Skip to content

And now a London book launch!

@ Rough Trade West, London W11 early evening on April 6th, book signing and Q&A with band members

More here https://link.dice.fm/W44946c1e532

We’re on NME.com and TheGuardian.com!

Wow! Thank you Rough Trade!

Here it is… and how to order

Official release date is April 1st 2023, but you can pre-order a signed copy now exclusively from Rough Trade using this link

https://www.roughtrade.com/gb/product/simon-wright/its-the-truth-making-the-only-ones/paperback-signed-plus

Press Release For ‘It’s The Truth’

January 18th 2023

New Book: “It’s The Truth – Making The Only Ones” by Simon Wright

The Only Ones were the most important band to emerge in 1977, artistically if not commercially. Their eponymous first LP presents a wonderful sense of possibilities and excitement, of a band standing on the verge of something fantastic. And the presence of Another Girl, Another Planet – ‘arguably the best rock single ever recorded’ according to Allmusic.com – illustrates how not being a hit can extend the shelf life of a song.

Working from new interviews with the band members, Simon Wright documents the formation and early days of this enigmatic group and explains why they never achieved the massive success they deserved. Illustrated with previously unseen photographs, it’s an account of how four musicians from very different backgrounds made an exhilarating LP which grafted punk attitude onto rock ‘n’ roll rootstock. Odds-on that your favourite musician has this LP in their collection: read this book to find out why.

Publication Date: April 1st 2023

Rsp: £12.99

Format: Paperback, 152 pages, 42 illustrations

ISBN 978-1-7392549-0-2

Publisher: Shakspeare Editorial

Quotes from the band about It’s The Truth

‘The long summer of 1976 and the drearier winter of 1977 went past in a flash as we rehearsed the songs and organised the band. Within seven days of meeting Alan Mair we were in the studio, putting down tracks that still sound good today. Simon’s book is a tour d’horizon of a fascinating time in London and the Only Ones place in it.’ John Perry

‘A fascinating look at how The Only Ones got together and in-depth account of recording our first album. Exciting times!’ Alan Mair

‘The best (only?) account of how we formed The Only Ones and recorded our debut LP. Highly recommended.’ Peter Perrett

Biography of Simon Wright

Simon Wright has been a secret punk rocker since 1975 when he was knocked sideways by an early Sex Pistols gig. By day a successful consultant working with sustainable food and drink (and chocolate), by night he is a prolific blogger and vinyl fiend. His previous two books were academic textbooks on the manufacturing and marketing of organic and Fairtrade food and drink. He lives in Wandsworth, where he is part of an urban cider collective.

ENDS

New vinyl releases – Rolling Stones, Kinks, Captain Beefheart

Three new LPs available now from http://www.1960s.london

Side One

  1. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (Jagger, Richard)       
  2. As Tears Go By (Jagger, Richard)       
  3. 19th Nervous Breakdown (Jagger, Richard)                 
  4. I Am Waiting (Jagger, Richard)           
  5. Under My Thumb (Jagger, Richard)                 
  6. Paint It, Black (Jagger, Richard)            
  7. 19th Nervous Breakdown (Jagger, Richard)                
  8. Mercy, Mercy (Covay, Miller)                                       

Side Two

  1. Paint It, Black (Jagger, Richard)                                                      
  2. Lady Jane (Jagger, Richard)                 
  3. Have You Seen You Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?  (Jagger, Richard)               
  4. The Last Time (Jagger, Richard)         
  5. She Said Yeah (Jackson, Christy) 
  6. Play With Fire (Jagger, Richard)          
  7. Time Is On My Side (Meade)         
  8. I’m Alright  (McDaniel)        
  9. Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow? (Jagger, Richard)                

Recording Details

Side One, Tracks 1-3 recorded for The Ed Sullivan Show, New York City, February 13th

Side One  Tracks 4-6 recorded for UK TV Ready Steady Go, Studio One, Wembley, May 27th 

Side One, Track 7 recorded for the UK TV ABC The Eamonn Andrews Show, February 6th

Side One Track 8 and Side Two Tracks 4 – 8 recorded at L’Olympia, Paris for RTL Radio on March 29th (First Show) and broadcast live on French radio Musicorama (Europe 1)

Side Two Tracks 1-3 recorded for The Ed Sullivan Show, New York City, September 11th

Side Two Track 9 recorded for BBC TV Top Of The Pops 5th on December 17th and broadcast on December 22nd

Sound Quality

The songs recorded for The Ed Sullivan Show and Ready Steady Go! are all Very Good. The tracks recorded for Musicorama, The Eamon Andrews Show and Top Of The Pops are listenable but not of the same high quality as the other material.

Personnel

Mick Jagger – lead vocals

Brian Jones – guitar, sitar, dulcimer, marimba

Keith Richard – guitar, piano, vocals

Bill Wyman – bass

Charlie Watts – drums, percussion

Sleevenotes

“1966: Unholy Rollers On The Road” Roy Carr

By 1966 the songwriting partnership of Jagger / Richard – honed through writing pop songs for other acts – was now producing razor-sharp singles on a regular basis. Bringing these into the live act meant diching most of the cover versions that the band had previously relied upon. The tracks selected for this LP combine the best of the Stones new material with a few older classics.

For television programmes in 1966 the band performed with a pre-recorded backing track. In the UK Top Of The Pops initially required bands to mime to their records. In the summer of 1966, after discussion with the Musicians Union, miming was banned. After some weeks of bands attempting to play their records live with variable results  a compromise was introduced where a specially recorded backing track was produced over which live vocals could be sung. It was not unknown for the original studio backing track to replace the specially-recorded version. In the US the reason for playback – bands performing with a live vocal over to a pre-recorded backing track – was more about delivering a better quality sound and ensuring shows ran to time. But even the use of a pre-recorded backing track could not prevent The Who’s September 1967 appearance on the Smothers Brothers TV show from descending into total anarchy. The honourable exception to playback was Ready Steady Go where by the time of the Stones appearance in May 1966 it was common practice for bands to perform completely live. Radio broadcasts such as the one here from L’Olympia were also performed live, which means the atmosphere provided by a rabid audience adds a lot.

