Posts Tagged ‘Various Artists’

We’re now in the double digits of brilliant long-lost, rare, and unreleased hard rock, heavy psych, and proto-metal tracks from the 60s-70s and clearly this has become a bonafide archaeological movement as each new edition leads us to more exciting new discoveries. Like we’ve done throughout this series, all of these tracks were painstakingly licensed legitimately and the artists were paid. Make yourself comfortable and prepare for yet another deep, deep dive into the treasure trove of dank, subterranean, wild-eyed and hairy rock ’n’ roll.

This Trip opens with Adam Wind’s “Something Else,” featuring groovy crooning and a very acid-damaged guitar riff that meanders across key signatures like it ain’t no thing. This 1969 single by the Tacoma, WA band predates grunge by 20 years, but the band’s heavy psych and murky tones are just the stuff Northwest heroes Mudhoney sought so fervently at their peak. Lead singer Leroy Bell’s excessive vibrato gives the tune its charm, but the heavy breakdown in the middle is the real payoff.

Boston bruisers Grump return to the series with a previously unreleased dose of raw soul layered in greasy horns, plucky harmonized guitar leads and chirping organs on “I’ll Give You Love.” The track packs twice the punch of their cover of Elvis Presley’s classic “Heartbreak Hotel” heard back on The Eighth Trip, itself a fan favourite.

Stevens Point, WI is the actual origin of Bagshot Row, a little-known band taking its name from a street in The Hobbit. However, they sound much less fantasy obsessed than their name suggests and more akin to Sugarloaf of “Green Eyed Lady” fame. Their swaggering “Turtle Wax Blues” of 1973 will put some extra hair on your feet and send you searching for this lone 45 single like a ring that possesses magical powers to control all of Middle Earth (or at least Middle America.)

Larry Lynn’s “Diamond Lady” is the B-side to his 1970 single “Back On The Street Again.” Larry Leonard Ostricki adopted his stage name while performing with The Bonnevilles in the mid-1950s in Milwaukee, WI, and later with The Skunks. Larry Lynn’s eponymous band explored bluesy psychedelic rock from 1969 to 1978, only to reunite in 2009 and they still perform to this date.
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Renaissance Fair take things in a very weird, very fun and undeniably heavy direction with an insanely distorted organ that sounds like a monstrous vacuum cleaner over dirge rhythms and growling vocals on their — we reiterate — weird 1968 track “In Wyrd.” Think if someone left a copy of The Doors’ Strange Parade out to warp in the sun on a blown-out toy record player, and then visiting space creatures attempted to imitate what they’d heard.

Chicago, IL’s Zendik bring it all back down to Earth with their politically-charged 1970 firestorm “Mom’s Apple Pie Boy” which echoes the unabashed rage of The MC5 and anthemic sarcasm of CCR’s “Fortunate Son.” The band’s only publicly released single “Is There No Peace” (previously heard on Brown Acid: The Sixth Trip) boasts the proto-punk refrain “God is dead!” This equally direct polemic was recorded during the same sessions, but unreleased until now.

The opening cowbell of Daybreak’s kicked back 1977 rocker “Just Can’t Stay” affirms that the boogie is back on this swaggering nugget of FM-ready rock from San Mateo, CA. “Just Can’t Stay” closes the band’s lone 4-song EP, and the band delivered on the promise, vanishing into the ether shortly thereafter.

West Minist’r of Fort Dodge, IA make their desires clear on “I Want You” with an undeniably driving riff and particularly beefy sounding synth leads that would fit in fine on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. The song, originally released on Magic Records, is the B-side to “Sister Jane” and the band’s last of three singles issued between 1969 and 1975.

Debb Johnson of Saint Louis Park, MN is a BAND, not an individual member of the band. The 7-piece group featured a full horn section and three-part harmonies on their 1969 self-titled album. The backstory on their name is: three of the group’s seven members shared the last name Johnson, so they then took the first letters of the last names of the other four members and combined them into the word “debb.” The politically minded “Dancing In The Ruin” speaks a truth all-too-familiar to this day backed by a brand of wailing acid rock crossed with Buddy Miles’ Expressway To Your Skullstyle funk.

Crazy Jerry sends us off on a high note with “Every Girl Gets One,” featuring crunching riffs, rollicking electric piano, stop ’n’ start rhythms and a curious telephone call sounding like a creepy answer to the Big Bopper’s “Chantilly Lace.” Crazy Jerry is the alter-ego of guitarist Jerry Ciccone, who can also be heard on a few soul/funk and rock records from the 70s, including The Left Banke’s second album. But here, Jerry is…well, simply crazy.

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a new volume of the long-running, Permanent owner-curated Brown Acid compilation series! The Eleventh Trip will drop on Halloween,

The late Hal Wilner’s final work is an all-star tribute to Marc Bolan and T. Rex, including Nick Cave, U2, Elton John, Todd Rundgren, Joan Jett and two Lennon brothers. It’s a mixed bag, but fitting tribute to a genius. Tribute albums always flatter to deceive. Especially when you love the tributee. There’s the initial excitement at seeing all those big names tackling your favourite songs. Then there’s the fascination of seeing edgy artists bring their own sensibilities to the music you love. And, at worst, the risk of heartbreaking disappointment when you hear a song you love being murdered.

Marc Bolan was my idol from 1970-75. I was his perfect demographic: discovering pop music for the first time as it emerged from the Beatles era, all satin and tat, glitter and make-up, lipstick and platform boots. And that was just the boys. Bolan was the first, and don’t let anyone try and tell you any different. He rode along in 1970 on his white swan, hinting at what was to come, more of a cygnet than a fully fledged water bird. Then, at the beginning of 1971 he emerged, fully feathered and face painted in his bright new plumage, with Hot Love. And that was that. Glam was born.

Bolan was not just a phenomenon. No one sounded like T.Rex. No one sang like Marc. No one looked like Marc, without a care; no square with his corkscrew hair. So how do you celebrate such an idiosyncratic performer 50 years on from his heyday (and 43 years on from his tragically early death, in that car crash)?

If you’re Hal Wilner, the American producer who specialises in lavish tribute affairs you invite a who’s who of your famous friends to sing a song each, hire another who’s who of top-class musicians so famous that they don’t mind not getting a song of their own, and overlay the whole thing with massive orchestrations.

Here he has collected another impressive cast drawn from the worlds of music, theatre and the art world and put them together in the studio with a backing band of musicians as diverse as Donald Fagen, Van Dyke Parks, Marc Ribot, Budgie from the Banshees, Bill Frisell, Pete Thomas from the Attractions and more. Wilner is, first and foremost, a Bolan fan, and it shows. He remembers first hearing Tyrannosaurus Rex and thinking the records were “very beautiful, soothing and slightly creepy”. Decades later he decided to put this tribute together “to show Bolan as a composer with our typical cast of artists from different worlds that one rarely sees in the same place”

With some great, some not-so-great, a few you rather wish hadn’t been done at all. It’s always like that with tribute albums. But the best bits make it all worthwhile. As ever with these things, the more successful efforts are those where the artist brings their own personality to the song, while staying faithful to the essence of Bolan. The least successful are those that play it straight – no one needs a Bolan tribute act (there’s already T. Rextasy for that) and simply copy the original.

The plain truth is that no one can imitate Bolan. He was unique. A one-off. Never mind the fact that his voice is almost impossible to imitate.

