Tuesday, September 30, 2014

But, oh, that magic feeling (The Beatles) #299

Orange Bicycle Carry That Weight, You Never Give Me Your Money/ Want To B Side (Parlophone, NZP 3344 4577, 1969)

Back to the weird ones for this 1969 single version of some Beatle tracks off Abbey Road.

Their wikipedia entry tells you all you need to know: 

'Orange Bicycle were an English psychedelic pop band, which existed from 1967 to 1970. The band played a style influenced by The Beach BoysThe BeatlesThe Rolling Stones and the hippie culture. Previously, they also acted as support and backing band for the duo Paul and Barry Ryan as well as completing sessions for other vocalists, recording over 100 BBC Radio One sessions and appearing on UK TV.' 

The band comprised 
  • Robert F Scales lead singer (under his stage name Robb Storm)
  • John Bachini (Bass, guitar, vocals)
  • Kevin Curry (Drums)
  • Bernie Lee (Guitar, vocals)
  • Wilson Malone (Keyboards, Drums, vocals)
Their versions of these two classics from Abbey Road are pretty straight - as if done by The Iveys before they became Badfinger.

You'll have to take my word for it though as neither of these tracks appear on youtube. This is unusual for goo goo g'joob - even really rare stuff is on youtube, but there you go!

Hidden gem: Some lovely guitar noodling features on the B side over the rest of the band. Bizarrely, the lyrics are just a continual chorus of Wan-Two-Bee-Side. That guitaring is nice though.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

There was something about you (The Only Ones) #298

The Only Ones Out There In The Night/ Lovers Of Today (CBS, BA 222541, 1977)

I was a fan of this band in the late seventies. Knowledge of them coincided with my first stint of working at Marbecks' Records in the Queen's Arcade. I was studying at Auckland University and Roger gave me jobs in my holidays when things got busy in the store around Christmas time. 

Most people know the band from Another Girl, Another Planet - a great song that was on their first album.

This A side comes from their second album, Even Serpents Shine, which is my least favourite of the three they made.

But having said that, this is still a superior piece of edgy pop. Edgy because of Peter Perrett's quirky vocal style. An acquired taste, but one I really like.

Hidden gem: Their first single was Lovers Of Today. It came out on an independent label, before they moved to CBS.  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

I got love in my tummy (Ohio Express) #297

Ohio Express Yummy Yummy Yummy/ Zig Zag (Kama Sutra, 7N 25451, 1968)

Decidedly dodgy! This is bubblegum pop but I can always hear dodgy double entendres in these songs. Blame my English lit background where we saw symbols in everything! 

Yummy Yummy Yummy might be one of the dumbest lyrics of all time, or the smartest!

The Ohio Express weren't a real group (as so often happened with bubblegum). Instead a bunch of ever changing musos who recorded or toured the brand made up The Ohio Express. Who knows who the people in the 'official' video below are!

Hidden gem: Zig Zag is the instrumental backing track to another bubblegum band's song (1910 Fruitgum Co's (Poor Old) Mr Jensen. Why? The producers, for some bizarre reason, didn't want double-sided hits. Something to do with money I bet! Needless to say, it's complete tosh!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I can only receive (Gary Numan) #296

Gary Numan Cars/ Asylum (Atlantic, BEG 23, 1979)

I have never been much of a fan of the the new romantics electro-pop, electronica, synth-pop or even synths in general outside of a progressive band (therefore Rick Wakeman, Keith Emerson and Kraftwerk are exempt from criticism).

The explosion of stuff in the early eighties (like The Human League, Ultravox, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, and OMD) can probably be largely blamed on Gary Numan. He was definitely a pioneer of this kind of music.  

I was in the middle of my University years when Cars came out and deeply into my fascination with all things American. Numan didn't appeal, with his android image and interest in dystopian sci-fi. Nor did his music, except for this single - which is AWESOME. 

