From the Vaults

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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

The London Symphony Orchestra: Hey Joe (1979)

6 Nov 2017  |  <1 min read

It has always seemed very popular to create orchestral versions of rock songs. Way back Arthur Fiedler and his Boston Pops Orchestra played Beatles' songs, The London Symphony Orchestra released a couple of albums on the late Seventies and in the Nineties Jaz Coleman of Killing Joke delivered albums with symphonic treatments from the catalogues of the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd Led Zeppelin and... > Read more

Mandingo; Jungle Wedding (1973)

30 Oct 2017  |  1 min read

The original cover of Mandingo's album The Primeval Rhythm of Life was singularly unhelpful. It just had titles on the front, some brief liner notes which started "Thousand upon thousands of years ago Man discovered that hitting two sticks together again and again . . ." and a list of instruments played. And you knew from the first track that this wasn't an African band. The... > Read more

Sex Pistols: God Save the Queen (2002, dance mix)

23 Oct 2017  |  <1 min read

One of the more confusing and alarming posters I saw in Britain in 2012 was on a wall in Dover. It was this one, a DJ celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee -- and given the massive unemployment and fragile economic conditions, I couldn't help but reflect on that earlier Jubilee year when the young people of Britain (a significant number anyway) exploded with rage about the banners and... > Read more

Sam Dees: We Always Come Back Strong (1972 demo)

16 Oct 2017  |  1 min read

Southern soul songwriter Sam Dees was best known as the guy who penned hits and album tracks for the likes of Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and many others. But in the late Sixties/early Seventies he recorded his own material to some small success, then put the microphone aside for the backroom writing. But he was a fine interpreter of his own material and this demo... > Read more

Henry Phillips: The Bitch Song (1995)

9 Oct 2017  |  1 min read

Not everything in life is serious and Henry Phillips takes a skewed view of the world. The title track of his album On the Shoulders of Freaks notes that all those great Greek philosophers "had a thing for little boys", that Katherine the Great enjoyed large animals, Hemingway put a bullet through his head, Salvador Dali's paintings were heaven sent even though he ate his own... > Read more

Big Walter and the Thunderbirds: Watusie Freeze Part 1 (1959)

2 Oct 2017  |  1 min read

As with most sensible people, Elsewhere has long enjoyed music which isn't. The comedic noise of Spike Jones, the Goons, Spinal Tap, the exotica of Martin Denny, Esquivel, the outer space sounds of weird electronica and so on . . . all get airplay around our way. As do early Captain Beefheart, spoken word albums, soundtracks from disturbing movies (A Scanner Darkly most recently, always... > Read more

The Shangri-Las: I Can Never Go Home Anymore (1965)

25 Sep 2017  |  1 min read

The spoken-word song -- often with a moral or a message -- has rarely been as popular as it was in the early Sixties. Back then there were numerous examples and although only a few became hugely popular the idea was a legitimate form. The Shangri-Las -- better known for Walkin' in the Sand and their terrific Leader of the Pack among other widescreen hits -- weighed in with this... > Read more