May 30, 2009
Sixto Diaz Rodriguez (also known as Rodriguez or as Jesus Rodriguez) is a US folk musician, born in Detroit, Michigan on the 10th of July 1942. He was named 'Sixto' because he was the sixth child in his family. Rodriguez's parents were middle-class immigrants from Mexico, who left in the 1920s. In most of his songs he takes a political stance on the cruelties facing the inner-city poor. In 1967 (under the name Rod Riguez) he released the single ‘’I'll Slip Away’’ though the small label ‘Impact’. He didn’t produce anything for another three years until he was signed to Sussex Records; an offshoot of the Buddah label. It was after the move to Sussex he changed his professional name to just Rodriguez. Rodriguez recorded two albums with Sussex - "Cold Fact", in 1970, and "Coming to Reality" in 1971. But after mixed reviews and low album sales he was later dropped from the label, which would later fold in 1975.
It s one of the lost classics of the 60s, a psychedelic masterpiece drenched in colour and inspired by life, love, poverty, rebellion, and, of course, jumpers, coke, sweet mary jane . The album is Cold Fact, and what s more intriguing is that its maker a shadowy figure known as Rodriguez was, for many years, lost too. A decade ago, he was rediscovered working on a Detroit building site, unaware that his defining album had become not only a cult classic, but for the people of South Africa, a beacon of revolution. It s crushingly good stuff, filled with tales of bad drugs, lost love, and itchy-footed songs about life in late 60s inner-city America. Gun sales are soaring/Housewives find life boring/Divorce the only answer/Smoking causes cancer, says the Dylan-esque Establishment Blues. But the album sank without trace, thanks, in part, to some of Rodriguez s more idiosyncratic behavior, like performing at an industry showcase with his back to the audience throughout. As his music career became a memory, Rodriguez s legend was growing on the other side of the world. In South Africa and, to a lesser extent, Rhodesia, Australia and New Zealand, Cold Fact had become a major word of mouth success, particularly among young people in the South African armed forces, who identified with its counter-cultural bent. But Rodriguez was an enigma not even the label knew where to find him and his demise became the subject of debate and conjecture. Some rumors said he d died of a heroin overdose or burned to death on stage. But the tide began to turn in 1996, when journalist Craig Bartholemew set out to get to the bottom of the mystery. After many dead ends, he found Rodriguez alive, well, free and perfectly sane in Detroit, ending years of speculation. Rodriguez himself had no idea about his fame in South Africa (the album had gone multi-platinum, Rodriguez has received not so much as a Rand in royalties), and embarked on a triumphant South African tour followed, filling 5,000 capacity venues across the country. Rodriguez was still largely unknown in the northern hemisphere until 2002, when Sugar Man, the album s extra-terrestrially wonderful lead track, was picked up by David Holmes. The DJ discovered the album in a New York record store, and included it on his Come Get It, I Got It compilation...
