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Edwin Astley – Scenester Reviews

edwinastley

International Detective/ Man from Interpol

El Records ACMEM321CD

This neatly packaged CD contains a snappy selection of work from the prolific Edwin Astley,one who needs no introduction to fans of the TV detective and crime-fantasy genre. Articulating all the tension, excitement and intrigue depicted on screen in these two popular shows, these largely instrumental works will enliven many a jaded palate.

The ‘International Detective’ theme’s urgent brass reveille gives way to some mellower notes of success and glory, taking us straight to ‘Murder Strip’, a sinister drum hiss, short, sharp blasts of brass and clarinet meandering its way round a locality filled with danger. ‘Theme for Larceny’s high, harsh fanfare, interrupted with sudden, shock notes conjures up the murky world of crime, if not horror itself, perfectly.

‘Night Patrol’s cha-cha rhythm lulls you into a sense of false security with its suggestion of humour and a nod to children’s rhyme ‘A tisket, A tasket’, with ‘The Badge’s mellow country guitar and flute taking the theme further. We’re then into the cool drum brushwork and accusatory brass of ‘Manhunt’, and the adversarial notes of ‘Shock Tactics’, with its own nod to horror film themes. ‘Murder Chase’s stabbing notes and fugitive brass works well, the latter’s slightly undisciplined feel adding to the tension, leading to a reprise of the title track, this time more strident and with a characteristic wide-awake vocal.

‘The Menace’s vortex of hissing cymbals and swaggering brass is one of the finest selections here, followed by the ‘Concerto In Law’, with its mocking brass, bongos and clarinet. ‘The Net’ delivers a gentle shock with its strip club voodoo drums and powerful brass in an ironically playful tune. ‘After Dark’s breezy tones and easy going melody acts as relief, with ‘Gang Busters’ piano runs echoing up and down the keyboard, working well here. ‘Ten Four’s tense, moody strut soon turns into a meandering, hesitant sort of tune, suggestive of close, impending danger, with a sudden-death crescendo to end on. ‘Opus in Blue’s muted horns, train-like rhythm and hint of seduction in the plucked guitar is an evocative piece, followed by the brassy, high piping swagger of ‘The Avenger’. Reprising the title track twice, the strong twangy guitar flanked by brass is easily the standout track pairing here.

‘Man from Interpol’s timpani rolls and high, shrieking brass describes imminent danger well, with the leaping notes giving a slightly comic edge to ‘Interpol Chase’. ‘Slow Boat’s dolorous, pedestrian beat, supported by tidy xylophone and drums is a little too laid back for these ears. ‘My Fair Laine’ is much a livelier affair, its sax wickedly expressive, with ‘Fordaire’s call and response horns leading into ’Motor Museum’, a bright and breezy tune, reminiscent of a typical TV game show of the period. ‘The Toff’s light piano opening and slow, sultry sax sharply contrasts with the title, but ‘Breezy Capers’ twee xylophone tune delivers little but irritation. It’s up to the splendidly titled ‘Blues Macabre’ to deliver the thrills, with its capable sax and xylophone backing providing the setting for a free expression piece leading to a fine horn outro.

‘Samba De Janeiro’ is a predictably upbeat piece, with bongo intro, high, piping flutes and meandering sax, underpinned by wild xylophone beating. ‘Beaulieu Blues’ urgent horns, clashing, thumping percussion and crazy sax enlivens, with ‘Nightprowl’s ironic light touch making a good, contrasting companion piece. ‘Domus’s low, quiet double bass leads into a freely expressed sax workout, followed by ‘Panic Station’s strong horns and bongos, leading into free form sax and piano breaks. The wryly comical ‘Interpol Cha Cha’ has plenty to distract, and the somewhat literal ‘Escape to Hawaii’s holiday vibe is both welcome and knowing. ‘Perpetual Lover’s swing beat is held together well by piano and horns, if a little too laid back, and ‘Shapes’ suffers from the opposite problem of being too wide awake, with its piano noodling proving ultimately irritating. ‘Beguine Portrait’s gentle horns and slow, late night feel is exactly what we need at this point, before we end on a reprise of the blaring horns and thumping drums of ‘Man From Interpol’. BUY HERE!

Scenester

Scenester lives in London and Brighton, as time allows. Enjoys music, film, television, books, design and anything else which won’t leave well alone. Old enough to know better.

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January 4, 2017 By : Category : Front page Music Reviews Tags:, , ,
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Fool Britannia -Scenester Reviews

Fool Britannia – Scandal – Stop the World I Want to Get Off – TW3

(El Records ACMemo316CD)

‘Fool Britannia’ takes us back to an age when politicians learnt that respect was earned, not given, and a moment’s indiscretion could bring the house down. This collection of ephemera, stretched over two CDs, is essential listening for those interested in Britain in the late 50’s/early 60’s, satire, pop music and the power of the press.

Written by all-winning song writing team Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, and ably assisted by Peter Sellers and Joan Collins, ‘Fool Britannia’ rips the merciless out of the then highly topical Profumo Affair. At a time when politicians were generally respected by the media, even held in awe, the news of the brief love affair between Secretary of State for War John Profumo and Christine Keeler, a would-be model would have repercussions far beyond any personal embarrassment caused. That Keeler was simultaneously having an affair with Soviet Naval attaché Yevgeny Ivanov, and the revelations about the somewhat sordid details of the case would contribute to the fall of Harold MacMillan’s Conservative government. It was the gift that kept on giving, especially for newspaper owners and comedy writers involved in the popular satire boom.

Performed before an invited audience at the RCA Victor Studios, New York, on 6/8/1963, it opens with Sellers doing a spot-on impression of Newley writing a song live in the studio. ‘There Goes That Song Again’ works on more than one level, not least of which are the awful rhymes so typical of the ‘bash ‘em out and sell ‘em cheap’ school of Brit song writing at that time. ‘The House That Mac Built’ stages a speech by PM MacMillan in the bear pit that was the House of Commons, tripping himself up with almost every word, every accidental admission. The impression almost out-does Peter Cook’s own, Cook only trumping when he performed it live before MacMillan, one night.

The hypocrisy of sexual manners during this time period is elegantly brought out in ‘Wry On The Rocks’, but for true venom, you need to cock an ear to ‘They Only Fade Away’, which goes from bar room vulgarity to buffoonish Chinese whispers to amuse us. The biting innuendo in ‘Countess Interruptus’ and the sharply drawn Royal-baiting of ‘We Are Not Amused’ would have given the average radio producer a coronary at the time, but this are only paving the way for the newspaper bidding frenzy of ‘Mightier Than The Sword’. Tony, Peter, Lesley and Joan all give their best in this staging of the scramble for
Mandy Rice-Davies’ story.

