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Wonderful Radio Bonzo!

The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band At The BBC 1966 – 1968

Available from 1960s Records

Side A

  1. Radio Bonzo Jingle
  2. Rockaliser Baby (Neil Innes, Viv Stanshall)
  3. The Monster Mash (Bobby Pickett, Lenny Capizzi)
  4. I’ve Found The Answer
  5. John Peel March (Hugh Nique & The Originals)
  6. Beautiful Zelda (Neil Innes)
  7. Captain Cool (Neil Innes, Viv Stanshall)
  8. Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home (Hughie Cannon)
  9. Viv Stanshall Interview with Brian Mathews

Side B

  1. My Pink Half Of The Drainpipe (Neil Innes, Viv Stanshall)
  2. Eleven Mustachioed Daughters (Viv Stanshall)
  3. Shirt (Roger Ruskin Spear)
  4. The Bride Stripped Bare by ‘The Bachelors’ (Neil Innes, Viv Stanshall)
  5. Excerpt From ‘The Brain Opera (Part 1)’
  6. Readymades (E’s Mad Dreg) (Neil Innes, Viv Stanshall)
  7. Jelly Jingle

 

Recording details

1 – 3, 9. Recorded for Top Gear 05.12.67, broadcast 17.12.67

4 & 5. Recorded for Top Gear 29.4.68, broadcast 5.5.68

6, 7, 10, 11,16. Recorded for Top Gear 18.7.68, broadcast 21.7.68

12 – 15. Recorded for Top Gear 8.10.68, broadcast 20.10.68

8. Recorded for Blue Peter TV show, February 1966

 

Personnel

Viv Stanshall – Vocals, trumpet, euphonium, tuba, guitar

Neil Innes – Vocals, piano, guitar

Roger Ruskin Spear – Vocals, cornet, tenor saxophone, xylophone

Rodney Slater – Saxophones, clarinets, trombone, tuba

‘Legs’ Larry Smith – Vocals, tap dancing, drums, tuba

Martin ‘Sam Spoons’ Smith – Drums, percussion

Vernon Dudley Bowhay-Nowell – Banjo, bass (Track 8)

David Clague – Bass (Tracks 2 & 3)

Joel Druckman – Bass (Tracks 4 & 5)

Dennis Cowan – Bass (Tracks 6, 7, 10-16)

 

Sleevenotes

The songwriters at the heart of the Bonzos were students Viv Stanshall (Central School of Art) and Neil Innes (Goldsmiths) who first met in 1963. Innes remembers that “the naming of the band came from pieces of paper in a hat. Three emerged as clear winners: ’Bonzo The Dog’ (a jolly, mischievous little canine character painted by George E Studdy in the 1920s), ‘Dada’ (the shocking anti-art movement founded during World War One) and the somewhat frivolous suggestion of Band. ‘Dada’ was quickly changed to ‘Doo Dah’. The unspeakably tedious job of attempting to define anti-art movements to a wider public soon became akin to stuffing a whale into an egg. Not long after, violent semi-controlled theatrical explosions augmented the repertoire.“

The now nine-piece band were soon terrorising London pubs and working-men’s clubs in the North East. John Peel was attracted to the Bonzos, perhaps because their humour was similar to his own. In his International Times column of 27 October 1967 he wrote: “On Liberty Records the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band have a very droll LP. My favourite track is a beautiful cliché teenage mutilation fun 1955 hiccup song called “Death Cab For Cutie”. That should drive Mick Farren into spasms of faintly unattractive excitement…” Death Cab For Cutie attracted further publicity when the Bonzos performed the song on the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour television special, watched by 15 million people on Boxing Day 1967.