And here’s the thing: the covers work best when the originals are less familiar. Which may explain why a couple of the big hits (Hot Love, Telegram Sam) are missing altogether from this double album. No one needs Joan Jett trundling through a perfunctory Jeepster, a song that cries out to be reinterpreted as the blues upon which it was based – Bolan borrowed freely from Chuck Berry and Howling Wolf on those hits and it would be fun to hear a modern-day bluesman take the songs back to their roots.

But let’s not dwell on the negatives. Kesha has the right idea on the opening Children Of The Revolution, transforming it into a soulful affair with saxophones squealing, a contrast to the oh-so-familiar chunky guitar riff of the original: different enough to hold the attention (all the more so when you know you’ve got MC5’s Wayne Kramer on guitar and Bolan’s son Rolan Bolan on backing vocals).

The interpretations are varied, as becomes clear quite rapidly. Before long a pattern emerges: the female artists are best at reimagining these tunes. Perhaps because Bolan himself was such an androgynous performer; in contrast to the laddishness of the Glam rockers who followed him – Sweet, Slade, Mud, Glitter – Bolan brought a sense of femininity to his music. Even when he was overtly sexual (“I want to SUCK you!”) he didn’t sound gender specific: he was so pretty that everyone fancied him, even if they couldn’t admit it.

Beth Orton’s interpretation of Hippy Gumbo also takes it to another place, with a bar room piano and an air of impending chaos, with horror-movie scrapes and rattles in the background and some nicely distorted guitar from Marc Ribot. It’s one of the more successful numbers; as is Guatemalan Gaby Moreno, the self-styled “Spanglish folk-soul” singer coming close to Bolan’s own tremulous vibrato on a sensitive bossa nova-influenced Beltane Walk featuring Bill Frisell, Van Dyke Parks and Attractions drummer Pete Thomas.

Meanwhile, Peaches deconstructs a short, sharp Solid Gold Easy Action in the style of Prince – with his androgynous glamour, perhaps the closest parallel to Bolan in the pop firmament. Less successful, sadly, is Lucinda Williams drawling sleepily through a funereal Life’s A Gas, punctuated by a pleasingly grungy guitar solo from Ribot, or possibly Bill Frisell: both are credited, and both are part of the house band assembled by Wilner, who recorded several songs on the same day in the same studio, lending the affair rather more continuity than is often the case on these pick’n’mix affairs.

As for the rest, the clear highlight is Nick Cave’s impassioned Cosmic Dancer, plangent strings enhancing the deep melancholia he has brought to his own work since family tragedy changed him for ever. A shout-out, too, to Marc Almond, never knowingly underblown, for his extravagantly orchestrated, verging-on-overwrought, kitscher-than-your-kitchen take on the already overwrought Teenage Dream.

The decadent nightclub mood is continued by Helga Davis, a New York performance artist, whose Organ Blues features an ominous drum beat and swirls of bass clarinet, and Todd Rundgren who, with the help of Donald Fagen on piano, converts Planet Queen into a slice of sci-fi cabaret. Speaking of which, Metric front woman Emily Haines sprinkles fairy dust on Ballrooms Of Mars to close Side 1 of this double album; her ghostly vocals seeping through the weirdness of a lavishly orchestrated arrangement. It’s really quite special.

Festival favourite King Khan offers a boisterous romp through I Love To Boogie which lives up to its title, if nothing else, and invests Bolan’s final hit (from 1976, a year before his death) with rather more life than Bolan’s own pallid effort. The big-name collaboration between U2 and Elton John on Get It On (irritatingly listed under its American title of Bang A Gong) is predictably terrible: despite selling more records than everyone else on the record between them – and then some – they sound like some bunch of middle-aged men at their local pub’s karaoke night. Not only is it uninspired, it’s the one thing Bolan never was.

Other misfires – and thankfully they are fewer than the successes – include actor-director-playwright John Cameron Mitchell interpreting Diamond Meadows in a style somewhere between MOR and musical theatre, despite the novelty of Showgirls actress Gina Gershon on Jew’s harp. Father John Misty falls into the copycat trap by doing an entirely forgettable Main Man, despite the legendary Van Dyke Parks on piano, while the German singer Nena, last heard of 36 years ago singing 99 Red Balloons, sadly adds nothing of note to Metal Guru though, to be fair, it is practically perfect in its original form and would probably have been best left alone.

It all ends with a hauntingly effective medley of Ride A White Swan and She Was Born To Be My Unicorn, sung virtually a capella by an angelic Maria McKee and gravelly Gavin Friday, duetting from what sounds like beyond the grave. Which is as fitting a finale as one could hope for to a record that reflects Wilner’s overarching ambition (and celebrity connections – it’s hard to imagine many people said no to taking part), and will be remembered, despite the odd misstep, as a fitting memorial to hthe life and work of the producer – and the man to whom he’s paying tribute.

Side A:
1. Children Of The Revolution – Kesha
2. Cosmic Dancer – Nick Cave
3. Jeepster – Joan Jett
4. Scenescof – Deveandra Banhart
5. Life’s A Gas – Lucinda Williams
6. Solid Gold, Easy Action – Peaches
7. Dawn Storm – Børns

Side B:
8. Hippy Gumbo – Beth Orton
9. I Love To Boogie King Khan
10. Beltane Walk – Gaby Moreno
11. Bang A Gong (Get It On) – U2 feat. Elton John
12. Diamond Meadows – John Cameron Mitchell
13. Ballrooms Of Mars – Emily Haines

Side C:
14. Main Man – Father John Misty
15. Rock On – Perry Farrell
16. The Street and Babe Shadow – Elysian Fields
17. The Leopards – Gavin Friday
18. Metal Guru – Nena
19. Teenage Dream – Marc Almond

Side D:
20. Organ Blues – Helga Davis
21. Planet Queen – Todd Rundgren
22. Great Horse – Jessie Harris
23. Mambo Sun – Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl
24. Pilgrim’s Tale – Victoria Williams with Julian Lennon
25. Bang A Gong (Get It On) Reprise – David Johansen
26. She Was Born To Be My Unicorn / Ride A White Swan – Maria McKee

Double vinyl. Angel Headed Hipster – Various artists sing ‘The Songs of Marc Bolan & T. Rex.’

Image may contain: text that says 'New West Records Nashville & Athens Artist Celebrity Coronavirus A Awareness S Fun Mix Pro-Am Mix For The Cure'

New West Records has created a rad compilation album exclusively benefitting their artists. The album is available today, in conjunction with Bandcamp’s pledge to waive fees for artists. 100% of proceeds go to the artist. The setlist is included below. The album is only available digitally, and only from Bandcamp or at newwestrecords.com. Link to purchase: http://newwst.com/forthecure.

Any collection that kicks off with Nikki Lane channeling Wanda Jackson is worth having by definition. The rest is just fine, too, especially Seratones’ apocalyptic take on State Trooper. New West clearly curated this collection with care.

