Beat ’66 Show #3 – The Blurb

Hello and welcome to Beat Sixty-Six, in which we play some of the sounds that were around back in the sanctified pop music year of 1966.

You can download Show #3 here

This show includes soul sounds from Fontella Bass and James Brown, R and B from Them, the Pretty Things, Chris Farlowe and the Spencer Davis Group, a film theme from Eliot Fisher,
Motown is represented by the Supremes and the Four Tops, garage sounds from the Groupies, reggae from Prince Buster, the last gasp of non-Beatles Mersey sounds appropriately enough from the Merseybeats, tracks from the Kinks and the Rolling Stones, French singer-songwriter Michel Polnareff, and Nigerian high-life superstar Cardinal Rex Jim Lawson

THE SORROWS “Take A Heart”

One of the most overlooked bands of the British Invasion, the Sorrows offered a tough brand of R&B-infused rock that recalled the Pretty Things (though not as R&B-oriented) and the Kinks (though not as pop-oriented).

Their biggest British hit, “Take a Heart,” stopped just outside the U.K. Top 20; several other fine mid-’60s singles met with either slim or a total lack of success.

With the rich, gritty vocals of Don Fardon, taut raunchy guitars, and good material (both self-penned and from outside writers), they rank as one of the better British bands of their era, and certainly among the very best never to achieve success of any kind in the U.S.

Don Fardon had a solo Top 20 hit with “Indian Reservation” in 1968

THE KINKS “Where Have All The Good Times Gone”

From late 1965 Kinks’ mainman Ray Davies’ dissatisfaction and frustations – in the wake of a nervous breakdown earlier in the year – had begun to surface in the Kinks’ records – Where Have All The Good Times Gone appeared on the B-side of the happier number “Till The End Of The Day”. This was a pattern the band would repeat throughout 1966.

THE SUPREMES “My World Is Empty Without You”

Their run of number one US hits had to come to an end somewhere but it seems a shame that it had to be with this gorgeous, poignant song of loss and woe. Diana Ross’s plaintive, vulnerable voice is perfect for this song.

The Afghan Whigs covered this magnificently in 1994, the guitar intro reminiscent of the Stones’ “Paint It,Black”

PRINCE BUSTER “Too Hot”

Too Hot by Prince Buster neither celebrating nor criticising the rude boys, just commenting.

The song was covered by The Specials on their first album

JAMES BROWN “I Got You (I Feel Good)”

James Brown’s big crossover breakthrough into the pop charts came with “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag” followed by “I Got You(I Feel Good)” in late 1965 and it was still there come January 1966.
The B-side is this great slow burner, “I Can’t Help It (I Just Do-Do-Do)”

ELLIOTT FISHER “Theme from ‘Our Man Flint'”

Espionage was were big in the mid-sixties with James Bond and the Man from U.N.C.L.E. so inevitably there were parodies. One of the best was Our Man Flint starring James Coburn as special agent Derek Flint – and the instrumental theme tune by Elliot Fisher was arguably as good as any Bond theme. The trailer gives you some idea of where the film was coming from – check out the clearly-not-German “Dr Schneider”, always raises a smile.

ROLLING STONES “Get Off Of My Cloud”

Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham’s influence on the band is not always appreciated – it was he who persuaded Mick Jagger and Keith Richard to write songs in the first place, even locking them in a room on more than one occasion until they came up with a hit.

After I Cant Get No Satisfaction had become their biggest and most acclaimed record so far, they could have been forgiven for resting on their laurels but according to Keef that was never an option with Oldham, who cajoled them into writing what is arguably an even better record than Satisfaction.

According to Philip Norman’s Stones biography “Shout” :
“The follow up to (Satisfaction) was an upbeat dance record with chords cribbed unashamedly from Twist And Shout and a lyric – bawled purposefully by Jagger in double time – which must represent the earliest attempt to infiltrate the British Top Ten with marijuana smoke”

The B-side is a decent enough number called “The Singer Not The Song”, slightly marred by Richard’s 12-string guitar which is out of tune throughout. Without wishing to ignite once more the whole Stones / Beatles debate, there is no way Paul McCartney would have allowed that on a Beatles record.

PRETTY THINGS “Midnight To Six Man”

The Pretty Things with Midnight To Six Man, great song, great title, the band’s tough R&B sound only enhanced by the piano of Nicky Hopkins (who similarly graced records by The Who) and the organ of Margo Lewis of Goldie & The Gingerbreads – but it still barely skimmed the Top 50.