May 27, 2009
After leaving the "SOPWITH CAMEL" singer/songwriter William Truckaway recorded one of the great lost singles of the early '70s, "Bluegreens." It is an insanely catchy ditty built around a chunky synthesizer and simple hippy-dippy sentiments with a multi-tracked Truckaway and the Stovall Sisters providing some truly blissed-out vocals. It was enough of a hit that Taco Bell used it for an ad campaign and it got Truckaway an album deal with Reprise. Breakaway, which contains "Bluegreens," was released in 1971 and it is a wonderfully sweet and mellow album from a guy who sings like he could charm the leaves off the trees in the summertime. The album has a relaxed and easygoing sound with plenty of gentle strumming and tender vocalizing but also inventive arrangements (synths, sitars, congas, flutes, strings, backing vocals) that give his thoughts about getting out of the city ("Hard," "Cold City Life"), going slow ("I Go Slow"), finding Jesus ("Leave It There") and love lost ("Where's My Baby") and found ("Way to My Heart," "Be the One") -- an extra punch that many of his contemporaries lacked. You could compare Truckaway without much of a stretch to John Sebastian, since the Sopwith Camel and the Lovin' Spoonful shared a sound and a producer (Erik Jacobsen, who also fulfills those duties with Truckaway here). Breakaway isn't a lost classic by any means but it is a satisfying and interesting listen that deserves to be reissued outside of Japan. ~ Tim Sendra, All Music Guide
By William "Truckaway" Sievers:
... "Bluegreens was not about algae from Oregon, but rather based on various events and Zen philosophies found in Winnie the Pooh. The record was a tour de force of vocal overdubbing, unusual sounds, and a unique utilization of the synthesizer, which was a hot new item at that time. Reviewed as a sure hit in Billboard, this record actually received airplay in France and certain parts of New Mexico. It also became a Big Hit with the advertising agency handling the Taco Bell account, which proceeded to use parts of it in a Taco Bell commercial. I later wrote and recorded an entire album for Reprise entitled "Breakaway" with Camel drummer, Norman Mayell and brilliant bassist Doug Kilmer plus some outstanding guest artists such as Charles Lloyd, Richard Green and Buddy Emmons. The Truckaway album had some good tunes on it too, even though it didn't make the charts or ring the Taco Bell again" ...
May 23, 2009
This band founded in Rochdale, Lancashire, England by guitarist/vocalist Jim Milne and drummer Steve Clayton in 1971. Both had been members of a beat group, The Way We Live since 1966. They are notable both for their appreciation by John Peel and Julian Cope, but also for their longevity because as of 2007, they are still performing. The third member of the recording band until 1972 was manager and sound engineer John Brierley, who was replaced in late 1972 by Alan Burgess as recording engineer and Chris Hewitt as manager and live sound engineer.
In the early days, the main marketing tool of unsigned hopeful bands was to send demo tapes to sympathetic DJs. Accordingly a tape was sent to Peel who had a fondness for Rochdale, having worked in a cotton mill there before becoming a DJ. Peel sent his label manager, Clive Selwood, from London to Rochdale in order to sign up the band.
The group was booked into London's Spot Studios and finished the sessions within two days, and in January 1971 the band's debut album, A Candle for Judith was released, credited to The Way We Live. The release, named after Clayton's then girlfriend, later wife, earned immediate critical acclaim "...impeccable in both technique and emotion"... Al Clark writing in Time Out in London in 1971.
Meanwhile Peel, who had previous links with Rochdale, bought the band recording equipment and a stereo PA system. He also convinced the band to change their name. Looking out of his kitchen window at Peel Acres in Suffolk, he spied a tractor in the fields adjacent to his house and recommended it as a name to them. Tractor's first release after the name change from The Way We Live was a 7 inch maxi single -- "Stoney Glory"/"Marie"/"As You Say" -- for Dandelion. They also backed up another Dandelion act called Beau -- led by C.J.T. "Beau" Midgley -- on the album Creation. All of this recording was done in an attic and bedroom studio of a terraced house in Edenfield Road Rochdale, which John Peel named Dandelion Studios,Rochdale to tie in with his record label Dandelion Records...
