fredag 21 juli 2017

LATE SUMMER BREAK

Summer's almost gone and I just realised I spent most of it indoors - at work, in record shops or at home in front of the computor. Gotta get out while there's still warmth and light so I'm taking a break from it all, hoping a couple of weeks will be enough to strengthen my body and clear my mind. Still have a large stack of vinyl to treat, but save that for later. Back sometime in August. Wishing you all some great summer days (and summer nights).

torsdag 20 juli 2017

RED SQUARES KSX 5 (-66) DENMARK

Band founded 1964 in Boston, England. After a couple of years struggling without securing a record contract or getting any kind of breakthrough on home turf they moved to Denmark 1966, and there within only six months succeeded to be one of the most auspicious outfits in Scandinavia at the time. For exemple their 1966 cover of The Four Seasons "Sherry " topped the Swedish list and the 1967 "Lollipop" reached #2. Between 1966-69 the original setting released eight singles and two albums - apart from this the 1967 "It's Happening". Later the band has seen a fair share of hiatuses and member changes, but as I understand they're still at it in some form. This album contains two A:s and two B:s of contemporary 45 releases while the remaining ten tracks were LP only. Music is a mix of soft and up-tempo, most of it sung high-pitch. Some reminding of Beach Boys, others sounding like from an earlier US tradition. The vocals are exquisite and I'm amazed how high they could reach and still appearing unstrained. It's all embraceable, but if I have to pick favorites it'll be - "Stay" where they're about an octave above the Hollies version and "You Can Be My Baby" having a borderline messy garage feeling. All very well produced with top audio. If you're a fan of male high-pitch vocals it's a gem, well worth to be picked and enjoyed. To my knowledge this was the only original issue. EMI 1974 compilation "Red Squares Favoritter" (6C 054-38110) had a couple of the cuts in common. On the Columbus 1996 2xCD "The Ultimate Collection 1966-69" (CD 81536) you get it all. First Danish had label as shown here and fully laminated flip/back cover. (SCÄ*) (CCÖ*)

tisdag 18 juli 2017

THE ROLLING STONES/OUT OF OUR HEADS SKL 4725 (-65) UK EXPORT STEREO

Never say never. After buying the German 1st press stereo a while ago I was determined not to go for this UK export ever again (see earlier post). Then already a week or so later I found this pretty decent copy at such an affordable price I just had to pick it. Of course made from the same US fake stereo tapes and more of an alternative mono than any kind of stereo. I can't hear any difference to the German in audio or otherwise and to my eyes the German label design is a lot yummier. Pros with this is having a record by an English band on a first press UK label and maybe getting a rare item to the Stones collection...but that's about it. For this release the original mono is king. The stereo may be good to the eyes and mind, but not one I choose for listening. First had ridged label as shown here and laminated cover. (RÅ*) (ÖXÄP*)

söndag 16 juli 2017

16 ORIGINAL R&B GOLDEN HITS 148 011 STL (-65) MONO GERMANY

Very nice German compilation with originals for many of the songs that later would become more known or successful as cover versions. Not sure how many sixties rock bands that made more or less reworked versions of "I Got My Mojo Workin", "Green Onions" or "Bo Diddley", but it's got to be hundreds. For Rufus Thomas "The Dog" and Don Garden/DeeDee Ford "I Need Your Loving" I guess many are familiar with the somewhat later Otis Redding recordings. Shirelles "Dedicated To The One I Love" from 1959 is today mainly appreciated as the 1967 Billboard #2 hit by The Mamas & The Papas. Rolling Stones version of Muddy Waters "I Just Wanna Make Love To You" (here for some reason titled "Just Make Love To Me") is today a lot more recognized than the original. One of Elvis biggest hits in the sixties "Crying In The Chapel" was a much covered song already 1953. On here is The Orioles recording from that year. So if you wanna get first or very early versions of those songs with original mono mixes this is it. Muddy Waters "I Got My Mojo Workin" is live, the rest studio. Audio shifts a little, but most of it surprisingly good for such old takes - wide, big and clear. Don't know of any other issues. Label and sleeve has reference to a Mercury no. (125 970 MCL), but not sure if that is an actual issue or has to do with the jurisdiction. First (only?) had label as shown here and laminated cover with embossed fonts on front. (SÄM*) (GÖXÄ*)

