December 30, 2016

early group soul / bossa nova ~ New York 1962

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One of the many incarnations of The Clovers, with Roosevelt " Tippie" Hubbard singing lead, this is the original recording of 'Bossa Nova Baby'. The song was a hit for Elvis a year later in '63.
Quite fast for "Bossa Nova." Nice sax solo by King Curtis.

December 28, 2016

early rock & roll ~ New Orleans 1959

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'Cinderella' is really a great example of early rock & roll at its' best. I love obscurity in music. Paul Marvin is a great example. Born Marvin Geatreaux, it's difficult to find much information on his recordings or history. Though I did find that he sang with a young Malcolm John Rebennack (aka Dr. John) and his band, sometime in the 1950s.
Not sure who the backing musicians might be on this recording ... Perhaps Mac Rebennack, and/or guitarist/arranger, Edgar Blanchard ... Could also be saxophonist, pianist, Harold Battiste and his A.F.O Studio Combo. Just don't know for sure.

Although Joe Ruffino's New Orleans based, 'Ron' label had a now historical stable of artists, somehow Paul Marvin's talent only showed itself for a short time.

Besides this, his only Ron label 45, he recorded three other 45s, one of which I can't find any information on (DeLuxe label - mid-late 1950s?), and two others, one on the Verve label from 1958, and one on the Desire label 1959-60.
The flip side, 'Hurry Up' was co-written by Mac Rebennack (Dr.John) and just as good.

December 27, 2016

yé-yé pop ~ Belgium 1966

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Belgian yé-yé singer/guitarist, Ariane Buyst started playing in Brussels sometime in 1963 with her group, 'Ariane Et Les 10/20'. From '64 to 1965, the group released five EPs on the Brussels based Palette label. They played in Belgium, toured the Netherlands, even opened for Cliff Richard at the end of 1964.

Ariane Et Les 10-20 first EP from 1964

Blue-eyed soul/pop singer, Len Barry's hit, '1-2-3', which he co-wrote, was huge in 1965.
A top ten hit in four countries, by 1969 it was covered and recorded about thirty times by everyone from Ramsey Lewis to Jan & Dean, Jimmy Smith to Herbie Mann, Sarah Vaughn to yé-yé chanson singer, Annie Markan.

One of my favorites, and possibly one of the best cover versions next to Len Barry's first original, this Palette label 45 by Ariane is really magnifique. It has energy and soul. I like it because it has a production sound one hears in a lot of "northern soul" recordings, but is also very much still in the style of the classic yé-yé beat sound that was popular in Europe in the early to mid-60s.

In 1966 Ariane decided to go solo. This Palette 45 is her first recording as a solo artist. She recorded and released four other 45s before disappearing into musical history. The flip side, 'Ice Cream' she co-wrote.

December 24, 2016

prog folk-rock ~ Quebec, Canada 1975

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If you listen to, or grew up listening to 70s progressive rock, you may not have heard of the band, 'Harmonium' from Quebec, Canada. The music Harmonium produced through the 70s was equally as good as other similar sounding "Prog Folk-Rock" bands of the time. The difference is, Harmonium are French-Canadian and chose to sing in French, which may have made it difficult for wider audiences. But surprisingly, one doesn't have to know French to enjoy the feeling Harmonium's records take you on.
Listening to Harmonium's music, I often am reminded of a parallel sound in Nick Drake's music - In fact, his songs might stand up or mix well with Harmonium.

I suppose posting a 45 is really just a taste of Harmonium's sound. A lot of "Rock" from the 1970s didn't always lend itself to the format of the 45 rpm record. Many bands who produced a "Prog Folk-Rock" sound, composed music for the LP format. Listening to an LP was sort of an event. One would listen to all the songs in succession on an LP. Great bands in this genre would often lead their listeners through their compositions into the next song. They were often connected. One song would inform the next.
With exceptions, not always the case with much new music composed today. I mean, pick your favorite 2000 songs and let the iPod roll...

Although, 1970s FM radio would play songs from bands, it was not always about the "3 minute radio hit". Much like many similar sounding bands/artists of the time, i.e., Nick Drake, Yes, Genesis, Fairport Convention, King Crimson, Supertramp, Pink Floyd, etc., Harmonium were not hit makers, they were composers and LP makers.

