fredag 26 maj 2017

ALL GOOD CLEAN FUN UDX 201/2 (-71) UK

My kind of sampler. Two LP:s with some really good stuff from U.A. and Liberty labels at the time, wrapped in a kind of luxurious heavily structured cover with a twelve page booklet containing info, pics and UK discography for the twenty involved acts. Only 45 edit seems to be Eric Burdon & War "Spill That Wine" while the rest are album versions. For me most interesting with issues like this is getting to know bands and/or songs I never heard or even heard of before. Here combos like Sweet Pain, Morning, Cochise and Help Yourself are all new to my ears and very good listening. Better late than never. It's hard to choose best separate tracks though the entire side three works very well for me. Raw rockers from Groundhogs, Sugarloaf, Hawkwind and Amon Duul II, followed by a softer melodic one from Morning. Not the "clean fun" promised by the title, but much dirtier greetings from not so tidy times. Also originally issued on vinyl downunder (U.A. SUAL 934294). UK 2004 3XCD release (Liberty 8660902) came extended to 39 tracks. (SÄM*)

torsdag 25 maj 2017

ANNI-FRID LYNGSTAD/FRIDA ENSAM POLS 265 (-75) SWEDEN

Her second original studio LP (eng. "Frida Alone"). Recorded during and inbetween the sessions for the ABBA albums "Waterloo" and "ABBA", produced by Benny Andersson and backed by the same crew. So in a way it is an ABBA effort, only lacking participation of Agnetha Fältskog. Containing Swedish versions of recent international hits as "Wall Street Shuffle", Life On Mars", Wouldn't It Be Nice" and "Young Girl", but also classics as "Send In The Clowns" and "The Most Beautiful Girl". It has been said song choices and lyrics were specially chosen to show a strong independent woman who manage on her own. Don't know if that's true, but clearly she did. The most interesting track would be the original version of "Fernando", originally written just for her but later when "covered" by ABBA becoming a world wide hit. With Swedish lyrics you should think it must have attracted Scandinavians only, but it was also well received elsewhere. A quote from British music magazine Melody Maker - "The album portrays Frida as a very strong and emotive singer and shows the true value of the music, that if sung properly and with enough feeling it transcends all language barriers". To this old rebel's ears maybe not the most exciting listening, but very well done all the way and with enough vigor and personality to at least be called a good cover album. 1975 issue also on cassette (PMC 265). 2009 CD on Polar (986 876 4) came with two bonus tracks, as such also released on CD in Ukraine and Russia. Premiere vinyl had label as shown here and thin fully laminated cover with Polar ad inner. (FÄV*) (SCÄ*) (CCÖ*)

tisdag 23 maj 2017

THE SPENCER DAVIS GROUP/THE SECOND ALBUM SLP 1402 (-66) MONO SWEDEN

Continuing my reaquainting with the band's early efforts. For more on my relation to them check post on the "Autumn '66" album. To my ears that had two magical moments - "Somebody Help Me" and "When I Come Home" - both penned by Jamaican artist Jackie Edwards (1938-92), with the rest being well produced and soothing but not that exciting. At first listen the best track here too is another Edwards composition - "Keep On Running". But in comparison, as this comes out somewhat more primitive with a part garage feeling, it sounds better to me. Less adjusted and more down to earth allowing contact rather than being hit with a prefabricated product. And there are a couple of more highlights to enjoy - cover of Leadbelly's "Take This Hammer" is very catchy and "Georgia On My Mind", though not reaching up to Ray Charles version, carrying a surprising amount of feeling for such a young voice. Still listening and perusing, but so far this has become a happy reunion. Very confused about the label. It's obviously Swedish and so am I, but all domestic issues I've seen so far was on Sonet and this is new to me. As it's the same label design as Swedish version of the 1968 "The Best Of The Spencer Davies Group Featuring Stevie Winwood" I guess it must have been pressed about then and for a short time only (Swedish Island changed design at the same time as UK). Audio here has more bass and treble than mid-register, but if you don't listen too close it's totally ok. Premiere UK on Fontana (TL 9285). This came with same numbering and top-opening sleeve as the Sonet issue. (ÖSÄP*) (TXÄW*)

söndag 21 maj 2017

THE WHO/DIRECT HITS (-68) UK STEREO 613006 VS. UK MONO 612006

Always throught the mono was a simple fold from some original stereo tapes. But after finding a stereo mate for my mono copy and doing pre-post checking around the net I'm more confused than enlightened. There are numerous theories and "truths" how the formats relate. One is - the true stereos involved were folded to mono along with the true monos, then all tracks rechanneled for the stereo issue and the mono issue got a fold of the rechanneling. Why on earth they'd done something like that I don't know; but however far-fetched it would for exemple explain "Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand" and "I Can See For Miles" where both issues have variations of the original stereo takes, but the stereo album having rechannelings instead of the true stereos and the mono album folds. Now enough with the scutinizing. The band wasn't exactly known for top audio in the sixties anyway and most early compilations suck. Even if both versions are faked, one way or the other, it wouldn't be the only time such handeling showed up on a Who album back then. So like it or not - it's still UK Track originals with great songs from a legendary rock outfit and thus a must for most true fans. Originally issued in Europe and downunder. In Australia, Holland, Italy and Germany as "The Best Of The Who" with alternate sleeve designs. 2007 Japan CD on Polydor (UICP-93004) as remastered mono. Premiere UK had structured labels as shown here and thin laminated cover. (TRÄC*) (WÖH*) (CPYC*) (MÅW*)

