maandag 15 januari 2018

67 lost songs from the 60s. A discussion

Gary, Mark and Wo. go out on another online musical adventure together, writing to each other by mail on their findings to this message that started off things.

Gary, 12-1
Interesting stream of lesser known 60s releases - 67 'lost songs'.

Below we provide a link that allows you to join in as well, so please do and comment to share your knowledge and feelings on this interesting and nice, if random, collection of more or less obscure songs from the 60s. If you feel like it, that is.

Mark, 13-1

Thanks for this link to a very interesting listing. I'm unfamiliar with most of these records but can comment on a few.

6. I don't know this song but Spooky Tooth were an under-rated early progressive band notable for daring to do a version of "I Am The Walrus"! There are other Beatle linkages: after the band fizzled out, keyboardist Gary Wright played on George's solo albums and Wings guitarist Henry McCollough (most famous for the remarkable solo on "My Love") was a member of this band for a while. I have the cd "best of".

15. Jimmy Page "She Just Satisfies" - I bought this single when it was a Record Store Day release a couple of years ago. It is a very short (smack on 2 minutes: no blistering, long guitar solos!) pacey R'n'B effort complete with brief harmonica solo. He co-wrote and knocked off in the studio (playing most of the instruments) in 1965 when he was doing time as a session musician. Very much in the Them vein but with unremarkable "she's my baby - oh yeah" lyrics....sung by Page himself. He never sang a word with Led Zep and his more successful solo releases relied on others for vocals, rather dubiously at one time on David Coverdale but of course later more credibly on Robert Plant. So that adds to this record's curiosity value. I don't know if Fontana gave it any kind of marketing push but I expect they may have considered it too rough and raucous for it be to be pop chart material. 

27. "I Wish It would skies, please go away!")  was a big Temptations hit. Not being much of a fan of Tamla, I am more familiar with this song courtesy of The Faces who used to do it live (it's on their "Coast to Coast" live album). 

28-49 - big gap....maybe you guys have some comments....?

50. Flying Burrito Brothers "Train Song" was a single recorded after the sessions for the classic "Gilded Palace of Sin" with the great Gram Parsons - and I still haven't got this record! (I'm going on ebay after I finish this e-mail). It may well have been a hit in the US.

54. Fairport Convention's "Meet on the Ledge" is their signature tune - a wonderful, timeless, rousing Richard Thompson song so not at all obscure. Sandy Denny one of the greatest vocalists ever of course who tragically died young. My friend Ko in Rotterdam who gave up on vinyl years ago gave me his Dutch pink Island label copy of this single with picture sleeve (very rare in UK) and a non-album B-side, It had been rightly played to death so not in great condition but is one of the treasures in my singles box. (Ko also gave me his first pressing Satanic Majesties Request with lenticular sleeve and a mono copy of Piper at the Gates of Dawn - both now worth a bob or two!).

58. Jackie Lomax "Sour Milk Sea" - I found this Apple single in a junk box about 30 years ago. I didn't know who he was then but I noted the song-writing credit was "Harrison" but did not know the song. Sure enough this was one George gave away to this mate of the Fabs from the Cavern days and never recorded himself. Below par, it is one of his noisier efforts with awful fuzzy production and an unintelligible lyric about meditation: so not huge chart potential and not helped by the disintegrating Apple organisation's random and chaotic marketing (Lomax soon switched to Warner Brothers but never found success: he died largely unrecognised in 2013)..So this is a Fab 4 collectible curio made all the more notable by the composition of the backing band: George on rhythm guitar, Paul on bass, Ringo on drums and on lead....Eric Clapton. There was also an Apple album with an unhelpful title - "Is this what you want?"  - which was re-mastered about 10 years ago that improved the sound.... but alas is not to be found in any  "1000 albums you must hear before you die" listing.

59. Same situation with this one: you can only attribute the failure as a single of James Taylor's much-covered great song about homesickness, "Carolina In My Mind", to Apple's disorganisation and failure to follow up on the genuine talent that knocked on that famous white door in Savile Row (which is now a clothes shop by the way so you can freely wander around and imagine Lennon shouting down the impressive staircase for more.....tea. You can't access the roof though!) This song is on James Taylor's first eponymous album that Apple released. Taylor was bumming around in Notting Hill in 1968 and had sent a demo tape to Peter Asher - and Paul and George ended up playing on the recording.

