From the Vaults

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Gene Pitney: A Town Without Pity (1961)

14 May 2018  |  1 min read  |  2

Because many of us used to read album covers with something approaching an obsession when we were first buying records, we got to know the names of songwriters (Charles and Inez Foxx always sounded so mysterious when I found them on the first Downliners Sect album) and even producers. So imagine my confusion when I saw the name "Gene Pitney" credited with playing piano on Little... > Read more

Bob Dylan: Up to Me (1974)

7 May 2018  |  1 min read  |  1

Never throw anything away, huh? And Bob Dylan's career, with the massive and on-going Bootleg Series, just keeps presenting outtakes, live material, different versions and sometimes many complete songs which went unreleased.   But even before the Bootleg Series was launched with the three volume collection in 1991, Dylan had already released the 53-song, five record set Biograph in... > Read more

Gary US Bonds: From a Buick 6 (1981)

30 Apr 2018  |  1 min read

Because he was just a great rock'n'soul, one-off belter in that dead air between Elvis-in-the-army and the Beatles-on-Ed Sullivan, there was no reason to think Gary Bonds would have had any second life in rock'n'roll. He was, for many, just a space-filler in history with minor hits like the exceptional Quarter to Three in '61 and . . . . Well, that was it, really. But like so many... > Read more

Eddie and the Hot Rods: Teenage Depression (1976)

23 Apr 2018  |  <1 min read

As their name suggests, Eddie and the Hot Rods were never really part of the UK punk scene although -- like fellow pub rockers Dr Feelgood -- they were often lumped in with it during the late Seventies. But their thing was old school rock'n'roll (on record they'd covered Sam the Sham's Wooly Bully before this single) although as the musical climate changed they revved up their act and rode,... > Read more

Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels: Devil with the Blue Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly (1966)

16 Apr 2018  |  1 min read

Whatever the reason -- working class industrial, mix of races, impurities in the water -- Detroit has been a hotbed of great music. From Bill Haley and Hank Ballard in the Fifties through Motown, Bob Seger and the Stooges to the Dirtbombs, Eminem and the White Stripes, it just keeps coming. And let's not forget -- although many do -- the great Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels who cracked... > Read more

George Harrison: Bye Bye Love (1974)

9 Apr 2018  |  3 min read  |  1

And it's a belated happy birthday to the former British model Pattie Boyd who turned 74 on March 17. Boyd is something more than a footnote in pop culture – she was only a model for a few years – because she inspired a remarkable number of songs from her two husbands, George Harrison and Eric Clapton. She first met George Harrison on the set of the Beatles' film A Hard... > Read more

Chris Bell: You and Your Sister (acoustic version, 1975)

30 Mar 2018  |  1 min read

The story of Big Star -- post-Beatles pop band in the Seventies like Badfinger and, like Badfinger, largely overlooked or dismissed as unfashionable at the time -- has been previously told at Elsewhere (see here), but there is a considerable amount of their wonderful material to pull from the vaults. And it doesn't all come from the pen of the late Alex Chilton whose eccentric course... > Read more

The Third Power: Getting' Together (1970)

26 Mar 2018  |  1 min read

Aside from unleashing his own extraordinary music onto an unsuspecting world in '67, Jimi Hendrix also kicked down the door for a thousand other guitarists who studied his technique and tone and then attempted something similar. The trio of Third Power out of Farmington Hills near Detroit were on Vanguard and perhaps the heaviest and most psychedelic of any on the label. They... > Read more

Betty James: I'm a Little Mixed Up (1961)

12 Mar 2018  |  <1 min read

Careers can been pretty short sometimes, witness the case of Betty James out of Baltimore who played the club circuit with her husband on guitar and son on bass. She was heard by a couple of ambitious entrepreneurs --Bobby Johnson and Joe Evans -- who had her record I'm a Little Mixed Uop for their New York label Cee Jay. It became a hit in the city but Chess Records in Chicago heard... > Read more

Michael Bolton: Steel Bars (1991)

5 Mar 2018  |  <1 min read

And in what is undoubtedly a first at Elsewhere, we mention the name Michael Bolton, the shouty and soaring blue-eyed soul singer who was enormously popular with the ladies in the late Eighties and Nineties. Critics -- white males predominantly -- reviled him with the kind of resentment usually reserved for Phil Collins but they couldn't stop his massive album sales. He co-wrote quite a... > Read more

Betty Everett: Ain't Gonna Cry (1957)