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1. Nikki Lane – Funnel of Love
2. Justin Townes Earle – Rocket 88
3. The Texas Gentlemen – Dream Along (Bonnaroo Haybale Session)
4. Jaime Wyatt – I Miss Drinkin’
5. Ron Gallo – Always Elsewhere (Bonnaroo Haybale Session)
6. Andrew Combs – You’re Like The Country
7. Sammy Brue – Before It Gets Good Again
8. Seratones – State Trooper (Live on WFUV)
9. Robert Ellis – Heartbeat
10. Kacy & Clayton – The Gallery
11. Dan Luke and The Raid – Be Good
12. Caroline Rose – More Of The Same (Bonnaroo Haybale Session)
13. Sam Doores – True To My Luck
14. American Aquarium – Darkness on the Edge of Town (Outlaw Session)
15. Lilly Hiatt – No Good
16. Pokey LaFarge – Oval Room

All proceeds from the sale of this album go to the artists involved.
released May 1st, 2020

A London-based independent label . Founded in 1984, Fire Records continues its history of maverick and inspired A+R. The turn of the millennium has seen Fire rise, phoenix like, under the watchful eyes and ears of A&R supremo James Nicholls and through a series of acclaimed reissues and new releases, revitalising the careers of indie royalty along the way, the label has a raft of new releases from the outer reaches of the sonic spectrum, combining the cosmic pop of Jane Weaver, Virginia Wing, Islet and Pictish Trail with the haunting ambience of Death And Vanilla and the uncategorizable mind-melting Vanishing Twin to become the industry’s leading Psychedelic Pop label

Fire has simultaneously developed one of the most impressive rosters of influencial alternative artists, at the top of their creative game.  Amongst the labels many established artists are The Lemonheads, Howe Gelb and Giant Sand, Kristin Hersh and Throwing Muses, The Bevis Frond,  Half JapaneseSebadoh, The Black Lips and The Chills

After the success of last years ‘Outer Limits’ label sampler (and festival) we bring you ‘Auteur Limits’ a @bandcamp exclusive follow up with a suitably dystopian feel and a little light at the end of the tunnel. Painstakingly compiled and sequenced by A&Rs James Nicholls. Hassled and hurried along by Fire Italia/Jonathan Clancy. Enjoy !

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Released June 5th, 2020

Following the success of the Rock Machine albums CBS came up with a trio of new samplers during 1970 and 1971.  First up in March 1970 was Fill Your Head With Rock.  Priced at 29s/11d (£1.50) and boldly subtitled “The Sound of the Seventies” it broke new ground by extending the format to a double album for the first time.  Resplendent on the cover, bare-chested with long hair flying, was a colourised image of Jerry Goodman, violinist with Chicago jazz rockers the Flock (but soon to join the Mahavishnu Orchestra).  The iconic photograph was the same one used on the back cover of the Flock’s self-titled CBS debut album, except much larger and in colour. “The Sound of the Seventies” tag was used to advertise many CBS LPs during 1970.

Compiler David Howells stated that while the earlier Rock Machine samplers were aimed at promoting specific full-price releases, this record was part of a major push to establish CBS as “the top label in contemporary music” in the UK.  Of the 23 tracks, 16 came from US artists, six were by UK acts and one (Amory Kane) was by an American living and recording in Britain with UK musicians.  There was nothing from Bob Dylan this time, but several artists, including Spirit, the Byrds, Leonard Cohen, Al Stewart, Taj Mahal, Blood Sweat & Tears and Laura Nyro had appeared on the earlier Rock Machine LPs.  New arrivals such as folk rock hopefuls Trees and prog debutants Black Widow and Skin Alley got a chance to rub shoulders with the big names. Fill Your Head With Rock reached #19 in the Melody Maker LP charts in March 1970 and early copies included an eight-page booklet insert.

With its striking image of a pre-fame Arnold Schwarzenegger in full “Mr. Universe” pose taking up the entire gatefold sleeve (which opened vertically), Rockbuster surely has one of the most recognisable covers of all the CBS samplers.  Stylistically, though, the gaudy artwork left much to be desired and, Arnie notwithstanding, the frightful red and yellow striped design could have come straight from the fevered imagination of K-Tel or Ronco.  But perhaps that was the intention.

FILL YOUR HEAD WITH ROCK (CBS SPR 39/40) 1970

ROCKBUSTER (CBS PR48/49) 1970

Overseen by David Howells again, the Rockbuster double set saw the return of Bob Dylan with “Days of 49”, a track from the unloved (by the critics, if not the fans) Self Portrait album.  Elsewhere, the Byrds, Argent, Spirit, Trees, Black Widow, BS&T, Johnny Winter and Al Kooper were again represented.  New this time out were cuts by Miles Davis (continuing his foray into the jazz rock fusion world), Soft Machine, Gary Farr, Robert Wyatt and (fresh from his appearance on Zappa’s Hot Rats album) Shuggie Otis.  Of the 26 tracks on the double album, the US/UK split was 17/9 this time.

The final CBS sampler from this period was Together, released in April 1971.  Although just a single LP, early UK copies were pressed on blue vinyl (a big deal back then) with an eight-page newspaper insert.  The usual suspects, including Laura Nyro, Spirit, Byrds, Trees, Argent and Johnny Winter were joined this time by Poco, Janis Joplin and the Chambers Brothers.  Mainland European pressings of Together substituted the Soft Machine track with one by Norwegian band Titanic who scored a big hit late in 1971 with the Santana influenced instrumental “Sultana”.

TOGETHER (CBS SPR 52) 1971

But it was CBS who really popularised the sampler format in Britain with their Rock Machine albums.  Initiated in January 1968 by Columbia Records’ US president Clive Davis but compiled and overseen in the UK by CBS art director and sleeve designer David Howells, The Rock Machine Turns You On is often cited as the first true UK budget priced rock sampler.

Offering unparalleled value for money at a shade under 15 shillings (75p), at a time when a full-price album retailed at £2 or more, The Rock Machine Turns You On and the follow-up, Rock Machine I Love You proved irresistible to a generation of record buyers, selling well enough to enter the mainstream charts and going on to move an estimated 150,000 copies each.

Glaser designed the iconic poster which originally came with the 1967 US version of Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits LP and also the sleeve of Paul Simon’s 1973 album There Goes Rhymin’ Simon.  He even created his own typeface font called “Baby Teeth”.  First seen on the Dylan poster mentioned above, in 1973 the font was adopted as the main Columbia/CBS label typeface and used until the late 1990s.

CBS: PART 1 – The ROCK MACHINE

Both Rock Machine LPs featured the same painfully hip sleeve notes which read: The Rock Machine is a Machine with Soul The Rock Machine isn’t a grind-you-up.  It’s a wind-you-up.  The sound is driving.  The sound is searching.  The sound is music.  It’s your bag. So it’s ours. It’s the Super Stars.  And the Poets.  It’s the innovators and the Underground.  It’s the Loners and the Lovers.  And it’s more.  Much more…David Howells was involved with several other CBS releases, including the 1970 samplers Fill Your Head With Rock and Rockbuster (yes, the one with Arnold Schwarzenegger on the cover, see below) before helping to launch the Gull label, a subsidiary of Decca, which he ran from 1974 to 1982.  Howells was then appointed managing director of Pete Waterman’s PWL Records, the label which gave us Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan.  It was a very long way from the Peanut Butter Conspiracy.

ROCK MACHINE I LOVE YOU (CBS S/PR 26) 1968

In 1989 there was an attempt to transfer both Rock Machine LPs to CD but this ran into problems right away.  Long-expired licensing rights meant the track listing was reduced from 30 songs to just 20 and the CD looked very different to the original albums.  Gone was Bob Dylan, Roy Harper, the Zombies, Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera and Simon & Garfunkel.  One of the two Byrds’ tracks was also dropped.  In their place were a pair of cuts by electric violin exponents the Flock and It’s A Beautiful Day, both of which fell slightly outside the time frame of the original 1968 LPs (although “Tired of Waiting” by the Flock later appeared on another CBS sampler, Fill Your Head With Rock in 1970.

