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VA: - A-Square (Of Course)
The Story Of Michigan's Legendary A-Square Records. 25 tracks
Ace Records 2008 CD 18.00 €
VA: - Adios Amigo - A Tribute To Arthur Alexander
17 tracks
Razor & Tie 1994 CD 10.00 €
VA: - All Kinds Of Highs - A Mainstream Pop-Psych 1966-70 2CD
Between 1967 and 1970, New York’s Mainstream label, a respected imprint known principally for its high quality jazz and soundtrack catalogue, recorded and released over two dozen full-length rock albums. “All Kinds Of Highs: A Mainstream Pop-Psych Compendium 1966-70” collects the best moments from these records, along with selected highlights from Mainstream’s singles inventory of the same period.

It was still an era where there was no guarantee that even a significant hit single would grant an artist the luxury of a long-playing disc. Yet, in an assiduous move, company president and A&R chief Bob Shad single-handedly traversed the nation to assemble a roster of unknown rock bands, have them quickly record LPs in the styles of the moment, and then throw it all up at the proverbial ceiling, to see what would stick. At the time, and for some years after, Shad’s rock’n’roll splurge was viewed, somewhat cynically, as emblematic of the industry’s gross exploitation of the baby-booming psychedelic milieu. As popular music got more self-consciously cerebral and the Rolling Stone mindset took over, the rock album had become a sacred totem, an instrument of the “serious” artist. Which no doubt precluded any of the Mainstream acts getting taken seriously.

I always did, however. Back in the 80s, a Mainstream album, when you were lucky enough to spot one in the vinyl hostelries of London, was a fascinating curio. Intriguingly cryptic names such as the Bohemian Vendetta or Tangerine Zoo, emblazoned upon garish pop-art sleeves, stood out in the racks. My friend Tom (later in Th’ Faith Healers and Quickspace Supersport) and I vied with each other to “collect the set”, as it were, but truthfully, at the time, the Mainstream psychedelic albums seemed too few and far between, and I was frankly too broke.

It wasn’t until I later moved to the US that I caught up on classics from the Tiffany Shade, Jelly Bean Bandits and Growing Concern and also started acquiring some of the numerous non-LP singles on Mainstream and its subsidiary Brent – many of which, by Fever Tree, Paraphernalia, the Country Gentlemen and suchlike, are true gems. It always struck me that Bob Shad was a kind of unwitting patron of pop-psychedelia, or at least a chronicler of American rock at a grass roots level. He had a knack for frequently choosing groups that had something a little out of the ordinary, whether it be in songwriting chops, instrumental abilities, or just a unique slant, that to revisionist ears is a most appealing aspect of the label’s rock legacy. Mainstream artists in this era touch equally on Anglophile pop, folk-rock, world music, country and vocal harmony, in often thrilling manner.

It also occurred to me as I collected Mainstream releases that, while each album had merit, there were always tracks that stood out. Using the “Nuggets” precept, it made sense to gather all these strongest moments together. Thus we have “All Kinds Of Highs”, which focuses squarely and unapologetically on the pop-psych end of the spectrum, eschewing the hard rock or horn rock stylings of later Mainstream acts such as Last Nikle, Josefus etc. That can be someone else’s compilation – in the meantime, revel in the glorious, groovy miscellany assembled here.

By Alec Palao (Ace Records)
Ace Records 2012 CD 25.00 €
VA: - Before The Fall - 24 Prelapsarian Cuts
f evidence were needed that all music is connected, this collection could well be it. You might think Australian punk, proto-Krautrock and Sister Sledge could only co-exist on a compilation called “Now That’s What I Call Utterly Unrelated”, but actually, beyond “Before The Fall”’s basic conceit, a few fragile connections start to present themselves. Henry Cow acted as support on a Captain Beefheart tour. Beefheart’s style was significantly influenced by bluesmen such as Leadbelly. Leadbelly and Pete Seeger hung out in 40s New York.

What else? ‘There’s A Ghost in My House’ and ‘Jungle Rock’ were both hits years after their original release. Fall fans wouldn’t automatically associate ‘The Mummy’ and ‘Transfusion’, yet listening to the originals reveals both as satire at the expense of the beatniks. ‘Transfusion’, like ‘Kimble’, owes much of its uniqueness to the innovative use of sound effects. ‘Kimble’ and ‘People Grudgeful’ are connected thanks to the fractious relationship between the artists concerned. ‘Grudgeful’ and ‘$ F--oldin’ Money $’ both play parts in stories of apparently unscrupulous label bosses. ‘$ F--oldin’ Money $’, ‘Rollin’ Danny’, ‘Transfusion’ and ‘Pinball Machine’ were all the work of artists who died before their time, some a little more before their time than others.

It’s fun to spot these connections but, as a Fall fan, I wouldn’t pin too much significance on them. Mark E Smith covered Monks’ tracks without even knowing their titles. He’s covered others without, by his own admission, being able to track down the publishing rights, knowing all the lyrics, or in the case of ‘War’, even remembering the tune. So while in some cases these originals will seem very familiar to Fall fans – the relative commercial success of ‘There’s a Ghost In My House’ and ‘Victoria’ is probably attributable to the fact the Fall didn’t muck about with the originals too much, while Smith’s vocal on ‘Mr Pharmacist’ is remarkably similar to Jeff Nowlen’s original – others are interesting as starting points for very different Fall readings.

These originals also demonstrate a lack of Smith snobbery towards music to which other contemporary bands would rapidly turn up their noses. Pop, blues, prog and daft novelties are all accorded the same respect, or lack of it.

