Week 34 - Fri 26 Aug
Welcome to the RPM Record Club Seven Day Soundtrack, week ending Friday 26th August 2022....your swirling sea of sound-waves. Let's dive straight in. Over to...
"Greetings to everybody from Swanton Morley. After last week's British "New Wavers," here are some American ones."
Baby It's You by Smith - (taken from 'A group called Smith' LP released July 1969. Dunhill US release) "The first of a pair of girls (not always favourably) compared to Janis Joplin, here's Gayle McCormick on a cover of the Bacharach/Mack David/Luther Dixon song originally a number eight US hit for the Shirelles in 1961 but exquisitely covered by the Beatles on their debut album. The Smith version proved you can't keep a good song down, hitting number five in the US in autumn 1969 and achieving sales of over one million copies. Initially called The Smiths (!!), the band were formed in LA in 1968 and released 'Now I taste the tears' (currently around £25 on Discogs)on CBS with only minimal sales. However, the band rejigged their line up, added McCormick, and were spotted in an LA club by Del Shannon who negotiated a contract with ABC/Dunhill and, after a brace of singles only reached the low end of the charts, persuaded the band to record his arrangement of 'Baby it's you' . McCormick had started out covering songs by Tina Turner and Etta James before being signed to Smith and the cover versions continued with almost every track on 'A group...' being a cover version of familiar numbers such as 'Tell him (her) no', ''The Last time', 'Let's spend the night together', 'Who do you love' and the hippie anthem 'Let's get together'. Despite this, the album did achieve a number seventeen placing on the charts and augured well for a follow up. Around the same time as the album's success the band were contracted to cover 'The Weight' for the 'Easy Rider' soundtrack album after The Band refused to allow their version to feature on the LP. However, even this unexpected bonus on a major selling soundtrack didn't preclude their second album, 'Minus-Plus', from only achieving a disappointing number 74, with the two singles released from it also reflecting the bands declining popularity with only minor chart placings. The band folded in 1970 and McCormick went on to release three albums and had minor hits in the ACR singles charts with 'It's a cryin' shame' and 'Coming in out of the rain' before retiring from full time performing and, in 2016, she passed away from cancer in St Louis.."
Bonus Track -
Suicide Sal by Maggie Bell - (this from 'A selection of Rock cuts Polydor's January/February releases' compilation LP released December 1974.) "I suppose Maggie is what was once termed 'a trouper', no matter how stellar the band, how important the record label, how famous the fans or how powerful the manager, Maggie never achieved a significant commercial breakthrough. Born in Maryhill, Glasgow, Maggie's first spot in the spotlight came when she climbed up on stage during a performance by Alex Harvey's Big Soul Band in 1962 and, as a result, Alex recommended her to his younger brother Lesley who soon bought her into his band, the Kinning Park Ramblers. When they disbanded Maggie moved into the house band at the Mecca rough-house known as the Sauchiehall Street Locarno before moving to the slightly more salubrious Dennistoun Palais Band. Rejoining Harvey, they formed The Power (of Music) and toured the USAF bases in Germany where the Yardbirds manager, Peter Grant, heard them supporting the 'Birds and offered to both produce and manage the band. Grant's initial reaction to hearing the band then became their new name... 'Stone the crows'!!! That band recorded two albums but was curtailed shortly after the sad electrocution of Harvey on stage at Swansea's Top Rank in May 1972. Grant financed three solo albums, produced by Mark London, Felix Pappalardi and Felix Cavaliere, but none were released and so he took Bell to NYC where she recorded a solo album produced by Jerry Wexler. Grant then formed Swan Song records with members of Led Zeppelin, signed Bell to the label and, utilising Jimmy Page on several tracks, released the 'Suicide Sal' album. When that did not lead to greater commercial success Bell formed Midnight Flyer, again popular on the live circuit but, like all her other ventures, this was not reflected in record sales, which were minimal at best, and the band folded in 1981. Bell then enjoyed her most prolonged period of success, of a kind. Firstly she charted with novelty singer B A Robertson with a cover of Eddie Duchin's 1933 biggie 'Hold Me' before becoming a popular choice for both appearing in, and recording the theme music for, several TV programmes. Bell then relocated to Holland for twenty years before returning to the UK to front The British Blues Quintet alongside Zoot Money, touring with Chris Farlowe and The Manfreds before, latterly, fronting the Hamburg Blues Band."
