söndag 20 augusti 2017

VAN MORRISON/BLOWIN' YOUR MIND BLP 218 (-67) US MONO

After quitting Them Morrison got a solo contract with Bang records and, as the story goes, approved it without checking the fine print. Among other things he signed to letting the label having full control over the material. So after he'd recorded a bulk of material, initially only intended for release on four singles, Bang head Bert Berns took over and issued it as an LP without Morrison's consent. That, among other things, led to Morrison disliking it and refusing to accept it as an original album. Yet either way you tag - regular LP, compilation or plain scam - it is a Van Morrison album and to my ears not that bad. Maybe uneven, but with enough good moments to make it worth while. "Brown Eyed Girl" is a classic , the long "TB Sheets" honest and emotional and "Midnight Special" totally OK r&b with good guitars. All crowned by his eminent vocals. I guess it'll do for any Van fan and a must for us who prefer his early stuff. This mono has a "censored" version of "Brown Eyed Girl", only appearing here and on 45. I have no original stereo to compare with, but as I get from various sources the two formats alter a lot. Not only by mixing, it seems also different takes were used for some of the tracks. Can't confirm that yet, but will be back scrutinizing as soon as I find a corresponding stereo. Originally issued also in Canada (same label and number), UK (London HAZ 8346) and Germany (Metronome BLPS 218). South African as "Morrison Magic" on IRC (ICC 8002). Japan 2013 CD on Air Mail Archive (AIRAC-1701) came with ten bonus tracks. Premiere US had label as shown here and glossy cover with incorrect "BLB" instead of "BLP" on top left rear. (YZÄ*) "ÖXCÅ*)

fredag 18 augusti 2017

FRIJID PINK SML-R 1062 (-70) UK

Just found an update to my old party-played copy which later years had more background noise than music. While rediscovering it now I feel it's time for a repost. Dirty American rock, right on without safety net. Howling and unbridled with lots of attitude. I'm as much in love as I was four years ago, so here I go again...For background on the group check previous post on their second LP "Defrosted". While that was elaborately raw with an even production and sound, the debute is more free range. When produced by one of Gordy's proteges Mike Valvano, who was on a short leave from Motown at the time, one should expect strict reins, but this is scratchy pre-punk and garage, partly with a live feeling. Tons of fuzz guitars, wild backing and screamy vocals makes it beautiful to my ears. I don't think anyone involved expected it to be a big hit, but it did surprisingly well with #11 on Billboard. The '45 release cover of "House Of The Rising Sun" (originally an album filler) got to #7 in US, #3 in Canada, #1 in Germany and top five in a number of European countries. Premiere US on Parrott (PAS 71033). UK first also in mono (DML-R 1062) - I haven't heard that, but this stereo is a perfect compatible so it's probably a fold down. First UK had label as shown here and laminated cover with die-cut hole on back. (DÄRR*)

torsdag 17 augusti 2017

ROCK REVOLUTION ADE P 26 (-76) UK MONO + STEREO

One you can find in the cheapest bins nowadays that'll give a musical value way above price. UK "TV-ad" sampler with a label crossover - carrying hits from CBS, Immediate, NEMS and Polydor, pressed by RCA. I get classics by Black Sabbath, Fleetwood Mac, Who, Jimi Hendrix, Argent, Mott The Hoople, Cream and more - all on the same vinyl copy. Here are also a couple of odd 45:s to enjoy, like Rod Stewart "Little Miss Understood" and Colin Blunstone "Say You Don't Mind", plus Moog Machine "Jumping Jack Flash" from now long forgotten 1969 Switched-On Rock album. Considering there are ten tracks on each side the audio is surprisingly good. Not only fitting as background to snug beer meetings or revivals, but most of it also suitable for close listening with the original feeling intact. The Rod Stewart and Colin Blunstone cuts are mono, the rest stereo. To my knowledge this was the only issue. It came with label as shown here and fully laminated cover. (SÄM*)