Unlike their friend Brian Wilson, who had previously guided the Beach Boys from surf band to cutting-edge pop/rock outfit without totally abandoning the band's signature sound, Jan & Dean didn't really have the capacity or songwriting chops to make the transition to serious and sophisticated pop. Nevertheless, when the architect of the duo, Jan Berry, was incapacitated in early 1966 by a terrible car accident that ultimately left him brain-damaged, Dean Torrence took up the business and musical reins of the band and made a nearly convincing one-shot stab at progressive pop with Save for a Rainy Day. In a sense, the album is still more commercial acquiescence than legitimate artistic statement, yet it is perhaps the most interesting musical stretch in the duo's catalog although it is a Jan & Dean album in name only rather than in practice, as Berry understandably does not appear on the album in any capacity. The album is conceptual, in the loosest sense of the word, in that each song is about or refers to rain and is held together like a song cycle by thunderstorm sound effects. In addition, most of the tracks were also created by Joe Osborne and Larry Knetchel, as well as another of Torrence's friends and neighbors, James Burton. As opposed to an opulent studio creation, however, most of Save for a Rainy Day was stitched together in Osborne's garage. Jan & Dean's version of Gary Zekley's "Yellow Balloon" uses the very same backing track that Zekley made for the group Yellow Balloon, and is nearly as good as that version, while "Lullaby in the Rain" is a heartbreakingly pensive hymn. On the other hand, the music occasionally dips into uncomfortably sappy sentiment and easy listening sounds. Nevertheless, the album really is a lovely Californian artifact and worthy blue afternoon listen. This Japanese reissue nearly doubles the length of the original album with bonus cuts, most of them instrumental tracks and stereo versions of the album songs.
May 18, 2009
The name "Grass Roots" originated in 1965 as the name of a band project by the Los Angeles, California songwriter and producer duo of P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri. Sloan and Barri had written several songs in an attempt by their record company, Dunhill Records to cash in on the budding folk rock movement. One of these songs was "Where Were You When I Needed You," which was recorded by Sloan and Barri and a now forgotten line-up of studio musicians. Sloan provided the lead vocals and played guitar. The song was released under "The Grass Roots" name and sent, as a demo, to several radio stations of the San Francisco Bay area.
When moderate interest in this new "band" arose, Sloan and Barri went to look for a group that could incorporate The Grass Roots name. They found one in a San Francisco group named "The Bedouins" and cut a new version with that band's lead vocalist, Willie Fulton. In 1965, the Grass Roots got their first official airplay on Southern California radio stations, such as KGB(AM) in San Diego and KHJ in Los Angeles with a version of the Bob Dylan song, "Mr. Jones (Ballad Of A Thin Man)." For some months, The Bedouins were the first "real" Grass Roots — but the partnership with Sloan and Barri broke up when the band demanded more space for their own more blues rock-oriented material (which their producers were not willing to give them). Willie Fulton, Denny Ellis and David Stensen went back to San Francisco, with drummer Joel Larson the only one who remained (he was to become a member of a later Grass Roots line-up, as well). In the meantime, the second version of "Where Were You When I Needed You" peaked in the top 40 in mid-1966; an album of the same name sold poorly, probably because there were no Grass Roots anymore to promote it at the time of its release.
The group's third — and by far most successful — incarnation was finally found in a Los Angeles band, called The 13th Floor (not to be confused with the 13th Floor Elevators). This band consisted of Creed Bratton, Rick Coonce, Warren Entner and Kenny Fukomoto and had formed only a year earlier before submitting a demo tape to Dunhill Records.Rob Grill was recruited into the band when Fukomoto was suddenly drafted into the army. The band was offered the choice to go with their own name or choose to adopt a name that had already been heard of nationwide.
They had their first top 10 hit with "Let's Live For Today" in the summer of 1967 as The Grass Roots. With Rob Grill as lead singer, they recorded a third version of "Where Were You When I Needed You." The band continued in a similar hit-making vein for the next five years ('67-'72). In the beginning, they were one of many U.S. guitar pop/rock bands, but with the help of Barri and their other producers, they developed a unique sound for which they drew as heavily on British beat as on soul music, rhythm and blues and folk rock. Many of their recordings featured a brass section, which was a novelty in those days among American rock bands, with groups like Chicago just developing.
The Grass Roots songs hitting the radio in these times include "Things I Should Have Said" (1967), "Midnight Confessions" (1968), "Bella Linda", "Lovin' Things", "The River Is Wide", "Wait A Million Years", "Heaven Knows" (1969), "Walking Through The Country", "Baby Hold On", "Temptation Eyes" (1970), "Sooner Or Later" (1971) and "Two Divided By Love" (1972).