The Bonzos career encompassed five studio albums recorded between 1967 and 1972. A parallell history of the band exists in the many tracks recorded for BBC radio, many never recorded elsewhere. Quoted in Ken Garner’s ‘In Session Tonight’ Viv Stanshall reminisced that “we’d always do short playlets, made up specially for the session. They would be worked out in the BBC studios for the first time. I remember I lived around the corner from (Peel producer) Bernie Andrews in Muswell Hill and I used to phone him up the day before a session, asking can we have such-and-such effects? Those sessions quickly took the format of three songs and one piece of recitative.” Bernie Andrews remembers that “they were some of the most creative sessions I ever did, because the numbers were created in the studio, with tape editing, effects and so on. As the first ones also ran until 1am, then unheard of, and the BBC commissionaires complained, they also started my undeserved reputation of running all these weird sessions all through the night.”

Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home shows the Bonzo’s first incarnation, still in thrall to The Temperance Seven and The Alberts and covering ancient jazz novelties picked up for pennies in fleamarkets. The version here emanates from childrens’ TV programme Blue Peter where they are introduced by a clearly bemused John Noakes. New manager Gerry Bron encouraged them to follow a more rock-orientated direction and write their own material, of which Rockaliser Baby is a fine example. Opening with the Dixon of Dock Green theme played on accordion this moving tale of teenage rebellion ends with a spoken Stanshall warning about “dangerous trousers”. Monster Mash is an inspired cover version, with manic piano and call-and-response vocals and another crazed Stanshall voice-over. In contrast I’ve Found The Answer is a country and western ballad, sung languidly by Innes. Beautiful Zelda is a beat-group number, a cautionary tale about falling in love with an alien. Captain Cool is a deceptively MOR croon from Innes, with flute and vibes accompaniment. It would later be reworked as Postcard.

My Pink Half Of The Drainpipe lampoons suburbia, a recurrent Stanshall theme. Eleven Mustachioed Daughters is dedicated to “Long John Peel” and is apparently Stanshall’s homage to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins Feast Of The Mau Mau. Roger Ruskin Spear gets a rare songwriting credit for Shirt, a protest song about dry cleaners featuring a solo allegedly played on an electric shirt collar and a coda of more spoken Stanshall madness.

Now it gets really weird. The Bride Stripped Bare by ‘The Bachelors’ references Marcel Duchamp and is a song of two halves, angelic harmonies alternating with fuzzed-out rock in a bizarre tale of life on the road. The large “Wow I’m Really Expressing Myself” thought bubble used by the band onstage would work well here. Co-written with Arthur Brown the excerpt from Brain Opera takes place in a German University where a demented tea dance develops into a Faustian pact, culminating in a sitar-infused advert for the Swami Kebab Restaurant. The Bonzo’s management were unhappy with The Brain Opera likening it to “an end-of-term revue by medical students” according to Roger Ruskin Spear and accordingly it never appeared on an LP. Readymades is a melancholic ballad from Innes that brings our set to a gentle close. The Bonzos also brought themselves to a gentle close, ceasing live performances whilst they were all still on reasonably good terms. Their final gig was at Loughborough University in March 1970.

Many of the tracks recorded by the Bonzos for the BBC have already been released, firstly on Unpeeled (Strange Fruit CD 1995) and more recently on The Complete BBC Recordings (Strange Fruit CD 2002). The 2007 Liberty re-releases of Gorilla, Let’s Make Up And Be Friendly and Tadpoles all contain further excellent BBC tracks, described so accurately by Stanshall in his interview with Brian Mathews as “insane spewings of our collective genius”.

Sounds about right.

Sleevenotes: Apollo C. Vermouth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Live Cream, Volume 3

Available from 1960s Records

LIVE CREAM: VOLUME 3

The first power trio. The first supergroup. Massive sell-out US tours. But it was all meant to be very different.

Cream only existed for two and half years, from playing the Twisted Wheel on July 29th 1966 to their very public farewell gig at London’s Royal Albert Hall on November 26th 1968. Their work rate was prodigious and in addition to incessant touring they released four LPs, one a double. There was a clue to how the band saw themselves in their choice of name suggesting that guitarist Eric Clapton, bass player Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker were all virtuosi at the top of their game. “I thought of Cream as sort of a jazz band,” Jack Bruce said, “only we never told Eric he was really Ornette Coleman.”  Baker concurred “I’d rather play jazz – I hate rock & roll.” And Clapton had just left the Yardbirds because he considered For Your Love as too pop and he just wanted to play the blues. Despite this Cream released a succession of creative and successful singles band such as Wrapping Paper, I Feel Free, Strange Brew, Sunshine Of Your Love, Anyone For Tennis, White Room and Badge, the latter featuring an uncredited George Harrison.

