Browsing Tag NUTSMAG

The Mergers (NewBreed)

This entry is part 4 of 10 in the series Newbreed3

“Beat with a capital B”

This 4-piece band – Jerry Coma being the charismatic frontman – combines elaborate songwriting and harmonies with the energy of a deafening jumbo jet. With the equipment and the looks of the early 60’s they are brewing a highly authentic sound set on fire by its straight realisation. The Mergers perform their cleverly arranged and simply incredible songs with a frenzied power that will knock your socks off.

NutsMag met the band to find out about what makes them tick, here is what they had to say…

HQ: Nuremberg, Germany

Band Members:

Jerry Coma: Vocals & Guitar
Henry Florence Jr.:
Vocals & Bass guitar
Jay Le Saux: Vocals & Guitar
Winston McCloud: Drums

Discography: 2013 LP –  ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’,

Tour Dates: facebook.com/themergers.band

01. How long have you been active for and how did you get together?

The band has been together for about 2 years now. We all kind of played together in other bands before so we’ve known each other for quite a while.

02. What influences do the band members have in common?

We’ve all got an interest in retro/roots music. Basically we’re big fans of the way most of the people played back then and the sound of their instruments.

03. Are there any other bands you’d recommend from your area? Why?

We can definitely recommend Smokestack Lightnin’ and The Rockin’ Lafayettes. Good friends and probably the best of very few bands in our area that play music as we like it.

04. What’s the 60’s/underground scene like where you’re from?

Well, we’re from Nuremberg, Germany. You can’t say that there is an existing 60’s scene at all. There are some people that are into northern soul and a few garage music but that’s pretty much it.

05. How would you describe the style you play?

It’s a mixture of mainly 60’s beat and Rock’n’Roll with little pinch of garage and power pop.

06. What are your live shows like?

Energetic, raw and untamed.

07. What are your main influences in music? Who do/would you play covers by? And who do you despise?

British beat music of the early/mid 60’s. Currently we play a cover by The Kaisers. Nowadays there are too many bands that deserve to be despised. It’s hard to pick out the worst.

08. What are your main influences outside of music?

As we’re all from Franconia we have to say beer.

09. Who writes your songs and what subjects do you deal with?

Jerry Coma writes most of the songs. Jay Le Saux also started writing a few. The subjects are various but mostly the plot revolves about women.

10. What’s your favorite song in your repertoire currently? What’s your favourite song by another artist?

This has to be the fastest one, so our choice is ‘All I Can Do’ – fast and furious and yet beautifully melodic. How about The Jam’s ‘Monday’? Someone dreaming about monday, that’s wicked!

11. How would you describe the current underground scene? Do you participate?

It is a pretty small scene compared to other underground scenes. But the parties, the music and the styles are just great. Participating is not always easy due to our schedule, except it’s us playing on one of those great parties.

12. What has been the biggest challenge to date?

Getting our drummer Winston (McCloud) to sleep after the after-show parties.

13. How often do you Rehearse? Play Live? Record? Anything interesting coming up?

Rehearsals are less frequent but probably much more intense compared to other bands as Jay Le Saux is currently living in Berlin. Whenever we get together we spend whole days working on new material, preparing for our shows, making photos & plans.

14. What do you think of the music coverage in the media?

Nowadays there’s almost nothing that doesn’t have any coverage. But most of the 60s stuff e.g. is not that easy to find if you’re not into it. That’s kind of a pity because there would be probably a lot more people who would be into it if they only knew about it.

15. Do you rate any current mainstream or underground bands?

The mainstream acts that we like the most are probably bands like ‘The Hives’ or ‘The Greenhornes’. Recently we played a show with ‘The New Piccadillys’. They were pretty great!

16. Who/Where would you most like to record with and why?

We’d love to record with any producer that is totally into our stuff and would be able to take our future record to another level. Unfortunately we haven’t found him yet.

17. What should we expect from you in the future? What are your plans and ambitions? What interesting gig dates have you got coming up?

Most important we continue making music for people who are interested in good songwriting and a terrific live performance. We want to spread it as much and as far as possible, England and Spain to begin with. We are so excited about playing at Modstock3 in April 2014 (Easter), in London. We play on the Sunday night the 20th of April. Modstock3 is the celebration is 50 years of Mod and we are very proud to be part of that.

Web Links:

themergers.net
facebook.com/themergers.band

Photo by: Pilar Schacher


 Powered by Max Banner Ads 

drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook

March 7, 2014 By : Category : Bands Beat Europe Front Page Interviews Music Tags:, , , ,
0 Comment

Masters – Count Sputnik (Part Two)

This entry is part 15 of 22 in the series Masters

Count Sputnik – Part Two:

Scotch Martin continues his interview with Count Sputnik (Vince), the ‘third man’ of British reggae along with Duke Vin and Count Suckle, present at the birth of Britain’s early sound systems, but who never secured his rightful place as one of the first modern DJs in the UK. The story continues as ska begins to become the ‘in’ sound of London’s underground club land.

Reminiscing about the early 1960s Count Sputnik remembers meeting (literally) trombone stalwart, Rico Rodriguez, later to work with the Specials, when he arrived in Britain. “I went to pick up Rico from Victoria station with a fella called Satchmo’, cause he sounded like Louis Armstrong. At the time there were few good musicians in the UK that could play the music so he was really in demand.”

At the very start of the 60s Vince was DJ’ing for the Palmer brothers (PAMA) at the 31 Club, opposite Stonebridge Hotel, often, he reveals, with 78rpm jazz and be-bop records, and a single turntable, chatting between the tunes while changing the disc, but never over them.