fredag 19 maj 2017

ALMA COGAN PMES 535 (-65/-72) MONO SWEDEN

Alma Cogan (born Alma Angela Cohen 1932-66) was one of Britains most popular and highly paid female vocalists of the fifties and early sixties with eighteen high charting singles on the UK list 1954-61. Then as popular music changed towards merseybeat, rock and blues she was suddely considered "square" and soon "yesterday's news". Though with vanishing approval on home turf she remained appreciated in other parts of the world. Especially in Sweden where she got a second carreer mid-sixties with two #1 singles - "Tennessee Waltz" and "The Birds And The Bees" - TV appearances and sold-out concerts. A girl I was secretly in love with back then adored her, talked about her a lot and had a room filled with Alma Cogan posters and "all her records". It wasn't my kind of music, but for a long time I agreed and went along with it just to humor her and get inside. As I recall the pretend liking didn't get me anywhere and she eventually told me to get lost...in a nice way of course so I did. Anyway good innocent times and for me Alma Cogan will always be connected with that girl and listening now takes me back fifty years to when colors were brighter, sounds clearer and love could make you do the strangest things. This issue was Swedish only. Not sure if the recordings were British or Swedish, or of mixed heritage. In any case I don't think they sound dated for its time. She always had the voice and track choice as well as arrangements here reminds of contemporary Sandie Shaw or Cilla Black, way into the then modern age. At the time she was re-inventing her persona to fit the sixties pop scene and if continued on the same path there might have been a British comeback. But sadly while doing club dates in England early 1966 she collapsed and was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Nevertheless she went on a Swedish tour just a month later to promote her Swedish only single "Hello Baby", collapsed again and was rushed home to England where she died October same year. This was first released on Columbia 1965 (SSX 1019). Also on cassette 1972 (Odeon TC-PMES 535). 1993 CD (EMI 0777 7895142 1) came with eight bonus tracks. The one shown here was the second press, using the same matrixes as the original. It came with label as shown here and thin matt cover. (FÄV*) (CCÖ*) (SWÄU*)

torsdag 18 maj 2017

BILLY PEPPER AND THE PEPPERPOTS/ MERSEYMANIA ALL 731 (-64) UK MONO

Release with the same recordings as the US "Beats - The Merseyside Sound" (see earlier post). Probably one of the most scolded period albums, but to my ears not that bad and certainly not the worst. The band an ad-hoc combo put together by Pye producer Bill Shepherd to cash in on the then world-conquering Mersey sound. It wouldn't be too hazardous guessing Bill Shepherd himself was Billy Pepper, but the rest of the members remain unindentified. There have been theories John Cale or Lou Reed (both tied to Pickwick at the time), or Pete Best might have been involved. Or that the band actually was Dean Ford & The Gaylords (later Marmalade), here working under different name as they already had contract with EMI. If any of that was true, or it could be tied to some other latter day celebrity, it would certainly be considered a lot more interesting, but even without any such connection it's still not bad garage pop and collectible as that. As it seems most of the tracks each captured in one take without further additions or embellishments, sounding like something you could get from some kids on the block playing the local youth center at the time. Backing is appropriately tight and especially the drumming works fine. Though group name can make believe it's a singer with backing it seems vocals are shared, sometimes simultaniously, and they almost always hit the notes. Audio surprisingly good - direct with a live feeling. Maybe not the most beautiful sign of those times, but nonetheless charming with lots of period atmosphere. First UK had structured label as shown here and laminated flip/back cover. (ÖGÄ*) (PÖY*)

