Friday, 19 May 2017

Johnny And The Hurricanes - 1964 - Vol. 2 FLAC


James Bond Theme/The Hungry Eye/Rough Road/Kaw Liga


 Johnny and the Hurricanes were an American instrumental rock and roll band from Toledo, Ohio, that had a number of hits, especially in the UK, in the 1950s and early 1960s.

They began as the Orbits in Toledo in 1957. Led by saxophonist Johnny Paris (born 29 August 1940 as John Matthew Pocisk, Walbridge, Ohio, died 1 May 2006, Ann Arbor, Michigan), they were school friends who played on a few recordings behind Mack Vickery, a local rockabilly singer.

They signed with Harry Balk and Irving Micahnik of Twirl Records, which led to national engagements in 1959. Johnny and the Hurricanes recorded "Crossfire" in a vacant cinema to provide echo. It became a nationwide U.S. hit, and ranked No. 23 in the U.S. chart in the summer of 1959.


Johnny and the Hurricanes followed with "Red River Rock", an instrumental version of "Red River Valley", on Warwick Records, that became a top ten hit on both sides of the Atlantic (No. 5 in the U.S., No. 3 in the UK), and sold over a million copies. The musicians in the band then were Paris on saxophone, Paul Tesluk on a Hammond Chord organ, Dave Yorko on guitar, Lionel "Butch" Mattice on bass, and Bill "Little Bo" Savich on drums.

They specialised in versions of old tunes with a rock and roll beat. They chose these songs because they were well recognized and easier to accept with the beat. Tunes were credited to 'King, Mack' and usually one other name: King and Mack were in fact pseudonyms for Harry Balk and Irving Micahnik, the band's managers. In 1960, they recorded the United States Army bugle call, "Reveille", as "Reveille Rock", and turned "Blue Tail Fly" into "Beatnik Fly". Both tunes made the Top 40 achieving number 15 and 25 respectively. The band also recorded "Down Yonder" for Big Top Records. In the same year, they recorded "When The Saints Go Marching In" as "Revival", but it ranked in the charts for just one week, peaking at No. 97. The record was flipped over in the UK, where "Rocking Goose" reached No. 3 in the UK Singles Chart.


 The band developed a following in Europe. In 1962, they played at the Star-Club in Hamburg, where the Beatles, then a little-known band, served as an opening act. Johnny and the Hurricanes cut records until 1987, with "Old Smokie" (their cover of "On Top of Old Smokey"), and an original tune, "Traffic Jam", both on Big Top Records, being their last releases to chart in America. Johnny Paris, the only constant member of the band, continued to tour with his Hurricanes in Europe and the United States until his death.

Johnny Paris and his band toured Europe occasionally until the end of 2005. He died on 1 May 2006 at the University Clinic of Ann Arbor, Michigan, of hospital-borne infections after an operation. Paris's second wife and widow, the German journalist, novelist and vocalist Sonja Verena (Reuter) Paris, took over his business (Atila Records, Sirius 1 Music and Johnny and the Hurricanes Incorporated) and the rights to his songs and trademarks. Paris claimed that over 300 musicians played in the band in its fifty-year existence.


 The band inspired the song "Johnny and the Hurricanes" on the album How I Learned to Love the Bootboys, by the band the Auteurs. They were also namechecked in the Kinks' 1973 song "One of the Survivors", and in "Bridge in Time" on the 1990 Burton Cummings album Plus Signs.

Drummer Bill "Little Bo" Savich died on 4 January 2002. Bassist Lionel "Butch" Mattice died on October 16, 2006. Guitarist David Yorko died on 17 February 2017 at the age of 73.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Rascals - 1968 - A Beautiful Morning FLAC


A Beautiful Morning/Rainy Day/My World/Silly Girl



"A Beautiful Morning" is a song written by Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati and recorded by The Rascals. Coming out in early 1968, it was the group's first single released under that name rather than The Young Rascals. The first album on which the song appeared was Time Peace: The Rascals' Greatest Hits. It continued the theme of carefree optimism that had distinguished the previous year's "Groovin'". The song was a big hit in the United States, reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and also reaching number 36 on the Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart. It was RIAA-certified as a Million Seller on June 28, 1968. "A Beautiful Morning" charted in Australia at      #36. The song had an introductory sound of mystical wind chimes and bells.


A Beautiful Morning was used in advertisements for the drug Vioxx produced by Merck & Co., for Bounce fabric softener, and in the early 1990s for the Days Inn hotel chain. The song also featured in a Scrubs episode, at the start of a season 6 episode with Zach Braff who plays J.D. dancing to it. It was also featured at the end of a second season episode of The Greatest American Hero in which Ralph had to disarm a nuclear missile. It was also featured in the movie Kingpin immediately following the scene that shows how Roy got his rubber hand. The song was featured during the 1969 college graduation scene in The First Wives Club. The song was also used in the 1993 movie A Bronx Tale opening the racetrack scene, as well as on Arrow at the end of the eighteenth episode of the fifth season, titled "Disbanded."Renée Geyer covered the song on her album Dedicated (2007).

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Blue Mink - 1971 - Melting Pot FLAC


Melting Pot/Our World/Good Morning Freedom/Blue Mink (Instrumental)



 Roger Coulam (keyboards) formed the band in the autumn of 1969, with Madeline Bell (vocalist), Roger Cook (vocalist), Alan Parker (guitarist), Herbie Flowers (bassist), and Barry Morgan (drummer). Most of the songs were written by Cook and Roger Greenaway.