Ed Sullivan introduces the opening performance of (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction as for “all the youngsters in the country and Canada” and certainly the youngsters in the audience are entranced, even if Charlie Watts is not. Just Mick and Keith appear for a rare acoustic version of As Tears Go By which can just about be heard over the screams. The full band are back in imperious form for 19th Nervous Breakdown, Bill Wymans’ dive-bombing bass runs to the fore. Appearing on Ready Steady Go in May the choice of LP-track I Am Waiting was unexpected: it received a sensitive interpretation with Keith on acoustic guitar and Brian on dulcimer, and even a brief glimpse of Sixth Stone Ian Stewart. Under My Thumb returned us to more familiar up-tempo territory with Brian emphasising his versatility by playing the marimba, moving to sitar for Paint It, Black. Talking to Andy Neill director Michael Lindsay-Hoog cites the latter as his favourite Stones RSG appearance. “I’d had this idea that after every verse we’d take out a bank of lights in the studio and by the end, it would just be a light on Mick alone and the rest of the place in darkness. What also makes it great is that you can’t hear Mick singing at the fade, his mike lead had gotten kicked out, but you can hear the music going on and this kind of raga beat. The whole thing is really mysterious…” . A second version of 19th Nervous Breakdown was preceded on The Eamon Andrews Show by an excruciating discussion with Jagger as to lyrical meaning and social comment.

The Stones second 1966 appearance on Ed Sullivan produces even more screams. Paint It, Black again features Brian Jones playing a sitar cross-legged, and despite a truly appalling haircut Jagger is in fine form vocally. Lady Jane provides an acoustic interlude, Brian on dulcimer and chalk-stripe suit. Charlie stands up to play vibes, or possibly tries to hide an ill-advised moustache. Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Hiding In The Shadow? restores the Stones raunch. Keith pretends to play piano and provides his characteristic backup vocals. Paris was always a Stones stronghold as shown by the four tracks from a March appearance at L’Olympia. Mercy, Mercy is a mid-paced stroll through the Don Covay classic that allows Jagger to deploy his falsetto. The Last Time is greeted by extensive screams, whilst She Said Yeah is brief but effective with call and response vocals. The more reflective Play With Fire is a brave choice under the circumstances, Jagger’s testifying on Time Is On My Side fares better with a by-now totally bonkers crowd really letting loose on Crawdaddy-era rabble rouser I’m Alright. Finally a further rendition of Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Hiding In The Shadow? taken from BBC TV brings the year to a close.

1966 was a highly productive year for the Stones who released four brilliant singles and the chart-topping LP Aftermath, with every song credited to Jagger/Richards. Live concerts were rapturously received over several continents. And Mick bought Keith a large motor lawn mower from Selfridges. Only England’s soccer team could claim to have had a better 1966…but the Stones had better songs than World Cup Willie!

Sleevenotes: Chyna Lyte

Side One

1.Top Of The Pops
2.You’re Looking Fine
3. Muswell Hillbilly
4. Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues
5. Holiday (Take 2)
6. Alcohol (Take 1)
7. Brainwashed

Side Two

1.Lola (with false start)
2. Mr Wonderful
3. Skin And Bone (Take 4)
4.You Really Got Me /   

5. All Day And All Of The Night

6. Alcohol (Take 2)
7. Skin And Bone (Take 1)
8. Holiday (Take 1)

All sings written by Raymond Douglas Davies except Side Two, Track Two written by Jerry Bock, George David Weiss and Larry Holofcener

Recording details

Recorded live on April 12th 1972 for German TV ARD-1 Beat Club, Bremenandbroadcast on May 27th

Personnel

Ray Davies – lead vocals, guitar

Dave Davies – lead guitar, vocals

Mick Avory – drums

John Dalton – bass, vocals

John Gosling – keyboards

Mike Cotton – trumpet

John Beecham – trombone

Alan Holmes – saxophone, clarinet

Sleevenotes

After their amazing run of mid-sixties hit singles the Kinks became becalmed commercially, if not artistically. The June 1970 release of the single Lola put the Kinks firmly back in the international spotlight, reaching number 2 in the UK and number 9 in the US. The Lola album contained our opening number, the tribute/satire Top Of The Pops. Visually the band may have changed – satin jackets, beards, long hair, garish flares) – but Ray Davies had retained his acerbic wit.  Here was a band that had been shafted repeatedly by the music industry and was prepared to make a concept album about it. The fine rocker You’re Looking Fine first appeared on the Face To Face LP in 1966 where it was sung by “Dave (Death Of A Clown) Davies”, as he is introduced here by his brother. The source of the next four songs is Muswell Hillbillies (August 1971), the first LP recorded for RCA. Muswell Hillbilly itself demonstrates Ray’s affinity for country music in general and Johnny Cash in particular. Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues features the Mike Cotton Sound, three brass-playing musicians who became an increasingly significant part of the Kinks live sound, more Acker Bilk than Memphis Horns. A delicate piano introduction from John “The Baptist” Goslingintroduces Holiday. Onstage Alcohol would develop into a protracted sermon on the dangers of booze, delivered by a frequently-inebriated Ray Davies: this version is relatively compact and accompanied by the band necking bottles of German lager. Brainwashed is an engaging diatribe from the Arthur LP (1969). Here the brass section really works, reinforcing Dave’s guitar riff and driving the song along.

