From the Vaults

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The Beau Brummels: Two Days 'til Tomorrow (1967)

12 Nov 2012

Producer Lenny Waronker -- who worked with artists as diverse as Nancy Sinatra, Randy Newman, Ry Cooder and Rickie Lee Jones -- recognised in the voice of the Beau Brummels' singer Sal Valentino a sense of drama . . . and so for this song he went all out with arrangers and a number of other musicians beyond the remaining three-piece he had in front of him. Written by the band's Ron Elliott... > Read more

Jimi Hendrix: 1983, A Merman I Shall Turn to Be (1968)

9 Nov 2012

Because of the sheer number of his recordings out there, you'd be forgiven for thinking that when he wasn't playing a gig (and being recorded), having sex or sleeping, the great Jimi Hendrix was in a recording studio jamming, putting down demos or just simply noodling around. Which seems to have been true.  The man only saw the release of four albums in his lifetime, but since his... > Read more

Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood: Down from Dover (1972)

8 Nov 2012

Interest lies perhaps not in this dark song but what is written in ballpoint on the cover of the album I have. A thick line is drawn through the title on the back cover and in block capitals beside it is written "DON'T PLAY". There is even a scratchy ballpoint scribble through the title on the record itself. The other telling inscription on the cover is "4ZB" and an... > Read more

Eddie Floyd: I Stand Accused (1967)

7 Nov 2012

Although best known for his backbeat-driven hits Knock on Wood and Raise Your Hand in 1967 -- both of which came from his Knock on Wood album -- and for writing 634-5789 with Steve Cropper for Wilson Pickett, Eddie Floyd was also a deep and moving soul singer. On that album (in a ridiculously literal cover, right), Floyd went deep into his own heartacher Got to Make a Comeback and in fact... > Read more

Stan Freberg: The Old Payola Roll Blues (1960)

6 Nov 2012

While British commentators congratulate their culture on its history of comedy and satire (Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, David Frost, Peter Cook, Monty Python et al) they conspiciously fail to note that America had a similar, but often darker and more biting, tradition. Stan Freberg was -- although at the time of this writing he is still alive at 83 -- one of the great satirists of... > Read more

Jean Claude Vannier: Les Mouches (1973)

5 Nov 2012

French writer/arranger and producer Vannier has worked with anyone who counts in his home country (Gainsbourg, Francoise Hardy, Juliette Greco, jazz pianist Martial Solal etc) as well as Astor Piazzolla, American pop writer Mort Shuman and many others. His trippy and conceptual sonic journey album L'enfant assassin des mouches in '73, from which this track comes, was reissued in 2005 and... > Read more

Frank Zappa: The Talking Asshole (1978)

1 Nov 2012    1

Here's a rare and odd one, taken from the vinyl album You're A Hook: The 15th Anniversary of Dial-A-Poem (1968-1983), a record which came through the label Giorno Poetry Systems. The idea behind Dial-A-Poem was exactly that: call this phone number and hear a poem. The contributors included John Giorno (who initiated the project), William Burroughs, Patti Smith, Allen Ginsberg, Lenny... > Read more

Screamin' Jay Hawkins: Alligator Wine (1963?)

31 Oct 2012

When Oasis celebrated cigarettes and alcohol on their debut album Definitely Maybe, they were onto something. These twin poles of working people are traditionally the escape from the drudgery of life (if these days much frowned upon)  . . . although we'd have to concede for an increasing number of young people they seem to be de rigueur for a lifestyle with not a lot of back-breaking... > Read more

Howard Tate: Keep Cool (1972)

30 Oct 2012    1

In this column about shameful record covers I'm proud to own, I noted you should never judge Eastern European -- or bellydance -- albums by their covers. They are often an afterthought and the contents can be often much more interesting and exciting than the kitsch covers might suggest. You'd guess perhaps only soul singer Howard Tate's family though the cover of his self-titled '72 album... > Read more

Wilson Pickett: Land of 1000 Dances (1966)

25 Oct 2012    4

Although Bob Dylan brought a literary sensibility into popular music in the early Sixties, most pop music -- whether it be rock, soul, reggae, hip-hop or whatever -- isn't poetry. Most lyrics don't stand much serious scrutiny. But that is not a criticism, there's a very good case to be made that, as Little Richard once memorably said, "It ain't what you do, it's the way how you do... > Read more