Flowers, Morgan and Parker all worked with Coulam at London's Morgan Studios. The four of them recorded several backing tracks, with which Coulam approached Bell and Greenaway, (who had been half of David and Jonathan), as vocalists. Greenaway declined, but put forward Cook (the other half of David and Jonathan).



The band's debut single "Melting Pot", written by Cook and Greenaway, was recorded with this line-up and released on 31 October 1969 on the Philips label (catalogue BF1818), with the B-side "Blue Mink" (penned by Alan Parker); it peaked at No. 3 in the UK Singles Chart. An American cover version entitled "People Are Together" by soul singer Mickey Murray proved too radical for American radio and failed to get any meaningful airplay.


 An album of the same name was released early in 1970, at the same time as the second single, "Good Morning Freedom", which reached No. 10 in the chart. The track did not feature on the first release of the LP, but was added to subsequent pressings.

The members continued with their session work despite the success of the band. In March 1970, Cook, Bell, Parker and Morgan appeared on Elton John's eponymous first solo album; Elton John covered "Good Morning Freedom" (written by Albert Hammond) anonymously on the Deacon Records budget compilation album Pick Of The Pops. In April, Cook and Greenaway played briefly in Currant Kraze, and together they continued to write songs such as "You've Got Your Troubles", "I've Got You On My Mind" and "I'd Like To Teach the World To Sing". Other side projects included: involvement with Parker's band The Congregation; Herbie Flowers' contributions to Lou Reed's Transformer album; and the involvement of Flowers, Morgan and Parker in sessions with Pete Atkin in March 1971, that later appeared on his Driving Through Mythical America album.


The band's second album and their third single released on Philips in September 1970 were entitled Our World (the album was released as Real Mink in the US). The band's next single release was "The Banner Man" on Regal Zonophone in the spring of 1971. It reached No. 3 in the UK chart, equalling the success of the debut single and notable for its use of a brass band. The members' other projects now took priority until January 1972 when Blue Mink played two weeks at The Talk Of The Town club in London. Recordings from this engagement were released that March as the album Live at the Talk Of The Town simultaneously with the studio album A Time Of Change (renamed from Harvest to avoid confusion with Neil Young's new LP).

Ray Cooper (drums) and Anne Odell (keyboards) joined the band that summer and played on the single "Stay With Me" co-written by Herbie Flowers, which charted at No. 11 in November 1972. By the time of Blue Mink's fourth album, Only When I Laugh, glam rock was supplanting the lighter pop sound of the previous few years. The associated single, "By The Devil (I Was Tempted)", written by Guy Fletcher and Doug Flett, only reached No. 26 and the Top 10 single "Randy" in June 1973 was their last success.

Their final album, Fruity, (January 1974) and the singles "Quackers" (January 1974) and "Get Up" (July 1974) failed, and the band split up that autumn after a farewell tour of the United States. Elton John was among the celebrities present to say goodbye, introducing the band onstage at The Troubadour in Los Angeles.

The band reformed in 1976 featuring Mike Moran. They recorded a few singles on the Target Records label that was owned by Cook and Greenaway. The best known of their three releases was "Where Were You Today", written by Greenaway and Dundas, previously "Come and C&A", a television and radio commercial jingle theme for the department store C&A.

When Capital Radio, one of the UK's first two independent local radio stations took to the air in London in 1973, the station's identity jingles were written by Cook and Greenaway, performed by Blue Mink and orchestrated by George Martin. Madeline Bell had also sung the original jingles for Radio Caroline, the offshore pirate station that first went on-air in 1964, in the end successfully challenging the BBC's monopoly of British radio broadcasting.

Since the band's demise, each of the members maintained a presence in the world of session musicianship and songwriting. The Rimshots covered Blue Mink's "Get Up", retitled as the disco single "7-6-5-4-3-2-1 (Blow Your Whistle)" in 1976, and had a hit.

In 1994, Cook, Bell and Flowers were re-united for a television rendition of their hit "Melting Pot" on the Michael Barrymore show.




Friday, 5 May 2017

Dave Clark Five - 1964 - Hits Of FLAC


Glad All Over/Can't You See That She's Mine/Thinking Of You Baby/Bits And Pieces



For a very brief time in 1964, it seemed that the biggest challenger to the Beatles' phenomenon was the Dave Clark Five. From the Tottenham area of London, the quintet had the fortune to knock "I Want to Hold Your Hand" off the top of the British charts with "Glad All Over," and were championed (for about 15 minutes) by the British press as the Beatles' most serious threat. They were the first British Invasion band to break in a big way in the States after the Beatles, though the Rolling Stones and others quickly supplanted the DC5 as the Fab Four's most serious rivals.



 The Dave Clark Five reached the Top 40 17 times between 1964 and 1967 with memorable hits like "Glad All Over," "Bits and Pieces," "Because," and a remake of Bobby Day's "Over and Over," as well as making more appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show than any other English act. The DC5 were distinguished from their British contemporaries by their larger-than-life production, Clark's loud stomping drum sound, and Mike Smith's leathery vocals. Though accused by detractors of lacking finesse and hipness, they had a solid ear for melodies and harmonies and wrote much of their early material, the best of which endured quite well. Interestingly, and unusually for that era, bandleader Dave Clark managed and produced the band himself, negotiating a much higher royalty rate than artists of that period usually received. After a couple years of superstardom, the group proved unable to either keep up with the changing times or maintain a high standard of original compositions, and called it quits in 1970.



