Week 8 - Fri 23rd Oct
Welcome to the RPM Seven Day Soundtrack.............musical emanations from RPMers sound systems, weekending Friday 23rd October, were, as usual, aurally multifarious in breadth. How so? Wonder no more and get listening; it's over to.......
"Needed to lift the spirits this week, so I put up the volume and chose some legendary Rock Bands doing what they do best – LIVE Performance..........Keep playing the music everyone and keep well. ."
"Hello again dear RPM colleagues. This week I’ve gone a bit ethereal…........."
"For the last week of the "Isolation Booth" I chose a number by the late Cesaria Evora that included some tasty saxophone played by James Carter.
This reminded me that for quite some time I have been meaning to check out some of Mr. Carter's own music, so I have obtained copies of the two highly regarded albums he made for Atlantic in the mid-90s when he was in his mid-20s. I prefer the second of these, "Conversin' With The Elders" (1996), and the opening track on this gave rise to This Week's Big Idea, which is "Reggae-ish rhythms played by non-reggae musicians."
In the service of T.W.B.I. I have listened to, considered, and rejected such tunes as "Keep on Smilin'" by Wet Willie (insufficiently reggae-ish), "Police and Thieves" by The Clash (why listen to their version when Junior Murvin's is available?), and "I Love The Sound of Breaking Glass" by Nick Lowe (chosen a few weeks ago- by Morra if I remember correctly). The three numbers that made the cut are............"
C Moon by Paul McCartney and Wings - "Originally the B-side of "Hi-Hi-Hi," one of the many songs that have been banned by the BBC over the years, but it turned out that "C Moon" was the more popular side anyway and it was a substantial hit. According to Macca himself the term "C Moon" is intended to represent a circle and thus be the opposite of "Square"- ie. "Cool" or "Hip." (Apparently "L7" was '60s-speak for "Square" but I must admit I'd never heard this before)."
Freereggaehibop by James Carter, featuring "elder" trumpeter Lester Bowie of The Art Ensemble of Chicago - "The title is self-explanatory- it's over 8 minutes long but I think it's both accessible and compelling throughout its' length, as is the entire album. The other "elders" with whom Mr. Carter conversed were Basie alumni Buddy Tate and Harry "Sweets" Edison, Hamiet Bluiett of The World Saxophone Quartet, and a gent named Larry Smith who was a local legend in the Detroit area but recorded very little."
".........Further to my notes about "C moon," it's just been drawn to my attention that in "Woolly Bully", Sam The Sham sings "Let's not be L7, let's learn to dance."
"Wotcha Guys..................Yesterday Jayne and I just got back from a brief sojourn, basking on a peaceful, all but deserted, island, surrounded by blue seas and white beaches… even if the temperature rarely rose into the teens. As I hinted, with my choices, last week’s picks were made, and posted, from the Shetland islands.
As we drove back through Scotland, for the first time in a week, I turned the radio in the car to BBC Radio4 and we listened to the News that the Government had voted against the subsidy of meals for hungry children, after having eaten in a House of Commons Private dinning room subsidised by the British Taxpayer to the tune of more than £4,000,000. (And recently declared to be an official 'works canteen', in order that it should escape lockdown curfew closing times, as imposed on any other high class catering establishment).
That Day's Menu…
My choices reflect my reaction to listening to that news…..
Low Spark of the High Heeled Boys by Traffic - "First Traffic… It might have been something from ‘Welcome to the Canteen’ but this is beautiful as well as obliquely pertinent....."
"Three oddities from my vinyl horde this week........... two advertisements for UK (and European) TV and a super one for the US radio from one of the first psychedelic groups to hit the US (and UK) charts. (plus a superb bonus if Tim is feeling very generous!! 😇.)"
