The story of Kevin Coyne (1944-2004) is as much about the social worker and activist, working with and for the outsiders - the mentaly ill, addicts, homeless and institutionalized - all his life struggling for the less fortunate, which clearly shows in songwriting and expression. For a more detailed description of his life I recommend the Allmusic biography - very interesting. This was his third album as a solo artist after quitting the band Siren and second after leaving John Peel's Dandelion label for a contract with the then quite new Virgin. I've seen die-hard Coyne fans critizising it for being too produced or even commercial, but I don't get that at all. I hear 100% honest, angry and most of it certainly not fitting for common radio play or any mainstream activity. Way too personal and concerned to be a big seller. To my ears the very sparse additions - like brass, female background quires or even strings - just provides a balance to his usually naked and righ-on performance, making it a little less challanging to take in the message. One might need that spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. In any case if you're not familiar yet and longing for something blending genuine with catchy it's well worth a try. My favorite tracks - "Blame It On The Night", "Poor Swine" and "River Of Sin". Originally issued in Europe and Downunder, but to my knowledge never in US. UK 2013 2xCD on Turpentine Records (TURPD 5) came with nineteen bonus tracks. Premiere UK had label as shown here and thin structured cover with picture/lyric insert.
After the badly faked export stereo of "The Kink Kontroversey" (see earlier post) I'm surprised to hear this is true...well at least parts of it...and then mostly pieces of those parts...and not even close to the quality of the corresponding mono...but still - not a straight rechanneling. It would take forever to sort out all peculiarities or differences to the mono and I don't have the time or audiophilic strength for such work, but here are a few exemples - "Party Line" starts with the phone signal and voice in opposite channels and then slides over to some kind of enhanced mono. Same with "Rainy Day In June" with initial thunder in true stereo but the rest monoish. "Holiday In "Waikiki" is the only cut that from my listening chair sounds close to true stereo almost all the way. As a stereo as a whole not as disastrous as "Kink Kontroversey". I get an ok alternate mono with some minor stereo effects and it doesn't sound too bad - wider and brighter than its conterpart and though inferior not entirely unpleasant. Version probably made by producer Shel Talmy on demand from US Reprise since stereo sales by then was growing in America, but as the British still fancied mono more it wasn't released domestically initially just pressed for export. UK 1st press labels came with "stereo" print either small to the right or larger above mid-hole. I've seen statements from sellers that the larger print was earlier, yet checking Pye discography you can as well claim the opposite. The smaller type did occur even on the earlier "left logo" label designs and the larger figures at least up to 1969. So there's no use getting hung up on that. Better verify the earliest matrixes - here stamped NSPL 18149-A1/-B1, both sides also with *T showing it was cut by Tony Bridge with Scully lathe tools. There are mother/stampers though I can't seem to figure them out - checking faint fonts with bad eyes. Had the US stereo (Reprise RS 6228) with same tracking some decades ago and vaguely remember that had more reverb (right me if I'm wrong). Early (first?)UK had label as shown here and laminated flip-back mono cover with stereo stickers on front and rear. (KYX*) (PÖY*) (ÖXÄP*)
While the last UK Decca 1965 sampler i posted - "Bumper Bundle" - was concentrated on pop, this is all about bluesy stuff and a nice blend of black and white. I get to explore or reaquaint with 45:s from influential black artists as Otis Spann, C.J. Dupree and Mae Mercer, but also tasting some early trials in British white blues bringing a fair share of rock history. Graham Bond Organisation at the time consisted of Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and Dick Heckstall-Smith. The Artwoods includecd both Jon Lord and Keef Heartly. Ronnie Jones & the Night-Timers had John McLaughlin on guitar. And here's still Them "Baby Please Don't Go" issued as a 45 A-side, later swapped when the flip side "Gloria" became more popular. I know I'm nagging a lot about "rock history" through the blog, but in my world it's impossible to fully understnd what's happening with music today if you don't know the background. And to be able to travel back and get so many magic moments exactly as they were on one LP means a lot to me. To my knowledge this was the only issue. It came with label as shown here and laminated flip-back cover. (SÄM*)
