THE REAL SOUND OF MUSIC IS ON... 45's
Artists featured on the 'A' pages will range from A BAND OF ANGELS to CLIFF AYERS.
|A Band Of Angels - United Artists UP 1066
She'll Never Be You (45UP 1066 A) - Gonna Make A Woman Of You (45UP 1066 B)
There was no mistake about it : judging from the straw boater hats they wore in the film 'Just For You', the five guys who were part of this band had met at the famous Harrow School in London. They were : Mike D'Abo (piano & vocals), Christian Gaydon (guitar & vocals), John Baker (guitar), Dave Wilkinson (bass) and James Rugge-Price (drums). They had two 45's on UA in 1964 and two more on Piccadilly in '65 and '66, none containing the number they sang in the film ('Hide'n'Seek'). The one I'm reviewing is their second on UA and it's a powerful British Beat double sider. 'Gonna Make A Woman Of You', written by D'Abo and Baker, is a real belter, sung by Mike in a raucous voice not unlike that of Paul Jones. It comes as no surprise then that he was chosen to replace Jones in Manfred Mann in 1966. There's a short guitar solo near the end but it's the bass and drums which are prominent in the mix, à la Dave Clark Five. Echoes of the 'Tottenham Sound' are still palpable in the flip, 'She'll Never Be You', an excellent cover of another catchy Neil Sedaka song (RCA 47-8382). This time, both D'Abo and Gaydon are featured on vocals to reproduce Neil's double tracked voice. The group split up after Mike's departure with Gaydon later becoming a successful manager.
Their entire output appeared on two very rare French EPs, one on United Artists (#36050) and the other on Pye (PNV 24162).
|The Academics - Elmont E 1001/2
Drive-In Movie (E-1001) - Somethin' Cool (E-1002)
That's the kind of doo-wop sound that I like : tuneful and rockin' ! This double sider, released in August 1958, is sought after by vocal group and rock'n'roll collectors alike. 'Somethin' Cool' begins with a pseudo-classical piano intro before the drummer signals his arrival with a few rimshots and then the group, entirely white but sounding really black, launches into one of the many variations on Frankie Lymon's 'Why Do Fools Fall In Love'. It's nicely done and the wild guitar break in the middle fits in perfectly. The lead singer here is Dave Fisher whereas it's Morty Ganter on the flip, 'Drive-In Movie', another rocker with some tenor sax added to the backing. Lou Silvani's invaluable bbok, 'Collecting Rare Records', tells us that other members included Bill Greenberg and Charlie Luth, both of whom are co-writers here. The group, from Connecticut, had two previous releases on Ancho.
This record is a styrene press but, contrary to what Lou stated, my copy has written matrix # in the dead wax. It was re-issued (bootlegged ?) on the Nu-Disc label (#8001) with pressings on both red and blue wax.
|The Accent - Parrot PAR-40022
Red Sky At Night (DR 41348) - Wind Of Change (DR 41349)
This British group had only one release on the Decca label (F 12679) in late 1967, at the height of the psychedelic movement. Written by all four members of the band (including Rick Birkett) and produced by Mike Vernon, 'Red Sky At Night' was rightly described as 'mind-numbing' by some. After a gentle acoustic guitar intro followed by some weird sounds, the music gets real heavy, with echoes of The Small Faces at times. As for the words, they leave no doubt as to the experience they relate ('the night is over, I can't see dawn breaking, what's this strange glow ?'). Clearly, the seeds of 70's Prog-Rock are in these recordings and they're all the more captivating for that. The flip, 'Wind Of Change', was also written by the whole band and owes perhaps a little more to Cream, sound-wise. The disc saw a promo-only release in the USA on the Parrot label (a styrene press). A bit less rare than its English counterpart, it's still a difficult piece to obtain. 'Red Sky...' was reissued on Deram in 1998 on a CD called 'The Psychedelic Scene' (844 797-2) as part of the brilliant series of discs devoted to UK's Decca.
|Roy Acuff & His Smoky Mountain Boys - Hickory 1090
So Many Times (F 195) - They'll Never Take Her Love From Me (F 197)
As good as this single may be, it would seem unfair to review only one record by this giant of country music who became a star as soon as he joined the Grand Ole Opry way back in 1938. Acuff was a Tennessean (he came from Maynardsville) who cut a long list of early country classics for labels like Okeh and Columbia. In the early 50's, he signed with Capitol, then had a brief affiliation with Decca. In 1957, he went to Fred Rose's Hickory label where he stayed well into the 60's.
'So Many Times' is a Don Gibson composition that Roy handles in a lively fashion with good backing from, in all probability, his usual musicians ; these would include Shot Jackson on steel guitar. The fiddle break may be Roy's own work. Certainly one of his best sides for the label.
The flip is a Leon Payne song, slower in tempo but again sung with conviction, and displaying Roy's powerful, earthy and unmistakeable voice. This song, popularized by Hank Williams, attracted cover versions by other Greats like Johnny Horton and later, George Jones.
My copy of this 1958 record is on a darker yellow color than Hickory's usual outings, perhaps due to the fact that it's a Sheldon pressing ('Sheldon' is stamped in the dead wax although matrix # are only etched).
|Hobo Jack Adkins - Adco 777|
|Nicky Addeo & The Darchaes - Savoy 45-200|
|Nancy Adams - RCA Victor 47-8410|
|Les Aigles - Vogue-Pye PNV 24101|
|Denni Alan - Academy 434|
|Alan Lord & Sir Richard Cannon - Cannon CR-101|
|Charles Alexander - CB 302|
|Kirby Allan - Maze 1018|
|Lonnie Allen - Val-Hill 1002|
|Ronnie Allen - San 208|
|Jim Alley & The Alley Cats - Pearl 1111/2
The Great Pretender (MO8W-1111) - The Alley Cat Scratch (MO8W-1112)
This had to be one of the greatest discoveries of the early 80's for it was unknown even to Don Kirsch when he published the superb second edition of his 'Rock'n'Roll Obscurities' in 1981.
Jim Alley had two 45's on the Pearl label out of Muncie, Indiana, but for years, only the second (#4447/8, 'Dig That Rock'n'Roll' c/w 'Lonesome Feeling') was listed ; the top side was a fabulous (albeit a touch repetitive) guitar rocker. But what a gas when we uncovered his unexpected, powerhouse version of 'The Great Pretender' - yes, the Platters' smash from 1956 ! Cut in 1961, recorded at Jan Eden Recording & Sound studio in Indianapolis, produced by George Mc Mahon and custom pressed by RCA (hence the stamped matrix numbers in the dead wax), it rocks like there will be no tomorrow ! The vocal is superb - clear, melodious and totally free of any sort of chorus in the background ; as for the guitar break, underlined by some real pumpin' piano, it certainly ranks as one of the best of the genre. You'll never play the Platters' original again afterwards, believe me ! But you'll also avoid the funfair-style instro on the flip, 'The Alley Cat Scratch', just the same...
Therein lies the magic of those great singles, as well as the foolishness of collectors : many a time, one side can be enough to satisfy our soul, regardless of the steep price of the whole disc !
|The Ambassadors - London HL-2165|
||Andy Anderson - Century Limited 601 & 602 - Felsted 8508
|Jimmy Anderson - Zynn 1014|
|The Antons - Ty-Tex 104|
|Eddy Arnold - RCA Victor 48-0001|
|The Arrows - Cupid CU-102|
|Chuck Atha - Fox 6|
|The Attack - London 1013|
|Cliff Ayers & The Crowns - Emerald 2014|
© Paul Vidal * Privas, France