Week 15 - Fri 15 Apr
Welcome the the RPM Record Club Seven Day Soundtrack, week ending Friday 15th April 2022; your musical oasis of sanity in a world gone mad. What's been grabbing RPMer's ears this week? Over to...
"Happy Easter Everyone, hope you're all keeping safe and well. Here are three tracks that I've listened to this week..."
"Hi RPMers, can’t believe it’s Easter already!!! Nina; hope you are enjoying Cornwall. One of my fave TV programes right now is Rick Steins Cornwall. It looks amazing. Here’s my 3 this week."
Smugglers Blues by Glen Frey - "RIP Glen."
Private Investigations by Dire Straits -
Red House performed by Gary Moore - "Me and the missus were in seats near the front of Block A for this one."
"A curious mix this week: nostalgia in respect of an album I had on vinyl many years ago, an item found on a recent Mojo cover-mounted CD, and a guitarist from Lincolnshire of whom I had not even heard a week or so ago.
Best wishes to all RPMers."
"I've chosen some early Bob Dylan this week as it's 60 years since his debut album was released...March 1962, so just missed the anniversary by a few weeks."
"They say lightning never strikes twice in the same place and here, in musical terms, are three singles which bear this out. Each one followed the artists only hit (of any size) and, because the singles do all have their own merits, they deserve at least a further hearing."
The Tracker by Sir Douglas Quintet (7" single released August 1965. London American records) Did not chart in UK. - "Perhaps musically too close to his classic debut single, 'She's about a mover', this track does bound along with the same infectious energy. Sir Douglas (AKA Doug Sahm) had displayed his musical talent when he appeared on a musical show on local radio aged five. Given a steel guitar at age six, he was proficient enough to appear on the Louisiana Hayride when he was eight years old and, by the time he was eleven he was appearing on Hank Williams final tour. He released a string of singles on local San Antonio Texas labels in the mid to late fifties and, after playing in a multitude of bar bands, he formed (initially) Sir Douglas with his regular sidekick, organist Augie Myers, and, in 1965 the group, with its more familiar name, signed to the Tribe label and had immediate success with the Hughie P Meaux helmed '.... mover' single. Meaux had already picked up on the 'UK invasion', r&b and Motown sounds and, deep in the bowels of Houston's Gold Star Studio (soon to be renamed the Sugarhill Studio), he concocted this mélange of the Fabs 'She's a woman', Ray Charles 'What'd I say' and Marvin Gaye's 'Can I get a witness' and was rewarded with a US Number Thirteen and a UK number 15. However, record buyers on both sides of the Atlantic quickly felt the band's sound was anachronistic and follow up singles showed diminishing returns. Perhaps calling their 1966 debut album 'The best of...' was tempting fate and this, along with their increasingly 'freewheeling' attitude saw them becoming a target for Texas's finest. The band relocated to San Francisco and quickly became a hit in the burgeoning psychedelic ballrooms and were rewarded when 'Mendocino' became a hit single in 1968. The album of the same name includes a fiery reworking of '.... mover' but, again, the fickle finger moved away and Sahm eventually became better known for his friendship with Bob Dylan, Dr John, Willie Nelson and many others. He continued to record with the Texas Tornadoes and, in 1983, they played alongside Nelson at Bill Clinton's inauguration ball. There were a couple of reunions with Myers as the Quintet in the 80's and 90's but in late 1999, whilst on vacation in New Mexico, Sahm passed away in a motel following a heart attack."
