Gig City – Kiran Leonard, The Nest, Bath

KIRAN LEONARD / IRMA VEP / THE EVIL USSES – The Nest, Bath – Saturday 2nd April 2016

Kiran Leonard is a force to be reckoned with. At the age of 20 and while still a student he has already put out two albums, in addition to numerous other tracks that can be found on his Soundcloud account here

He’s gained kudos from BBC 6 Music (Marc Riley in particular is deeply smitten) and XFM, and the new album “Grapefruit” ( the follow-up to 2014’s “Bowler Hat Soup”) is receiving rave reviews from what seems like the entire blogosphere for its poise, originality and – let’s be clear – for rocking like a bastard.

“Grapefruit” has been a long time in the making, many of the tracks having been road-tested, tinkered with and developed live (like the Pink Floyd used to do all those years ago until they got fed up with being bootlegged). There are certainly a few of the tracks played tonight that have changed noticeably – for the better in all cases – since I last heard them played live a year or so ago.

(BTW a couple of tracks from the album are featured on Beat City #72 featuring “Grapefruit” by Kiran Leonard plus a few more tunes you may like)

Kiran takes the stage so quietly you’d hardly notice, straps on his guitar,removes his shoes and without a word the band dive straight into the astonishing 16-minute “Pink Fruit”, an excerpt of which is included below, one of two extended multi-movement pieces on the records and comfortably the most complex of the manby complicated tunes in the set – no poncey warming up with the easy options here.

You may have heard “Pink Fruit” on the radio. It goes through at least five movements that I can identify. This music seems to have come out of nowhere, although if pressed I’d say there are hints of Frank Zappa and maybe the likes of Gentle Giant and King Crimson, next to Jane’s Addiction and maybe the art-rock with a hint of grunge of dEUS.

Kiran stands stage left and side on to the audience, like a conductor facing his band which consists of a violinist / keyboard player, bass and drums. There are some seriously challenging arrangements for the players in this music, and the band are more than up to the task. I’ve never seen such a well-drilled band playing such complex music.

And this IS complex music, make no mistake, but crucially, its not complicated. There are arrangements in 5/8 and 13/8 time here, but you never find yourself thinking “ooh thats clever” – its always the song that’s important, and its always the song that wins through.

And you NEED these odd time signatures to create the effects Kiran Leonard is after. I honestly don’t think anyone has done anything like this before although I stand to be corrected on this.

And then there’s the guitar playing. No mile long guitar solos here, and equally no five minute wig outs on the one chord,but short, violent outbursts as and when required – Richard Thompson is the closest reference point I can hear. Like Dave Tattersall’s work with the Wave Pictures, it enhances the song, it isn’t the point of the song. Course, if you’re a songwriter of the quality of Tattersall or Leonard then that always helps.

Kiran’s songwriting indicates a refusal to be pinned down to any one musical idea for any length of time. Musical motifs swirl in and out of the songs at will. The light and shade is masterful; yes, there is a comparison to be made with grunge but where Nirvana and their ilk were working in black and white, ranging from very quiet to very loud, Leonard and his band visit all points inbetween as well.

Both support acts are pretty good – Irma Vep, who Kiran and members of his band provide the backing for, and opening the show, Bristol-based instrumental band The Evil Usses, who I thought were tremendous, bringing to mind Zappa and Beefheart as well as the Pink Floyd and Pigbag, none of which is ever a bad thing)

My personal fave tune of Kiran’s is “Don’t Make Friends With Good People”, a nine minute plus tune which starts with layers of kids’ TV folk guitar, breaks into a brutal section at which the Gang Of Four would nod approvingly before moving into an extended Tim Buckley strumscream, then finally ending with a prog explosion King Crimson may have achieved circa 1972.

The final track is his signature, “Geraldo’s Farm” , a song which builds and then drops away again them builds again to the most shattering of sonic climaxes you could wish to hear.