The brothers later moved their club down to The Apollo in Willesden which is still there now (or was last month!). “The Palmers were Jamaican, ‘Father Jeff’ as we called him, was the main guy,” says Vince. “They would give me promo copies of their new releases once they moved into the music business and I would play the tracks if I liked them, that was the only way people could hear the records ‘cause there was no radio play back then. You got to keep them of course so that helped to build up the collection. They opened a shop on the High Street (78 Craven Park Road) later on.”

Apart from the flow of demos from the Palmers, records came from other UK sources. Sonny Roberts started Orbitone studios (at 108 Cambridge Road, Harlesden, now a famous address in reggae) in the early 60s and distributed his label, Planetone, through Island. “He was the first person I knew with a recording machine and he brought over Millie Small to this country, they lived upstairs from the studio at Cambridge Road,” says Vince. “There was also a little record shop in Kilburn where the guy would cut you a tune if you needed it, you could borrow a record from back home and take a cut before returning it a few hours later before anyone get worried (this could be ‘Foxley’ referred to by Jah Vigo in Lloyd Bradley – Bass Culture, p.120 of the paperback).

“I used to order my records mail order from Dacares (he can’t remember the spelling and I don’t recognise the name). I didn’t bother with Randy’s and all them – everyone got from them, I got better tunes. The top tunes were always Studio 1, you can say what you want, they were the best tunes.

“When I go on holiday to Jamaica at that time I maybe go into Randy’s, also the Prince was someone I knew but he was supplying juke boxes at that time only, not retail. I knew Buster before he was doing music, when I left Jamaica he wasn’t doing nothing. Later I met him in the Roaring Twenties nightclub at a midday dance and he recognised me, which was cool because he was a star by then.”

By the mid 60s Vince had a young family and was working as a mechanic during the day. Come evening he worked in London’s ska clubs in the West end for promoters like Suckle, the Roaring Twenties in Carnaby Street (now the Ben Sherman shop, ironically…) being the one he refers to most often. Despite not featuring in several online histories of the legendary venue others have confirmed that he was a resident.

“Count Suckle would never leave his records at the Q-club,” says Sputnik. “He always took them away, or occasionally someone like me was there watching them. If he couldn’t do a job then I would do it for him, even the American bases, we used to play for the Americans back then. We would play all kinds for them, jazz, soul and R&B – that’s what we played in the old days so I had a lot of that.

“I played at the Q-Club for two years, it was a very important place. Ronnie Scott booked Nina Simone after hearing Suckle playing her records at the Q-Club, he would wander in often, and we went to his club to hear jazz. Georgie Fame played and that brought the white folks, the young fellas with their sharp suits, but everything closed at 11pm. Q-club opened at 10pm, so we get all the people coming, famous pop stars and people like me, mechanics and drivers or waitresses. It used to be packed. Sometimes there would be coaches travelling from Birmingham.

“On a Sunday afternoon you might have the Small Faces playing and when Elton John started he first played there, he would give the other artists a break from performing. The Soul Brothers and the Soul Vendors and others played there, everyone. All the time we used one turntable and valve amps, for the bass there is no substitute, and when the old transformer heat up proper it’s at its peak.”

A rare foray south of the river in the mid 60s saw him up against Duke Reid. “I always took my engineer with me on these dates, and before the show we would do what we call a tune up. By that time I had a 2000watt amplifier – I started with 100 watt. The amplifiers were made by an African man like i said before, a Mr Hedes (unsure of spelling) and he also worked for Smith’s in Edgware Road (probably what was H L Smith and Co. 287—289, or 350 Edgware Road, London, a wireless shop). He was the amplifier man and everyone went to him, I think he was the best.

“Anyway, my engineer said to me, ‘This man is rough you know’. They come in with all those polished wood boxes, all kinds of stuff, and set up – I started with an instrumental and he didn’t know what I was playing, two records into the set and them cut up the wires. I didn’t make no fuss, no fight, and I never ever had an argument with no other sound system either, it’s just not worth it. That’s what spoiled it all later.”

Despite this brush with the Duke, Sputnik DJ’d well into the 1980s and claims that police crackdowns at that time put an end to the heyday of the sound system, in his opinion. His two sons have continued the tradition, both passionate supporters of the classic Jamaican sounds that paved the way for reggae.

I finished by asking Count Sputnik if he had ever been tempted to make music himself, as a producer or performer given that he played a pivotal role in setting up reggae in the UK. “I never made no music – all I do is pick a tune and put it on.”


 Powered by Max Banner Ads 

Scotch Martin

Since the local youth club in the early-eighties Martin’s been Djing with records of one sort or another. Spots at the CCI National Mod Rallies across Britain in the 80s were followed in 1990 by the first in a line of successful northern soul and mod clubs in Glasgow. With four others he started Goodfoot in 91, with Acid Jazz-influenced playlists of Blow Up in London, and Brighton Beach in Leeds. Goodfoot arguably paved the way for a new generation of mod-influenced clubs in Glasgow over the past 20 years. Living in London in the late 90s Martin DJ’d at neuvo-modernist clubs including Where’s Jude and Lordy Lord, as well as regularly spinning at Duffer of St. George parties and other happenings. A career highlight was supporting legendary organist, Jimmy Smith, as well as pulling off 10 consecutive club nights during the 1995 Glasgow Jazz Festival. By 2001, back in Glasgow, Caledoniasoul launched. A definitive milestone in the Scottish soul scene, the club ran for six years and brought Butch, Mick Smith, Mick H, Arthur Fenn, Mike Ritson, Dave Rimmer and Ady Croasdell to Scotland for the first time to experience the sweaty, full-on atmosphere for themselves. As a journalist Martin has always written about music. In 2004 he tracked down singer and organist, Bill Bush, whose soulful, jazzy rarity, I’m Waiting on Ronn, was hitting on the northern soul scene. After visiting Bill in the USA and interviewing him for Manifesto he brought the band over to perform in the UK, complete with Hammond B3, and has helped Bill profit for the first time from the 1968 b-side. Martin is married to Caroline, has two children, lives in the London suburbs. Still collecting after 30 years!