Harmonium was an LP band and should probably be listened to best in this way. Guitarist, singer, composer, Serge Fiori was really at the core of their music, as was Serge Locat, Michel Normandeau, and Louis Valois. But the group had many contributing members during their short history.

Harmonium ~ Quebec 1976

Harmonium's music has a distinct French inspired, lush, symphonic, folk-rock sound that reflects the mid-70s like a bookmarker in place and time. Their music captures the feeling of Quebec, the landscape, and the sensibility of the Québécoise culture.
Having spent some time in Quebec myself, Harmonium's sounds are unique, melancholy, and beautiful.

'En Pleine Face' (In The Face) is the flip to 'Dixie'. Both songs are on their Celebration label LP, 'Les Cinq Saisons' (The Five Seasons) from 1975.

Not the best translation,
but I like the feeling of the song and the lyrics hold true:

"Another tour page
Oh oh oh oh

Too bad for this day
Oh oh oh oh

Melt your ice
Or change place
Melt your ice
It is me that fell in full face
What do I need to do?

We have nothing more to give ourselves
Oh oh oh oh
There's more sounds to ring
Oh oh oh oh
Melt your ice
Where else changes place
Melt your ice
It is me that fell in full face
What do I need to do?

As an old lady
Who has more charms
I'm coming to you, I come to you
As an old lady
Who has more charms
I come to you, come to you, come to you

Give me a sign
At the end of your line
I cannot hear you anymore
Where are you
I do not know
I cannot hear you anymore
Where are you
I do not know
I cannot hear you anymore
Where are you
I do not know
I cannot hear you anymore
Where are you
I do not know
I cannot hear you anymore"

December 23, 2016

rocksteady instrumental ~ Jamaica 1968

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Roland Alphonso - mid-60s

Roland Alphonso's beautiful sax playing really shines here. Backed by the Beverley's All Stars, 'Dreamland' was written by him. Recorded in Kingston, and pressed on Leslie Kong's Beverley's label, it also was pressed the same year on the UK's Pyramid label.

Many white label "pre-release" 45s out of Jamaica were pressed, given out, or sold with minimal information on the labels. At the same time, some were legitimate, promo, pre-releases that were simply given out before being pressed officially with full colored designs, logos, and musical information to be sold to the general public.
The flip side of this: '54-46 (That's My Number)' by Toots and the Maytals (also first recorded the same year).

Stock Beverley's 45 from 1968 .

December 10, 2016

rocksteady ~ Jamaica 1967

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Treasure Isle comp LP from 1967 featuring The Jamaicans, Tommy McCook (pictured on the cover), The Techniques, and a few others.
The flip on this 45 is: 'Real Cool' by Tommy McCook and the Supersonics.

November 24, 2016

October 5, 2016

R&B / jazz ~ New York 1962

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Not to be confused with blues singer, Bobo Jenkins, or middleweight boxing champ, Carl 'Bobo' Olson, this obscure 45 tells a short story of the man known only as Bobo, a "most famous unknown"...
An accomplished musician and rumored silent music mogul, Bobo was at the top of mid 50s "bohemian cool". He mixed with the social elite as well as the working classes, and yet his true identity is still unknown today, as it was then, to the many musicians and music lovers who mingled with him at the time.

Around 1947-49, before his rise and bit out of date, Purported to be one of the few early photos of Bobo as a young man.
Al 'Dr. Horse' Pittman sums up Bobo perfectly with his Fire label 45 from 1962.

October 1, 2016

soul / jazz vocal ~ Los Angeles 1965

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The single from Marvin's only LP on Palomar c.1965
The flip side is, 'Rainy Day In L.A.'

Jazz composer/pianist Marvin Jenkins started recording in the early 60s, releasing a few of his own LPs, while also playing and contributing on others' jazz recordings.
The Los Angeles Palomar record label released about fifteen other records, but only existed from 1963 to '65.
Marvin also had one another 45 on the Palomar label, 'I've Got The Blues (What Should I Do)'.

soul vocal ~ 1971

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Lou Allen Rawls 1933 - 2006

If there's any one artist or singer one could call "Cool", Lou Rawls was it.
Lou was really a jazz singer with crossover appeal, but he really had a lot of soul. A top 20 hit in 1971, this MGM label 45 is still around and easy to find.
Don't like all his recordings, but he hits it perfectly here.