In 1967 CBS launched the Direction label to issue mainly* American soul and R&B records in the UK and a sampler titled Soul Direction appeared in 1968.  Stretching the piscine sole/soul pun to absolute breaking point, a flatfish of some description was pictured on the cover.  Despite releasing some great music, Direction didn’t flourish, and CBS closed the label in 1970.

*There was a degree of cross pollination between labels, as US bluesman Taj Mahal and UK psych outfit Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera were both signed to Direction in the UK, yet their tracks appeared on the CBS Rock Machine albums.

HARVEST – LIFE’s A PICNIC

In the early 70s few record companies immersed themselves in the nascent underground rock movement more comprehensively than the Harvest label.  Formed in 1969 by EMI to compete with other major players in the prog rock scene such as Vertigo, Deram and Chris Blackwell’s independent Island label, Harvest was one of those rare companies where virtually every release in their catalogue was worthy of attention.  In its first year alone the label gave us records by Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Kevin Ayers, Edgar Broughton Band and Shirley & Dolly Collins, with albums by Roy Harper, The Move and ELO not far behind.  It really was a case of “All Killer, No Filler”.

But the main drawcard was the otherwise unavailable Pink Floyd track “Embryo”.  Recorded in November 1968, the studio outtake appeared nowhere else until 1983 when it was included on Floyd’s Works oddities compilation.  Picnic sold well, especially for a double album, reaching #14 in the Melody Maker album charts in July 1970.

A second sampler The Harvest Bag arrived in November 1971.  Employing a tortuous visual pun on the “budget price album” theme, the cover photo showed what was presumably intended to be the Chancellor of the Exchequer standing outside number 11 Downing Street holding aloft his ceremonial briefcase, or “bag” (complete with Harvest logo) containing, we assumed, the, ahem, Budget.  Despite some solid contributions from Roy Harper, the Grease Band, ELO, Edgar Broughton Band and others, The Harvest Bag flew under the radar and is now largely forgotten.

Other excellent Harvest samplers, including Harvest Sweeties (1971) and A Good Harvest (1973), appeared in mainland Europe, but they were not released in the UK.

PICNIC – A BREATH OF FRESH AIR (Harvest SHSS 1/2) 1970

Retailing at 29s/11d (a shade under £1.50) the first Harvest sampler album, Picnic – A Breath Of Fresh Air, arrived in May 1970.  Clad in a distinctive Hipgnosis designed sleeve, the 19-track double album featured a wildly diverse mix of folk, rock, blues, prog and assorted obscurities by the likes of Quatermass, Bakerloo, Forest, Third Ear Band, Pete Brown & Piblokto and Syd Barrett.

But the main drawcard was the otherwise unavailable Pink Floyd track “Embryo”.  Recorded in November 1968, the studio outtake appeared nowhere else until 1983 when it was included on Floyd’s Works oddities compilation.  Picnic sold well, especially for a double album, reaching #14 in the Melody Maker album charts in July 1970.

The Picnic – A Breath Of Fresh Air name reappeared in 2007 on a triple CD sub-titled A Harvest Records Anthology 1969–1974.  But while the title and artwork were similar, the CD shared only three tracks with the 1970 vinyl release (Pink Floyd, Panama Limited and Quatermass).

THE HARVEST BAG (Harvest SHSS3) 1971

THE HOUSE THAT TRACK BUILT (Track 613016) 1969

Track – The Revolution’s Here

Formed in 1966 by Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, Track Records is probably best known as the UK home of Jimi Hendrix and the Who.  But the label had other less illustrious signings such as John’s Children (featuring Marc Bolan), Golden Earring, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Marsha Hunt and Pete Townshend protégés Thunderclap Newman.

Track was late to the sampler market, but they soon made up for lost time, releasing around 20 budget compilations and reissues between 1969 and 1973.  First up in September 1969 was the excellent The House That Track Built offering genuinely rare tracks by Fairport Convention, The Who, John’s Children and Thunderclap Newman alongside more obvious fare from Hendrix and Arthur Brown.  The jewel in the crown was undoubtedly an unreleased studio version of The Who’s “Young Man Blues”, as recorded during the Tommy sessions.  It’s a different take to the other studio version added to the expanded Odds and Sods compilation in 1998 and hard to find elsewhere.

The laminated gatefold sleeve was designed by David King who also worked on The Who Sell Out and Jimi’s Axis: Bold As Love sleeves, as well as the infamous Electric Ladyland UK “nude” cover and The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown.  In the 70s King designed posters and logos for the Anti-Nazi League, the Anti-Apartheid Movement and Rock Against Racism.  An art historian with a special interest in Leon Trotsky, part of his huge collection of 250,000 Soviet graphics and photographs is housed in the Tate Modern, London.

But the most well-known Track samplers are undoubtedly the Backtrack series.  Comprising 14 volumes in total, they were all released during 1970, the first batch appearing in May of that year, with the rest following in November.  No record company today would dare release an LP showing a little kid smoking a fat joint on the cover.  But the first six Backtrack volumes did exactly that.  The picture was retained for the second batch in the series, albeit greatly reduced in size and relegated to a corner of the sleeve.

The Backtrack series was part of Polydor’s budget price “99” series, introduced in 1970 and used across the entire family of labels (including Atlantic releases before 1972, see below).  Most releases carried the “99” logo in the top left corner of the sleeves denoting the 99p price, a year ahead of decimalisation in 1971.

The Backtrack albums were superseded in 1973 by Allsorts, a series of four budget samplers individually titled Aniseed, Peppermint, Coconut and Liquorice.  The name comes from Liquorice Allsorts, a type of confectionery first produced in Sheffield by George Bassett & Co Ltd around 1900.

The first three LPs were general rock compilations while Liquorice Allsorts was devoted specifically to R&B/Soul artists, just as Backtrack 6 had been.  Curiously, alongside the familiar Track artists on Aniseed, Peppermint and Coconut Allsorts were three cuts each by Joe Cocker, the Move and Procol Harum.  All three artists were signed to David Platz’s Essex Music and had recorded for the recently defunct Regal Zonophone label before transferring to Fly Records around 1971, which in turn became the Cube label.  Presumably, the nine Essex Music tracks were part of a one-off licencing agreement just for the Track Allsorts samplers.

The track titles were embossed in braille on the back cover of each LP, an innovation Track also used on the Who’s 1974 Odds & Sods album sleeve.  This became a trend for a while, with braille messages appearing on Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book (1972) and Paul McCartney’s Red Rose Speedway (1973).

TRACK ALLSORTS SAMPLERS (1973)

2409 205 – Various Artists – Aniseed Allsorts
2409 206 – Various Artists – Peppermint Allsorts
2409 207 – Various Artists – Coconut Allsorts
2409 208 – Various Artists – Liquorice Allsorts

MARMALADE 100° PROOF (Marmalade 643314) 1969

Marmalade – The Sound That Spreads

Created in 1966 by former Rolling Stones and Yardbirds manager Giorgio Gomelsky, the independent Marmalade label lasted only a couple of years before folding in 1969, leaving behind just 14 LPs and around 20 singles.  Despite (or perhaps due to) a wildly eclectic artist roster which included Blossom Toes, Chris Barber, Sonny Boy Williamson and John McLaughlin, sales were disappointing and only one single, “This Wheel’s on Fire” by Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity entered the UK charts, reaching #5 in late 1967.