Many posthumous compilations were released including two volumes of Live Cream, to which this record is a complement. The many tracks that Cream recorded for the BBC have been released widely, through the compilation BBC Sessions and the retrospective box set Those Were The Days plus additional tracks on the Deluxe edition of the band’s debut LP Fresh Cream. Even so seven BBC tracks have thus far eluded release, and we are delighted to rectify this.

As to the band’s legacy, NME writer Charles Shaar Murray was very perceptive. In 1975 he wrote “Study the early work of Cream. Their pieces were structurally non-shattering but the songs had real tunes, interesting lyrics and good arrangements. Also the relatively simple changes and riffs were fleshed out with some extempore playing: not just in the solos but around the melody. The trouble with the Cream / Hendrix period is that after Eric and Jimi had recorded long solos and double albums, every guitar-carrying poltroon with access to a stage or studio was under the impression that he too was destined to play every number for at least ten minutes…an awful lot of crummy guitar solos got played.”

Talking to Nigel Williamson in 2004 Clapton explained how the bands live performances lead to their eventual demise “By the time we went to America, we’d play half-hour solos in the middle of anything. We got into a lot of self-indulgence and a lot of easily pleased people went along with that. It flattered our vanity, and after that I think we stopped trying. “ Pete Townshend put it more succinctly: “I used to like to watch Cream until they got sad, and fucked up”. This record commemorates the band in happier and more productive times.

Tracklisting

Side One – BBC Sessions 1966 – 1968

  1. I’m So Glad (Skip James)

Recorded for Saturday Club 8.11.66 , broadcast 11.11.66

  1. Traintime (Jack Bruce)

Recorded for Saturday Club 10.1.67 , broadcast 14.1.67

  1. Toad (Ginger Baker)

Recorded for Saturday Club 10.1.67 , broadcast 14.1.67

  1. Tales Of Brave Ulysses (Eric Clapton & Martin Sharp)

Recorded for Joe Loss 14.7.67, broadcast 14.7.67

  1. Take It Back (Jack Bruce & Pete Brown)

Recorded for Joe Loss 14.7.67, broadcast 14.7.67

  1. Blue Condition (Ginger Baker)

Recorded for Top Gear 9.1.68, broadcast 14.1.68

  1. We’re Going Wrong (Jack Bruce)

Recorded for Top Gear 9.1.68, broadcast 14.1.68

 

Side Two – Live 1967

  1. We’re Going Wrong (Jack Bruce)
  2. I Feel Free (Jack Bruce & Pete Brown)

1-2 Recorded live at the Palais De Sports, Paris 1.6.67 for        French TV ‘First Festival Of Pop”

  1. Spoonful (Willie Dixon)
  2. Tales of Brave Ulysses (Eric Clapton & Martin Sharp)
  3. Sunshine Of Your Love (Jack Bruce & Eric Clapton)

3-5 Recorded live at the Revolution Club, London November    1967 for the Bouton Rouge TV show

 

Personnel

Jack Bruce – Bass, harmonica, piano, vocals

Eric Clapton – Guitar, vocals

Ginger Baker – Drums

 

I’m So Glad is an uptempo start to proceedings, tightly arranged and with strong unison vocals from Bruce and Clapton. The melodic guitar solo owes something to Tchaikovsky. Traintime is a showcase for Bruce’s harmonica prowess, done to a shuffle backing whilst the instrumental Toad gives Ginger Baker a chance to show off. Tales Of Brave Ulysses allows Clapton a chance to demonstrate his skill on the wah wah, thoroughly psychedelic lyrics courtesy of his flatmate and designer Martin Sharp. Take It Back is a more standard twelve bar blues, whilst Blue Condition answers the question “Should we let Ginger sing a few numbers?”. In contrast the final track on this side We’re Going Wrong serves to highlight just how strong a vocalist Jack Bruce could be, helped here by an unusually sensitive and restrained backing.