tisdag 16 maj 2017

THE GENTRYS/KEEP ON DANCING E 4336 (-65) US MONO

US seven piece combo founded in Memphis Tenessee 1963. After playing local dances, winning talent competitions and collecting a large local following the band got national exposure through a contract with MGM. 1965 they had a hit with "Keep On Dancing" (a cover of a 1963 Avants recording), reaching #4 on Billboard and also figuring on lists in Europe and Asia, but that was about it. Though with a couple more singles lower on the US charts, performances in TV-shows and a movie - "It's A Bikini World" - the heat was off and they are today mostly remebered as a one-hit-wonder. Since disbanding 1967 they have later re-shaped a number of times under the same name with various settings and still existing in some form. Whatever the reception was for this debute album at the time, today by a modern genre distribution it's gotta be tagged as genuine garage rock. Tons of energy, rattling guitars, hard working drummer, lots of organ, a fair share of false notes and as it seems recorded live in the studio with an allowing producer. A mix of covers and self-penned, seven rockers and five ballads. But regardless of tempo it's all in the same style - direct and sometimes almost sounding like rehersals. Honest uncensored garage filled with feeling and good will. Favorite tracks - "Brown Paper Sack", "Don't send Me No Flowers" and "Keep On Dancing". Originally released in US, Canada and Germany (MGM 655 056). Japan 1989 vinyl mono reissue on Polydor (2OMM 0438). 1995 CD on Collectables label (COL-CD-5622) came with two bonus tracks. Premiere US had label as shown here and glossy cover. (YZÄ*) (ÖGÄ*) (ÖXCÅ*)

söndag 14 maj 2017

THE ROLLING STONES/AROUND AND AROUND BLK 16315-P (-64) MONO GERMANY

First Stones album issued in Germany. Has no connection to any variation of their UK or US debutes. Instead it's a compilation of 45 cuts recorded 1963-64 - three from the UK EP "The Rolling Stones" (DFE 8560), the entire "Five By Five" EP (DFE 8590), plus three singel A-sides and one B-side. To my ears by far the best collection of Stones' early recordings. First issued very close to the 45:s themselves and only containing pristine versions and mixes. This is them as they were, without any later meddling as remixes or other assorted embellishments. Rock'n'roll history at its finest, brought to us almost exactly as it was. Audio shifts a bit depending on original recording quality, but most of it beautiful - big and strong with fine separation and lots of presence. For this old fan of the band's earliest period it's heaven. 1964 release also in France (Decca 158.012). German seventies reissues in mono (BLK 16315-P) and fake stereo (SLK 16315-P) came with bright red label and laminated cover. To my knowledge never issued legally on CD. Premiere German had dark red/gold label as shown here and thin glossy cover. (RÅ*) (PÖP*) GÖXÄ*)

fredag 12 maj 2017

PETER HOLM/MONIA 521092 (-68) MONO FRANCE

Swedish vocalist, born Peter Sjöholm 1947. Later days probably most recognized as the playboy who was married to Joan Collins in the eighties and also worked as her manager and producer, followed by an ugly divorce where media were used by both parts to get the best out of it. Less known is he also had a prosperous singing carreer from the late sixties way into the seventies, then outside the anglo-saxon world with healthy sales in France, Scandinavia, Italy, Spain, parts of Asia and behind the iron curtain. After a couple of years in the Stockholm band New Generation with one domestic hit - a cover of "Two Faces Have I" - he went solo, moved to France and got a contract with Riviera label. From then on most of his recordings were done in French, but some of the songs also got alternative versions with him doing Spanish, Italian, English or Swedish vocals. Mainly identified with his most popular song "Monia", therefore today often considered a "one-hit-wonder". The album as a whole comes out a little too languishing for my blood, but I do get an abundance of high-pitch vocals to well arranged backing with fine audio so...why not? If you're into romantic Euro-pop, chansons or male falsetto in general it will deliver, but if you crave music that'll claw your mind and take you to dangerous places it wont. Favorite tracks - "Two Faces Have I" and "Blue Moon" uses the same New Generation mono takes as the A and B-sides of the Swedish 1967 hit single so those are given...and of course "Monia". Released in France only. Vinyl reissue on Barclay 1978 (95.035). To my knowledge never issued on CD. First had label as shown here, thick unflexible vinyl and laminated flip/back cover. (SCÄ*) (MFÄX*) (GZÅ*) (MÖRS*)

torsdag 11 maj 2017

THE SWINGING BLUE JEANS/HITROAD 1M 048-94823 (-64/-70) GERMANY

Reissue of the German 1964 release "Shaking Time" (Electrola STE 83716). The copies I've seen of that 1st press have been way out of my price range so far so I'm quite happy with this for now. It's a compilation of single and EP cuts - one originally issued 1964, the rest 1963. There have been many collections by the band through the years. What's special with the original to this is all tracks came with true stereo mixes as early as 1964 and these are the same as captured here (don't mind the sleeve and label have a mono number cause stereo it is). The mixes do sound primitive with most of the tracks having vocals and some guitar in one speaker and bass, drums and further guitar in the other, but still no cheating and probably as good as you could expect from such early circumstances. The audio is tophole and music a mix of screamy amphetamine rock and positive pop, played by basic setting. All songs around two minutes long bursting with energy. Ideal if you need a boost, or just an excuse to sit back and reminisce. Favorite tracks - "Hippy Hippy Shake", "Good Golly Miss Molly", "You're No Good" and "Shake Rattle And Roll". Swedish issue at about the same time as this (Columbia 4E 054-94823). German reissue 1978 on Crystal Schallplatten (CRY 94123). Premiere MFP release had label as shown here and laminated cover. (PÖP*) (GÖXÄ*) (SXS*)