Free - 1978 - All Right Now FLAC


All Right Now (Long Version)/My Brother Jake/Wishing Well


Free were an English rock band formed in London in 1968, best known for their 1970 signature song "All Right Now". They disbanded in 1973 and lead singer Paul Rodgers went on to become a frontman of the band Bad Company along with Simon Kirke on drums. Lead guitarist Paul Kossoff formed Back Street Crawler and died from a pulmonary embolism at the age of 25 in 1976. Bassist Andy Fraser formed Sharks.

The band became famed for their sensational live shows and nonstop touring. However, early studio albums did not sell very well – until the release of Fire and Water which featured the massive hit "All Right Now". The song helped secure them a place at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 where they played to 600,000 people.


By the early 1970s, Free became one of the biggest-selling British blues rock groups; by the time the band retired in 1973, they had sold more than 20 million albums around the world and had played more than 700 arena and festival concerts. "All Right Now," remains a rock staple, and had been entered into ASCAP's "One Million" airplay singles club.

Rolling Stone had referred to the band as "British hard rock pioneers". The magazine ranked Rodgers No. 55 in its list of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time", while Kossoff was ranked No. 51 in its list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".

Free were signed to Island Records in the UK and A&M Records in North America. Both labels became part of the PolyGram group in 1989, then Universal Music Group in 1998; UMG now controls the band's catalogue worldwide.


  "All Right Now" is a single by the English rock band Free. The song, released in 1970, hit #2 on the UK singles chart and #4 on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. "All Right Now" originally appeared on the album Fire and Water, which Free recorded on the Island Records label, formed by Chris Blackwell. In 1991, the song was remixed and re-released, reaching #8 on the UK singles chart.

"All Right Now" was a #1 hit in over 20 territories and was recognised by ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) in 1990 for garnering 1,000,000 plus radio plays in the U.S. by late 1989. In 2006, the BMI London awards included a Million Air award for 3 million air plays of All Right Now in the USA.





According to drummer Simon Kirke, "All Right Now" was written by bassist Andy Fraser and singer Paul Rodgers in the Durham Students' Union building, Dunelm House.

One of the engineers during the recordings of "All Right Now" was Roy Thomas Baker, who would later become Queen's producer (he mixed "Killer Queen", "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Don't Stop Me Now" among others).

Thanks to Sunshine.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Who - 1967 - Dance Sessions FLAC


The Kids Are Alright/It's Not True/ A Legal Matter/La-La-La Lies



The Who are an English rock band that formed in 1964. Their classic line-up consisted of lead singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist and singer Pete Townshend, bass guitarist John Entwistle, and drummer Keith Moon. They are considered one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century, selling over 100 million records worldwide and holding a reputation for their live shows and studio work.





The Who developed from an earlier group, the Detours, and established themselves as part of the pop art and mod movements, featuring auto-destructive art by destroying guitars and drums on stage. Their first single as the Who, "I Can't Explain", reached the UK top ten, followed by a string of singles including "My Generation", "Substitute" and "Happy Jack". In 1967, they performed at the Monterey Pop Festival and released the US top ten single "I Can See for Miles", while touring extensively. The group's fourth album, 1969's rock opera Tommy, included the single "Pinball Wizard" and was a critical and commercial success. Live appearances at Woodstock and the Isle of Wight Festival, along with the live album Live at Leeds, cemented their reputation as a respected rock act. With their success came increased pressure on lead songwriter and visionary Townshend, and the follow-up to Tommy, Lifehouse, was abandoned. Songs from the project made up 1971's Who's Next, which included the hit "Won't Get Fooled Again". The group released the album Quadrophenia in 1973 as a celebration of their mod roots, and oversaw the film adaptation of Tommy in 1975. They continued to tour to large audiences before semi-retiring from live performances at the end of 1976. The release of Who Are You in 1978 was overshadowed by the death of Moon shortly after.


Kenney Jones replaced Moon and the group resumed activity, releasing a film adaptation of Quadrophenia and the retrospective documentary The Kids Are Alright. After Townshend became weary of touring, the group split in 1982. The Who occasionally re-formed for live appearances such as Live Aid in 1985, a 25th anniversary tour in 1989 and a tour of Quadrophenia in 1996–1997. They resumed regular touring in 1999, with drummer Zak Starkey. After Entwistle's death in 2002, plans for a new album were delayed. Townshend and Daltrey continued as the Who, releasing Endless Wire in 2006, and continued to play live regularly.

The Who's major contributions to rock music include the development of the Marshall stack, large PA systems, use of the synthesizer, Entwistle and Moon's lead playing styles, Townshend's feedback and power chord guitar technique, and the development of the rock opera. They are cited as an influence by hard rock, punk rock and mod bands, and their songs still receive regular exposure.

Thanks To Mr. Purser

Kinks - 1968 - The Kinks


David Watts/Two Sisters/Lazy Old Sun/Situation Vacant



The Kinks were an English rock band formed in Muswell Hill, North London, in 1964 by brothers Ray and Dave Davies. They are regarded as one of the most important and influential rock bands of the era. The band emerged during the height of British rhythm and blues and Merseybeat, and were briefly part of the British Invasion of the US until their touring ban in 1965. Their third single, the Ray Davies-penned "You Really Got Me", became an international hit, topping the charts in the United Kingdom and reaching the Top 10 in the United States. Between the mid-1960s and early 1970s, the group released a string of hit singles; studio albums drew good reviews but sold less than compilations of their singles. Their music was influenced by a wide range of genres, including rhythm and blues, British music hall, folk and country. They gained a reputation for reflecting English culture and lifestyle, fuelled by Ray Davies' observational writing style. Albums such as Something Else (1967), The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society (1968), Arthur (1969), Lola Versus Powerman (1970), along with their accompanying singles, are considered among the most influential recordings of the period.
 
