Thursday 13 December 2018

Sixties Australia Pop; Johnny Young & Kompany - Step Back (1988 Festival)

Johnny Young will always be best remembered as the gentle, ever-smiling host of Young Talent Time, but back in the Sixties he was a bona fide pop idol and TV star. Johnny spent three frantic years as one of Australia’s top beat performers but his pop career fizzled out after an unsuccessful attempt to break into the UK scene, so he branched out in several directions, becoming a radio DJ, TV presenter, songwriter and record and TV producer. At the end of the Sixties, while most of his contemporaries were fading from view, Johnny's song-writing career blossomed with a string of chart-topping hits.

His songwriting is one of the least known of his many achievements, and certainly few of those who sat down every week to enjoy the wholesome performances of the Young Talent Team would have realized that the affable host was the composer of one of the classics of Australia acid rock. Moving into the Seventies, Johnny launched a hugely successful TV production house which created two of the most popular series of the day, the Happening 70s pop series and the long-running, award-winning Young Talent Time.(excerpt from Milesago. You find a great bio of Johnny Young here).

Enjoy the pop of Johnny Young.(Frank)

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Pop Rock, Psychedelic Rock; The Griffin - The World's Filled With Love (1968 ABC) Vinyl

I don't know much about the band and as far as i know this is the only album by the band.
So, what do you get offered on the album? Well it goes all the way through different styles from soft pop to psychedelic pop and also garage sounds the band uses to deliver a very good album. Small Talk' comes with a lightness and shows on what level the band can make music. Great. 'I'm Takin The Freeway' comes along urgently with a lot of minor harmonies and still remains light-footed. 'Magic Carpet Ride' is simply wonderful. Great drums, driving rhythm guitar and casual organ let the carpet fly. Nearly every song is very good here. There was definitely a band at work here who knew how to write good songs and put them into action in a great way. Poppy, psychedelic...and good. Sergeant Pepper was on a visit :-). Enjoy.(Frank)

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Mod, Beat, Garage; The Game - It's Shocking What They Call Us 1965-68, 1996 (1997 Dig The Fuzz )

Although frequently compared to 1960s U.K. mod legends the Creation, it must be said that the young Game's approach toward pop-art was nowhere near as subtle, and that their songs often lacked melody. However, the spirit is nevertheless the same, and "Help Me Mummy's Gone" and "It's Shocking What They Call Us" are as rowdy and youthful as mods and rockers rioting on Brighton Beach.

Dig the Fuzz's fantastically packaged album, which contains a 45 by the re-formed lineup and a reprint of a '60s colored poster, is the only source for all of the Game's material, and in that sense is essential.
Also including The Lavender Grove acetates, and programmed chronologically, this set maps the progression of the Game from Kenny Lynch's blue-eyed soul mod fledglings to Creation-inspired feedback merchants and psychedelic hopefuls. If not one of the genre's best bands, they do have an appeal. (Jon Mills,

Of course the band oriented themselves to the big names of the scene but they didn't reach the directness of bands like 'The Creation', 'The Who', or also the 'Kinks'.

But still they had good songs like 'The Addicted Man', Gonna Get Me Someone, to name just two. The band always tried to have a certain versatility like in 'Still On The Game' or 'Unfair'. 'But I Do' reminds of the Searchers. All in all a decent album that has its moments. Enjoy.(Frank)

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Wednesday 12 December 2018

Psychedelic/Prog Rock; Arcadium - Breathe Awhile 1969 (2000 Repertoire)

This eerie and obscure masterpiece may change your lives if you are lucky enough to listen to it! All tracks are surprisingly mature and intense. Even the bonus tracks are equally amazing. Probably the best British underground LP of the 60s.(user review, Theo Konti @allmusic)

Nun, dies ist zwar nicht die 'Akarma' Veröffentlichung mit den Bonustracks, aber auch das 'normale' Album kann überzeugen. Warum 'allmusic' das Album so schlecht bewertet hat, ist mir ein Rätsel. Die Songs zeigen eindrücklich das hier viel Wert auf die Arrangements gelegt wurde. Was man von vielen Alben Ende der Sechziger aus diesem Genre nicht behaupten kann.
Spielerisch kann das Album ebenfalls überzeugen. Meiner Meinung nach ein sehr gutes Album, daß aus der Masse der damaligen Psychedelic/Prog Rock Alben herausragt und niemals Langeweile aufkommen lässt. Viel Spaß(Frank)

Well, this is not the 'Akarma' release with the bonus tracks, but also the 'normal' album can convince. Why 'allmusic' rated the album so bad is a mystery to me. The songs show impressively that here much value was put on the arrangements. What you can't claim from many albums from this genre at the end of the sixties.

