30 September, 2010


THE BELLTOWERS - 'Demonstrations' CDR (no label) 2008

I was recently contacted by ex Lears guitarist Paul Mutchler after he surfed onto my blog. Read about The Lears..... Paul suggested that I might be interested in hearing his new band The Belltowers who also have a penchant for 12 string Rickenbacker action.

"Of course I would be" was my cry and he kindly offered to airmail me some Belltowers sounds to EXPO67 HQ. I eagerly awaited the CDs for I'm always hungry for guitar jangle. Well, my dear readers the package arrived this morning and I was blown away by the uptempo cool rockin' jangle.
The Belltowers hail from Orlando, Florida and have quite rightly joined my favourite list of contemporary groups who hark back to yesterday's sounds but give the whole reverie new and fresh sonics.

This 5 song CDR contains cover versions of Gene Clark's 'Los Angeles' and the traditional folk rock gem 'I Know My Rider' recorded by several 60s groups. The three original songs are also perfect jangle rockers with the shorter blast of 'Tried So Hard' my pick of the crop.
Paul tells me that all five songs on 'Demonstrations' were recorded on his Tascam 4 track.

Paul Mutchler (12 string/vocals)
Marshall Huggins (bass/vocals)
Eddie Foeller (guitar)
Ken Chiodini (drums)


A Gallery of Belltowers Gear!

29 September, 2010


THE JAM - 'The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow)'/'Pity Poor Alfie'/'Fever' (Polydor POSP 505) Sept 1982

I watched the final episode of 'This Is England 86' last night and this Jam tune played out as the end credits rolled. A nostalgic burst of memories came fooding back as soon as I heard the opening guitar riff and I dug out the 45 for the first time in decades.
Back in '82 I never cared much for the song because it sounded way too souly for me. But I bought it anyway as it was the new Jam single and I'd bought every new record on the day of release since 'Down In The Tube Station At Midnight'....wow, those were the days.

Listening to the song today now that I'm older and wiser, I can appreciate the 'sound' Weller was after. His vocals sound excelent and that guitar riff is maybe short but it sounds rather good don't you think.
It's more or less the first Style Council single in truth. Around this time, bass player Bruce Foxton complained that The Jam had become The Paul Weller Show.

'The Bitterest Pill' was recorded at Maison Rouge Studios in Fulham, London during the early part of 1982 and released this month 28 years ago. It's notable for the ornate string accompaniment arranged by Paul Weller and producer Peter Wilson.

Vaughn Toulouse from Department S posed on the single's front cover. He was standing in what looks like a medieval prison cell possibly awaiting execution. 

THE JAM - The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow)   

Here's a picture of me taken in 1982 (aged 17) and would have been around the time this single was released. Note The Jam posters on the wall. Don't remember what happened to those wraparound shades!!!

27 September, 2010


THE WHO - 'A Legal Matter'/'Instant Party' (Brunswick 05956) March 1966

The later Who releases on Brunswick including 'A Legal Matter' are now highly sought after by collectors. This 1966 single written by Pete Townshend is average by mid 60s Who standards (the version by The Litter is superior) and only crawled to number 32 in the UK charts but the B-side is the Shel Talmy produced 'Instant Party' re-recorded for the Reaction label and renamed 'Circles'.

Dutch release
French EP (in way cool pop art design)

25 September, 2010


THE McCOYS - 'Fever'/'Sorrow' (Immediate IM 021) Nov 1965

Teen group The McCoys from Union City, Indiana followed up their big hit 'Hang On Sloopy' with 'Fever'. This one's got a cool guitar break and is commercial enough, but for me it's the folk rock flip 'Sorrow' that flips my switch.

'Fever' only charted at number 44 in England and so The McCoys were forever labeled with the 'one hit' wonder tag. 'Sorrow' was noticed by The Merseys (see last blog entry) and they had a big hit with it. Maybe The McCoys picked the wrong song to promote!

THE McCOYS - Sorrow

23 September, 2010


THE MERSEYS - "Sorrow" / "Some Other Day" (Fontana TF 694) April 1966

The Merseys were two hip cats from Liverpool who formed out of the ashes of The Merseybeats when they disbanded in early 1966. Tony Crane and Billy Kinsley achieved a big hit with their first single 'Sorrow' which peaked at number 4 in England.
Pictures from this period show them in cool mod threads and even cooler haircuts.

'Sorrow' was originally recorded by American group The McCoys (and written by The Strangeloves) but with a sort of folk rock arrangement. Their version was hidden away on a B-side. Thankfully, The Merseys rescued the song and transformed it into mod pop genius with a groovy hip and new sound adding brass. An earlier take (without brass) and featuring Jack Bruce and Jimmy Page remained unreleased until recently.
The flip 'Some Other Day' is a Crane/Kinsley original and is more perfect mod pop. Both sides were produced by Kit Lambert.

