31 March, 2015


THE BELLTOWERS - "Here To Stay"/"Lovin' You (Leading Me On)" (Market Square Records MSR-08) March 2015

One of my fave rave contemporary groups are The Belltowers and they've held the highest echelon of my sonically charged mynd for several years. As a matter of fact I was probably the first person to 'discover' them outside of their native Florida way back when.... I then wrote about them on several occasions and got to know them all via Facebook.

I'm particularly friendly with Paul Mutchler, surely one of the very best 12 string Rickenbacker guitarists there is. He's mastered the jangle over many years in other groups including The Green Today and The Lears....

Anyway, The Belltowers have a new single out on Market Square Records. It's a limited pressing because that's how label owner Paul Messis likes it. So get your copy of the disc before it's too late.
Check out "Here To Stay" on this splendid YouTube video and transport your inner self upon their jangle pop reverie. There ain't no comin' down once you're in their paisley sky.

Belltowers @ Market Square Records

27 March, 2015


SCREAMING LORD SUTCH & the SAVAGES - "The Cheat" (BBC Transcription Service) May 1966

I've acquired some "Top Of The Pops" BBC Transcription Service CD-Rs of the Brian Matthew's radio show. They are mostly full broadcasts in excellent sound quality. I'll pick out my faves over time, upload them to YouTube and post them here.

First one is "The Cheat" by legendary English rock 'n' roll group Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages. The song was released on CBS during May '66 as the B-Side to "Black and Hairy"
The released studio version is excellent but in my opinion in trails behind the looser 'live' BBC take. The drumming moves are classy, Lord Sutch sounds his sinister best and the fluid droney raga guitar leads hint at psychedelia.

"The Cheat" was written by Lee Hazelwood and was originally recorded by rockabilly singer Sandford Clark in 1958 on Dot Records titled "A Cheat".

Simply wonderful.

from an eBay seller:
"The Cheat", Sutch's stab at psychedelia, was a Lee Hazelwood song, on which he was backed by session musicians including The Des Champ's Quartet playing violin and flute, Nicky Hopkins on piano, Ian Buisel on rhythm guitar, Paul Francis on drums (both from The Tony Jackson Group), Jim Lawless on Percussion, and two future Led Zeppelin members, John Paul Jones on bass and Jimmy Page on lead guitar.    

The musical arranger on this release, sax player Des Champ is better heard on The B-side "All Black And Hairy" which was written by Dave Sutch and remained a hilarious staple of his live act for many years.

19 March, 2015


THE ZOMBIES -"Whenever You're Ready" / "I Love You" (Decca F.12225) September 1965

It's about time The Zombies had another hit, and "Whenever You're Ready" could give them a touch. Piano and cymbals support the soloist at the outset then it breaks into a unison-vocal mid shaker.

What I like about these boys is their inherent R&B feel plus the leaders honest approach, without resorting to nasal drawls or the unnecessary shouting. Another pleasing feature of the disc is the exciting thumping piano break.

The flipside is a mid-shaker tempo for the un-originally titled "I Love You"
More forthright approach here with organ and harmony support. A most competent B-Side.
(NME review, September 1965)

18 March, 2015


THE ZOMBIES - "She's Coming Home" / "I Must Move" (Decca F.12125) April 1965

A powerful medium beat number from The Zombies, with a build and build approach. A strident sound but not as potent as their last.
(Record Mirror review, April 1965)

The Zombies follow up to "Tell Her No" was "She's Coming Home" which was issued in April 1965. This one was quite an eye-opener as Rod Argent wrote it with his days as a choirboy in mind. "When I sang the 'Nunc Dimittis' in church", he said, "it used to bowl me over because I thought it sounded like a blues!"

Accordingly, the song was written with a very churchy feel to it, while White's flipside "I Must Move" had a vocal that sounded in places like the chant of an oriental Buddhist monk! Although the single failed in Britain, it did make #58 in America.
(Record Collector magazine)

Phil & the Frantics 'borrowed' the tune, applied a faster tempo, wrote different words and slightly renamed the song to "I Must Run" Their version is majestic moody beat too.



16 March, 2015


THE ZOMBIES - "Begin Here" (Decca) April 1965

Whether you have picked up this LP at random while half-consciously glancing through hundreds, or whether you are reading the sleeve after purchasing the record, the chances are that you are expecting about 700 words or sugared praise telling you how brilliant both the group and the record are.

Since all of us are convinced that the main part of any LP consists of the music reproduced inside the sleeve, we concluded that the public are more interested to read about it than have to wade through a mass of boring and superficial praise. And that, folks, is how I came to writing these notes!

Of the seven tracks not written by Chris or myself, all but two are 'soul' numbers, and consist of some of our favourite material. The other two, "Road Runner" and "I Got My Mojo Working" are tried and tested blues constructions.

The only instrumental on the album "Work 'N' Play" was written by our recording manager, Ken, who took over the piano stool while I played harmonica in unison with Paul's 12 string guitar. The fact that it is essentially an instrumental work song didn't prevent him from beaming happily as he always does when we 'let him join in'!

Rod Argent (edited sleeve notes)

15 March, 2015


THE ZOMBIES - 'Tell Her No' / 'What More Can I Do' (Decca F.12072) January 1965

A good one here from a group doing so well in the States now. This one starts gently enough then builds into a succession of dramatic-sold "no's". Nicely balanced backing aids the commercial appeal.
Lead voice bends tunefully and soulfully around the mid-way mark. Yes, it should click in the "50"

Organ booms into the flipper, an uptempo item with a fair bluesy content. Not quite as strong as "Tell Her No" on sales appeal.

Record Mirror review, January 1965. 
Chart Position: #42


12 March, 2015


THE ZOMBIES - 'Leave Me Be' / 'Woman' (Decca F.12004) October 1964

A beaty ballad with a gently rocking rhythm, "Leave Me Be" features a huskily whispered harmonic duet, backed by a delicate guitar figure. The Zombies are much more subdued than on "She's Not There" but I like it just as much. The tune is both ear catching and absorbing, and it suddenly explodes in the middle eight, with the organ adding substance.

A welcome combination of pleasant melody and beat, which should appeal to both armchair listeners and dancers.

A heavier and more strident beat, and a more forceful vocal approach for "Woman" a mid-tempo shaker in the R&B idiom with screams and shouts.

(NME review, October 1964)


08 March, 2015


THE ZOMBIES - 'She's Not There' / 'You Make Me Feel Good' (Decca F.11940) July 1964

Pounding medium pacer "She's Not There" introduces new Decca group The Zombies. The boys have a distinctive sound, with intriguing phrases by the lead singer, and attractive vocal blends in the unison passages. The drummer and bassist are pretty solid, too.
I'd have tipped it for a hit if the material was stronger - even so, it must still stand a chance.

More in the familiar Mersey-inspired mould is "You Make Me Feel Good." No change in the tempo, but this one is largely unison vocal.

(NME review, July 1964)
Chart Position: #12