The international reaction to the scandal is brilliantly satirised by way of parodied news reports in near-enough foreign languages, and followed by what may be the best one-liner of the entire satire boom: (French accent) ‘Eh, want to buy some filthy English postcards?’

For all-out belly laughs, the telephone conversation between two dubious film producers and an agent acting for one of the girls cannot be bettered. Intending to add Mandy’s story to their already impressive roster of forthright, thought provoking films, such as ‘Too Young To Strip’ and ‘I’m Sixteen and not Ashamed of my Body’, they negotiate the rights from a malodorous telephone box in Old Compton Street.

Punctuated with sharp one-liners and taking in public reaction to the whole Profumo debacle, ‘Fool Britannia’ may not crack up a modern audience at fifty years’ distance, but as a document of the style of humour and public attitudes, it can’t be beaten. An interesting side note here: major record companies would not touch this piece with a bargepole at the time. It was Jeffrey S Kruger’s ‘Ember’ label which saw its release, and its subsequent 10 week long residence in the
LP charts.

Highlights of the soundtrack from the film ‘Scandal’ (1989) are well chosen, ranging from Frank Sinatra’s sublime ‘Witchcraft’ to Guy Mitchell’s hilarious ‘She Wears Red Feathers’. The full album is well worth investigating for its highly representative choices of popular (rather than ‘pop’) music of the era, the only original song being Dusty Springfield’s ‘Nothing Has Been Proved’, written by Pet Shop Boys.

Disk 2, although bearing a facsimile of the cover from ‘Stop The World I Want To Get Off’, with Anthony Newley in Pierrot costume, actually opens with Mandy Rice Davies’ efforts to become a pop star; four songs which should have convinced everyone she was not suited to this particular walk of life. The upbeat ‘You’ve Got What It Takes’ makes considerable use of echo on Mandy’s thin voice, recalling the tuneless Yvonne in ‘Smashing Time’, and the smoochy jazz of ‘Close your Eyes’ is no better served. ‘All I Do Is Dream of You’ pitches Mandy as an innocent, and the mercifully final selection, ‘A Good Man Is Hard to Find’ must have had the listeners in fits at the suggested Spoonerism in its title. Not that Mandy was the only one seeking to make a quick buck out of this incendiary story: Joyce Blair, labouring under the well-chosen moniker, ‘Miss X’, turns in a sexily humorous one-sided conversation in ‘Christine’, and as if to ensure a complete radio ban, the sultry ditty, ‘S.E.X.’

‘Stop The World I Want To Get Off’ occupies much of the second disk, and if you’re not familiar with this funny, satirical piece from the days when going to a musical was not the dull, predictable affair it is today, then you should listen to it without delay. Basically a story of an ordinary Joe’s path through life, taking in early marriage forced on by his girl’s unexpected pregnancy, work and its joys, and finally, his transformation into a populist political hopeful, every song is tuneful, memorable and barbed in a way that would never do in today’s no-risk
light entertainment.

Following this are selections from the ever sharp, slyly digging world of ‘That Was the Week That Was’, the BBC television show (1962-63) which capitalised on the satire boom. Using impressions, song, narrative and the week’s news as its raw material, ‘TW3’ had a huge array of writers, a wealth of talent and presented by the legendary David Frost, it was the BBC’s most strident and most feared show.

TW3 took on the establishment in a weekly sparring contest, and ran it round the ring until it was too exasperated to defend itself further. The previously untouchable subjects of sex, religion and class, Britain’s much diminished place in the world and the private lives of our leaders all came under scrutiny and were mocked mercilessly. The week’s news, sung by the lovely Millicent Martin makes for a good start, and the real life meeting between pop singer Adam Faith and the Archbishop of York is given a cheeky twist with ‘Adam’s Not A Sinner Anymore’, sung in the adenoidal style, then still popular from the time of Buddy Holly. Lance Percival’s impromptu calypsos may sound a little tame today, but were revolutionary then, but perhaps the finest sketch on offer here is the terribly well-spoken man and woman, skirting around the question of whether to have sex on their presumed first date. Our sexual manners may have moved on since the early 60’s, but the humour of embarrassment is still the same.

We can enjoy this world of 60’s satire in sound again, thanks to this excellent double pack. BUY HERE!

Scenester

Scenester lives in London and Brighton, as time allows. Enjoys music, film, television, books, design and anything else which won’t leave well alone. Old enough to know better.

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October 20, 2016 By : Category : Front page Music Pop Reviews Tags:, , , ,
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Goal! The World Cup 1966 – Longjohn Reviews

Goal! The World Cup 1966 was a documentary about the eighth World Cup and the first ever held in England.  This BAFTA winning documentary has become something of a rarity in recent years with no DVD release, and even in the age of the ubiquitous Internet searches for the film have only turned up a few snippets of footage on YouTube.  However, Cherry Red Records subsidiary El Records have transferred this documentary to CD and released this aural spectacular to celebrate the 50th anniversary of England’s (as if you didn’t know) one and only World Cup win.

This album documentary is a timely reminder that England once did have a team that could complete with the best in the world, and it might just provide some respite to long-suffering fans who had to endure England’s latest embarrassing performance as they were humiliated by Iceland in Euro 2016. This aural documentary is a nostalgic trip down Wembley Way, which begins with the competing teams arriving at London Airport (Heathrow) through to the dramatic World Cup Final and that controversial goal scored by Geoff Hurst.

If you haven’t seen this rarity of a film before then the soundtrack of this momentous occasion is the next best thing, and a special mention must be given to the script writer, sports journalist and fanatical Arsenal fan the late Brian Glanville and multi-instrumentalist John Hawksworth who composed and conducted the Jazz flavoured and atmospheric score for this film.  It is these two characters and the narrator Nigel Patrick, which make this album documentary so much more than a nostalgic curiosity.

Nigel Patrick was an actor and star of at least forty feature films and he provides the listener with a witty and wry synopsis of all the competing nations as they arrive at London Airport.  Patrick’s plummy monotone voice does not lend itself well to football commentary; however, his wry observations and gentle and measured delivery still somehow manages to convey the excitement of the World Cup in an authoritative and stylish manner.

It will come as no great surprise that Queen Elizabeth, (not ‘Er Indoors’) Britain’s longest self-serving monarch is at the opening ceremony of the World Cup and she has probably never sounded so bored and listless as she delivers her speech, but this brief interlude does not detract from the compelling excitement and for the next 50 nostalgia laden minutes the listener is taken on a football journey by narrator Nigel Patrick, whose droll delivery conveys absolutely no emotion as he handles Brian Glanville’s expertly written script with compelling ease.