Apple of My Eye by Roy Head and the Traits (7" single released December 1965. Vocalion label) Did not chart in UK - "Unlike Sir Douglas 'The Tracker', this follow up to Roy's much covered rock'n souler 'Treat her right' harks back to his time in late fifties San Antonio's when he and the Traits would share bills with Sir Douglas. Head and the boys had several releases on TNT and Renner Records and Sceptre before they were signed by the Duke label subsidiary Back Beat (hmmmm, sure I've heard that name somewhere before?) in 1965 and hit immediately with 'Treat her right'. Such was the bands popularity in Texas that Dick Clark contacted them to appear on American Bandstand in the late fifties but, as they were all still at High School their parents refused to allow them to perform. Their time at Renner saw them record an early 'white blues' cover of 'I've got my mojo working' in 1962 before releasing 'Get Back' (hmmm....... curiouser and curiouser!) on Sceptre/Lori in 1964. Signing to Back Beat bought the band into the Gold Star/Sugarhill Studio and it was there, with Huey P Meaux that the band laid down 'Treat her right ' and it's UK follow up (there was a different second single in the US), the Chuck Berry 'influenced' 'Apple of my eye'. The US success of those three singles saw TNT and Sceptre bundle together all of the groups recordings (including 'Money', 'Night Train' and 'My Babe' and the curious ballad 'Treat me right' on the Sceptre release) but Head and the Traits seemed to run out of steam and the inevitable split followed in the late sixties. There was, however, time for a fine release by Roy with the Great Believers entitled 'Easy Lovin' Girl' in early 1967, just before the Great Believers changed their name to that of their lead guitarist and vocalist Johnny Winter. He had often sat in with Head when the Traits passed through Beaumont and 'Easy Lovin' Girl' was followed by a fine version of Tramp' and 'Parchman Farm' featuring Winter on lead guitar. Head signed to Elektra and Dunhill in the early seventies and released a couple of psychedelic influenced and rockabilly albums before he concentrated almost exclusively on country music recordings. However, when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, Billboard magazine commented that " Head's versatility actually worked against him since he did not fit into any specific marketing niche (and that) his use of many small record labels also prevented his recordings from achieving national distribution.". Head passed away in September 2020."
Golden Lights by Twinkle (7" single released February 1965. Decca label) Highest UK chart position No 21 - "Imagine if Cilla, Dusty or Lulu had written their own debut single for a moment............ very few girl singers in the mid sixties took that route but Twinkle (AKA Lynne Ripley) did and was rewarded with a number four hit in December 1964 which stayed on the charts for fifteen weeks. Lynne (Twinkle was her family's nickname for her) had been born into a middle class family and was educated at Kensington's Queen's Gate School alongside Camilla Shand/Parker Bowles and was the aunt of author/actress Fay Ripley. Twinkle became an early girlfriend (aged just 16) of the Bachelors Dec Cluskey after he was introduced by her sister, the music columnist Dawn James. Cluskey also passed a demo of a Twinkle song to the Bachelors manager and he quickly arranged a session to record the song (the 'controversial death disc' 'Terry' of course), calling in top session men Jimmy Page, Big Jim Sullivan and Bobby Graham to boost the recording. The disc caused immediate uproar and, eventually, the BBC had little choice but to place a ban on its broadcast, as it had already done to the similarly themed 'Leader of the Pack' by the Shangri Las earlier in '64. By the dawn of 1965 Cluskey had been replaced by Herman (Peter Noone) and Twinkle's early disillusionment with the recording industry became apparent with the release of this fine single, again composed by Twinkle. The singles failure was followed by the 'A lonely singing doll' EP which further aired her dissatisfaction via the cover of France Gall's "Poupée de cire, poupée de son" which explored similar themes to 'Golden Lights', and 'Unhappy Boy' which charted the descent of a boy into criminality. Decca then seemed to get cold feet regarding Twinkles compositional output and began to impose their choices of material on her which saw her recording covers of Reparata and the Delrons 'Tommy' and Skeeter Davis's country hit 'The end of the world' and so, after just 6 singles, an EP and a handful of live appearances, Twinkle announced her retirement at the grand old age of eighteen!! There were just a further handful of singles over the next 15 years, plus a suite of songs about her boyfriend Michael Hannah, who was killed in an air crash in 1974, which went unreleased until 2003. Twinkle passed away in 2015 following a long battle with cancer. 'Golden Lights', of course, reached a new (not always receptive) audience when it was covered by The Smiths on their 1987 US compilation 'Louder than bombs'."
Alan's Musical Funnies.
"Swerving round the continuing atrocities in Ukraine for this week, in the full expectation that next week will be even worse, let's take a look at our Chancellor of the Exchequer and his spouse this week:
Dull Chisel performed by Hopping Jenny -
"Here's my three plucked out of this week's listening..."
Always Believed In You by Arc Angels -"The common link between all my choices last week was (of course) that bassist Tommy Shannon played on all of them; with Johnny Winter on the 1969 Progressive Blues Experiment album, with Stevie Ray Vaughan from 1980 until 1990 when SRV was killed in a helicopter accident, and with Storyville formed in 1993. Here, to round things off this week, is a track from the 1992 Arc Angels debut album, the first album he played on after Stevie Ray Vaughan died."
'Til Next Time...