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook

March 7, 2014 By : Category : Articles DJs Front Page Interviews Rocksteady Scene UK Tags:, , , ,
0 Comment

Masters – Brenda Holloway

This entry is part 16 of 22 in the series Masters

Beautiful, talented and possessor of one of the most soulful voices to grace the label, Brenda Holloway recorded sultry ballads and powerhouse dancers for Tamla Records between 1964 and 1967. With Brenda’s hugely anticipated appearance at Modstock fast approaching, she chatted to us about her experience of being a West Coast artist signed to the Detroit hit factory.

Are you looking forward to coming over to London for Modstock?

I’m very excited about this trip, I’m really happy, thank you for inviting me. And The Velvelettes, I look forward to being with them. Those are some beautiful sweet women. They were very nice to me when I went over to Motown. I like to do live shows because you can put more feeling in it. When you have a good crowd you can perform better. You feed off your audience, and they love you, so you have to do a good job.

I think British audiences have always taken you to their heart. Have you noticed that?

I have. When British audiences listen to the music it’s just an everyday thing for them but over here they don’t regard it as hit music because it’s not in the charts at that moment, so it’s a totally different feeling you get, like it’s back in the day when you first recorded those songs. They appreciate the artistry and they’re so happy to see us when we come over, it’s a treat for the artist.

Can you tell us how you came to sign to Motown?

I used to sing and was raised in Watts in Los Angeles and I had a group called the Watesians. This was five local girls who went to high school with me, including my sister Patrice, and we used to sing at Record Hops. When Hal Davis heard about the group and came to hear us. He took a liking to me and took me to a disc jockey’s convention in Los Angeles, at Coconut Grove. I had on this gold pantsuit and gold heels and was singing Mary Wells songs from room to room to every DJ. I sang from about ten o’clock until four o’clock and then said to Hal “Look, these heels, and this pantsuit, I’m getting tired”. There was this group of men that came in to the room, listened, and left. So when told Hal I wanted to go home they came back in. This man spoke out and said “I like what I see and I like what I hear and I want to sign you up”. I said “Sign me up to what?” and he said Motown and I was like “Oh my God!” I was so excited and said “Call my mum, call my mum, and tell her to put on her best clothes as I’m going to sign.” I didn’t ask her if I could, I was just going to do it, but I needed her to okay it. She got dressed up, looked so pretty, and I signed with Motown that day. I was seventeen years old. Berry Gordy told me there was one stipulation to this; I needed to graduate at high school before he’d let me put anything out.

The first record Motown put out was “Every Little Bit Hurts” in 1964 and it was a hit. Was that a surprise?

I was walking around in college, nobody ever noticed me before, but then everybody was like “Are you Brenda Holloway?” I said, yeah, I guess. They said “you have a record out”. I didn’t know, they didn’t tell me anything. They didn’t tell me when they were going to release it. It was only when everybody told me I had a record out, and I got all bashful, and everybody was on me at school. I just stopped going to school. I couldn’t study anyway; I was so excited to have a hit record. I did graduate from high school but not from college, but I later went back and got a degree in dental work.

How did you manage to get on the 1965 Beatles tour of the United States?

When the Beatles had their tour I spoke to Jackie DeShannon, who’d been on their tours overseas, and said “Please Jackie, can I get on the tour, I’ll do anything”. And they called me. I used to go to sleep listening to their records like “Eleanor Rigby”. It was so much fun. We had pillow fights in the air. And John would figure out the meals and say we could have whatever we want. See, I came from a family with one parent, my mother, raising us and we never got enough food, so when told I could have whatever I want, it was so wonderful. I had steak, I had string beans and I had mashed potatoes.

How were your performances received? Did the crowd like you or were they just waiting for the Beatles?

Really they were waiting for the Beatles to come on, I was too. But they did accept me, they clapped and they were happy, but you know, it was a Beatles tour. The crowd broke loose and just charged, the audience looked like cattle. We just threw wigs, and guitars, and everything, to get out of their way. We flew with the Beatles to each venue; they were so down to earth, such good guys.

You were a trained musician. Didn’t you play the violin and the flute and other instruments?

I was going to be a concert violinist before Motown invaded my life. I studied professionally. I just loved the violin. For the first twelve, thirteen, fourteen years of my life I was in orchestras and played symphonies. My boyfriend was my violin. I used to practice in the backyard and dogs would bark and people would be “Can you get off that squeaky thing?” My neighbours hated me. I had to practice outside as my Mum didn’t want to hear it either. But I could really play.

Did you play your violin on any of your records?

I played it on one of my albums, The Motown Anthology. A live version of “Summertime” recorded in Detroit in 1966. I played and I sang and it sounded really very well.

Motown got a good deal with you: you were a singer, a musician, a songwriter.