The documentary covers some pivotal and controversial moments in the tournament as the World’s greatest footballer Pele was kicked and fouled off the pitch against Bulgaria and Portugal.  England’s Quarter Final against Argentina is featured and it is famous not just for Geoff Hurst’s controversial offside goal but the Argentines dirty tactics, which included spitting and kicking. Bobby Moore’s response to this provocation was to go ahead and ‘beat the bastards’.

England’s World Cup win is almost over shadowed by the appearance of the North Koreans who turned up at Middlesborough’s Ayresome Park to play against the overwhelming match favourites Italy.  The North Koreans caused one of football’s biggest ever upsets as they turned Italy over one nil thanks to Pak Do-ik. Nigel Patrick’s hilarious quip ‘so Italy go home to their tomatoes’ brought proceedings to an end in hilarious and understated fashion, and underdogs North Korea nearly repeat the trick again against Portugal when they stormed into a three goal lead before Eusebio sprang into life in spectacular fashion by scoring four and sending the North Koreans home.

The story of England’s 4-2 win over Germany to win the World Cup has gone down in history as the country’s greatest ever football achievement, and it does provide a fitting conclusion to this album documentary. However, Nigel Patrick reveals one footballing fact that may surprise even the most rabid England fan is that Germany had never beaten England in 65 years prior to the World Cup and could only muster one draw in all that time, which is an incredible statistic considering England’s struggles and underachievement’s in the big tournaments ever since that momentous occasion.

This aural documentary is an impressive and nostalgic production of a bygone era in football and one can only hope that the film itself will see the light of day once again. England on this one and only occasion could claim to be the best and the World Cup was won by players who lived on the same back streets as the fans, and Alan Ball one of the heroes of 1966 commented that ‘we were just ordinary lads who walked through the streets, shoulder to shoulder with the fans because we were representing them’. This album documentary is an enchanting and immersive historical artifact that will undoubtedly inflict the listener with a sense of nostalgia, and it is a brilliant snapshot of a glorious moment in sporting history. BUY HERE!

Long John

Charming Chap and a new sharp force for Eyeplug, being a toppermost writer with a keen appreciation for things of quality and distinction. A well known face on the London ‘Mod’ Scene but with an open mind and heart. Got a strange interest in Pirates? One to watch out for!

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July 11, 2016 By : Category : Front page Music Reviews Tags:, , , , ,
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Beach Party by The Ventures – Scenester Reviews

The Ventures

theventures

Beach Party 

(El Records ACMEM308CD)

Summer’s coming, and there’s only one acceptable soundtrack to it; that’s Surf Music. Arguably the greatest exponents of that no-compromise style of guitar craziness, The Ventures, have had thirty four of their finest tracks assembled on CD to liven up your long drive to Newquay for the weekend. Illustrated with some cool pictures, a band members list, a source discography and discussion with the band from more recent times, it’s a cut above the usual bash ‘em out and sell ‘em cheap compilations.

Providing the sounds to innumerable 60’s dances proved highly successfully for this team of crack musicians, selling over 100 million records and earning them a well-deserved place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Opening with ‘Lucille’s understated beat, relaxed strut and high, twangy guitars, a good, clean sound is established early here, with a surprise key change, and a fade out so characteristic of the style. ‘Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes)’ swings along, with a raucous vocal, great drum rolls and a perfectly blending lead guitar. The edgy, hesitant tones of spy film themed are riffed on, in ‘Hernando’s Hideaway’, the lead guitar dragging us to a nervous ending.

‘Mashed Potato’s jokey, clap along beat wins us over straight away, with pizzicato strings thrown in for good measure. The classic, and beautiful ‘Summertime’ is treated with the respect it deserves, with slow, lamenting guitars building and setting up the interplay of twang and lead, set off with subtle drum work. ‘Hot Summer (Asian Mashed)’ continues the spy film style, leading us into the classic ‘Poison Ivy’, building up strongly and with an irresistible hint of vibrato.

No beach dance party would be worthy of the name without ‘The Wah-Watusi’, and The Ventures’ relaxed, swinging take on this classic doesn’t disappoint. ‘Instant Mashed’s call and response guitars please well, with the powerful Red Indian beat supporting throughout. ‘Scratch’ builds well, goes up, and then signs off so neatly, you actually feel jealous of the damn riff.’(Baby) Hully Gully’ has some great twists and turns, and might well be the definitive cover of this
classic track.

‘Spudnik’s neat and tidy theme, tight as a belt and with lapping water guitar, the slowing train ending shows the band could easily have been called The (Ad) Ventures. Sticking with space, ‘Telstar’ may lack the unhinged genius of Joe Meek’s production, but with its ray-gun sounds and fairground organ, it’s worth persisting with.

‘Calcutta’s treatment reminds this listener of the fodder intended to please children on light radio shows of the period, and the band’s take on the mighty ‘Apache’ is nowhere near as dramatic as The Shadows own. ‘Green Onions’ offers plenty of consolation, however, with a head full of fuzz and swaggering lead.

‘Theme From Come September’ fails to excite with its uneventful climb, but ‘Venus’ makes up for this, with its romping rhythm, clear, Summer contentment and chiming guitars. ‘The Intruder’s tense, moody riff goes through tension and partial release, mixing with the listener’s expectations in a little piece of surf-istication. (Sorry) ‘Lolita Ya-Ya’s double note twang and girly Wow Wow Yeh Yeh vocal lends an air of implied sleaze to an otherwise anodyne tune.

‘Driving Guitars (Ventures Twist)’s aggressive bass rumble, confident lead and wild yelps are kept very tight, very neat and hit all the right buttons. ‘Gringo’s stroll, with twangy guitars providing a conversational style, sounds a little too staid to these admittedly long-punished ears, but is partly rescued by ‘Besame Mucho’s gorgeous bass, Mex Country twang and expert arpeggios. ‘Silver City’s jokey Country and Western still has a little swagger, and ‘Blue Moon’ builds well, while ‘Perfidia’ descends like a demented switchback ride, chased by the nervous guitars. ‘Ginchy’ feels like a repeat of ‘Blue Moon’ though enjoyable enough, while ‘Home’s sad, heartfelt atmosphere and confessional feel shows the band’s emotional side well.

This compilation could not possibly omit ‘Walk-Don’t Run’s ironic understatement, nor ‘2000 Pound Bee (parts 1 and 2)‘ dirty, fuzzy riff, that spawned many copyists. ‘Genesis’ echoing, moody lament is a departure here, its haunting riff bringing in some chilling tinkling piano to great effect, before ‘Walk-Don’t Run is reprised not once, but twice in a wash of breezy confidence.