The album is also convincing in performance. In my opinion a very good album, which stands out from the mass of psychedelic/prog rock albums at that time without ever getting bored. Enjoy.(Frank)

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Scottish Pop; The Marmalade - Rainbow - The DECCA Years 1969 - 1972 (2002Castle) 2CD

Marmalade is one of those groups that just seems to endure. They are best remembered today for one record, their cover of the Beatles' "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," although they charted number one records and even Top Ten American singles into the 1970s. The group, especially as constituted up through the early '70s, had many sides, including white soul, harmony dominated pop/rock, and progressive pop, all very much like the Beatles in their middle years. However, it was their cover of a Beatles song, oddly enough, that weighed down their reputation.

 In point of fact, they did somewhat resemble the Beatles musically, having started out as a band of teenagers eager to play hard rock & roll; like the Beatles, they developed a great degree of sophistication in their singing and playing, but they never had the freedom to experiment with the different sides of their music. Ironically, in their prime, their career arc most resembled that of the Tremeloes, who made incredibly well-crafted pop/rock but were never taken seriously.

The quintet's history began in 1961 when teenagers William "Junior" Campbell and Patrick Fairley met on Campbell's 14th birthday and discovered that they both enjoyed playing rock & roll. Their early inspirations were the Everly Brothers and Cliff Richard & the Shadows. Soon they were playing together, Campbell on guitar (and, increasingly in later years, keyboards) and Fairley on guitar, and then they added bassist Billy Johnson and drummer Tommy Frew. They took the name the Gaylords and played local clubs for little or no money, and Johnson and Frew were later succeeded by Bill Irving and Raymond Duffy, respectively. The group began getting decidedly better gigs when singer Thomas McAleese -- who took the stage name Dean Ford -- joined. For a time, they were known officially as Dean Ford & the Gaylords, in keeping with the notion that many successful acts (Cliff Richard & the Shadows, et al) had one member as their focus.

This was still the early '60s, when Liverpool bands had scarcely made an impression and Scotland's rock & rollers faced an even more daunting task just getting record company executives to hear them. For Dean Ford & the Gaylords, a recording contract didn't become a reality until almost a year after the Liverpool sound started to explode across the English charts and in early 1964, Dean Ford & the Gaylords were signed to EMI-Columbia. Their debut record, "Twenty Miles," sold well in Scotland, but never charted in England. Their success remained confined to their native Scotland, the group regularly supported visiting English acts like the Hollies, and they were regulars on BBC Radio Scotland. By the end of the year, with their hard yet melodic attack on their instruments and good close-harmony singing, Dean Ford & the Gaylords had made themselves the top band in Scotland, borne out in music poll results.
As they were already commanding the best support spots and the highest fees promoters were willing to pay any homegrown act, there was just no place left to go in their own country and no easy way to get heard in England.

The group finally took up residence in Wimbledon, just outside of London, but at first this had little effect. Irving left the band and was replaced by Graham Knight on bass and harmony vocals; a fourth single as Dean Ford & the Gaylords was recorded, but it failed to chart and marked the end of their EMI contract. The Gaylords were now living far from home in a place where they were largely unknown and they were at something of a loss as to how to continue.

It was the Tremeloes, a band from London who'd had a pair of hit singles (including a chart-topper with "Do You Love Me") who came to their rescue. The two groups had played together and the Tremeloes admired the Gaylords' sound so they suggested the band sign with their manager Peter Walsh. He was impressed with their sound and their level of musical and performance expertise; all of those hard-rocking gigs to demanding audiences in Scotland had the same effect on the Gaylords that playing the Star Club in Hamburg had on the Beatles.

Walsh's first order of business after signing the group was a change of name, from the Gaylords to Marmalade. The name supposedly came to him over a breakfast that, reportedly, indeed did include the sugary preserve. Whatever its inspiration, however, it worked. Walsh got them work and bookings, most notably at London's Marquee Club, billed third behind a then-new outfit called Pink Floyd and a soul-oriented band called the Action. The management, impressed with Marmalade's performance, eventually gave them a two-night a week spot.

Their representation by Walsh also got the band another crack at that most coveted of opportunities in music: a recording contract. In 1965, Columbia Records, the American label that had previously licensed its music for British release to English companies like EMI, purchased the British Oriole Records label and used it as the foundation for its own British label, CBS Records (the "Columbia" name being unavailable in England, as it was already trademarked and used in England by a division of EMI). Walsh got Marmalade signed to CBS Records, which was hungry for homegrown talent to augment their American release schedule (the company would later sign the Tremeloes as well). They also shared the same producer, Mike Smith, who later ran the Tremeloes' recording sessions.

