söndag 23 april 2017

THE TROGGS/ TROGGLODYNAMITE POLS 001 (-67) UK STEREO

After their world-wide hit with "Wild Thing" and debute LP "From Nowhere...The Troggs" with follow-up promotion gigs it seems little energy was left for recording this second album. Though having the same kind of signature vocals and backing there's no immediate hit feeling and even if I wouldn't call it uninspired it comes through rather tired at parts, as if they were pushed rather than doing it for joy. It wasn't favoured by crtics at the time and even if fans bought it then there seems to be less love for it now. Haven't heard it for a while and my mind for this post was initially set on negative, but when listening while writing I'm feeling a lot more supportive. If I skip the comparisons and just open up it's really good garage if nothing else. Most of it apparently recorded direct by basic setting with few overdubs. I get lots of hard pumping bass and drums with a fair share of rattling guitars with or without fuzz. Not entirely enthralled by some of the softer invites, but the faster cuts are really endearing in a simplistic kind of way - e.g. "I Can Only Give You Everything" with a prominent fuzz guitar all through, "Mona" a very dirty semi-chaotic cover version, "I Want You To Come Into My Life" catchy up-tempo. So high time for revaluation. Why they bothered to release this "stereo" alternative to the mono I don't know. There's no real stereo on it and hardly any fake stereo either. All cuts are either true mono, enhanced mono or just minutely rechanneled. Listening with the mono button pushed hardly makes any difference at all. Good news is if you have one you really don't need the other other than for completist reasons. Originally released in Europe, downunder, South Africa and South America, but not in US. 2004 UK CD on Repertoire Records (REPUK 1020) came with eight bonus tracks. Premiere UK had label as shown here and laminated flip/back cover. (TRÖX*)

fredag 21 april 2017

DUSTY SPRINGFIELD/YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME PHM 200-210 (-66) US MONO

For background check post on her UK debute - "A Girl Called Dusty". This was the US version of her second UK album - "Ev'rything's Coming Up Dusty". Here "Doodlin", "Packin' Up" and "That's How Heartaches Are Made" were omitted and replaced with the 45 A-sides "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" and "Little By Little". Before a choice between the two you could argue the UK was the original and the US version just another exemple of "butchering". But on the other hand it is nice to get two top numbers from about the same sessions in the same place...and all five numbers showed up later on other albums anyway, so no harm done. Important is you get a stack of songs from the most sensual white soul voice ever. I know some don't agree, but to me the blend of foxy lady and girlish vulnerability luring under that soft surface is downright sexy. And this is good Dusty all the way, if you like her you'll like this selection too. Audio on this mono is brighter and wider than on the corresponding UK tracks. Personally I'd prefer her a little tighter and darker, but she could pull off any drag so it's still magic. Favorite track - "If It Don't Work Out". Originally issued in US and Canada only, also as stereo (PHS 600-210). 1999 US CD (Mercury 314 538 911-2) came with the three missing UK cuts as bonus tracks. First had label as shown here and glossy cover. (TÖZ*) (YZÄ*) (ÖXCÅ*) (FÄV*)

BLOOD SWEAT & TEARS/GREATEST HITS S 64803 (-72) UK

A truly fine compilation well worth to be called "greatest hits". Seven high charting single A-sides coupled with two cuts from the band's debute and two from their second album. A chance for the late born to get a piece of the action from a time when jazzy prog could be turned into something commercially viable and top the most prominent lists. And for us who was there an opportunity to return and reminisce. There are no rare tracks making it collectible for completist reasons. Only oddity is the former A-sides have the 45 edits, which was changed to album versions on later CD issues. So what's special with this vinyl is you get nothing but the true hit versions as many of us heard them on stereo radio back then - here a concentrated mix of arty and catchy conveyed by top analog audio. Maybe not the most commonly sought after record today, but if you don't care too much about rarity level and just want good listening to good music it's highly recommended. Released all over the world through the years on vinyl, 8-track, reel, cassette and CD. Premiere US on Columbia (KC 31170). First UK had label as shown here and glossy cover with "The Music People" inner. (PÖP*)