tisdag 15 augusti 2017

ROLLING STONES/AFTERMATH SKL 4786 (-66) UK STEREO

If sympathetic to my undying love for this album please also check post on the mono where I show it truly. That's one of the oldest copies in my collection and by now pretty tatterd. Through the years I've encountered many later press stereo versions, but always lacked interest feeling mono was the original piece of art and any two-channel made as an afterthought. Now after finding an early press stereo (-2W/-1W matrixes) I decided to give it a fair chance by sitting down and listen without prejudice. And I have to say for a four-channel mid-sixties mix it is pretty amazing. Big and strong, wide and balanced. No excessive panning or irregular distribution, instead you get a healthy overlapping giving an almost natural picture. No doubt American made as the recordings took place in RCA studios, Hollywood. Maybe the reason it didn't caught me before is the later pressings I've heard didn't sound as strong or well separated as this, or just me being a too big mono freak unable to let it in. Anyway it's my loss and for now the mono can get a well needed rest while I'm enjoying this to the fullest. (RÅ*)

söndag 13 augusti 2017

CILLA BLACK/BEST OF CILLA PCS 7065 (-68) UK STEREO

Even if not all in with her vocals at the time this release is a must for me because of the George Martin production, the four Lennon/McCartney covers and the atmosphere. I would like a mono as most of the cuts were 45 only prior to this and you'd expect that to come with all the original mixes, but haven't found any such yet so this stereo will do for now. It brings both good and bad news. On the positive side - all cuts are true stereo, some may have been previously unissued picks from the EMI vaults while others were mixed by Martin especially for this. In any case most of them had their two-channel premiere here and that's worth something. On the negative side - at least this very first press copy (-1/-1 matrixes and 1/G 1/G mother-stamper) seems to suffer from adjustments problems with bass/treble and volume. The calmer tracks plays ok, while a couple of the powerful ones come out borderline too loud with so much treble they hurt my ears. It's a pity. The new mixes could have made it a very nice listening experience if treated right. Well maybe this very early copy just had growing pains and later pressings came through better. If anyone reading this knows - please comment and tell. Originally also issued in New Zeeland (PCSM 7065) and Australia (PCSO-7065). UK 2002 CD (Parlophone 7243 5 41444 24) came with eleven bonus tracks. Premiere UK had label as shown here and laminated flip/back cover. (CÄLÄ*) (PÖX*)

fredag 21 juli 2017

LATE SUMMER BREAK

Summer's almost gone and I just realised I spent most of it indoors - at work, in record shops or at home in front of the computor. Gotta get out while there's still warmth and light so I'm taking a break from it all, hoping a couple of weeks will be enough to strengthen my body and clear my mind. Still have a large stack of vinyl to treat, but save that for later. Back sometime in August. Wishing you all some great summer days (and summer nights).

torsdag 20 juli 2017

RED SQUARES KSX 5 (-66) DENMARK

Band founded 1964 in Boston, England. After a couple of years struggling without securing a record contract or getting any kind of breakthrough on home turf they moved to Denmark 1966, and there within only six months succeeded to be one of the most auspicious outfits in Scandinavia at the time. For exemple their 1966 cover of The Four Seasons "Sherry " topped the Swedish list and the 1967 "Lollipop" reached #2. Between 1966-69 the original setting released eight singles and two albums - apart from this the 1967 "It's Happening". Later the band has seen a fair share of hiatuses and member changes, but as I understand they're still at it in some form. This album contains two A:s and two B:s of contemporary 45 releases while the remaining ten tracks were LP only. Music is a mix of soft and up-tempo, most of it sung high-pitch. Some reminding of Beach Boys, others sounding like from an earlier US tradition. The vocals are exquisite and I'm amazed how high they could reach and still appearing unstrained. It's all embraceable, but if I have to pick favorites it'll be - "Stay" where they're about an octave above the Hollies version and "You Can Be My Baby" having a borderline messy garage feeling. All very well produced with top audio. If you're a fan of male high-pitch vocals it's a gem, well worth to be picked and enjoyed. To my knowledge this was the only original issue. EMI 1974 compilation "Red Squares Favoritter" (6C 054-38110) had a couple of the cuts in common. On the Columbus 1996 2xCD "The Ultimate Collection 1966-69" (CD 81536) you get it all. First Danish had label as shown here and fully laminated flip/back cover. (SCÄ*) (CCÖ*) (BRBÄ*)