The Merseybeats were formed in 1961, in Liverpool under the name of The Mavericks which comprised of Tony Crane (lead guitar, vocals) Billy Kinsley (bass, vocals) working as an Everley Brothers influenced duo around the clubs and pubs of Liverpool. They soon became a four piece with the addition of David Elias(rhythm guitar, vocals) and Frank Sloane (drums). For a short while they changed name to The Pacifics and in 1962 The Mavericks were re-named The Mersey Beats, by Bob Wooler, M. C. of the famous Cavern Club. Later that year the group was re-titled THE MERSEYBEATS and Sloane was replaced by John Banks and Elias by Aaron Williams.
They were originally signed to Brian Epstein, but he failed to supply The Merseybeats with the same classy suits that he had given The Beatles, dispute between artist and management. brought an end to their relationship, the spilt with Epstein is something the group regret to this very day. On the Fontana label, The Merseybeats received their first big hit in 1963 with ‘It’s Love That Really Counts’ followed in 1964’ by their million selling recording ‘I Think of You’ which raced up the top ten and presented them with their first gold disc. The Merseybeats adopted their own distinctive style of fashion, the sartorial elegance they would have liked under Epstein. New tailoring saw them credited as the ‘Best Looking Group’ dressed in tight fitting suits with bolero jackets and frilly shirts, their outfits complete with high heeled zip boots provoked hysteria from their female fans. They received further success with two more major hits, ‘Don’t Turn Around’ and ‘Wishin & Hopin’, Other successful recordings include ‘Last Night’ ‘Don’t Let It Happen To Us’ ‘I Love You Yes I Do’ ‘I Stand Accused’. ‘Mister Moonlight‘ ‘Really Mystified‘ ‘The Fortune Teller‘ ‘Lovely Loretta’ and ‘It’s Love That Really Counts’. The Merseybeats appeared regularly at Liverpool’s world famous Cavern Club and they hold the unique distinction of appearing with The Beatles on more occasions than any other band from that era. Their success brought them international recognition, 1964 saw The Merseybeats appearing in Germany, the U.S.A. and even having their own Merseybeats Show on Italian television.In 1964 Billy Kinsley left to form The Kinsleys and was replaced by the legendary Johnny Gustafson, the line up changed again when Billy returned to the group a few months later.
May 16, 2009
Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera picked up on the British psychedelic movement after supporting The Pink Floyd as a soul/blues band called 'The Five Proud Walkers', the lineup was Richard Hudson (Hud) on drums, Colin Forster on lead guitar, Jimmy Horrocks (Horovitz) on organ and flute, John ????? (bass) and Dave Terry on vocals and harmonica. The boys took inspiration from the experience and it wasn't long before the change of both music and image. They gigged for a while playing blues based material,but gradually got interested in more free-form stuff. John ???? was replaced by John Ford and the band searched for a new name. Velvet Opera was chosen initially, which was amended to Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera within days after Dave turned up to a session wearing a long black cape and a preachers hat and had to endure some piss-taking from the rest of the band (Elmer Gantry was the fictional hero of a Sinclair Lewis novel and 1960 film about a preacher). The name stuck and Dave became Elmer. By this time Elmer, influenced by the music of John Cage, was making experimental taped backing sounds and using signal generators on stage in the act. The band began to get quite a following and played clubs and university gigs all over the country and at London venues like the Marquee and 100 club and Electric garden. They would also occasionally play at the Speakeasy where Jimi Hendrix would jam with them, also people like Jeff beck and Eric Burdon. The band had been recorded independantly for a while by Southern Music Publishing, who had their own, four -track, studio in Denmark Street, and it wasn't long before they had secured a record deal with CBS's "Direction" label. The problem was that Southern Music had originally signed them as a bluesy/jazzy band and they were not very keen on trying to get new, more riotous stage act on disc.
