Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Great Album Of Psych Pop/Folk Rock by Wendy & Bonnie - Genesis 1968 - 1970 (2008 Sundazed 2CD)

The sister duo of Wendy Flower and Bonnie Flower (their real names, not aliases), Wendy & Bonnie recorded one album in the late '60s. Genesis is pleasant, if naïve, harmonized light rock with psychedelic, jazz, and folk influences. It is impressive given their tender ages -- Wendy Flower was just 17, and Bonnie Flower only 13, when it was recorded in late 1968, and the pair wrote all of the material on the LP.



The album was released in 1969, but stalled when Skye Records folded the following year. The death of producer Gary McFarland in 1971 further discouraged the duo. Although they did sing backup vocals on a couple of Tjader albums and some jingles and background vocals at Fantasy Records, they never recorded their own material again, and broke up in the early '70s. They did perform music separately in the subsequent decades, Wendy Flower issuing a children's music cassette, and Bonnie Flower once rejecting an invitation to join the Bangles. The rare Genesis album was reissued with bonus tracks by Sundazed in 2001.(Richie Unterberger, allmusic.com)


A wonderful work of these two sisters, who could more than compete with comparable acts of those days. Their songs have an above-average quality and the album has been produced and arranged by top professionals in their field. There is no need to say anything about the singing qualities of the sisters. An album that succeeded in every way. Absolutely recommendable.
Frank








   

Power Pop by Danny McDonald - Fibrotones (2005 Off The Hip)

A lot of people have asked me to introduce more Power Pop on the blog again.
Here is a musician who is known to some as a ex member of the Stoneage Hearts.
Danny McDonald is also known to most Power Pop fans of course as a solo artist.

The album Fibrotones from 2005 maybe not. McDonald is one of the most accomplished pop musicians in Down Under and he has already played there with everyone who has a place and reputation in the music of Oceania.
All of his achievements and work he was involved in would go beyond the scope of this. Many songs have a very strong American country rock influence. However, everything always sounds like McDonald and is really recommendable to anyone who loves good pop music.
Frank
Flac
mp3@320 

Retro Garage Merseybeat: The New Piccadillys - Introducing... The New Piccadillys (2014 Soundflat)


Retro Garage Merseybeat:  The long-awaited debut album of the beat-punk sensation will be released on SOUNDFLAT - a fabulous merseybeat homage to punk rock and R&B classics! The Glasgow quartet, which consists of a star line up with members of KAISERS, THANES, POETS and SCOTTISH SEX PISTOLS, has in recent years, with its fast-selling hit single' Judy Is A Punk', which RAMONES producer ED STASIUM has described as the best cover version ever, and its stunning live shows in all of its genres.


Finally the album is released - one hit after another! The Scots take on cool punk rock and R&B classics, maintaining their temperament, but interpreting them in merseybeat style with sharp guitars and harmonies that give you goosebumps.


Very good retro Merseybeat Garage band from Scotland with a great sound... but next time please a little rougher. Nevertheless the album make a lot of fun.
Frank

You can order the album here

Flac 
mp3@320 

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Sixties Retro Psychedelic/Garage/Power Pop: The Kliek - Behind Bars 1990 (Grabo Records)


The Kliek was a Dutch garage-/sixtiesband that was around from 1987 to 1996, a period in which sixties music was not hip at all. The Kliek was therefore condemned to a life in the underground. This didn't stop the band from touring the whole of Europe during the 10 years the band existed. Especially in Spain and Germany they reached an unexpected popularity.
The core of the Kliek was formed by guitarist Marcel Kruup and singer Robert Müter. Kruup, coming from Haarlem, carried with him a long career as Mod and guitarist in many Dutch sixties-orientated guitarbands.
Müter has his "roots" in the Wieringermeer, Middenmeer to be precise. I even spent some years with him at school in the same class, but that is not very important right now. Robert regularly went to the big city Amsterdam to visit relatives, and to plunder the local recordstores. His recordcollection was quite famous at school. He had all the modern records that were hardly or not available in the polder. At a certain time he started to specialise in obscure beat and garagepunk from the sixties, a musical genre made popular again by bands as the Scientists, Hoodoo Gurus, Claw Boys Claw, Gun Club, Cramps, Fuzztones and many others.One thing led to another, and Robert started a band called the Stoneage Romeos (they were named after an LP by the Hoodoo Gurus). The band consisted of Robert Müter, vocals & guitar; Dries Pruimboom, leadguitar; Peter Bodde, bass; Bart Rijs, drums.