Released in 1969, Marmalade 100° Proof (wittily subtitled A Taste Of Marmalade – The Sound That Spreads) was the only UK sampler LP on the label (although at least one other title appeared in Europe).  All the label’s big names were represented, plus rare tracks by French guitarist Robert Lelievre [billed as “Le Lievre (The Hare)”] and future 10cc members Graham Gouldman and Kevin Godley.

IMMEDIATE LETS YOU IN

Immediate Lets You In was issued as a CD in 1999 on the Sequel label.  The track listing was unchanged but the card sleeve was upgraded from black & white to colour.

The following year Immediate tried again with Happy To Be A Part Of The Industry Of Human Happiness.  Once again, the Small Faces were the main drawcard alongside a pair of album cuts from Steve Marriott’s new band Humble Pie, then in their early psych/acoustic rock incarnation with Peter Frampton.  Fleetwood Mac’s big hit single (and their only Immediate release) “Man Of The World” was included together with another hard to find Mayall/Clapton track “On Top Of The World”.  In Germany a sampler titled Immediate Lets You In Vol.2 appeared in 1969.  Although not identical, the track listing was very similar to Happy To Be A Part Of The Industry Of Human Happiness.

The title Happy To Be A Part Of The Industry Of Human Happiness became the official Immediate slogan and appeared on the generic company sleeves of their late 60s singles.  It was all for nothing, however, as the label went out of business in 1970.  The Immediate catalogue has since passed though many hands, including NEMS, Sanctuary and Charley Records, who currently own the label logo.  In 2000 Happy To Be A Part Of The Industry Of Human Happiness was the sub-title of The Immediate Singles Collection, a six CD box set containing the A & B sides of every single released on the label – 162 tracks in all.

Immediate released several other late 60s compilation albums, including the four volume Blues Anytime series and Anthology Of British Blues Volumes 1 & 2, but they don’t qualify as sampler albums.

IMMEDIATE – The INDUSTRY OF HUMAN HAPPINESS

The success of the CBS LPs didn’t go unnoticed and before 1968 was out, other record companies were rushing their own sampler LPs onto the market.  One of the first was from Andrew Loog Oldham’s Immediate label.

Other than the Small Faces, Chris Farlowe and the Nice, Immediate didn’t have too many big names on the artist roster and their first sampler Immediate Lets You In suffered accordingly.  But the rare John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers’ single “Telephone Blues” featuring Eric Clapton was a worthy inclusion.

ALL GOOD CLEAN FUN (United Artists UDX 201/2) 1971

Many of the artists who had appeared on the Liberty label found themselves shunted sideways onto United Artists and some turned up on the 1971 double LP All Good Clean Fun.  Arriving in an intricate textured “envelope” cover with custom inner sleeves and a 12-page booklet, this was one of the most elaborate samplers to date.  The complex design construction proved problematic when buyers tried filing the album at home, however.  Inevitably, the three fragile flaps which held the “envelope” sleeve together fouled the albums around it, causing all kinds of collateral damage and it’s rare to find a copy of All Good Clean Fun today without some evidence of this.  But the basic idea was good and the design mightily impressive.

The front cover shows a cartoon illustration of three Victorian figures seated in what looks like a railway carriage.  The young lad in the middle closely resembles Lord Snooty from The Beano comic and, as if to pinpoint the demographic the compilers were aiming for with this sampler, the boy is holding a copy of the notorious underground magazine Oz, while the older men look on.  Fun fact: The copy of Oz shown on the sleeve is the genuine issue #33 with a cover date of February/March 1971.  Articles listed on the front of that issue include “Farmer’s Daughter Rapes Hog – Exclusive interview”, “Angry Brigade’s Bible” and “The Anarchist’s Cookbook”.  The cover of issue #33 used an illustration by Australian artist Norman Lindsay.

Containing 23 tracks by 20 artists, the double LP featured an interesting mix of established names (Canned Heat, Groundhogs, If, Eric Burdon & War, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) and newer bands including Man, Hawkwind, Amon Duul II, Brinsley Schwartz and B.B.Blunder.  Three bands (Canned Heat, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Morning) were represented by two tracks each.

To promote the album Man, Help Yourself and Gypsy embarked on “The All Good Clean Fun Tour” of Switzerland.  This gave rise to the song “All Good Clean Fun” on Man’s 1971 fourth album Do You Like It Here Now, Are You Settling In?

In 2004 a cumbersomely-titled 39 track triple CD All Good Clean Fun – A Journey through the Underground of Liberty/United Artists Records 1967–1975 was released.  Although the cover artwork was remarkably similar, the CD featured fewer than half the tracks included on the original 1971 double LP.

GUTBUCKET (AN UNDERWORLD ERUPTION) (Liberty LBX3) 1969

SON OF GUTBUCKET (Liberty LBX 4) 1969

Formed in 1955 as a pop/easy listening/film music label, Liberty records almost went out of business in the mid-60s before the UK arm was aggressively re-launched in 1967.  Liberty then began to assemble an impressive roster of diverse rock/blues talent before finally crashing and burning in 1971, with most artists being transferred to the United Artists parent label.

But it was great fun while it lasted, and in 1969 Liberty issued a pair of much-loved sampler albums.  The first of these, Gutbucket (An Underworld Eruption), has achieved legendary status with an eclectic mix of blues, psychedelia, and underground rock.  Here was Captain Beefheart, the Bonzo Dog Band, Canned Heat and the Groundhogs rubbing shoulders with Lightnin’ Hopkins, Alexis Korner, Hapshash & the Coloured Coat, and the Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation.

A German pressing of Gutbucket was released with only 10 tracks (instead of 14) and a different back cover.  In fact, only seven tracks correspond with the UK version, as a different Canned Heat song was used (“Catfish Blues” replaced “Pony Blues”) and tracks by German bands the Motherhood and the Petards were substituted elsewhere.

Later in 1969 came Son Of Gutbucket.  Once again Canned Heat, the Groundhogs and Aynsley Dunbar were featured, along with Roy Harper, T.I.M.E, Johnny Winter, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Jeff Lynne’s band Idle Race. 

Both albums were reissued in 1994 on the EMI CD Gutbucket (An Underworld Eruption), but minus six of the original 31 tracks.  Gone were cuts by Roy Harper, CCR, Famous Jug Band, Ian Anderson’s Country Blues Band and two by the Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation.

A “gutbucket” was an improvised bass made by attaching a broom handle to a metal washtub.  It was similar to the tea chest bass which was popular during the UK skiffle craze of the 50s.  The word was later used to describe any music of a raw, bluesy nature.

There is an idea that poetry is not the poem itself, but rather the small tidbit here and there that you are able to find, make meaningful connections with. and carry with you in your heart. This is certainly true of what it’s like exploring the absurd yet strangely dignified world of David Berman. In every piece of his writing at any point you might stumble upon the most stunning view of the miraculous beauty of decaying American life. Every line had the same opportunity to blow your mind with it’s brutal and transformative honesty, achingly encompassing a landscape of tragedy-turned-comedy and vice-versa.

All proceeds from this tribute compilation will be going towards Shatterproof, an American charity dedicated to helping those struggling with substance abuse disorders find effective, science based treatment. Shatterproof has done a great deal of campaigning for legislation and policy changes to be put in place to extend funding, research, and education of substance abuse disorders. One of the many great achievements they’ve been able to reach is having 16 healthcare providers commit to their evidence-based standards of care, helping ensure that those living with substance abuse disorders are able to find the care they need.

