Platter Chatter

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Well overdue, this instalment of Platter Chatter, but I'm getting back into gear and things are rumbling again in the 45 department. First up is a nice self-penned item from the great Liberace. His "Theme From Outer Space" will appeal to lovers of both glitz and sci-fi. It's on a Dot 45 and is flipped with the ubiquitous "Alley Cat". Staying on the keyboard and very tasty too is an Argo single from the Ramsey Lewis Trio, written by the trio (Messrs Lewis, Young & Holt, before the latter two upped and away to their own trio) called The Chant and featuring a young Kenny Burrell on guitar. Staying with the jazzbo's and a nice release on Impulse from Albert Ayler, a 45 called "Free At Last" features vocals by the Soul Singers. Don't know the Soul Singers but they might well have been a loose studio collective made up on the spot. Produced by the late Bob Thiele, a man who got around! Answer discs have always been a favourite of mine and we have a 45 on the Guaranteed label by Laurie Davis called "Don'cha Shop Around", no prizes for guessing it'a an answer to the Miracles "Shop Around". It's from 1961 and the paper sleeve exhorts us all to join the Paul Evans Fanclub at West 58th Street. Not any more we can't. Don't recall a film titled simply $ but Quincy Jones did the soundtrack for it and Little Richard sang the title track "Money Is" during his under-rated Reprise tenure. The flip features Quincy playing music from the film. We've got the Tams on an ABC single from 1973 doing a great version of Huey Smith"s "Don't You Just Know It", Ella Fitzgerald doing a wonderful version of "Hawaiian War Chant"on Capitol, prime backing vocalist Leah Kunkel masquerading as Cotton Candy on a Dunhill 45 from 1969, and the neglected Norma Tanega struggling to follow up the gem that was "Walkin' My Cat Named Dog" with a rocking little number called "Run, On The Run" for Bob Crewe's New Voice company. Nino Tempo was one of Phil Spector's stalwarts and with his sister April Stevens had several close harmony hits in the early sixties; he also did several albums of solo work and one of his best tracks was a piece written by the brother and sister titled "Boys Town (Where My Broken Hearted Buddies Go)". You get a sing-a-long version on the flip and it's on a 1967 Tower 45. We've got a nice pre-Atlantic 45 from Sam & Dave - "I Got A Thing Goin' On" on Roulette - Steve Alaimo had a hand in the production, and a goodie from the Jimmy Castor Bunch on Atlantic, "The Everything Man" from 1974. Staying with Soul Music, I note on the label for Lucifer's "Old Mother Nature" on Holland/Dozier/Holland's Invictus label, the record was "Produced & Mixed for Greater & Sharper Sound Reproduction on the Air". That's the story. And a Joe Tex song on Sound Stage 7 called "I'm Not Going To Work Today" from 1963 features one of the more colourful monikers this month as Boot Hog Pefferly & The Loafers rip into it. Jazz/rock flautist Jeremy Steig features on a tasty single from 1968 as Jeremy & The Satyrs on Reprise, and Maceo Parker, under the aegis of King James Brown, scores with a couple of 45s on People - "Soul Power Pts 1 & 2" and "Parrty Pts 1 & 2" (sic) as Maceo & The Macks. There's also some hillbilly/bluegrass 45s creeping in, starting off this month with records by The Smith Brothers, The Farmer Boys, Johnnie & Jack (featuring the Tennessee Mountain Boys & Ruby Wells - now was this Kitty Wells married to Johnnie Wright or was it Ruby Wells of Nita, Rita & Ruby? Answers please), Buddy Thompson, Johnny & Jonie Mosby and Jim & Jesse. One nice little oddity is a Monument 45 by Bobby & Buzz called "Watermelon". It's a promo from 1966 and features the songwriters Bobby Russell & Buzz Cason. Sounding remarkably like Jan & Dean, their major success was yet to come, in Russell's case with the million selling "Honey". Also a single from a man who was to have huge success in the USSR - the "Red Elvis" Dean Reed, and an Imperial single from 1961 called "Once Again". And singles from Silver Apples, Kelly Garrett (with a Billy & Gene Page production), an R'n'B outfit called The Raindrops with a great debut single on Capitol, a UK Royalettes release on promo MGM from 1965, and an unlikely 45 from the actor, novelist, screenwriter Michael Blodgett, who died recently. Famous for his role in "Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls" this is a double sided psyche gem with titles to match "Fire Engine Sky/Clay People Of Box". As well, there's the answer disc to Lorne Green's "Ringo" by one Robin Garrett, titled "Ringo's Revenge", some Jazz/Bluegrass from the Jazz Grassers, and a terrific rock'n'roll record by the crazily named Gary Von Ilg in which, presumably unable to afford a guitarist who could play a solo, Gary sings the solo! Wild. There's a single from Pegi Boucher - a bit-part actress for Roger Corman, and some more Sam & Dave, this time on Stax, their version of Sam Cooke's "Soothe Me" recorded "Live In London". And there are many more to come. Hope you can find something to interest you!
// posted by Slow Boat Records @ 3:49 PM