The Kliek story begins

After graduation of some of the bandmembers in 1987 The Stoneage Romeos split, and all bandmembers went separate ways. A short time later Robert Müter became singer with the Kliek. Peter Bodde, also ex-Stoneage Romeos, joined as bass-player. Guitar was played by Marcel Kruup, by then already a seasoned veteran of the Dutch neosixties / garage scene who had played in numerous bands such as the Other Side and the Comedown. Both bands could count on some attention during the garagerevival of the early 80's. I am afraid I can't tell you anything interesting about Stefan Sleutel, the drummer of the band (simply because I don't know, not because there isn't anything to tell...).

The band's name is said to be thought up when a name had to be given for the rent of a practice room. Actually there was no name, and they said something like "put it on the usual bunch" (Kliek being the Dutch word for bunch). All bandmembers also played in several other groups and were regular users of the practice rooms. The English article "the" was added and a new band was born.
the Kliek tried to be more sixties than real sixtiesbands themselves. Haircuts, clothingstyle, LP-covers and the sound of the band had to be as authentic as possible, and only by the louder, sometimes even a bit noisy guitars one could tell them apart from the real thing.

In 1988 the first mini-LP "When Father was away on beat business in the magic centre" was released on the Kelt-label. The only negative thing you could say about this record is that it has a silly title. It has six nice sixties songs that vaguely remind of the Outsiders and the earliest work of the Rolling Stones and the Pretty Things. One song, Percy, dates from the Stoneage Romeos time, although the recorded version is very different from the early version recorded live in Bovenkarspel

The highpoint of the record is without any doubt the song Paarse Broek ("Purple trousers"), a long-forgotten Nederpop classic from the 60s. If it were only because of saving this song from eternal oblivion, the Kliek deserve it to be remembered.

 At first the Kliek was ignored by the so-called serious musicpress. Only when they had made a name for themselves by relentless playing and gaining quite a reputation outside the Netherlands, some media got interested. The band has been on TV (in a VPRO-program), appeared several times as guest in radioshows by Fons Dellen and co (yes, also VPRO) and even had Ray Davies of the Kinks as a fan. But even this and getting known as the Nederbeat band of the moment, couldn't help the band leaving the underground. Perhaps it was because their records were released on small, obscure labels.

 And maybe they were simply too far ahead of their time with their sixties-inspired sound. Other bands, such as Daryll-Ann did the same thing a couple of years later, but with remarkably more success. It would be a little bit too far fetched to proclaim the Kliek a frontrunner for the Britpop-hype. The fact remains nevertheless that famous bands as Oasis and Blur use the same sources as the Kliek.

The end

After 8 years the Kliek called it a day in 1996. Of the original band only Müter and Kruup remained. All bandmembers now do different things. Marcel Kruup is most successful with his new band, the Treble Spankers, and found his well-earned success after all. The Treblespankers are the successors of Ouke Baas, a band that is an offshoot of The Exist (always that band...). Unfortunately the Treblespankers had to stop, due to an injury the lead guitarist Frank Gerritsen suffered from. He had to stop playing because of RSI. Marcel Kruup's latest band is called Ronnie and the Splinters. Michel Terstegen, an old friend from the scene is the singer, but main attraction is Ron Splinter, a Nederbeat legend who used to play guitar in the Outsiders with Wally Tax.
Gert Veltink, who had left the band in 1993 after getting his doctorate in Computer Science to pursue a "normal" career as software developer. He has a homepage that contains, among others, pictures of his time with the Kliek.
 Theo Brouwer now plays in 2 bands, Big Paulus and the Sgeurvreters. Both bands play a form of dirty, mean fratrock. With Big Paulus we find Frank Sloos again, the last drummer of the Kliek.
Robert Müter and Zjenja Guberman reappear in 1999 in a new band, Kek '66. Once again a band that specialises in sixties-inspired music. Third man in this trio, on bassguitar is Marc de Regt, like Müter originally from the Wieringermeer. There are two 7" single out (yes, on vinyl) titled "How many times", released on Larsen records, and "Na na na", released on Guerssen records from Spain. In the last months of 1999 an self-titled LP was released as well. It got very favourable reviews. More information can be obtained on my new Kek '66 page. Singles and LP can be bought from Guerssen or from Distortion records.(veltink.org)

Very good album full of Psychedelic Garage Beat and Pop from this 80s Nederbeat band.
Frank
Flac
mp3@320 



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Dana Gillespie - Foolish Seasons 1968 (2006 Rev-Ola)













Although she would eventually become most known as a blues singer, at the outset of her recording career in the mid- to late '60s, Dana Gillespie flirted with pop/rock, folk-rock, and mildly psychedelic baroque pop. All of those styles can be heard on her obscure 1968 debut album, Foolish Seasons, which was oddly issued in the U.S. but not in the U.K., despite the heavily British-European cast to the production and arrangements.