Yes but everyone at Motown was scared I was going to take their boyfriends. I already had a boyfriend in Los Angeles. I don’t like to have boyfriends at work; they just think they have power over you.

Were all the Motown guys hitting on you?

They were talking to me but I was like “Oh no, I don’t do that”. So they kind of left me alone. I went and practiced my violin by myself. Because I was from the West Coast and would fly in and be in a hotel room and they were doing their own thing.

Did it feel different being from the West Coast and then going up to Detroit? Did you feel any separation from the other artists based in Detroit?

They felt like I was another type of star because I didn’t come from their stable. The girls were kind of feeling I was going to be some kind of competition for them. But I just feel like I always had my own slot, you know. But I became very envious of them with their hits when I got there. Say, when I got to Detroit, they’d be cutting a session with me and if Gladys Knight flew in for just one night they’d cut my record on her, and I’d be like where’s my stuff? That would really upset me and disturb me because I wanted to get all my stuff done too. But I was so young and very inexperienced.

What was Smokey Robinson like to work with in the studio?

He was wonderful. He was very relaxed, he knew everything. Knew all the songs, he could sing them and show them to you. He would let you be yourself in the studio. I did “Operator” with him and “When I’m Gone”, which was a good song for me. If only I’d stayed in the studio with Smokey but I ran away.

At Motown some of the ladies had etiquette lessons and guidance from Maxine Powell. Did you have those?

Maxine showed me a lot of things about how to sit and stand but Berry actually sent me to charm school here in California for a whole year and a half. So although Maxine showed me a lot of stuff, because that was her nature, she just wanted you to be a lady at all times, the major stuff I learned out here.

Your clothes caused some comment as they were different, a bit more hip, than some of the other girls. Did you choose your own wardrobe?

I was so fortunate because my mother had a best friend who owned a dress shop so I dressed out of her store. She was able to go get everything I needed, everything to match, all the new stuff. When I went to Motown I had a full wardrobe and a lot of them didn’t, so it was “What is she trying to do?” I was just trying to sing but I had a lot of beautiful clothes.

I read Berry Gordy thought you were too sexy for British audiences which was why he wouldn’t let you tour over here.

For real? Oh my god, there’s no such thing as too sexy! That’s just somebody’s opinion. No such thing. I don’t know, they just labelled me like that but I never saw myself like that in any way. I was just regular. I didn’t think I was anything special, although evidently other people thought I was.

Did you know what songs you’d be recording when you got into the studio? Did you have much time to prepare or were you presented with them there and then to sing?

I don’t know what the other artists did but I liked to live with my songs. I would come in a week ahead and just stay there and go over and over and over the song until I could put me into it. That was why my songs had so much feeling because I lived with them before I ever went in the studio. Day and night, because I didn’t have any children, I didn’t have any connections with people in Detroit, so all I did was stay there and rehearse the tunes over. So if Smokey cut the record, and I cut the record, it would have a Smokey Robinson feel to it and a Brenda Holloway feel to it. I like to study my songs, I’m not Aretha Franklin, I can’t just go in and sing. My sister Patrice could hear something once and sing it but I’ve never been able to do that.

“Reconsider,” is a great song and one which is huge over here yet didn’t see a release at the time. When where you aware that song was so popular on the soul scene?

Oh, I love what you guys did to that. I only knew about it when I came over to the UK for the first time for the Northern Soul shows I was doing, because it had another title – “Think It Over” – in the United States, but you guys made it “Reconsider”. I like “Reconsider” better because that’s what the song was all about. And “Crying Time”, I forgot I ever did that. My nephew found it on YouTube. “Granny, did you cut this?”

My favourite is “Starting The Hurt All Over Again”. Such an adult narrative to that song and your delivery is so strong, so emotional.

Well thank you. I didn’t have a real happy childhood, you know, because my Mum she worked so hard, she was a single parent and my Father he had so many problems, but that was how I released all my energy was through my singing. If I had something to say I could convert it into a melody and sing it, so that’s how I released a lot of stress, even today. It’s good therapy for me.

“You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” was at the end of your time with Motown in 1967 and was a significant hit.

Oh it was a big hit. It sold over four million copies and is still selling. I wrote it with my sister and Frank Wilson, and Berry Gordy was the executive over everything. When I got stuck writing the bridge Frank Wilson was able to put that bridge in there. Berry and I fought in the studio; we were like back and forth. “I don’t want to do it like that Berry”. “You’re gonna do it like that”. The way I wanted to do it was the way Blood Sweat & Tears cut it. I put mine out, it was okay, but Blood, Sweat & Tears somehow got the idea and they really, really did that song justice. I’m really happy but when I go and sing it I have to try and remember how I sang it because theirs is bigger than mine and theirs is more familiar to me.

What prompted you to leave Motown?

Because I was just fed up with not having hits out and everyone around me were having hits. I didn’t have the foresight because I left the company in the middle of a Smokey Robinson session. I could have killed myself. He was cutting all these songs on me and I wanted a hit, like everybody else, but I didn’t have any patience. You know, there’s so much that goes along with the entertainment business backstage. You see a lot of other stuff that goes on that people don’t see and it kind of confuses you. I was a young kid.

After you left Motown what happened to your career?