After a fallow period in the mid-1970s, the band experienced a revival during the late 1970s and early 1980s with albums Sleepwalker, Misfits, Low Budget, Give the People What They Want and State of Confusion. In addition, groups such as Van Halen, the Jam, the Knack, the Pretenders and the Fall covered their songs, helping to boost the Kinks' record sales. In the 1990s, Britpop acts such as Blur and Oasis cited the band as a major influence. The Kinks broke up in 1996, a result of the commercial failures of their last few albums and creative tension between the Davies brothers. Ray Davies (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) and Dave Davies (lead guitar, vocals) remained members throughout the group's 32-year run. Longest-serving member Mick Avory (drums and percussion) was replaced by Bob Henrit, formerly of Argent, in 1984. Original bassist Pete Quaife was replaced by John Dalton in 1969, and Dalton was in turn replaced by Jim Rodford in 1978. Session keyboardist Nicky Hopkins accompanied the band in the studio for many of their recordings in the mid-to-late 1960s. In 1969 the band became an official five-piece when keyboardist John Gosling joined them, being replaced by Ian Gibbons in 1979, who remained in the band until they broke up in 1996.



The group had five Top 10 singles on the US Billboard chart. Nine of their albums charted in the Top 40. In the UK, the group had seventeen Top 20 singles and five Top 10 albums. Four of their albums have been certified gold by the RIAA and have gone on to sell over 50 million albums worldwide. Among numerous honours, they received the Ivor Novello Award for "Outstanding Service to British Music". In 1990, the original four members of the Kinks were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as the UK Music Hall of Fame in November 2005.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Bobby Darin - 1967 - If I Were A Carpenter


If I Were A Carpenter/Rainin'/The Ballad of Cat Ballou/The Sweetheart Tree



 If I Were a Carpenter is an album by American singer Bobby Darin, released in 1966. It was a significant change in direction for Darin considering his previous album (In a Broadway Bag) was a collection of show tunes.

Having previously built his career recording mainstream pop music, Darin's musical output became more "folky" as the 1960s progressed. In 1966, he charted with folksinger Tim Hardin's "If I Were a Carpenter". It was Darin's return to the Top 10 after a four-year absence (the single peaked at No. 8 in the US and No. 9 in the UK in 1966). The tracks leaned heavily towards songs by Hardin and John Sebastian — seven of the songs were written by these two songwriters and Darin's next album would follow a similar process. The song "Red Balloon" had not yet been released by Hardin. It would appear on his album 1967 album Tim Hardin 2. In his Allmusic review, Richie Unterberger, stated "Hardin himself was convinced that Darin had copied his vocal style by listening to his yet-to-be-issued version and the album as a whole boasts a production similar to the orchestrated folk-rock heard on the debut  album in question, though it sounds like an inferior copy." Both Darin's If I Were a Carpenter and Hardin's Tim Hardin 2 were produced by Charles Koppelman and Don Rubin and Koppelman had originally signed Sebastian's band, The Lovin' Spoonful.

The album reached number 142 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart. Darin's cover of "Lovin' You" reached the Top 40. If I Were a Carpenter was reissued in 1998 on the Diablo label combined with Darin's next release, Inside Out.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Solomon Bourke - 1968 - Detroit City FLAC


Detroit City/It's Been A Change/Take Me (Just As I Am)/I Stayed Away Too Long



 
Soul-R&B pioneer Solomon Burke never gained the level of fame afforded to contemporaries James Brown, Al Green, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, or Sam Cooke. Rather, artists such as the Rolling Stones, Otis Redding, and the Blues Brothers introduced him to a wider audience through their cover versions.

The Stones’ early versions of “Cry to Me” and “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” especially stand out. In fact, the former appeared over 20 years later in the 1987 blockbuster Dirty Dancing, garnering renewed interest in the singer.

Born above Philadelphia’s Solomon’s Temple church, Burke was an ordained minister throughout his life as well as a mortician. He certainly led a very colorful life, as evidenced by a revealing Rolling Stone profile. Always full of life, the singer never actually slowed down even in the face of obvious weight gain and immobility, recording, touring, and often preaching from the pulpit of his Los Angeles church, the House of Prayer for All People and World Wide Center for Life and Truth (the church must have a wide sign). He passed away suddenly on Oct. 10, 2010, of natural causes after arriving in Switzerland by jet for a live performance with Dutch rock band De Dijk. Hold on Tight, a final, collaborative studio album featuring the decidedly odd couple, was ultimately released one year later.


 
In his 70 years on Earth, Burke wrote many songs and had his fair share of hits, albeit unfairly relegated to the R&B charts. Critics and soul aficionados have regularly called Burke one of the greatest singers of his generation, dubbing him “The King of Rock & Soul.” Burke’s vocals always possessed a ‘You’ve got to be born with ‘em’ gospel undertone. Even on soul numbers like “I Feel a Sin Coming On” and “Meet Me in Church,” the listener feels as if they’re hearing a gospel song straight from the Lord’s altar.

