Friday, November 25, 2011

Harpo - "Baby Boomerang"

Baby Boomerang b/w Happy Birthday (EMI 1974 - German issue)

Many of you are already familiar with Harpo's biggest hit "Moviestar." Nearly all of his hits had that same bittersweet feel. Those are fine but, if you dig a bit deeper, you can find some real gems. Baby Boomerang is also on Harpo's first album, Leo the Leopard, which is worth having for the unlikely rocker "Help me Mama (I'm in love with a Llama), and a couple other great tracks.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ariel Silber - "Movie Instead"

Movie Instead B/W When It's Time (AZ 1971 - Israeli issue)

It's been a while since the last post, so here's some top quality to make up for the poor quantity.

If you're living in Israel, the name Ariel Zilber is probably nothing new to you. On this and a couple other early released, he spells his surname as Silber. From what I gather, he's been one of the most prominent Israeli singer-songwriters for 40 years. There's plenty of information available on him if you read Hebrew. I don't, so I won't pretend to know much about him. (Ok, here's a google translation of a Hebrew blog) You tube has a fair amount of his clips, from the 70's, on to current stuff. I haven't had any luck finding any other tracks with this raw, almost proto-Belgian punk sound. The flip, also on the Hebrew blog, is mildly interesting; kind of like Steely Dan, meets a Pilot album track, meets Wings.

The single came out in France as well, with a black and white pic sleeve. He also did a couple other singles in the early 70's, but I haven't heard 'em.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bunter - "Long Live the Queen"

Long Live the Queen b/w Jumping Jesus (Kuckuck 1973 - German issue)

What the hell is this?! The songwriting credit simply lists "Bunter." The only other name is producer Adrian Millar, who worked with The Rats/David Kubinec, and the Babys. I'd try to track him down, had he not died a few years ago.

Each side sounds like it's sung by a different person. "Long Live the Queen" sounds almost exactly like a lost Chicory Tip track; synthesizers, handclaps, and spot-on vocals.

The lesser of the two tracks, "Jumping Jesus," probably deserves to be here in it's own right. A mildly-blasphemous pop-psych-glam number, the handclaps aside, it doesn't bear any resemblance to the title cut. Check out the layered guitar solo!

Long Live the Queen

Jumping Jesus

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Salix Alba - "Sweet Time"

Oh Mama b/w Sweet Time (Bellaphon 1973 - German Issue)

Oh Mama sounds like a half-hearted take on "Just a Gigolo," but about getting stoned, rather than getting laid. *Yawn* Flip it over and, what's this.... here's a nice piece of glittery pop! There's a pinch of prog thrown in the mix but, thankfully, the song stays upbeat and catchy.

Salix Alba - Oh Mama

Aside from being Belgian, I'm not sure what their deal is. On the cover of their '73 LP (pictured above), two guys are costumed up as though they could be members of Chicory Tip or Lemming. I haven't heard it, but I have a hunch it's not going to sound as cool as it looks. Three of the four Salix Alba tracks I've heard have had that same awful Louis Prima sound. I'll hold out for a cheap copy.

Somehow, this track got a US release too, on STAX! This time it's an erroneously pluralized "Sweet Times." The A-side is "I Can't Resist," a different boring tune and, as I said before, not unlike that "Oh Mama" nonsense.

Keyboardist Marc Herouet was previously in Wallace Collection, a late-60's, early-70's Belgian orchestral pop group who had a fair amount of success in Europe. Recommended for fans of The Move.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mabel - "I am a Hot Dog"

Mabel can get a bit silly at times, and this is no exception. This one has plenty of redeeming qualities; brilliant, cheap-sounding keyboards, goofy lyrics about picking up women, and those RIDICULOUS fake dog sounds! It's pure campy fun.

For such a prolific band, I find it incredibly difficult to get any substantial info on Mabel. These Danes released their first of many (twelve?) singles in 1975, released a good five or so albums, and moved to Spain, before ultimately morphing into Studs around '81. They were pretty big with the teenybopper crowd, as the singer was young prettyboy Mike Tramp, better known for fronting 80's hairballs White Lion. Mabel had a lot of filler, but still many worthwhile tracks.

Spanish sleeve

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Carl Wayne - "Way Back in the Fifties"

Way Back in the Fifties b/w Candy (Polydor 1975 - Dutch issue)

Here's the original singer for The Move, trying to stay relevant in the seventies. I remember my dad telling me once, how Carl Wayne was basically an uncredible "dork." Wayne reputedly left the band due to his desire to take The Move in a more cabaret direction. Of course, Roy Wood had different ideas, and he went on to be considered by many a pop genius, whilst Mr. Wayne pretty much waded through the trenches of the music industry.

This record, however, ain't half bad. Hey, the guy had a great voice! It seems pretty obvious that he was capitalizing on Roy Wood/Wizzard's fifties in the seventies formula, though with considerably less hair. Both sides were written and produced by the team of Wayne Bickerton and Tony Waddington, who had many successful projects under their collective belt, including writing "Sugar Baby Love." If you're into this track, it's pretty much the end of the road for good Carl Wayne records. Search his name on Youtube and, frankly, it reaffirms what my dad told me years ago. The solo stuff is mostly schmaltz. I have heard another Carl Wayne recording of this song, with slicker (more-recent?) production and a mock-fifties spoken intro. I'm posting the better version.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

High Noon - "Drivin' Drivin'"

Old Fashioned Feeling b/w Drivin' Drivin' (CBS 1970 - US issue)

High Noon was a studio project of Sundragon members Robert Freeman and Ian McLintock. These two had played together in various bands since the mid-60's, most notably in Sands, who gave us the fantastic "Listen to the Sky." Sundragon had minor hit, covering "Green Tambourine," and rushed out an album of mostly covers. When that momentum died, Freeman and McLintock released a handful of singles under various other band names.

"Old Fashioned Feeling" is your typical sunshine pop, somewhat like Edison Lighthouse. "Drivin' Drivin'" is the better cut. It starts out enjoyable enough, then the bridge kicks in and it goes from good to great!

Promo copies seem to be somewhat common. This was released in Japan in a picture sleeve. The Tapestry of Delights lists two more singles; the rather enjoyable "Dragonfly" b/w "Bring" Back That Love Again," and the rather elusive "Living is a Loving Thing" b/w "Blind Alley."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Lion - "In My Youth"

In My Youth (same on both sides) (Mainstream 1969 - US promo issue)

I can't quite put my finger on this. I hear a bit of early Flamin' Groovies in this but, no, that's not it....

Here's the first of Lion's two 1969 singles on the no-frills Mainstream label. Promo copies like this, with the same track on both sides seem to be most common. I've also seen a copy listed with "It's Too Late" as the flipside, and another GEMM listing has "Ramrod" as the flip. The only thing I could find on this record is a copyright, listing Stephen Burgess and David Fuller as the writers. My guess is they're American. Does anybody know who they are?

I haven't heard the second single, "Natural Man" b/w "Sometimes I Feel Like Philadelphia," also written by S. Burgess. Um, help?