The roster of artists plays like a who’s who of contemporary bedroom pop, Florry and Fog Lake and Cormier joined by twenty four other artists who each provide their own unique and respectful take on one of Berman’s songs. There are too many to describe in detail, but rest assured that filler is nowhere to be found. Chad Maheny dials back the usual manic intensity of his Emperor project with a version of Bright Flight’s ‘Horseleg Swastikas’, while Molly Drag provides a suitably melancholic take on ‘Suffering Jukebox’, a lament of a lonely artist playing to themselves in the corner of an otherwise happy room.
Greta Kline (of Frankie Cosmos fame) covers ‘Death Of An Heir Of Sorrows’ under the moniker Franz Charcoal, transforming The Silver Jews original into their characteristically simple and subtly emotive bedroom pop. Pickle Darling’s contribution is even more of a departure, turning ‘Nights That Won’t Happen’ into a stripped-back contemporary pop song. There are some louder moments too, notably as Joyer play ‘Night Society’ and The Funs share a wonderfully scrappy and lo-fi take on ‘Trains Across the Sea’. Final track ‘We Could Be Looking For the Same Thing’ by Hothead and the Baby also has a nice depth of sound, fittingly capturing Berman’s countrified indie rock.
This compilation was put together in tribute to the endless, personalized legacies that David Berman left with his listeners and readers. The very night news of Berman’s passing came out, Sheridan Frances “Francie” Medosch (of the Philadelphia/New York based project Florry) and Aaron Powell (the ‘Fog Lake Guy’) found each other with the same insistence that they had to do whatever they could to help commemorate his incredible life. With help from Michael Cormier’s (Hour, Friendship) Philadelphia based record label, Dear Life Records, Filip Zemčík (founder of the Slovakian cassette label Z Tapes), and a multitude of musicians who took inspiration from Berman, this delightful compilation came together effortlessly.
You can get Late Homework – The Songs of David Berman from the Dear Life Records Bandcamp page. And if you haven’t listened to Purple Mountains yet, now seems like a good time.
Released October 18th, 2019

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Out this week is the new multi-disc compilation, “Surrender to the Rhythm: The London Pub Rock Scene of the Seventies”. The collection is an excellent overview of pub rock, a phenomenon that helped paved the way for British punk. Before we get any further, though, we need to address a question many of our readers are probably asking themselves: What is “pub rock?”

“Pub rock” was a movement that lasted for a handful of years in the early to mid seventies. Pub rock bands played a back-to-basics style of rock-n-roll that was loose and unassuming. Though very much a London scene, pub rock was kick-started by an American group. In the spring of 1971, Eggs Over Easy were in London recording, when they convinced a local pub, the Tally Ho, to let the band play there on a regular basis. Their subsequent performances at the bar were a popular attraction, and other musicians and pub owners took notice. By 1973, it was a thriving scene.

Our copy of the last great pub rock anthology, from EMI in the 1990s, “Surrender to the Rhythm” is probably the last word we could ever want to hear on a genre that history seems to have crunched into a boozy after thought, but which in reality was the most fun you could have by saying “oh yes, I’m definitely over eighteen” in a deep voice on a Friday night.

Sequestered in Kentish Town to record an album with Hendrix/Slade producer Chas Chandler, in the spring of 1971 exiled American band Eggs Over Easy persuaded the landlord of local pub The Tally Ho to let them perform at the venue. Though the band were back in America by the end of the year, they inadvertently became the catalysts that sparked the pub rock revolution, with the likes of Brinsley Schwarz, Ducks Deluxe and Bees Make Honey playing a burgeoning circuit that included The Kensington in Russell Gardens, The Lord Nelson on Holloway Road and The Nashville in West Kensington.

All of the key acts are here, and three CDs, seventy-plus tracks, mean they more than outweigh those peculiar gatecrashers. The Feelgoods, the Kilburns, the Hot Rods, the Kursaal Flyers, Brett Marvin, Eggs Over Easy, Brinsley Schwarz, Roogalator and, a few tracks earlier, frontman Danny Adler’s Smooth Loser predecessors, and Supercharge… Spin Cycle’s own pick of the bunch, on the strength of so many nights spent in dark, smokey pubs while Albie and the gang mashed high octane funk with low-brow humour, and turned “Save Your Kisses For Me” into a memory to be cherished. Surrender To The Rhythm charts the origins and development of the London pub rock scene throughout the Seventies, featuring all of the aforementioned bands.

Great choice of songs, too. Ian Gomm’s brooding take on Chuck Berry’s “Come On,” Bees Make Honey playing “My Funny Valentine,” Ducks Deluxe’s “Heart on my Sleeve” and frontman, the late Sean Tyla, popping up later with his Gang.

We hear Graham Parker kick through a live “Back to Schooldays” and Dave Edmunds, who was a godfather of the whole scene without ever actually playing the circuit, offers up a couple of numbers. Cado Belle, fronted by the magnificent Maggie Riley, Chilli Willie and the Red Hot Peppers, Starry Eyed and Laughing, Ace….

Yes, things do get a little weird towards the end as the likes of Darts, Chris Rea, Sniff ’n’ the Tears and the Fabulous Poodles start snapping at the originators’ ankles. But the always excellent Philip Rambow kicks out “Young Lust” like a lover, and the Inmates’ “Dirty Water” threatens to launch a whole new Pub Rock movement just as the third disc ends. A magnificent package, then, full of magnificent music. If you were there the first time, it’s a lot of what you yourself might have chosen. And if you weren’t, pick up a pint, light a ciggy, grab a space at the front, and please try not to sweat in my beer. With four hours of vital, vibrant music – including several previously unreleased tracks – bolstered by a 48-page booklet crammed with photos, memorabilia, anecdotes etc, Surrender To The Rhythm is the definitive aural document of a movement that would revolutionise the British music scene.

Following the release of The Cramps second single ‘Human Fly / Domino’ in 1978, frontman Lux Interior was quoted as stating “I think it would be great if we were considered the band that made people pay attention to the past again“.

Now some 11 years following Lux’s untimely passing, it is clear that his aim has partially become his legacy. An entire industry has sprung up loosely linked to the legendary record collection curated over 40 years by both Lux and life partner Poison Ivy; from the ‘Born Bad’ vinyl compilations, the ‘Songs The Cramps Taught Us’ variants, through to the ‘Beat From Badsville’ collections on the Stag-O-Lee label, to an array of similar releases courtesy of Cherry Red Records imprint Righteous Psalms. The Cramps have been responsible for shining a light on some of the most obscure 45’s, introducing people to weirdest of novelty singles, wild dance crazes, spoken word craziness colliding with hot rod madness, and some truly warped instrumentals.

“Records, Records, Records” presents another 52 of such gems; spread across 2 CD’s housed in a jewel case with sleeve notes written by Dave Henderson (MOJO), the entire collection being remastered from the original sound source.

Opening with the sax torched sleaze of Johnny Moore & His New Blazers ‘Bullfrog’ originally the B-side of their 1959 take on ‘San Antonio Rose’ (a decent copy of would set you back around £50) which The Texas Playboys first released some 6 years earlier, sticking with nature theme we get ‘Wooden Bird Twist’ from the Buddy Vincent Orchestra, a frenetic sax heavy instrumental complete with warped cuckoo noises that came out via United Artists (USA) – no-one seems to know the date of release, such care on behalf of the label may explain why it was Mr Vincent’s sole release.

Another artist with just a sole release to their (wonderful) name is Steve King & The Echelons here with ‘Satan Is Her Name’ the flip of ‘Long Lonely Road’ – as odd as it sounds this actually reminds me of Space ‘Female Of The Species’ albeit with the breathy “ahh lover” from the temptress in question.