Follow-up to the not so successful 1969 "Lulu's Album". For this she had left producer Mickie Most and the EMI contract to try on new things with the Atlantic team in America, not doubt inspired by her then husband BeeGee Maurice Gibb and probably also by Dusty Springfield who'd done the same journey a year or so earlier with her "Dusty In Memphis". And though not recorded at same location, but the newly finished Muscle Shoals studios in Alabama, she got the same top producers - Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd and Arif Mardin. Add participation of the renowned Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section plus guitarists like Duane Allman and Cornell Dupree and you could anticipate something breathtaking. Maybe my expectations were too high, but to my ears there's nothing special going on here. I get uneven, partly overproduced and a Lulu that's mostly holding back rather than using her vocal strength. Don't know if that came from her trying a more mature output or she just being scared by the unfamiliar surroundings. In any case it don't hit me as I want. The cover of "Marley Purt Drive" is totally ok, not least as a reminder of a BeeGees highlight now almost forgotten. For the rest I dig when she can sing out at least a bit - like in Traffic's "Feelin' All Right" or the Fran Robins composition "Sweep Around Your Own Back Door" - reminding me of the old rockin' Lulu. As a whole a little too mainstream for me, but very well done if you want that sort and the audio on this US press is superduper, very good to the ears. UK on ATCO (228 031). 1970 issues also in Canada, Japan and a couple of European countries. Japan 2011 CD on ATCO (WQCP 1040). Premiere US had label as shown here thick vinyl and glossy cover. (FÄV*) (YZÄ*)
Jimmy Campbell (1944-2007) was a singer/musician/songwriter who started his carreer as member of the Merseybeat bands "The Kirkbys" and "The 23rd Turnoff" before going solo in the late sixties. His first own album, the partly orcherstated folky "The Son Of Anastasia", disappeared quickly without much trace. I guess the reason this follow-up has got wider attention is it was originally issued on the collectible Vertigo swirl. As I understand it is one of the least favored on that label and sought after mainly for completist reasons. Been listening to it a lot lately and find the frowning rather unfair. It's not a bad album, a little uneven maybe, but with quite a few good moments. Title song very catchy with emotional vocals and well endowed tempo changes, "In My Room" good baroque and "Don't Leave Me Now" mighty with pleasant strings. Over all the orchestrations are very good, adding a lot to the atmosphere as arranged by Don Paul or producer Don Fraser. I do not dig the Dylan style "That's Right That's Me" or the semi-classic rocker "So Lonely Without You", but the rest works well with me. To my taste maybe not the finest moment on Vertigo swirl, but certainly not the worst either. Premiere release on Vertigo with same number in UK, also in France and Downunder. US Vertigo had VEL-1000. UK 2009 CD on Esoteric Records (ECLEC 2107) came with one bonus track. First German had labels as shown here and laminated fold/out cover. (WLÖ*) (GÖXÄ*)
Liverpool band founded 1959 and early on a competition to The Beatles, playing the the same locations in Germany and on home turf, managed by Brian Epstein and using George Martin as producer. With their first three singles - "How Do You Do It?", "I Like It" and "You'll Never Walk Alone" - all reaching #1 in UK they set a record not touched for decades. By 1964 managing three more UK top tens, but after that the big hype was over. Today probably mostly remebered through "You'll Never Walk Alone" used as an anthem by sport clubs all over the world and by playing revival gigs...and of course by all us who lived it and still enjoy the music. This debute album, recorded at about the same time as "Please Please Me" has a lot in common with that. Part what you could call British versions of US r&b standards, here "Maybelline", "Jumbalaya" and "Slow Down" among others. Recording is high quality EMI, George Martin involved in production and the audio great. The band is tight, Gerry Marsden has a good rocking voice and it's well disposed. In comparison though a lot neater than PPM, more well groomed and content, lacking some of the dissonant danger of the early Beatles and therefore in a way less promising. But why compare? It is a fine album, in the forefront of its time and a reminder of the simpler pleasures back in the day when you didn't need 100 flavors of anything to get by. Originally also issued this way in South America and Downunder. UK 1967 mono repress on Music For Pleasure (MFP 1153). Canadian as "I'm The One" on Capitol rainbow (T 6070) omitted some of the UK tracks, replacing them with the aforementioned three UK #1:s. US had their own album agenda, but most of the tracks can be found on any of the Laurie LP:s "Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying" (LLP/SLP 2024) or "Gerry And The Pacemakers Second Album" (LLP/SLP 2027) together with a number of 45 cuts non-LP in UK. Japan 2002 CD (Toshiba EMI ltd TOCP 67104) as a twentyeight track, including a couple of stereo versions. Premiere UK had label like this with "Recording First Published 1963" and MT tax code. Cover is laminated flip-back. For a 1963 recording you should expect a larger "mono" on top right front, but this probably a transition copy.