Friday, June 22, 2007

In a slight deviation from the usual Chatter, we are proud to present this Special Review:

The Dufflefolks “Reassure The Jittery” EP

All songs by Ben, Dan, Louis and Simon on this limited release 7 track EP from the wilds of Hemel Hempstead and other points South East. Their MySpace site ( would have one believe they’re “hot ribena crossed with buy one get one free deals”, and after listening to their record (sentimental, generic term that, it is of course an inoffensive little shiny disc) I don’t feel free to argue with any description of them at all. They are curious without being fey, knowing without being arch, talented without making too much of it and entertaining without being at all calculated. If there are one or two non-sequitors there, then it won’t be lost on these boys who can make a non-sequitor out of a complete song. When the lament “I am misplaced, I am stationary” is followed by the repeated line “chasing pigs through Paris streets” in the evocative “Paris Café”, the effect is as dreamy as the accordion and plonky keyboard allows. On “All Tucker’d Out” the dry bones of the rhythm lead into “I lose all sense of pride when I spend it on you”. It’s like the opening of curtains on a grey morning. They do get excited from time to time – “Ryan Adams Has Too Many Girlfriends” is energetic enough but it doesn’t seem their natural milieu. “Kite Flying” on one hand and “Play-A-Piano” on the other are delightful, the latter conjuring up Virginia Astley’s “From Gardens Where We Feel Secure” in an unaffected, almost pastoral mood piece. Their instrumentation includes glockenspiel, wine glasses, toy piano, cheap Casio keyboard (same thing), knee slapping and conceivably a copy of “Diary Of A Nobody” if it suited their purpose. And their purpose, it would seem, is to have fun, meet girls, play in pubs and stay out late, all those things people wanted to do when I was people like them. And three of them have beards.

// posted by Slow Boat Records @ 10:42 AM

Thursday, May 31, 2007

New 7" 45's hitting Slow Boat's listings in the blink of an eye - all sorts of hopefuls from the 50's to the early 70's often pushing a wobbly little barrow up a very steep street!
The Stovall Sisters turned out one LP on Reprise in 1971 produced by William Truckaway - he of "Bluegreens On The Wing" fame. The 45 off the album (currently only in print through a Japanese CD issue) is a raucous version of "Spirit In The Sky", written by Norman Greenbaum (also coincidentally a Reprise artist). It really swings.
Gospel also from The Johnson Family Singers "Let Me Stay A Little Longer" on RCA. The flip side's a Stuart Hamblen song (he of "This Ole House" amongst a host of others), and it's worth noting that one of Hamblen's claims to fame was that he was apparently the first person to ship a horse by plane, in 1945! There you go.
A nice Marlene Dietrich 45 covers Jimmie Rodgers "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine". The orchestra in this case conducted by the omnipresent Burt Bacharach. Dietrich croons the song in her inimitable fashion. A cover of Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower" is of interest, taken from the self-titled album by Barbara Keith. She was a singer / writer from the band Kangaroo out of New York. She later had songs covered by the likes of Barbra Streisand and Lowell George - including five songs in Elmore Leonard's follow up to "Get Shorty"- "Be Cool".
An early J.J. Cale 45 makes an appearance - "Outside Lookin' In" on Liberty from 1966, self arranged and produced under the aegis of Snuff Garrett. His unique style, so evident even then, is still beautifully intact on his new album with Eric.
A nice white label promo of one of Marvin Gaye's more neglected songs, "Pretty Little Baby" is a joy. With critical concentration on Marvin's post "What's Going On" albums, some of the sixties singles have dropped off the radar, and although "Pretty Little Baby" wasn't one of the biggest, it was one of the best.
An odd little story revolves around a version of "Forty-Second Street" by a couple named Lionel Reeves and Stella Parker on Reprise. Lionel Reeves is Randy Newman's brother Alan under a pseudonym, singing with Sal Valentino's (Beau Brummels) girlfriend Deirdre La Porte (also under a pseudonym). Quite why this record was done(it only lasts 1:34 seconds!) is a bit of a mystery. It's produced by Lenny Waronker and Beau Brummel Ron Elliott and does feature Randy Newman whistling in the instrumental break! If that doesn't convince you of something or other then I give up!
And speaking of pseudonyms - Roosevelt Jones "I Say That's Allright" on Jamie 1221 hides the identity of swamp-pop legend Joe Barry (hitmaker of "I'm A Fool To Care") who recorded this in 1962. Mind you, if you were smart you'd have recognised his real name (Joe Barrios) as composer. One of Louisiana's favourites, Joe passed away in 2004, not long after the release of a final album titled, truthfully enough, "Been Down That Muddy Road".
98.6 hitmaker Keith recording a Bobby Vee song for Discreet Records? Sounds unlikely, but "In And Out Of Love" was recorded in 1974 for the label co-owned by Frank Zappa. An album doesn't seem to have been recorded and the single sank (almost) without trace. Perhaps Frank was intrigued by the B-side ("What Did You Do In The Revolution Dad?")
A rare picture sleeve single of Susan Christie's "I Love Onions" has turned up. Susan was the sister of Lou Christie and sang on a lot of Lou's records. The song was covered here in New Zealand by Sandy Edmondes. She disowned it in later years, no news on whether Susan Christie did the same.
So along with some nice soul from G.C. Cameron on Mowest, some Lyn Collins James Brown directed 45's on People records, a C.O.D's white label promo on UK Stateside, a rocking instrumental from The Carnations and not forgetting Brother Fox And The Tar Baby, these are the minor gems of American popular music about to sit up and take notice!