tisdag 18 juli 2017

THE ROLLING STONES/OUT OF OUR HEADS SKL 4725 (-65) UK EXPORT STEREO

Never say never. After buying the German 1st press stereo a while ago I was determined not to go for this UK export ever again (see earlier post). Then already a week or so later I found this pretty decent copy at such an affordable price I just had to pick it. Of course made from the same US fake stereo tapes and more of an alternative mono than any kind of stereo. I can't hear any difference to the German in audio or otherwise and to my eyes the German label design is a lot yummier. Pros with this is having a record by an English band on a first press UK label and maybe getting a rare item to the Stones collection...but that's about it. For this release the original mono is king. The stereo may be good to the eyes and mind, but not one I choose for listening. First had ridged label as shown here and laminated cover. (RÅ*) (ÖXÄP*)

söndag 16 juli 2017

16 ORIGINAL R&B GOLDEN HITS 148 011 STL (-65) MONO GERMANY

Very nice German compilation with originals for many of the songs that later would become more known or successful as cover versions. Not sure how many sixties rock bands that made more or less reworked versions of "I Got My Mojo Workin", "Green Onions" or "Bo Diddley", but it's got to be hundreds. For Rufus Thomas "The Dog" and Don Garden/DeeDee Ford "I Need Your Loving" I guess many are familiar with the somewhat later Otis Redding recordings. Shirelles "Dedicated To The One I Love" from 1959 is today mainly appreciated as the 1967 Billboard #2 hit by The Mamas & The Papas. Rolling Stones version of Muddy Waters "I Just Wanna Make Love To You" (here for some reason titled "Just Make Love To Me") is today a lot more recognized than the original. One of Elvis biggest hits in the sixties "Crying In The Chapel" was a much covered song already 1953. On here is The Orioles recording from that year. So if you wanna get first or very early versions of those songs with original mono mixes this is it. Muddy Waters "I Got My Mojo Workin" is live, the rest studio. Audio shifts a little, but most of it surprisingly good for such old takes - wide, big and clear. Don't know of any other issues. Label and sleeve has reference to a Mercury no. (125 970 MCL), but not sure if that is an actual issue or has to do with the jurisdiction. First (only?) had label as shown here and laminated cover with embossed fonts on front. (SÄM*) (GÖXÄ*)

fredag 14 juli 2017

CILLA BLACK/CILLA SINGS A RAINBOW PMC 7004 (-66) UK MONO

Her 1965 debute LP "Cilla" became an immediate success in Britain, there reaching #5 on the album list, and eventually also sold well in Europe, downunder and South Africa. As a Liverpudlian she was a pre-fame friend of The Beatles and as first signed by Brian Epstein and produced by George Martin an important early part of the Parlophone crowd. Three of her UK hit singles were Lennon/McCartney compositions given directly to her by The Beatles - "Love Of The Loved" (#35), "It's For You" (#7) and "Step Inside Love" (#8). Apart from that she also managed eight more top ten singles in Britain during the sixties, where of two #1. This second album did even better than the first and confirmed her place as one of the most popular female singers in Britain at the time. Back then I was in love with the pretty girl and her perky performance, embellished by short skirts and big smiles. Today listening with older ears I'm not enthralled in the same way. The orchestral arrangements and George Martin's production oozes sixties Swinging London - Carnaby Street, Mary Quant and mod culture - a pleasant scent that can take you back to more positive times. But as usual I'm not all in with her vocals, some of it sounding too youthfully strained for my taste. So my favorites here would be a couple of the calmer songs - "Sing A Rainbow", "My Love Come Home", "When I Fall In Love" and "Yesterday" - showing a more sensitive side and allowing me to get closer to the person. Originally also issued in Australia (SPMEO 9591). 2002 mono CD through EMI:s "60s 2 on 1" serie had this coupled with her debute "Cilla". 2009 issued in a special edition for digital downloads, including a booklet with track info and rare photos. Premiere UK had label as shown here and laminated flip/back cover. (PÖX*) (FÄV*) (CÄLÄ*)