It couldn't be avoided in 1979.

I can't put my finger on it but there is a wonderful vibe happening on Cars. He clearly had problems socially and so being locked in his car was a great move for him. Dunno. Whatever, the music has a hook that buries itself under your skin, so that, some thirty plus years later, it still sounds fresh.

Great name too (better than Gary Webb).

Hidden gem: The B side was left off the parent album (The Pleasure Principle) but has been subsequently added as a bonus track. I maybe played it once when I bought the single, maybe.

Monday, September 22, 2014

What I feel, I can't say (George Harrison) #295

Olivia Newton-John  What Is Life/ I'm A Small And Lonely Light (Interfusion, ITFK 4577, 1972)

From her second album called Olivia, this is a faithful copy of the George Harrison song. In fact replace the vocal track and it would be a similar story to the Ronnie Spector version of Try Some Buy Some (which used the Harrison backing track behind her vocals).

On the plus side: that guitar riff is awesome, she sings the song well without any Aussie twang and it's nice having the female perspective to the lyric - adds a different slant. 

Hidden gems: Nope - the B side has all the ON-J traits that mean I have this single by her and only because it's a cover of The Quiet One's song.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

I've got nothing to be ashamed of (Juice Newton) #294

Juice Newton  Love's Been A Little Bit Hard On Me/ Ever True (Capitol, F 5120, 1982)

Now there's a name from the past. Someone I've not thought about for a long time (read that last sentence as Obi Won Kenobi).

Juice (obviously not her real name but no one seems to know where the nickname originated) is still around - still putting out product in the country vein she morphed into after her run of pop hits dried up the early eighties.

It was a decent run too; she was no one hit wonder.

Queen Of Hearts and this A side are the pick of the songs that charted. 

Her voice was perfect for this kind of country inflected pop confectionery. After all, it is a Bobby Goldsboro song - Mr Country Pop Confection himself, so a wise choice by Juice.

Hidden gems: The B side proves she can do a country pop weepie but aside from that it doesn't qualify as a 'gem'.

Monday, September 15, 2014

I see a ship in the harbour (New Order) #293

New Order  Blue Monday/ The Beach (Factory, Good 10, 1983)

Some songs just immediately suggest a time and a place. This is one such song.

The time is 1983 - my first year of teaching at New Plymouth Boys' High School and I'd met a woman in New Plymouth, fallen in love, and moved into her flat at 31C Lorna Street - a nifty little two bed detached house at the bottom of a leafy shared driveway.  

Both sides of this 12 inch single were part of the soundtrack of those times - the first days of a relationship that has now passed thirty years together.

The song? Oh yeah - it's still the catchy beast it always was. So radical for the time, and so different to Joy Division (who I love in a different way). It seemed to be of the time, at the time, but it still sounds remarkably cool after 30 years.

Hidden gem: If anything, The Beach is even better and fresher sounding than the A side. It's basically the same song but a more instrumental version so it's those synths, robotic drum and amazing bass sounds to the fore along with some processed vocals. This sounds so great LOUD too.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Spent too many nights getting out of my head (Motorhead) #292

Motorhead/Girlschool Please Don't Touch/ Girlschool Bomber, Motorhead/Denise Dufont Emergency (Bronze, K 8276, 1980)

AKA the St. Valentines Day Massacre EP. 

Bizarrely, this EP comprised a couple of songs featuring those nice young men from Motorhead playing with the demure and innocent girls from Girlschool (Denise is the Girlschool's drummer).

The EP cover has them dressed up as gangsters and their molls. Okay maybe they're not THAT innocent.

This is full tilt post punk metal boogie! 

Please Don't Touch is a call to do do just that and it's damned infectious.

Hidden gem: The B side is where the great Motorhead tear into Emergency and it's big smiles all 'round. All together now - 999 EMERGENCY!!