September 7, 2016

The song remains the same?

'Rickets' Special'
'Buttermilk Pt I & II'
'2120 South Michigan Ave'

Three songs, three artists, one mod riff. Who was first? I feel as if I've done some half-assed detective work with no absolute conclusion.
Case in point, three great instrumental recordings from the 60s, all with the same bass line, guitar riff, and harmonica break.

Quite curious to me are the recordings, and recording dates from all artists involved, two in fact, with different writers' credits...

Quite curious still, is the fact that I recently discovered the Rickets, a mod/psych/German rock & roll band with some very rare early 60s recordings.

The song in question, a live recording from the Rickets called 'Rickets Special', first recorded on a vintage Telefunken two track tape recorder in 1963.

(early to mid-60s Rickets)

From what I could find, the Rickets did release a 45 in 1964. Probably released in Germany and/or Europe only. Unfortunately I've never seen the label to check the writer's credits. Though I did find online the original 45 rpm picture sleeve.

The a-side, 'My Dear' flipped over reveals a great b-side tune, 'Rickets' Special'.

The Rickets -'Rickets Special' was apparently re-recorded and retitled, 'Action Painting' sometime between 1965-67.
This version does appear on a rare German prog/kraut-rock compilation LP from 1970 entitled,'Wir Im Scheinwerfer' (We In the Spotlight).

If this first live 1963 recording date is accurate, it would predate both the Rolling Stones' and Sly Stone's "penned versions"...

Could the Rolling Stones have heard the Rickets version in some form before 1964? It's possible.

Is it also possible the Stones, and later Sly Stone, "lifted or borrowed" this brilliant hook/arrangement from the Rickets, both claiming the song as their own?

Or is it possible that the Stones had already been playing their '2120 South Michigan Ave' in clubs live, before they recorded it later in 1964, with the Rickets just adopting it and recording the tune just from hearing it live?

The Rickets' "original" live tape from 1963. This does sound a bit progressive for 1963(?)


Sly Stone spinning the sounds at KSOL radio - San Francisco 1967
photo: Micheal Ochs

It also seems odd that Sly Stone's recorded Autumn label 45 from 1965 takes writer's credit one year after the Rolling Stones recorded and released their Decca version (essentially the same tune).

Recently read that Sylvester Stewart aka "Sly Stone" is broke and living in a large trailer somewhere in Los Angeles. Not sure how true or to what extent, but it's always sad to read about poor circumstances talented artists fall upon.

Sly Stone certainly put his mark on music, not to mention San Francisco's musical history. Could be argued that he was one of the first artists to help bridge, blend, and shape 60s rock and soul together.

So I was inspired recently to dig out and play his second 45 from 1965, pressed on the San Francisco based Autumn label.
But wait, this funky, mod riff sounds familiar?!

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and again?!

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Recorded at Chess records in Chicago - The Rolling Stones 5x5 UK Decca EP from 1964.

Note the writers' credit on '2120 South Michigan Ave':
Nanker and Phlege, a pseudonym used by the Rolling Stones between 1963 and 1965.
The song title is the address to Chess records in Chicago.

Who was first? Does it really matter? Not really.
Personally, I feel the Stones may have came up with the first arrangement/riff.
I just like the song and I'm intrigued that I noticed.


Summer 2016
Here are a couple of emails that may put this story to rest:

In Feb. 2012 I received an email from a guy named Ernst. Not sure if he was/is associated with the band or a former member of The Rickets:

Hi Thomas,
the titel "action painting" is live-recorded in 1963
with a Telefunken Recorder 1/4" Tape.
The Titel is new recorded for the German TV-Show
"Wir im Scheinwerfer".
It`s released on vinyl LP: Label RESONO: Wir im Scheinwerfer.
5 Tracks from the Band. THE RICKETS

Look at You Tube: cicodelico
psychedelic freakout 1966/67 ricketts action painting


In March 2013 I received another email from Marius.
This may be our answer...
Hi Thomas,