Marmalade's first CBS single, "It's All Leading up to Saturday Night," showed just how far they'd come. The radiant harmonies and the powerful attack, boosted by the group's reliance on twin six- and four-string basses made it irresistible listening. Their second CBS single, "Can't Stop Now" (on which Alan Whitehead joined the lineup on drums, replacing Duffy), never charted in England, but managed the unusual feat of becoming a regional hit in the United States, getting to number one on some charts in Ohio. They were getting a lot of exposure as well, including an appearance in the movie (Subterfuge) and television work on (The Fantasist).

The group seemed poised for greatness. "I See the Rain," an original by Campbell and Ford (using his legal name, McAleese), become their third CBS single, described by Jimi Hendrix as the best British single of 1967. Somehow it never charted in England but did well in Holland, which resulted in a tour of the Netherlands and Germany. Their fourth CBS single, "Man in a Shop," didn't make the charts in England either.

The group was at a complete loss as to what to do or where to go from there. They'd given it their best shot and all they had to show for it was a demand for their music on the continent, but not at home. Finally, in early 1968, Marmalade decided to go for the most commercial sound they could live with and cut a pop/rock number called "Lovin' Things." This broke them through into the U.K. Top Ten, peaking at number six and selling 300,000 copies. The chart action was a welcome event and took some personal pressure off the band.

There's a Lot of It About
Unfortunately, they'd also opened an artistic Pandora's Box. Having gone the commercial route, they now found the record company insisting that they stick with it. Songs that they didn't care for were foisted on them for follow-up singles, and they got too little time to record their debut LP, entitled There's a Lot of It About.
Disaster struck (though no one thought it disaster at the time) with their late 1968 single version of "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da." It was publisher Dick James who offered them the Beatles song ahead of the issue of The Beatles (aka The White Album). Marmalade cut the song not even knowing that it was a Lennon-McCartney composition.
It become a number one hit in England and sold millions of copies around the world, generating a massive amount of radio exposure. The problem was that it wasn't really what the group was about. Marmalade was much more influenced by American soul, folk-rock, and progressive rock, but they had become locked into an image as a soft, bubblegum-type pop/rock band.

And then, with a number one record behind them, they left the label. Their contract was up and CBS was eager to keep them, but their manager recognized that with that hit to their credit, they might never be in a better position to demand favorable terms. English Decca, the label that had the Moody Blues, had (and lost) the Small Faces, and was in the process of losing the Rolling Stones, outbid CBS both in monetary terms and an offer of artistic freedom.
The group re-emerged in the winter of 1969 after nearly a year of inactivity with "Reflections of My Life," a daring original by Campbell and Ford incorporating pop/rock and harder progressive elements, including some superb guitar work. It topped the English charts six weeks after its release, in the final week of January 1970, and became a Top Ten American single as well. They followed this up with the equally appealing (though less successful) "Rainbow," which charted in both England and America.

Reflections of the Marmalade
These twin hits were followed by the LP Reflections of the Marmalade, which proved to be something less than a success, owing to the sheer diversity of sounds on it that ranged from soulful rockers and harmony dominated progressive-sounding material to their covers of singer/songwriter-type repertory. The LP never found an audience in England, but did in America, where it was retitled Reflections of My Life and reached number 71. The group had an opportunity to open for Three Dog Night on a tour of America, who were then rapidly ascending to their peak of fame; their manager turned it down, thus costing the group a chance to expose the full range of their music to millions of listeners who only really knew the one major hit.

By 1970, the band was beginning to show the first real signs of serious internal stress since their founding. The hefty advance they'd received from the label had been welcomed and their three initial singles (but especially "Reflections of My Life") had justified it. Now, however, they were being pressured to repeat that success, just when they were least able to pull together effectively. The bandmembers, pleased with the adulation they'd received, were eager to experiment in different directions, which created strains within the lineup.

Junior Campbell, who'd arranged the Reflections of the Marmalade album and written the string parts for one of the follow-up singles, quit the band and enrolled in the Royal College of Music. The group was inactive for months after Campbell's departure until they recruited Hugh Nicholson, an ex-member of their one-time rivals from Scotland, the Poets. Nicholson's arrival heralded a new era for the band as he brought with him original songs as well as a heavier approach to music. Curiously, Campbell continued to write arrangements for the band, even after his sudden departure. Ford was pushed to the sidelines as Nicholson insisted on singing lead on certain songs himself, and then drummer Whitehead, who'd been with the group for five years, was dropped and replaced by one of Nicholson's ex-bandmates, Dougie Henderson.

