måndag 10 december 2018

OTIS REDDING/OTIS BLUE - OTIS REDDING SINGS SOUL SD 412 (-65) US STEREO

Continuing my own soul searching with help from the man, this time with his third LP which also initiated a breakthrough with a wider audience - reaching #6 in UK, topping the Billboard R&B list and spawning three successful singles. Hearing it today it's amazing the whole album was recorded in just 24 hours. His vocals have that signature blend of cool and heartfelt and the backing - as before consisting of Booker T. & The M.G.'s, a Memphis Horns/Mar-Keys brass combo and Isac Hayes - is both imaginative and touching. Just listen to the rythm guitar in "Ole Man Trouble", the hard working drums in "Respect" and "Shake", the brass and solo in "Rock Me Baby" and there's more...non of it equilibrist but all utterly in the mood. To be a wiz at an instrument and steal the show in one thing, but being able to adapt and be a self-evident part of a such a gripping sound shows on experience and true skill. I've heard many bad mid-sixties stereo mixes, but this is not one of those. There's panning but also overlapping and nothing that in any way impedes connection. All warm and welcoming. Issue and reissued on about every format all over the world through the years. Japan 2008 2xCD had original mono and stereo album plus eighteen bonus tracks, including live takes and alternate studio versions. There seems to be many Volt variations making it hard to figure out time line, but as this copy has etched ST-VO-65733-A/34-A with AT and M on both sides I imagine it's quite early (Monarch press?). It came with label as shown here and glossy stickered cover. (YZÄ*) (ÖRÖ*) (TÄX*)

lördag 8 december 2018

MICKIE MOST PRESENTS BRITISH GO-GO E 4306 (-65) US MONO

No doubt an attempt by MGM and/or Mickie Most to get three on British soil then quite unsuccessful bands aboard the British Invasion wagon by using Herman Hermits and Animals as locomotives. That doesn't seem to have worked out at the time, but it sure works for me today as this LP is a way to collect six recordings almost impossible to get close to the fact on vinyl elsewhere. The Symbols "You Are My Girl" a 1965 A-side and "Don't Go" a 1966 flip side - non of them appearing on their 1968 one-off "The Best Part Of The Symbols" album (President PTL 1018), or the 25 track 2004 CD (President PRCD 149). The Moquettes only released one single, here are both sides - "Right String Baby, But Wrong Yo-Yo" (also on the UK 1964 compilation "On The Scene" - https://monolover.blogspot.com/2017/03/on-scene-33sx-1662-64-uk-mono.html) - and here with the flip "You Came Along". The Cherokees was also represented with one song - "Seven Daffodils" - on "On The Scene". Here are two more - "I Will Never Turn My Back On You" a 1965 B-side while their other track "Rejected" seems to have been unreleased elsewhere and didn't show up again till the 2007 Dr. No Records "Mod Meeting vol. 5" compilation (MM05). The Symbol's cuts reminding of The Tremeloes with high pitch vocals - "You Are My Girl" good as such while "Don't Go" sung slighly out of tune. The two Cherokees tracks ballads with languishing vocals to garage backing. Both sides of the one-off Moquettes 45 very good garage up-tempo carried by organ and hard working drums - my favorites here btw. But seriously any of those to me new tracks could have sounded awful, which they don't, and this still would be a keeper...just for the joy of discovering and adding further bands to the battery. First released in US only, also as stereo (SE 4206). Reissued on Metro (M/MS 577) in US and Canada as "English In-Groups" with different sleeve design. Premiere US had label as shown here, heavy vinyl and MGM "lion" inner. (SÄM*) (YZÄ*) (ÖXCÅ*)

torsdag 6 december 2018

BOW WOW WOW/WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE TOUGH GETS GOING PL 25458 (-83) GERMANY