Burke wasn’t strictly pigeon-holed as a soul music interpreter. During his early Atlantic years, the singer was usually backed by a full orchestra with a decidedly pop sound, vocally resembling Sam Cooke on his first Atlantic single in 1961, the non-charting, yet very charming “Keep the Magic Working.” Burke was a masterful interpreter of pop standards, including one of his most neglected performances, a 1969 rendition of “That Lucky Old Sun,” which idiosyncratic Beach Boys founder Brian Wilson revived almost 40 years later.


Though not well-known as a social protest singer, Burke still left his mark with versions of “I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel to Be Free)” and Elvis Presley’s “In the Ghetto.” And as soon as he began recording, Burke set himself apart from his peers by tackling country standards, including “I Really Don’t Want to Know,” “He’ll Have to Go,” “Detroit City,” and “We’re Gonna Hold On,” the latter taken from the appropriately titled Nashville released late in the artist’s career. Burke’s early forays into country triumphantly bridged the gap between segregated audiences months before Ray Charles’ much more successful versions of “I Can’t Stop Loving You” and “You Don’t Know Me.”

 By the early ’70s, Burke was having few and far in-between hits, bouncing from one record label to the next. As the mid-‘80s rolled around, King Solomon found himself attached to Rounder Records, releasing the critically-acclaimed A Change Is Gonna Come. Subsequent years found the singer devoting much of his time to constant touring to make ends meet. By 2002, a sustaining comeback finally occurred, as Don’t Give Up on Me won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album. The long-running CBS television procedural Cold Case showcased one track from that great album in a 2008 episode, the sparse social commentary “None of Us Are Free.”

Artists such as Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, to producers ranging from Don Was and Willie Mitchell, all contributed songs to Burke’s 21st century discography. Burke’s penultimate album, Nothing’s Impossible, was the epitaph for producer Willie Mitchell, and it also serves as a fitting almost-finale for Burke. Listen to the opening song, “Oh What a Feeling,” cut in Memphis at Royal Studios with Mitchell’s trademark strings, organ, and rich rhythm section anchoring Burke’s longing vocals.

Sixty-eight years old when that performance was tracked, Burke’s singing had lost nothing with the passage of time. When he moans, almost preaching the lines “One night’s sleep is never enough, it feels so good, I don’t wanna wake up, oh what a feeling, I can’t help myself, I’ve just got, what a feeling I have inside for you,” you know he’s singing from plenty of hard-earned experience.







Del Shannon - 1965 - Del Shannon Hits FLAC


Stranger In Town/Do You Wanna Dance/Keep Searchin' (Follow The Sun)/Handy Man





One of the best and most original rockers of the early '60s, Del Shannon was also one of the least typical. Although classified at times as a teen idol, he favored brooding themes of abandonment, loss, and rejection. In some respects he looked forward to the British Invasion with his frequent use of minor chords and his ability to write most of his own material. In fact, Shannon was able to keep going strong for a year or two into the British Invasion, and never stopped trying to play original music, though his commercial prospects pretty much died after the mid-'60s.

Born Charles Westover, Shannon happened upon a gripping series of minor chords while playing with his band in Battle Creek, MI. The chords would form the basis for his 1961 debut single, "Runaway," one of the greatest hits of the early '60s, with its unforgettable riffs, Shannon's amazing vocal range (which often glided off into a powerful falsetto), and the creepy, futuristic organ solo in the middle. It made number one, and the similar follow-up, "Hats Off to Larry," also made the Top Ten.


Shannon had intermittent minor hits over the next couple of years ("Little Town Flirt" was the biggest), but was even more successful in England, where he was huge. On one of his European tours in 1963, he played some shows with the Beatles, who had just scored their first big British hits. Shannon, impressed by what he heard, would become the first American artist to cover a Beatles song when he recorded "From Me to You" for a 1963 single (although it would give him only a very small hit). Shannon's melodic style had some similarities with the burgeoning pop/rock wing of the British Invasion, and in 1965, Peter & Gordon would cover a Shannon composition, "I Go to Pieces," for a Top Ten hit.


Del got into the Top Ten with a late-1964 single, "Keep Searchin'," that was one of his best and hardest-rocking outings. But after the similar "Stranger in Town" (number 30, 1965), he wouldn't enter the Top 40 again for nearly a couple of decades. A switch to a bigger label (Liberty) didn't bring the expected commercial results, although he was continuing to release quality singles. Part of the problem was that some of these were a bit too eager to recycle some of his stock minor-keyed riffs, as good as his prototype was. A brief association with producer Andrew Loog Oldham (also manager/producer of the Rolling Stones) found him continuing to evolve, developing a more Baroque, orchestrated pop/rock sound, and employing British session musicians such as Nicky Hopkins. Much to Shannon's frustration, Liberty decided not to release the album that resulted from the collaboration (some of the material appeared on singles, and much of the rest of the sessions would eventually be issued for the collector market).