The group were persuaded to do more "regular" material. The first recording was the song, written by Elmer, that the band were best known for, 'Flames'. The record was on jukeboxes all over the country and was covered live by bands as diverse as "The Joe Loss Orchestra" and "Led Zeppelin", in fact Jimmy Page recently told Elmer that Flames was the only non-Zep number that they included in their early stage-act (Robert Plant also included it in his 2001-2002 tour). However, for the average radio listener the song was too far ahead of its time and despite live popularity and numerous radio plays the song only managed to achieve number 30 in the charts. Direction did however, take faith in the band to record second and third singles and more importantly a self-titled album. The group's second single, "Mary Jane" was taken off the BBC playlist after they realised that the song was the slang term for Marijuana. The third single, Volcano, was written by Howard & Blakely, who had written hits for Dave Dee etc. After three singles and the album, major success had still not been achieved....[to be continued]
May 14, 2009
A brief biography again!..
Though short of "teen appeal', this seated, short-haired jazz-styled combo was appreciated by other artists for their stylistic tenacity and exacting technical standards. For much of 1964, the polished jazz pop concoctions of ex-Tornados Tab Martin (b. 24 December 1944, Newcastle, England; bass), ex-Faron's Flamingos Trevor Morais (b. 10 October 1944, Liverpool, England; drums) and the Dowlands' former backing guitarist Roy Phillips (b. 5 May 1943, Parkstone, Poole, Dorset, England; Hammond organ/vocals) were heard nightly at London's exclusive Scotch of St. James" club - and, the following January, their arrangement of Teddy Randazzo's "Let The Sun Shine In", delivered by Phillips in a blues-tinged snort, slipped fleetingly into the UK Top 50. It took over four years for the three to come up trumps again when an invigorating CBS Records contract launched Freewheelers into the album chart. This was the harbinger of a Top 10 strike with the self-penned "Birth", a stunningly innovative composition. The follow-up, "Girlie", was a minor success and the Peddlers fared well in the album lists with Birthday. The long-term benefits of this commercial Indian summer included the broadening of the group's work spectrum - notably in providing musical interludes for television chat-shows - and the command of larger fees for their stock-in-trade cabaret bookings.
After Birthday, the Peddlers returned to Philips Records again. In 1971, Philips issued Georgia on My Mind, followed a year later by Suite London.
Morais left the trio during an Australian tour in 1972, and the Peddlers disbanded in 1976. In 2002, Columbia/CBS released the double album CD anthology, How Cool Is Cool...The Complete CBS Recordings, which contained the songs from their three albums, their singles and B-sides, and a pair of previously unissued tracks.
May 12, 2009
VENTURES - THE FABULOUS VENTURES (DOLTON/LIBERTY 1964) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve [stereo + mono]
The Ventures enjoyed their greatest popularity and success in the US and Japan in the 1960s, but they have continued to perform and record up to the present. With over 110 million albums sold worldwide, the group remains the best selling instrumental rock group of all time. 38 Ventures albums (including a seasonal Christmas album) charted in the US, and six of fourteen chart singles made it into the Top 40, with three making it into the Top 10. Of their 38 chart albums, 34 of them occurred in the 1960s, and The Ventures rank as the 6th best pop album performer for that decade, according to "Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Albums".
Among their achievements in America, in 1963 The Ventures had five LPs in the Billboard Top 100 at the same time. Additionally, they released a series of instructional LPs entitled Play Guitar with The Ventures and Play Electric Bass with The Ventures. Four LPs were released in this series, the first of which reached the Billboard Top 100 Album Chart—an achievement previously unheard of for an instructional LP. In a novelty achievement, The Ventures were the first act to place two different versions of the same song in the Top 10, those being "Walk Don't Run" (#2) and "Walk Don't Run '64" (#8).
While they predated the advent of the terms surf guitar and surf rock, and they do not consider themselves a surf rock group; they were a major building block of surf music, if not the first to play the style. Guitar Player, in an article titled "20 Essential Rock Albums", cited elements of their 1960 "Walk Don't Run" album which presaged the then-coming surf trend.