On Side Two We’re Going Wrong gets another, even more impassioned live outing. The version of I Feel Free features some subtle fills from Clapton, a melodic Bruce bass line and more strong unison singing. The takes of Spoonful, Tales of Brave Ulysses and Sunshine Of Your Love highlight impressive interplay between the three players, even when recorded in an empty London nightclub. The song lengths here are still modest, highlighting the melody and structure of the songs whilst still allowing space for improvisation. No crummy guitar solos here.

Sleeve notes: L’Angelo Mysterioso

 

It’s A Mystery…

…as Toyah once so movingly sang.

Detour Records boss Dizzy has sent me a picture of a Slaughter And The Dogs poster containing pro-Trash graffiti (see above)

Was anyone here involved ?

 

 

Across The Airwaves Volume 3: Crossing The Atlantic – The Rolling Stones Live 1964-5

Let The Airwaves Flow 3: Crossing The The Atlantic 1964-65

The Rolling Stones

Side One

  1. I Wanna Be Your Man (Lennon, McCartney)
  2. The Last Time (Jagger, Richards)
  3. Everybody Needs Somebody To Love (Russell, Burke, Wexler)
  4. Pain In My Heart (Neville)
  5. I’m Alright (McDaniel)
  6. Oh! Baby (We Got A Good Thing Going) (Ozen)
  7. That’s How Strong My Love Is (Jamison)
  8. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (Jagger, Richard)

Side Two

  1. Little Red Rooster (Dixon)
  2. Play With Fire (Jagger, Richards)
  3. Down The Road Apiece (Raye)
  4. Not Fade Away (Hardin, Petty)
  5. I Just Want To Make Love To You (Dixon)
  6. Cry To Me (Berns)
  7. She Said Yeah (Jackson / Christy)
  8. Get Off My Cloud (Jagger, Richards)

Side One

Track 1 “The Arthur Haynes Show” Elstree Studios, Borehamwood 8.2.64

Tracks 2 – 5 “Ready Steady Goes Live!” Studio One, Wembley 9.4.65

Tracks 6 – 8 “Ready Steady Go The Rolling Stones Special Show Live!” Studio One, Wembley 2.9.65

 

Side Two

Track 1-3 “Shindig” Los Angeles 6.11.65

Tracks 4 – 5 “Hollywood Palace Show” Los Angeles 3.6.64

Tracks 6 -8 “Ready Steady Goes Live!” Studio One, Wembley 2.9.65

 

Mick Jagger – lead vocals

Brian Jones – guitar

Keith Richard – guitar, vocals

Bill Wyman – bass

Charlie Watts – drums

 

Sleeve Notes

Fans of the Rolling Stones have long complained about the lack of interest shown by the band in their considerable back-catalogue. Apart from the long out-of-print 25 x 5 there has never been any official attempt to document the many TV appearances the Stones made during their frantic mid-sixties. This record brings together some of the liveliest Stones recordings from 1964 and 1965.

The earliest performance here sees the Stones revving up their hit I Wanna Be Your Man with a spicy Brian Jones solo. Then to Ready Steady Go, which would became the Stones televisual home from home. Fronted by uber-mod Cathy McGowan this is where the Stones learnt to play to the cameras. Initial programmes were mimed, but by April 1965 bands were live in the studio. The programme’s iconic slogan “The Weekend Starts Here!” adds excitement to The Last Time, followed by a highly effective medley of Everybody Needs Somebody To Love and Pain In My Heart and a truncated version of Crawdaddy crowdpleaser, I’m Alright. By September 1965 the Stones’ increased popularity had earned them their very own edition of RSG which showcased a more soul orientated approach through covers of Barbara Lynn’s Oh Baby! and Otis Redding’s That’s How Strong My Love Is, before closing with a pounding Satisfaction. There is a rare appearance from sixth Stone Ian Stewart on Oh! Baby and his distinctive piano can be heard in the second half of the song.