Friday, September 12, 2014

From the dark end of the street to the bright side of the road (Van Morrison) #291

Van Morrison  Bright Side Of The Road/ Rolling Hills (Mercury, 6001 121, 1979)

Van is in upbeat mode here. Perky even and that's not an adjective anybody uses often where Van the man is concerned.

The song comes from his Into The Music album, but a different version is also on The Philosopher's Stone, an album of outtakes and rarities.

As I said, it's not a song I immediately think of when I'm thinking of Van but it's been featured in movies over the years, including one of my all time favourite films Fever Pitch.

It's an odd one in that it's an answer to the great soul song from 1967 (although it sounds older) The Dark End Of The Street (check the post title). I've included Ry's version as it's amazing!!

Hidden gem: Positivity continues to rule on the B side - a jaunty ditty about going across them rolling hills. Another song from Into The Music so no rarity value there.

Thought I'd provide a couple of different versions as the video this time out. Van's versions are stunning but Shakira and Jerry Garcia do different things with it that I also like.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Possessed by fantasy (The Mockers) #290

The Mockers  My Girl Thinks She's Cleopatra/ After The Rain (Reaction Records 12", REACT 008, 1983)

Oops - missed this one - should have come before The Monkees Valleri. Sorry 'bout that chief.

Forever Tuesday Morning was The Mockers' biggest hit, it went to #2 in NZ, but I don't have that one. Instead I have their 1983 single (before FTM) which peaked at #36.

It's a chirpy pop number that could almost be a long lost Herman's Hermits single.

I really liked Andrew Fagan - lead singer, mainstay of the band, and general nice guy. He sang well, was a real performer, and looked great too. One Black Friday and this one would be my favourite tracks. Wonder where he is now.

Unfortunately there is nothing on youtube but the song does appear in this TV special: http://www.nzonscreen.com/title/shazam-mockers-special-1984

Hidden gem: After The Rain is a fabulous song, very atmospheric, and The Cure influence is now pretty obvious. Andrew still sounds like no one else though.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Sunshine, ragtime blowing in the breeze (The Monkees) # 289

The Monkees  Valleri/ Tapioca Tundra (RCA, 60437, 1968)

Although The Monkees were a band, it's well known that they didn't play much on their early stuff.

By 1968 this was less true. 

Valleri from 1968, and their fifth album The Birds, The Bees and The Monkees, featured a lead vocal from Davy Jones and little else from the other fab four, but the B side was heavily a Mike Nesmith song.

It is a little random, isn't it, that I have this single of The Monkees, because it's hardly one of their big hits - there are plenty of those to choose from. But, instead, I have Valleri.

Isn't that pretty much what happens in collections though? Over time weird things that you may not even like creep into your stuff and settle down for a quiet life. Seldom, if ever played... just loitering around with intent.

Hidden gem: The B side is a Mike Nesmith vehicle. He wrote it, provides the lead vocal and is responsible for the whistling, percussion, electric guitar and acoustic guitar. It's rather wonderful too!

Monday, September 1, 2014

At least you won't have time to be bored (Midnight Oil) #288

Midnight Oil  Power And The Passion/ Power And The Passion (Dub version) (CBS, BA 223010, 1982)

The Aussie battlers, who are led by the permanently bald Peter Garrett, had a big hit with this song down under in the early eighties.

The passionate delivery is really infectious, as in it gets under your skin and stays there. 

The video is what sold the song at the time - apart from Garrett's weird twitch dancing all the added clips and video production techniques were of the moment. Hooked me at the time.

It's a muscly rock song (brass!) from a real Aussie band (although Bones Hillman is a Nu Zilder in their midst) who mainly addressed Aussie concerns.

Love, too, the classic Cold Chiselish line up - two guitarists and the solo singer!!

Hidden gem: The B side is a dub version of the A side so I guess it's reasonably rare. It also sounds really cool. I normally hate dub versions of things but this really works as it brings out all the musical quirks and vocal tics from the song. Nice.