FESTIVE FIFTY OF 1965 Further Listening – NUMBERS 40 – 31

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The second of five blog pieces taking you a little bit deeper into the Festive Fifty of 1965.

Click here if you missed Blog Part One – Numbers 50-41

Download the two parts of the actual podcast here:

Download Festive Fifty of 1965 nos 50-26 here

Download Festive Fifty of 1965 nos 25-1 here

This of blog posts gives a bit more background to each track, plus links to other related tracks worth hearing.

Enjoy!

40. THE CONTOURS “First I Look At The Purse”

Three years – an eternity in terms of the pop charts, both in the sixties and now – had passed since The Contours’ “Do You Love Me” went global, and while only lead vocalist Billy Gordon remained from the line-up that cut that record, and even though the group were strictly second division in the Motown pecking order, the band’s sound and output was still carefully controlled to ensure a direct line, sonologically speaking, between The Big Hit and all subsequent releases.

This song was written by Miracles Smokey Robinson and Bobby Rodgers and managed a reasonably creditable #57 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The J Geils Band did a superb garagey version of this song in 1970, by the way – worthy of The Band themselves and a million miles from their early 80s hits.

39. PRINCE BUSTER “Wash Wash”

Featuring Georgie Fame on organ and the Les Dawson Combo (the Jamaican ska group not the dour Yorkshire comedian although I reckon he could have probably handled the organ part on this)

The song is “based” on an old Frankie Laine number “That Lucky Old Sun” from 1949, but you do have to do whatever the aural equivalent is of “squint” in order to hear it.

38. AFRICA FIESTA “Minge Rhumba Fiesta”

L’Orchestra African Fiesta, often known simply as African Fiesta, was a Congolese soukous band started by Tabu Ley Rochereau and Dr. Nico Kasanda in 1963.

Tabu Ley and Dr. Nico were originally members of the seminal band Grand Kalle et l’African Jazz. They left African Jazz and started their own group, African Fiesta, with which they helped elevate the genre of African rumba into the genre now known as Soukous.

This track and many others equally as great can be found on the compilation “Rochereau et l’African Fiesta National 1964/1965/1966” under Tabu Ley Rochereau’s name (there were ructions between the two founder members which led to Nico Kasanda leaving the group and setting up African Fiesta Sukisa)

The track “Jaloux Jaloux” is just beautiful – listen to the singing on this.

37. SMALL FACES “Whatcha Gonna Do About It?”

The debut single and the debut hit from the peerless Small Faces – although the band weren’t that enamoured of the song and preferred the B-side “Whats A Matter Baby?”

36. DONOVAN “Universal Soldier”

In an era of many protest songs (notably Barry McGuire’s “Eve Of Destruction”) Buffy Saint-Marie’s gentler-sounding song stood out, as rather than an angry rant at generals and war in general it pointed the finger at the men who actually went off to war, and questioned their choices directly. A masterpiece of a song given a good treatment by Donovan

Here’s the original, with an introduction by Buffy Sainte-Marie describing the inspiration behind the song:

35. BRENDA HOLLOWAY “You Can Cry On My Shoulder”

Nothing I can say about this song, or indeed about Motown’s finest singer Brenda Holloway, that can’t be said better by Motown Junkies on Brenda Holloway

and then check out this dark, dark tale of a bad relationship:

34. THE WHO “My Generation”

According to Pete Townshend in a later interview “My Generation” started out as a talking blues folk song record, Townshend being hugely affected by Bob Dylan at the time.

You can just about discern this when you listen to it, in amongst the thunderous Keith Moon drums, the bass solo(!) from John Entwistle and Roger Daltrey’s stuttering pillhead vocal delivery.

Time has rendered this safe by repeated plays and listening – there’s probably an oldies channel near you playing it right now – but have a listen to it in context of some of the songs around it at the time (it was kept off no 1 by the Seekers’ “The Carnival Is Over”, while Ken Dodd’s “Tears” was still in the Top Ten) and you can get a hint of just how explosive that final descent into feedback would have sounded at the time.

The B-Side, a cover of James Brown’s “Shout And Shimmy” was none too shabby either.

33. THE YARDBIRDS “For Your Love”

Written by future 10CC founder member Graham Gouldman, “For Your Love” marked a bit of a change of direction for The Yardbirds away from straight blues / R and B numbers. Guitarist Eric Clapton hated the song and barely plays on it – he would leave the band soon after, paving the way for the more open-minded Jeff Beck.

“For Your Love” had an unusual chord structure and instrumentation – it features bongos and harpsichord, the latter played by Brian Auger as it was the only keyboard available in the studio. Auger’s parting comment was “who in their right mind would buy a single with a harpsichord on it?”

Turns out the answer was “quite a lot of people” as it reached #2 in the UK and #6 in the US and remains the band’s biggest hit.

The B-side was a more standard blues instrumental called “Got To Hurry” – sounds like Clapton’s enjoying himself a bit more here. (as an aside, check out the Youtube comments below it – the eternal “Who’s the greatest guitarist” arguments rage on and on and on …)

32. THE ROLLING STONES “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”

The release of this record with its instantly recognisable introductory riff (which incidentally came to Keith Richards in a motel in Clearwater, Florida – they’ve probably got a plaque up or something). Keith didn’t see the possibilities of the riff even after Mick Jagger had gone away and written the lyrics and the band had recorded it.