There’s a surprise encore – a cover version, no less – as Kiran plays a solo guitar-backed version of sixties girl-group The Tammys “His Actions Speak Louder Than Words”. Got to admit I wasn’t expecting that at all, it all adds to the puzzle and the enigma that is Kiran Leonard and his music. I did capture it on my phone but the sound quality was dire and there were EVIL PEOPLE TALKING, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE so you’ll have to make do with the classic original for now, shut your eyes and imagine.

If you’re quick and near Ramsgate, Cambridge or Nottingham you can catch Kiran and his band on tour this week. He’s also playing the excellent Dim Swn one-day multi venue fest in Cardiff on Saturday (April 9th).

And check out the “Grapefruit” album, it really is a leap forward in the gene pool of underground music. I haven’t quite got my head round its intricacies and references yet and I think it’ll be a while before I do, but I’m looking forward to getting to know it. Come back in six months for the review.

Previous Gig City – Meilyr Jones

Gig City – Meilyr Jones, Cardiff

Meilyr Jones – Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff – 11th / 12th February 2016

I don’t know much about how to recognise a work of art but I know what I like. I like Meilyr Jones very much.

It’s 2pm on a bright Thursday afternoon in February and Meilyr is playing a low-key afternoon piano gig in Stwidio Seligman at the excellent Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff.

A film of the single “How To Recognise A Work Of Art” plays on a white screen in an art studio setting.

In one corner, an installation of what looks like part of a 1950s bedroom with pinups and magazines and a Dansette record player with Elvis Presley’s Golden Hits on the turntable.

Meilyr 3

Next to this, part of a dressing-room with Meilyr’s red costume from the video draped carelessly over the rail.

Meilyr 2

The piano is in one corner with a white sheet over it. Next to it, a selection of one-of-a-kind sleeves for the single designed by artists There will be 100 limited handmade 7″ sleeves to go with the single of the song by the artists Ruth Jen Evans, Pato Bosich and Gavan Lee along with different events during the week. on sale for £25-£30 a pop. Or you can if you wish design your own sleeve – crayons are provided – and take away the single for £8.

This could definitely be a Work of Art.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Meilyr Jones’ proper band gig the following evening as part of the From Now On festival. There’s one heck of a lineup this evening with Meilyr’s set in the Stwidio sandwiched between the excellent Laura J Martin and headliner Julia Holter in the adjoining Theatre.

In a superb dramatic opening, the band amble onto the stage, take their positions and without so much as a “hello”, Meilyr’s right foot comes crashing down and we’re straight into “How To Recognise A Work Of Art”, the current single with its yelping, strangled, angelic vocal over a Motown beat.

This isn’t the last time the stage will take a pounding from Meilyr’s size nines.

I remember reading that when the The Beatles used to play the Star Club in Hamburg there was a competition between them and Rory Storm & The Hurricanes to see who could break the stage with repeated foot-pounding.

Meilyr seems intent on wrecking the Stwidio’s makeshift raised stage, although as the artist in residence at the Chapter Arts Centre he’d probably cop some flak if that happened. Or maybe they’d be tolerant of their resident genius and figure it’s just a stage he’s going through.

The band is flawlessly tight and well-drilled. Bass player Emma Smith resorts to sax and violin and keyboard player Rich Jones plays a viola (his primary instrument) for a couple of songs, so we are basically listening to a string quartet with drums. Current single “Featured Artist” is a highlight.

Musically there are hints of Dexys Midnight Runners, Talking Heads, The Beatles (specifically Paul), Prefab Sprout, Noughties singer-songwriter Jeremy Warmsley, Deep Purple (oh yes!) and David Bowie (of course)

I don’t know if its just that the man is still upmost in all our thoughts but there’s more than merely musical Bowie reference points in Meilyr Jones – the art, the desire to provide something a little bit different, the theatrical stage moves, the high-waisted trousers, even the surname…

… and then as if to prove the point the band break into the riff from “Rebel Rebel”.

The album is out in a couple of weeks. Even having only heard about half of it live, I reckon it’s already a candidate for album of the year.

Meilyr Jones is touring the UK in April and May stopping off at Ramsgate, London, Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle, Glasgow, Wrexham, Cardiff again and a few festervals in the summer. Go see him while its still relatively cheap.