For background check posts on the "See Jungle..." debute and "I Want Candy" compilation - https://monolover.blogspot.com/search?q=bow+wow+wow . I did like the debute as a novelty for the blend of jungle drums, twangy guitars and girlish squeals bursting out filled with cheeky energy. And that also had three very catchy numbers - "Go Wild In The Country", "King Kong" and "Chihuahua" - making me wanna return and listen more than once. Maybe as a whole slightly unvaried, but lifted by those highlights. This their second and last LP builds on the same formula - giving the impression of cosmetic kids going ape-crazy in the big city - though here somewhat more tame. I'm getting the same wild drumming and plucky guitars to Annabella Lwin's very personal vocals and this time with more variation between the songs, but still finding it harder to get in. All self-penned. Produced by Mike Chapman - known glam hit-machine together with Nicky Chinn and responsible for a large number of big sellers from Sweet, Suzy Quatro, Smokie and Mud among others. It's very well done, but to my ears not as inviting as the debute. However a couple of the tracks combines odd and ordinary in a kind of post-psych way that's rather titillating. E.g. "Aphrodisiac" with its simple chant melody to monovular guitar, fast walking bass and untamed drums, or the dark and bitter-sweet "The Man Mountain". This German press is cut very loud and the audio comes out rather hard to my ears, maybe a softer offspring would have made it easier for me to fully embrace. Anyway it is an LP from a band that didn't sound like anything else and even if you still can find them in the cheapest bins I'm sure they will be much higher valued in the future. Originally issued on vinyl pretty much all over the world 1983. UK 1990 reissue on LP and CD (Great Expectations PIP LP/CD 022). First German had label as shown here and thin glossy cover with lyric/pic insert.

tisdag 4 december 2018

MEMORIES ARE MADE OF HITS - VOLUME 2 HA 8130 (-64) UK MONO

British collection containing twelve hits by US artists recorded 1957-63, many of them all time classics. Feels good to get Little Richard "Lucille", Bobby Freeman "Do You Wanna Dance" and Del Shannon "Runaway", coupled with the Boots Randolph "Yakety Sax" and Ramrods "Riders In The Sky" instrumentals - in one place. All conveyed by original mono mixes with strong and clear audio. This is one of the reasons I adore older hit compilations made close to the fact. Getting one classic after another, as they were. I have changed a lot since and not always to the better, but this is still smashing. I'm listening now and there's so many feelings as I'm taking head trips back to early school dances, puppy loves and long idle sessions in front of the radio. But collections like this can also be valuable for less old music lovers since it's a way to get it historically correct - avoiding later tampering with the songs like fake stereo or other kind of re-mix and just hear it as it was. Even if you prefer it digital or re-made...it's important to know. To my knowledge this was the only issue. First had label as shown here, thick vinyl and laminated cover. (SÄM*)

söndag 2 december 2018

QUEEN/NEWS OF THE WORLD EMA 784 (-77) UK

Their sixth studio effort showing a band still going very strong. It has become their biggest seller up to date and by many regarded a classic due to two of the tracks - the in various sport cohesions often chanted "We Are The Champions" and "We Will Rock You". Since I'm not an eager sports fan and yet having been fed those songs frequently from everywhere through the years I never let my stylus touch them today, but the rest is for me very good Queen. If I had to make a list of favorite songs from the band's entire songbook "Who Needs You" would probably be somewhere top five. Perfectly balanced between a charmingly sung catchy melody and brilliant guitars performed in a homely atmosphere. Mmmmmm. "Sheer Heart Attack" - partially a remain from those 1974 LP sessions - sounds like some kind of unholy blend between Sex Pistols and Sweet, yet with a Queenish touch. Energizing piece making me smile. "All Dead All Dead" a very gripping ballad. I could go on, but apart from the aforementioned two crowd-pleasers WATC and WWRY I don't hear any low points here. Each cut standing on its own and the audio on this press is stunning - big, warm and welcoming - inviting me in to take part. Issued and reissued on every possible format all over the world through the years. First US on Elektra (6E-112). Premiere UK had label as shown here, thick matt fold-out cover and lyric/picture inner. (QÄN*)

fredag 30 november 2018

CREAM/BEST OF CREAM 658 174 (-69) FRANCE

Long time since I posted a Cream album. The original LP:s they issued during their short existence are getting quite rare and seldom show up at reasonable prices, so the bargains you can find in the used bins today are mostly collections of various quality. Thought the UK vegitable sleeve "Best Of..." was ok, though a little dull when it came to track choice (see earlier post). That was made after a US original and a couple of years ago after losing it in a trade decided to replace it with a US first press...which showed to be harder than I imagined and instead ended up with this French. Using the same tapes as US and UK, so the compiling still kind of dull, but with a very nice blue front sleeve and absolutely smashing audio. As I don't have the UK anymore and never heard a US I can't compare, but doubt any of them can sound much better. I hear big and clear with top separation, which together with the alternate sleeve design should make it a collectible item by itself, or at least a very good alternative to the more known variations. First press had label as shown here, heavy vinyl and laminated flip/back cover. (CÄRÄ*) (MFÄX*)