fredag 14 juli 2017

CILLA BLACK/CILLA SINGS A RAINBOW PMC 7004 (-66) UK MONO

Her 1965 debute LP "Cilla" became an immediate success in Britain, there reaching #5 on the album list, and eventually also sold well in Europe, downunder and South Africa. As a Liverpudlian she was a pre-fame friend of The Beatles and as first signed by Brian Epstein and produced by George Martin an important early part of the Parlophone crowd. Three of her UK hit singles were Lennon/McCartney compositions given directly to her by The Beatles - "Love Of The Loved" (#35), "It's For You" (#7) and "Step Inside Love" (#8). Apart from that she also managed eight more top ten singles in Britain during the sixties, where of two #1. This second album did even better than the first and confirmed her place as one of the most popular female singers in Britain at the time. Back then I was in love with the pretty girl and her perky performance, embellished by short skirts and big smiles. Today listening with older ears I'm not enthralled in the same way. The orchestral arrangements and George Martin's production oozes sixties Swinging London - Carnaby Street, Mary Quant and mod culture - a pleasant scent that can take you back to more positive times. But as usual I'm not all in with her vocals, some of it sounding too youthfully strained for my taste. So my favorites here would be a couple of the calmer songs - "Sing A Rainbow", "My Love Come Home", "When I Fall In Love" and "Yesterday" - showing a more sensitive side and allowing me to get closer to the person. Originally also issued in Australia (SPMEO 9591). 2002 mono CD through EMI:s "60s 2 on 1" serie had this coupled with her debute "Cilla". 2009 issued in a special edition for digital downloads, including a booklet with track info and rare photos. Premiere UK had label as shown here and laminated flip/back cover. (PÖX*) (FÄV*) (CÄLÄ*)

torsdag 13 juli 2017

ETTA JONES/DON'T GO TO STRANGERS PRLP 7186 (-60) US MONO

Bought this by mistake. When going through used bins I among other things always look for Etta James originals and with this I only saw "Etta" and didn't look further, just threw the seller his fee and went home. Honestly never heard of this Etta Jones before but gave the record a spin and got caught. Sweet cool jazz with soft backing and pleasant vocals. Voice sometimes reminding of Billie Holiday, yet so personal the likeness only spices the dish. But what really made me sit it out first listen was the audio. Recorded in one session...clear and direct...or so direct it could get with all stations needed between performance and vinyl back then. Yet it seems a minimum of meddling was done and you experience it as if they were all there in front of your listening chair and she's singing for you. Mmmmmmmmm. It sure was a lucky mistake picking it and James isn't the only Etta I'll be looking for in the bins henceforth. Originally also issued in Germany (Prestige PRST 7186) and UK (Esquire 32-127). European 2006 CD on Prestige/RVG Remasters (008880 723000071). Premiere US had label as shown here and laminated cover. (YZÄ*) (CLÄZ*) (ÖXCÅ*) ((FÄV*)

onsdag 12 juli 2017

VARIOUS ARTISTS/A COLLECTION OF 16 ORIGINAL BIG HITS VOL. II TM 256 (-64) US MONO

The second of eleven in a Motown sampler serie issued 1963-69. Here mixing all time classics like Supremes "When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes", Marvin Gaye "Hitch Hike", Martha & The Vandellas "Heat Wave" and Miracles "I Gotta Dance To Keep From Crying" with today less famous cuts from acts as Contours, Valadiers and Eddie Holland. For a Motown lover this is heaven. Great songs conveyed by more or less basic recordings, well sung and backed with enough transparency to let all that pristine energy and joy trickle through for us to take in fiftythree years later. Not of the highest audiophile quality all the time, but with enough original atmosphere to put you there. After finding the record a while ago and taking it for a first spin I couldn't sit still. Starting with "Heat Wave" I got up dancing by myself in the living room and stayed on the floor the entire side one. Silly old man maybe - but a very happy one indeed. Favorite track - Supremes "When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes" has always been one of my most loved Motown songs. Made during the label's transition from the early ardent trials to hit machine and carrying the best from both those worlds. 1964 releases in US and Canada (same number). Also as stereo vinyl 1966 and on stereo CD 1989 (Motown 095 449). First US had label as shown here and glossy cover. (TÖMÖ*) (SÄM*) (ÖXCÅ*)

söndag 9 juli 2017

THE BEATLES/MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR MAL 2835 (-67) US MONO

One of the first records I posted here. Since it's already probed to pieces and all seems to have been said I didn't know what to add. Been meaning to do a remake for a long time but still not sure how to put it. Better keep it simple. I've seen this album counted either as a regular US issue, a soundtrack, or a US version of a UK 2xEP issue. But if you get down to basics it's just another collection of non-LP 45 tracks. All cuts are the original UK mono mixes. Apart from "All You Need Is Love" fading somewhat earlier here and "I'm The Walrus" having a shorter mellotron intro it's the same versions. The audio not exactly like the UK 45:s, but good. Side one has the six UK EP tracks from the Magical Mystery Tour movie, side two five single A:s and B:s. I would have preferred "I'm The Walrus" on side two as that first appeared on single coupled with "Hello Godbye", but guess either way is OK. However if you leave details and history behind and just listen you get one of the first genuine Britpsych albums and probably the best such ever. Experimental and melodic, druggy and catchy, directly striking and long memorable - all in one bag. US stereo counterpart came with re-channels for "Penny Lane", "All You Need Is Love" and "Baby You're A Rich Man". For that I would pick the 1971 German A1/B3 matrix issue instead (see earlier post), as it came with true stereo versons of those three cuts plus a yummy remix of "Strawberry Fields Forever" - all then just made by George Martin himself. But even if that has its advantages this US mono is the all true original MMT LP and will always be my first choice. Premiere issue had label as shown here and thick cardboard fold/out cover with a 24 page booklet inside. (BÄ*) (PÖP*) (YZÄ*) (ÖXCÅ*)