By the late '60s, Shannon was devoting much of his energy to producing other artists, most notably Smith and Brian Hyland. Shannon was a perennially popular artist on the oldies circuit (particularly in Europe, where he had an especially devoted audience), and was always up for a comeback attempt on record. Sessions with Jeff Lynne and Dave Edmunds in the '70s didn't amount to much, but an early-'80s album produced by Tom Petty (and featuring members of the Heartbreakers as backing musicians) got him into the Top 40 again with a cover of "Sea of Love." He was working on another comeback album with Jeff Lynne, and sometimes rumored as a replacement for Roy Orbison in the Traveling Wilburys, when he unexpectedly killed himself on February 8, 1990, while on anti-depressant drugs.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Mary Hopkin - 1972 - Mary


Goodbye/Those Were The Days/Water, Paper And Clay/Knock Knock Who's There




 Mary's story has been told many times over. At some point we may write a sheer unadulterated biography for this website, but for now, here are the basics, pulled from Wikipedia:

Mary Hopkin (born May 3, 1950) is a Welsh folk singer. She is best known as one of the first artists to sign to The Beatles' Apple Records label.

Alongside playing solo gigs and with her band around the local clubs, Mary released an album of Welsh language songs on a label called Cambrian who were based in her home town of Pontardawe, before signing to the Beatles' Apple Records. The model Twiggy saw her winning the British ITV television talent show Opportunity Knocks and recommended her to Paul McCartney. She became one of the first artists to record on The Beatles' Apple record label.



Mary's debut single, 'Those Were the Days', produced by Paul McCartney, was released in the UK on August 30, 1968. On 21 February 1969 her debut album, 'Postcard', also produced by McCartney, was released.

She represented the United Kingdom in the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest singing 'Knock Knock, Who's There?', coming second in the competition. If you mention Eurovision to Mary now, she pulls a disgusted face, not because she came second, but because this represents the pinnacle of the sugary sweet pop world that she hated.

Her second album, 'Earth Song, Ocean Song', was released by Apple on October 1, 1971. The record was produced by Tony Visconti and included cover versions of songs written by Cat Stevens, Gallagher and Lyle, and Ralph McTell. This is by far Mary's favourite album and she regrets being unable to promote it properly, being tied up in a summer season. Her Apple releases have now been remastered and are available on CD and downloads.



After marrying Visconti in 1971, Hopkin withdrew from the pop music scene to have a family. Delaney (who changed his name to Morgan) was born in 1972 and Jessica in 1976. Although reportedly unhappy with show business, Hopkin did not stop recording. She travelled to Australia with Visconti in January 1972 and performed at a large outdoor rock festival in South Australia, as well as giving concerts in several major cities. With the help of Visconti, 1972 saw the release of the Christmas songs 'Mary Had a Baby'/'Cherry Tree Carol' on Regal Zonophone Records, which was re-released in 1973. These have been released on CD by Mary Hopkin Music (that's us) in 2008.

She was in a band called Sundance with Mike Hurst and Mike de Albuquerque of ELO, and then she made an album with the original band called Oasis (nothing to do with those naughty brothers) which also featured Julian Lloyd Webber and Peter Skellern. In 1989 she recorded "Spirit" with Benny Gallagher. Now being re-released on MHM.


 Lots of recording projects over the years kept Mary as busy as she wants to be, and none of them were ever intended as a "comeback", although this is tends to be what happens.

Her daughter, Jessica Morgan, released 'Live at the Royal Festival Hall 1972' in 2005 under the label Mary Hopkin Music. When Jessica opened Space Studios later that year with her partner Christian Thomas (the other one, not the Pink Floyd record producer), Mary Hopkin Music was incorporated into the studio which now provides a haven where Mary can record. The discovery of yet more unreleased tracks recorded with Tony Visconti has led to our release of the "Archive" albums on Mary Hopkin Music. Additionally, Mary has since found a huge stash of other songs written by herself. We are working on releasing these too.

Mary lives a nomadic lifestyle, flitting about between countries. Rumour has it that she lives in a chateau in France where she can only be reached by carrier pigeon. While not strictly true, she still values her privacy.





Nancy Sinatra - 1967 - Summer Wine FLAC


Summer Wine/Shades/I Can't Grow Peaches On A Cherry Tree/The More I See You




"Summer Wine" is a song written by Lee Hazlewood. It was originally sung by Suzi Jane Hokom and Lee Hazlewood in 1966, but it was made famous by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood in 1967. This version was originally released as the B-side of "Sugar Town" the previous year, before featuring on the Nancy & Lee LP in 1968. It was the first of Sinatra and Hazlewood's string of popular duets.

Lyrically, "Summer Wine" describes a man, voiced by Hazlewood, who meets a woman, Sinatra, who notices his silver spurs and invites him to have wine with her. After heavy drinking, the man awakens hungover to find his spurs and money have been stolen by the mysterious woman; the subtext of which being they experienced intercourse and as payment she took his "silver spurs, a dollar and a dime". He then declares a longing for more of her "wine". One interpretation is that the man singing the song was seduced by the woman in order to steal his money and belongings. Another interpretation, sometimes cited, is that the song contains an allegorical description of drug use and that the lyric "she reassured me with an unfamiliar line" specifically refers to cocaine though that is anomalous for the apparent period setting.  Thanks to Sunshine

T Rex - 1978 - T Rex FLAC


Get it On (Bang a Gong)/Hot Love/Debora/Ride a White Swan



T. Rex were an English rock band, formed in 1967 by singer-songwriter and guitarist Marc Bolan. The band was initially called Tyrannosaurus Rex, and released four psychedelic folk albums under this name. In 1969, Bolan began to shift from the band's early acoustic sound to an electric one. The following year, he shortened their name to T. Rex. The 1970 release of the single "Ride a White Swan" marked the culmination of this development, and the group soon became a commercial success as part of the emerging glam rock scene.