60. Still in Fabs territory, "The Iveys" was the previous name of......Badfinger. The history of that group is one of the greatest tragedies in music ending in the penniless suicide of the two guys who wrote one of the biggest hits in music ever - "Without You":  Pete Ham and Tom Evans. This is another great melodic song that compares well with McCartney, Bee Gees.... how could it have failed?. Apple fiasco again.....

61 (I'm on a run here...)  The Stone Poneys were a pop-flavoured folkie trio in the US featuring prominently on vocals of a certain Linda Ronstadt. They were quite successful in the US only I think and this is their most famous song. This is a rather earnest genre of American music that didn't translate easily into the global pop charts and after three albums Linda Ronstadt ditched it and hitched up with the country-rock fraternity notably, Emmylou Harris, Lowell George and The Eagles. This song is off the trio's second album "Evergreen" (having become obsessed on more than one level with Linda Ronstadt about 30 years ago I eagerly sought out these difficult to find now quite collectable albums.... but they don't get played much! Her later career took for me a regrettable turn into the bland mainstream but her collaboration in 2006 with Ann Savoy entitled "Adieu False Heart" was a an impressive return to the kind of authentic country I love, so is highly recommended. She had a wonderful voice tragically now silenced by Parkinson's Disease. 

I think that's it for me: no doubt I've overlooked some gems (I'm very weak on the soul side...and there are some bands I've never heard of like the Five Man Electrical Band and the 23rd Turnoff!) so I would be interested to read your take on this list and any thoughts however random that you may have on the other songs!
Wo., 13-1

It seems we have a start for a new story here, Gary, Mark. I haven't had time to listen yet, but will over the coming days. Currently I'm working on an old Moody Blues album following the demise of Ray Thomas, In Search Of The Lost Chord. It's great what I'm hearing so far, having last listened to it in the 80s and not really liking it at the time.

That aside. I'm curious to what I will find on the link.

Gary, 13-1

Wow, thanks Mark!

You really are a walking encyclopaedia of 60s/70s vinyl! You really should consider writing a book/guide to music in this era (maybe a personal perspective?)… I am sure that others would be very interested in such a tome! For myself, I can’t claim any such authority on the 60s and to be honest, most of the 67 on this list are unknown to me…. I just found them very interesting to hear on Spotify…. So much so, I had an uncontrollable urge to regrow my hair (maybe too late for that?), locate and wear a flowery shirt and flared trousers!

Certainly it would be great to source and purchase some of these as original singles!

It seems to me that you are sitting on a goldmine…. But I would imagine it would be heartbreaking to monetise and part with your collection?
Gary, 13-1

It is sad that we have to wait for the passing of a talented person to finally appreciate just how important they were….. I would imagine that is even more keenly felt by those same people that have put their heart and soul into a work and it is all but forgotten?

As for the list, I found it is like walking down a long corridor with 67 doors that you can open, look in and decide wither you you wish to enter…. Great fun!

Wo., 13-1

Looking at the list, while listening to the number 1, Spanky & Our Gang, I am looking at so much I have never heard from before. Despite having several of the 'Nuggets' albums and the 'Psychedelic States' series albums, until it just became a blur of unknown regional bands, this list brings forth another bunch of songs and artists I have never heard of. (This collection goes way beyond the garage rock psychedelia of 'Nuggets' though.)

Of course not everything is totally unknown. Several of the artists have scored a hit and some more than one around 1970. It is nearly undoable to comment on each individual song, but some comments I will make up front.

#2. Edwin Starr, was a part of the soul artists that scored a few hits in the late 60s and early 70s in NL. 'Twenty Five Miles' was a hit. His most famous hit of course is 'War', covered by many artists including Bruce Springsteen himself.

#3. The Impressions are best know for having Curtis Mayfield in its line up and the song 'People Get Ready' that gospel song between the Lord and politics.