As a fan of 60s garage, the Monks, Other Half and Sonics cuts on this collection were very familiar to me, but the journey into other genres has been a bit of a revelation. The habit of lifting rocksteady/reggae melody lines for retooling on other tracks led to a diverting trip which started with ‘People Grudgeful’ and took in related tracks such as ‘Longshot’, ‘Jackpot’ and ‘People Funny Boy’. Comparing versions of ‘Bourgeois Blues’, dipping a toe into the ocean of trucking music – all of this I would never have found myself doing had it not been for the cross-genre nature of Mark E Smith’s eclectic tastes.

By Dan Maier (Ace Records)
Ace Records 2011 CD 17.00 €
VA: - Big Lizard Stomp Vol. 2
teen trash from psychedelic tokyo 66-69
Planet X Records LP 15.00 €
VA: - Bo Diddley Is A Songwriter
In his long and illustrious career, the late Ellas McDaniel portrayed his alter ego Bo Diddley as many things – a lover, a gunslinger, crazy, even a lumberjack would you believe (and as this is Bo we’re talking about, you would…)

One thing that Bo seldom if ever proclaimed himself to be is ‘A Songwriter”. But over a period of 10 years, Bo crafted some of the most memorable songs of the rock ‘n’ roll and R & B era, including numerous Hall Of Fame perennials which many will be unaware are his songs. For instance, there can be few on this planet who’ve never heard at least one version of “Love Is Strange” – it was featured in ‘Dirty Dancing’, one of the most popular and biggest grossing films of all time, for goodness sake! How many of the thousands of young people who own that soundtrack album also know that the same man who wrote it also wrote “Mona” a 1990s UK chart topper for Craig McLachlan, and “No No No”, a Top 10 hit in 1993 for reggae artist Dawn Penn (both songs appear here, in other versions, under their real titles ‘I Need You Baby’ and ‘She’s Fine, She’s Mine’ respectively…). Not many, I’ll wager.

Bo is so well known and loved as an R & B legend that his songwriting skills tend to get overlooked in comparison with his fabulous recordings. He may be seen by some as a left field entry in Ace’s ongoing ‘Songwriter Series’, but once the CD popped into the player, it won’t take but a few minutes (as his Chess colleague Chuck Berry once wrote) to realise that he’s here on merit, and not just because everyone at Ace loves Bo Diddley.

Of course, anyone who lived through the R&B and British Beat boom will be familiar with any number of E. McDaniel copyrights – both those Bo wrote, and those that were written for him by others. And there’s considerably more variety to Bo’s songwriting than some might initially think. OK, so he did put together more numerous variations on the ‘shave-and-a-haircut, six-bits’ rhythm. But Bo’s catalogue of compositions also embraces doo-wop (‘I’m Sorry’), teen pop (‘Love Is Strange’, ‘Mama Can I Go Out’) proto-surf (‘Bo’s Bounce’), humour (‘Pills’) 12 bar blues (‘Before You Accuse Me’) straight ahead R&B (‘I Can Tell’, ‘Diddy Wah Diddy’) and so much more besides.

As well as recording his songs, many of our stellar cast of artists were major league Bo fans and, indeed, most of those who are still around continue to be. The fact that the recordings on our CD span a period of 50 years gives a strong indication of the timelessness of his work as a writer – hardly surprising when his own early recordings still sound like they were recorded yesterday.

If there’s still any shadow of doubt in your mind that Bo Diddley IS a songwriter, buy this CD immediately and let its contents rid you henceforth of such foolish supposition!

By Tony Rounce (Ace Records)
Ace Records 2010 CD 17.00 €
VA: - Break-A-Way. The Songs Of Jackie DeShannon 1961-1967
Before her own breaktrough as a recording star, jackie DeShannon was one of the most in-demand songwriters of the 60s, providing material for everyone from Brenda Lee to the Byrds. This bumper collection features solo compositions and songs co-writeen with Jimmy Page, Jack Nitzsche and Sharon Sheeley, plus an exclusive previously unheard demo.
Ace Records 2008 CD 17.00 €
VA: - Burghers Vol. 1
Classic 60s Sounds From Steeltown
Big Wink Records CD 18.00 €
VA: - Burghers Vol. 1
Classic 60s Sounds From Steeltown
Big Wink Records LP 17.00 €
VA: - Bärenstark - Bear Essentials
27 stars salute Bear Family's 25th Anniversary.
Great digipack sleeve with 80 page booklet
Bear Family 2000 CD 9.90 €
VA: - CamPark Records - The British Invasion Vol. 13
27 tracks UK Rock (& some Roll) from the 60s
CamPark Records CD 18.00 €
VA: - Chartbusters USA Vol. 2
29 tracks USA hits 1963-1969
Ace Records 2002 CD 17.00 €
VA: - Chartbusters USA Vol. 3
29 classic hits - the sounds, the styles, the rhythms - that caught the mood of young America between 1963-1969. Mastered from the best possible sources. Action-packed 28-page booklet.

By ROB FINNIS

Now into its third volume, CHARTBUSTERS USA is fast becoming an institution much in the same way as the highly acclaimed "Golden Age Of American Rock'n'Roll" series, from which it follows on chronologically. Chartbusters USA is characterised by the same near obsessive attention to detail and audio quality. Each record is individually annotated in the familiar "Golden Age" style and placed within a colourful mosaic of period photos, ads and illustrations that evokes the mood of the times almost as vividly as the music itself.

To qualify for inclusion, every track on Chartbusters USA should have appeared on the US Hot 100 in the period spanning 1963-1969 and retained some, if not all, of the visceral quality that made it a hit in the first place. As with "Golden Age", some records are more obscure than others and therein lies the charm. Amid the majestic splendour of the rarely heard stereo mix of Sony & Cher's I Got You Babe and other mega-hits such as The Letter by the Box Tops, nestle unknowns such as Timmy Shaw whose Gonna Send You Back To Georgia had the misfortune to reach the Hot 100 at the same time as I Want To Hold Your Hand and was all but overwhelmed by the mad rush for Beatle product that gripped America in 1964. The Animals cut the song as the b-side of their first single, re-titling it I'm Gonna Send You Back To Walker.