Your reconditioned Morris Minor needs this CD thundering through it.
BUY HERE!

Scenester

Scenester lives in London and Brighton, as time allows. Enjoys music, film, television, books, design and anything else which won’t leave well alone. Old enough to know better.

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May 6, 2016 By : Category : Front page Music Reviews Tags:, , ,
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Cherry Red Album Reviews – Mar 2014 by Long John

Pop Goes The Easel

pop_goes_the_easel

The Start Of The Swinging Sixties EL In association with Cherry Red Records (ACMEMD264CD)

Pop Goes the Easel: The Start of the Swinging Sixties is a 2 CD set that comprises a mammoth 65 tracks that are drawn from a series of British films and television programmes that marked the beginning of the so called ‘Swinging Sixties’. The title of this particular compilation is taken from Ken Russel’s ‘Pop Art’ documentary from 1962, and this album can boast a wide range of music including, jazz, rock n roll, pop balladry, theme tunes and film scores, taken from a diverse range of visual genres, including, musicals, documentaries, sci-fi, melodrama and kitchen sink dramas.

According to the compilers of Pop Goes the Easel the big screen and television was influential in providing a platform for pop music. Television and Pop music was beginning to have a powerful impact both socially and cutlturally in this period, and was arguably the two most common activities that people participated in. Television was an important point of contact between the performer and the audience, and an it can be argued that television broadly speaking was important in bringing a new visually exciting world of popular culture in the form of performance art to the masses.

However, British pop music in this period was in something of a lull, and it would be fair to say that Britain did not produce the most distinguished canon of music, apart from a few Elvis Presley wannabes (and we all know who they were). Nonetheless  what was happening in Britain was that the seeds of an embryonic pop music culture was starting to infiltrate cinema and television to such an extent, that pop music had to be taken seriously as an art form in its own right. The pop song as this compilation demonstrates was being used as a form of narrative that could be used to speak for the characters, and commentate on a particular scene in a tv show or film.

It is fitting that this compilation starts with Ken Russell‘s 44 minute documentary Pop Goes the Easel.  Television viewers were introduced to the playful world of ‘Pop Art’  and four pop artists in particular, who were irreverently commenting on the age of American led mass media, mass production and mass consumerism. This portrait of Sir Peter Blake, Pauline Boty, Derek Boshier and Peter Phillips had only snippets of dialogue and is far more visual and musical. It is a documentary that comments on the infiltration of American culture into Britain and sadly for this particular viewer the vibrancy of ‘Pop Art’ was slightly hampered by the fact that this documentary is in black and white.

The theme tune to The Avengers is also featured and this partiucular score accompanied the early episodes when Patrick McNee was playing second fiddle to Ian Hendry. Hendry left The Avengers after the first series, which left McNee to take the lead role with a succession of beautiful assistants. The thought provoking, baffling and stupendous cult tv show The Prisoner is also represented on this compilation, and for those of you who have watched the series it will be impossible to forget Carmen Miranda’s ‘YI YI YI YI (I Like You Very Much)’ and The Four Lads ‘Dry Bones’, which were both used to stunning effect in the brilliantly surreal ‘Fall Out’. Even today the final instalment of The Prisoner still has audiences scratching their heads in bewilderment, and frustratingly left us with more questions than answers.

However, it is films in the shape of musicals that make up the bulk of the tracks on Pop Goes the Easel, and it is the influence of Richard Lester who can be felt most of all on this album.  His directorial debut It’s Trad Dad features a myriad of artists who not only perform the songs but also appear in the film. There are star turns from Helen Shapiro, Craig Douglas, Charles Mingus, Dave Brubeck, Del Shannon, Chubby Checker, Gene McDaniels and Gene Vincent. This particular film anticipates the enormous success of Lester’s subsequent films A Hard Days Night and Help starring (in case you didn’t know) The Beatles. Richard Lester would prove to be arguably one of the most influential film direcors of the decade.  His lasting legacy was his work in the 1960s, and today he is mostly (and unfairly) remembered for his work with The Beatles. BUY HERE!

Picadilly Line

picadilly_line

The Huge World of Emily Small (CRSEG006)

The Picadilly Line released The Huge World of Emily Small in 1967 and then as is now this album has remained an obscurity. This rare ‘Baroque Pop’ nugget has received the full reissue treatment from Grapefruit Records a Division of Cherry Red Records, and this set comprises a re-mastered version of the original album plus ten bonus tracks with previously unseen photos and liner notes, which shed some light on this rather mysterious band.

The Picadilly Line were a 2 piece formed by Rod Edwards (keyboards and vocals) and Roger Hand (acoustic guitar and vocals). They signed to CBS as a 2 piece in 1966 and by the time recording of The Huge World of Emily Small commenced in the summer of 1967 they were augmented by a myriad of session men, and could boast of a studio band of orchestra sized proportions that included luminaries such as Danny Thompson and Herbie Flowers.

The music on this album is so sweet, light and fluffy that it could just be the musical equivalent of candy floss. This is ‘Baroque Pop’ of a particularly twee nature and will appeal directly to fans of late 1960s pop that is less on the lysergic side. The album has a distinctly English hue with evocative imagery, and pretty layered harmonies and delicate instrumentation. The songs are virtually all original compositions and despite the English whimsical nature of this album Edwards and Hand manage to throw a spanner in the works (which is no bad thing) by adding cover versions of The Everly Brothers ‘Gone, Gone, Gone’, and a shortened version of Bob Dylan’s epic masterpiece ‘Visions of Johanna.’

The Huge World of Emily Small disappeared without as much as a whisper when it was released in 1967. This was not at all unusual in the late 1960s as The Zombies, The Kinks and a whole host of other bands will testify. The lack of commercial success did not lead to their demise, and the bonus tracks on this album reveal the Picadilly Line’s more psychedelic moments, including the Graham Nash penned ‘Yellow Rainbow’, which had Jan Barber on vocals and ‘I Know, She Believes’.

By their own admission both Edwards and Hand were finished with the Picadilly Line by 1968, and their demise was hastened by the lack of interest in the fortunes of the band from their record company CBS. Edwards and Hand duly began a new musical adventure with the bizarrely named ‘Edwards Hand’, and they subsequently recorded 2 albums, which were both produced by George Martin. The Huge World of Emily Small may not make an indelible imprint on the listeners consciousness, however, it’s rarity and mystery will intrigue listeners and its long over due appraisal is finally over thanks to the efforts of Grapefruit Records. BUY HERE!