Also the Ventures were among the first rock acts able to sell albums based on a style and sound without needing hit singles on the albums. They are also credited by The All Music Guide To Rock with the early formulation of the concept album.
This is one of The Ventures' most famous albums. In a legue of its own, riding high with Telstar, Ventures In Space, Batman, Hawaii Five O, and Walk Dont Run Vol 2 in popularity. Perhaps the most well known song on this album is Journey To The Stars, written by a member of The T-Bones, a recording group for Liberty Records. Don Wilson, on the Live In Japan 65' album says, before they play this number on the album that is was from The Ventures In Space Album. It certainly sounds like a "space" tune, just the name of it alone. Who knows if he made a mistake or the song simply got moved to this album. Pink Panther Theme is also a highlight here...
May 10, 2009
Sisyphus -- Cold Blood's second release for Bill Graham's San Francisco label -- was a shift to a more aggressive and decidedly funkier sound. Taking their cues as much from James Brown's J.B.'s as from their Bay Area contemporaries and labelmates Tower of Power, Sisyphus is a much more cohesive and concentrated effort compared to their 1969 eponymous debut. The infusion of strong original material certainly did not hurt either -- as five of the disc's six tracks are credited as original band compositions. From the opening edgy/up-tempo instrumental "Shop Talk," the change in Cold Blood's direction is evident. This extended jam showcases the entire ensemble -- sans vocalist Lydia Pense -- including the band's latest addition, Sandy McKee (drums/percussion). The track also features notable assistance from original Santana bandmember Chepito Areas (congas/timbales). The driving rhythms are punctuated by the three-piece brass section, whose contributions are infinitely less obtrusive, especially during the dramatic segue into "Funky on My Back" -- one of Cold Blood's most definitive compositions. Highlighted by Pense's dramatic and sensual vocals, the track recalls the laid-back, soulful style of their first album. Another throwback is the slightly gospel-influenced cover of "Your Good Thing" -- originally performed by Stax diva Mable John -- which also features background vocals from the Pointer Sisters. The second half of Sisyphus consists of up-tempo groovers "Too Many People," "Understanding," and "I Can't Stay," which is not only the hardest-rocking track on the disc, it also features a lead vocal from percussionist McKee. The song actually comes off sounding like an early Santana cut rather than anything else on the album. This probably has to do more with the frenetically inspired fretwork of Larry Fields than the absence of Pense...
D.R. Hooker was a man slightly askew with his time: from the robes he wears on the cover to the quasi mystical lyrics, he's very much connected to the hippy era, and given that this album was recorded in 1972, in a time post-Charles Manson, he was brave to associate so strongly with all the imagery pertaining to cults. Musically, Hooker looks beyond the parameters of the hippy movement, dipping into a more ambitiously studio-oriented sound than Hooker's half-troubadour, half-prophet image on the sleeve might suggest. The noisy, fuzzy elements are particularly effective, and surprisingly intricate in their arrangement and recording.
'Forge Your Own Chains' takes this to an extreme, expertly deploying advanced loungey jazz figures with an onslaught of brass. This all sounds far more ambitious and accomplished than the vast majority of private press releases that tend to emerge, and there's certainly a strong case to be made for this record being one of those precious few curiosities from the private press movement to feel like more than a kitsch comic aside. Well worth your investigation.
One of the rarest US psych LPs, The Truth, recorded in Connecticut in 1972, might very well be the ultimate North American acid rock album ever.
Everything is absolute perfection, the wailing fuzz guitar, the psychy arrangements, his awesome voice, layers of instruments and well-crafted songs. One of those LPs that keeps revealing new depths even when you've played it a hundred times.