For me Hawkwind has always been about the early years, their first three studio albums plus the concert they did for "Greasy Truckers Party" (see earlier posts). I love those "space-jam" recordings, barefaced and dirty with what it seems little concern for being commonly loved or even accepted. From the forth - "Hall Of The Montain Grill" - and on more produced and levelled with a somewhat softer outcome. Not bad as such, but not fully matching my taste for the outrageous. This does. I'm having lots of fun reading what then new member Lemmy Kilmister has said about the circumstances of the recordings...how he was hired as a guitarist cause the former, Huw Langton, had overdosed on acid and disappeared, but then the bassist also failed to show up so he had to replace him instead and learned playing as they went along...or that the studio was a barn "with mattresses on the walls and things"...or the recording mode where bass/drum/guitar/vocals were live and the effects added after. I think the former - "In Search Of Space" - is a great album and this works even better for me. Still spaced out far but more rock'n'roll. Harder, rawer, filled with scourging guitars and Lemmys creative bass play. To my taste space rock at its best. Originally issued pretty much all over the world on vinyl, also cassette and 8-track. First US on U.A. (UA-LA001-F). EU 2001 CD on EMI (7243 5 30031 2 8) came with four bonus tracks. As UK EMI changed facilities and was on the move at time for first vinyl release they couldn't cope with domestic demands and most of the UK original vinyls were pressed in Germany, hosted in UK sleeves. The actual UK premiere press had label as shown here and 2U/2U matrixes with PORKY/PECKO etchings, picture inner and "space rat" poster (sadly missing with my copy). (HÖWK*)
Another Beatles million seller that shows up on about a billion places on the net, overall larded with info - most all right but some bended just enough to make a statement or maybe a profit. Not going in with any of that, just showing a true first press. While the stereo matrix count begins at -1 the mono in this case starts later at -3N, which is the very first (for reference - this copy also has 3/3 mothers, probably pressed pre-release). Label with both "Recording first published 1964" and "Sold in UK..." and the fonts on it are larger than on later pressings, occupying more space. The vinyl is thick and heavy. It came wrapped either in an E.J. Day or, as in this case, a Garrods & Lofthouse laminated flip-back cover with an "Emitex" rice-paper inner. That's it. (BÄ*) (ZÖNT*) (PÖX*)
Not sure where to start with Elvis Costello, the man behind so much good music but also with a catalogue containing such a vast array of styles and collaborations it's virtually impossible for one person to grip. To my open mind all the albums I've heard have at least something to love though many of them comes too uneven. Haven't had the pleasure to encounter everything he's made, but so far there are three LP:s that take me all the way - "Blood & Chocolate", "Mighty Like A Rose" and this. It's a homage to the American soul and r&b scene of the late fifties and early sixties - twenty cuts, where of two covers and the rest self-penned. I'm generally not very found of genre revival albums, but this has everything I like. Tons of catchy melodies and emotional vocals to a simple and exact backing with lots of embracing organ. Fortyeight minutes of pure energy carried by so much feeling it's impossible not to get touched. You could expect cramming in ten cuts per side would hamper the audio, but it doesn't. All comes out strong and clear. Most of the tracks go to my old soul loving gut and then especially "Opportunity", "Secondary Modern", "King Horse", "Possession", "New Amsterdam" and "Black & White World". Mmmmmmmm. Frequently issued and reissued on vinyl and CD all over the world through the years, also on cassette and 8-track. First US on Columbia (JC 36347). Premiere UK had label as shown here and laminated cover with built-in ring wear and reversed side tracking on rear, picture inner and large poster.