The melange of approaches makes for an indecisive direction and uneven quality in certain respects. Yet at the same time, it makes the record an undeniably interesting, at times even exhilarating, slice of eclectic late-'60s Swinging London-tinged pop. Very roughly speaking, Gillespie echoed the material and vocals of fellow British woman pop/rock singers such as Marianne Faithfull and Dusty Springfield at points, though her voice was at once both huskier and smokier than the young Faithfull's, and gentler and more whispery than Springfield's.


The styles tried on for size include the breezy psych-pop of "You Just Gotta Know My Mind," a Donovan composition that Donovan himself never recorded; the very Faithfull-esque (in the good sense) wispy folk-pop of "Tears in My Eyes" and Gillespie's own composition "Foolish Seasons"; the sunshine pop-influenced orchestral arrangements of "Life Is Short" and "London Social Degree," both penned by cult British pop/rocker Billy Nicholls; the gothic Euro-pop of "Souvenirs of Stefan," which vaguely recalls the likes of Françoise Hardy; and the downright catchy, sexy, mod pop of "No! No! No!"

Further unexpected turns are taken with the almost pre-goth blues-pop death wish "Dead," and the haunting, eccentric cover of Richard Fariña's "Hard Lovin' Loser." Sure, there are a couple of icky-sweet pop clunkers along the way (including Gillespie's sole other self-penned number on the album, "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not"). On the whole, though, it's an extremely likable (if somewhat stylistically confused) album, with nonstop unpredictably luscious and imaginative production. The U.K. 2006 CD reissue on Rev-Ola has thorough historical liner notes, including many quotes from Gillespie herself. (Richie Unterberger, allmusic)


I looked on the Rev-Ola UK homepage but the album is out of stock but that's no surprise.
Wonderful late sixties pop album by Dana Gillespie and for lovers of sixties british sounding pop a must.
Frank
Flac
mp3@320 

Monday, 29 January 2018

The Flamin' Groovies - Now 1978 (Vinyl, Sire Records)


While it took a long and torturous five years for the Flamin' Groovies to find their way back to an American record deal with Shake Some Action, a year and a half later the band had a follow-up ready, and while 1978's Flamin' Groovies Now isn't quite as cohesive as the album that preceded it, in many respects the band sounds at once tighter and more relaxed, with some time on the road firming up the rhythm section while giving the songs a bit more room to swing (which wasn't one of the strong suits of the British Invasion bands that provided their aural template). The band lost guitarist James Ferrell during the post-Shake Some Action tour, but former Charlatans picker Mike Wilhelm proved to be a more than simpatico replacement on these sessions, and while leader Cyril Jordan didn't come up with another new song as transcendent as "Shake Some Action," "All I Wanted" comes pretty close. But it's significant that most of the songs on Flamin' Groovies Now are covers, and while all of them are played with love, enthusiasm, and the right period flair (especially the Beatles' "There's a Place," Paul Revere & the Raiders' "Ups and Downs," and "Move It," an early U.K. hit for Cliff Richard), they give the album a feeling of being padded, and just because covering the Rolling Stones rarity "Blue Turns to Grey" was a good idea didn't mean the Flamin' Groovies had any business tackling "Paint It Black." All in all, Flamin' Groovies Now is a terrific-sounding record that captures a fine band when it was in great form, but it also makes clear that the gremlins that often dogged the Groovies in the studio (namely their inability to make a 100 percent satisfying album) hadn't gone away.(allmusic.com)

Maybe really one or two covers to much but nevertheless an album that jumps in my ear, lol.
And at the time the album was released it was a great album for me because i only knew Shake Some Action and this work because i was a young boy back then, haha.
Frank

Flac
mp3@320 (vinyl) 


Justin Heathcliff - Justin Heathcliff 1971 (2005 Warner Bros)



After studying the classical guitar and the piano as a child, in the 1960s Kitajima was a member of his cousin Yūzō Kayama's band The Launchers. After graduating from Keio University, and already a successful composer of TV and advertising jingles, he moved for one year to the UK in 1971, which brought him in to contact with British folk and psychedelic rock. Inspired in particular by The Beatles, Tyrannosaurus Rex and Syd Barrett, he dubbed himself as 'Justin Heathcliff' (picked for its English-sounding quality) and issued his lone eponymous album. Released only in Japan, the album became highly prized in collector's circles for its good-natured idiosyncrasy and casual melodicism.