onsdag 28 november 2018

SAM & DAVE/DOUBLE DYNAMITE S 712 (-66) US STEREO

US soul duo that, apart from a minor hit with "Hold On I'm Coming", didn't have a large impact in Sweden during my most receptive teen years. So not a combo I grew up with and not as much part of my early connection to American soul music as the Motown acts. Still learning about them myself. Apparently they were one of the most popular and biggest selling sixties soul combos in US with celebrated live shows and a large number of records high on the lists. Today by many considered forerunners in the pop-soul genre and known influence to artists as Michael Jackson, Tom Petty, Elvis Costello, Stevie Winwood, Bruce Springsteen and many more. Apart from being Grammy awarded they've also through the years become members in some prestigious Hall Of Fames - Rock'n'Roll, Vocal Group, Grammy and Memphis Music. So it's with high expectations I'm now giving this their second album my premiere spin. First thing that strikes me is the excellent audio and stereo mix - wide and clear yet very together, making me feel welcome. Then the intensity - up-tempo or slow movers, all bursting with smittening energy from both players and singers. Got up dancing by myself already to the opening "You Got Me Hummin", stayed on the floor with "Said I Wasn't Gonna Tell Nobody" and would have continued through the next two slower cuts if I just had a partner here to squeeze to the rhythm. To put it simple - I'm in! Maybe not all in since I don't have any background with the duo and there's nothing in my memory that can answer to any of the separate songs. But I'm working on it and no doubt given time they will be an evident part of my soul experience. Also as US mono (Stax 712) plus US 4-track and 8-track. Other original releases on Stax in Canada, Germany (same numbers) and UK (589003). Japan 1969 on Atlantic (SMT 1023). Japan 2012 remastered CD on Stax/Rhino (WPCR 27506). Premiere US had label as shown here, thick vinyl and glossy cover. (YZÄ*)(TÄX*)

måndag 26 november 2018

THE KINKS NPL 18096 (-64) UK MONO

After posting both the Australian Astor mono and the UK Golden Guinea stereo earlier feel I don't have much more to add...other than I still think it's one of the best debutes from a British rock band back then. Right on, filled with tons of youthful will and most of it sounding like recorded live in the studio. I do see and hear people considering it half bad or just ordinary and don't understand why. Ok the choice of covers can be called ordinary, apart from "You Really Got Me" the self-penned don't shine too bright and they clearly had American role models, but that's not the point. I dig the vocals coming out bare without any second thought, the sparse but tight setting and the sheer energy of it all. Lots of presence giving me direct connection. Maybe you have to be both a die-hard Kinks fan and garage lover to appreciate it this much, but I am and I do and I wont change. First UK came on ridged label with "Recording first Published 1964" as shown here, thick unflexible vinyl and laminated flip/back cover with Pye ad inner. (PÖY*) (KYX*)

lördag 24 november 2018

THE 1969 WARNER/REPRISE SONGBOOK PRO 331 (-69) US

When finding issues part of the Warner/Reprise "Loss Leaders" sampler serie I always expect good music and audio plus more or less rare tracks or edits. This was the first in the serie and it has all of that. For me it feels comfy getting Zappa, Electric Prunes, Family, Fugs, Tiny Tim, Wild Man Fischer and Jimi Hendrix at the same place. And if I'm in a pop mood there's also Everly Brothers, Joni Mitchell, Kinks, Neil Young and Van Morrison to enjoy, together with ten more acts. Compiling itself sometimes odd but never boring. A few exemples. Side 3 starts with Tiny Tim laughing as intro to a Suzy Creamcheese monolog that in its turn opens a Zappa/Mothers medley with cuts from "Uncle Meat"...then continuing with a Fugs "It Crawled Into My Hand, Honest" medley and ending up with the Arlo Guthrie live take "The Pause Of Mr. Claus", where he's ranting and singing about FBI and Santa. Side 1 and 2 takes off with spoken outtakes from Wild Man Fischer's "Songs For Sale" as introduction for Jethro Tull's "My Sunday Feeling" and Everly Brothers "T For Texas". If any of those combinations should be regarded as fit or clash depends on where you are. Non of the chosen cuts were hits at the time, but obviously considered worthy by the compilers and they sure work for me today put together like this. It may seem weird all girl pics on sleeve are from members of the "GTO:s" combo not part of the track list, but since they were Zappa's proteges at the time it figures. My favorites - Jimi Hendrix "Red House" (same alternate version that also showed up on the US "Smash Hits"), Electric Prunes "Finders Keepers", Family "Second Generation Woman", Kinks "Picture Book" and most of the others. This was US only, also reissued mid seventies on the "Burbank" label. The label design shown here was used 1970-73 (first green had a "W" logo on top), so this can be called a second press. It came in a glossy fold/out cover with a glued in four page booklet containing pics and info on all the involved. (SÄM*) (YZÄ*) (LÖZZ*)