Then there's Ian Whitcomb whose cod R&B bash, You Turn Me On, was recorded in a demo studio in Dublin, Ireland where Whitcomb was studying at Trinity College. Befittingly, perhaps, the producer was Jerry Dennon who was also responsible for Louie, Louie by the Kingsmen. There is post-modern kitsch in the form of Guantanamera by the Sandpipers, Gale Garnett's wistful folk-pop classic We'll Sing In The Sunshine (regarded as one of the earliest feminist songs), the loping retro blues of Slim Harpo with Baby Scratch My Back, and soul stompers such as I Do by the Marvelows, a 1965 hit later successfully revived by J Geils Band.

CHARTBUSTERS USA VOL 3 is not just another 60s comp but a total experience, the ultimate time capsule from a mythological age when every Fancy Dan saw himself as a would be Austin Powers and every Dolly Bird looked in the mirror and saw a nascent Stephanie Powers or a Twiggy or, quite possibly, a young Barbara Windsor staring back at her.

So there you have it: 29 classic hits - the sounds, the styles, the rhythms - that caught the mood of young America between 1963-1969, all mastered from the best possible sources, together with an informative, action-packed 28-page booklet. Groovy!

(Ace Records)
Ace Records 2003 CD 17.00 €
VA: - Damals In Hamburg
Biisit vuosilta 1961-1972
Bear Family 1999 CD 17.00 €
VA: - Das War Ein Harter Tag - Beatles Lieder - Auf Deutsch
Bear Family 1995 CD 17.00 €
VA: - Dead ! The Grim Reaper's Greatest Hits
"The Funny Side Of Death from the Grim Reaper's Juke Box" 24 biisiä vuosilta 1954-1974
Ace Records 2006 CD 17.00 €
VA: - Delta Swamp Rock Vol. 1 2CD
Sounds from the south - at the crossroads of rock, country and soul
Soul Jazz Records 2011 2-CD 23.00 €
VA: - Delta Swamp Rock Vol. 1 2LP
Delta Swamp Rock is an interstate southern road-trip through the United States of America where country, rock and soul met at the crossroads - an exploration of the musical and cultural links between the cities of Memphis, Muscle Shoals and Nashville in the 1960s and 70s.

At the start of the 1970s, a new type of music emerged out of the southern states of Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi and Florida. Southern rock, the creation of young blue-collar white Americans, blended rock, soul, country and blues music together to present a new vision of the south – a post-civil rights southern identity complete with a celebration of the regions natural landscape and its way of life.

The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd epitomised the definitive southern rock groups – a mixture of blues-rock and country with a southern rebelliousness and attitude. Unfortunately both The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd were to be struck by tragedy, which would affect the movement’s rise and fall.

The backstory to southern rock is the fact that a number of the people involved in its creation had been central to the production of southern soul music in the 1960s mainly in Memphis, Tennessee, and the small town of Muscle Shoals (population around 10,000) deep within the bible-belt, liquor-free, deeply segregated state of Alabama, creating 100s of R&B hits on an almost daily basis.

Here in Muscle Shoals, with its proximity to Memphis and Nashville, an all-white group of in-house musicians, (famously referred to by Lynyrd Skynyrd in the song ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ as the ‘Swampers’), created countless classic soul records for the likes of Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Etta James, Clarence Carter and more during the 1960s.

This album charts the rise and fall of southern rock from its funky swamp roots in southern soul to its phenomenal success in the first-half of the 1970s, including its influence on Nashville’s ‘outlaw’ country and tracing it right back to the arrival of rock and roll in the 1950s - the first meeting of black and white American music at the crossroads.
Soul Jazz Records 2011 LP 23.00 €
VA: - Delta Swamp Rock Vol. 2
More sounds from the south 1968 - 75:. At the crossroads of rock, country and soul.

New on Soul Jazz Records, the second volume of Delta Swamp Rock continues to journey into the heartland of the American south, exploring the musical links between country, rock and soul music in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Southern rock rose up in the 1970s on the huge commercial success of southern-based groups The Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker, Lynyrd Skynyrd and others. Like the twisted roots of rock and roll, southern rock put country, rock and black music into a melting pot to create a unique sound. This gave rise to a new identity for white southern working-class youth.

The roots of this revolution were to be found in an obscure corner of Alabama, in the sleepy town of Muscle Shoals, where, in the previous decade, a group of white in-house studio musicians together with the greatest rhythm and blues vocalists of the day - Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Etta James and many others - away from the segregated environment found just outside the studio walls.

Delta Swamp Rock 2 contains extensive sleeve-notes in an accompanying deluxe large outsize book housed in double-backed card case, which also includes stunning photographs and new interviews with a number of the featured artists (including Tony Joe White) .

As well as the deluxe slipcase CD edition there is also a similarly deluxe limited edition heavyweight double gatefold vinyl edition complete with full sleeve-notes and super-loud pressing.
Soul Jazz Records 2-CD 23.00 €
VA: - Delta Swamp Rock Vol. 2 2LP
Delta Swamp Rock is an interstate southern road-trip through the United States of America where country, rock and soul met at the crossroads - an exploration of the musical and cultural links between the cities of Memphis, Muscle Shoals and Nashville in the 1960s and 70s.

At the start of the 1970s, a new type of music emerged out of the southern states of Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi and Florida. Southern rock, the creation of young blue-collar white Americans, blended rock, soul, country and blues music together to present a new vision of the south – a post-civil rights southern identity complete with a celebration of the regions natural landscape and its way of life.

The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd epitomised the definitive southern rock groups – a mixture of blues-rock and country with a southern rebelliousness and attitude. Unfortunately both The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd were to be struck by tragedy, which would affect the movement’s rise and fall.