The Jasmine Minks

jasmine_minks

Cut Me Deep: The Anthology 1984 – 2014
(CDBRED608)

‘The Jasmine Minks’ may not be the first band that springs to mind when thinking about Alan McGee’s ‘Creation Records’. However, signing to McGee’s fledgling Indie label proved a pivotal moment for both ‘The Jasmine Minks’ and the fledgling ‘Creation Records’. McGee’s signed ‘The Jasmine Minks’ in 1983 after reading a Melody Maker review of a demo the recorded. McGee went to see the band rehearse and he was impressed enough to offer them a record deal, and a bond was formed over their mutual admiration for ‘The Velvet Underground’. The ‘Minks’ played their first gig at McGee’s legendary ‘The Living Room,’ and would be regulars alongside label mates ‘The Loft’ ‘Primal Scream’ and ‘The Pastels’, and by 1984 they had recorded their debut single Think! at Alaska Studios for the princely sum of $50.

‘The Jasmine Minks’ have been with Alan McGee throughout their entire recording career, and with an impressive canon of work that comprises 6 albums, 8 singles, EPs, and a slew of compilations, comes the definitive ‘Minks’ collection. Cut Me Deep The Anthology 1984 – 2014 brings together on 2 CDs pretty much everything they recorded with ‘Creation Records’, including, all four albums One Two Three Four Five Six Seven… All Good Preachers Go To Heaven, The Jasmine Minks, Another Age and Scratch The Surface. Some of the ‘Minks’ later output is also covered including tracks from their final album on McGee’s ‘Poptones’ label and a new single Christine.

The first CD kicks off with the debut single Think! and this song along with the rest of their early singles seriously kicks up a storm. With their jangly Rickenbacker sound and prominent bass and kick ass drumming from Tom Reid, the ‘Minks’ had one foot in the melodic pop of the 1960s and the other foot squarely in post punk. This music sounds as fresh as a daisy today, but must have seemed out of kilter with all the slickly smooth synth pop and other such guff that was taking the charts by storm in this period.

This anthology is a tale of two halves and both CDs highlight the evolution of the band from a somewhat ramshackle scratchy post punk outfit (What’s Happening & Black and Blue are brilliant examples of this) to a more soulful and reflective direction, which can be heard on their last ‘Creation Records’ album Scratch the Surface. Also included are a number of tracks taken from their final studio album Popartglory, and the ‘Minks’ nail their anti-capitalist credentials well and truly to the mast with Daddy Dog. This song features the Scottish Socialist political firebrand and ‘Solidarity’ party member Tommy Sheridan, who provides the rant/rap to this overtly political song just before he was jailed for his part in an anti-nuclear demonstration.

The roots of C86 and ‘Indie Pop’ can be found on this anthology, and it is fitting that ‘The Jasmine Minks’ should see their music given the full reissue treatment by ‘Cherry Red Records’ whose excellent work in bringing the ‘Minks’ and other such criminally underrated 1980s Indie bands to a new audience deserves to be applauded. BUY HERE!

Long John

Charming Chap and a new sharp force for Eyeplug, being a toppermost writer with a keen appreciation for things of quality and distinction. A well known face on the London ‘Mod’ Scene but with an open mind and heart. Got a strange interest in Pirates? One to watch out for!

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April 7, 2014 By : Category : Music Reviews Tags:, , , , ,
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Cherry Red Album Reviews – Feb 2014 by Scenester

Bowler Hat & Leather Boots

BowlerHat_LeatherBoots

Bowler Hat & Leather Boots (El Records ACMEM 261CD)

Lovers of the strange, the offbeat and the plain daft will have a laff riot this CD compilation from El Records.

Opening with polymath George Melly enthusiastically rolling his ‘r’s around the surrealist poem, ’Sounds that saved my life’, it perhaps goes some way to preparing the listener for the high pitched, infant shrieking of Hayley Mills ‘Let’s Get Together’, her stab at pop stardom from 1961, although the jaunty 30’s pastiche of ‘Johnny Jingo’ is more tolerable.

Leslie Phillips’ ever-suggestive voice considerably helps the otherwise tepid comedy song ‘The Navy Lark’. Those with a taste for the non-PC possibilities of sultry belles with foreign accents will chuckle at Elke Sommer’s ‘Be Not Notty’, a precursor to more funny foreigners later on in this CD.

Those of us who thought that Oliver Reed’s singing career was confined to his foghorn vocal in Ken Russell’s ‘Tommy’ were surprised to hear Olly delivering some early Brit Rock and Roll in ‘The Wild One’, teen schlock in ‘Lonely For a Girl’ and even some overheated romance in ‘Ecstasy’. The music world’s loss was obviously the acting world’s gain.

Which neatly brings us to the contributions of everyone’s favourite camp Uncle, Dirk Bogarde. Those sons of fun at Decca Records came up with what was thought to be a sure fire winner; today’s hot thesp reading out the lyrics of high quality popular songs; you know, proper music, Cole Porter, Richard Rogers, none of that awful Rock and Roll stuff, supported by suitably syrupy strings. So recline in your Eames chair, put your feet up on the matching ottoman, a dry martini in your hand, and listen to these softly spoken renditions of ‘You Go To My Head’ , ‘Just one Of Those Things’ and others. Sleeve notes are particularly enlightening here; if Dirk were still alive, he’d undoubtedly block the reissue by any means necessary.

Lovers of traditional cockney music hall will get a kick out of Norman Wisdom’s lament on London’s changing skyline and social habits, ‘Yer gotta get aht’, closely followed by Anthony Newley’s ‘That Noise’, a cheery nonsense song with a hint of vulgarity that some readers might remember, slipped under the rabbit proof fence on its many wireless airings. Newley’s ground breaking TV show, ‘Gurney Slade’ is here represented by the show’s instrumental theme, with its metronomic beat and meandering flute melody, a much welcomed bargain in this very musical Pound Shop.

The many wandering, strangulated voices of Kenneth Williams considerably add to ‘Lost Art’ and ‘Peace’, however briefly, followed by the truly baffling decision to let Robert Mitchum loose on the creditable calypso, ‘What is this generation coming to?’, in the middle of an otherwise impeccable film career. (Where’s Lance Percival when you need him?)

If, like me, you had to suffer the endless sentimental doggerel of Sir John Betjeman, all for a largely worthless English Lit O’ Level, may have their mind changed by Betj reading his ‘The arrest of Oscar Wilde at the Cadogan Hotel’, together with an anecdote about one of the major characters in this melodrama.

Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren’s ‘Bangers & Mash’ and ‘Bing Bang Bong’ mark a return to the ‘foreign accents for laughs’ section, but I defy you not to enjoy them for their wit and verve. In case you’re missing the silver strings and the velvet voice, Ian Carmichael is on hand to whip up a ‘Lemon Twist’, complete with bar-side sound effects.

Think of those great duets of the past; Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald, Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes; they all pale into insignificance next to the immortal pairing of Frankie Howerd and Margaret Rutherford performing ‘All’s Going Well’, an hilarious vignette of disaster at the ancestral pile, as reported to the lady dowager by her old, wrinkled retainer.

The satirists are represented here by the cast of ‘Beyond the Fringe’ performing a couple of high camp routines whose vocal mannerisms alone would have raised hackles only a few years ago, in some uptight circles, following a pleasant enough tune, ‘Strictly for the birds’ by the Dudley Moore Trio. Peter Cook reprises his Harold MacMillan impression in ‘TVPM’, so very acutely observed, you can even hear him tearing up the letter from a pleading pensioner to the late, unlamented Prime Minister.

The pure music hall of ‘Mrs Brown You’ve Got A lovely Daughter’ is here performed not by the dreaded Manchester based combo, but by much sought-after thesp Tom Courtenay , his cockney accent pure RADA, his delivery mercifully free of the lecherous lead-out of the original.

With so many artistes stepping outside of their comfort zone on this compilation, it’s a refreshing change to find one doing what he’s best at. Step forward one of England’s stateliest homo’s, Quentin Crisp, reading a heartfelt monologue ‘Stop the music for a moment’, about the evil effects of those new-fangled coffee bars and jukeboxes, which join the long list of causes of what’s killing the art of conversation. Malcolm Arnold’s ‘St Trinians’ Theme’ will be instantly recognisable to 99.9% of listeners, even without the verse trailing in half-way, but can you remember the lyrics to this ramshackle battle hymn?

Top notch ac-tor time again, with David Niven reading a letter purportedly written by King Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn, and if you’re prepared to believe that, you’ll believe that a fat, syphilitic 16th Century King could sound as suave as David Niven, and that the actor could keep a straight face as he read it. The dulcet tones of George Sanders are put to good use in the steady croon of ‘Try A Little Tenderness’. The unmistakeable vulpine sneer of Vincent Price brings ‘Ozymandias’ back to life, with ‘Music, when soft voices die’ expertly stroked
and petted.

Students of the macabre haven’t been forgotten, with Anthony Perkins’ ‘Moonlight Swim’, which surely should have been on the soundtrack of ‘Twin Peaks’, and Orson Welles’ pathetic/comedic treatment of standard ‘You made me love you’. The compilation ends as it began, with surrealism, as Salvador Dali is described painting a picture, the assembled journalists and camera crews slowly being covered in paint by the unique Catalan giant of 20th Century art.

The only omission appears to be the deliciously ludicrous ‘Kinky Boots’ by Patrick MacNee and Honor Blackman, and I have a feeling you lot know why it belongs here. BUY HERE!

Scenester

Scenester lives in London and Brighton, as time allows. Enjoys music, film, television, books, design and anything else which won’t leave well alone. Old enough to know better.

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February 26, 2014 By : Category : Music Pop Reviews Tags:, , ,
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Cherry Red Album Reviews – Nov 2013 by Scenester

Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera

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Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera (Grapefruit Records CRSE6026)

Those of you with time on your hands have undoubtedly played the game at some point. Why do some bands make it, and some don’t? The question may be well asked about Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera, a talented late 60’s combo working the popular end of psychedelia, providing tuneful, accessible sounds, supporting such luminaries as John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and Pink Floyd. The reason, I’ll leave to you and yours to sort out, I’m cocking an ear at this much revered LP, newly re-released by those lovely folk at Grapefruit Records.

A refreshing change to the wittering, wig-outs and sheer foolishness that is apt to turn up on LPs of this vintage, ‘EGVO’ lives up to its grandiose name without shovelling on the heavy riffing, lengthy guitar nonsense or diving into a vortex of queasy effects. Instead, concentrating on assured tunesmithing, bright vocals and light, supporting harmonies, the band turn in an LP which will definitely bear up to repeated listening.

With a drawl that slips somewhere between a Mid West snake-oil salesman and Andrew Sachs of ‘The Good Old Days’, the opening track, ‘Intro’, closely followed by ‘Mother Writes’, are little bits of whimsy to ease the listener into a place that could only be England, late 60’s, with its touches of homely kitchen sink drama and everyday conversation.

Piping calliope sounds accompany the cheekily titled ‘Mary Jane’, earning it a ban (yawn) from the BBC for alluding to some exotic smoking mixture, even though the song could be read as a plain, simple love song in anyone’s language.

‘I Was Cool’ is a comical little ditty comedy with a creeping beat, led by a very English take on a Screamin’ Jay Hawkins voice. Exploring their musical hall aspect still further, with the help of some loose bass and guitar over a spy movie style theme, is ‘Walter Sly meets Bill Bailey’.

‘Air’ glides along on some beautiful, soaring sitars and tabla rhythms, which perfectly illustrate a sense of peace, rather than, as some practitioners of the hippie arts do, obscure it, or worse, propel it into some tedious freak-out.

We’re back in whimsy country with ‘Looking for a Happy Life’, a joyous vocal/harmony led song that is as accessible as it is well crafted. ‘Flames’ starts with a hard, driving rhythm reminiscent of Steppenwolf, a fine, tight workout that doubtlessly did good service in the live arena where ‘EGVO’ flourished.

‘What’s The Point of Leaving’ takes up back to our comfort zone, a languorous piece that evokes The Idle Race at their best. ‘Long Nights of Summer’, an irresistible piece in the ‘Dear Prudence’ vein, is guaranteed to warm the hearts of even the most hard bitten of cynics.

‘Dream Starts’ makes surprisingly good use of a rasping vibrato in this Syd-era Floyd-a-like descending pattern, punctuated with horns and a drum tattoo that will make you believe you’ve woken up in Portmeirion Village, but of your own volition. ‘Reflections of a Young Man’ is a nervous piece, a kiss off / love letter to an older woman who makes a habit of leading young men astray.

‘Now She’s Gone’ is a finely wrought string and harmony-assisted take on love and loss that never wallows in any useless self-pity.

As an LP, these cogent twelve tracks are refreshingly free of the excesses that often characterises music of this period, they rarely breach the three minute barrier, and I would have been happy with them alone. This being a caring record company, you get more. The single version of ‘Flames’ is upfront and alert, but perhaps lacks a punchiness that could have propelled it into the already quality laden charts of the late 60’s. ‘Salisbury Plain’, another single, is a moody, mercurial piece, enjoyably experimental without getting bogged down, but the public once more gave an unfavourable verdict.