Think About the Good Times by Goldie and the Gingerbreads - (this from 'Thinking about the good times' compilation LP released July 2021. Ace label.) "The final single from the first all girl band to become commercially successful, this was initially released in July 1966 on the Atco label in the US. By the time of its release the band had fallen from grace here in the UK despite tours with the Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, Kinks and Hollies and sold out club dates throughout London's top 'mod' clubs. Coupled with the pressure of constant touring, being viewed as merely a novelty act and a lack of success despite critical acclaim for their singles, the band began to fracture. They returned to the US around the time of this release, determined to break through despite band members leaving and returning to the line up, but leader (Goldie) Genya Ravan's 'strong personality' led to the groups eventual demise in 1968 with Ravan forming the critically acclaimed Ten Wheel Drive, Carol MacDonald and Ginger Bianco forming jazz-fusion band Isis and Margo Lewis establishing Talent Consultants International, Ltd., a talent booking agency which, amongst other artists, looks after the estate of Bo Diddley. Margo also played keyboards for Bo during the last ten years of his performing career. The band have since received many critical awards including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Touchstone Award for Women in Music."
"Great piece of film from Tony about 'yoof kultcher' but, when it came to 'Mods', the usual preponderance of 'scooter boy' pictures were used. Most of the Donny mods didn't seem to own scooters, although there were one or two of the 'faces' to be seen hurtling round town clad in full length leather coats purchased from faraway Nottingham's superb market (presumably whilst arranging a supply of Boots 'medication' for the weekend!!). Unable to afford the 'real deal', in 1963 my parents signed the necessary HP agreement to buy me a Honda C50 'scooterette' which I proceeded to adorn with a 6 foot tank aerial complete with foxtail and various 'gonks' and this allowed me to motor in to Donny and, more importantly, come home after the late bus. Although not a 'proper' scooter, there didn't seem to be the insistence locally on only riding out on a Vespa or Lambretta, even when visiting far flung youth clubs in Rotherham. The C50 now seems to have gained some credibility with early models regularly fetching over £2500!!! Somewhere around the house there's a picture of me astride the C50 (CDT 122B) with Hush Puppies, 501's and polo shirt looking pretty cool, even though I sez it meself.......... great daze!!! This is probably my favourite book about 'mod' culture..."
"Hope you're all finally enjoying some decent rain at last - maybe the 'rainy' selections last week helped it along. Here's my 3 for the week. Delving into the 45's boxes once again and three that caught my eye for another spin..."
What's That Sound (For What It's Worth) performed by Art - "Art's cover of the Buffalo Springfield hit released on Island."
Cannonball Blues Furry Lewis - "This track is on an EP of Alexis Korner's selection called Kings of The Blues" Vol 3 and considering it's racing towards being a century old it sounds really fresh.
Lover Please performed by The Vernons Girls - "Here's another track taken from an EP featuring the girls who were named after the famous \Liverpool Football Pools Company. This track was originally done by Clyde McPhatter. The girls made regular appearances on "Oh Boy" and I can vouch that they held much appeal to impressionable spotty faced youths like me in a world rationed for pop music on the telly - oh yeah, they wore lots of VERY skimpy shorts too."
"Hi Everyone, hope you enjoyed the rain! Here are my three tracks for this week..."
"Hi RPMers...can’t believe how fast this year is flying by. Here’s 3 tunes I have enjoyed this week."
"Three songs to remind me of a lovely weekend spent in Webbun."
"Here's my selection from this week's listening..."
'Til Next Time....