The backstory to southern rock is the fact that a number of the people involved in its creation had been central to the production of southern soul music in the 1960s mainly in Memphis, Tennessee, and the small town of Muscle Shoals (population around 10,000) deep within the bible-belt, liquor-free, deeply segregated state of Alabama, creating 100s of R&B hits on an almost daily basis.

Here in Muscle Shoals, with its proximity to Memphis and Nashville, an all-white group of in-house musicians, (famously referred to by Lynyrd Skynyrd in the song ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ as the ‘Swampers’), created countless classic soul records for the likes of Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Etta James, Clarence Carter and more during the 1960s.

This album charts the rise and fall of southern rock from its funky swamp roots in southern soul to its phenomenal success in the first-half of the 1970s, including its influence on Nashville’s ‘outlaw’ country and tracing it right back to the arrival of rock and roll in the 1950s - the first meeting of black and white American music at the crossroads.
Soul Jazz Records 2011 LP 25.00 €
VA: - Destroy That Boy ! More Girls With Guitars
“Destroy That Boy!”, the sequel to 2004’s “Girls With Guitars”, delves into the world of garage femmes and all-girl bands in a quest to prove that females of the species do indeed rock, roll and even snarl. In the post-Beatles beat boom, many an impressionable lass was inspired to take guitar in hand and toe the line with their male counterparts, with at least 160 touring female bands in the USA alone. A select few hit the recording studio to leave their aural mark on the decade, from which Ace has melded the cream of crop with some solo sisters to create another healthy 24-track dose of girl garage goodness.

This time old Blighty has its share of representatives, including fully-fledged female groups She Trinity and the Liverbirds. She Trinity – whose original members hailed from the UK, Canada and the USA, hence their somewhat confusing moniker – appear with their first and last (and most acclaimed) singles. The Liverbirds’ success was limited to their adoptive home of Germany, where they recorded two albums of R&B and rock’n’roll covers, three of which are showcased here. Schoolgirl duo the Termites get their pincers into a Stones classic, while South African ex-pat Sharon Tandy and Coventry’s Beverley Jones give out some gutsy performances too.

From across the Atlantic, alluring society girls the What Four open proceedings. The cover shows the Debutantes from Detroit, whose talents and glamorous image scored them a far-eastern tour and gigs alongside Motown’s finest. Another pivotal group was the Feminine Complex, formed by lead guitarist and songwriter Mindy Dalton, who achieved the rare feat of releasing an LP, but here we’re treated to two demos, including their wonderfully lo-fi version of the Monkees’ ‘(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone’, cut in their first incarnation as the Pivots.

Elsewhere come the Starlets with an attitude-soaked take on ‘You Don’t Love Me’, Swedish bombshell Ann-Margret with both decks of her single for Lee Hazlewood’s LHI label and Raylene Loos and her cohorts the Blue Angels, who contribute a rollicking rendition of ‘Shakin’ All Over’. The Girls (nope, not the same gang as on “Girls With Guitars”) debut with an unreleased cut produced by Sly Stone, while woe betides the man on the receiving end of Aussie Toni McCann, who let’s rip with ‘No’.

Jack Nitzsche protégée Karen Verros kicks off the mid-section with, a fuzz-laden mind-blowing gem written by Donovan. Project X (whose line-up included Scott McKenzie) delights with a jangly folk-garage affair and Cheryll & Pam wax lyrical in ‘That’s My Guy’. British Invasion off-shoots the Lady Bugs’ ode to the American fraternity is a hilarious romp and the wiggy Fondettes pay tribute to the mop-headed boys who started it all.

Much more info on these artists is to be found in the glossy feature-packed booklet, which includes interviews with Jan McClellan of the Debutantes and Beverley Jones. So let the girls blow the dust of their guitars yet again and take a trip down to the tougher side of girl-groupsville.

By MATT MEEK (Ace Records)
Ace Records 2009 CD 17.00 €
VA: - Do-Wah-Diddy words and music by Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry
  2008 CD 18.00 €
VA: - Don't Stop The Music - Pop from The Åland 1965-1971 2CD
pop / beat and rock music 1965-1971 from Åland islands
Riverside Records 2008 CD 20.00 €
VA: - Dream Babes Vol. 2 - Reflections
22 Brit Girls Classics From the 60s
RPM 2001 CD 17.00 €
VA: - Ed Sullivan's Rock'n'Roll Classics Gone Too Soon Groovy Soun
43 min
Eagle Vision 2006 DVD 9.00 €
VA: - El Records - The Legendary B-Sides 2CD
El Records is growing in stature as one of the most collectable of all labels. Vinyl copies of the El singles are becoming increasingly rare making these tracks even harder to find. The CD comes as two discs in one case and was specially compiled by label founder Mike Alway.
El Records 1995 CD 17.00 €
VA: - Elvis Suomessa 2
ELVIS IN FINLAND, AGAIN!

Dozens of songs of Elvis Presley’s repertoire have been recorded in Finland from the beginning of the 60’s and up ‘till these days – both in Finnish and in English. This obviously includes many sides of Elvis’s versatile recording career: rock tunes, ballads, country and movie songs.

The new collection “Elvis in Finland 2” starts with a version of That’s All Right, Mama (Kaikki hyvin mama) by a legendary singer Rauli Somerjoki. This song comes from Elvis’s first and Rauli’s last recording session. Probably the most well-known Elvis movie songs in Finland, Flaming Star (titled Kohtalon tähti) and The Walls Have Ears (Seinillä on korvat) are both naturally included on this cd. Early Finnish rock’n’rollers, like Jussi Raittinen, Rock Jerry and Pekka Loukiala, have their own versions on this collection too.