Arkansas’ “The Culls” did a more laid back version a year later, which is still pretty good.

FONTELLA BASS “Recovery”

Fontella Bass started out as a piano accompanist.

Her singing career began in 1961 when, as piano player with Little Milton’s band, she was asked to fill in for Milton at short notice.

“Recovery” was her follow-up to the hit for which she is best remembered, “Rescue Me” – this was the rarely-heard B-Side of that record, “The Soul Of A Man” which if anything showcases her vocal talents better than either of the aforementioned tunes.

SPENCER DAVIS GROUP “Let Me Down Easy”

Some lovely restrained electric piano and guitar work on this track.

Paolo Nutini has covered this recently – I can’t say I’m his biggest fan but he has a decent stab at it imho.

THE GROUPIES “Primitive”

Is it possible to make a slow garage record that still sounds exciting?

The main riff is a note-for-note copy of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack Lightnin'” and props to them for NOT speeding it up. It works for me but others remain unconvinced.

The Cramps covered this years later.

FOUR TOPS “Just As Long As You Need Me”

A track from “The Four Tops second album” possibly named by the same person who named the Spencer Davis Group’s second album. I guess the record industry didn’t trust the public to recognise albums by name.

This was take to extremes by Chicago (whose albums I believe have always had numbers on them rather than titles, like a magazine) and of course Peter Gabriels’ first three albums were just called Peter Gabriel. Unimaginative bunch.

This is “I Like Everything About You”, another track from the album, its a little gem.

THE MERSEYBEATS “I Stand Accused”

By late 1965 The Merseybeats were ready to call it a day as most of their British Beat Boom compatriots had done, as the scene sputtered out, condemned by Motown, folk-rock and the British R&B boom to go the same way as surfing music.

The Merseybeats had one last great single in their locker though, a soulful cover of I Stand Accused (written by Jerry Butler, the original singer with The Impressions)

Isaac Hayes did an incredible eleven-minute version of this – described by the Youtube listeners as the perfect song to make love to.

Although you wouldn’t necessarily want to make sexy time with your special one to Elvis Costello’s version (2:21).

MICHEL POLNAREFF “La Poupee Qui Fait Non”

The first hit for French singer songwriter Michel Polnareff who recorded versions in German, Italian and Spanish – bet he regrets not recording an English language version cos I reckon that could have been huge in the USA and Britain, offering something slightly different …

The song was recorded in London so that he could use the best session musicians around, which in mid-sixties London meant Jimmy Page on guitar. John-Paul Jones also plays bass on this which means it could well be the first instance of future members of Led Zeppelin playing on the same record.

Michel Polnareff has completed his first album in sixteen years which will be released over the next few months, definitely worth a listen and if its any good you’ll doubtless hear tracks from it on the Beat City podcast (which does the same thing as Retro Beat ’66, only for the music of 2016)

St Etienne did a towering version of this in the nineties:

CHRIS FARLOWE “Think”

First chart placing for North Londoner Chris Farlowe on the Immediate label with “Think”, one of five Rolling Stones songs Farlowe covered – logical when you remember that Immediate was set up by the aforementioned Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham (who incidentally is well worth a follow)

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The B-side was pretty good too.

REX LAWSON “Bete Boire”

Cardinal Rex Jim Lawson was one of the best-known highlife musicians in Nigeria during the sixties.

This track comes from a session recorded in late 1965.

This recording session was held one afternoon in August of 1965 in a Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation studio in Lagos, and if you listen carefully you can hear cars honking on the streets outside.

Listening to this all these years on, you can’t help but marvel at how good Cardinal Rex Jim Lawson and the Majors sound loose, limber and focused, paying great attention to ensemble dynamics, tight horn choruses and flowing solos.

This is another track from the same session, “Osaba Koro”

“Osaba Koro” by Cardinal Rex Jim Lawson

THEM “I Can Only Give You Everything”

Them in full-on garage mode with I Can Only Give You Everything

This is Them in full-on Animals mode with “Call My Name” from the same album

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TV & Radio Times w/e Jan 13th – Everly Bros, Vangelis, Father Ted

A personal and in no way comprehensive or objective list of some good music-related stuff on the idiot box and the wireless this week.

Huey Morgan – Radio Two, Friday

What a superb show this is. Loads of great old stuff and a smattering of cool new stuff – an hour-long segment taken at random from a recent show went – Tinariwen, Chuck Berry, Derek & The Dominoes, Koukie, Kate Bush, The Chi-Lites, Gabor Szabo, The Who and Smashing Pumpkins.