Jack Hammer (born Earl Solomon Burroughs) doesn’t live up to the potential of his non de plume, instead delivering a smoky jazz ‘Concrete Desert’ – that said he co-wrote ‘Great Balls Of Fire’ so he can be forgiven for pretty much anything! Don Sargent And The Buddies brought the bongo’s along to the 1959 recording of ‘Voodoo Kiss’ complete with Don’s pleading vocal courtesy of the equally obscure Hollywood based Catalina Records which was owned by former one-stop shop owner turned writer and label bass Dan Shea, together with co-author and co-owner Jack Bowman.

The Vibes ‘Pretty Baby (I Saw You Last Night)’ is an incendiary gem, originally released on the Perspective Sound label in 1958, fronted by Ronnie Franklin (AKA David Gates who later formed Bread), the production is dire, but his one hammers along, no doubt assisted by the chugga chugga loco percussion.

And then we come to Dr. Horse with his ‘Jack, That Cat Was Clean’ a doped down blues infused semi spoken word corker that glorifies a ‘cat’ about town complete with “silk slacks that cost him seven bills” – though this pales in comparison to the demented novelty of Bob McFadden’s ‘Bingo’ where he calls the numbers on the B-side of ‘Shake, Rattle And Roll’ which you look to shell out around £40 to get an original Brunswick label copy of. The Sherwoods ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’ is a distortion heavy belter complete with (perhaps) a kazoo.

No self-respecting Cramps themed compilation would be without a couple of dance novelty tracks; we get The Marcels ‘Twistin’ Fever’ followed by The Isley Brothers 1961 Ohio region hit ‘Teach Me How To Shimmy’ which gets all sensual yet still retains the brothers gospel roots. It’s good to hear Donna Dee ‘Nobody’s Gonna Hurt You’, the flipside of her 1961 Counsel Records ‘Television’ single; written by Eddie Cooley who passed away in April 2020 this one has a real ‘Fever’ vibe to it, from the pace and instrumentation. Dee had a great voice that sadly wasn’t captured often enough.

Glen Goza’ ‘Goshamody Whatabody’ should be familiar to anyone interested in the collection, it’s been featured on both the ‘Desperate Rock N Roll!’, and ‘Rockabilly Rarities’ series. Glen fronted the Damangos, though confusingly they were also fronted by Rohny Lofton; either way this is pure rockabilly belter, complete with hiccupped vocals, pitched yelps all over a rollicking utterly non-PC tale of romance, or at least desire, but as Lux regularly reminded us; the best rock n’ roll was about sex!

Glen continued to record into the 80’s – have a lookout for ‘Heaven Needed a Champion’ a bizarre tribute from 1984 to David Von Erich, a Texas wrestler on the verge of the big time who died whilst on tour in Japan.

Another rockabilly gem is ‎’Hot Rod Boogie’ courtesy of Jack Kitchen & The Rock-A-Billies – this one came out via DJT Music though the release date wasn’t listed on the single and has been lost in history; structurally similar to ‘Johnny B Goode’ and dramatically different to Disc 1 closer ‘Valley Of Tears’ from Bobby Rebel who despite the great name only managed this one release which was coupled with ‘Teardrops From My Eyes’ – maybe it was the one trick pony theme that failed to make this heart wrenching sizzler a breakout hit.

Skip Cole & His Hi-Spots open Disc 2 with the instructive ‘Do The Whip’ as Suave Records attempted to bring yet another new dance craze to market, before we veer off into a slew of instrumentals including the guitar picking of The Jaguars ‘Roundabout’ complete with some sultry sax honking, the whole piece gaining dark tension vibe, whilst Les Elgart gets suitably steamy with ‘Voodoo Drums’ though seeing images of Les clutching his trumpet it’s hard to believe he could of dreamt up such exotica!

We then return to novelty trash, this time it’s the regular examination of the primate kingdom as we get The Go-Rillas ‘(I Go) ‘King Kong’ which was actually comedian Soupy Sales in disguise. Sales real name being Milton Supman, he recorded from 1950 and took on Christmas, Frankenstein, Elves and even covered ‘Speedy Gonzales’ in the mid-60’s, however he took on a doo-wop angle for this slow burner with some neat backing vocals, ahead of a selection of ape like noises.

Big Daddy And His Boys (care required if searching for him on Google!) offer a faithful cover of Andre Williams 1956 hit ‘Bacon Fat’ – which as you will be aware was a regular in The Cramps live set right up to the late 80’s. They never formally recorded and released the track, a live version taking up the B-side on the ‘You’ll Never Change Me’ 7” bootleg crept out of Sweden in 2014 having been recorded live at The Peppermint Lounge some 12+ months on from the ‘Smell Of Female’ live set.

El Pauling And The Royalton offer some impassioned marital advice over a solid soul tinged R & B during ‘Now Baby Don’t Do It’ which came courtesy of the Ohio based Federal label in 1960. Philadelphia was the home of Sunnybrook Records who in 1962 put of The Four Sportsmen’ second release and provided this compilation with its title; it’s a well-produced doo wop ride, strapped to a solid rock n’ roll beat, also worth digging out is their ‘Jelly Roll Brown’ – surely the title of which has a link to ‘Jelly Roll Rock’ which was released some 3 years earlier; this again being faithfully covered by The Cramps.

‘Pretty Plaid Skirt (And Long Black Sox)’ by The Night Riders is the source of The Cramps ‘Cornfed Dames’ and will be familiar to anyone with a copy of ‘Born Bad. Volume 6’, originally released via Sue Records in 1959 – a decent original copy of which will set you back a minimum of £150!

Johnny Gentle ‘Milk From The Coconut’ was a Phillips Records attempt at cashing in on the teen dream-boy pop in 1959, Gentle AKA both John Askew, and Darren Young was a handsome lad who hailed from Liverpool and at one point toured Scotland with The Silver Beetles. Gentle later moved to Jersey, where he worked as a joiner, before settling in Kent, and has made appearances at Beatles fan conventions. In 1998 he co-wrote a book, ‘Johnny Gentle & the Beatles: First Ever Tour’

The unfortunately named The Five Blobs offer up ‘Rockin Pow Wow’, this was the B-Side to ‘From The Top Of Your Guggle (To The Bottom Of Your Zooch’ – I’m not kidding, that was the title of this studio band, the lead vocals being over dubbed during a different recording session; it’s a bizarre vocal harmony novelty record that I guess looked to sound in some way like a (as then described) Red Indian camp fire.

Max Falcon was a Canadian rockabilly singer, his debut 7” ‘Money Back Guarantee’ providing a hit for Barry Records in 1962, this resulting in Falcon joining the house band at The Peppermint Lounge, same title but sadly not the same location as The Cramps regularly played at.

The vocal delivery from Bob Lee on the deranged ‘Wanted For Questioning’ is worth the admission fee alone, sadly this seems to be Bob’s sole release having been released by Dot Records in 1957, gravelled vocals over a three note stabbing piano, and brushed skins – that said to get hold of an original would like many others here cost you upwards of £60.
Stand by for ‘Hot Rod Queen’ from Roy Tann which starts off all softened rock n’ roll, and then is rudely interrupted by the sound of dragsters revving , screeching rubber and what sounds like the engineer arsing about with an elastic band – did Roy ever get to hear the final mix ahead of release, listening to this I’d hazard not.

And then we come to Mad Man Jones ‘Snake Charmer’ – a genuinely unsettling car crash of rumba beats, some sort of attempt at African rhythms and an off-kilter vocal that was someone’s idea of sounding like a python.

