tisdag 14 augusti 2018

ALICE BYG 529016 (-70) FRANCE

This is new to me and I would like to know what was going on in and around the band, but when searching the net all I get, apart from the member's names, is they were the first French prog combo, issuing two LP:s before breakup mid-seventies where of this was the debute. What I hear here is good pre-prog, with excellent guitars and some flowing organ, but also flute and occational violin. A blend of rather heavy rock and jazzy ballads, a couple with vocals that for me, not very aquainted with the French language, works more like other instruments than messages. If to compare with more known bands some of it can remind of late Traffic and the flute parts may be inspired by Jethro Tull. But I don't hear copying, if anything it's like a homage. To my ears sounding very mature and rather cool for a debute album so I'm guessing they'd already played together for a while, or the members were experienced separately. My favorite tracks would be the rockers - "Extrait Du" towards early hard rock embedded in guitars with an enticing riff, the peculiar guitar instrumental "Tournez La Page" and "L'Arbre" up-tempo with warped vocals and more good guitars. The audio is just fine and in all very pleasant listening if you're into pre-synth pre-prog. 1970 releases also in Japan (BYG 101) and Germany (Metronome MLP 15391). French 1996 remastered CD (Magic Records 528082) came with six bonus tracks. Premiere French vinyl had label as shown here and fully laminated fold/out cover. (MFÄX*) (GZÅ*)

söndag 12 augusti 2018

SMALL FACES/IN MEMORIAM 1C 048-90201 (-69) GERMANY

When posting the UK "Autumn Stone" double album earlier I wasn't too pleased with the outcome and still isn't. An unholy blend of earlier unissued, alternate versions, in Britain previously 45 only's and stereo mixes then new to UK - most of them better handeled on other issues. For the Decca 45:s nothing can beat the 1976 UK budget LP "The Singles Album - All the Decca A+B Sides" and the "new" stereo mixes came out a lot better on the 1967 US "There Are But Four Small Faces" (see earlier posts). Only thing making me happy with that was to get the great "The Universal" 45 for the first time on LP. As I understand this single album, only containing cuts recorded and/or meant for the bands planned but half way cancelled album "1862", was Immediate's original idea also for UK before they decided to make it a double bursting with fillers. But as it turned out only first issued that way as UK export and getting early domestic press in Germany, France and Australia. Listening to this German it fits me a little better than AS, but not by much. Side two has five studio recordings meant for the cancelled album, all sounding more or less unfinished - "Collibosher" and "Wide Eye Girl On The Wall" instrumental, with all certainty backing tracks waiting for vocals. Then "Red Balloon" a Tim Hardin cover sounding promising but not quite ready. The two remaining - "Autumn Stone" and the 1967 recording "Call It Something Nice" - are the only cuts here fitting for an agreeable release, the rest could as well have stayed in the vaults. Side one has six live cuts. Listening to that you can't escape they were a great live band and this is about the only reminder, but sadly the audio is rather messy with some added reverb so the joy is purely academic. I do prefer this over AS, cause with lots of good will it could be called Small Faces last original album, unfulfilled and not all pleasant, but still. UK export came with UK vinyl in German sleeve (IMSP 022), French on Immediate (2C 054 -91.871), Australian on Columbia (SOEX 10122). Japan 2009 CD (Immediate VICP 70110) came with fifteen mono versions, most of them Immediate 45:s, as bonus. Not all familiar with German issues, but guess this is early with label as shown here, thick unflexible vinyl, laminated cover and ad inner. (GÖXÄ*) (YDÄ*) (SXÅH*)