The success of RSG spawned similar shows in America such as Shindig, for whom the Stones recorded three tracks in November 1965. Little Red Rooster benefitted from some additional howling and Brian Jones’s peerless slide, whilst a brief Down The Road Apiece squeezed in a Berryesque solo from Keith Richard. What the natives made of references to Hackney and Knightsbridge in the brooding Play With Fire is not known. The backing tracks for these songs were specially recorded at RCA Studios in Los Angeles two days previously and feature an early collaboration with Billy Preston on keyboards. Ignoring the snide comments of Hollywood Palace host Dean Martin, the Stones recorded fine up-tempo versions of Not Fade Away and I Just Want To Make Love To You. Finally it’s back to RSG for an October 1965 session contrasting the impassioned ballad Cry To Me with the all-out ravers of Get Off My Cloud and She Said Yeah, the latter co-written by Sonny Bono under an alias.

From February 1964 through to November 1965, the Stones were frequently on mainstream television. It was like having them in your living room: they would never offer this easy access again. From 1966 onwards the increasing fragility of Brian Jones would result in the Stones gradually cutting back on their live performances, both in person and on TV. Once 1967’s “Summer Of Love” was safely out of the way the Stones would resurface in the darkly menacing video for Jumping Jack Flash, all tribal make up and bug-eye shades.

The weekend would no longer start here, because the weekend would never stop.

Sleeve notes: Edith Grove

Available from 1960s Records

 

Peter Perrett, The Scala

May 30th 2019

Starting his set with Baby Don’t Talk gave notice that Peter and his band would be playing songs from throughout his career with the bulk of the set sourced from his two recent solo albums.  Peter’s sons Jamie (guitar) and Peter Junior (world’s largest Fender bass) were joined by Jake Woodward on drums, Jenny Maxwell on viola and Lauren Moon on keyboards and theatrical tambourine for a very Velvet Underground & Nico vibe. The Epic Story was an early highlight whilst War Plan Red bought the set to a snarling conclusion and 48 Crash proved to be a Perrett original rather than a Suzi Quatro cover.  Former Only Ones John Perry and Alan Mair were in the audience to witness versions of The Whole Of The Law, From Here To Eternity, The Beast and (of course) Another Girl, Another Planet. After all his travails it is remarkable that Peter is still functioning, let alone delivering gigs of this quality. Support was Strange Fruit – their accoustic version of Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood was well done  – and Cardiff’s Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, who wanted to be Suede but ended up Suedette.

 Standout collectables: Tour T shirts £15, tote bags £10

This review was written for Record Collector magazine

Simon Does The Double (Again)!

For the second time in my life I have managed to get two of my reviews  published  in the same edition of Record Collector magazine, these being for Todd Rundgren at Hammersmith and Mott The Hoople at Shepherds Bush. Can I ever make it to a triple ?

Primal Scream @ The Scala

 

May 21st 2019

A stripped down Primal Scream played their smallest London gig in many years to promote their new singles collection Maximum Rock’n’Roll, pretty much the bands raison d’etre . Absurdly svelte singer Bobby Gillespie plus fellow founding members Andrew Innes on guitars and Martin Duffy on keyboards were joined by long serving drummer Darrin Mooney and more recent bass guitarist Simone Butler. They went all the way back to 1986 for a delightful Velocity Girl (Innes jangling away on a Rickenbacker) and delivered an audience-assisted Movin’ On Up and a sensitive (I’m Gonna) Cry Myself Blind. The big hitters of Loaded, Country Girl and Rocks turned the intimate Scala into a sweaty mosh pit,  the enthusiastic crowd response clearly delighting Gillespie and Innes. With minimal staging – only a smoke machine and some strobes for Swastika Eyes –  tonight needed high quality songs and a committed performance and the Scream delivered on both counts.

This review was written for Record Collector magazine