There are also a couple of rarities on the collection. One of them is Summer Kisses, Winter Tears (Kesän suukot talvi vei) which is the only single release by a singer called Richard. Some fine arrangements can be found as well: an a cappella group Veeti And the Velvets delivers a very nice version of King Creole and the late Tapio Heinonen sings beautifully his version of Mary in the Morning (Kaunein aamuisin).

“Elvis Suomessa – in Finland vol. 2” celebrates the 25th Anniversary Year of The Official Elvis Presley Fan Club of Finland.

Cd includes the following songs in English: Baby Let’s Play House, My Baby Left Me, Don’t Be Cruel, King Creole, Suspicion, Return to Sender and All That I Am.
AXR Music 2010 CD 18.00 €
VA: - Fairytales Can Come True
UK Popsike from the late 60s. Pressed on 180g vinyl.
Psychic Circle LP 15.00 €
VA: - Feeling High - the Psychedelic Sound Of Memphis
Memphis is well known as the birthplace of the blues, the fount of southern soul and the locale that begat rock’n’roll. My colleagues and I have been digging deep in various Memphian vaults over the past decade, but the focus up until now has largely been soul and R&B. Lest we forget, the city boasted a healthy rock scene well into the 1960s and 1970s, but few retrospectives have documented Memphis music in the psychedelic era when, as a major recording centre, it was the nexus not just for local freaks, but those from neighbouring Arkansas, Mississippi and beyond. Big Beat’s “Feeling High – The Psychedelic Sound Of Memphis” shines a welcome light on this long-neglected area, focusing on the years 1967-1969 and principally on the work of two renowned Memphis mavericks.

With a decades-long career as an iconoclastic musical polymath, Jim Dickinson needs little introduction. However, his rarely-discussed apprenticeship as a producer-engineer at Ardent Studios in the late 1960s made Dickinson responsible for many of the wildest and wackiest sessions ever held in Memphis. Some excerpts slipped out at the time on obscure singles on Stax and elsewhere, such as the absurd version of ‘For Your Love’ by Honey Jug. “Whenever anybody came into Ardent, it was obvious who was going to do the crazy stuff, ”Dickinson recounted to me several years ago. The bands he produced there include the pyjama-wearing Kinks-ish Wallabys of Jackson, Mississippi and psychedelic hillbillies Knowbody Else, later to become famous as Black Oak Arkansas.

In contrast, James Parks was a young wet-behind-the-ears punk who took over the control room at uncle Stan Kesler’s Sounds Of Memphis studio in 1968, bringing in his freak friends from counterculture hotspots such as the Bitter Lemon. Parks’ production work included Changin’ Tymes, Mother Roses and Triple X, featuring future country star Gus Hardin, as well as crazoid studio-only experiments such as ‘Rubber Rapper’ and ‘Shoo Shoo Shoo Fly’. There is a palpable air of chaos about much of what Parks produced, which explains why he was unable to place a lot of it at the time – but in hindsight it’s a remarkable cache of work.

Dickinson and Parks represent the outer edge of the Memphis music scene in those years. While the vast majority of tracks on “Feeling High” have not been issued before, their inspired lunacy and a shared willingness to push the envelope make the recorded evidence very special indeed. Local notables such as the Poor Little Rich Kids, 1st Century and Goatdancers share the tracklisting, the sound quality is excellent, and the detailed liner notes spill the beans on this fascinating tributary of the city’s musical legacy. File alongside our “Thank You Friends – The Ardent Records Story” (CDWIK2 273) as another instalment of delicious Memphis madness.



By Alec Palao (Ace Records)
Ace Records 2012 CD 18.00 €
VA: - Found In The Attic Vol. 1
Attic Records 1998 CD 18.00 €
VA: - Found In The Attic Vol. 2
Attic Records 1998 CD 18.00 €
VA: - Found In the Attic Vol. 3
Attic Records 1999 CD 18.00 €
VA: - Get Ready To Fly
26 mindbending late 60s tracks produced by Norman Petty

You’d better fasten your seat belts because once this flight takes off, you’ll never come down!

So you’re wondering why Norman Petty, producer extraordinaire and champion of rockabilly music in the 1950s has his name on a “psychedelic” compilation? The simple answer is that although Petty's main interest and focus was on music that may have been a little tamer, he still had a hand in just about every genre possible. If you were lucky enough to take the trek to Petty’s Clovis, New Mexico studio, Norman would make you sound… GREAT! He took his incredible production, arranging and editing skills and transferred them with amazing precision into the psychedelic realm.

With bands like the Frantics, Hooterville Trolley, Group Axis, Butter Rebellion, Intricate Blend, Apple-Glass Cyndrom and The Cords, how can you go wrong? Get Ready To Fly isn’t just a cameo collection of psychedelic tunes with Petty’s production as the common thread. And although the term “pop-psych” spans a pretty wide realm, this particular collection features a mind-boggling selection of 26 phenomenally-crafted songs with a bit of a hard-edged fuzz appeal. Get Ready To Fly truly doesn’t have a bad cut on it, and the overall quality of the selections is well… unbelievable!

Alec Palao has done it again, culling master tapes from another darkened vault and turning them into a highly polished audio eargasm, equipped with the requisite fuzz guitars, sitars, backwards tracking and haunting vocals required for a 73 minute flight like this. With full access to Petty's archives, the candidate list for this volume was immense, the net result being that about two thirds of the entire collection has never appeared on any compilation before. And about half of those were NEVER even released, just collecting dust in the Petty vaults for almost 40 years.

Get Ready To Fly has something for every lover of late 1960s psychedelic music, whether you're a grizzled collector or a novice, so don’t hesitate for a second to pick this one up. It’s been a long time since a collection this solid has been released.