tisdag 18 april 2017

THE SUPREMES/AT THE COPA STML 11026 (-65) UK STEREO

There are many reasons for nominating this as a classic live LP. Supremes was the first soul-pop act performing at Cobacabana night club in New York and though not the first black artists, certainly the first black group. The performance and album cleared the way for other Motown artists - as Temptations, Miracles and Vandellas - to play at the location, but also opened up for Supremes to do any stage of their choice and reach further into the traditional "white" record market. It was the band's first live album, including their most famed line-up - Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson. Listening today it does not sound classic sixties Supremes. The vocals are there, but the surrounding backing way more elegant - elaboratedly orchestrated towards jazz and swing, more reminding of Sinatra or Matt Monro than Motown. Song choice with all certainty adjusted to the occation - apart from a couple of their own hits and a Sam Cooke medley they also try stuff like "Queen Of The House" (King Of The Road), "The Boy From Ipanema" (The Girl From Ipanema), "Put On A Happy Face" and "You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You". For a 1965 live recording both the audio and stereo mix are superb, conveying a very natural feeling allowing you to participate. I like it, my only reservation would be I can't find the real girls anywhere. The surface so posh and glossy it's hard to get beneath. Maybe it's just me, but I prefer studio recordings with the old reliable Motown gang - hard hitting and transparent enough to let their souls out. Issued and reissued all over the world on vinyl, reel, cassette and CD through the years. Premiere US on Motown (M/S 636). 2012 Motown 2xCD came with both mono and stereo versions of the originals + one expanded with the full original show. First UK had label as shown here and laminated flip/back cover. (TÖMÖ*) (LYBÖ*) (ZYZÖ*) (FÄV*)

söndag 16 april 2017

THE MOVE/MOVE LRZ 1002 (-68) UK MONO

By modern listeners probably most known as the band that transformed into Electric Light Orchestra in the early seventies, then a couple of years after Roy Wood and Bev Bevan as only remaining original members had teamed up with Jeff Lynne from Idle Race. I'm not the biggest ELO fan. I really like their first two albums and tolerate a couple of the others, but a lot of their later stuff sounds too posh for me. The Move on the other hand has been a true love of mine all the way from the "Night Of Fear" debute up to "California Man"/"Do Ya" 1972. Through various styles as pop, hard rock, psych and prog they always had great melodies with tons of catchy parts involved, often performed with a large portion good humour. Most of it sung by the inimitable Roy Wood who also wrote a majority of the songs. Between 1966-72 they managed seven top ten 45:s in UK, where of "Blackberry Way" #1, two further top 12 and one #23. The albums however didn't do as well and this was their only charter at #15. Containing three covers - "Weekend", "Hey Grandma" and "Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart". The rest written by Roy Wood, including A:s and B:s of two hit singles - "Flowers In The Rain"/"(Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree" and "Fire Brigade"/"Walk Upon The Water". Described by current genre attributes it'd be called a psych rock/pop album. Rather uneven - split between old style rockers, pop and innovative outbursts - with the mixing/audio partly unbalanced and track succession seemingly unplanned. Yet so special it's worth attention and love also outside the persisting fan circuit. "Yellow Rainbow", "Kilroy Was Here", "Lemon Tree", "Flowers In The Rain", "Useless Information" and "Fire Brigade" are all British pop at its best. "Cherry Blossom Clinic" good psych with odd lyric theme and "Mist On A Monday Morning" string driven baroque not far from what later showed up on ELO:s debute. Taken together that's more than enough to make it a classic album, at least in my book. Originally issued on vinyl all over the world, though first US didn't show up until 1974 as part of the 2-LP set "The Best Of The Move" on A&M (SP-3625). Japan 2001 CD on Cube (VICP-61313) came with sixteen bonus tracks. Premiere UK had label as shown here and fully laminated flip/back cover. (RÄZ*) (RÖWS*)

