25 September, 2016


KATCH 22 - "Major Catastrophe" / "Hold Me" (Fontana TF 768) November 1966

This sought after freakbeat single by Katch 22 doesn't come up for sale very often so I was pleased to capture a copy a few months ago on eBay for a decent price too.

Katch 22 released five singles on Fontana between 1966 and 1969, all of which flopped. But despite no commercial success they were still able to record a studio album. I don't have a copy of the album but I've read elsewhere that it's a soft rock affair and not like this tormented piece of beat.

"Major Catastrophe" is an overload of fuzz guitar and brass flourishes. It doesn't sound to me like this would have had any chance of making the Charts in 1966, it's far too way-out. But for me it's the most exciting thing the group created.

Both sides were recorded at Olympic Sound Studios in London during two sessions. (20/09/66 and 03/10/66). Accompaniment by Harry Roberts. Now I suspect this is the same person who wrote and produced The Spectrum who released records on RCA Victor.


EDDIE HODGES - "Shadows And Reflexions" / "Love Could Rule The World" (Sunburst 773) November 1967

This is the second time out for Eddie Hodges on my blog, this time it's his version of "Shadows And Reflexions" which was also recorded by The Lownly Crowde, The Action and The Byzantine Empire.

The song was co-written by his friend Tandym Almer who's famous for being the author of "Along Comes Mary", the big hit for The Association. I first became aware of his song "Shadows And Reflections" (without the "X") via English mod group The Action. I must admit being a little surprised when I heard that it had also been recorded by early 1960s teenage pop star Eddie Hodges.

This particular take has that typical late 1967 American baroque pop feel and is superbly produced by the team responsible for much of The Chocolate Watch Band output, including Ed Cobb and Richard Podolor.


FRIDAYS KEEPERS - "Take Me For A Ride" / "Sorrow At My Door" (Momentum 676) 196?

I sadly failed to win this incredible tripped out and dreamy psychedelic disc on eBay the other day. Copies seldom appear for sale, this one sold to the highest bidder for $225.
Dig the acid mind blowing vibrations of "Take Me For A Ride." This kind of dreamy psychedelia with vocal harmonies, strings, orchestration and backwards guitar is a joy to hear. The other side is "Sorrow At My Door" which I've not heard.

Probably from Los Angeles. It's only ever appeared on one compilation over the years - on "Psychedelic Unknowns" Volume 6

"Take me for a ride
On the river in your mind.
Take me for a ride
Let me see what I can find."

18 September, 2016


THE CHERRY SLUSH - "I Cannot Stop You" / "Don't Walk Away" (U.S.A. Records 895) January 1968

A group of teenagers from Saginaw, MI almost hit the big time with this single which was written and produced by Dick Wagner. "I Cannot Stop You" is a memorable and very commercial sounding disc with lots of hammond organ frills and brass instrumentation.

The single had seen an earlier release on local label Coconut Groove during November 1967 and the re-release on U.S.A Records almost broke The Cherry Slush nationally. The record was even released in Germany on Cornet Records and came housed in a picture sleeve.

I was surprised to find that several websites cover the Cherry Slush and there is even a Facebook page devoted to the group. Go here for more information and photographs.

04 September, 2016


Check out my Facebook page devoted to uncovering photos, articles and record reviews printed in vintage 60s music magazines. Click on the link below and 'Like"page for updates etc.  

29 August, 2016


THE COWSILLS - "The Prophecy Of Daniel And John The Devine (Six-Six-Six)" / "Gotta Get Away From It All" (MGM 1484) June 1969

This is an incredible single by The Cowsills and a new discovery for me. I dig it so much that I immediately sought UK and US pressings on MGM. I'd always had the image in my head that The Cowsills were a goodie, all-American kiddie family of musicians who only recorded pop songs for the teen market. How wrong I was.

"The Prophecy Of Daniel And John The Devine (Six-Six-Six)" is both creative and ambitious in equal measure. The classy arrangement and beautiful harmonies teases the brain into thinking that the song is one of those pleasant sunshine pop songs but they're singing about the occult. The song is seemingly inspired by "The Book Of Revelations" and all of that religious mumbo-jumbo that was rife with the late 60s hippies. Forget all of that and marvel at the spooky organ, the eastern instrumentation and clever use of spoken passages.

This extraordinary recording is particularly uncommercial and was a strange choice for a single. However, the record still sold in decent quantities, eventually reaching #75 in the Billboard Chart.
No Chart action in Britain and perhaps another reason why this psychedelic rock song is a new find for me.

25 August, 2016


CRACKERS - "Honey Do" / "It Happens All The Time" (Fontana TF 995) January 1969

This rarity by Crackers were The Merseys is disguise! Quite why they changed their name for this single, which turned out to be their last, is unknown. My educated guess is simply because as The Merseys their records since "Sorrow" had more or less been ignored. Maybe their name was passe in 1969 and so a change to a more suitable one was required.
Sadly for The Merseys nothing changed. "Honey Do" flopped and they were no more.