"With your long blond hair and your eyes of blue,
The only thing I ever get from you is sorrow"  

21 September, 2010


THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN - 'Fire!'/'Rest Cure' (Track 604022) June 1968

Track Records supremo and The Who Manager Kit Lambert produced this totally original psychedelic rock song by the weird and wonderful Arthur Brown and his associates. I can still remember the first time I saw the grainy black and white images of The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown performing the huge hit 'Fire!' on a repeated episode of a 1968 Top Of The Pops show.

The fella had some helmut thing on his head and flames were spitting out from it from all angles. The display would never get past the over the top 'health and safety' brigade these days. But that was the 60s and it was a world before we were all forced to be mollycoddled for our own well being.

'Fire!' hit the top spot within weeks and was the one and only time The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown would have their day in the sun. Guitarist, Vincent Crane went on to form prog rock group Atomic Rooster whilst drummer Carl Palmer made his name in ELP.


In the late 90s I attended a Record Fair held at Newcastle University. The special guest for the day was Arthur Brown. My lasting memory was seeing Mr Brown wandering around one of the corridors outside the main venue, looking lost and confused.
I then overheard him ask someone, "Where are the toilets mate?"

I guess even the 'God Of Hellfire' needs to pee.


German release (from the Jim Wynand archive)

15 September, 2010


C.C.S. - 'Whole Lotta Love'/'Boom Boom' (Columbia 2C 006-91.810M) Sept 1970

By the end of the 60s men had started growing fashionable but ridiculous Jason King style 'handle bar' tashes and their girlfriends had decided to burn their cheap and ill fitting brassieres. Music also saw some drastic changes with a shift from psych to progressive and heavy rock.

Traditional Blues guitarist Alexis Korner was no different and he formed heavy rock outfit Collective Consciousness Society or the less of a mouthful C.C.S. with a selective band of session musicians and up and coming hip producer Mickie Most.

Korner's band of outsiders recorded an instro version of Led Zeppelin's 'Whole Lotta Love' b/w John Lee Hooker's 'Boom Boom' and scored an unlikely hit at the tail end of 1970. The record reached number 13 in the UK charts and was used as the theme tune for music show 'Top Of The Pops'.....However, I did some research recently and according to the BBC website technically, the TOTP theme was not by CCS, but was recorded by the TOTP orchestra one morning before the day's rehearsals.

Having said that, the band was conducted by John Cameron on that occasion and many of the musicians were CCS regulars. This enabled the production to tailor the tune to the correct duration and, more importantly, avoided the weekly payment of royalties to the record label.

Yet again proof that the BBC have always been a bunch of tight fisted gets.

Jason King (pictured) was responsible for the 'handle bar' tashe
C.C.S. - Whole Lotta Love

French release

14 September, 2010


THE SEARCHERS - 'When You Walk In The Room'/'(I'll Be) Missing You' (Pye 7N.15694) Sept 1964

This single by Liverpool group The Searchers was released exactly 46 years ago, way back in September 1964 and a month before I was born.
They had been releasing successful beat singles since mid 1963 but my main interest in them is their 12 string jangle moments combined with those faultless, crisp harmonies. 'When You Walk In The Room', written by Jackie de Shannon reached top 3 in England and made them Merseybeat stars.

The flip '(I'll Be) Missing You' is more commercial jangle beat.

THE SEARCHERS - When You Walk In The Room

French EP

13 September, 2010


THE TONY JACKSON GROUP - 'You're My Number One'/'Let Me Know' (CBS 202039) Feb 1966

Back in March 2007 when one man and his dog used to visit my blog I wrote about Tony Jackson and included a rare photo from the 1966 Teenbeat annual. For those inept peeps who can't navigate my archive here's the link.

I can't understand how The Tony Jackson Group (previously called Tony Jackson with The Vibrations) failed to be household names in England. Sadly each release sold less and less leaving their record label no choice but to drop the band.
'You're My Number One' is a fantastic beat jangler loaded with pop hooks and melody. It harks back to Tony's days with The Searchers. They had the sound The Byrds 'borrowed' and called folk rock but that's another story. Next up will be some Searchers music! The flip 'Let Me Know' is also impressive jangle beat.


The Tony Jackson Group
Tony Jackson

on stage 1966

12 September, 2010


THE EASYBEATS - 'Friday On My Mind'/'Made My Bed; Gonna Lie In It' (United Artists UP 1157) October 1966

By 1966, Australian band The Easybeats had conquered their homeland although most people probably don't realise that all band members were from post WWII families who had migrated to Australia from England, Scotland and Holland.

'Easyfever' had taken hold of the Aussie teens and they couldn't get enough of this raucous beat group and their insanely catchy tunes. Quite rightly, The Easybeats planned to stretch themselves musically and relocated to London, England in July 1966.
Thousands thronged Sydney airport to cheer their heroes on their way to Swingin' London, possibly including fans such as Rolf Harris, Crocodile Dundee, Skippy 'the Bush Kangaroo', Dame Edna Everage and the cast of Prisoner Cell Block H...