We finish with another novelty release from Dot Records, this one featured Walter Brennan introducing us to ‘Space Mice’ (of course he is!!) courtesy of a lisped vocal over the soundtrack to a crap version of The Jetsons, bizarrely Brennan went onto release at least a dozen albums, and appeared in such films as My Darling Clementine (1946), Red River (1948), Rio Bravo (1959), and How the West Was Won (1962). He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performances in Come and Get It (1936), Kentucky (1938), and The Westerner (1940), making him one of only three male actors to win three Academy Awards. He didn’t win any awards for his musical efforts!

Another excellent collection of truly insane recordings, that can only leave you wondering quite what the artists and labels were actually smoking!

Track List:

DISC ONE
1. BULLFROG – Johnny Moore & His New Blazers
2. WOODEN BIRD TWIST – Buddy Vincent
3. HAUNTED SAX – The Night Caps
4. SATAN IS HER NAME – Steve King And The Echelons
5. CONCRETE DESERT – Jack Hammer
6. DEATH POWDER, COLD STEEL – Johnnie Morisette
7. VOODOO KISS – Don Sargeant And The Buddies
8. PRETTY BABY – The Vibes
9. HEY HULLY GULLY N.2 – Van Prince And His Complex
10. JACK, THAT CAT WAS CLEAN – Dr Horse
11. BINGO – Bob McFadden
12. TREMBLIN’ – Birdie Green
13. MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO – The Sherwoods
14. I WANT HER BACK – Dick Jordan
15. TWISTIN’ FEVER – The Marcels
16. TEACH ME HOW TO SHIMMY – The Isley Brothers
17. TIE ME TIGHT – Bobby Kayli
18. KNOCK KNOCK – Carol Fran
19. NOBODY’S GONNA HURT YOU – Donna Dee
20. ANY WAY YOU WANTA – Harvey
21. GOSHAMODY WHATABODY – Glen Goza
22. HOT ROD BOOGIE – Jack Kitchen With The Rock-A-Billies
23. THE GIRL THAT RADIATES THAT CHARM – June Alexander
24. DON’T GO – Vince Everett
25. DREAMRIDE – Dick Katz
26. VALLEY OF TEARS – Bobby Rebel

DISC TWO
1. DO THE WHIP – Skip Cole
2. ROUNDABOUT – The Jaguars
3. VOODOO DRUMS – Les Elgart
4. LA LLORONA (THE WEEPER) – Elisabeth Waldo
5. SORCERY – Sabu
6. BAD – Cozy Cole
7. I GO (KING-KONG) – The Go-Rillas
8. THE SLIB – JC Davis
9. CAT WALK – Jack Costanzo
10. BACON FAT – Big Daddy And His Boys
11. PEOPLE WILL WALK OVER YOU – Miss D
12. NOW BABY DON’T DO IT – El Pauling And The Royalton
13. RECORDS, RECORDS, RECORDS – The Four Sportsmen
14. PRETTY PLAID SKIRT – The Night Riders
15. BLACK CRACK – The Shardells
16. MILK FROM THE COCONUT – Johnny Gentle
17. RISE UP AND WALK – Troy Dodds
18. MY BUDDY’S GOT MY BABY – Earl Haynes
19. ROCKIN’ POW WOW – The Five Blobs
20. MONEY BACK GUARANTEE – Max Falcon
21. KILLER – Sparkle Moore
22. WANTED FOR QUESTIONING – Bob Lee
23. VAMPIRA – Bobby Bare
24. HOT ROD QUEEN – Roy Tann
25. SNAKE CHARMER – Mad Man Jones
26. SPACE MICE – Walter Brennan

New Order Jon Hopkins Anna Calvi More Contribute to New Alzheimers Benefit Album
A whole lot of great artists have contributed exclusive tracks to this new compilation that benefits Alzheimer’s research. Comps like this are by nature hit and miss, but this one has lots of hits. Among them: New Order resuscitate the ’80s “extended mix” for a nine-minute version of “Nothing But a Fool,” the best song on Music Complete; new Mute signing HAAi’s spooky, throbbing, sultry “Drumting”; Astronauts, Etc.‘s deep shag bachelor pad track “The Border” (shades of Air); and smoldering garage number “Friday the 13th” from Wolfmanhattan Project (aka Gories’ Mick Collins, Kid Congo Powers and Sonic Youth’s Bob Bert).

There’s also Hayden Thorpe & Jon Hopkins‘ haunting cover of “Goodbye Horses” by enigmatic cult artist Q-Lazzarus, a song that Jonathan Demme used first in Married to the Mob and then again, to much more memorable effect, in Silence of the Lambs. This cover was originally released in 2013 on the b-side of a repress of Q-Lazzarus’ original, but hasn’t been available for five years. With used copies going for big bucks on Discogs, it’s reason enough to pick this up. There’s also tracks from Moby (an Eno-esque instrumental, very nice), Beach Slang (a nice if wrote cover of The Church’s “Under the Milky Way“), TR/ST, Anna Calvi, Daniel Avery, and more.

The Longest Day is a very personal project. Mona Dehghan, who runs Mon Amie Records, lost her grandmother to Alzheimer’s in 1998 and her father was diagnosed with dementia last year. The artwork and photography is by Brookyn Vegan contributor Ebru Yildiz who documented her mother’s journey with Alzheimer’s.

Those who preorder by July 7th will have the option to include a tribute name in the liner notes to honour a loved one affected by dementia. In any case, it’s not on streaming services, so pick this one up and support Alzheimer’s research.

Various Artists – The Longest Day – A Benefit for the Alzheimer’s Association(Mon Amie Records)
Tracklist:
Anna Calvi – Adélaïde
Rituals of Mine – The Only Way Out Is Through
Daniel Avery – JXJ
Cold Specks – Turn To Stone
TR/ST – Destroyer
Shadowparty – Marigold
Beach Slang – Under the Milky Way
New Order – Nothing But A Fool (Extended Mix 2)
HAAi – Drumting
J. Laser – Dreamphone
Sad13 – Who Goes There
Algiers – There Is No Year (Remix)
Astronauts, Etc. – The Border
Wolfmanhattan Project – Friday the 13th
Hayden Thorpe & Jon Hopkins – Goodbye Horses
Moby – In Between Violence
Rhys Chatham – For Bob – In Memory (2014) for Flute Orchestra

A download will be emailed on June 19th, and the physical albums will be shipped by October 1st, 2020.

Adam Schlesinger was a prodigious and prolific songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist. He died on April 1 at the age of 52 as the result of complications from COVID-19. Not only was Schlesinger in multiple beloved bands—including the power-pop-leaning Fountains of Wayne and sophisticated electro-pop act Ivy—but he also collaborated on songs for movie soundtracks and the TV show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

A wide array of artists touched by Schlesinger’s life pay tribute to the many musical projects of which he was a part via the Bandcamp-exclusive benefit compilation, Saving for a Custom Van. The 31-song collection features collaborators, tourmates, friends, and fans putting their own spin on songs spanning his entire career. Saving for a Custom Van, which takes its title from a lyric in Fountains of Wayne’s “Utopia Parkway,” is co-curated and co-released by Father/Daughter Records and Wax Nine.

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One-hundred percent of Saving for a Custom Van proceeds will be donated to MusiCares’ COVID-19 Relief Fund, which is dedicated to helping music industry and community members affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Released June 16th, 2020