"Honey Do" was recently compiled on the CD only "Fairytales Can Come True" Volume #2. The flip and for me, more interesting side, is the soothing pop tune "It Happens All The Time" written by Tony Crane.

24 August, 2016


THE MERSEYS - "Lovely Loretta" / "Dreaming" (Fontana TF 955) July 1968

It's been a couple of years since The Merseys appeared in the Chart, but - with sufficient exploitation - this could well restore them. Pounds along at a rip-roaring pace, with tambourine emphasising the beat, and trumpets adding depth to the backing - and there are frequent outbursts of cheering to conjure up a party atmosphere.

Spirited support is provided by the Funky Bottom Congregation - which turns out to be Dave Dee & Co, Julie Felix and several others. An extremely commercial disc. (NME review - July, 1968)

There's a star-studded (Dave Dee, W. Fontana, Beaky, Tich etc) on this, lumped together as the Funky Bottom Congregation - alone worth the price of admission, folks. The song is fair enough, one supposes, though it's not a stand out. But the production is healthy, alive and could restore the two lads to the charts. Happy-go-lucky. Flip: fair enough. (Record Mirror review - July, 1968)

NME advert - July 1968

23 August, 2016


THE MERSEYS - "Penny In My Pocket" / "I Hope You're Happy" (Fontana TF 916) March 1968

This could easily be a hit; good song, and a welcome return for the duo after a year off the disc scene. Harmonica added. Just missed a tip, but I feel I'll be proved wrong (Record Mirror review - March, 1968)

Record Mirror advert - March 1968

22 August, 2016


THE MERSEYS - "The Cat" / "Change Of Heart" (Fontana TF 845) June 1967

The Merseys sing a little song of jealousy on this rock-a-beater item with them in fine vocal form. It has a good tune and a grow-on-you appeal. Nice. And should give them their first hit since "Sorrow."
Flip: penned by Tony, features some barrel-house piano, a stomping beat and soft vocals. (Record Mirror review - June, 1967)

A David and Jonathan composition - and a real pile driver it is, too. Am exhilarating thumper, with an absorbing lyric which makes up for what it lacks in melody. The Merseys generate an intriguing vocal sound, often taking off into flights of falsetto. A wild, twangy, instrumental passage completes a disc that has all the hallmarks of a hit. But I have to be cautious about it's chances, as the group's been out of the limelight for a while.
Flip: a bouncy, jog trotting rhythm, highlighted by tinkling barrel-house piano. Almost in the Good-Time style. Again, a commendable vocal blend.  (NME review - June, 1967) 

NME - January, 1967

21 August, 2016


THE MERSEYS - "Rhythm Of Love" / "Is It Love?" (Fontana TF 776) November 1966

In some ways, the strongest yet from the duo. Lyrics praise the swivel-hip movement of a girl walking and the boys create some devious but exciting vocal movements. Builds well at fast tempo and doesn't let up on atmosphere. Highly commended.
Flip: a fair enough beat ballad but rather rambling. (Record Mirror review - December, 1966)


'Sorrow'  was discovered on the 'B' side of The McCoys 'Fever' by a guy called Ray, who worked for Kit and Chris. He said we had to listen to it 'cause there was something about it that he thought could be turned into a great record. It was a very Neil Young type of vocal and too country and western sounding. We loved it. So I rearranged the harmonies and decided to add a strange vocal line that was sung after the main line and that was it, we knew we had a winner.

We'd got Jimmy Page, Jack Bruce and Clem Cattini to play on it in a small studio in Denmark Street. We changed it again and then got a bigger band, including John Paul Jones (Jack Bruce couldn't make it to the second session), Jimmy Page, Clem Cattini, Benny Green and many more infamous musicians and did the song live at CBS Studios in New Bond Street, London.
This version remained in the vaults but can be found on the CD "Unearthed Merseybeat"

The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and the Troggs stopped us getting to number one but they were all classic records and we realized that at the time. To this day I still like 'Sorrow' and have never got fed up or bored with it. (Billy Kinsley). For more information about The Merseys go here.

20 August, 2016


THE MERSEYS - "So Sad About Us" / "Love Will Continue" (Fontana TF 732) July 1966

I like the way The Merseys always succeed in maintaining a strong melodic content, despite the fast moving pace. This is such a catchy tune that it opens with a la-la chorus, before breaking into an absorbing vocal blend.

Storms along at a stirring pace, accentuated by tambourine and cymbal crashes, plus brass in the deep background. A Pete Townshend number which deserves to be big.

