These Sleeve Notes refer to the second Beat Sixty-Six podcast which you can download by clicking Beat ’66 Show #2
A new show will go up every Thursday throughout 2016, with the sleeve notes following by the Saturday.
You can follow Beat City on Twitter here:
NANCY SINATRA “These Boots Are Made For Walking”
This track entered the US Top 100 early in January 1966 and would become one of the biggest records of the year, and one of the most lasting, from Nancy Sinatra
Still sounds so fresh, so sassy and so damn sexy after all this time.
Nancy Sinatra’s breakthrough and biggest hit These Boots Are Made For Walking.
If you’re on Twitter she’s well worth following, very human and very smart,follows everyone back (unless you’re a total knob) and is one of the nicest, least pretentious celebs on there.
THE STRANGELOVES “Night Time”
Second highest chart placing in the US for the Strangeloves
Next The Strangeloves who consisted of producers Bob Feldma,Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer but were promoted as being three Australian sheep-farming brothers named Giles, Miles and Niles Strange.
Their biggest hit was “I Want Candy” which has been much covered over the years but this one, Night Time, is just as good and has also been covered notably by George Thorogood & The Destroyers and, in quite an authentic garagey manner, Bauhaus.
MARTHA REEVES & THE VANDELLAS “My Baby Loves Me”
Everything you could possibly want to know about this record can be found by clicking Motown Junkies on Martha Reeves & The Vandellas ‘My Baby Loves Me’
EDWIN STARR – Stop Her On Sight ( S O S)
A slightly bigger hit in the UK (35) than in the US (48) – the B side “I Have Faith In You” is just as good:
THE SUNRAYS “Andrea”
Originally known as the Renegades and playing rock and roll covers, the Sunrays’ career took of in 1964 when Murry Wilson, the father of Brian, Carl, and Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys, started managing them, tweaked the personel a little (removing the sax player) and changed their name to The Sunrays.
As well as Andrea their hits included “I Live for the Sun” (1965) (below) and “Still”.
They supported the Beach Boys on several US tours, but never made it big as their sounds were probably a little bit too similar …
BEACH BOYS “Barbara Ann”
Dean Torrence from the group Jan & Dean sang lead on this song of teenage desire.
Capitol Records released this without telling the band. The Beach Boys were trying to gain credibility as a serious musical act, and didn’t want to put out such a simplistic song.
The release date may have been influenced by the first appearance of heartthrob actress and model Barbara Anne Feldon as Agent 99 on the TV show “Get Smart”.
Here’s the Regents’ original version, with harmonies the Beach Boys replicated, complete with kazoo, which they very sensibly didn’t.
DELROY WILSON “Dancing Mood”
Delroy Wilson was the first child star of the Jamaican music scene, cutting his first records in 1962 for Sir Coxsone’s Studio One, including “Spit In The Sky”, one of many records made at Studio One attacking the rival Prince Buster (which to be fair was well reciprocated by Buster).
“Dancing Mood” is regarded as one of the very first rocksteady records (as opposed to the faster ska beat that ruled the island’s airwaves until then)
BUCK OWENS “Buckaroo”
Buck Owens, along with Merle Haggard, was the leader of the Bakersfield sound, a twangy, electricified, rock-influenced interpretation of hardcore honky tonk that emerged in the ’60s.
Owens was the first bona fide country star to emerge from Bakersfield, scoring a total of 15 consecutive number one hits in the mid-’60s. In the process, he provided an edgy alternative to the string-laden country-pop that was being produced during the ’60s.
Later in his career, his musical impact was forgotten by some as he became a television personality through the country comedy show Hee Haw.
Nevertheless, several generations of musicians — from Gram Parsons in the late ’60s to Dwight Yoakam in the ’80s — were influenced by his music, which wound up being one of the blueprints for modern country music.
This track, the instrumental “Buckaroo” (named after his backing band The Buckaroos who were named in turn by Merle Haggard), was his fourth country No 1 in the USA as the year turned from 1965 to 1966. The Byrds did a cover of it but I wont lie to you, its not their best work. Seekit out if you absolutely MUST, but I’m not going to enable you by giving you the link. Sorry.
This was the B-side – “If You Want A Love”, a standard country number that benefits from Buck’s straight-ahead, unsentimental delivery. It’s not the most innovative music in the world, but you wouldn’t turn it off either.
And if That ain’t enough country for ya, here’s a live version of Buck’s huge crossover hit from the previous year “Love’s Gonna Live Here Again”.
Now skedaddle before I fill your pants full of lead.