The first hit single to explicitly mention a transgender encounter, Lola starts gently with Ray singing softly, omitting the crashing opening chords of the recorded version. The band enters for the first verse, lead by the piano of John Gosling with Ray and Dave harmonising throughout. The fragment of Mr.Wonderful that follows is a taste of what was to come, particularly in the US, where  Ray and his live audience would engage in lengthy mutual adoration. Skin And Bone is the last track from Muswell Hillbilly, here in a cool rockabilly arrangement driven by Gosling’s piano and Dave’s guitar. A rousing medley of You Really Got Me and All Day Of The Night highlights the band’s way with a guitar riff, ably supported by Gosling’s organ and strong backing vocals from Dave Davies and John Dalton. Recording without an audience gives this session a loose nature allowing us to present multiple takes of Holiday, Alcohol and Skin And Bone so that you can pick your favourite. Ray opines that the first take of Alcohol was the best – do you agree?

What happened next was that Ray turned his attention towards America. A ban by the American Federation of Musicians for “unprofessional conduct” meant that Kinks were unable to tour the US after 1965.  When the ban was lifted in 1970 the band were keen to make up for lost time. Their next LP Everybody’s In Show-Biz…would besteeped in American references. Eventually Ray would move to the US and achieve the commercial success he had always craved. But in 1972 the Kinks still retained much of the approach that made them the most distinctive and uncompromising British pop group to emerge from the slipstream of the Beatles. It would not last much longer, so treasure what we have here.

The Kinks stood aside, watching with sardonic amusement, the pop world chasing its own tail – and they turned out some of the most quirky, intelligent, grown-up and totally personal records in the history of British pop. Their trouble (or perhaps their strength would be more accurate) was their non-conformism, their refusal to join the club. They were, and are, hugely underrated in consequence. “ George Melly, Revolt Into Style (1970)

Sleevenotes: Mr. Pleasant

Side One

  1. Yellow Brick Road (Bermann, Van Vliet)
  2. Abba Zabba (Van Vliet)
  3. Sure ‘Nuff ‘N Yes I Do (Bermann, Van Vliet)
  4. Electricity (Bermann, Van Vliet)
  5. Beatle Bones ‘n’ Smokin’ Stones (Van Vliet)
  6. Safe As Milk (Van Vliet)
  7. Kandy Korn (Van Vliet)

Side Two

  1. Trust Us (Van Vliet)
  2. Steal Softly Thru Snow (Van Vliet)
  3.  Click Clack  (Van Vliet)
  4. Golden Birdies (Van Vliet)
  5. I’m Gonna Booglarize You Baby (Van Vliet)

Recording Details

Side One, Tracks 1-4 recorded for BBC Top Gear on 24th January 1968 , broadcast February 4th

Side One, Tracks 5-7 and Side Two Track 1 recorded for BBC Top Gear on 6th May 1968 , broadcast May 12th

Side Two, Tracks 2-5 recorded for Beat Club, Radio Bremen on May 12th 1972, broadcast on German television channel ARD

Sound Quality

On Side Two Tracks 2-5 are of very good sound quality. The remaining tracks are recorded off air but are still thoroughly listenable.

Personnel

Captain Beefheart  – vocals, harmonica, saxophone

Side One Tracks 1 – 7, Side Two Track 1

John French  – drums

Alex St.Clair  – lead guitar

Jerry Handley – bass

Jeff Cotton – guitar

Side Two, Tracks 2 – 5

Bill Harkleroad (Zoot Horn Rollo) – guitar

Mark Boston (Rockette Morton) – guitar

Eliiot Ingber (Winged Eel Fingerling) – guitar

Roy Estrada (Orejon) – bass

Arthur Tripp III (Ed Marimba) – drums and percussion

Sleevenotes

Born Don Glen Vliet, Captain Beefheart was one of the key performers to emerge from the late 1960s underground scene. He was cited as a key influence by artists as varied as Paul McCartney, John Lennon, John Lydon, Howard Devoto, Joe Strummer, Devo and Pere Ubu. Particular praise has been heaped on the 1969 double LP Trout Mask Replica, described by his friend the writer Lester Bangs as “four sides of discordant yet juicy swampbrine jambalaya roogalator.” Writing for The Village Voice in 1980, Bangs offered this description of Beefheart’s importance. “There are some of us who think he is one of the giants of 20th-century music, certainly of the postwar era. He sings in seven and a half octaves, and his style has been compared to Howlin’ Wolf and several species of primordial beasts. His music, which he composes for ensemble and then literally teaches his bands how to play, is often atonal but always swings in a way that little rock ever has. I hear Delta blues, free jazz, field hollers, rock’n’roll and lately something new that I can’t put my finger on but relates somehow to what they call ‘serious’ music.”

One of Captain Beefheart’s earliest supporters was John Peel. Peel had first heard the band whilst working as a DJ for Radio KMEN in California in 1966. Beefheart’s record company subsequently invited him to see The Magic Band supporting Them at The Whisky A Go Go on Sunset Strip. Back in the UK Peel was keen to feature them on his BBC radio show, which he did – twice – in 1968. In his book In Session Tonight, Ken Garner relates that “Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band were in the UK on tour and Peel was keen to get them in. Unfortunately, as Americans, they fell foul of the then Ministry of Labour rules on work permits. In support of the Musicians Union, the Ministry stipulated that only musicians offered reciprocal bookings for British acts could play at the BBC. As American radio didn’t do live sessions, no American bands could be recorded in the UK. Solo artists could be booked, if backed by British musicians. But Beefheart had an all-American band. Peel producer Bernie Andrews persuaded the Ministry that, as the name suggests, this was a touring band of magicians. They got permission, as a ‘Variety’ act.