fredag 7 juli 2017

SWEDISH GRAFFITI SLPD-2563 (-75) MONO + STEREO SWEDEN

A Swedish response to the US "American Graffiti" soundtrack. Here a 2LP containing 32 cuts recorded between 1961-69 with some of the best, or at least most successful, domestic period singles. Apart from the expected by bands like Tages, Hep Stars, Spotnicks, Ola & The Janglers, Shanes, Jerry Williams and Mascots, there's also stuff by today lesser know acts as Suzie, The Lee Kings, Gonks, Fabulous Four, Jackpots, Shakers, Caretakers, Slamcreepers...and more. Since almost impossible to find every original 45 as they were it feels rewarding getting them in one place. Larger part having the original mono mixes, a couple with corresponding album stereo versions. Audio is of all over excellent quality. You should think it'd only appeal to Scandinavian baby boomers who grew up with this music and there's a lot here to embrace and reminsce by for us. But as it is a catchy blend of inventive and melodic, garage or well produced, sung in English and containing a fair share of oddities, I guess it can please any music lover regardless of denomination. Favorite tracks - The Lee Kings "Stop The Music" and "L.O.D.", Tages "So Many Girls" and "Every Raindrop Means A Lot", Mascots "A Sad Boy", Ola & The Janglers "Alex Is The Man" and Hep Stars "Cadillac". Only issued in Sweden. 1990 2xCD on Sonet (SLPDCD-2563) came with same tracking. First vinyl had label as shown here and laminated fold/out cover. (SCÄ*) (CCÖ*) (SÄM*)

torsdag 6 juli 2017

THE ROLLING STONES/STILL LIFE (AMERICAN CONCERT 1981) CUN 39115 (-82) UK

It could have been a feast. Carerfully chosen numbers from a recent US tour with a good mix of old and new. Recorded during the latter part of the tour when they were all warmed up you'd expect classic Stones machinery - close, tight and dirty as on "Ya-Ya's". I don't get that here. Some of it gets through and I'm almost there in front of the stage, though most of the time feeling distanced as hearing it from the outskirts of the arena - the songs all right but lacking in edge and dynamics. Like getting a reproduction instead of the real piece of art. Don't know if to blame the recordings or later handeling, still in 1981 there would certainly have been means to do it a lot better. A necessary part of my Stones collection, but not one I listen much to today. I rather do my Ya-Ya. First UK had label as shown here and matt fold/out cover with glossy picture/credit inner. (RÅ*) (LYBÖ*)

tisdag 4 juli 2017

NEW GENERATION/HAPPY DAYS SLP-66 (-68) SWEDEN

Swedish one-hit wonder with qualities that could have lasted longer given other circumstances. Today mostly recognized as the starting point for Peter Holm and his solo carreer. Band founded 1964 as "Plöjboys", but changed their name to New Generation soon after. Following a couple of years mostly playing local scenes Holm joined and at about the same time they got a contract with Sonet label. Debute single "Two Faces Have I"/"Blue Moon" became a huge domestic hit with ten weeks at #1 and also sold well in other European countries. While doing promotion tours in France 1968 Holm switched to Riviera label on his own and a concert in Paris, April 23, became his last with the combo. He then called and cancelled all future appointments for the band without telling the others, making the break definitive. This album was issued after his big international hit with "Monia" and probably an attempt by Sonet to cash in on the newly found fame. Seems like recorded in two separate sessions - side two having five recordings made while Holm was in the band and the six on side one either made after he left to finish it off. Though there's not too much difference between the sides - both well played mostly topped by harmony singing and high-pitch vocals - the Holm cuts sounds a little tighter and better produced. Good pop with top audio...maybe not the best Swedish period LP, but with enough charm to make it worth while and those into male falsetto will get their share for sure. Both "Two Faces Have I" and "Blue Moon" were remixed in stereo here. The original mono mixes can be found on Peter Holm's French debute "Monia" (see earlier post). This was released in Sweden only and to my knowledge never reissued on vinyl or CD. It came with label as shown here and thin fully laminated cover. (SCÄ*) (CCÖ*)