Up until “Satisfaction” the Stones’ sound was recognisably white boys playing black music. From this point on, they played the Stones’ music.

The follow up was “Get Off My Cloud”, and you can almost taste the confidence with which they play it, knowing they’ve just blown the competition out of the water with “Satisfaction”. This is the point where the Stones really started to strut.

31. THE POETS “That’s The Way Its Got To Be”

Managed by Andrew Loog Oldham (who also handled the Rolling Stones), with a nice line in self-penned songs and a sound that just took the British Beat Group sound that little bit further into what would soon be called psychedelic rock, the Poets seemed to have everything going for them in 1965 releasing singles like “Thats The Way Its Got To Be” and “I Am So Blue” (below) but they never had a single reach higher than their 1964 debut “Now We’re Thru” (stalling at #31) and indeed never got to make an album. They were huge in Scotland though

Festive Fifty of 1965 Numbers 50-41

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FESTIVE FIFTY YEARS AGO 1962 – PART TWO

December 27th, 2012

Welcome to the second part of the rundown of the Festive Fifty from 1962, or more accurately, my version of what might have appeared in the Festive Fifty in that year if John Peel had been (a) in the country (b) working for the BBC and (c) compiling a Festive Fifty. Enjoy!

40. LORD BLAKIE – Maria.

Lord Blakie was one of the lesser-known calypsonians to come out of Trinidad in the late fifties. Always in the shadow of the global superstar Mighty Sparrow, this was his finest hour, winning the first official “road march” with this song. He is so damn cool in this clip, too.

39. JET HARRIS – The Man With The Golden Arm.

Debut solo hit from the former Shadows bass player.

An off-the-cuff remark by Shadows guitarist Bruce Welch about Harris’ wife’s ongoing affair with Cliff Richard(!) led to Harris quitting the band in April 1962.

A mere four months later he was in the chart with this brilliant, searing arrangement of the theme from the 1955 Frank Sinatra film.

The subject matter of the film – heroin addiction – could be seen as a statement from Harris about his own addiction problems, although these involved the bottle rather than the needle.

38. GINO PARKS – Fire.

A massive blast of angry noise which was very much out of sync with the vast majority of Motown’s early 60s output.

Gino Parks can be said to have been ahead of his time – this record certainly was, by two or three years.

Unfortunately Berry Gordy’s ideas about what the “Motown sound” should be meant no place for this kind of record , and Parks had few further opportunities at the label.

37. THE EVERLY BROTHERS – I’m Not Angry.

A B-side which would undoubtedly have received more airplay on Peel’s show than its more famous A-side “Crying In The Rain”.

In 1977 Elvis Costello included a track with the same title on his debut album, and the similarities go beyond the title to include the meaning and intent of the protagonist.

By the end of both songs, the listener is left in no doubt that the guy in the song is fooling nobody, let alone himself.

36. THE VENTURES – My Bonnie Lies
Never massive in their home country in the same way their UK rivals The Shadows were in theirs, nevertheless The Ventures laid the instrumental groundwork for the surf sound that formed the second (ahem) wave of American rock’n’roll music.

This record, a hepped-up reworking of an old weepie, was only a minor hit, but its inclusion here can be traced to another, vocal version of the song that was popular in this year (in the UK at least).

35. RAY CHARLES – Half As Much

In which Ray Charles really pulls out all the showstopping stops and creates a huge, fat middle of the road record that is a million miles away from “What I’d Say”. The piano playing and voice are more restrained but still classic.

34. GENE CHANDLER – Duke Of Earl

In a later era, the likes of Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey would make careers out of doing voice exercises to music, but this was probably the first worldwide hit record to be created out of a doo-wop band’s warm-up routine.

Neither a fast doo-wop number or a slow ballad, its intermediate pacing made it stand out and it went to No. 1 in the early weeks of 1962.

33. ELVIS PRESLEY – Return To Sender

Elvis’s career was at least as much about making films by 1962 as it was about making music, and this song was one of the highlights from the bikini classic “Girls Girls Girls”.

32. BOB DYLAN – Talkin’ New York

If you can argue – and you can – that the truest work of an artist is in his early, penniless, hungry years, then how much truer is that of folk music, where honesty is the most prized, maybe the only, virtue?

This is one of the two self-compositions on Dylan’s first album, and it’s a cracker, honest and true, detailing Dylan’s experiences on arriving in the Big Apple as a 20-year-old singer and trying to get noticed.

“New York Times said it was the coldest winter in seventeen years
I didn’t feel so cold then”

31. LITTLE OTIS HAYES – I Out-Duked The Duke

Answer Records were a great tradition of the fifties and sixties, briefly being revived as a record industry stunt with “F.U.R.B”, a record which didn’t really live up to it’s illustrious predecessors of two or three generations ago.

This one is a belter. Little Otis takes the basis of the tune of “Duke Of Earl” and gleefully rips out a derogatory lyric about how he “popped the Dook’s girl” while he was out of town. Magnificent.

So, tomorrow evening it’s numbers 30-21. See you then.