Four selections from Safe As Milk still sound extraordinary today. Yellow Brick Road is relatively melodic, built around the refrain “keep on walking and don’t look back” with the Captain on harmonica. A slow and deliberate Bo Diddley beat underpins Abba Zabba which also includes a bass solo. DuringSure ‘Nuff ‘n’ Yes I DoDave Tate, the engineer, remembers having to suspend a mike over Beefheart, who insisted on singing lying on his back. Bernie Andrews remembers Beefheart being entranced by the sound made by the control cubicle light switch. ‘Oh isn’t that great’, he said, switching the fluorescents on and off for three or four minutes.” Fittingly the final track from the session isElectricity.

The second Peel session was to promote the Strictly Personal LP. Beatle Bones ‘n’ Smoking Stones features an idiosyncratic Beefheart vocal, apparently critical of the Beatles “Strawberry Feels Forever”. Safe As Milk was not included on the LP of the same name but has a more orthodox melody and rhythm. Beefheart’s hymn to Kandy Korn concludes with some intricate guitar interplay. Finally Trust Us is built around a hypnotic riff which the band and Beefheart keep returning to over its considerable length.

It was a very different Magic Band that recorded four tracks for the Beat Club TV programme four years later. An all new line-up was rendered anonymous by the extravagant stage names that Beefheart had bestowed. Steal Softly Thru Snow is an instrumental that emphasises the dexterity of the rhythm section and some frantic Beefheart blowing. The Captain switches to harmonica on Click Clack, sounding like something Ry Cooder might have contributed to Performance.A brief Golden Birdies features a Beefheart spoken word vocal. Finally I’m Gonna Booglarize You allows the three guitarists to stretch out, providing a suitably angular backdrop for some Beefheart vocal improvisation. NME journalist Nick Kent witnessed this line up play Brighton Dome in March 1972 and was suitably gobsmacked. “As soon as the first  notes were struck, time stood still. Music like this had never been heard before – or since. There was a genuinely superhuman power coming out of the PA system. None of us could believe we were hearing music this visceral and dementedly alive. You could practically see the electricity coursing through their instruments and taste the phlegm bubbling in Beefheart’s larynx. He wasn’t kidding when he called them the Magic Band.

Sleevenotes: Debra Kadabra

Jeff Beck Group In Concert For The BBC 1972

Our latest LP arrived back from the pressing plant the day after the sad news of Jeff Beck’s death was announced. We had actually finished work on this release in August 2022 . We present it now as a tribute to a great and well-loved musician: as always we will be paying full songwriting royalties and licensing our photography. Available now from www. 1960s.london

Side One

  1. Ice Cream Cakes (Beck)
  2. Morning Dew (Dobson) /
  3. Going Down (Nix)
  4. New Ways / Train Train (Beck)

Side Two

  1. Definitely Maybe (Beck)
  2. Ain’t No Sunshine (Withers)
  3. Got The Feeling (Beck)
  4. Let Me Love You (Beck, Stewart)

Recording Details

All tracks recorded live for BBC radio In Concert at the Paris Theatre, London on June 29th 1972

Sound Quality

Excellent throughout

Personnel

Jeff Beck – guitar

Cozy Powell – drums

Max Middleton – keyboards

Clive Chaman – bass

Bob Tench – vocals, guitar

Sleevenotes

Having documented Jeff Beck’s activities in 1967 (R&B28) and 1968 (R&B86) we now turn our attention to 1972 and the second incarnation of The Jeff Beck Group.   Following an enforced period of inactivity caused by a car accident – immortalised in the Faces’ song Rear Wheel Skid – Beck put together an entirely new group. Max Middleton on keyboards brought a more jazzy feel to the band, whilst the addition of drummer Cozy Powell ensured a powerful beat. Replacing Rod Stewart on vocals proved more of a challenge. After a false start with Alex Ligertwood, Beck settled on the relatively unknown Bob Tench. This line up would record two LPs, Rough And Ready (released October 1971) and Jeff Beck Group (May 1972). There was also an LP of cover versions recorded at the Motown studios in Detroit which was never released due to Beck’s unhappiness with the results.

Rolling Stone magazine gave this version of The Jeff Beck Group a mixed reception. Rough And Ready was described by Stephen Davies as “a surprisingly fine piece of work from a man who wasn’t really expected to come back.” John Mendelsohn was a lot less impressed with Jeff Beck Group. Although he describes Beck as a “peerless rock and roll guitarist” he criticises the record by saying that Beck “showcases his brilliantly idiosyncratic instrumental style in the context of a band upon which he himself has imposed severe stylistic restrictions.”

Opening number Ice Cream Cakes performed the same function on Jeff Beck Groupand features a lyrical solo from Beck, the song ending with a call-and-response session between Beck and Middleton. Morning Dew provides a comparison with the first Jeff Beck Group who recorded a cover of this Bonnie Dobson song on their Truth LP (1968). Vocally Tench is less prominent than Rod Stewart but Middleton’s acoustic piano underpins the song effectively. Eventually the band drop away to leave Middleton playing unaccompanied which provides the bridge into Going Down.This song was written by Memphis musician Don Nix for his band Moloch: after Beck recorded it for Jeff Beck Group it would be covered by many other groups including Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, the Who and the Rolling Stones. Don Nix later admitted that the song was autobiographical, detailing how he fell out of a two-storey window and landed in a rubbish bin. The lengthy New Ways / Train Train medley features a short solo from Powell, followed by a duet with Beck and Tench singing a snatch of the venerable Plynth.