#4. This may be the only song I actually own. In the late 70s I ordered 'Summertime Blues' by Blue Cheer from some post order company. To my surprise another band was on the b-side. I may never have bothered to listen to it. The Blues Magoos was the b-side with this song. Later, listening to the Blue Cheer album that contains 'Summertime Blues', I found out why this company did not bother with another Blue Cheer track. This band was really bad (read on here: The Blues Magoos track, '(We Ain't Got) Nothing Yet)' is fun I notice. It may well be it inspired Deep Purple for the 'Black Night' riff. It comes very close

#6. Spooky Tooth had two hits over here. 'That Was Only Yesterday' and a cover of 'I Am The Walrus, as Mark also commented on. (Oasis did a great version on Jools Hooland's show in the 90s as well.) I really like the band's second album, that I also reviewed in a series on 1968-1969 albums, I am intermittently running on the blog. As soon as I run into the album second hand, I'll buy it. (Read more here: band's prequel, a band called Art, returns later on this list, I noticed.

#8. It is explained why the song is included in the intro to the music itself, but of course The Beach Boys should not be in this list, but o.k., the story of the miss-listing of the song is nice. The names are a dead give away though.

#11 -15. Nina Simone, Stan Getz, Jan & Dean, Jimmy Page, should I say more on this famous singers/musicians?

@Mark, Online I have found at least two compilation cds full of tracks, some well-known, others totally obscure, that have Jimmy Page on them. Unfortunately the album is spread out per artist in iTunes, so unplayable as a whole. There are quite some gems between them, actually.

#17. I think I have a few The Velvettes tracks on a double soul album filled with hits by Sam & Dave, James Brown and others.

#19. Yes, I'm curious to hear more from The Box Tops, featuring Alex Chilton. Chilton produced his best work when he was aligned to the brilliance of Andy Bell, which lasted far too short. The first album of Black Star is one of the best kept secrets of the early 70s. It should have been a smash, it went absolutely nowhere until in the early 90s bands like The Posies and Teenage Fanclub started to list it as their main influence. The Box Tops have reached immortality through its one hit 'The Letter', the only song I know by them, so yes, I'm curious for this one.

#20. Friends of my parents had one The Cowsills record in their home. Their sons and my friends played it regularly. I distinctly remember the band's rendition of 'Hair', following the original closely. I hated it, owning the version by an Amsterdam based band called Zen. The best ever version. You should look out for this one of hit. The rest of The Cowsills did not interest me at all. That may be different now actually.

#21. Glenn Campbell has scored several hits through the years. This song I do not know of course. I never really liked his music. Last April I was at a show where the singer-songwriter of duty praised 'Whichita Linesman' into heavens. I listen to it once at home, with a predictable outcome. I liked the singer on stage's version better.

#23, I've just finished my piece on 'In Search Of The Lost Chord'. I'm getting that record as soon as I find a vinyl version. This song I have never heard. (It turned out that the shop I went into had all relevant Moody Blues albums second hand.....except this one, so I selected the one after this one for €3,=.)

#25. I should look up my compilation album of Tommy James & The Shondells if I have this one on there. The band scored several hits in NL throughout the second half of the 60s. 'Hanky Panky', Mony Mony' and 'Crimson And Clover' as the best known ones.

#27. Gladys Knight are well-known soul singers, like

#30. Eddie Floyd is super well-known for his 'Knock On Wood'.

#34. The Creation scored a hit with 'Painter Man', covered by Boney M none the less in the 70s.

I can go one with the other half like this, but won't. The three songs that really stand out because they made the charts here are:

# 51. 'Gin House Blues' by Amen Corner. Not its best known song, but a small hit.

#57. Nothing But A Heartache by The Flirtations was one of the hits in 1968 that I remember distinctly from the time, because it was hardly ever played after. Something like 'Captain Of Your Ship' by Reparata & The Delrons of the same days. The Flirtations were a sort of The Supremes is my guess now with only one hitsingle.

#60. Maybe Tomorrow was a minor hit also, in 1969. The Iveys, if I remember correctly later became Badfinger after The Iveys had reached its zenyth with this single. It may be that Apple's oversea partner in NL did a bit better job. Several artists on Apple scored hits here in 1968 and 1969. I remember Mary Hopkin, this one and Billy Preston.

#63. Don Covey sings 'Seesaw'. I am wondering whether this is the same as Aretha's and it is. Covey's version, written with Steve Cropper, you can clearly hear his typical guitar playing here, is the original. Covey had formed a duo once with Don Cherry, who is Neneh's father.

