’ Jimmy Campbell was an absolute song writing genius so I always want to tell people about his music. Thanks again for all the great posts!
THE ’TAKERS – ”If You Don’t Come Back” / ”Think” (Pye 7N.15690) September 1964
In Britain, so many fabulous beat and R&B singles seem to have been released during September and October 1964 and here’s another entry that I know of.
The Undertakers were one of Liverpool’s premier beat groups who played the Cavern and then did the Germany trip like so many combos during that scene. They secured a residency at the famous Star-Club where they honed their beat skills and sound.
It’s fair to say that The Undertakers never had any real success in Britain. They released four singles but none of them achieved Top 40 status. ”If You Don’t Come Back” was their fourth and final disc for Pye Records. For some reason their name was shortened to The ’Takers. I’ve read that this was at the request of Tony Hatch who felt that the name The Undertakers was a drawback!
Sadly, ”If You Don’t Come Back” failed to dent the Charts and The Undertakers disbanded. The song was written by successful song writing team Leiber / Stoller and was first recorded and released by The Drifters in April 1963. Gary Walker & The Rain recorded a heavy psych version in 1968. Check it out on their Album No. 1.
MARIANNE FAITHFULL – ”Full Fathom Five” (Decca LK 4688) April 1965
In their endeavours to obtain universal recognition, many outstanding artistes have recorded material alien to the particular field in which they achieved their initial success.
In the case of Marianne Faithfull, circumstance has reversed this state of affairs. For her name initially girdled the globe on the wings of a folk-tinged ballad, ”As Tears Go By” which was essentially ’pop’ in concept.
However, the success of this song served a dual purpose, for it not only established Marianne as an invigorating new talent with something to say, but more important still, it enabled her to bring before her new-found public her own brand of folk-music.
Marianne would be the last to decry her unqualified success in the ’pop’ stakes, but she has never made a secret of the fact that folk songs are the songs she loves to sing.
This album is a natural progression for her. It outlines her ability to create, and is a beautiful, and often moving example of how, through the medium of song, mere words can be transformed into a work of art. Most of all it signifies the extent of what Marianne Faithfull has done for the advancement of folk-music in this country. (Andy Wickham – back cover liners)
JULY – ”Crying Is For Writers” (Bam Caruso KIRI 097) 1987
This weekend’s album of choice is ”Dandelion Seeds” by July. Back in the mid to late eighties psychedelic re-issue label Bam Caruso had a terrific run with their ”Rubble” compilations and ventures into re-releasing mindblowers from the 1960s.
This one by July from 1968 is one such release that really blew my mind back then. The Bam Caruso artifact also includes both sides of their second Major Minor single ”The Way” / ”Hello, Who’s There?”
There is an abundance of information about July elsewhere but in brief, they were in their late teens and early twenties when they recorded this back in ’68.
Prior to becoming July they were quite a successful beat group called The Tomcats. Unknown in Britain (they came from Acton) but had a decent sized following in Spain.
My pick is not one of their most well known cuts like ”My Clown” or ”Dandelion Seeds” but a rather obscure psychedelic nugget called ”Crying Is For Writers.”
MARTY WILDE – ”Abergavenny” / ”Alice In Blue” (Philips 326 882 BF) May 1968
Pre Merseybeat era rocker Marty Wilde with his obscure 1968 pure pop two-sider. The toy-town tune ”Abergavenny” went to nowheresville in Britain although it did shift some units in Europe and was a small hit in America under the alias of Shannon on Heritage Records.
My pick though is the B-Side. ”Alice In Blue” is a fab moody pop song with orchestration and rather great vocals from Marty. Simply wonderful. The Bystanders or at least ex members Deke Leonard and Micky Jones provided backing on ”Abergavenny” and possibly ”Alice In Blue” with arrangement by Peter Knight who worked with The Moody Blues on their album ”Days Of Future Passed.”
DONOVAN – ”Tangerine Puppet” (Marble Arch MAL 795) May 1965
This is my second Donovan entry today and another re-issue on budget label Marble Arch. The latter released Donovan’s debut album at the end of 1968. The original on Pye came out mid 1965.
Don was only eighteen years old when he recorded the songs for this album. He had help of course, from Brian Locking on bass guitar. Brian also played with The Shadows for a short while and a couple of years for Marty Wilde’s backing group The Wildcats.
On drums was Skip Alan who would later become a member of The Pretty Things during their psychedelic period. Gypsy Dave joined in on kazzoo.
A really strong folk album, most of which was written by Donovan including the soothing acoustic instrumental ”Tangerine Puppet” and his famous hit ”Catch The Wind.” There’s also room for a fab folk blues version of ”You’re Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond.”
DONOVAN – ”The Summer Day Reflection Song” (Marble Arch MAL 867) October 1965
One of my very favourite artists of all time is Donovan and he would easily fit in my personal Top 10 all-time greats.
Out of interest my list would include The Byrds, The Monkees, Beau Brummels, Del Shannon, Johnny Kidd, Everly Brothers, The Easybeats, Syd’s Pink Floyd and The Beatles.
Anyway, back to Donovan. My copy of the album ”Fairytale” is the early 1969 re-issue on budget label Marble Arch. Just dig the psychedelic sleeve, it’s something else. Curiously, the label omitted two songs from the original album released in October 1965. There’s no ”Colours” or ”The Little Tin Soldier.”
My pick is the quite brilliant folk song ”The Summer Day Reflection Song” which has 12 string contribution from Shawn Phillips. One of his most evocative creations.
”Cat’s a-sleeping in the sun,
Eyes take heed the colours call.
Sunlight patterns touch the wall,
Red kerchiefs sail and fall,
Cat’s a sleeping in the sun.”