I just laid it down. I went in the church, married a minister, and just left it and tried to do the best raising my kids but a lot of times we don’t think that if you have a talent you have to use it or it dies out. By me being in the church we have this stereotype of what we think God wants us to do but what he really wants us to do is to use that talent. Then I met this guy in the ‘90s, he was my boyfriend, and he said I needed to be back out there. So I started singing at this high school called Inglewood and then Brenton Wood – the “Oogum Boogum” man – came and he saw me and so I started touring with him. After that I just got back into it and have some friends overseas who were telling me about the Northern Soul and everybody started hooking me up and I did some things for Nightmare Records. So, I’m still singing and thank God I still have a voice and plan to use it as long as I can. It’s really wonderful. I’m just one of the other people until I get over there and I’m a superstar! I love it.

When you look back is there anything that sticks in your memory as highlight: a record, a concert, anything particularly special?

Cutting the album, Every Little Bit Hurts, where I did “I’ve Been Good To You” and “Unchained Melody” and those type of songs, that was one of the highlights, because I did that for my Mother. Then the other highlight was when I first went to Europe in the 1980s and Ian Levine and I wrote a song over the telephone and I really loved it, “Give Me A Little Inspiration”, it turned out so well. And when I first went to Motown and saw snow for the first time in my life and I saw Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Martha & The Vandellas, Diana Ross, Florence Ballad, Holland, Dozier and Holland, Smokey Robinson, Ivy Jo Hunter; that was like being in Disneyland. It was like, if I could just grab you guys and keep you with me. It was such a thrill to see The Temptations, The Four Tops, to see everybody in person. People told me I’d never get on Motown; I was three thousand miles away. When I got to Detroit and I saw the Motown family, it was just too much. It was awesome. So, my life has been beautiful.


 Powered by Max Banner Ads 

Mark Raison

I've spent three-quarters of my life wandering the mod path with detours down its side streets and dark alleys. From an enthusiastic youth to a still-enthusiastic-but-harder-to-tell grizzled old goat, I've dabbled in all parts of the scene from writing fanzines 'Round Midnight and Something Has Hit Me; to promoting bands; attempting to manage bands; singing in the mighty garage combo The Electric Fayre; putting on indie, psych and soul clubs including Freak Scene, Orange Sunshine, and Shake!; writing liner notes for Reg King releases on Circle Records; and, in fitter times, tucking away the odd goal for the New Untouchables. I still DJ from my box of R&B humdingers but more often you’ll find me tapping away on my blog at monkeypicks.co.uk. I like the poetry of Charles Bukowski and dislike the taste of cheese.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook

March 7, 2014 By : Category : Front Page Interviews Music USA Tags:, , , ,
0 Comment

Record Reviews – Feb 2014 (Part 1)

This entry is part 14 of 18 in the series Record Reviews

Stone Foundation

Stone Foundation - To Find The Spirit LP

There are many shining lights in our ‘broad church’ of mod culture. There are bands who are followed and supported by mods, scooterists, skinheads and Northern Soul fans. Bands who are slowly, but surely making a name for themselves outside of the parameters of
our world.

One such is Stone Foundation. This is a band you will hear about a lot during 2014 and this new album should put them into sharp focus in the mainstream world. They are becoming a much-sought-after support act for established bands and are the house band for the Modstock British Legends night this Easter. The reason why they are in demand is evident on this LP. I would suggest that here we have THE benchmark album by which others will be judged in 2014.

It is by far the best work Stone Foundation have produced to date and that really is saying something if you know about their previous work. When you have people such as Carleen Anderson, Andy Fairweather Low, Nolan Porter, Pete Williams, Denis Bovell and Paolo Hewitt contributing, you have to take notice. This is as finer collection of carefully crafted songs as you could hope for. The production is first class, the execution, faultless.

It is a work of substance, depth, feeling and at times, dance-ability. It’s British Soul at it’s very best.

The title track ‘To Find The Spirit’ is a wonderful piece of gently rolling danceable soul laced with sumptuous brass hooks and a catchy rhythm. It sets the tone for the album as all good opening tracks should. Then we have the ‘Northern’ infused ‘Bring Back The Happiness’ which has ‘classic’ stamped all over it. That said, the Dexy’s-inspired ‘Stonger Than Us’ gives the aforementioned a very good run for it’s money.

On the ballad-side, the lengthy, but thoroughly engrossing ‘Don’t Let The Rain’ opus, along with Nolan Porter’s rendition of ‘Crazy Love,’ is dripping with passion, feeling and soul. You really couldn’t ask for more. ‘When You’re In My World’ features a truly inspired performance by Carleen Anderson.

If this album does not see Stone Foundation move up several rungs on the slippery ladder of the music business, there is no justice in the world.

“To Find The Spirit’ is officially launched on 10 March, while pre-orders are available now at:

The Mynd Set

 

nm_january_2014_mynd_set_3

The Mynd Set - Mynd Set EP

This is one for all you psych, freakbeat fans. The Mynd Set comprise Glyn Tomlinson, Parsley The Lion, Leon Hewitt and Chris Punter.  The EP contains four Hammond, fuzztone, psych originals. Lead track ‘Tick Tock’ is a catchy little number while ‘Kaleidoscope’ picks up the pace with a driving beat and a guitar lick that sticks in the brain.

‘Maharishi’ as the title might suggest, eases off somewhat and takes us on a trippy journey circa 1969 with an almost obligatory sitar along for the ride. ‘Our Time’ heads back to the quicker fuzz-led groovier sound. The bonus track is a cover of The Kinks ‘Sitting On My Sofa’ and a fine, faithful cover it is too.

As far as I know, this is Mynd Set’s debut and a splendid one it is. Lets hope we see more from them in 2014.