fredag 10 augusti 2018

WHISTLING JACK SMITH/I WAS KAISER BILL'S BATMAN DE 16006 (-67) US MONO

Not sure how to put this. Title song a one hit wonder written by British artist/songwriter duo Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway - for more on them check post on their "David and Jonathan" album https:// monolover.blogspot.com/2017/10/david-and-jonathan-scx-6031-66-uk.html. Recorded as a single for Deram by Mike Sammers Singers and assorted studio musicians, whistling done by MSS trumpeter John O'Neill. When it surprisingly became a world wide hit, reaching #5 in UK, #20 on Billboard and top ten on many other lists, an actor - Billy Moeller, for the purpose using the name Coby Wells - was hired to personify Whistling Jack Smith and mime the whistling before the public. So the recording was an effort by a then anonymous studio group and pseudo-performed before audiences by a man who didn't had anything to do with it in the first place...and what you get is the exact same short riff repeated all through the song to a somewhat shifting background. That said - it is disturbingly catchy. I hated it back then, but today, with most of my old defense mechanisms gone, I can't get it out of my head...and believe me I've tried. I wont waste any words on the rest of the LP - one hit and eleven fillers may be accurate - but as it carries that hit and is a rather late US mono it may find a place on my shelf after all. LP originally also issued in Canada (same number) and Germany (SML 1009). UK release as "Around The World With Whistling Jack Smith" (DML/SML 1009) and Japanese with the same name (DL3) came with different sleeve design. Don't know of any CD issues. (YZÄ*) (ÖXCÅ*)

onsdag 8 augusti 2018

THE LEE KINGS - THE SUNSPOTS/STOP THE MUSIC GP 9911 (-66) MONO SWEDEN

Not sure if to call this The Lee Kings debute album, a sampler of 45 cuts or a two band compilation. I guess all three will do. It is a collection of 45 cuts and The Lee Kings was certainly the poster band with at the time two big Scandinavian hits - "L.O.D." and "Stop The Music" - while Sunspots hadn't done that well and this was way for the label to flaunt them. Starting with The Lee Kings - I do like their two aforementioned hits, both catchy and melodic with a garage quality, the "Sticks And Stones" cover charming in a tinny kind of way, but the rest rather bad. "Like A Rolling Stone" has to be one of the worst Dylan covers ever (does the singer really know the words or is he just mimicking?) and the idea of doing "Que Sera Sera" in a "La Bamba" style (inspired by P.J. Proby?) doesn't work for me, but maybe there are lovers of truly odd garage out there who can appreciate. The low quality of most of the cuts surprising considering where some of the members went after band breakup early 1968. Guitarist Bjarne Möller played with Hansson & Karlsson, Bengt Dahlen became member of Fläsket Brinner and singer Lenne Broberg went on to a prosperous solo carreer. The Sunspots one the other hand certainly one or the rarer Swedish bands on vinyl. Apart from this they only released two singles, of which you get two A-sides and one flip here. Only things I know about them are they were from Stockholm, split 1967 due to military service, the guitarist's name was Roffe Färdig and the singer called "Sonne" (with all certainty the Anders Personne who's credited for all three tracks). To my ears they come out tighter than TLK, still garage but collected with more energy. "Sonne" may not have been the best Swedish vocalist, but I've heard worse and it fits. My favorite of theirs is the uptempo rocker "She Said That She Loves Me" with good guitar background and hard working drums. LP worth collecting for "L.O.D.", "Stop The Music" and three out of four from one of the obscurer Swedish groups. This was the only vinyl issue, but all Lee Kings cuts can be found on the German 2002 thirty track CD "Bingo/Stop The Music + Singles" (Rock-In-Beat-Records (RB 020). Premiere Swedish had label as shown here, thick unflexible vinyl and thin fully laminated cover with top opening. (SCÄ*) (CCÖ*) (ÖGÄ*)

måndag 6 augusti 2018

MANFRED MANN/PRETTY FLAMINGO UAL 3549 (-66) US MONO

An all American Manfred Mann album. Not a product of the then in US too common "butchering" - where a couple of cuts were removed from each UK original and together used to build new ones - and not entirely a compilation either. In comparison to UK MM releases some of the tracks showed up on the "Mann Made" album, a couple were 45 only, but a sufficient part at the time exclusive to this. Apart from the sweet catchy title track and a frisky version of "Tennessee Waltz" I get soul and r&b, well played with the excellent Paul Jones on vocals. I imagine that with a lesser singer it would have been a less special album as he was one of the better UK sixties vocalists within those genres and here he's beautiful - like in the title track, "Do You Have To Do That", and "Let's Go Get Stoned". This was one of his last efforts with the band before trying a solo carreer and them moving towards a more progressive outcome. But here it's still old MM style, the audio is loud and clear and it's good. This 1966 release was US only, also as stereo (UAS 6549). 2013 Stereo LP reissue by Sundazed (LP 5455). Japan 2014 CD on Parlophone (WPCR 15490) had all mono mixes plus most stereo ones plus a group interview as bonus. Premiere US had label as shown here, glossy cover and UA ad inner. (MÄNÄ*) (YZÄ*) (ÖXCÅ*)