From 1970 until 1973, T. Rex encountered a popularity in the UK comparable to that of the Beatles, with a run of eleven singles in the UK top ten. One of the most prominent acts in British popular culture, they scored four UK number one hits, "Hot Love", "Get It On", "Telegram Sam" and "Metal Guru". The band's 1971 album Electric Warrior received critical acclaim as a pioneering glam rock album. It reached number 1 in the UK. The 1972 follow-up, The Slider, entered the top 20 in the US. Following the release of "20th Century Boy" in 1973, which reached number three in the UK, T. Rex began to experience less commercial success but continued recording one album per year.

In 1977, Bolan died in a car accident several months after releasing their final studio album Dandy in the Underworld. Since then, T. Rex have continued to exert a vast influence on a variety of subsequent artists.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Gary Puckett & The Union Gap - 1969 - Lady Willpower


Lady Willpower/Daylight Stranger/Over You/If The Day Would Come



Gary Puckett & The Union Gap (initially credited as The Union Gap featuring Gary Puckett) was an American pop rock group active in the late 1960s. Their biggest hits were "Woman, Woman"; "Over You"; "Young Girl"; and "Lady Willpower." It was formed by Gary Puckett, Gary 'Mutha' Withem, Dwight Bement, Kerry Chater, and Paul Wheatbread, who eventually named it The Union Gap. It featured costumes that were based on the Union Army uniforms worn during the American Civil War. They were noticed by Jerry Fuller, who gave them a recording contract with Columbia Records. The group eventually grew unhappy with doing material written and produced by other people, leading them to stop working with Fuller. The band eventually disbanded and Puckett went on to do both solo work and collaborations.



"Lady Willpower" is a song written by Jerry Fuller and recorded by Gary Puckett & The Union Gap for their 1968 album, Incredible. It is sung from the point of view of a man who is frustrated that the woman he is seeing will not agree to have sex with him. He promises, if she complies, to "shower [her] heart with tenderness," but it is also implicit that the relationship will end ("It's now or never") if she does not. The song hit #1 on the Cash Box Top 100 and #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1968. It also reached #5 on the UK Singles Chart during the year. The single was awarded a million-selling Gold disc from the RIAA. It ranked among Cash Box magazine's Top 100 singles of 1968, where it hit the #1 position the week ending August 3, 1968. The song was the #34 song on the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles in 1968


 


"Over You" is a hit song written by Jerry Fuller and recorded by Gary Puckett & The Union Gap for their 1968 album, Incredible. The song reached #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart. It peaked at #5 in Cash Box as well as #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in late 1968. This cut was the group's fourth consecutive million-selling Gold-certified single produced and written by Jerry Fuller. It received a Gold disc from the RIAA in December 1968. The song was an international success, reaching #3 in Canada, #6 in Australia, and #17 in New Zealand. It ranked #41 on the US Cashbox chart Top 100 Hits of 1968.

Billy J. Kramer - 1964 - Little Children FLAC


Little Children/They Remind Me Of You/Beautiful Dreamer/ I Call Your Name





One of the most popular Merseybeat singers, Billy J. Kramer (born Billy Ashton) was one of the most mild-mannered rockers of the entire British Invasion. He wasn't that noteworthy a singer, either, and more likely than not would have never been heard outside of northern England if he hadn't been fortunate enough to become a client of Beatles manager Brian Epstein. Even more crucially, he was gifted with several Lennon-McCartney songs in 1963 and 1964, several of which the Beatles never ended up recording. That gave him his entrance into the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, but Kramer couldn't sustain his success after the supply of Lennon-McCartney tunes dried up. Significant? No. Enjoyable? Yes. Even tossing aside the considerable value of hearing otherwise unavailable Lennon-McCartney compositions, his best singles were enjoyably wimpy, melodic pop/rock, offering a guilty pleasure comparable to taking a break from Faulkner and diving into some superhero comics.
 

 It's been reported that George Martin was reluctant to produce Kramer because of the latter's vocal deficiencies, making sure to hide the cracks in his upper register with loud piano notes in Billy's cover of "Do You Want to Know a Secret." No matter -- the song made it to number two in the U.K. in mid-1963, followed by another Lennon-McCartney effort, "Bad to Me." "I'll Keep You Satisfied" and "From a Window" were other gifts from the Beatles camp that gave Kramer solid hits; one Beatles reject, "I'll Be on My Way," was even relegated to a B-side (the Beatles' own BBC version was finally released in 1994). All these tunes, it should be noted, represented Lennon-McCartney at their lightest and most facile, which to a large degree explains why they didn't record the numbers for their own releases, deeming them more suitable for Kramer's fairly bland approach.







Billy J. actually landed his biggest hit, the corny pop ballad "Little Children," without assistance from his benefactors; the single also broke him, briefly, as a star in the United States, where it and its flip side ("Bad to Me") both made the Top Ten. He appeared in the legendary 1964 The T.A.M.I. Show rockumentary film, and the Dakotas recorded some instrumental rock on their own, getting a Top 20 British hit with the Ventures-ish "The Cruel Sea." Early British guitar hero Mick Green, formerly with Johnny Kidd & the Pirates, was even a Dakota briefly. But after 1965's cover of Bacharach-David's "Trains and Boats and Planes," the hits ceased, as the Beatles and Epstein's attention was lost. Kramer continued recording throughout the '60s, even briefly venturing into hard psychedelic-tinged rock, without much success, and subsequently toured often on the oldies circuit.