The album is a really great psychedelic pop folk work and i highly recommend it.Before i googled the artist after listening to his music i haven't known he is an asian musician. However, don't miss it if you like Barrett Beatles Bolan influenced psychedelic pop folk sounds with great melodies.
Frank


Flac
mp3@320 

Texas Garage Pop: Neil Ford & The Fanatics - Good Men 1966 (2013 Big Beat Records)


Texas was a bastion of garage rock and psychedelia in the '60s, known in particular for the ravings of Austin's 13th Floor Elevators, but over to the east lay Houston's Neal Ford & the Fanatics, a sextet that harnessed the softer sound of their chosen genre. At times, the Fanatics seem as if they were poised to run away with the ragged variation of the kind of sunshine pop that came beaming out of the West Coast, so comfortable were they with effervescent melodies and lighter textures.


But they could still rock, as Ace's terrific 2013 anthology Good Men illustrates. Running a generous 26 tracks, this Alec Palao-produced compilation doesn't have everything from their 1967 LP, but rather sharply culls from that LP, adds several rare singles dating back to 1965, and dredges up unreleased material and other rarities, all in the effort to tell the entire story of Ford & the Fanatics.

 
There are times where the group really does get hard and heavy -- usually, it's earlier, when they barrel through the title track and strike a sneering, defiant stance on "I Will Not Be Lonely," but they also pour it all out on an unheard medley of Little Richard's "Lucille" and the Beatles' "I'm Down" -- but the group is largely interesting because they're more varied than most of their garage rock peers, particularly those who called Texas their home.


Ford & the Fanatics had a facility with melody, an eagerness to get trippy without ever losing sight of home base, and would occasionally thump with a clear knowledge of R&B; their facility with grooves is rarely heard in garage. As Palao's notes make clear, the group's ability to sound commercial wound up being a bit of an Achilles heel, as it brought them to the attention of labels that were willing to exploit the softer elements in hopes of a hit, but this compilation shows them at their best.

If their originals weren't quite hooky enough to guarantee hearing outside of Houston -- they were sturdy songs that perhaps given the right break would've been hits -- the versatility means they're one of the more intriguing unheard bands of their time, finally given their proper respect on this wildly entertaining Ace collection. (allmusic)

 The band had a very own sound, which on the one hand sounded very garage-heavy, but on the other hand also contained commercial elements. Very good collection of an underrated band of the sixties
Frank

Flac
mp3@320 
     

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Three piece Power Pop by Ben Folds Five - The Unauthorized Biography Of Reinhold Messner 1999 (550 Music by Sony Music)


The follow-up to the popular Whatever and Ever Amen, Ben Folds Five's third LP, The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Mesner, continues the eclectic and clever songwriting that has become the group's trademark. Like other piano-based rock composers such as Randy Newman and Todd Rundgren, principal songwriter and de facto leader Ben Folds combines an off-beat world view with equally off-kilter musical arrangements to create a thoroughly original sound. The pseudo-lounge break in "Regrets," for example, or the downright silliness of "Your Redneck Past" set the Ben Folds Five apart from the hundreds of soundalike bands that the group competes with for radio space.


What makes Ben Folds Five, and The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Mesner, relevant is their willingness to take musical risks, an anomaly in today's scene. On an album where there is a lack of instantly catchy hooks, Folds has the audacity to add a bizarre Burt Bacharach-ish horn section to "Don't Change Your Plans," one of the few radio-friendly tracks on the album. And in "Most Valuable Possession," the band uses studio trickery and an answering machine message left by Folds' father to create a bizarre spoken word pastiche.
It is this willingness to forge a unique sound that makes The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Mesner such an interesting album to listen to. There is care to these songs and, what's even more significant and fresh, there is also intelligence.(allmusic)


I really like Ben Folds and also this album is intelligent - witty and intelligently poppy. And most importantly, it's really fun. His backing boys are beyond any doubt and delivers the foundation on which Folds can really show off his fluent playing that he sometimes let rumble a little skillfully and so pushes the tension of the song to set his melodies in scene. Really a gifted musician and this is a very good pop album.
Frank