A few days later I’m still buzzing from this gig. I keep going back to one particularly fine theatrical touch where he takes a vinyl LP from its sleeve, smashes it to pieces and flings them, mock-petulantly, into the audience.

The album was “Elvis Presley’s Golden Hits”. I know cos I retrieved a piece of it. I’m hoping it will be worth a fortune by association in about ten years’ time when Meilyr is justly famous world-wide.

Its A Fake

THAT’S how you recognise a work of art.

Radio City #3 – Charlie Sloth

Previous Post – Radio City #2 – Brian Matthew

The John Peel of modern urban music

Sounds like yer classic Lahndon “white black kid”.

Looks like Jake from the “Blues Brothers” movie, updated thirty years to the present day and set in the world of rap rather than R and B.

Has John Peel’s passion for finding new artists and playing it on national radio.

Charlie Sloth

The Saturday rap show, presented by Charlie Sloth, is one of the best things on Radio 1 / 1Xtra.

Crucially, the show goes out on both stations so there’s no splitting of the audience.

Freed of the playlist considerations of Charlie’s weekday drivetime slot on 1Xtra, the show reads like a primer in “what’s good in current urban music”.

For example, a random selection from the 6th February show includes Big Narstie, Drake and Future, Chase & Status, Stormzy, Ghetts & Rude Kid, Yo Gotti, Wiz Khalifa, Bonkaz, Young Thug and Fetty Wap.

The best looking fat guy in the universe

Charlie first came to widespread attention as the creator, writer and star of the “Being Charlie Sloth” Youtube series.

A career as a rapper beckoned but after standing in as a DJ on 1Xtra as a double act with Wretch 32 the pair were offered a longer deal. Wretch wasn’t interested but Charlie, perhaps sensing a greater longevity as a presenter rather than simply as a performer, went for it.

Initially he filled the Friday night 1am to 4am slot (which given the age of the target audience is actually more or less peak time if you think about it) but he quickly graduated to Saturday breakfast and, famously, replacing Tim Westwood after the long-serving old skool DJ had been given his marching orders from Radio 1 and 1Xtra alike.

Not a man short on confidence, Sloth had already predicted this when the station first took him on.

“There was one producer that sat me down when I first started and asked me what my aspirations were. I said I was gonna take Westwood’s show, and he laughed at me so I said ‘give me 5 years and I’ll have his show’. I did it in three!”

The People’s Prince

These days Charlie has the control he had when putting out “Being Charlie Sloth”, hosting SIX three-hour live radio shows per week, all presented in his amiable but in yer face style.

Factor in a MINIMUM of three live gigs a week (usually more), as well as TV and production work – and it’s a workload that puts most of his peers to shame.

You get the feeling that for all the boasting and bravado, it is genuinely the love of the music that keeps him going, and there’s definitely something of John Peel in that, too.

Radio One Rap Show

1Xtra Drivetime Show

Fire In The Booth

MC Gravedigga (aka Charlie Sloth) raps at an old people’s home

Previous Post – Radio City #2 – Brian Matthew

Beat City Show #65 Do It! (blurb)

You can download Beat City 65 here

The Stone Foxes “I Want To Be You” (from the album “Twelve Spells”)

San Francisco’s The Stone Foxes wear their classic rock influences unashamedly on their sleeves.

The album “Twelve Spells” is available now and also features “Locomotion”

Sunflower Bean “Come On” (from the album “Human Ceremony”)

Sunflower Bean have released an astonishing, accomplished, varied and confident debut album.

Perhaps it’s crucial that they hail from Brooklyn, a veritable bear-pit of burgeoning indie talent, has been since forever, really.

According to an interview with NME, the band was born out of a feeling of frustration with “shoegaze, post-rock, and weirdo noise bands who took everything so seriously” and wanting to shake it up by exploring “clichés that are so underdone they’d stopped being clichés.”

In terms of influences, the album goes from late 60s Velvets to modern dreampop via classic metal with nary a breath drawn.