‘Mary Jane’ benefits from some sweet echo, being tighter than the LP version, and has ‘hit’ written all over it-except in the singles chart, that is. When you consider some of the highly suggestive material that some well-established bands were getting away with in this period, you do begin to wonder what the BBC was thinking of banning this lovely, harmonious slice of psychedelia.

‘Dreamy’, another piece of English flutter-bye pop sounds a little forced, suggestive of a band running out of ideas, but the production is up to the usual standard, and saves it.

‘Volcano’ is a sign that desperation may have set in, its crashing beat many miles away from the sweetness and light of their regular output.

‘A Quick B’ with its urgent guitars and honking harmonium, and those circus trick drums is an enjoyable enough burst of bluesy energy, putting you in mind of ‘Boom Boom Boom Boom’, but lacking a certain ambition.

‘Talk of the Devil’ takes us into the more risky territory of echoey guitar, hissing, thumping drums and hesitant, half threatening vocals, alternately bawling or whispering out their warning as circumstances dictate.

OK, these and the remaining four tracks are filler, but some bands release it as an anthology and charge full ticket for it. Make a little room in your life for this little slice of finely crafted, late 60’s psychedelia. BUY HERE!

Burt Bacharach

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Make It Easy On Yourself 1962: Burt Bacharach (El Records ACMEM258CD)

‘Best of’s can delight the casual buyer, but the hardcore collector is a more difficult beast to please. However, here’s one that might just confound his low expectations. Basically, a collection of the work of one year in the staggeringly successful career of Burt Bacharach, it will amaze even Burt-watchers with its attention to detail.

Jerry Butler’s version of the title track is hugely creditable, his sonorous voice perfectly expressing this emotional work to the non- more-lush string arrangement that would make Burt’s name one of the biggest in the music industry within a very short time.

In amongst the US based artists, British crooner Jack Jones puts in two impressive performances here, in ‘Dreamin’ All The Time’ and ‘Pick Up The Pieces’ evidence that he was far more versatile than is given credit for.

Tommy Hunt ‘s excellent treatment of ‘I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself’, with its soaring, dramatic arrangement by Burt, is one of the CD’s standouts, and is followed by his effortlessly measured ‘Don’t Make Me Over’, an emotional plea both arranged and produced by Burt.

The contrasting versions of ‘Waiting For Charlie To come Home’ have a ‘spot the difference’ backing, but the cool vocals of Jane Morgan are no match for the ballsy rasp of Etta James, and it’s Etta’s version I warm to, I am confessing to complete bias there.

Pitching Chuck Jackson’s performance of the beautiful ballad, ‘Any Day Now’ immediately before Dee Dee Sharp’s own version is a pleasant, understated contrast. ‘Feelin’ No Pain’ is a jaunty, rollicking piece that even Guy Mitchell might have drawn the line at, but Paul Evans’ bright rendition elevates it way above complete hokum.

There are many other welcome appearances within the 25 tracks on offer here, notably Timi Yuro’s ‘The Love of a Boy’, the CD closing with Marlene Dietrich’s ‘Sag Mir Wo Die Blumen Sind’(‘Where Have All The Flowers Gone?’). You know you’re famous when Marlene Dietrich writes your liner notes. BUY HERE!

Bill Nelson

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Getting The Holy Ghost Across- Bill Nelson (Cherry Red COCD 21009)

Walking a thin line between 80’s heroic bluster and a lightened-up prog-rock sensibility, Bill Nelson’s 1986 LP ‘Getting the Holy Ghost Across’ has rightly been given the full re-master CD treatment, and comes with a great bonus CD of goodies to boot.

An LP written, as Bill explains in the copious sleeves notes, at a time of deep personal turmoil, it nevertheless contains some of his most accessible work. Reflecting the then-fashionable roaring boy vocals and polyrhythms which pervaded that confused musical decade, Bill nods to the recent past throughout the LP, unafraid to use some stylings that hark back to the early 70’s, but omitting that decade’s worst noodling excesses.

Beginning with ‘Suvasini’, with its ‘Wish You Were Here’ feel of languorous guitar, melting into the Eastern styling of ‘Contemplation’ with wailing keyboards, percussion and a mystical love lyric makes for an excellent start.

The peace doesn’t last long, as wow and flutter wake us up in ‘Theology’, an off-kilter meditation on love and enlightenment over a soundtrack of the kind of metal-bashing that became an 80’s trope in its own right. ‘Wildest Dreams’ also utilises this curious style, but with sophisticated sax and falsetto vocal to keep it out of heavy metal territory. Basically a re-imagining of the classic material that had been ably covered by others in the mid 1970’s, this track goes way beyond mere pastiche.

‘Lost in Your Mystery’ re-visits the classic song writing canon for inspiration, this time coming up with an Oriental feel to a song of guilt and recrimination and the end of an affair. ‘Lost in Your Mystery’ s electric piano opening seems to propel us to the same, mid-Century place, but soon soars into a spell rich in occult symbolism, bell-like synths and guitars spiralling ever upward.

‘Age of Reason’ takes us back to more accessible 80’s territory, all fanfares, thumping drums and Bill’s upbeat vocal belying one of the LP’s deeper lyrics. Followed by a freer melody, with an Oriental styling to the vocal backing and rhythm section, ‘The Hidden Flame’ was surely single material, but was puzzlingly not used as such.

‘Because of You’ is heavy on those electronic drums, funk rhythms and screaming bluesy guitars but Bill’s voice is firmly in the 80’s, a lyric best encapsulated in the line’ Nailed to the Cross of Love’. Close your eyes, and you’re in a glass and chrome nightclub sometime in the 80’s, ordering a Brandy Alexander as news of the Stock Market’s Big Bang comes out over the giant TV screens. The gentle guitar stroking of ‘Pansophia’ leads us out into a much less fraught place.

The 12-inch version of ‘Wildest Dreams’ heads up the second disc, with further gems from Bill’s ‘Living for the Spangled Moment’ EP, a more loose, fragmented feel to many of the entries. ‘Illusions of You’ deserves special mention for its hint of township jive, here working purely as an original backing, rather than the dubious use it was often put to by others in the music industry.

That this LP caused a certain amount of apoplexy with the US based record label may come as a surprise to the reader. Instead of picking up on the sophisticated radio friendly styling of the music, which the USA had gone ape for when Mr Bowie produced an LP worth of it, the label bosses instead saw red about Bill’s use of occult symbolism and so the LP was hastily retitled ‘On A Blue Wing’, with some obscure artwork on the cover, replacing the sublime image of Crivellis’ ‘Anunciation of St Emidius’ which adorned the UK cover. BUY HERE!