The Rolo Sensation (Camp) by Sir Henry and his Butlers (Columbia single released November 1968.) - "Not the first non-British group to 'en-noble' themselves (Sir Douglas Quintet and Sir Winston and the Commons spring to mind), this Danish group were initially known as The Five Danes (there were five of them and they were Danes so why not?) until they changed their name to cash in on Beatlemania in 1964. They scored a huge Scandinavian hit with 'Let's Go/Johnny B Goode' in late 1964 (50,000 copies sold) and, following a move to EMI, had further success with several other singles during 1965/66. As the 'age of Aquarius' dawned the band went into the studio to lay down the 'blissed out' 'Pretty Style' along with the decidedly odd 'Camp', featuring a comb and paper as lead instrument. The single received extensive airplay on the original pirate radio station Radio Veronica, which soldiered on until the 1970's despite the draconian 1967 legislation. Someone at Mackintosh's must have had a sugar lump too many and, upon hearing this ditty, decided it was just the tune to bring Rolo to a 'new' generation of chocolate eaters. So, a few months after it's dismal failure in the UK it was retitled with the 'hook' from the ad appended to the title (and cue orgasmic young lady eating a Rolo whilst a male voice intones "It's the Rolo sensation" ) and re-issued to general disinterest. Worth picking up for the pretty stylish (sic) Yardbirds-ian sitar heavy psych bee-side if you see it!
Manfred Mann and Mike Hug(sic) - 'Ski "Full of fitness" theme' Ski label released 1970 -
"Released between the break up of Manfred Mann and the formation of Manfred Mann Chapter Three, Mann and Hugg (mis-spelled on both sides of the single) obviously decided to utilise their many talents (underutilised on MM singles as they were) to keep the revenue flowing by recording incidental music for several Corporations. 'Go Radial, go Michelan' was first up in 1969, next was a Lyntone flexi of 'The Maxwell House Shake', plus a composition recorded by the Rob Hoeke R&B Group for Jolita Nylons (all of which have proved difficult to track down). Their adventures into the advertisement arena ended with the infuriatingly catchy Ski theme which does seem to crop up in plenty of charidee shoppes and is really worth picking up thanks to the pretty cool lead guitar break on the top side, plus the typically seventies 'gospelly bloos' 'Sweet Baby Jane' bee-side. All came in picture sleeves but, unfortunately mine was missing, still not bad for 50p though!!"
Electric Prunes- 'Vox Wah Wah radio commercial'. 'Lost dreams' album (hidden track)*. Heartbeat label released 2000 - "A great advert with the 'Prunes running through a gamut of effects possible with the Vox pedal, with a 'serious' intoned (but over the top) description just to help you recognise each one! Recorded, I believe, around the time that the group were in a state of flux with just some of the members being involved with the recording of their 'Mass in F Minor' quasi-religious album. Lead vocalist Jim Lowe's account is that the group as a whole were not sufficiently adept enough to record the complex arrangements although three members played on three tracks including 'Kyrie Eleison' as featured in the film 'Easy Rider'. As the follow up was another 'religious' themed album, it was no surprise that there was virtually no band involvement at all and, as a result, the original line up of the band folded and were replaced, for a very short period, by members of Chicago band Climax. It was this line up that recorded the less than essential final 'Prunes album 'Just good old rock and roll' (which it wasn't!!). A tragic end to a band who were unable to achieve their true potential thanks to management and label interference which saw them being coerced into recording sub-standard material from outside sources (see my 'Psychedelia Obscura' article for further info)."
*Plus 'Pebbles Vol 2'. V/A album.
(Hopefully, seeing as that one is only a minute or so long, here's one which could easily have hit number one if it had been extended and marginally lyrically amended a' la Georgie Fames 'Getaway')
"As usual........... stay safe and take every precaution possible for both yourselves and others.
And as is becoming depressingly too often, it's a sad goodbye to Spencer Davis and ex Crimso (and Fripp's old schoolmate) Gordon Haskell ............"
"Here's my selections for this week. I'm currently on holiday but pre-selected these as promised last week as a further offering of tracks from Joe Banashak's Instant and Minit Labels."