Hypnotic Eye

nm_january_2014_hypnotic_eye_lp

Hypnotic Eye - The Optical Sound Of…. LP

Following on from last years cracking single, ‘Readin’ Your Will’ b/w ‘Satisfaction’, Hypnotic Eye return in 2014 with this acid-laced, psych-laidened belter of an LP.

They certainly have an unusual sound. Listening to the opener ‘Man From The CIA’, I wondered if I had my record player at the wrong speed. I’m pleased to say, I did not, but such is the pace of the track and the delivery of the vocals by Grace Lightman, I had to check.

Hypnotic Eye are quite unique with their style for a contemporary band. I’ve not heard any other band that sounds like them, although, as we are all aware, there is something of a psych-garage scene making its presence known. I would say, that having this album mixed by Ben Baptie at Electric Ladyland Studios would always guarantee an authenticity of sound that comes through loud and clear.

To all you psych fans who are usually to be found in the Beat Room at Crossfire, if you haven’t got into Hypnotic Eye, you should do. This LP is definitely for you. Coming from a dyed-in-the-wool, self-confessed Soul and R&B fan, this album is a pleasure to listen to and I was really getting into it.

With the inclusion of ‘Marianne’ and the aforementioned ‘Satisfaction’ as the two singles from this set, ‘The Optical Sound Of Hypnotic Eye’ is the most enjoyable slice of psych I’ve heard since Jacco Gardner last year. There is not a duff track among the twelve on offer. ‘Dark Part Of My Mind’, ‘Action Woman’ and ‘San Antone’ are my favs along with the singles.

I have to confess, I’ve not yet managed to catch them live, but I aim to put that right later this year. Let’s see if any psych or garage outfit can match this one in 2014. Great album!

The Pepper Pots

nm_january_2014_pepper_pots

The Pepper Pots - We Must Fight LP

Regular readers of the Nutsmag reviews will know about bands from overseas. In the 18 months since I’ve been doing this job (is it really that long?) I have reviewed new releases from bands from all four corners of the globe.

There are some terrific scenes going on and thanks to the internet, we in the UK, can find out about them. Spain is one such vibrant scene and for ten years one band has consistently flown the Spanish flag for great soul music. I refer to the Pepper Pots.

‘We Must Fight’ is their fifth album and it is arguably their most accomplished to date. It may be no coincidence that Binky Griptite of The Dap Kings has been a key collaborator in the production of this latest offering from the Pepper Pots.

Across the twelve tracks from the opener ‘Good Times’ to the last ‘Fallen Angel’, this is an LP of such quality, it reflects the very high standard of music coming from bands across ‘mod culture’. Oozing class, distinction and refinement in the soul pop genre, the production is top draw and the vocals provided by Adriana Prunell and Aya Sima are simply divine.

There are hints of every kind of influence in the soul range, from Motown to Northern, funk to pure soul. The arrangements are great with the brass section doing a great job providing the hooks and stabs that complete the sound.

If the Pepper Pots return to the UK, they will be one of the ‘must see’ acts of the year. I hope they don’t stay away too long.

Spoke Records

nm_january_2014_spokerecords

The Open Mind – Magic Potion b/w The Dakotas – The Spider And The Fly (7” Single)

All you psych and garage fans should be very familiar with these two tracks. The Dakotas and The Open Mind have been scene favourites for a very long time, so why have Spoke Records put out a single with both tracks when they have been fairly easy to find on compilations and other reissues?

It’s quite simply really. Spoke have managed to source alternative recordings from long lost master tapes. Those tapes were handed over to the sound engineer/producer known as Soundhog who has done a decent job with both these tracks.

‘Spider and The Fly’ and ‘Magic Potion’ both come in at over five minutes long and there is really not much else one can say about it other than they are classic tracks of their type and these are very good versions.

If you like psych, you love this single.

 


 Powered by Max Banner Ads 

Graham Lentz

Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook

March 7, 2014 By : Category : Front Page Music Reviews Tags:, , , , , , , ,
0 Comment

Record Reviews – Feb 2014 (Part 2)

This entry is part 15 of 18 in the series Record Reviews

Small Faces

Here Come The Nice – Boxset

If there is any justice in the world, this boxset should do for the Small Faces, what the Anthology series did for The Beatles.

To say it is a magnificent piece of work is not really adequate, it is astounding.

Comprising as it does of a sumptuous 72-page hardback book featuring writings by Pete Townshend, Mark Paytress and contributions from the likes of Plant, Bowie, Weller, Frampton, Mason and Matlock to name a few. There are replica 45’s in coloured vinyl, an acetate from Olympic Studios, photos, memorabilia and four CDs all remastered from original master and multi-track tapes discovered, uncovered or literally saved from the rubbish skip from all over the world.

For me, the most compelling part of the book was Rob Caiger’s first-hand account of how the project began and its progress to the end result. This boxset.

If nothing else, there are a great many accountants, lawyers and incompetent idiots within the music industry who should be arrested for crimes against pop music heritage. So much great music made by this and many other bands was sent to landfill sites, it should be regarded as a national tradegy.

Heck!, If one of Her Majesty’s stately homes were be treated with the same distain we would have civil unrest!

That said, those like Mr Caiger and others who donned their ‘Indiana Jones’ outfits and saved these treasures deserve full recognition and unreserved thanks from not just Small Faces fans, but music lovers across the board. Be quick if you want to order this limited edition box set signed by both Kenney and Mac. HERE!

The 45′s

nm_january_2014_45s

 It Ain’t Over b/w Devil Of A Woman

New Untouchables regulars at club nights such as Crossfire or the Le Beat Bespoke weekender will know that young up-coming bands will get an opportunity to ply their trade if they are up to scratch.