26 Feb 2018  |  1 min read

With the great Willie Dixon on bass and other players who turned up on Ike Turner's Rhythm Kings sessions, the young Betty Everett nailed this original for the Cobra Records label in Chicago, a label that tried its hand at early rock'n'roll but made its reputation with great blues and rhythm'n'blues artists like Otis Rush, Sunnyland Slim, Magic Sam and Ike Turner's various lineups... > Read more

Sylvie Vartan: Whirlpool (1963)

19 Feb 2018  |  2 min read

When the French megastar and cultural icon Johnny Hallyday died recently, most obituary writers were quick to note how he had started his shapeshifting career inspired by Elvis and then morphed through Beatle-era pop and so on, whatever style was fashionable there was Hallyday. Kind of like a Francophone Cliff Richard, but with more attitude (and about 30 number one albums in France... > Read more

Margo and the Marvettes: When Love Slips Away (1967)

29 Jan 2018  |  2 min read

This great soulful song was cowritten by Jerry Ross (with Scott English and Victor Milrose) and had been a modest chart success in the US for Dee Dee Warwick, Dionne's younger sister. It was such a potential hit that other American artists also did it (to lesser success) but this version has an interesting back and forward story. When John Schroeder, an A&R man/producer at Pye in... > Read more

Richard Hell and the Voidoids: (I Belong to) The Blank Generation (1976)

22 Jan 2018  |  1 min read

Some generations get labels foisted on them – Baby Boomers, Gen X and Y etc – but Richard Hell (born Richard Meyers) offered this exciting, self-defining statement of a generation which captured the outsider, almost nihilistic mood of many young New Yorkers at the time. Hell was no newbie either, he'd been around long enough to feel this going-nowhere life. He'd been... > Read more

Fever Tree: I Can Beat Your Drum (1967)

15 Jan 2018  |  1 min read

Even in the day-glo Summer of Love there were still bands which were somewhere between garage-band r'n'b rock (like Them) and the usual truths of a suburban garage full of sexual frustration, male teenage hormones and guitars'n'drums . . . and not much further unless you consider the sexuality more overt. As with Fever Tree, an offshoot of the SanFan/Houston sounds of the little-known... > Read more

The Fab Four: Jingle Bells (date unknown)

2 Jan 2018  |  <1 min read

It may be a bit late now for this one, but the innovative and timeless John Lennon classic Tomorrow Never Knows began life in a very different form. With Christmas very recent in his drug addled memory (he was smoking LSD on a daily basis and was experimenting with injecting marijuana with his soon-to-be-wife Yokahama Mama) he wrote this very bizarre version of Jingle Bells. It wasn't... > Read more

Blind Gussie Nesbit: Pure Religion (1930)

11 Dec 2017  |  1 min read

The surprisingly good recent Bob Dylan Bootleg Series Volume 13; Trouble No More set – which was live material from his brief evangelical period but truly rocked that gospel rock'n'soul spirit – illustrated how sometimes the Lord could move troubled souls, non-believers and ne'er-do-wells alike. There was no room for the unfaithful, doubters or backsliders in Dylan's canon.... > Read more

Steve Young: Seven Bridges Road (1969)

27 Nov 2017  |  1 min read

When Steve Young died in March last year at 73, there were hardy headlines about it. Young's many albums – about a dozen more in all – had rarely been in any country collection but his passing certainly engaged a few writers who took the opportunity to essay this songwriter who put himself on the frontline of the Civil Rights movement (singing early and politically pertinent... > Read more

The Ramones: Spiderman (1995)

20 Nov 2017  |  <1 min read

Further proof that the Ramones' sound could be applied to almost any kind of B-grade pop and rock (and sometimes genuine platinum sounds) and always coming up sounding like itself. In '95, Ralph Sall of Bulletproof Recording had the idea of getting lots of alt.rockers to record songs which appeared on Saturday morning carttoons and kids programmes. And so you got an album Saturday Morning:... > Read more

Sam Gopal: Escalator (1969)

13 Nov 2017  |  <1 min read  |  1

Everyone has to start somewhere, and most diehard Motorhead fans can tell you their mainman, the legendary Lemmy, was in the psychedelic spacerock outfit Hawkwind before he was kicked out for lifestyle, not musical, differences. They were on acid, he was on speed. But even before Hawkwind, Lemmy was in another band -- and it was an equally interesting one. In the late Sixties, Sam... > Read more