Jimi Hendrix and Curtis Knight: Hush Now (1965)

19 Oct 2012    1

It's well known that Jimi Hendrix didn't have much business sense, but he sure knew how to play guitar. This track -- one of about 60 recorded with the little known singer/guitarist Curtis Knight at a small studio in New York -- is a measure of both. Hendrix -- at that time Jimmy James -- had recently been fired from Little Richard's touring band and had done a few gigs with Ike and Tina... > Read more

Freur: Pronunciation/Audiobiography/Hold Me Mother (1983)

17 Oct 2012

A decade before Prince became TAFKAP (The Artist Formerly Known As Prince) and adopted an odd symbol instead of a name, this band of mysterious origins also did the same. They insisted their name was the even more odd pictogram which appeared on the cover of their Doot Doot single, but at the counter-insistence of their record company CBS they had to adopt a name people could pronounce --... > Read more

The Roadrunners: LSD (1967)

16 Oct 2012

With British r'n'b rock legends the Pretty Things scheduled for a New Zealand concert (see interview with Dick Taylor here), it seems timely to ressurect this obscurity from the vaults, a band from Lower Hutt just north of Wellington who named themselves after one of the Pretty Things biggest hits and who here cover their '66 song, the ambiguously titled LSD (see clip below). With an... > Read more

James Darren: Goodbye Cruel World (1961)

15 Oct 2012

One of the most popular shows on American television in the late Fifites/early Sixties was the Donna Reed Show, a middle-class family of mum (attractive and smart Donna Reed) the doctor dad (handsome and jut-jawed Carl Betz) and the teenage kids Mary (attractive and girly Shelley Fabares who went on to appear in three Elvis movies) and Jeff (geeky-then-handsome young Paul Petersen who, like... > Read more

Willi Williams: Right Time (year unknown, mid 70s?)

11 Oct 2012

Reggae singer/writer Willi Williams is best known as the man who gave the world Armagideon Time which the Clash covered (and which appears on the Tougher Than Tough collection) -- and many other deep roots reggae songs. Always well connected, Williams first worked at Studio One in the mid Sixties, recorded with Jackie Mittoo in Jamaica and Jah Shaka, Yabby You and Augustus Pablo, and the... > Read more

Joanie Sommers: Johnny Get Angry (1962)

9 Oct 2012

While not quite in the league of He Hit Me and It Felt Like a Kiss, this sliver of semi-innocent pop sounds slightly uncomfortable these days. Poor Joanie, just wanting to get a response from the meek boyfriend ("I want a brave man, I want a cave man") and hoping for a lecture from Johnny. She wants Johnny to be the boss, but wimpy Johnny sounds like his part could be played by... > Read more

Buffy Sainte-Marie: Soldier Blue (1971)

8 Oct 2012

The great Buffy Sainte-Marie has appeared at Elsewhere previously for her always timely song The Big Ones Get Away, but this exceptional piece deserves to stand in its own right. Part political activism, part patriotic American anthem and a powerful plea underlining it all, Soldier Blue was the title song to a film of the same name which goes largely unseen these days. The film -- by... > Read more

The Beatles: Love Me Do (1962)

5 Oct 2012

It was 50 years ago today . . . Half a century ago, the world was a very different place. Germany was divided, racial lines split South Africa and the Southern states of America, the world held its breath when the young US President JFK prevented Soviet ships from taking missiles to Cuba . . . In music the big hits of the day were jazzman Acker Bilk's clarinet ballad Stranger on the... > Read more

Leonard Cohen: Because of (2004)

4 Oct 2012

The equation seems simple: Leonard Cohen the self-described "ladies man" + women + bed = But of course nothing is ever quite that straightforward with a Jewish Zen Buddhist poet-cum-singer and unlikely sex symbol even his mid 70s. Here with amusing self-effacement he confronts aging, his reputation, plays with images of "naked" women bending over the bed . . . ... > Read more

Silk: Custody (1969)

3 Oct 2012

As those who visit these pages know, Elsewhere often buys albums on the basis of their covers (see these articles on Shameful Record Covers I'm Proud to Own). Some of those were bought for their tackiness, oddity or kitsch quality. A few others because a name in the band went on to do something more interesting, or worse. The sole album from Silk in '69 however puzzled me. The name... > Read more