A certain band from Ireland made their debut at one such event and look at what happened to them! But, here we have the debut single by another highly rated and talented bunch of lads from Carlisle known as the 45’s.

Still only in their late teens, these young purveyors of classic British rock-based R&B were inspired by the style of ‘Quadrophenia’ having discovered it on DVD and have done their homework in the fields of Black R&B, Blues and their British heritage led by Dr Feelgood, Wilko Johnson and the like.

The A-side, ‘It Ain’t Over’ is a cracking piece of power pop, with just enough influence to make you think this could have been a ‘Feelgood’ track. On the flip, ‘Devil Of A Woman’ has more of a bluesy feel and comes at you in full attack mode. All in all, and excellent first and on this evidence, 45’s will be the ones to watch in 2014.

Sidney Barnes & Speedometer

nm_january_2014_sidneybarnes

Best Thing (That Ever Happened) b/w If I Could Only Be Sure

What a great little single this is! Now, we all know that ‘If I Could Only Be Sure’ is fast becoming one THE most covered Northern songs around right now, and this is as competent a version as you’re likely to get.

Sidney handles the vocals with all the skill and passion you would expect from a seasoned professional such as Mr Barnes. (I hope he doesn’t mind being referred to in such terms?) But, Sidney Barnes is not exactly a novice at this sort of thing.

Having crossed paths with Marvin Gaye, Van McCoy, George Clinton, Funkadelic, Denice Williams, Minnie Ripperton, Billy Prophet, Inez and Charlie Foxx and the Shangri-Las, Sidney has ‘earnt his chops’ in soul music.

‘Best Thing’ was written in 2002 by Mr Barnes after a chance encounter with Jorg at Recordshack in Vienna and a hasty recording session arranged.

However, the song was not completed until eleven years later when Andy Fairclough from the UK funk & soul outfit Speedometer wandered into the frame and within no time at all, and with Mr Barnes blessing, this single became a reality.

While it may be just a tad too fast for Northern fans and even a touch too funky, it is a really good song. If the right people in radio land catch on to this single, it could and should do reasonably well. Let’s hope so.

The Romley’s

nm_january_2014_romley’s

Hey Diddle Diddle EP

The Romley’s are a Liverpool-based trio comprising of Garry Eager, James Walsh and John Currie.

They are most definitely at the pop end of the psych-garage scene and there is a very healthy scene happening in Liverpool right now. The lead track ‘Hey Diddle Diddle’ is a delightful Hammond-led jogger with hand claps a plenty and reminiscent of the kind of thing Gary US Bonds might have come up with way-back-when.

‘I Wanna Know You’re Mine’ is a steady R&B rocker, while ‘Et Moi, Et Moi, Et Moi’ will be familiar to the psych and garage kats and kittens and is a more-than creditable version of Jaques Dutronc’s original.

‘We Love Everyone’ is a joyful early ‘Merseybeat’ sounding, acoustic guitar-led dancer. This is a terrific EP and I will be watching out for the Romely’s in the future. Top marks.

The Royal Flares

nm_january_2014_royalflares

Tales Of Sound And Fury Album

In keeping with the current trend for fuzz tone guitars with a driving Hammond organ backdrop in the psych/garage style, Royal Flares bring us this twelve track album released on Copase Disques.

Originating from Munchen, Germany, this five-piece outfit like to rock out as often as possible, from the opener, ‘Bad Part Of Town’ though the stomping ‘This Is Why I’.

The only time we get a real change of pace is the penultimate track ‘Mavis’ which is a very pleasant slower number. ‘Last Time Around’ closes the LP and this one really rocks and sounds to me like potential single material.

‘Tales of Sound and Fury’ is a good LP, but not what I would regard as outstanding. The full-on pace of each song gives the sense that once you’ve heard the first track, you’ve pretty much heard them all.

It is a shame, because I hear some real potential in this band. If they can find a little more variation in pace (which they are capable of – see ‘Mavis’) it would give the set more ‘texture’ and not come across as a relentless assault on the ears.

I hope that doesn’t sound too harsh, but the job of a reviewer is to be honest in their opinion, but try to be fair. Good work, but maybe take the foot off the gas once in a while.

 


 Powered by Max Banner Ads 

Graham Lentz

Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook

March 7, 2014 By : Category : Bands Front Page Music Reviews Tags:, , , , , ,
1 Comments

Modstock Fashion: Adam of London

Early days:

01 Where are you from originally?

I’m from East London, Hackney, lived there all my childhood and teenage years, all in North East London, Hackney, Stoke Newington. Hackney wasn’t a quiet neighbourhood, like most inner London neighbourhoods, it was a little bit rough; you had to keep your wits about you and keep your eyes peeled.

02 What were your interests as a youngster?

Well from the age of about twelve onwards, I was really into clothes, and music, ‘cause I actually played in a band. Pop music, whatever the music was at the time, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Manfred Mann, that’s what I was into. I know people talk about Northern Soul, but that didn’t come ‘til much later, maybe a decade or so later. Bluebeat was around in ’63, ’64, at least the fringes of it, Prince Buster, I didn’t dislike it. I went to quite a few live gigs, The Rolling Stones for example I saw three times! I saw The Searchers, I saw Manfred Mann, I saw The Animals probably three or four times, really good band. There used to be a cool club in Tottenham, The Club Noreik, which had live bands. The clothes were important, even when I was at school, I used to buy these jeans, I used to buy them for fifteen and six old money, dye them various colours, and sell them for onwards for 30 shillings!