// posted by Slow Boat Records @ 4:07 PM

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

January 2007 Into the New Year and getting further, year by year, from the times that spawned these prime pieces of Yankee pop! Some examples of new 45's about to embark on their maiden voyage on the good ship Slow Boat - some of these artists have left but a small stamp on recording history, but an intriguing stamp nonetheless. Who, for instance was Lenny O'Henry? Not the Oirish version of Lenny Henry - presumably he had a 45 on Atco written and produced by those busy masterminds of so much 4 Seasons material - Charlie Calello and Bob Crewe, that sounds a lot like Sam Cooke's "Havin' A Party". It's called "Saturday Angel" and is nicely raucous. Who also was Johnny October? Well, he was born Johnny Ottobre and was a member of the Four Dates who backed Frankie Avalon, Fabian and assorted Chancellor acts. The 45 we have up is an early effort by Bobby Darin called "So Mean" and is distinguished by the 'direction' of fellow Atco (with Darin) arranger and composer Jessie Stone. The Orlons of course were a successful pop/r'n'b outfit from Philly with several hits to their name. One of theirs we have to offer is more soully than usual for them, an excellent title from 1965 called 'No Love But Your Love'. Written by 'Money' writer Barrett Strong, it shows them running out of commercial steam, but artistically well on top of their game. Some more soul, and again with the ubiquitous Bob Crewe and Charlie Calello, is a 45 from r'n'b outfit The Invitations. Produced and written by Denny Randell and Sandy Linzer, also 4 Seasons contributors, the record "What's Wrong With Me Baby?" is, in its UK DJ form, much sought after. Originally recorded for Crewe's Dynovoice label, this is the UK Stateside promo issue. And still with soul, the production team of Messrs Hooven and Winn, responsible for Brenton Woods' run of 'Gimme Little Sign', 'Baby You Got It' etc reappear on a WB 45 from 1965 by The Invincibles called, with boastful simplicity, "I Got Soul", a great r'n'b/soul swinger in the style of uptempo impressions. A great swinging piano solo in the middle too - surely this group has been unjustly neglected (ie why haven't I heard them before?!?) Plenty of soul coming up, but one last honourable mention to Tommy Knight - a man with the vocal instincts (and the high pitched voice!) of two of this scribe's faves - Jackie Wilson and Clyde McPhatter. The record is called 'That's All I Ask' and is on a lovely blue and gold label called Gold Eagle, and it bears the age old legend "vocal with Inst. Accomp." - read it and weep! Also coming up, some nice swinging doo-wop from The Pyramids (not the surf outfit) and some great surf instrumentals from The Pyramids (not the doo-wop outfit)! A John F Kennedy tribute called 'The World Lost A Man' (true enough), a cover of Sam Cooke's "You Send Me" from the unlikely-named Ponderosa Twins + One, some garage rock from The Primates, a Mickie Most production on Piano Red's "Right String Baby, But The Wrong Yo-Yo" from 1964 by The Moquettes, a couple of Mike Curb songs on Tower with Davie Allan on guitar (did he do every Tower session?!?) by The Starlets, some nice old-timey C&W by Elton Britt (he of the Lonesome Highway) which includes a nice bluesy version of Ivory Joe's 'I Almost Lost My Mind' and plenty more. Never mind Billy Preston doing Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart or Joey Paige (who?) doing Bill Wyman, Henrietta & The Hairdooz, The Peels, Blues Magoos, Magicians, and many many more. So keep your hands on the wheel!!!

// posted by Slow Boat Records @ 3:44 PM