Side two starts with an extended Definitely Maybe, an elegant instrumental before it was an Oasis LP. Ain’t No Sunshine was never released on a Jeff Beck Group LP, a missed opportunity since this Bill Withers song is well suited to Tench’s vocal style. Middleton switches to electric piano for a more soulful feel. Got The Feeling gives Chaman the chance to solo and showcases Beck’s dexterity on wah wah. Finally an up-tempo Let Me Love You again harks back to Truth. Beck echoes Tench’s vocal line whilst the audience sing and clap along before a stinging Beck solo brings the song and the concert to a rousing conclusion.

Soon after this concert Beck’s management announced that the second Jeff Beck Group was no more. Apparently “the fusion of the musical styles of the various members has been successful within the terms of individual musicians, but they didn’t feel it had led to the creation of a new musical style with the strength they had originally sought.” What had actually happened was that the rhythm section of Vanilla Fudge had become available allowing the ever-restless Beck to form a power trio with Tim Bogert on bass and drummer Carmin Appice. Many other collaborations with other musicians followed and even today Beck seeks out new sounds and new musical partnerships, of which Johnny Depp is the most recent. But there never was another Jeff Beck Group.

Sleevenotes: Raine Parc-Biloux

Why bands should self-destruct after 4 years

My letter published in the new edition of Record Collector magazine (January 2023)

Dear RC

Luke Haines’column about bands having an Imperial Phase got me checking my record collection and he is right! I think some bands have extended the three years he cites by a year – think the Stones run of LPs from Beggars Banquet in ’68 to Exiles in ’72, or the Kinks going from Face To Face in ’66 to Lola in ’70. The only exception to the Four Year Rule is the Flamin Groovies whose Imperial phase runs from Flamingo in ’70 to Jumpin’ In The Night ’79. The explanation here is two separate Imperial  phases – their Stones phase in 1970- 1973 and their Beatles phase 1976-79.

The logical conclusion of this approach is that bands should self-destruct no later than 4 years after they make their first great record, which would save everyone a lot of time and money.

All the best 

Simon Wright

The Rise And Fall Of The Little LP

Article printed in Record Collector magazine for January 2023

The Stones did it, the Beatles did it, the Yardbirds did it, The Kinks did it. The Small Faces did it beautifully, but only in France. What they did was release EPs – Extended Play 7” vinyl, the size of a single but typically with four tracks which played at 45 rpm. Many EPs had tracks unavailable elsewhere as well as very cool picture sleeves and are now highly sought after – check out current prices for Five Yardbirds or Kwyet Kinks. The heyday of the vinyl EP was 1963 to 1967 although there were sporadic attempts to resurrect the format during pub rock and punk rock, resulting in classic releases like The Count Bishops’ Speedball and Eddie And The Hot Rods Live At The Marquee.   

I had always assumed that the USA was immune to the appeal of the Extended Play but two recent additions to my collection have proved me wrong. First was a six-track version of Todd Rundgren’s Something / Anything? double vinyl LP and more recently the four best tracks from The J.Geils Band’s Bloodshot. Both releases come in picture sleeves that are a miniature version of the LP sleeve and both were released by Little LP’s Unlimited. Intrigued, I began to dig around. 

Courtesy of the excellent Both Sides Now Stereo Newsletter (BSN) I I discovered that the term “Little LP” was applied for the first time to six releases from the back catalogue of Cadence Records. Each contained six tracks with a maximum playing time of about eight minutes per side at 33 1/3 rpm. All six were released in October 1961and flopped but encouraged Mercury to put out ten titles the following month, albeit with a similar lack of success. Enter the Seeburg jukebox company, who according to the BSN website “liked the idea of Little LPs, but wanted them in stereo to play in a jukebox they had planned. In September 1962 they began to tease the industry about a new juke box that would be ‘revolutionary’. The curtain was unveiled later in September on their new stereo jukebox console which could play Little LPs and had places to display album covers for them. Seeburg pointed out that jukeboxes had largely become fixtures in adult rather than teenage venues, and Little LPs with adult content such as easy listening or country would sell very well in bars and other adult meeting spaces.” Even before the new jukebox was available Seeburg had signed up sixteen major labels including Columbia, Decca, London, Mercury and RCA-Victor. By January 1963 the catalogue comprised 233 Little LPs, with sales of more than 200,000 units by 1964. From this initial run, sought after releases include Surfer Girl, Shut Down, Volume 2, Today! And Best Of (The Beach Boys) plus Meet The Beatles, The Beatles Second Album and Something New (The Beatles) with some achieving price tags of £200 plus.

By 1967 there were 1000 Little LPs in the catalogue but Seeburg found it hard to run the business in addition to its core juke box business so Little LPs were sold to Garwin Sales who in turn sold the business to Baskase. By 1970 there were virtually no new releases, but in the spring of that year two new businesses were formed to market Little LPs, and this is where rock’n’roll really enters the picture. Company number one was Gold Mor from New Jersey who would release 57 titles by January 1973. Company number two was Little LP’s Unlimited from Illinois who were more productive, releasing 134 titles by May 1973. The two companies agreed that big hits did not belong on Little LPs, because they were already on the juke box. Hence the Little LP for Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water did not include the title track. However the two newcomers disagreed on design. While Gold Mor felt the covers should accurately reflect the full-colour parent LP cover, Little LP’s Unlimited did not think colour covers were important, so their Little LPs had monochrome covers from the start, as you can see from my J.Geils and Todd Rundgren releases. 

In 1971 Seeburg started producing jukeboxes that would not play at 33 1/3 rpm. It was the beginning of the end for Little LPs. In an attempt to boost sales Little LP’s Unlimited started issuing quadrophonic releases but quadrophonic jukeboxes were rare: by 1976 there were no further releases of Little LPs from either label. 