The switch in drummers accentuated the change in Marmalade's sound, from a progressive pop/rock outfit to a much harder, more straight-ahead rock & roll band. The group's next album, Songs, represented both the new and the old groups' sounds. By the spring of 1972, the band was down to a quartet as co-founder Pat Fairley decided to give up performing, taking over as their publicist and coordinating their publishing activities.

An article in the lurid U.K. tabloid News of the World (which had revelled in the sex-and-drugs exploits of the Rolling Stones in the late '60s) dealing with Whitehead's more debauched activities as a member of Marmalade, had the surprising result of commercially helping the group. They got a number six British single out of "Radancer in the spring of 1972.

Just when it seemed as though they'd not only dodged a bullet, but turned its trajectory to their advantage, Nicholson quit Marmalade. The surviving trio -- Ford, Graham Knight, and Dougie Henderson -- left Decca and signed with EMI, taking on Mike Japp to fill Nicholson's spot.

When the smoke cleared, Marmalade reinvented themselves once again as a hard rock boogie band in the manner of Status Quo. The lineup changes had taken their toll, however, and even if they'd been able to establish credibility in this new form, the door now seemed open for more exits. Knight was the first out, and with his exit, there wasn't much left of Marmalade beyond Ford.

Their history then took an utterly bizarre turn, one that anticipated the lawsuits over the use of classic group names that would become common in the 1990s -- and even anticipate the development of acts like Creedence Clearwater Revival. Ford had dropped the band's classic hits from their set, choosing to perform only their recent, heavier material in hopes of reinventing Marmalade. Audiences, however, were having none of it. They came to the shows expecting to hear at least some of the old hits, and got none.

Meanwhile, the group's ex-manager, Peter Walsh, knowing a good thing when he saw it, got Whitehead and Knight together with two more players, Sandy Newman (vocals, guitar, keyboards) and Charlie Smith (guitar), and put them on the road as Vintage Marmalade, doing nothing but their old songs. Eventually, Ford and Marmalade gave up trying to reinvent themselves and Knight and the other group took over the original name. Ford went off to a solo career while the "new" (actually old) Marmalade got a recording contract in the mid-'70s and returned to the English Top Ten in 1977 with "Falling Apart at the Seams."

This unit kept recording for the rest of the 1970s and since then, Knight and Newman have kept Marmalade going as an oldies act, playing at cabarets and clubs and touring Holland and Germany. Like the latter-day Tremeloes, Marmalade, in whatever lineup they're sporting, can always find an audience, even a quarter century or more after their last chart entry.

Ha ha, i believe this is the longest biography here on the blog ever. However, the band had great skills and a lot of fine pop songs.Enjoy.(Frank)

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Monday 10 December 2018

Blue Eyed Soul, Pop, Garage Pop; The Uniques - Absolutely The Best (2013 Fuel 2000)

Years before Joe Stampley began his ascent to country stardom, he fronted a Louisiana rock band, the Uniques, who were quite popular in the South, although national attention eluded them. The group were ironically named in light of their failure to establish a truly distinctive style. They were adept at blue-eyed soul, covering William Bell's "You Don't Miss Your Water" and Art Neville's "All These Things," landing a huge regional hit with the latter tune.

They were also capable of waxing good, original, Southern-flavored pop-rock, especially on "Not Too Long Ago," another big Southern hit. And, oddly enough, they also did an all-out, raunchy, R&B-hued garage-band stomp, "You Ain't Tuff," which gives the band a somewhat misleading image among garage band collectors.

 The Uniques, when it came down to it, were a band content to deliver whatever the audiences wanted. That was an asset as far as finding live work, and most likely a hindrance in carving a significant creative niche for themselves. While they couldn't be considered a significant group, they were capable of crafting some enjoyable, if diffuse, singles. Joe Stampley's vocals were also admirably versatile and expressive, if not as soulful as one of his main regional rivals, John Fred. Most rock listeners will agree that the best Uniques records outshine Stampley's solo work by the length of a football field.(Richie Unterberger,

Where Mr Unterberger is right, he is right. Of course, Joe Stampley did his best work with the Uniques. They had some really impressive songs and their hit 'All these things' was written from Allen Toussaint. The band was inducted in the Lousiana Hall Of Fame in 2010.Enjoy (Frank)

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Psychedelic Pop/British Psychedelia From Australia: The Twilights - Once Upon A Twilight 1968 (2006 Aztec) Stereo+Mono