#66. Vashti Bunyan is a U.K. folk singer of legendary proportions who returned with a record after decades fairly recently. If I remember correctly there is a Jimmy Page connection here somewhere as well. I can't get this song to play, but on Wikipedia I just found that it was written by Mick and Keith. She also sang in Twice As Much (that recorded 'Sitting On A Fence').  In the meantime I have found that Page produced the song, formally accredited to Andrew 'Loog' Oldham. So the song must be on that compilation I was writing about earlier. The information I found shared that PAge was the producer in residence at Immediate Records, owned by Oldham.

There is so much to discover here. While writing I have heard about 12 songs. Two of them I thought, I have heard before, but where and by whom? There were some true revelation as well. Starting with the first song right away.

#58. Because I can't seem to stop. Mark has already commented on 'Sour Milk Sea' by Jackie Lomax. I remember the single being advertised on a Top 40 copy. Despite heavy pushing from the side of the Apple representatives, the song went nowhere here.

#47. Let me end with Shorty Long, another one hit wonder here in NL with 'Here Comes The Judge'. Long, who was called Frederic in real life, was another soul singer who recorded mostly in obscurity. 'Devil In A Blue Dress' is just another one of those nice gospel soul songs with an interesting guitar solo in the middle.

#48. Thanks for this, Gary. Really, really enjoyable listening to these doors to obscurity. There's even a cover of 'Evil Ways', Santana's second hit here. Oh, wait, this is the original by Willie Bobo. Such fun!

13-1. Gary

Thanks Wout,

Again, I am impressed with your authoritative and knowledgable report on these singles…. But yes, this was fun!

14-1, Wo.

Coming back to Moody Blues. It turned out that the two record stores I went to yesterday afternoon had all its albums 2nd hand except for the one I had come to buy, In Search Of The Lost Chord. Patience is a nice thing. Instead I came home with Noel Gallagher's last effort. So will know soon enough if Mark is right and let it grow on me. He previous album I truly liked better than most Oasis albums. Also a recent 12# single by Mick Jagger I didn't know existed. So enough to listen to today.

To come back to Ray Thomas. The man wrote scores of Moody Blues songs, was one of the lead vocalists of the band and I hadn't a clue. I always though it was all about the two blond guys up front. Fact is that I have discovered another band to like. My review of the album is on on Tuesday.

Our latest discussion will be on tomorrow (Monday). I take it as a live document as there's still so much more to discover. So we can just add if we like.

3 opmerkingen:

  1. Regarding Vashti (Bunyan), after those early Andrew Loog Oldham singles in the mid-sixties, she resurfaced in 1970 with the help of members of Fairport Convention (incl. the late Dave Swarbrick) and the Incredible String Band who all played on her first album "Just Another Diamond Day." However, after this l.p. failed to sell in any significant numbers, she hit the road - literally in the traditional tinkers' horse-drawn caravan featured in on the album sleeve - and headed north for a Hebridean exile. In subsequent years that l.p. took on a cult status which prompted me to buy a re-issue copy several years ago. With a rather child-like vocal style and barely clocking in at 30 minutes, you might describe it as a pleasant curiosity that you might put on the turntable late on a reflective, sun-speckled Sunday morning. So I would not rank her in legendary terms alongside the likes of Sandy Denny and Nick Drake. While I don't know what form of transport she resorted to for her eventual return to modern civilisation but Vashti has re-surfaced again! She is singing one of Nick's songs: "The Thoughts of Mary Jane" on a tribute free cd that accompanies a major feature on Nick in the current (i.e. March!) issue of Mojo magazine. Nick's producer Joe Boyd had at one time hoped for Vashti and the introverted and stage-shy Nick to collaborate. Vashti is a beautiful lady but Nick had a crush on...guess who .....Francoise Hardy and even went to see her unannounced at her apartment in Ile Saint-Louis. That relationship with its intriguing possibilities sadly did not take off either. I talked earlier about the tragedy of Pete Ham and Tom Evans of Badfinger. Well Nick Drake is another tragedy: a poetic song-writer and exceptional guitar stylist who was overlooked in his all too brief lifetime, and died alone from an overdose of anti-depressants in 1974. This was not long after anonymously dropping off at the reception desk at Island Records the master tapes for his third album "Pink Moon" which he recorded largely alone. However, in testimony to his uniqueness as an artist, that and his earlier albums have never been out of print and he is cited as a major influence by many song-writers and musicians. Those are precious recordings and we can only speculate and imagine how his life and career in music might have been if someone had worked out how to engage his talent and awkward personality within the tight confines of the music industry at that time. Mark