A search on Discogs shows that many of the Little LP’s are now highly collectable. These include Déjà Vu (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young), Tumbleweed Connection and Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player (Elton John), Four and Houses Of The Holy (Led Zeppelin), Burn (Deep Purple), Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (Black Sabbath), Aqualung (Jethro Tull), American Beauty (Grateful Dead), Brothers And Sisters (Allman Brothers Band), Countdown To Ecstasy and Pretzel Logic (Steely Dan), The Smoker You Drink…(Joe Walsh), Billion Dollar Babies and Muscle Of Love (Alice Cooper), In The Right Place (Dr. John) and Harvest (Neil Young). Most sought after (and highest priced) is a 1972 four track distillation of the Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main Street which has sold for £295. All these releases came with a monochromatic sleeve and sometimes with a strip of juke box labels. The full colour picture sleeves adorning Gold Mor‘s releases included a very desirable Goats Head Soup taster (Rolling Stones) plus There’s A Riot Goin’ On (Sly and the Family Stone), Santana (Santana) and There Goes Rhymin’ Simon (Paul Simon), this last one in Quadrophonic sound. 

If you agree that the 7” vinyl single is the sexiest art-form ever created then you need some of these small but perfectly formed releases in your collection. Less Is More. Go Little.

New Vinyl Releases From The Rolling Stones, Faces, Family, Jimi Hendrix with Dusty Springfield

Order now from http://www.1960s.london

Rolling Stones – Live in The USA 1972

Side One

  1. Brown Sugar
  2. Bitch
  3. Gimme Shelter
  4. Happy
  5. Tumbling Dice

Side Two

  1. Sweet Virginia
  2. You Can’t Always Get What You Want
  3. All Down The Line
  4. Rip This Joint
  5. Uptight  (Everything’s Alright)  / 
  6. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

All songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards except Side Two, Track 5 written by Stevie Wonder, Sylvia Moy and Henry Cosby

Recording Details

All tracks recorded live on tour and broadcast by Radio WMMS (Cleveland) on August 11th 1972

Side One

Tracks 1- 3 and 5 Spectrum Sports Arena, Philadelphia –  20th July

Track 4 Tarant Convention Centre, Fort Worth, Texas –  24th June, First Show

Side Two

Track 1 Spectrum Sports Arena, Philadelphia – 21st July, First Show

Tracks 2  & 3 Hofheinz Pavilion, Houston , Texas 25th June, First Show

Track 4 Tarant Convention Centre, Fort Worth, Texas 24th June, First Show

Tracks 5 & 6 Spectrum Sports Arena, Philadelphia – 20th July

Sound Quality

Excellent throughout, Side Two, Track 6 is Very Good

Personnel

Mick Jagger: vocals and harmonica

Keith Richards: guitar, vocals

Mick Taylor: guitar

Charlie Watts: drums

Bill Wyman: bass

Nicky Hopkins: piano

Bobby Keys: saxophone

Jim Price: trumpet, trombone

Additional personnel  on Side Two, Tracks 5 & 6 only

Stevie Wonder: vocal, piano

Ray Parker Jr: guitar

Ollie E. Brown: drums

Steve Madaio: trumpet

Ralph E. Hammer: guitar

Denny  Morouse; saxophone

Keith Stevens: congas

Sleevenotes

This tour is going to go down as the rock’n’roll tour of all time

Roy Hollingworth, Melody Maker, July 29th 1972

The Rolling Stones seventh tour of North America was subtitled STP, standing for either Stones Touring Party or 2,5-dimethoxy-4-methyl-amphetamine. They played 51 shows at 32 venues to almost 750,000 fans: they could have played to several million such was ticket demand. The tour grossed $4 million, making it the richest rock tour to date. Bill Graham said “they are the biggest draw in the history of mankind”, but then he was the Stones’ promoter. The tour was extensively documented through Robert Greenfield’s excellent book Stones Touring Party, the concert filmLadies & Gentlemen The Rolling Stones and most controversially by a warts-and-all tour documentary Cocksucker Blues. The latter was directed by Robert Frank and was a film verité depiction of boredom, sexual misbehaviour, rampant narcotic abuse and hotel room destruction interspersed with occasional glimpses of exhilarating live music. Frank’s film never got an official release, although excerpts were included in the 25 x 5 Continuing Adventures Of The Rolling Stones video.

The Stones intended to release a double LP from the tour, shared between themselves and support act Stevie Wonder. Gigs in Texas were recorded by Andy Johns using the Record Plant Mobile, and soundboard recordings were made of gigs in Philadelphia and New York and these recordings provide the material for this LP. Cover slicks for the projected LP exist but the release was halted because of issues over material that had previously been recorded for Decca and ABKCO. The Great Unreleased Stones Live Album has passed into Stones mythology, but there is little consensus as to which tracks would have been included. However the eleven track selection aired by Cleveland’s Radio WMMS makes for a fine sounding summary of the Stones onstage.

Brown Sugar was the set opener and sounds fresh, its highly incorrect lyric predating all types of -isms. Bobby’s good tonight. Bitch uses the brass section to punctuate the riff. Jagger goes “OK Keith you got it” and he had. There is even a short interlude of drum and bass as Wyman and Watts play unaccompanied which sounds glorious before Richards takes us back to the song. The intro to Gimme Shelter  features intricate guitars interlaced with Hopkins immaculate piano, before Taylor takes a series of concise but lyrical solos. Charlie drives an uptempo Happy with Keith singing the verses solo and Mick helping out on the choruses. By contrast Tumbling Dice  is performed at a languid strut which allows the piano and the brass to co-exist  with the duelling guitars of Richards and Taylor. Charlie picks up the beat after the mid-song breakdown and instinctively the audience clap along.