"Little Children" is a song written by J. Leslie McFarland and Mort Shuman. It was recorded by Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas, and reached number one in the UK Singles Chart in March 1964, and No. 7 in the US Hot 100 singles chart later the same year. The B-side of "Little Children" in the U.S., "Bad to Me" (which had previously been an A-side in the UK which made No. 1 there in August 1963) peaked at No. 9 on the US charts simultaneously to the success of "Little Children" there.



Thursday, 30 March 2017

P.J. Proby - 1965 - The Hit Sound Of P.J. Proby FLAC


Somewhere/I Apologise/ Together/Hold Me





 P.J. Proby (born James Marcus Smith, November 6, 1938) is an American singer, songwriter, and actor. He has also portrayed Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison in musical theater productions. The stage name P.J. Proby was suggested by a friend, Sharon Sheeley, who had a boyfriend of that name at high school.

Proby recorded the singles "Hold Me", "Somewhere" and "Maria". In 2008, he turned 70 and EMI released the Best of the EMI Years 1961–1972. He still writes and records on his own independent record label, Select Records, and performs in the UK in Sixties concerts.


 Proby was born in Houston, Texas, United States, and educated at San Marcos Military Academy, Culver Naval Academy and Western Military Academy. After graduation he moved to California to become a film actor and recording artist. Given the stage name Jett Powers by Hollywood agents Gabey, Lutz, Heller and Loeb, he took acting and singing lessons and played small roles in films. Two singles, "Go, Girl, Go" and "Loud Perfume" appeared on an independent label. Proby was brought by Sharon Sheeley to audition at Liberty Records in 1961 and he recorded a number of unsuccessful singles. In 1962 he began writing songs and recording demos for artists such as Elvis Presley and Bobby Vee.
Success in Britain

Proby travelled to London after being introduced to Jack Good by Sheeley and Jackie DeShannon. He appeared on The Beatles' television special in 1964. Under Good, Proby had UK top 20 hits in 1964 and 1965 including "Hold Me" (UK No.3), "Together" (UK No.8, featuring guitarists Big Jim Sullivan and Jimmy Page), "Somewhere" (UK No.6) and "Maria" (UK No.8); the latter two songs were both lifted from the musical West Side Story. He also recorded the Lennon–McCartney composition "That Means a Lot", a song The Beatles attempted to record before giving it away.



Proby's UK career lost momentum after controversial live concert appearances including two trouser-splitting incidents at shows in Croydon and Luton in January 1965 that scandalized the British press and public and led to bans on Proby appearances by the ABC theatre chain, its TV namesake and BBC TV.  Minor hits in 1966 were followed by flops, and in March 1968 "It's Your Day Today" gave Proby his last UK chart entry for nearly 30 years.[citation needed]
Back in the U.S.

In 1967 Proby scored his only Billboard Hot 100 Top 30 hit with "Niki Hoeky". In September 1968, he recorded Three Week Hero, released in 1969. A collection of country-style ballads mixed with blues, it used The New Yardbirds, later to become Led Zeppelin, as backing band. The album was produced by Steve Rowland.





Cilla Black - 1969 - Step Inside Love FLAC


Step Inside Love/Words/Aquarius/Surround Yourself With Sorrow



"Step Inside Love" is a song written by Paul McCartney (credited as "Lennon–McCartney") for Cilla Black in 1967 as a theme for her TV series Cilla, which first aired on 30 January 1968.

In late 1967 McCartney was approached to write the theme by Cilla and her series producer Michael Hurll. He recorded the original demo version at his London home, accompanying himself on guitar, which consisted of just one verse and the chorus.


Black's recording of this song was used as the theme during the early weeks of the show, until it was decided that the song needed an additional verse, so McCartney came to the BBC Theatre and wrote it there. According to Hurll, the opening line of the second verse ("You look tired, love") came from McCartney's observation of Cilla looking tired from the long rehearsals for the TV show. McCartney then added a third verse and this version was recorded as a studio demo at Chappell Studios in London on 21 November 1967, with McCartney on guitar accompanying Cilla on vocals. This demo was the basis for the single, although where the McCartney demos were recorded in the key of D, the final arrangement of the single version was transposed up a fourth to G, to take advantage of Cilla's higher register.


The single version of the song (with Cilla singing live over the studio backing track) was premiered on 5 March 1968 edition of her show; the single was released on 8 March 1968, and reached number eight on the British charts in April 1968. The record also reached Number 15 in Ireland in the same month. The recording was also featured on Black's third solo studio album Sher-oo! 


Surround Yourself with Cilla is the title of Cilla Black's fourth solo studio album released on 23 May 1969 by Parlophone Records. It was Cilla's first album to only be recorded and released in stereo sound format, and her first to fail to make the UK charts.

The album title was inspired by the lead single "Surround Yourself with Sorrow" which had previously reached #3 on the UK Singles Chart. An Italian language version of this song "Quando Si Spezza Un Grande Amore", with Italian lyrics by Mogal, was also recorded for the Latin market, while a Swedish language version "Försök och sov på saken" 


"Medley: Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures)" (commonly called "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In", "The Age of Aquarius" or "Let the Sunshine In") is a medley of two songs written for the 1967 musical Hair by James Rado & Gerome Ragni (lyrics), and Galt MacDermot (music) Cilla Black recorded the song for her 1969 studio album Surround Yourself with Cilla.

"Words" is a song by the Bee Gees, written by Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb recorded by Cilla Black for her album Surround Yourself with Cilla