I found your blog entry by chance about the question, if the Stones have been influenced by the Rickets in the early 60s or even copied one of their songs.
My uncle happens to be the founder of the Rickets. He was later replaced by his brother. I recently play with the Rickets' drummer in a 60s and 70s cover band together with my father who also joined the Rickets in the late 60s till the 2000s. Since I got many records of the Rickets I'm very sure that their recording is not from 1963! As you mentioned in your blog, it sounds way to "progressive" for 1963. The number of the year is wrong. Must be from the mid 60s. Furthermore the Rickets were known to cover many Stones songs back in the day. All in all, the Stones haven't stolen the idea from the Rickets. It's the other way round I guess ;)

Have a nice day!

thank you Marius!

August 20, 2016

funk soul vocal ~ Louisville, KY 1968

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An obscure funk side dancer with a bit of a stripped down sound. Credited as a writer, I believe this was Dede Townsend's only 45 recorded and released. The flip side is 'This Is Our Life'.
Couldn't find more info on musicians backing. The small Derby-City label released a total of only two 45 rpm records as a label. Both recorded and pressed in 1968, the other being, The Heartbreakers - I've Got To Face It/How Do You Say Goodbye.

July 24, 2016

yé-yé pop ~ 1966 France

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I've always liked a lot of ye-ye pop filles especially doing cover songs. Je ne parle pas français. But one doesn't have to know French to enjoy ye-ye pop, or chanteuse chanson.
French born actress/singer, Marie Laforêt recorded and released about twenty 45s/EPs in France, starting in the early 60s through the 70s.
Though looking at the writers credits on the label, M. Jagger - K. Richards - M. Jourdan, I was surprised at seeing M. Jourdan, a third writer?
After a few listens, 'Marie Douceur - Marie Colere' just sounds like a dark, folky, psychedelic cover of the Rolling Stones classic. Upon further listening, I waited for the "Noir", as in "paint it..." but it never comes.
It is not 'Peint Le En Noir'. The lyrics are completely different. It is a song called, 'Soft Mary, Angry Mary'. Michel Jourdan, the third writer, wrote completely different lyrics to the same chords/melody as the original Jagger/Richards tune.

Just as haunting as the original. Never assume you know anyone completely...

'Soft Mary that is how you nicknamed me
Of course, you think you know me better than anyone else
Angry Mary also exists, so pay good attention
I've already said it to you a hundred thousand times in every key

Soft Mary has a lot, a lot of patience
Yes but one day you will see when joining the dance
Angry Mary with lightning in her eyes
I know which one will be more afraid of the two us

Soft Mary is much too gentle with you
If you insist on looking at the other girls
Angry Mary will no longer accept it
And she will jump on you with all claws unsheathed

Soft Mary loves to sing ballads
But do not rely on it too much, good advice, take care
Angry Mary adores loud voices
Now, choose between me and the other girls

Soft Mary that is how you nicknamed me
Of course, you think you know me better than anyone else
Angry Mary is now there, right in front of you
Soft Mary is already nothing more than a memory'

June 16, 2016

garage rock ~ South Bay Area, California - 1966

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San Francisco Bay Area garage rock masters, the Count Five formed in San Jose, California in 1964. Recorded in Hollywood between 1965-66, this was the last 45 of six released in 1969 on the Double Shot label. This is the b-side flip to 'Mailman'.

May 28, 2016

northern soul / pop vocal ~ 1968

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Timi Yuro ... August 1940 ~ March 2004

Chicago born singer songwriter, Rosemarie 'Timothy' Yuro recorded and released over two dozen 45s, most through the 60s. Recorded in London, this song was released originally only in the UK, as a B-side on the Liberty label. This United Artists 45 reissue is the same 1968 recording pressed sometime in the 2000s.
Many of Timi Yuro's recorded sides reflect more of a straightforward pop vocal sound, to my ears anyhow. But vocally, Timi Yuro really had a lot of range. 'It'll Never Be Over For Me' also appears on her 1968 LP, 'Something Bad On My Mind'. Side and song, a 45 with a beautiful performance and production of blue-eyed soul and one of her finer moments.

UK 1st press Liberty label 1969

Timi in '69