Galants “Seventeen”

Partying like its 1991, Shoegaze sound to these ears like My Bloody Valentine or Teenage Fanclub but possibly with better tunes than either – see also the previous single “This Is Heaven”

Future “Fly Shit Only” (from the forthcoming album “Evol”)

Brand-new tune from Future’s forthcoming album – no letting up from the man as it’s barely a month since his latest and best mixtape “Purple Reign”

Fumaca Preta “Apelo”

The B-side to the single “La Trampa” which featured on last week’s show

This clip of the band performing “Vou Me Libertar” last year shows what a great live proposition they are, too. Some fine dischordant Hammond organ sounds on this track.

Saintseneca “Sleeper Hold” (from the album “Such Things”)

The press release of Saintseneca’s third album “Such Things” says:

Saintseneca’s powerful new album Such Things is the band’s most cohesive, catchy and accessible output, and a work that solidifies the group’s singer and songwriter Zac Little’s status as one of modern indie music’s most thoughtful and talented artists.
The first single, “Sleeper Hold” is a pulsating and infectious rock song that utilizes elements of punk, folk and straight up rock and roll, all centered around a soaring and beautifully anthemic chorus.
Such Things is the anticipated follow up to Saintseneca’s acclaimed album Dark Arc, which Stereogum celebrated writing, “Dark Arc shines in all the ways Saintseneca always has — gorgeous harmonies, rampant strumming, glimpses of both humanity’s fragility and power — but it also finds the band branching out into fuller arrangements and wilder instrumentation. (Wilder, even, than the plastic trash can they used to beat on.) It’s what an underground folk band stepping into the spotlight should sound like.”
Moving away from the cinematic, linear quality of Dark Arc, Little sought even higher ground for the new songs, and to incorporate the synapses and charges of his fellow members. “I was pushing myself with Such Things to try to explore the pop motif further, to try to use and bend that formula of having a groove, a beat, locking in and using that as scaffolding to build a song,” he says. “And even though it oftentimes might seem like this singular vision, at the core my creative strategy for the band is one that inherently involves other people. I think the best work I’ll make involves working that way.”
Those disparate pieces and parts have come together, like so many molecules, to form a solid rock object called Such Things. You can hold it in your hands and hear it in your head, this culmination of tiny, beautiful moments and fluctuations of energy and information, compressed and etched into an LP sleeve and eternity and all tied up in a rock and roll record.”
“It’s definitely a new way of songs manifesting, and it feels like a step forward,” Little says. “I’m gonna push myself and try this thing I’ve wanted to try. I think it’s the best thing we’ve done so far, but then again I won’t write a song that I don’t think isn’t the best thing I’ve done. When I finish it I have to feel like it’s the best thing I’ve made. And if I don’t feel that way, it’s like, why bother?”

Another standout track is “Bad Ideas”.

Nonkeen “Chasing God Through Palmyra”

Beat City has remained strangely unmoved by Nils Frahm’s piano-based mock-classical noodlings that have enchanted many over the past couple of years. I wonder if his music is perhaps classical music for folks who don’t know where to begin with classical music (here’s a hint – Beethoven)

The Nonkeen project is a different animal entirely though.

A collaboration between Frahm and childhood friends Frederec Gmeiner and Sebastian Singwald, whose friendship stretches back to the ‘80s, when the three came together from different sides of the Berlin wall in a youth sports league.

Once the wall came down, they formed a band as teenagers that ended at a fairground performance where a carousel malfunctioned and crashed into the stage.

Ten years later the three reconnected to play music in their spare time, slowly accumulating recordings over eight years, the result of which is “The Gamble” – with a title like that, knowing the strong possibility of Frahm-boys buying the record on Nils’ name alone and perhaps hating it, who says the Germans don’t have a sense of humour?