IAN & THE ZODIACS – ”No Money, No Honey” / ”Ride Your Pony” (Star-Club Records 148 548 STF) April 1966
Exactly fifty years ago Liverpool combo Ian & the Zodiacs were in Berlin recording this R&B fuzz pounder. For such a fabulous group it’s bordering on ludicrous that they were virtual unknowns in Britain, except for Merseyside of course.
Much of their material was recorded and released in Germany and other parts of Europe. Some were decent sized hits, they often appeared on several pop shows promoting records. Nothing in Britain of course, it seems the teenagers here were snoozing.
”No Money, No Honey” is one of those tunes that melts away at your mind, fuzz action, caveman drum beat, great vocals. Should have been a smash. The other side is a powerful version of ”Ride Your Pony.”
THE MOODY BLUES – ”Voices In The Sky” / ”Dr. Livingstone, I Presume” (Deram 17.014) June 1968
This wistful single by The Moody Blues is the latest introduction into my ’psychedelic sky’ series of records. Both sides appeared later on their symphonic rock album ”In Search Of The Lost Chord” but here they are in their edited mono mix.
”Voices In The Sky” written by their lead guitarist and singer Justin Hayward was recorded during March 1968 and on it’s release in the Summer of 1968 proved to be a decent sized hit, eventually reaching #27 in the UK Chart.
”Bluebird, flying high
Tell me what you sing
If you could talk to me
What news would you bring
Of voices in the sky.”
CHRIS FARLOWE & THE THUNDERBIRDS – ”The Last Goodbye” / ”Paperman Fly In The Sky” (Immediate IM-066) April 1968
Chris Farlowe hit the big time in Britain during 1966 with the #1 hit ”Out Of Time” but subsequent singles were only modest hits. It’s worth checking out some of the obscure B-Sides, especially ”Paperman Fly In The Sky” which is a pop psych delight.
Production by Manfred Mann vocalist Mike D’Abo.
PINK FLOYD – ”Point Me At The Sky” / ”Careful With That Axe Eugene” (Harvest 3C 006-05459) December 1968
Quite possibly the most obscure Pink Floyd single from the sixties was their fifth ”Point Me At The Sky” which bombed and as a consequence the UK release on Columbia hardly ever shows up. The disc is easier to obtain on the Harvest label. My copy is the Italian version in stereo.
”Point Me At The Sky” was recorded and released at the end of 1968, the sound is more progressive rock than their earlier trips into psychedelia, although the song does veer off into psych territory at it’s climax.
The vocals on the verse of the song are sung by Gilmour, and the bridge vocals are shared between Gilmour and Waters.
THE MEDIUM WAVE – ”Walk In The Sunshine” / ”Looking Towards The Sky” (Ember EMB S 265) 1969
The Medium Wave were a short lived, late 60s outfit led by singer Davey Payne. Some copies came with a folded picture sleeve but my copy came without, although for interest I have added an upload of a photo of the French release housed in a pop art cover….
”Looking Towards The Sky” is a decent rocker with brass and is part of my ’psychedelic sky’ set of posts. Produced by Kenny Lynch. The latter also wrote the A-side ”Walk In The Sunshine.”
By the way, the Davey Payne here is not the sax player of the same name who was a member of Ian Dury’s backing band The Blockheads.
THE FOX – ”Look In The Sky” (Polydor) 1970
Late 60s psychedelic group The Fox released one sought after album during 1970 called ”For Fox Sake” which successfully merged psych and progressive rock sounds, in particular the heavy use of hammond organ.
My choice cut is ”Look In The Sky” and one for my ’psychedelic sky’ series of posts. Here’s part of an interview with Fox guitarist and singer Steve Brayne, taken from the Marmalade Skies website.
So What happened when you met up with the guys?
Tim and I met in a pub and he told me that he, Alex, Nick and Dave Windross had got together with a bunch of songs (”Second Hand Love”, ”Birthday Card”) and were planning to go professional as a band playing originals. I said I had a few songs too (”Mr Blank”, ”Man In A Fast Car”, ”Butterfly”, ”Glad I Could”, ”Madame Magical”) and that maybe we should get together. We did – it clicked.
Alex and I started writing together and came up with songs like ”Look In The Sky” and ”As She Walked Away”. Lenny Barker, who’d been the bass player in the Alex Lane Group and who’d also been at school with Alex, Tim and I, became our manager.
We rehearsed and rehearsed in a room above a pub and eventually we recorded a demo at Regent Sound in Denmark Street. Not long after that we got Winston Weatherill in on guitar. He was the local guitar hero from Gary Farr & The T-Bones. Nick left the band and Alex and I took over vocals from Nick. That was the final line-up.
What was you repertoire in those days?
We started rehearsing in late summer 1968 and were doing our own material plus a song by The Idle Race (can’t remember the title), a Vanilla Fudge (slowed down and heavy) style version of ”Day Tripper”, ”Take Another Little Piece Of My Heart”, ”The Cat” (an instrumental by Jimmy Smith) used to be our stage intro, one or two R&B things – one was called ”Sure Gonna Mess Him Up” (by who?) and so on. Mostly we played our own thing.
What kind of venues did you play?
Our first gig was supporting The Herd on Brighton seafront and we gigged round the local colleges, like the Art College and the Polytechnic. A local agent called Mike Clayton (known to The Mike Stuart Span as well!) got us a few gigs round the south east but he was more hot air than performance.
Other gigs we got through our own contacts. Our first gig supporting The Herd on the seafront at Brighton during the festival, supporting Aynsley Dunbar’s Blue Whale at Bristol University, supporting Principal Edward’s Magic Theatre at a couple of different venues in Bristol and Kettering. Those are the ones I remember.