By Ben Chaput (Ace Records)
Ace Records 2012 CD 18.00 €
VA: - Girls With Guitars
24 tracks 60s girlgroups
Ace Records 2004 CD 17.00 €
VA: - Goin' Home - A Tribute to Fats Domino
2CD = 30 tracks
Emi 2007 CD 23.00 €
VA: - Have You Seen My Baby ? - Ember Sixties Pop Vol. 4
The celebration of the Sixties Pop side of Ember Records continues with the years 1964 to 1966. Have You Seen My Baby? is the fourth instalment of the series following on from Hello My Angel: Ember Sixties Pop Volume 3 (FVCD042).

As well as singles, the label started releasing pop albums in this period and we have concentrated on selections from three fine LPs. The WASHINGTON DC’S gained their only album appearance by supplementing the two sides that the Dave Clark Five had cut for Ember. The LP was titled Dave Clark Five And The Washington DC’s, issued in August 1965. Although Dave Clark has since wisely scooped up his own back catalogue, six excellent performances by the Washington DC’s are reissued here for the first time. RAY SINGER’s January 1966 long-player For Those In Love gathered up five sides from his first three 45s. The third single I’m The Richest Man Alive / Pretty Little Ramblin’ Rose is included here together with four album-only tracks and Over The Weekend from a 1964 EP. A notable bonus is Ray’s previously unreleased version of The Girl Can’t Help It. The very next Ember album issued after Ray Singer was MARCUS TRO’s Introducing Marcus Tro. Six LP-only tracks, two of which showcase Marcus’s songwriting talents, get their first digital release on this compilation. CHAD & JEREMY continued their hit run in America and two of their biggest Willow Weep For Me and If I Loved You are represented in their mono single format. GRANT TRACY had recorded the Mark Wirtz written and produced numbers on this CD for Ember in 1965 but they were not issued at the time.

The original albums are highly collectable (mint copies of Washington DC’s are valued at £30, and both Ray Singer and Marcus Tro at £40 each). Subsequent volumes will carry the story through to the end of the sixties, with further sought-after tracks included. The series is complemented by compilations devoted to beat and rock from the Ember vaults. Recordings are mastered from tape, where available, and booklets illustrated with sleeve and label shots.
Fantastic Voyage 2010 CD 9.00 €
VA: - Heroes Of Pub Rock - Living On The Front Line
Ducks Deluxe, Nick Love, Das Luftwaffegeschaft, The Pirates, Wilko Johnson And Lew Lewis Band, Mick Green
Magnum Music 1994 CD 15.00 €
VA: - Hits Of The 60's 3CD
3CDs = 54 tracks
Pegasus 2001 CD-Box 9.00 €
VA: - Honky Tonk - Charlie Gillett's Radio Picks
had just passed my thirtieth birthday when I got my own radio show in March 1972, being set loose to play pretty much whatever I wanted, Sunday lunchtime on the BBC’s local FM station, Radio London. Just 45 minutes at first, it was fairly soon extended to an hour and then to two hours, broadcast every week until 31 December 1978.

For a while, all I wanted to do was play every great record with rock’n’roll in its blood, many of them rarely, if ever, heard on British radio, and most of them emanating from the southern states of America. In those days, pop music in the UK was played on medium wave stations and this show on FM radio might easily have remained a well-kept secret if it had not been championed by John Collis, radio correspondent for London’s weekly listings magazine Time Out. When John heard the rumour of the show he called up a week or so ahead of the first programme to ask what I was planning to do; it soon became clear that he needed some kind of identity for each programme in order to be able to justify mentioning it on a regular basis.

So I began with a programme of records made in New Orleans and Louisiana, and returned to that region several times, as well as moving west to Texas and even further out to California, north to Memphis and Chicago, and often grouping records with particular themes. I can no longer remember how I ran across every track included here, but probably as many as half of them were tips of one kind or another, while many of the others had been unearthed during the previous five-year period when I was working on a history of popular music, called The Sound Of The City, which traced the emergence and evolution of rock’n’roll out of independently-recorded R&B and country music in the late 1940s and early 50s.

As the grapevine spread, listeners started to get in touch to tell me about records I seemed unaware of, not only obscure originals from the 1940s and 50s, but current artists too. I had a pretty frosty attitude towards a lot of current British pop, even though much of it was made by people my own age and with similar tastes. I never did play T Rex, Roxy Music, Wizzard or Slade but was thrilled to make room for JJ Cale, Jesse Winchester and Delbert McClinton. No coincidence, most of them were from the American South too.

Among the regular listeners were many people who knew far more than I did, some of them dedicated to finding every possible piece of information about the records they liked best – dates and locations of when and where they were recorded, names of any and all sessions musicians and which little label released the record first. Such people can be notoriously possessive of what they have discovered, but I was lucky to be befriended by Bill Millar, John Anderson, Ray Topping, Errol Dixon, Rob Finnis and others, who between them managed to make up for my woeful ignorance and gave me a much better education than I ever had in school or university. As far as I was concerned, Honky Tonk was a shared forum and bulletin board for the music we all revered. One of the greatest surprises was that the programme drew an audience of real live musicians in London, who liked this kind of music themselves, and some of them began to submit their demo tapes.

By Charlie Gillett (ACE RECORDS)
Ace Records 2009 CD 17.00 €
VA: - Immediate Hit Story Vol. 1
15 biisiä
Charly Records 1993 CD 10.00 €
VA: - Immediate Hit Story Vol. 2
16 biisiä
Charly Records 1993 CD 10.00 €
VA: - Immediate Mod Box Set 3CD
3CDs = 50 tracks
Castle Music 2005 CD-Box 25.00 €
VA: - James Burton - The Early Years 1956-1969
The story of James Burton’s early years told in this fine new compilation revolves around fast recognition of his talents by key US musicians who witnessed the teenager’s playing enhancing records with distinctive and memorable licks. A similar recognition occurred in far off North London in 1967 when I began to track down albums on which Burton featured for another precociously talented guitarist, Richard Thompson, who during the early days of Fairport Convention was soaking up so may diverse musical influences. Richard had heard Burton’s playing on some Rick Nelson tracks and enthusiastically asked if I could find as many of Rick’s albums on the Brunswick label as possible. Amongst the ones located were “Spotlight On Rick”, “For You”, “The Very Thought Of You” and possibly the cream of the crop, 1966’s “Bright Lights And Country Music”. It was on the latter that Burton was the only musician name-checked by Rick, a most unusual accolade at that time. Having listened to the album with Richard, a swift return to the shop quickly secured a second copy for my own collection.