Standout track is probably “This Beautiful Mess”:

Laura J Martin “Do It” (from the forthcoming album “On The Never Never”)

Heading towards a more danceable beat than much of her previous work (see debut 2008 single Doki Doki below, for example), I’m intrigued as to what this implies for the new album. Laura’s playing a few gigs in late February supporting the excellent Joy Formidable, which mostly seem to be sold out which is a shame. Perhaps they’ll reschedule them to bigger venues, who knows?

Trembling Bells “Swallows Of Carbeth” (from the forthcoming album “Wide Majestic Aire”)

Trembling Bells’ album “The Sovereign Self” featured very high in many people’s Best Of 2015 lists, and rightly so.

Even in an age where mixing and matching is de rigeur for folk bands – some African drumming here, a spoonful of shoegaze there – there’s no other band quite like Trembling Bells for getting the mix exactly right, every time.

From the evidence of the first couple of tracks, the new mini-album “Wide Majestic Aire” seems fairly traditional by their standardsm focussing on the songs alone, which are, as it happens, stunning. Check out the title track.

The Coral “Miss Fortune” (from the forthcoming album “Distance In-Between”)

Welcome return for Sixties throwbacks The Coral (and I mean that as a high compliment), with a touch more psychedelia this time round if this track is anything to go by.

Just a reminder of one of their many fine tunes of yesteryear – a bit of a forgotten band in terms of radio play. Hopefully that will change with the release of the new record.

Trapo “Bad Gal” (from the forthcoming EP “She”)

Trapo is a 17-year-old rapper from Madison, Wisconsin and man, he’s a talent.

Check out The Black Beverly Hills EP

Don Kipper “Di Gholdene Kasene”

Don Kipper are an ensemble playing and transforming a wide range of traditional musical forms, fromTurkish Fasıl and Greek Rebetiko to Gypsy Jazz and Klezmer.

“Di Gholdene Kasene” is from their second album “Krisalis” which you can buy here

They’re also on BBC Radio 3’s excellent “World On 3” show this Friday (12th Feb) and then on the iPlayer.

Oh Hellos “Dear Wormwood” (From the album “Dear Wormwood”)

Siblings Tyler and Maggie Heath make up The Oh Hellos – a classic example of an indie band who have made it big by the “word of mouth plus” that the Internet and in this case Bandcamp – gives us.

There’s a joyous folky influence throughout the album – check out this track.

Next week will include tracks from Mass Gothic and Laura Cortese, plus tracks carried over from this week by Savages and Tuff Love.

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Beat ’66 Show #5 – The Blurb

Click here to listen to/download Beat ’66 Show #5

The Yardbirds “Shapes Of Things”

If the A-side pointed to the future musically with its proto-psychedelic Jeff Beck guitar solo then the B-side was a prescient anthem of peace and love, “You’re A Better Man Than I”

Also covered by punk band Sham 69 in the late seventies

The Four Shells “Hot Dog”

Incredibly, this was a B side. I repeat, that was a B side. This was the A-side – not bad either.

The Great!! Society!! “Free Advice”

The Great!! Society!! were far from the only alternative band of the era that took their name from Democrat US President Johnson’s Great Society project, a series of domestic programs aimed at combating poverty and racial injustice in the USA.

Although The Great!! Society!! only lasted a year, their style helped define the early San Francisco sound.

Formed by married couple Grace and Darby Slick, and Darby’s brother Jerry, the band released only one single during its lifetime, the Darby Slick penned “Someone to Love”, of which “Free Advice” is the B-side.
The single was issued in February 1966 on Autumn Records’ tiny Northbeach subsidiary label and made little impact outside of the Bay Area. While signed to Autumn Records, the band worked with the label’s staff producer, Sylvester Stewart (better known as Sly Stone), who at the time was still in the process of forming his own band, Sly and the Family Stone.

Sly seemingly quite as the band’s producer after it took them over fifty takes to record a version of “Free Advice” that was suitable for release.

The band never really settled on a stable lineup and after a particularly chaotic Hallowe’en gig in late 1966, Grace Slick quit to join Jefferson Airplane, taking “Someone To Love” with her as well as another song that Airplane would cover to pretty decent effect!

Carla Thomas “Let Me Be Good To You”

Great slow-burner from Carla Thomas.