Saturday, 27 January 2018

A true pop gem: The Sidekicks - Fifi The Flea (Stereo) 1966 (RCA Victor, Vinyl 24/192)


In August-September 1966 the Pop quartet calling themselves The Sidekicks (John Spirt, Mike Burke and brothers Zack (vocalist) and Randy Bocelle) - not to be confused with a Punk Rock band of the same name - scored their only nationally charting single when Suspicions (written by Spirt and Burke) managed to make it to # 55 Billboard Pop Hot 100, b/w a nice cover of The Drifters' huge 1963 hit ''Up On The Roof''.
That modest success earned them the album you see covered here titled "Fifi The Flea" which emerged shortly after containing: A1. Suspicions; A2. Up On The Roof; A3. You're A Girl; A4. More (Theme From "Mondo Cane"); A5. Not Now; A6. Ask Your Friend; B1. Fifi The Flea; B2. Sight And Sound; B3. Out Of The Dark; B4. He's My Friend; B5. The Best Things; B6. Ollie Wong (The Same).
However, the follow-up single from the LP, Fifi The Flea, could only reach # 115 Hot 100 Bubble Under in October 1966 b/w another LP side, Not Now, and when their third release early in 1967, Miss Charlotte b/w He's My Friend (orchestra conducted by Bob Louden) went nowhere, the group was dropped.
In 1963, Spirt had been part of another One-Hit Wonder, The Ran-Dells, who had a # 16 in August-September of that year for Chairman Records with Martian Hop, and when he formed this new group they initially had tried to capitalize on the British Invasion craze by calling themselves The Redcoats.

A really wonderful album full of great pop songs and i don't understand how the band going nowhere
after their billboard Pop 100 charting #55 success of ''Suspicions''. Also because on the album are a lot of really strong songs. But a bad decision was certainly to make ''Fifi The Flea'' the next single after the big success of ''Suspicions''. For me maybe the weakest song on the album.Probably the only weak song on an album full of singles. It was the perfect pop album. I highly recommend it to everyone who love pop music full of wonderful melodies. To me it's a true gem.
Frank

p.s.: The sound quality of this vinyl is great in my opinion.

Flac 





The Spike Drivers - 60's Folkrocking Psychedelic Innovation From the Motor City (2002 RD Records)


This collection of 15 previously unreleased recordings from 1965-1968 doesn't include their rare Reprise singles, though it does have different versions of three songs from those 45s ("High Time," "Baby Won't You Let Me Tell You How I Lost My Mind," and "Strange Mysterious Sounds"). A little better documentation about exactly when and where this stuff was cut, in fact, would have been quite useful if it's known, though the 16-page booklet has otherwise very detailed liner notes from lead guitarist Sid Brown.
It's more psychedelic than folk-rock, sounding quite a bit like an early San Francisco band might, though they were from Detroit. At times there's a resemblance to the Great Society, particularly in the minor-keyed tunes and improvisational-raga influences, though that group (Grace Slick's pre-Jefferson Airplane outfit) had considerably better songs, melodies, and vocal/instrumental personality.
The Spike Drivers are not a major find as far as obscure early psych bands go but, all those negatives out of the way, there's some fairly cool stuff here, if on the charmingly naïve side. "Strange, Mysterious Sounds" is a little like a collision between doomstruck raga rock and Mamas & the Papas harmonies, and "Portland Town" is a haunting drawn-out acid-folk cover of the traditional folk song.





Other tracks, like "Got the Goods on You" and "Baby, Can I Wear Your Clothes?," mine a much lighter tone lyrically and musically, with their offbeat mixtures of British Invasion, folk-rock, and bohemian lyricism. Some of the tracks do get into grating, noisy psychedelic improvisation (with a sometimes substandard recording) and don't have much compositional backbone, though. And as singers they're far below the level of a Jefferson Airplane, though like the Airplane they were a mostly male group with one female singer (Marycarol Brown, who takes lead vocals rather infrequently).(Richie Unterberger, allmusic.com)



The band definitely sounds really American and you can say that the band has orientated itself to the sound of the San Francisco bands on the west coast. The band always sounds best when it plays calmer sounds. In my opinion, the band with male vocals sounds much better, but this is perhaps due to the sometimes weak vocal performance (in the lead vocals) of Marycarol Brown. Her best  performance (imho) she let's hear on ''Can't Stand The Pain'' .
Frank

Flac