Scenester

Scenester lives in London and Brighton, as time allows. Enjoys music, film, television, books, design and anything else which won’t leave well alone. Old enough to know better.

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November 19, 2013 By : Category : Front page Music Reviews Tags:, , , , , , ,
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Cherry Red Album Reviews – June 2013 by Scenester

Serge Gainsbourg

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Intoxicated ManSerge Gainsbourg (El Double) CD ACMEMD2 46CD

Those generous folk at El Records and Cherry Red have got together to put out this excellent, highly affordable double CD of the early, pre-Jane Birkin years of Serge Gainsbourg’s work. If you’re already familiar with the louche Gallic troubadour, it’s a very neat, comprehensive package that would otherwise take much time, expense and aggravation to compile. If your only exposure to Serge’s work is the ever-so-naughty ‘Je t’aime’ which topped music charts all over the place in the late 60’s, you would do well to immerse yourself in this collection.  Four LPs, an EP, live tracks and covers by such luminaries as former muse Juliette Greco and bilingual British chanteuse Petula Clark all make this CD a pleasure, if sometimes a dark one.

Coming from a country that preferred Jazz to Rock and Roll, and staunchly held on to its ‘Chanson’ tradition in the face of the US/UK pop onslaught of the 50’s and 60’s, Serge was a misfit throughout his career, and his life. Starting out in the smoky Left Bank Jazz clubs, singing his tales of existential angst and forbidden love to an older audience of intellectuals does not seem the background of the pop behemoth he would later become. Pre- ‘Je t’aime’, Serge’s best known song was arguably the urgent, melancholy train ride of ‘Le Poinconneur des Lilas’ (the ticket-puncher), the opening track on ‘Du Chant A La Une!’(1958). Basically a showcase of Serge’s clubland versatility, standouts number Charleston Des Demenageurs De Piano’ (Piano-movers Charleston) looking back to the lively 20’s, musically at least, and the feline creep of ‘Du Jazz Dans Le Ravin’.

‘Serge Gainsbourg No 2’ (1959) opens with another classic of its type, ‘Le Claqueur De Doigts’ (finger-snapper), Serge muttering ’Juke-Box, Juke-Box’ to the ‘claques’, a sign that he wisely had one eye on the emerging coffee-bar culture of the young, even when hanging out on the Left Bank. As varied as ‘Du Chant A La Une!’, in amongst the infectious dance rhythm of ‘Mambo Miam Miam’ and the flippant kiss-off of ‘Adieu Creature’, ‘Jeunes Femmes et Vieux Messieurs’ (Young Women and Older Men)  appears, disguised in a jolly country-tinged tune. This subject would re-appear throughout Serge’s long career.

The ‘Romantique 60’ EP (1960) includes the irritatingly catchy ‘Cha Cha Cha Du Loup’ and the Joe Meek-like production of the declamatory ‘Judith’, complete with heavenly choir. The disc closes with ‘L’Etonnant Serge Gainsbourg’  (The Astonishing…) LP. The classic lament, ‘La Chanson De Prevert’ opens, and the LP has more US –style crooning, with ‘Le Rock de Nerval’ and ‘Le Sonnet D’Anvers’, and ‘Viva Villa’s cheerful flutes belying a song of human pursuit and bounty.

Disk 2 opens with ‘Serge Gainsbourg No 4’, a cooler affair with some wistful Jazz (Black Trombone) to accompany a tale of love and detachment, and Hammond fetishists will have a ball with title track ‘Intoxicated Man’ and ‘Requiem Pour un Twisteur’s stylings. Those of us who wish we had a time machine have no need to fantasise, as we are also offered a live recording of Serge at ‘Theatre Des 3 Baudets’, (1958) sweet melodies accompanying scandalous tales of mad love, the disappointments of serial seduction and the matter of fact treatment of polysexual trysts. This isn’t the Hogmanay Show.

A taste of Serge’s varied film soundtrack work is collected here, including ‘L’Eau A La Bouche’(Water in the Mouth) and ‘Les Loups Dans La Bergerie’ (Wolves in the Sheep-Fold) and ‘Week-end En Mer’ (…by the sea). Proving that Serge had as much a feel for mood music as he had for deft lyrics, they may leave you with a desire to track down the films for the music alone. Juliette Greco’s brandy and granite voice works particularly well on the affecting ‘Valse de L’au-revoir (Goodbye Waltz)

Covers of Serge’s work make up the rest of this CD, including terrific close harmony and timekeeping by Les Frères Jacques on ‘Le Poinconneur Des Lilas’ more sepulchral tales interpreted by Juliette Greco, and Petula Clark’s handling of an affectionate romp ‘Vilaine Fille, Mauvais Garcon’(Naughty Girl, Bad Boy).

Something of a marathon at 66 tracks, this disc is well worth the time investment whether you’re a confirmed Gainsbourgian or just plain curious.
What language barrier? Buy HERE!

The Winkies

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The Winkies (Lemon Records) CDLEM 215

Turning up just in time for the UK’s Pub Rock scene of the mid 70’s, treading the same boards as bands like Brinsley Schwarz and Dr Feelgood, The Winkies are barely a footnote in the history of rock. Originally released by Chrysalis, this reissued LP inadvertently goes some way to explaining why.

Pub Rock, some would argue, was the true ancestor of Punk, it’s hard, uncompromising attitude to the live, ballsy experience of rock and roll music would see off many of the old fashioned plodders who played it safe with one limb in rock and others in folk, blues or country.

Much of ‘The Winkies’ has the feel of an LP released in 1970, rather than the 1975 it copyright mark attests. A strong driving rock opener (‘Trust in Dick’) is followed by some of the stodgiest blues-rock (‘Long Song Comin’), weakest folksy strumming (‘Mailman’) and weediest crooning (‘Put Out the Light’) I’ve ever heard. Only when we get to ‘Davey’s Blowtorch’ do we hear any of the promise shown by ‘Trust in Dick’. ‘North To Alaska’ and ‘Red Dog’ would have sounded hokey even in 1970, but somehow were included in an LP that Chrysalis felt could do battle with the likes of Bad Company.

Even Guy Stevens’ production can’t save it, and their later semi-fame as backing band for Brian Eno’s only tour is a curiosity best left to collectors of such fare.
Buy HERE!

Scenester

Scenester lives in London and Brighton, as time allows. Enjoys music, film, television, books, design and anything else which won’t leave well alone. Old enough to know better.

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June 16, 2015 By : Category : Exotica Front page Music Reviews Rock Tags:, , , , ,
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