lördag 4 augusti 2018

BOBBY VEE LRP-3181 (-60) US MONO

One of brightest shining American teen idols of the early sixties, but today almost unknown by the modern public. Scandinavian by bloodline - born Robert Thomas Velline (1943-2016) by mother of Finnish heritage and father of Norwegian. From 1959 to 1970 managing thirtyeight hot hundred hits on Billboard, where of ten top twenty and six earning gold status. And even if most of them seems buried in a long forgotten time spirit, there are at least a couple first made hits by him that have kept bouncing back now and then through the years, as covers - like the Goffin/King composition "Take Good Care Of My Baby" - or the Gene Pitney penned "Rubber Ball" that has continued to live through covers, as ad music or in comedy. One of the most successful non-English covers would be the Finnish artist M.A. Numminen's "Som En Gummiboll Kommer Jag Tillbaks Till Dig" which became a huge hit in Scandinavia 1977-78 (with lyrics translated to Swedish by ABBA manager Stickan Andersson). So even if musically tied to the early sixties pop and not highly valued by most collectors today, the recently gone Bobby Vee is still worth remembering and this his second album enjoyable for those who can tune in to the zeitgeist. Apart from "Rubber Ball" you get covers of "Mister Sandman", "Devil Or Angel", "Poetry In Motion" and more. Well done in a positive spirit with very nice audio. Originally also issued in Canada, UK (London HA-G 2352) and downunder. US 1961 stereo LST 7181. EU 2015 vinyl stereo reissue (Vinyl Lovers 6875410) came with two bonus tracks. Dont know of any CD release. Premiere US mono had label as shown here and glossy cover with "sound of the sixties" inner. (YZÄ*) (ÖXCÅ*) (FÖGÄ*)

torsdag 2 augusti 2018

THE KIMN GOLD MINE PHOENIX # 108 (-7?) US

Outstanding 2-LP compilation of late sixties music and one you still can get for a buck or two if lucky. Can't seem to find any coherent info on the issue so I'm putting together what I get from diverse sources on the net and hope it's true. KIMN is a radio station in Denver, Colorado, that has existed under different names since 1959 and still on the air. From the late sixties and on they have issued a number of compilations on Phoenix label, with what I presume was some of the most played and/or wanted songs during a particular period. And continuing guessing - the photos and namings of a couple of to me unknown non-artists inside fold out must be the then station's DJ:s. Right me if I'm wrong. However it's a great collection of twentyfour songs hovering over a wide range of pop and rock. From Osmonds to Mountain, including world-wide hits from Mungo Jerry, Melanie, Tony Joe White, Shocking Blue, Tommy Roe, The Turtles and some goodies that today might be called obscure. I'm especially happy for getting Crow's "Evil Woman" original that clearly had some inspiration to Black Sabbath's cover version. Audio is tophole. Nothing squeezed or damp, everything is big and clear. Fits for close listening as well as background and would make a superb party record. Highly recommended! To my knowledge this was the only issue. It came with label as shown here in a very thick, structured fold-out cover. (YZÄ*) (SÄM*)

tisdag 31 juli 2018

THE SPENCER DAVIES GROUP/ AUTUMN '66 T 687 397 L (-66) MONO SWEDEN

Shortly after posting the UK issue here I lost that in a trade. Thought then it wasn't too rare and I'd probably find it again soon after, but I was wrong and haven't even been close to one since. I do prefer to own UK pressings of UK bands, but for lack of such decided to try this, more affordably priced, Swedish 1st press instead. And as it turned out not a bad alternative at all. The stamped matrix numbers coincide with UK and the audio is great - loud and clear - so no shortcomings there. Also the front and rear sleeve pic, as colored or b/w, was unique to Sweden. I may still be looking for a UK, but having this it don't feel that urgent anymore. First Swedish had label as shown here, heavy vinyl and thin fully laminated cover. (TXÄW*) (CCÖ*)