May 7, 2009
As a young man, St. Peters performed in several relatively unknown bands in England. In 1956, he gave his first live performance, as a member of The Hard Travellers. Through the late 1950s and early 1960s, he was a member of The Country Gentlemen, Beat Formula Three, and Peter & The Wolves. In 1964, as a member of Peter & The Wolves, St. Peters made his first commercial recording.
St. Peters was signed to Decca Records in 1965. His first two singles on this record label, "No No No" and "At This Moment", proved unsuccessful on the charts. He made two television appearances in England in February of that year, featuring in the shows Scene At 6.30 and Ready Steady Go!
In 1966, St. Peters' career finally yielded a Top 10 hit in the UK Singles Chart, with "You Were On My Mind", a song first recorded in 1964 by the Canadian folk duo, Ian & Sylvia, and a hit in the United States for We Five in 1965. St. Peters' single eventually hit #2 in the UK and was then released in the U.S. on the Philadelphia-based Jamie Records label. It did not chart in the U.S. at first, however his fourth release, "The Pied Piper", became forever known as his signature song. Under manager David Nicolson's tutelage the shy star was momentarily transformed into arrogance incarnate and astonished the conservative music press of the period by his suggestion that he had written 80 songs of better quality than those of The Beatles. Other stars were also waved aside as St. Peters announced that he was better than Elvis Presley: "I'm going to make Presley look like the Statue of Liberty . . . I am sexier than Dave Berry and more exciting than Tom Jones . . . and the Beatles are past it". Outraged readers denounced him in letters columns. However, St. Peters' comments were meant to be tongue-in-cheek as he explained in an interview by Douglas Antreassian entitled "Then and Now - Britain's Pied Piper Sets The Record Straight". St. Peters returned stronger than ever with "The Pied Piper", a Top 10 hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
"The Pied Piper" had been recorded in 1965 by its writers, Steve Duboff and Artie Kornfeld, as The Changin' Times, but it was St. Peters' version in 1966 that made it into a hit, reaching #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #5 in the UK. No subsequent release would ever match the success of "The Pied Piper", although its success helped boost "You Were On My Mind" into the U.S. Top 40. Thereafter St. Peters was remembered more for his idle boasts than his music.
In 1966, St. Peters released his first LP, Follow Me, which was followed by his first EP, Almost Persuaded, yet by 1970, he was dropped by Decca....[net]
The group originated with guitarist Brian Parker and an instrumental band called the Hunters, who recorded for the Fontana label in 1961. Parker left the Hunters in early 1962 and joined Adam Faith's backing band the Roulettes. He didn't stay long with the latter band, preferring to put together a group of his own with the emphasis on vocals. Parker recruited guitarists Tommy Moeller and David Meikle, and singer Brian Moules, and the quartet played gigs at youth clubs and other local venues, and turned professional soon after. Parker, who suffered from chronic ill-health, left the band around this time and was replaced by Howard Lubin.
The quartet took the name Unit Four in 1963, and continued to find popularity in clubs. By this time, the British beat boom heralded by the Beatles was sweeping the charts, and the group recognized that they would need a punchier sound to have a chance at breaking out of the club venues and getting a recording contract. They added two more players, Rod Garwood (bass) and Hugh Halliday (drums), and, in the process, became Unit 4+2.
The sextet was signed to English Decca in 1964 and their debut single, "Green Fields," followed early in the year, making a minor splash on the UK charts with its folk-gospel sound. A second single, "Sorrow and Pain," was well received but made little lasting impression.
Their third single, "Concrete and Clay," issued early in 1965, was the charm. Perhaps not coincidentally, it was also the first single by the group on which they played with two guest musicians, guitarist Russ Ballard and drummer Bob Henrit (two of Parker's former bandmates from the Roulettes). With a memorable chorus, a bossa-nova beat, and pleasant, hook-laden acoustic guitars, "Concrete and Clay" rose to number one on the British charts and charted all over the world. The song was one of the finest pop records of 1965. Not only was it a UK number one, it was a worldwide hit, and the group was suddenly getting played on radio across the globe.