torsdag 13 juli 2017

ETTA JONES/DON'T GO TO STRANGERS PRLP 7186 (-60) US MONO

Bought this by mistake. When going through used bins I among other things always look for Etta James originals and with this I only saw "Etta" and didn't look further, just threw the seller his fee and went home. Honestly never heard of this Etta Jones before but gave the record a spin and got caught. Sweet cool jazz with soft backing and pleasant vocals. Voice sometimes reminding of Billie Holiday, yet so personal the likeness only spices the dish. But what really made me sit it out first listen was the audio. Recorded in one session...clear and direct...or so direct it could get with all stations needed between performance and vinyl back then. Yet it seems a minimum of meddling was done and you experience it as if they were all there in front of your listening chair and she's singing for you. Mmmmmmmmm. It sure was a lucky mistake picking it and James isn't the only Etta I'll be looking for in the bins henceforth. Originally also issued in Germany (Prestige PRST 7186) and UK (Esquire 32-127). European 2006 CD on Prestige/RVG Remasters (008880 723000071). Premiere US had label as shown here and laminated cover. (YZÄ*) (CLÄZ*) (ÖXCÅ*) ((FÄV*)

onsdag 12 juli 2017

VARIOUS ARTISTS/A COLLECTION OF 16 ORIGINAL BIG HITS VOL. II TM 256 (-64) US MONO

The second of eleven in a Motown sampler serie issued 1963-69. Here mixing all time classics like Supremes "When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes", Marvin Gaye "Hitch Hike", Martha & The Vandellas "Heat Wave" and Miracles "I Gotta Dance To Keep From Crying" with today less famous cuts from acts as Contours, Valadiers and Eddie Holland. For a Motown lover this is heaven. Great songs conveyed by more or less basic recordings, well sung and backed with enough transparency to let all that pristine energy and joy trickle through for us to take in fiftythree years later. Not of the highest audiophile quality all the time, but with enough original atmosphere to put you there. After finding the record a while ago and taking it for a first spin I couldn't sit still. Starting with "Heat Wave" I got up dancing by myself in the living room and stayed on the floor the entire side one. Silly old man maybe - but a very happy one indeed. Favorite track - Supremes "When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes" has always been one of my most loved Motown songs. Made during the label's transition from the early ardent trials to hit machine and carrying the best from both those worlds. 1964 releases in US and Canada (same number). Also as stereo vinyl 1966 and on stereo CD 1989 (Motown 095 449). First US had label as shown here and glossy cover. (TÖMÖ*) (SÄM*) (ÖXCÅ*)

söndag 9 juli 2017

THE BEATLES/MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR MAL 2835 (-67) US MONO

One of the first records I posted here. Since it's already probed to pieces and all seems to have been said I didn't know what to add. Been meaning to do a remake for a long time but still not sure how to put it. Better keep it simple. I've seen this album counted either as a regular US issue, a soundtrack, or a US version of a UK 2xEP issue. But if you get down to basics it's just another collection of non-LP 45 tracks. All cuts are the original UK mono mixes. Apart from "All You Need Is Love" fading somewhat earlier here and "I'm The Walrus" having a shorter mellotron intro it's the same versions. The audio not exactly like the UK 45:s, but good. Side one has the six UK EP tracks from the Magical Mystery Tour movie, side two five single A:s and B:s. I would have preferred "I'm The Walrus" on side two as that first appeared on single coupled with "Hello Godbye", but guess either way is OK. However if you leave details and history behind and just listen you get one of the first genuine Britpsych albums and probably the best such ever. Experimental and melodic, druggy and catchy, directly striking and long memorable - all in one bag. US stereo counterpart came with re-channels for "Penny Lane", "All You Need Is Love" and "Baby You're A Rich Man". For that I would pick the 1971 German A1/B3 matrix issue instead (see earlier post), as it came with true stereo versons of those three cuts plus a yummy remix of "Strawberry Fields Forever" - all then just made by George Martin himself. But even if that has its advantages this US mono is the all true original MMT LP and will always be my first choice. Premiere issue had label as shown here and thick cardboard fold/out cover with a 24 page booklet inside. (BÄ*) (PÖP*) (YZÄ*) (ÖXCÅ*)