James Burton’s story really kicked off with his distinctive playing on Dale Hawkins’ ‘Suzie-Q’ in 1957, though earlier work is included here. Soon after he worked with producer Jimmie Haskell on enhancing key tracks from Bob Luman and Bobby Lee Trammel, but the next step up came when Haskell introduced him to Rick Nelson. Burton was still only 17 in 1958, but immediately became the cornerstone for Rick’s road and recording band as he entered his halcyon hit days. Having such a strong back-up guitarist must have given the shy singer a great deal of added confidence. James Burton was to Rick Nelson as Scotty Moore was to Elvis, and Hank Marvin to Cliff Richard.

With his work with Rick Nelson came credibility within the recording industry, allowing Burton to fully develop a session career that was every bit as important. The 60s saw him working with Lee Hazlewood, the Everly Brothers, Merle Haggard and even Buffalo Springfield on Richie Furay’s ‘A Child’s Claim To Fame’. Along the way he found time to be part of the Shindogs, the house band for the Shindig TV show, and a brace of their released tracks are also included. As Burton acknowledges, it can be quite easy for fans to miss much of his prolific work, including as it did playing with artists such as Nat King Cole, Ray Charles, Sinatra and Elvis. This comp not only begins to tell the story, but also illuminates the darker corners via rare recordings that are so beloved of collectors. A second volume is planned that will take in Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons and Elvis, but for now let’s marvel at Burton’s journey from Shreveport’s Louisiana Hayride house band in 1957 to the later 60s when he was fully established as the guitarist that everybody wanted in their corner.

By Kingsley Abbott (Ace Records)
Ace Records 2011 CD 18.00 €
VA: - Joe Meek's Groups
A follow on compilation to RPMs highly successful Joe Meeks Girls comes this round up of several important group acts on Meeks books. The most notable are the Syndicats whose single Crawdaddy Simone, their last in 1966, is stupidly rare and valued at £300 !!!! Happily RPM can report that the recording on this compilation is taken from the original master tape. The track has its rarity value as an uncommon 'piece of Meek' but also in itself has a reputation for being just about the toughest freakbeat single ever Ray Fenwick's guitar burst in the middle seals it. RPM’s series of Joe Meek collections is the way to make sense of the residual Meek archive, and this package is enhanced by comprehensive notes and pictures courtesy of long time Meek archivist Roger Dopson.
RPM 2001 CD 17.00 €
VA: - Kill Bill Vol. 1 Soundtrack
Kill Bill ykkösen soundtrack
Maverick Recording Company 2003 CD 10.90 €
VA: - Marijuana Unknowns Vol. 1
A collection of late-sixties pop and psych tunes about pot
Stoned Records CD 18.00 €
VA: - More Miles Than Money 2CD
More Miles Than Money: Journeys Through American Music is a book I researched and wrote between 2006-2008. In many ways I’d been waiting my entire life to write More Miles. Growing up in Mt Roskill – a working class suburb of Auckland, New Zealand, where there were no music venues, cinemas, pubs, nothing but churches and rugby fields – I took refuge in Mark Twain and Jack Kerouac’s adventures while AM radio (modelled on US radio) spun hits by Freddy Fender, the Amazing Rhythm Aces, Little Feat et al. I dreamed of escaping Auckland’s suburbs to ride Route 66 and Highway 61, ears and eyes open. Eventually I got to live my dream and More Miles is the story of those travels.

I didn’t know it back then but Kiwi radio was often playing music akin to that which Charlie Gillett played on his Honky Tonk radio show in London. Discovering Charlie’s book The Sound Of The City sent me scouring through secondhand bookstores in search of old copies of Cream, Creem and Let It Rock, where the writings of Charlie and other likeminded journalists appeared. I’d go so far as to say that a feature Charlie wrote on the great New Orleans producer-arranger Harold Battiste (Cream #5, Sept 1971) was what initially inspired me to want to search out the largely unsung heroes of American music.

At the same time as reading Charlie Gillett I was buying US imports on a variety of labels, with Arhoolie being my favourite. Mexican culture fascinated me, especially that which arose from the borderlands, the Tex-Mex/Tejano music. (Blame this on my dad taking me to see Sam Peckinpah’s westerns.) Discovering a bin full of Arhoolie Records in a downtown record shop introduced me to a treasure trove of magical Mexican American music and reading about Arhoolie founder Chris Strachwitz’s efforts to record the finest American vernacular music provided even more inspiration. Later on, Canyon Records would open my ears to how Native American culture celebrated its survival. Around the same time an uncle who loved jazz gave me Curtis Mayfield’s “Superfly” album – he found it too funky for his tastes. Talk about life-changing records: to this day Curtis remains my favourite US soul singer.

I dedicated More Miles Than Money to Charlie, Chris and the indomitable spirit of Curtis Mayfield. Tragically, Charlie died earlier this year. He, like Curtis, lives on as an indomitable spirit and continues to inspire me. This compilation is, again, dedicated to Charlie, Chris and Curtis: the three Cs who helped me hear America.

More Miles Than Money reflects on an America that made the mightiest music of the 20th Century. This compilation aims then to salute those who inspired me to ride US highways and document those I encountered as I wandered through honky-tonks, juke joints and barrios. Enjoy!