The moral is, in the post-God’s Jukebox era, the best music shows on Radio Two are to be found at midnight at the weekends.

Sound Of Cinema – BBC4, Friday

In a series celebrating the art of the cinema soundtrack, the heart of a BBC-wide season playing on radio as well as TV, Neil Brand explores the work of the great movie composers, and demonstrates their techniques.

Neil begins by looking at how the classic orchestral film score emerged and why it’s still going strong today, then traces how in the 1930s, European-born composers such as Max Steiner and Erich Wolfgang Korngold brought their Viennese training to play in stirring, romantic scores for Hollywood masterpieces like King Kong and The Adventures of Robin Hood. But it took a home-grown American talent, Bernard Herrmann, to bring a darker, more modern sound to some of cinema’s finest films, with his scores for Citizen Kane, Psycho and Taxi Driver.

Among those interviewed are Martin Scorsese and Hans Zimmer, composer of blockbusters like Gladiator and Inception.

This is Vangelis’s beautiful, haunting theme to “Chariots Of Fire”, the only film ever where I’ve come out of the cinema feeling proud to be British. And that includes Zulu and Escape To Victory btw.

See also Saturday Night At The Movies on Classic FM (below)

The Everly Brothers: Songs Of Innocence & Experience – BBC4, Friday

The Everly Brothers Reunion Concert – BBC4, Friday

Its one of THOSE nights on BBC4. Neil Brand’s superb three-part series on music in cinema followed by the Everly Brothers reunion documentary and concert, both an elegy for a bygone rock’n’roll era as the brothers made up their differences and got back together for a couple of gigs at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Saturday Night At The Movies – Classic FM, Saturday

Odd title for a show that goes out at 5pm but when you look at Classic FM’s demographic – my 87-yo Mum is a devoted listener – I suppose by the time this programme ends at 7pm, much of the audience will in fact be ready for bed. This week’s show carries the geektastic theme of Space, including Star Trek, Armageddon and 2001:A Space Odyssey. The theme to the latter has been described on Youtube as “A less moody version of the Red Dwarf theme tune”. I love Youtube, me.

Jackie Brown – Channel 4, Saturday

Appropriate late-Saturday-night slot for Tarantino’s blaxpoitation homage / ripoff film, which may have dated more than somewhat, but the 70s funk soundtrack never gets old, right from Bobby Womack’s “Across 110th Street” which plays over the credits.

Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour – 6 Music, Sunday

I’m not the world’s greatest Elbow fan but frontman Guy Garvey’s 6 music show is always a joy, last week featuring Laura Veirs, dEUS and Broken Social Scene, among others.

Tell you what, I’d like Elbow a lot more if their music showed a few of those influences.

Guy’s delivery is perfect for late night on a Sunday, though, so I’m still scratching my head as to why the show was moved to Sunday afternoons.

Father Ted – More 4, Sunday

The one where Ted and Dougal enter the Eurovision Song Contest with “My Lovely Horse”.

Play the f***ing note, Dougal !

Sounds Of The 80s, Radio 2 – Friday

Sara Cox has always been one of my fave radio presenters right back from her days on Radio One in the 90s where she added a welcome left-field and slightly disturbing tone to the prevailing lad(ette)-ish radio culture.

On the face of it, a DJ with a track record of playing dance music with the occasional indie track is an odd choice to introduce an 80s show but until such a time as Radio Two reaches “Sounds Of The 90s” (which in any case you can hear most days throughout 6 music’s programming) it’s good to have her in a regular radio slot again.

This week’s guest is the superb and underrated Marc Almond of Soft Cell and subsequent lesser solo hits, who at least hails from the Good Eighties (pre-84).

Love ya Sara, and I can hear the desolation in your voice when you have to say “Starting off the show there with Journey”.

To be fair, the show mixes and matches and provides as acceptable a mix as you can manage from the decade that music forgot.

One day soon, Sara, the 90s will be retro and you can play stuff you like again. As the hair-metal stadium rockers so rightly put it, Don’t Stop Believin’.

Danny Baker’s Rocking Decades, BBC4, Monday

Danny Baker takes an hour-long look at the Seventies in music, which some would say was about nineteen hours too short a time to do justice to the decade in which we moved from bubblegum to electro and New Romanticism via acid folk, punk, funk, prog, reggae, 2 Tone and stadium rock.