söndag 29 juli 2018

THE DOORS EKS 74007 (-67) US STEREO

Had the UK mono for decades and always been curious if a first press stereo could match that when it comes to dynamics and clarity, but had a hard time finding a nice copy fitting my wallet. And now when I have it seems a comparison would be futile anyway. Never had a first press US mono, though reading about it on Steve Hoffman's and some other places I get that it didn't come out 100% - crippled by too much density and some distortion - which the perfect sounding UK mono don't have. So as they differ that much there's no ground for a collation and I better wait till I find either a UK stereo or a US mono to do it properly. But I doubt any UK stereo could compete with this. Mix as expected from an early 1967 make - wide with very little overlapping - but it holds together and the separate parts come through beautifully, natural and well separated. In all very good listening. As usual I'm having a hard time to establish a timeline for a US copy, but after getting some help from Discogs it seems the one here is a first press, made by Allentown Record Co. Inc. Matrix no.s are scratched EKS-74007 A (A)/EKS-74007 B (A) and "Alabama Song" is credited to "Witmark" on label. Second press - by Monarch Record Mfg. Co. - have a "Harms Co." credit to "Alabama Song" and different matrix no. mode. Would of course like to find the US mono and UK stereo too of this classic debute to get it complete, but after listening and reading I'm starting to think this is a good way to go, at least to get most audiophile pleasures from an original - US stereo and UK mono. I'll be back soon as I know more. US first had label as shown here, glossy cover and Elektra inner. (YZÄ*)(DÖÖW*)

fredag 27 juli 2018

RICHARD LLOYD/ALCHEMY K 52196 (-79) UK

For background check posts on the Television albums "Marquee Moon" and "Adventure". After the latter the group split and Richard Lloyd went on to work as a session musician besides nurturing a solo carreer. That seems to have worked out so-so as a couple of singles never reached beyond the Television-fan spheere and only three albums were released before the millenium shift. My personal favorite with the man is his 1981, 45 only, cover of "Get Off Of My Cloud", but this debute album has a lot going for it too. Though recorded with other musicians and quite different from the two Television marvels at least I hear some of the same idiom. The atmosphere however is a bit brighter, all songs self penned and even if most of it not downright catchy they all speak to me and make me wanna listen again. He's not the best singer, but the guitars are so ever-presently sensual they own with or without vocals. Favorite tracks - "Blue And Grey", "In The Night" and "Pretend". A couple of the cuts have the vocals mixed a little too low for my taste, apart from that the audio is great. This stands next to "Adventure" in my collection. Even if not a Televison album it gives me some of the same feeling. Premiere US on Elektra (6E-245), also originally issued in a couple of European countries, Japan and Downunder. US 2002 CD on Collector's Choice (CCM-315-2). First UK had label as shown here and fully laminated cover.

onsdag 25 juli 2018

TAJ MAHAL/GIANT STEP - DE OLE FOLKS AT HOME S 8-63820/21 (-69) UK

This is a relatively new find for me. After really liking his two first albums it has taken me a while to warm up to this. Double album having one LP - "De Ole Folks At Home" - with acoustic root mood blues and one - "Giant Step" - with electric blues rock. But after initially listening to the entire set-up a couple of times I decided to leave the acoustic part - which I in this case don't seem to have the right exteroceptors for - and concentrate on the electric. And that did it. Here I get a natural follow-up to "Natch'l Blues", which in my world is one of the catchier black blues albums. It's the same snug melodic atmosphere, very warm with attractive vocals. To my ears so far a tiny bit more uneven and it doesn't grab me as hard as NB..at least not yet, but given time it might. In any case a keeper and one I will return to frequently to get aquainted. The tracks that hit me immediately and get me going now are - "Six Days On The Road", "Keep Your hands Off Her" and "You're Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond". Premiere US on Columbia (GP 18). Also initially issued in France and Gemany on CBS (S 66226) and Australia on Columbia (S2BP 220044). Japan 2017 CD on Columbia (SICP-5350). First UK had label as shown here and matt fold-out cover. Early ones came in a mono cover with stereo sticker, but I doubt any UK monos exist. I have never seen or heard of one anyway. (DÄJ*)