fredag 14 april 2017

PINK FAIRIES 2384-071 (-75) UK

A band of rebels with a very interesting early history filled by famed names and close relations to other historically important groups. Way too much to get into here. If you want the full background I recommend the very exhaustive Wikipedia article. This compilation was issued through UK Polydor's Flashback serie. Two previous non-LP 45 cuts - "The Snake" and "Well Well Well" - coupled with four from "Never - Neverland" and three each from "What A Bunch Of Sweeties" and "Kings Of Oblivion". Listening while writing I totally forget it's a collection and just enjoy a very good psych rock album. Haven't had any of the originals for a very long time so I can't grade the compiling, but doubt it could have been much better. Heavy stuff with great guitars and enough odd strokes to make it special. Audio shifting but totally ok throughout. Favorite tracks - "The Snake" raw garage rock, "Do It" with a hard pumping theme and howling guitars reminding of early Hawkwind and "Well Well Well" a wild uptempo rocker. The band's original albums and 45:s can be very hard and dear to find these days. As this was the only reasonably early compilation it's also pretty much the one if you want it close to the source without paying a lot. To my knowledge there were no other vinyl issues. Japan 1991 CD as part of Polydor's "British Rock Relics" serie (POCP-2086). Premiere UK had label as shown here and thin matt cover. (PÖP*)

torsdag 13 april 2017

CLIFF RICHARD & THE SHADOWS/SUMMER HOLIDAY SCX 3462 (-63) UK STEREO

I'm into collecting for the songs, mixes and audio and usually not overly particular about sleeves or inserts as long as it's quality press good music and the rest at least decent. But at a few occations I can pick an item just for the package. This is one of those. A soundtrack from some long forgotten movie I guess only the most faithful fans watched at the time. Bill topped by "Cliff Richard and The Shadows" which can make you believe they perform together most of the record, but no. Shadows doing three numbers alone, Cliff sings six to orchestral backing and only five by them together - whereof just "Dancing Shoes" uptempo classic style. Stereo is true and though sometimes mixed hard left and right the audio is loud, clear and natural. It comes in a stiff laminated flip/back cover with color pic also on rear. Inner sleeve has eight pics from the movie plus info on plot and cast. Label is old style Columbia turquoise/silver - to my taste one of the yummiest on vinyl - supposedly only used up to 1962, maybe they had a couple of spare ones. So not the most rewarding musically, but everything else makes it worth while. 1963 issues in Europe, Downunder, India and South Africa. UK 2003 CD (EMI 543 9992) came with ten bonus tracks. (CXÄ*) (ZÖNT*)

tisdag 11 april 2017

THE SHANES/VI SSX 1030 (-67) SWEDEN

Through this blog I've followed the band's transition from guitar instrumentals and garage towards mainstream. A four year journey not without painful turns. On this their last album as a rock group the conversion was completed. Insted of dirty r&b I get well produced British style pop with additional strings and/or brass. As a tough inherited Northlander at the time I was all into the band's early garage LP:s and the guys moving south and getting soft, as they did around 1965, was seen a betrayal making this album a definitive no no. Now fifty years later I'm listening with more forgiving ears and what do you know - it may not be that bad after all. They were never great singers, though here the vocals are kept within reachable range. The arrangements are nicely accomodative and there are a couple of moments that can make it worthwhile even for a more adventurous listener. "Away From You" has a prominent fuzz guitar conterpointing the melody all through, fuzz also on "Sunday Will Never Be The Same" but lower in the mix there. "My Mind Cries" is good pop psych and "Without You" odd baroque pop. It would be hard to a bad cover of BeeGees smashing "New York Mining Disaster 1941" and the one here is pleasant - faithful to the original, but a little more towards psych with great strings. I'm clearly starting to warm up here and getting more positive. Let's make it a work in progress and see where it leads. Don't know of any other releases or reissues. This came with label as shown here, thick vinyl and thin, fully laminated cover. (CCÖ*) (SCÄ*) (XHÄ*)