By Garth Cartwright (Ace Records)
Ace Records 2010 CD 20.00 €
VA: - Next Stop Is Vietnam - The War On Record 1961-2008
(13-CD set, LP-sized slipcase with 304page hardcover book. 334 tracks, playing time: more than 16h:49min). The most comprehensive anthology of music inspired by the Vietnam War ever released. Over 330 titles covering all facets of the war and its aftermath featuring The Doors, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Country Joe McDonald and dozens of other artists. Rarely heard documentary material including patriotic Public Service Announcements, field news reports and intercepted North Vietnamese radio transmissions of Jane Fonda and Hanoi Hannah. A heavily illustrated, full-colour 304-page book containing extensive artist/song notes, Vietnam War history and recollections by vets on their favourite songs. Two discs of music exclusively by Vietnam veterans. Never-before-released tracks recorded during the war by in-country soldiers. Mister, Where Is Vietnam ...NEXT STOP IS VIETNAM: The War On Record, 1961-2008 is a stunning, years-in-the-making anthology of the Vietnam War's musical legacy. Presented on 13 CDs with a 304-page book illustrated with numerous archival photographs, this collection examines the war in a powerful and unprecedented way. Over 330 music and spoken word tracks take the listener through a guided tour of this epochal period of modern history. From America's first, na‹ve impressions of a country called Vietnam through the spirited musical debate over the morality of the war to the healing meditations on the conflict's lengthy aftermath, this set captures it all and more. Bob Dylan, Joan Baez,Merle Haggard, Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen, Phil Ochs, Johnny Cash, Yoko Ono, John Lennon, The Doors, Country Joe McDonald and dozens of other artists including many Vietnam veterans are the tour guides through this enlightening and entertaining journey. - The full-color book that accompanies the music is packed with information on the songs and the artists who recorded them by music scholar Hugo A. Keesing; a history of the war by Vietnam historian Lois T. Vietri; and an oral history of the tunes that 'incountry' vets loved best by authors Doug Bradley and Craig Werner. The introduction to this remarkable tome is written by the legendary Country Joe McDonald. Strap in for a long and fascinating ride ...NEXT STOP IS VIETNAM.



Bear Family 2010 CD-Box 200.00 €
VA: - Nightmares In Wonderland
limited edition 1000 copies numbered pressing. deluxe gatefold sleeve
Rubble LP 13.00 €
VA: - Nippon Girls
By popular demand, the series kicks off with “Nippon Girls”, a celebration of the female side of Japan’s 1960s pop scene. The LP comprises a dozen highlights from the CD of the same title issued on our Big Beat International logo a couple of years back, one of our recent top sellers. Compiled by DJ Sheila Burgel, a former Tokyo resident, the “Nippon Girls” CD raised a few eyebrows here at Ace HQ, but girl-pop maven Sheila knew what she was doing. The collection drew rave reviews, becoming something of a left-field hit with the club crowd and young hipster types.

Sheila also supplied the fascinating and scholarly liner notes, from which we learn that bikini-clad cover girl Jun Mayuzumi’s ‘Black Room’ “boasts booming bass lines and a dancefloor readiness that’s already caught the ear of freakbeat collectors, while Mie Nakao’s fuzz-rocker ‘Sharock No. 1’ takes ‘Green Onions’ as its template. ‘Tsukikage No Rendezvous’ by Keiko Mari is a tamer affair, with Latin rhythms and cute banter between Mari and her all-male chorus. J Girls were sisters Shinobu and Jun Hazuki. Their ‘Kiiro No Sekai’ was recorded in 1969 but remained under wraps until 1995’s “Cutie Pops Collection”. Reiko Ohara’s ‘Peacock Baby’ was released in 1968 and came in a mouth-watering gatefold sleeve. Mieko Hirota was a music heavyweight, close to Dusty Springfield in the ability to inspire awe with her voice. In the mid-60s, she was paired up with Kyohei Tsutsumi, one of Japan’s greatest pop writer/producers. His love of Anglo-American records is clearly audible on ‘Nagisa No Tenshi’, its backing track not very subtly swiped from ‘Cool Jerk’.”

The second side makes for an equally compelling listen. Opener Rumi Koyama was “a go-go dancer for TV show Beat Pops. Her debut single is rather square, but its jazzy flip ‘Watashi No Inori’ is just the right amount of raw and teenage. A year after the Carnabeats hit paydirt with a reading of the Zombies’ ‘I Love You’, re-titled ‘Suki Sa Suki Sa Suki Sa’, Nana Kinomi included the same song on her album “Let’s Go Nana!” with GS band Leo Beats. You can hear half-American, half-Japanese model Miki Obata struggle to hit the high notes on ‘Hatsu Koi No Letter’, but it’s considered a Japanese girl-pop staple. Ryoko Moriyama’s ‘Ame Agari No Samba’ attests to the high quality of Japanese bossa nova – as laidback and atmospheric as the Brazilian originals it emulated. Former figure skater Ayumi Ishida’s ‘Taiyou Wa Naite Iru’ is total melodrama, a whirlwind of harpsichord and strings. The star of over a hundred films, Sayuri Yoshinaga appealed to the Japanese mainstream with her modest image and ability to leave audiences in floods of tears. Her ‘Koi No Yorokobi’ is the perfect Japanese girl-pop primer – dark yet upbeat, with all-girl chorus the Schoolmates chirping in the background.”

“Nippon Girls” is highly recommended to girl group fanciers, GS groovers and anyone else with a keen ear for eclectic sounds. The LP version sports a zingy gatefold cover by designer Niall McCormack, who also created the 23-inch square poster found tucked inside.



By Mick Patrick (Ace Records)
Ace Records 2013 LP 25.00 €
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