The suspicion that this show may be weighted towards the latter part of the decade is strengthened by the panel of Joy Division bassist Peter Hook, Slits guitarist Viv Albertine and Loyd “I was in a punk band you know” Grossman, the latter a top bloke but a very odd choice indeed.

Still, it’s Danny’s show and the man is always worth watching – and since he spent the 70s first as a a teenager, then a record shop assistant and finally the funniest and best journo ever to write for the NME, his is a voice worth listening to.

There’s Danny’s selection of archive clips at 10.30 too, in which the links will undoubtedly be even better than the music (which will be great, obviously). Continues on Tuesday and Wednesday with the Eighties and Nineties.

The Life Of Rock with Brian Pern, BBC4, Monday

Splitting the two sections of the Baker seventies retrospective, and redressing the balance a little in favour of the early seventies, prog legend Brian Pern – unfairly neglected by most scholars of music in this era – presents this alternative take on the history of rock.

Brian has done it all in a long career, and this documentary series looks unmissable.

Monday – Lauren Laverne, 6 Music

Temples have been getting a lot of positive attention in the run up to their debut album, which comes out this week. They play a live sesh with Lady La-La which despite being on at a time when wage slaves are all toiling away at t’mill, will be available on Listen Again.

I will take any excuse going to play Temples. This was their debut single.

Tuesday – I’ve Played In Every Toilet, Radio 4

The excellent John Harris mourns the decline of the UK’s toilet circuit – a network of crappy, cheap and cheerful venues where up and coming bands learn their trade and spread the word. Inluding, I’m pleased to note, the Forum in that legendary rock and roll hotbed of Tunbridge Wells, which is an actual converted toilet 8=)

From where I’m standing, I’d say venues are still surviving well if not actually thriving – a good example being Joiners in Southampton which has gigs on most nights. This is a nice clip of local boy Frank Turner returning to play one of the places that helped him on the way up.

Thursday – Johnnie Walker’s Long Players, Radio 2

David Hepworth and Johnnie Walker discuss a couple of classic albums. The format is a good ‘un, but it does pretty much live and die on whether you like the records they pick each week. This week’s is a cracker, featuring Blondie’s “Parallel Lines” and Elvis Costello’s first LP with the Attractions, “This Year’s Model”.

Should be something there for most tastes. Haven’t mentioned regulars like the Charlie Sloth show on 1Xtra and Marc Riley on 6 Music, both excellent all the time. This is a clip of Charlie’s visit to an old peoples’ home to perform a rap (as MC Gravedigga)

I Got 99 Problems But Me Gran Ain’t One

 

Josefin Winther, Norway’s finest

Josefin Winther – Rattlesnake, Islington 6th August 2013

There’s a receptive crowd at the Rattlesnake in Islington, a small venue generally home to folky and other acoustic acts.

Josefin Winther is a Norwegian musician now resident in Brixton – good choice btw, South London, as the football song goes, is indeed wonderful. Josefin Winther has released a couple of albums

Classically trained, on the cello no less, she began writing her own songs in her early teens.

She has released two albums – 2008’s “Be Proud Or Stay Out Of It” is a straight band album while on the more recent  “Raising Armies” she mixes in some quieter stuff with the rawk, to the immense benefit of the excellent lyrics.

She’s been performing around clubs in London as a solo artist, but tonight she has the full band over from Norway.

She switches the mood seamlessly between rock numbers and slow solo number, helped by her between-songs patter which is both engaging and genuinely funny.

Standout track for me is “These Good Times Are Killing Me” which incorporates wordgames that Laura Marling would be proud of with an excellent Dave Gilmour-inspired guitar solo from guitarist / musical arranger Kristian Fanavoll Tvedt.

Comparisons to PJ Harvey and Patti Smith have been made but Josefin reckons she had never heard either artist until people told her that’s who she sounded like, and I can believe this.

There’s a lot more music in the backing than Patti ever manages. And the instrumentation and arrangements are more straight-ahead classic rock than Peej,

Like most singer-songwriters, there’s clearly a huge personal slant to the lyrics, and that’s where she really scores big – echoes of Springsteen, at least to these ears. (“I ain’t crying cos baby, I don’t cry”)

Here’s one of the solo numbers, “Change Of Heart”

And a newer song, with the fantastic title of “The Shit You Pulled Before”. I wouldn’t worry about the cussword limiting airplay too much, Josefin – we live in an era where Fuck Buttons can get on the radio. It’s all good.

 

Josefin Winther’s a special talent. Check her out.