One of the better Australian groups of the '60s, the Twilights were not especially innovative, but played competent, harmony-driven British Invasion-styled rock, strongly recalling both the "beat" and pseudo-psychedelic era Hollies.
 Relying largely on the original material of guitarist Terry Britten, they recorded over a dozen singles, as well as a couple albums, between 1965 and 1968, chalking up a few large Australian hits. Like many Australian stars of the period, they traveled to England for a while in an attempt to crack the international market,

managing to record a few tracks in London with renowned producer/engineer Norman Smith (who had worked with the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Pretty Things, and others). Like other Australian acts in the U.K., with the exception of the Bee Gees and Easybeats, they totally failed in this regard, returning to Australia for more sporadic success in the homeland before disbanding in early 1969. (Richie Unterberger,

I really love this album. No filler only killer :-) Enjoy.(Frank)


US Psychedelic/Garage/Pop/Rock/andmore; Orphan Egg - Orphan Egg 1968 (2006 Radioactive)

This San Jose band earned themselves a record deal through a Vox Battle of the Bands, resulting in what’s occasionally being referred to as “a rather disappointing LP”, which I strongly disagree with.

It might be true that the particular moment in 1968 does find them still kinda searching for the real identity, jumping back-and-forth from one late’60s sub-genre to another, but one thing that certainly cannot be denied is a quite competent delivery, be it the quirky pair of Syd-through-Blue Cheer feel of the opening Falling and the just as witty ’67 Who-mor of Mourning Electra, the funked-up Rubber Soul-ful folk rocking of It’s Wrong, or harpsichord-laden Left Bank-ish harmony pop of That’s The Way Love Is and Look At Me.

Of course, there’s also a couple of pretty convincing evidences of their West Coast origins, with Deep In The Heart Of Nebraska, Circumstance and Unusual State Of Mind all being fine examples of genuine, slightlydelic r’n’beat, sometimes verging on the edge of garage-punk, that characterized the early Frisco-scene.

Unfortunately, they didn’t seem to have found the identity they were looking for, with this lone album making us believe that, otherwise, they might’ve been high contenders for one of the leading roles revolving around Hight Ashbury.(

I second the review of popdiggers. Orphan Egg were a musically absolutely competent band. In all genres or styles they had really good songs to offer. I also think the problem was that the band went in too many directions. I really enjoy the album and can only recommend it to everyone. Enjoy.(Frank)

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The Yardbirds - Yardbirds '68 (2017 Jimmy Page Com.) 2 CD first a few words about 'The Chords': This should be no new posting because it is already on the blog. I just wanted add new links...however...just for your information.

But now to the new post: The Yardbirds

Yardbirds '68 is a double CD and LP record album by English rock group the Yardbirds. Recorded in 1968 in New York City when the group was a quartet with guitarist Jimmy Page, it includes live performances and demos. Page produced the album, which was released in November 2017 on his own record label.

The tracks were recorded during the Yardbirds' last American tour in 1968; the live recordings are from their performance at the Anderson Theater on 30 March and studio recordings are demos from sessions at Columbia Recording Studio in April. Previously, the ten live tracks appeared on Live Yardbirds: Featuring Jimmy Page. The album was issued by Epic Records in 1971, but was quickly withdrawn. Most of the eight demos were included on the limited release Cumular Limit in 2000.

The live performance follows a typical Yardbirds' set list for the period and includes several of their best-known songs, including "The Train Kept A-Rollin'", "I'm a Man", "Shapes of Things", and "Over Under Sideways Down".

Ryan Reed of Rolling Stone noted that among the songs are three which carried over to Led Zeppelin: "Dazed and Confused", "White Summer", and "Knowing That I'm Losing You", which was later reworked as "Tangerine".

In a review for Classic Rock magazine, Ian Fortnam gave the album four out of five stars. While he has favourable comments on some of the demos, he notes "the main attraction here is the live set" that includes Yardbirds' standards and "Dazed and Confused".

 He adds that the audio has a brighter, cleaner sound than the 1971 Epic album; however, the song introductions and banter (provided by singer Keith Relf) have been unfortunately removed.

 All three surviving members of the 1968 lineup (Jim McCarty, Chris Dreja and Jimmy Page) participated in preparing the album and issued a joint statement:

    We thought this might be lost forever, but we’ve rediscovered it, re-mixed it. It’s of great historical importance. We’re delighted to see the release.(Wiki)

The double set is really well done with great artwork (DigiPak+Booklet). Five stars by me. Enjoy.(Frank)

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