Recordings took place at Abbey Road Studios under the leadership of the famed hip producer Shel Talmy. The first fruits of their labour were the incredible smash hit single 'Friday On My Mind'. Check out the flip 'Made My Bed: Gonna Lie In It' which has always been a massive personal favourite.

THE EASYBEATS - Made My Bed: Gonna Lie In It (mono 45)

Billboard trade mag advert October 1966

Dutch release
French EP (Jim Wynand archive)
German release (Jim Wynand archive)

Dutch release with different B-side
Italian release
USA release

11 September, 2010


THE SESSIONS - 'Let Me In'/'Bouncing Bass' (Fontana F-1529) November 1965

I've had this record several years and did some research on it ages ago but never got around to posting it on 'Flower Bomb Songs'. I guess after writing about The Sorrows version of 'Let Me In' last time out, this is the perfect time for The Sessions.

Scant information exists about The Sessions but they were a short lived Brum beat outfit that enjoyed NO releases in England but somehow 'Let Me In' b/w 'Bouncing Bass' got a release in USA.
The Sessions included future Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and according to his official website The Sessions also included Chas Hodges (bass), Nicky Hopkins (piano), Jimmy Evans (drums) and singer/songwriter (and future Sorrows member Miki Dallon on vocals).

The studio sessions for both recordings took place during March 1965, so this version was way earlier than the more familiar Sorrows take. 'Bouncing Bass' is an instrumental.


08 September, 2010


THE SORROWS - 'Let Me In'/'How Love Used To Be' (Piccadilly 7N35336) August 1966

The Sorrows were one of the toughest sounding bands to emerge from the mid 60s R'N'B scene in England. Far more gritty than the more popular groups on the scene and of course Don Fardon was a hugely talented vocalist. Just perfect for the supercharged Sorrows mod sound.

Miki Dallon's 'Let Me In' is a powerful song with crunching guitar, powerful vocals and a pulsating beat or could that be freakbeat? Not surprisingly, it was far too snotty for the charts and it sank into oblivion.

The flip 'How It Used To Be' is a moody masterpiece and is the perfect come down after the thundering raunch of 'Let Me In'. This is a classic two sided 45 in every sense.


07 September, 2010


BOEING DUVEEN AND THE BEAUTIFUL SOUP - 'Jabberwock'/'Which Dreamed It?' (Parlophone R 5696) May 1968

Hmmn, how could I follow my previous posting of 'I Am The Walrus'...Well, let Dr Sam Hutt take you on a trip with his way out and demented 'Jabberwock'. The song lyrics are based on the creature from Lewis Carroll's 'Alice In Wonderland', so much so, that Dr Hutt gives the tripped out Victorian author a co-credit.

Dr Hutt came to prominence in the 60s by legally prescribing potent LSD to the famous rock stars at his drug addiction surgery in Ladbroke Grove, London.  His association with hip London musicians and acid only meant one thing... A trip to the recording studio.

'Jabberwock' can be found on Rubble 14 - 'The Magic Rocking Horse'
Scan of Parlophone 45 taken from popsike and smartened up.


05 September, 2010


THE BEATLES - 'Hello Goodbye'/'I Am The Walrus' (Parlophone R 5655) Nov 1967

On this very day in 1967 (5/9/67) The Beatles met up at Abbey Road and started recording John Lennon's amazing 'I Am The Walrus', a song he'd written whilst tripping on acid, the weird and wonderful gibberish (ie) lyrics seem to back this up.

This line is very English of course. We don't have pale white skin for nothing.

"Sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun.
If the sun don't come, you get a tan
From standing in the English rain"

The song was completed during sessions at the end of September '67 with overdubs of violins, cellos, clarinets and horns. I'm not sure why it was relegated to a B-Side but 'Hello Goodbye' was chosen to be the scheduled A-side when the 45 was released during the last week of November '67.

THE BEATLES - I Am The Walrus

USA release

Germany release

UK 1976 re-issue

04 September, 2010



Back in the late 60s and early 70s when men were men they did macho things like having punch ups, they drank barrels of real ale and could still get up for work next day. They kept their unchanged underpants on for days on end, they smoked cigars, drove fast cars and gambled their pay away. Quite often they went unshaven for weeks.
Sadly, modern men are now either mincers, metrosexuals or have allowed themselves to be hen pecked by an overbearing woman.  

But cheer up my faithfull men friends from around the globe, I'll attempt to release your pent up male pheromones with this GREAT theme tune from John Barry. It's from British TV show The Persuaders starring future James Bond, Roger Moore (Lord Brett Sinclair) and Hollywood superstar Tony Curtis (Danny Wilde).. The format of the show was simple: these two International Playboys teamed up to solve cases the courts could not. During their escapades they would bed woman, have some fights, get into some scrapes and bed more woman. Proper bloke stuff in other words.

 John Barry also delivered the goods with theme tunes for movies such as Midnight Cowboy, The Ipcress File, The Knack and plenty of James Bond highlights. Rule Britannia!