THEM “Hello Josephine”
One of the better songs on “Them Again”, originally written and recorded by Fats Domino
LEE DORSEY “Get Out Of My Life Woman”
Written by Allen Toussaint who passed on recently – what with Lemmy on bass, Bowie on vocals and rhythm guitar, Allen Toussaint on piano and Alan Rickman introducing the band there’s pretty much a whole supergroup in the recent arrivals section of heaven just now.
The song has been sampled in excess of 150 times by such artists as Naz, Cypress Hill, De La Soul, Wu-Tang Clan, The Fugees, Beck and Compton’s Most Wanted (below)
JACKIE WILSON & LAVERN BAKER “Think Twice”
A minor hit, reaching no 93 in the Hot 100, there’s an intriguing “Version X” of this song that was never released for some strange reason. Warning – this is really filthy.
POETS “Baby Don’t You Do It”
On Immediate Records (the Small Faces’ lanel), Glasgow’s Poets released this astonishing freakbeat take on Marvin Gaye’s “Baby Don’t You Do It”.
It just builds and builds on what is a very simple riff and then takes off towards the end.
The B-Side “I’ll Come Home” is by contrast a jangly Beatles-style tune proving the Poets had more than one trick in their box.
SAM AND DAVE “You Don’t Know Like I Know”
This tune only just scraped into the Hot 100 but it was the start of a run of eight hits for Sam and Dave, a vocal match made in heaven with the gravelly baritone of Dave Prater the perfect counterpoint to tenor Sam Moore’s sweet tenor voice in the style of that other great sixties soul Sam (Cooke).
They were one of the most exciting live acts of the era, with a live act filled with animation, harmony and goodwill.
This was their first single for Stax from 1965, which inexplicably failed to trouble the charts, but its a great tune.
SMALL FACES “Sha-La-La-La-Lee”
After their second single “I’ve Got Mine” failed to build on the chart success of their debut “Whatcha Gonna Do About It?”, the Small Faces’ manager Don Arden brought in professional songwriters Mort Shuman and Kenny Lynch to write “Sha-La-La-La-Lee” for the band.
The Small Faces hated this song, and it did mark them down as a pop band rather than the R&B / soul band they in fact were (although there IS an absolutely cracking piano intro by Ian McLagan, almost hidden in the production).
It did get to number 3 in the British charts though, and those fans who flipped the disc were treated to a scorching instrumental (and the theme tune for Retro Beat ’66) “Grow Your Own”:
THE EYES “The Immediate Pleasure”
Evolved out of an instrumental band called The Renegades, and you can kind of hear that on this record, which would in fact stand on its own as an instrumental, with that descending guitar lead line.
The vocals almost act as an extra layer on top giving the whole thing a lot of depth
The band didn’t last beyond 1966 – recording an ill-advised tribute album to the Rolling Stones under the name The Pupils (geddit?) for some quick cash didn’t really help their credibility.
You can tell their hearts weren’t really in it, check this version of “19th Nervous Breakdown”.
BOBBY BLAND “I’m Too Far Gone To Turn Around”
It’s easy to come to the conclusion that by 1966 Bobby Bland’s classic R and B “big band” style sound was old hat but a look at the chart performance of his hits doesn’t really bear that out – sure, his days of hitting #1 in the US R&B chart were gone but his singles still regularly made the R&B Top 20 and the overall Hot 100, so he clearly had a strong and loyal fanbase.
The B-side “If You Could Read My Mind” is another clue as to why – a fairly ordinary MOR song and arrangement raised by Bobby’s sweet, sweet voice to another plane.
SPENCER DAVIS GROUP “Look Away”
A brave choice for the opening track from the Spencer Davis Group’s “The Second Album” – rather than going with the hit single from the previous year “Keep On Running” they chose the tragic heartbreak tune “Look Away”, which it has to be said is a lot more typical of the album.
Another atypical track from the album is the country-style “This Hammer”
MARVIN GAYE “When I Had Your Love”
The B-side of “One More Heartache” which you can hear in either next week’s Retro Beat City or the week after, but I think this is actually a better track.
Incidentally, Marvin’s most recent album at that time (released in November 1965) was a tribute album to his hero Nat ‘King’ Cole who died the previous February. From it this is “Its Only A Paper Moon”
THE EASYBEATS “Sad And Lonely And Blue”
Among the recent losses in the world of music around the end of2015 / beginning of 2016 was Stevie Wright, singer with Australia’s finest group of the 60s, the Easybeats.
There is a story about Good Times, that the first time he heard it, Paul McCartney pulled over and rang the radio station, asking them to play it again. Six months later, the Beatles released Get Back, which revolves around the same GDA progression.