Country Fool by The Showmen (Minit) - "This was the first release by the Showmen (formerly The Humdingers) on the Minit label and the record was destined to get flipped so that the 'B' side ("It Will Stand") became the bigger success. Controversy would later embroil this track along with another track called "Misery" by The Dynamics in an argument about whether the first record for The Who, recording as The High Numbers called "Zoot Suit" was a rip-off of this track. The lead singer, General Norm Johnson went on to form The Chairmen Of The Board......"
Ruler Of My Heart by Irma Thomas (Minit) - "Irma was a favourite at Minit and on this recording she's accompanied by the great Allen Toussaint on piano but no surprise there as he produced most of the good stuff down in The Big Easy and played on most of them as well."
In the Night by Chick Carbo (Instant) - "Chick was originally with a gospel group called the Zion Harmonisers with his brother Chuck. When he crossed over to secular music he recorded for Atlantic and VeeJay as well as Instant."
"Hi RPMers......hope you are all well . Here’s my 3 favs this week........"
Farewell To Stromness by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, performed by Adrian Lord - "I know I had this before but it was on Desert Island Discs today....and you can't play this enough."
"Hi All. Hope you're all fit and well. Here are my selections from my play-list of the past seven days....."
Small Town England by New Model Army - "This version is from a session they did for John Peel in 1983. Saw them live a few times. On one occasion they were supported by The Levellers who were relatively unknown at the time....a year or so later the roles were reversed and New Model Army were supporting The Levellers.....Oh, the fickle world of popular music. (Having said that, I'm sure this reversal of headline/support happened a lot. Throwing Muses and Pixies spring to mind)"
Take It by Black Roots - "Stalwarts of the Bristol Reggae scene, along with Talisman and Cool Runnings to name but two. This is the title track from their most recent album.
Changing Of The Guards by Bob Dylan - "From 'Street Legal' - one of my favourite Dylan albums. I took a trip to Skewjack Surf Village in Cornwall in my old VW Beetle in 1978 with only a handful of cassettes to play on my recently installed 'in-car stereo' (ho ho!). The only other tape I can recall from that trip was a recording from John Peel's radio show when he played the newly released Stranglers LP (Black & White) in its entirety.....complete with Peely's merry jape as the album finished. (Those of you familiar with the album could probably guess what it was....or you may have heard it at the time; it was quite memorable!)
"Well, it was mostly Ozric Tentacles on repeat play this week.......really liking their new Space For The Earth LP.....Tuesday night, we had a Mission night; first four 12" singles and first album.....oh, and then noticed a new song from the upcoming AC/DC album, Power Up, was being previewed on YouTube......"
Space For The Earth by Ozric Tentacles - Ed Wynne, main Ozrics man, was interviewed on 6 Music's Freak Zone show a couple of weeks ago. He explained the LP title idea came about when he noticed how much quieter the world became during lockdown........almost as if the Earth was being given a breathing space from everything the human race throws at it......hence, "Space For The Earth". So, put away the strobes, as this week the Ozrics are in reflective mood.
Serpents Kiss by The Mission - "When this hit the airwaves in 1986, I thought it was brilliant..........that first batch of 12" singles and debut album, God's Own Medicine, continued to ride the crest of the wave as did the next two singles taken from album number two, entitled Children. Unfortunately, the rest of the LP lacked......something.......even with LedZep's John Paul Jones as producer. Had they burnt a little too brightly those first few years............? I think so, as for me, nothing subsequently matched up to those first recordings."
Shot In The Dark by AC/DC - "Not ground breaking, you might say.....and thank God!......just proper head nodding Rock Music (can't head bang anymore, so nodding will have to do). AC/DC's vibe is just so uplifting. One of the best rock 'n' roll bands around, in my view. Break out the red plastic devil horns and get practicing your duck walk and air-guitar technique."