söndag 9 april 2017

THE HONEYCOMBS NPL 18097 (-64) UK MONO

For band background and the story of me attending a concert with them at the time, check post on their second album - "All Systems Go!". In an international perspective they may be called a "one hit wonder" as their only world hit was "Have I The Right" which topped the lists in UK, Canada, Australia and Sweden and reached #5 in US. In Sweden though they scored one more #1 - That's The Way" - and a couple more top tens, securing a more lasting impression. Many a young boy here was in love with the drummer girl Honey Lantree and the simple catchy tunes totally caught our teeny minds. I had the album back then and played it to pieces on my old vinylcrusher. Now after being without copies for about fifty years I've found another one and thereby trying to recapture some of the former magic. There's no question I still carry many of the songs somewhere deep within, reconnecting almost immediately with tapping feet and a big smile. Cuts like "Have I The Right", "That's The Way" and "Colour Slide" are timeless pop and though some of the rest may seem dated today - so am I and we still click. My only reservation would be the audio. Lots of bass and treble and not so much midrange combined with loud cutting makes it tonally unbalanced and slightly unclear at times. But that's the way it was made fiftythree years ago so if you want it as it was - sweep up and be happy. US 1964 release on Interphone (IN/INS 88001) and Australian on Astor (PLP 1127). German 1990 CD on Repertoire Records (RR 4098-WZ) came with seven bonus tracks. UK 1966 reissue on Golden Guinea (GGL 0350) with an alternate sleeve design. Premiere UK had label as shown here and laminated flip/back cover. (PÖY*) (FÖGÄ*)

fredag 7 april 2017

THE WHO 623 025 (-66) GERMANY

German version of the UK "A Quick One" album. The suite "A Quick One While He's Away" and "So Sad About Us" omitted and replaced with "I'm A Boy", "Circles" and "Disguises. I've seen differing reports on the mixes appearing here - for exemple that all cuts are true stereo, or that "Circles" and "You See My Way are rechanneled the rest true. I wonder if this is the issue they're talking about, or any of many later remakes? After what I can hear here "Run Run Run" and "Heatwave" are mono. "Circles", "You See My Way", "Whiskey Man" and "Disguises" are rechanneled. "In The City", "Boris The Spider", "I Need You", Don't Look Away", "Cobwebs And Strange" and "I'm A Boy" true stereo...or at least having some true stereo effects. All cuts have less bass and more treble than the UK originals making them sound wider and clearer. "Disguises" and "Circles" come out too bright for my ears, but most of the rest is surprisingly good for a Who record from that time. Worst thing with it is I don't get "So Sad About Us", best are the stereo versions of "In The City" and "Happy Jack". There were no perfect Who compilations back then, but if counted as such this is sure one of the better. Issued in couple of other countries in the sixties, as mono or stereo, and reissued in Germany with later matrix settings (this has stamped - 1P 1966 L6 <> V 623025 A/B Made in Germany). Don't know how the mixes or audio on any of the others relates to this. Premiere German had label as shown here and thin fully laminated cover. (WÖH*) (GÖXÄ*)

torsdag 6 april 2017

AGNETHA FÄLTSKOG CLP 64 (-68) SWEDEN

For more on her early ABBA connection check post on the "Vol. 2" LP. The cuts on this debute were recorded 1967-68 before she met Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid, already securing her place as one of Sweden's most successful female pop artists by own means. It's more or less a compilation album with ten of the twelve tracks (five A:s + five B:s) also issued on single 1967-69. Music is of the northern schlager type popular in Scandinavia and Germany at the time - orchestrated ballads and pop, a couple with 3/4 or 2/4 beat - and most lyrics about love gone good or bad (translations to some of the titles would be - "I Was So In Love", "I've Lost You", "Without You My Life Goes On", "Reconciled", "A Summer With You" and "The One I've Been Waiting For"). Four of the songs self-penned and she also wrote lyrics to six of the others. Best thing with it is her vocals - the beautiful blend of teen timbre and mature confidence makes it secure and sparkly at the same time - while the backing could be perceived as passee. Good for us oldies who lived valve radio or visited dance parlours at that time, but I doubt it can make any of today's young and restless much happier. Originally released in Sweden only. First vinyl reissue 1974 on Cupol (CLPL 1002), second through Record Store Day 2016 (Cupol Legacy 88697355801). Dutch 1999 CD on Royal Records (199990001) came with three bonus tracks. Premiere Swedish had label as shown here and thin fully laminated cover. (FÄV*) (CCÖ*) (SCÄ*)