Definitely not in any way based on this tune (incidentally, check out Diana Ross dive-bombing the mike on 7 seconds)

nv Groep 65 “Pipe And You Like It”

I am indebted to the excellent Dutch music fansite for the following information on nv Groep ’65.

“The singer of this band Warner Landkroon was somewhat of a celebrity in Amsterdam. This was mainly attributed to his strange appearance due to his Ultra long hair and beard. In the unofficial contest of longhaired man he claimed to be the man with the longest hair in town, although there were several beatniks who disputed his claim.

In 1965 and ‘66 the band played regularly in and around Amsterdam. They toured the same places like dutchbeat icons The Oudsiders such as The Rembrandtpleintheater and at the Double Wow club organized by the Hitweek magazine. One band member Tom Krabbedam who left the band in 65 would later join The Outsiders as guitarist player.

In 65 they released two singles at the Deltalabel, Dankzij de Heer/Tanger and Pipe and you like it/Lost. Both are pretty weird anthems. The first Danzij de heer (With the help of the Lord) (below) wasn’t supposed to be blasphemous, on the contrary, but Christians didn’t see it that way and the record was banned”

Landkroon was arrested in the summer of 1966 for drug offences, leading to the breakup of the band. It has been reported that after many years in the wilderness, he eventially found solace in the Bible and became a Christian.

Junior Walker And The All Stars – Shoot Your Shot

B-side to their hit single I’m A Road Runner was to all intents and purposes a reworking of Shotgun – a “version” if you like.

“Shoot Your Shot” appears on the 1965 album “Shotgun”, released to coincide with the success of the Big Hit and featuring a collection of A and B sides, including this little-heard classic:

Goldie “Don’t Look Back”

Next a song made famous by Dusty Springfield but it was first a hit, albeit a minor one, for Goldie.

Goldie was lead singer with the excellent all-female group Goldie And The Gingerbreads. Born Henya Raven in Poland she came to the USA in 1947 with her parents and sister after surviving incarceration by the Nazis in a prison camp. The nickname Goldie came from her mother who thought adopting a more American sounding name would help her fit in.
Goldie and The Gingerbreads toured with the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, the Kinks, and Manfred Mann. They reached the charts with their hit “Can’t You Hear My Heart Beat” in 1965. The song reached #25 on the UK Singles Chart. The band stayed in London for two years.

Billed as “Goldie”, she released the original version of the classic Carole King-Gerry Goffin composition “Goin’ Back” in the spring of 1966. However this single was withdrawn within a week by producer Andrew Loog Oldham when he heard that Dusty Springfield had recorded it – Dusty’s version went Top Ten.

Paul Revere And The Raiders “Kicks”

Written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil for the Animals, who turned it down on account of its perceived puritanical anti-drugs message. Ironically, questions were asked by some radio censors on account of the title.

People are stupid sometimes.

Millie Small “Be My Guest”

The Blues Busters “Wings Of A Dove”


Both these tracks are taken from the album “Ska At The Jamaica Playboy Club” which came out in February 1966 and includes some excellent tracks – more on Beat ’66 Show #6 next week.

Stevie Wonder “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)”

After “Fingertips” had hit No 1 for Stevie in 1963, launching his career as a Motown hitmaker when he was just twelve years old, the following two and a half years saw his career meandering from inferior copies of The Hit to jazz to show tunes to recording tracks rejected by other artists.

But he had time on his side and a record company who knew the value of persevering from the lesson with the “No Hits” Supremes who had transformed into an act that could boast a run of five successive number one singles. And Stevie had time on his side – and in late 1965 the follow up chart topper was duly delivered, ushering in his golden period which would last the rest of the sixties, and indeed the rest of the seventies.

The B-side is a bit of a gem, too – a lovely soul ballad of a type you wouldn’t normally reckon would suit Stevie’s voice – see what you think.