It may have been too much, too soon. Like too many other groups of the period, the band had nothing remotely as good to serve as a follow-up release, as soon became apparent. Decca released an album to capitalize on their sudden success, but it wasn't as interesting or attractive as the single. Their next single, "You've Never Been in Love Like This Before," a more soul-influenced number, failed to match the chart performance of "Concrete and Clay," but made the English Top 20...
Unit 4+2 was a one-hit wonder that probably deserved better. As one of the better acoustic-electric bands of the mid-'60s, the group stormed the charts with one memorable hit, "Concrete and Clay," scoring on both sides of the Atlantic, but they were never able to come up with a follow-up that was as catchy.
May 3, 2009
REAR SLEEVE NOTES:
I would like to tell you a little story about the the Peddlers that will never be big enough to warrant a national paper write-up but it will prove to you just how cool and versatile this group is. The scene:Thursday afternoon at Radio Lux. The People:Myself and producer Eggy Lay.The Subject:Friday night's programme."Well Dave,we need a big act to give the show a lift.""Right" "We've had Georgie Fame and Anita Harris last week,what do you think"? "How about the Peddlers?" "OK .,we'll try them." The Peddlers came into the show and within five minutes the place was going mad.Roy sitting at the piano and breaking in every five minutes with the opening line of "You're the Reason I'm Living",Tab contributing some thought provoking questions such as "How Cool is Cool" ,and Trevor giving us a blow for blow description of what his hangover was like.,Result: one of the swinging half hours to come out of 208 metres medium wave in a long time.A month after that show went out they released this LP and like the show they did , it is full of life,bounce,and most important, originality.The majority of the tracks are standards ,which make it a good album for family enjoyment,but don't ever make the mistake of saying 'Oh yes , "Girl Talk","Time After Time",and "Smile",I've heard them all before ,because beleive me you haven't. Lets take a couple of examples ."What Now My Love"only involves two people...Roy on vocals and Trevor on percussion.Together they do the whole bit and it's great."Time After Time " is next,this time using the full trio and swinging all the way.On "Girl Talk" they brought in a few friends.Some horn players,string players, brass players,in fact a full orchestra. "Smile" is most likely the biggest surprise on the whole LP .In fact Trevor's 55 second drum solom at the front doesn't give the slighest hint of what is to follow.As for "Who Can I TurnTo" and I'm sure that Newley and Bricusse didn't have this in mind when they wrote it ,and I'm equally as sure that they would dig the Peddlers version as a brilliant addition to their excellent song.As for the others.....Find out for yourself ....[Dave Cash]
May 2, 2009
Denny Belline & The Rich Kids was Rca Victor's answer to the "Young Rascals".
R&B,pop and frat rock mostly covers. Good LP mostly uptempo ravers 'recorded in front of a dancing teen crowd at the Shore Club in Sayville, Long Island'. Denny is Perry Como's nephew known from his earlier band the Dwellers.
The group featuring Denny Belline and Richard Supa. In 1968, The Rich Kids were involved in a notorious drug bust when S.W.A.T. teams descended on The Barge and caught them with 1/4 oz. of pot. Their concert attendence subsequently boomed.
This group evolved into Man (Columbia 9803, 1969) with the inclusion of Richie Cardenis and Tony Machine. Supa and Belline went on to solo careers and Machine became a regular in Buster Poindexter's Banshees of Blue.
Titles includes Mickey's Monkey,Mustang Sally,Good Lovin',Any Day Now,Do You Feel It, Beatles' Rain & Night Before.
Despite the fact that the Beatles were huge, and got covered lots of time, you don’t tend to see a lot of contemporary covers of the psychey stuff, especially not ‘Rain’. Belline and the band slow the tune down a tad, add a harpsichord, and while they were clearly no threat to the Beatles (or the Young Rascals), it’s a nice version of the song.