Flip: Tempo slackens to slightly under medium pace. This has a pronounced plaintive feel, and a rippling accompaniment with a clavioline effect. (NME review, July 1966)

Pete Townshend song, faintly reminiscent, but a strong, repetitive line about it. The boys get a big, rather brash sound going, building well - The Phil - Dennis arrangement is cleverly designed to off-shoot the voices. A compulsive, odd worded, hit sound all round. Flip is gentler but also sound. (Record Mirror review, July 1966)

RAVE - July 1966


17 August, 2016


THE MERSEYBEATS - "I Stand Accused" / "All My Life" (Fontana TF 645) December 1965

There is something about this track that I find fascinating. It certainly isn't the melody - there's not really a tune you can whistle. Maybe it's the intriguing lyric which holds the attention, or perhaps it's that insistent thump beat which persists throughout - together with an underlying tinkling effect.

More likely, it's a blend of all these factors. In any event, it's a disc that's well worth hearing, and one which must stand a chance.

Flip: Tempo slows for this wistful number. Not so forceful as the top side, but more melodic. Mainly solo voice, with harmony and handclapping support. (NME review - December, 1965)

Kit Lambert production for the recent hit-makers and a song that has a load of power, a repetitive quality that is very commercial and some first rate vocal touches. It builds well, too, holding the interest at a mid-tempo styling. Should be a sizeable hit. (Record Mirror - December, 1965).

Charted: 38 

Edsel vinyl compilation from the 1980s exploring The Merseybeats Beat and Ballad cuts

three Merseybeats members with Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp in the background

14 August, 2016


THE ROBB STORME GROUP - "Here Today" / "But Cry" (Columbia DB 7993) August 1966

The Beach Boys were probably America's biggest pop group import into Britain during the mid sixties but very few UK outfits recorded their songs. But here's one by The Robb Storme Group who at the time were the regular backing group of Paul & Barry Ryan.

"Here Today" is a cut from "Pet Sounds" and is ably covered here, the arrangement from Wilson Malone is neat and tidy, the vocal harmonies are excellent too. It must have been a daunting task to even get close to The Beach Boys original.

The flip "But Cry" is also good. Both sides have never troubled the compilers either, but if anyone should ever create a Beach Boys collection of songs recorded by other groups and artists The Robb Storme Group should receive some serious consideration.

Wilson Malone and other members became The Orange Bicycle and the former released a very sought after and expensive solo album on Morgan Blue Town in 1969. Lewis Collins, the actor who played Bodie in "The Professionals" was the bass player in The Robb Storme Group!

Robb Storme (vocals)
Tony Ollard (guitar)
Lewis Collins (bass)
Jim St. Pier (piano)
Wilson Malone (drums)
songs recorded at: Landsdowne Studios, London

13 August, 2016


THE MINDBENDERS - "Schoolgirl" / "Coming Back" (Fontana TF 877) November 1967

Everyone will know The Mindbenders hit "A Groovy Kind Of Love" but few will realise that afterwards their singles got progressively wigged-out, including this no hit wonder "Schoolgirl" from late 1967.

I doubt many would have even heard the record never mind bought it, because as was usually the case, the squaresville BBC banned "Schoolgirl" for it's lyrical content about teenage sex and pregnancy. Perhaps this is why The Hollies version, recorded during February 1967 was never released at the time. They would have known that being regarded as a pop group, under-age sex was always gonna be a difficult concept to sell on a record. The Standells also recorded a version!

Regardless of all of the idiotic notions "Schoolgirl" is a memorable song, written by hit-maker Graham Gouldman, who also produced both sides of the disc. Gouldman would become a full time member of The Mindbenders in 1968.

For reasons unknown to me, The Mindbenders re-recorded "Schoolgirl" for this single release. They recorded it earlier in the year and that version can be heard on their "With Woman In Mind" album released during April 1967. This single cut has wah-wah guitar and strings and is perhaps a little more psychedelic.

The B-Side "Coming Back" is also great inventive pop psych featuring not one but three fade-outs and is non-album and very obscure.

Promotional singles sent to Radio Stations and the music press featured a glossy fold out picture sleeve showing a blond go-go girl wearing a school uniform.


11 August, 2016


THE MERSEYBEATS - "I Love You, Yes I Do" / "Good, Good Lovin" (Fontana TF 607) September 1965

Produced by Who co-manager Kit Lambert it has a rater dated sound. A James Brown song but lacking impact. (Record Mirror review - October, 1965)

A change of style for The Merseybeats showcases them in a beat-ballad, "I Love You, Yes I Do," belted on a deep echo by the leader with 'oh yeah' falsetto chanting and humming. Crashing drums and a plodding thump beat complete the backing.
Rather a strange disc, really - a blend of sweet corn and the Liverpool sound! But it's a strong melody and a powerful performance, which should be more than sufficient to sell it. Fontana label.

In complete contrast is the wild ravin' rocker "Good, Good Loving," with raucous guitar work, handclaps, shout style vocal and enthusiasm a-plenty. (NME review - October, 1965)  

Charted #22

Norway release