Nashville Teens “The Hard Way”

Most famous for “Tobacco Road”, Nashville Teens made a few songs that, like “The Hard Way”, either just scraped into the nether regions of the charts or missed them completely. Another single in this category was this one from late 1965:

Harper – Main Theme – Johnny Mandel

Johnny Mandel’s main theme from the Paul Newman spy thriller “Harper” released in 1966.

After leaving the New York Military Academy as a Band graduate, Mandel composed jazz tunes for the likes of Woody Herman, Count Basie and this one for Chet Baker:

Don Covay And The Good-Timers “See Saw”

Don Covay died a year ago (almost to the day at the time of writing this). His career covered the entire spectrum of black music, from doo-wop through R and B to soul and funk.

This is the title track from his “See Saw” album of February 1966, an album largely co-written with Steve Cropper of Booker T and the MGs and hundreds of Stax / Atlantic soul tunes.

One of the best known tracks on the record is “Sookie Sookie”, covered among others by Steppenwolf (in a rock stylee) and a jazzed-up take from Grant Green. This is Don Covay’s original

Mary Wells “Dear Lover”

What a difference two years makes. When “My Guy” hit Number One in March 1964, Mary Wells’ status as the Queen of Motown seemed assured. By February 1966, she had left the label at the instigation of her manager for a better deal at 20th Century Fox when she turned 21 (as was her right as a minor signing a recording contract), and her career as a hit-maker was in terminal decline amid rumours of Motown allegedly bribing radio stations to NOT play her records.

This was her last R&B Top Ten hit – the album it appeared on, “The Two Sides Of Mary Wells” also featured a decent Staxtastic take on the Stones’ “Satisfaction”:

Jean Shepard “Many Happy Hangovers To You”

Jean Shepard was one of the first women to forge a successful career in country music, kicking off in 1953 with “A Dear John Letter”, a half-spoken duet with Ferlin Husky about the Korean War. She had hits in the US country charts until 1978 and has recently celebrated 60 consecutive years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry, a feat only matched by the late LIttle Jimmy Dickens. Jean still performs to this day at the tender age of 82 8=)

This is her other country number one single of 1966 – no woman in country music has a better, more believabl and natural delivery, for my money.

The Outsiders “Time Won’t Let Me”

Most of The Outsiders had been in an R and B band called the Starfires. When the Beatles arrived in the USA and everything changed, they morphed into what to these ears sounds like a garage rock’n’roll band with added horns.

“Time Won’t Let Me” was the first of their two hits, the band’s sound perhaps falling between too many stools to be enthusiastically adopted by the record-buying public. The choice of B-side seems to indicate that the record company also thought this, since it features no horn section. IMHO it would be massively improved by one.

The Barbarians “Moulty”

One of the strangest records to surface in th eearly part of 1966, part country-style talking lament, part garage noise, it almost predicts grunge 20 years early.
Victor “Moulty” Moulton, the subject of the song, was drummer of The Barbarians, despite having list his left hand when at the age of 14, a homemade pipebomb prematurely detonated while it was in Moulton’s grip.

The hand was amputated, and subsequently replaced with a metallic prosthetic device that Moulton could hold a drum stick in.

When Moulton formed the group in 1964, his disability added an unusual allure to the band’s rebel image.

Moulty is the only member of the band to actually appear on the record, the backing being provided by members of The Hawks (later The Band).

Originally, the song was only intended to be released under the consent of Moulton, who was opposed to its distribution. However, Laurie Records released “Moulty” along with “I’ll Keep On Seeing You” in February 1966 as a single. Upon discovering the distribution of the song, Moulton was infuriated with president of Laurie Records, Robert Schwartz, reportedly quarreling with him, and destroying some copies of the single.[6]

“Moulty” still got to the respectable lower reaches of the US charts and became something of an inspirational anthem.
However, The Barbarians were so disgruntled with management for releasing the song, despite Moulton’s insistence against it, that the band ceased relations with the company

Bob Dylan “One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later)”

Released on February 14th, 1966 as the lead single from the “Blonde On Blonde” album, this song performed poorly in the charts. I’m scratching my head as to exactly why – perhaps folks had proper love songs on their mind.

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