  2. To add a little to this old conversation. I went out looking for the Spooky Two album by Spooky Tooth. To my surprise I found it straight away, but found the second hand price a bit steep. Instead I came home with the album 'Candles In The Rain' by Melanie (Safka), holding that excellent gospel NL number 1 hit 'Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)' with the Edwin Hawkins Singers instead. And here we sort finish a circle as he was one of the musical deaths that made the main news at 8 o'clock here early in January.

    Actually I had always liked Melanie's rough voice. The beautiful 'Beautiful People' was her first hit here late in 1969, followed by 'Lay Down' in 1970. I think only two or three hits followed and it was all over for her in this country.

    To my surprise I knew to other songs well on the album. Her version of 'Ruby Tuesday' and "Look What They've Done To My Song'. I have no clue as to where I know them from, but I could sing along the whole way. A nice mystery.

    As a whole the album is a nice addition to my collection and sounds perfect after 48 years. Only one scratch.

    And also. The show must go on. The Zombies announced that their U.S. tour this year will continue despite the demise of Jim Rodford. The way things go.

    1. Mark, 6-2
      Melanie seems to have an uncertain place in the history of music. As you say, she had some memorable hit records: "Brand New Key" was I think her biggest in UK which was later unfortunately spoofed by a comedy group dressed up as farmers trying to start up a new combine harvester. She seemed to be a spin-off from the hippy movement and though she did the big festivals like Woodstock and the first Glastonbury, she was not up there with the big singer-songwriters of the era like Joni Mitchell - and not in that circle so people like David Crosby and Jackson Browne do not feature in the album credits. She seemed rather child-like, lacking in earthy or political gravitas. Her twee-ish single name did not help maybe. That is probably a very unfair perception and I don't know what her albums of that era are like. "Garden in the City" which crops up in the second hand record racks had a scratch'n'sniff thing - like a perfume sample in a women's magazine - with the irresistible message "Rub gently to release the magic of Melanie's Garden" (I doubt any absolutely mint copies still exist!). Its meadow-in-Manhattan sleeve captures her spirit well but it was not a proper concept album but in fact a previous label compilation of left-overs: it does not rival Joni's magnificent "The Hissing of Summer Lawns" which had a similar sleeve concept. I did have a poster of Melanie on my bedroom wall from when Sounds did centre page colour spreads. Innocent times!

      Joni has been very ill (an unrepentant heavy smoker) and looks aged and crinkly now: tragic to see. Fingers crossed for this year. I'm so glad I saw her at her peak in 1974 when she did a rare London concert.

      Wo., 6-2
      In fact I hardly know anything about Melanie. I was a kid when she scored her hits, hits that I all liked at the time. 'Brand New Key' is indeed her last hit over here in 1972. Looking at pictures later, she sure looked like a pretty girl, so I can imagine having a poster up of her.

      She was at Woodstock, but not in the movie, which is quite a missed opportunity, whatever the reason. Being in that movie made all involved iconic. Some like The Band and CCR were not there because managers forbade it.

      Somewhere around 1980 she was brought back on Dutch tv in one of the big quiz shows or something of the time. Here was a woman, definitely fuller, but I remember liking the song, whatever it was, and her voice still. After that I never saw or heard from her again. A failed attempt. I never got around buying anything from her. What I had was one single 'Stop! I don't wanna hear it anymore' and later a second hand version of 'Lay Down'.

      I can understand your comment about Melanie's gravitas. There's no comparison to a Joni Mitchell, although I'll admit to not being a fan of her. There's something with Californian songwriters from "the Canyon", that I have a hard time with. Perhaps because of their flirts with jazz/difficult tunings and chords. For now I'm enjoying my copy of 'Candles in the wind'.