Sweet Virginia provides a welcome acoustic respite. Jagger replaces “California” in the lyric with “Philadelphia” to predictable acclaim, Charlie does so much with so little, Nicky shines and Bobby blows. You Can’t Always Get What You Want now has Jim Price’s trumpet over its introduction: Hopkins’ restraint gives Mick Taylor’s Les Paul the space to stretch out. The Jagger / Richards ‘harmonies’ work well here. All Down The Line is the perfect blend of raunch and precision and features Taylor on slide. Rip This Joint is taken at a furious pace but somehow Jagger still manages to fit in all the words. Finally, one of the most exciting four and half minutes committed to celluloid. On a very full stage Wonder leads an amalgamation of the Stones and members of his band Wonderlove through Uptight which he summarises as  “funky funky funky”. Jagger then helps Wonder from his piano to centre stage where they duet on Satisfaction before the substantial brass section brings the song home. The songs fit together so well, possibly because Uptight was Wonder’s response to the driving beat of Satisfaction

The Stones structured the act to a finale that, in retrospect is hard to believe. The crowd was blowing its mind with the excitement of it all. Then suddenly it ended.” Globe and Mail, Toronto, July 1972

With thanks to Nico Zentgraf

Sleevenotes: Princess Radish and Truby

The Faces Live BBC3 1971-72

Side One 

1.     Had Me A Real Good Time (Lane, Stewart, Wood)

2.     Love In Vain (Johnson)

3.     Maybe I’m Amazed (McCartney)

4.     Browned Off (Wood, McLagan, Lane, Jones)  

Side Two

1.     Tell Everyone (Lane)

2.    Sweet Lady Mary (Lane, Stewart, Wood)

3.  (I Know I’m) Losing You (Grant, Holland, Whitfield)

4.  Stay With Me (Wood, Stewart)

Recording Details

Side One Tracks 1-4  recorded for BBC Radio Sounds Of the 70s on April 20th and transmitted May 3rd  1971

Side Two Tracks 1 & 2 recorded for BBC TV Disco Two on April 22nd1971and broadcast the same day

Side Two Tracks 3 & 4 recorded for BBC Radio In Concert onFebruary 17th and transmitted on February 26th 1972

Sound Quality

Excellent throughout

Personnel

Rod Stewart – lead and backing vocals

Ronnie Lane – bass, backing vocals, lead vocals

Ron Wood – lead guitar, slide guitar, backing vocals

Ian McLagan – Hammond organ, pianos, backing vocals

Kenney Jones – drums and percussion

Sleevenotes

Our previous compilations of Faces broadcast material from 1970 and 1971 have been well received, so we are delighted to present a further volume of performances from 1971 and 1972

In April 1971 the band recorded a four-song session for the late night BBC radio programme Sounds Of The Seventies, on this occasion presented by DJ Bob Harris. By now Had Me A Real Good Time was the Face’s signature tune, its exuberance and mid-song Auld Lang Syne breakdown summarising their raucous live act. Love In Vain is effectively a cover of a cover. Originally written by blues pioneer Robert Johnson the track featured on the Rolling Stones live LP ‘Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!’. The Faces used to play Ya-Ya’s to get their adrenalin going before taking the stage, so it is unsurprising that this version is in thrall to the Stones. Ronnie Wood matches Stewart’s impassioned vocal with a series of excellent solos which demonstrate his considerable ability on slide guitar. Another cover is Paul McCartney’s Maybe I’m Amazed. A studio version was a surprisingly unsuccessful single, but the song still became a key song in the Faces live set. As always Ronnie Lane sings the first verse before Stewart weighs in. Finally we have Browned Off which would eventually be given the extended title Oh Lord I’m Browned Off when it appeared as a US single B side in 1971. Mac’s Hammond organ drives this instrumental, reminiscent of Pineapple And The Monkey from the Faces first LP.

Disco 2 was a BBC2 television music show that ran between January 1970 and July 1971. It was the successor to Colour Me Pop and the forerunner of The Old Grey Whistle Test. The Faces appeared twice, in March 1970 and April 1971. From the latter show comes a charming version of Ronnie Lane’s Tell Everyone, here sung by Stewart. Sweet Lady Mary also benefits from a restrained Stewart vocal and some Ronnie Wood pedal steel.

Finally two tracks recorded for In Concert in early 1972 and introduced by staunch Faces supporter John Peel. (I Know I’m) Losing You first appeared on Rod Stewart’s solo LP Every Picture Tells A Story, this track using the Faces as his backing band. Originally recorded by The Temptations, it had been part of Stewart’s repertoire since his stint with Jeff Beck in 1967. The song was now a crucial part of the Faces live set, providing Kenney Jones with a rare opportunity for a drum solo and enabling the rest of the band to break for ‘refreshments’. We close with Stay With Me, the Faces first bona-fide hit single.Ronnie Lane had suggested Glyn Johns as a producer but initially the band did not want to pay him the percentage he demanded. By the time of the third Faces studio album A Nod Is As Good As A Wink… a deal had been agreed. Johns’ involvement resulted in a better studio sound, with improved song dynamics and tighter arrangements: Kenney Jones claims that Stay With Me was recorded in only two takes. Released as a single in December 1971 it reached number 6 in the UK singles chart. The version here provides the audience with an opportunity to sing the chorus unaccompanied. This would become an increasingly prominent part of Faces gigs, the party atmosphere reflecting the intimate connection between fans and band. There will be a lot more of this sort of thing on our next release from 1972…

Sleevenotes: Cyn, Dee & Rita

Family – Music Hall Boston 1972

Side One

  1. Between Blue And Me
  2. Burlesque
  3. My Friend The Sun
  4. Holding The Compass

Side Two

  1. Top Of The Hill
  2. The Weaver’s Answer
  3. A Song For Me

All songs written by Roger Chapman and John “Charlie” Whitney except Side Two, Track 3 written by  Roger Chapman, Charlie Whitney, Rob Townsend and Will Weider.

Recording Details

Side One and Side Two, Tracks 1& 2 recorded live at The Music Hall, Boston September 28th 1972 and broadcast on WCBN-FM

Side Two Track 3 recorded live at Olympic Studios, Barnes for Rockenstock French TV on January 11th 1972 and broadcast on January 15th

Sound Quality

Very Good throughout

Personnel

Roger Chapman – lead vocals

Charlie Whitney – guitar

Rob Townsend – drums

Poli Palmer – vibes, keyboards, vocals

Jim Cregan – bass, vocals (not Side Two, Track 3)

John Wetton – bass, guitars, vocals, vocals (Side Two, Track 3)

Sleevenotes

The Family story starts with blues and soul band The Farinas, founded in 1962 by Charlie Whitney at Leicester Art College. Moving to London in 1967 they changed their name to Family at the suggestion of Kim Fowley and became very popular on the underground scene, immortalised in Jenny Fabian’s infamous book Groupie where Family appear cunningly disguised as Relation. The first Family single Scene Through The Eye Of A lens is a great and sought-after psyche release and having Dave Mason produce their debut LP Music In A Dolls House further raised the band’s profile. Over the next three years Family produced a series of well received LPs and toured continually without breaking through commercially. One problem was that the band’s line-up kept changing, although the core trio of vocalist Roger Chapman, guitarist Charlie Whitney and drummer Rob Townsend remained stable. A high proportion of the band were often called John, which is why John Whitney changed his name to Charlie. The other challenge for the band was America. Whilst popular in the UK and mainland Europe the band had achieved only limited success in the US. Their 1969 tour was marred by a misunderstanding between Chapman and key promoter Bill Graham which affected future touring.

In 1971 In My Own Time became Family’s first top ten single, to be followed the next year by Burlesque and My Friend The Sun. The two LPs released at this time Fearless (1971) and Bandstand (1972) were the bands most successful in the US. Accordingly September 1972 found Family supporting Elton John as they once again attempted to build on their American cult following. As Roger Chapman told Connor McKnight “You have to go out on the road – especially a band like us. It’s the only way to get through to your audience. It doesn’t really matter what  people in the business think of your records, you’ve got to give the audience something.“ When the tour reached Boston local radio station WCBN decided at the last minute to broadcast the show. By this stage Family had evolved into an exciting live act focussed on Chapmans onstage antics and distinctive vocals plus Whitney’s double necked-guitar and the vibes and keyboards of Poli Palmer.

Reviewing an earlier tour date at Cornell University The Cornell Daily Sun were unimpressed.  “Another British group, Family, began the evening with an ambiguous assortment of sounds that often defied clarity and resonance. The vibraphone was used as if it were a second guitar. The lead singer limited himself to emitting raucous screeches and raspy throat vibratos. At one point the vibes were plugged into a synthesizer and one got the impression that the band had never used one before. A person sitting next to me on the floor suggested that it really was not music at all. But I knew they were through when the singer spun around and fell over the drums and onto the floor.”

Back in Boston Between Blue And Me makes for a relaxed start to the set with Whitney’s guitar to the fore. Before playing Burlesque Chapman enquires as to whether anyone knows the song. Near total silence is the response, but the distinctive lurching rhythm based around Jim Cregan’s bass produces warm applause. An acoustic My Friend The Sun is also well received with some fine harmonies. Holding The Compass gives the band a chance to stretch out. Top Of The Hill features a languid introduction highlighting Palmer’s vibes and key boards and provides an atmospheric introduction to traditional set closer The Weaver’s Answer. A lengthy rumination by Chapman on fate and destiny, a quiet opening section leads to a martial beat over which synthesiser and guitar intertwine as the song builds to a rousing finish which is greeted by enthusiastic applause.

A bonus track recorded for French TV at Family’s favoured recording studio – Olympic in Barnes – rounds out this selection. Inevitably it is a different line up, John Wetton in place of Cregan. A Song For Me evolved out of the band’s cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s How Many More Years?. Chapman improvises a gritty vocal over a dance beat, Wetton and Whitney both sport double-necks and Palmer’s electronic keyboards are prominent in the mix. A suitably exciting end to a fine collection by an under-rated group.

“Gritty, loose, rough and powerful, Family were one of those bands you always remember with a smile”  Pete Frame, ZigZag magazine

Sleevenotes: Rita and Greta

Jimi Hendrix Experience With Dusty

New Wave Connection – Martin Stephenson and John Perry

New Wave Connection

Martin Stephenson and John Perry

Limited Edition Eco CD via http://www.daintees.bandcamp.com

In which Martin Stephenson takes a fresh look at his back-catalogue and revisits ten songs, chosen from both the Daintees albums and his more recent solo work. Martin’s vocals and guitar are ably supported by the father and son rhythm section of Davy Cowan (bass) and Sam Cowan (drums). Adding lead guitar is John Perry, formerly of the Only Ones whose playing impressed a 17 year old Martin back in 1976. From the opening track Rock & Roll Jamboree you can hear how well they work together, the neo-rockabilly arrangement providing the perfect setting for John to run through some vintage leads and phrases.  Wholly Humble Heart benefits from a spare, slinky sound where Martin’s vocals are echoed by those of Anna Lavigne and Susanna Wolfe and John gets in a couple of his trademark solos, economical but expressive. Running Water is a real toe tapper, with a rousing country feel – think the Byrds playing You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere – which makes for a great end to a thoroughly enjoyable release. Throughout Martin’s production is clear, his arrangements serve the songs and nothing overstays its welcome.  Highly recommended to fans of Martin Stephenson, John Perry and classy rock’n’roll.

Review written for Record Collector magazine

Photos by Sam Cowan (upper) and Anna Lavigne (lower)