AOL_spring_PR_2

03 When were you first aware of Mod?

About ’63 when I was 15. I had got myself a scooter, a black LI. I wasn’t totally into them. I bought it for thirty bob. A friend’s uncle was getting a car and asked if I wanted it. I rode it away, no tax and no insurance. Later on, I got a car, a red Mini, on HP, with an uncle as guarantor. No credit checks or bank references in those days. They’d check to see if you lived where you said you did, but that was it. I never had a parka. I had a Crombie, and a Sheepskin.

04 What or who do you feel was the greatest influence on your life?

As a teenager, my boss, wherein I served my apprenticeship. He was a Polish/Jewish tailor, he had a front of shop area and at the back was the factory. The cutters worked there, and the master tailors. Later, I met a German technician, called Edward Nobel, and in three weeks, I had learned more from him than in the three years of my apprenticeship. By technician, I mean a master pattern maker, and he would also show you how to make the actual garment.

Shop and customers:

01 When did you decide to run a one-stop shop for the Mod community, if you did decide?

I didn’t. I was more into manufacturing, supplying others. I went to the USA, and about ’84 I came back to the UK, to the Portobello, my daughter was doing some business with the Japanese, and a Japanese person asked me ‘Can you make us some mod suits?’ I started doing them for the Japanese market only, on average two thousand suits every two months direct to Japan. Later, I eventually opened a shop in Carnaby Street, and one in the King’s Road, in the 90’s.

02 What sort of people come to your shop? Aspiring or existing mods? 24 hour mods? Describe what you think your typical customer is like.

We get a lot of new mod types, youngsters. But our client base it sixteen to seventy five years old, they’re new and existing mods, no typical customer. We’ve got the next generation in the business already, who have their own views on things. It’s a real mixture and wide spectrum.

03 How far do you see yourself as a guide for the aspiring mods?

Yes, they do ask a lot of questions and I’m quite happy to answer them. They’re sometimes quite astonished when I tell them the truth about how we used to dress, because you realise the styles have all become bastardised, mixed up with the late 70’s take on things.

04 Is your stock formed by your personal taste? How far? Do you go for specific cloth and designs, or do you like to experiment?

I think any designer, no matter what he’s designing, it’s his view, but you are influenced yourself. I didn’t create this. Yes, these are original designs, but you are influenced by what people want and require, and you’ve got to put in a few changes here and there. We go one hundred per cent for specific cloth. First of all, I will only use English fabrics, Huddersfield, Bradford, and there’s a reason for it; it is the best in the world, simple as that. The mohair for the suits is specially woven for us. We select the yarn colours in the mill, and have them woven for us. We’ve got seven new colours of three ply mohair coming in soon, in the shop especially for Modstock.

You:

01 How would you rate yourself as a mod?

Then, twenty four hours, yes, but now? Lapsed a bit. I wouldn’t wear anything other than this, wouldn’t even think it. (Adam was wearing a smart three button suit, pocket square and three button cotton top). I might wear the tracksuit bottoms on a Sunday, even then, I’ve got a John Smedley, and a Crombie coat over the top!

02 Were you a fan of the mod revival bands of the 70’s?

Yes, some of them, like Weller, Madness, The Specials, loved the Specials, the boys in the band, a couple of them do come in here to shop, but no, didn’t go to any gigs. Mid-life, your family are far more important to you.

Opinions:

01 What do you think of the way young people generally dress today?

They’re a mixed bunch, no direction sometimes, a bit of a mish-mash maybe? Some of them are sussed, some are cool on very little money.

02 How about young mods? Do you think they’re getting it right? Compared and contrasted with revival mods?

Yes, they look smart, they’re nearly there, and I always say to them, ‘If it feels right, it is right.’ Not like the revivalists were. They weren’t getting it right at all. There’s a guy in Quadrophenia in flares, that’s supposed to be ’64, it’s more like ’74 isn’t it? Another good thing is, there’s no racism now among the young mods.

03 Do you think they’ll stick at it?

Yes, I think they will, it looks very smart, you stand out. It’s a great look. It’s timeless and classic.

04 Apart from mod, is there a subculture you think is particularly sharp or exciting today?

No, there isn’t really.

05 Are there any subcultures you don’t like?

That one where they wear their trousers hanging half way down the legs, and the baseball cap backwards. Do they not realise how unsightly it looks?

06 What do you do to relax? What makes you laugh?

My family, my grandson, driving, all help me relax. I like driving. I like a nice comfortable car, a nice drive down to the South of France. I drove to the South of France, in ’68, in a Triumph Vitesse 2 litre convertible. It rained on the way back, and a lorry ripped my roof off. For laughs, a good comedian can make me laugh, like Michael McIntyre, or Tommy Cooper.

07 Do you still like to listen to music? Are these the same bands as when you were younger?

I do, but I listen to whatever music’s around. I still like listening to The Rolling Stones, a bit of Pink Floyd.

08 If you could have been born in some other place, or another time period, what and when would it have been?

I’m quite happy with the time and place I was born.

…and being born early enough to appreciate the first flush of mod, who can blame him? Adam Shener, thank you.

09 Are you looking forward to the Modstock fashion show?

Very much, my sons will be at the helm, a new generation that are proud of the Adam of London name and heritage!

Links

adamoflondon.com
adamoflondon.com/shop
facebook.com/adam.oflondon


 Powered by Max Banner Ads 

admin

Pip! Pip! Are the Creative Business Engine behind various music based organisations of the cool underground variety. Providing angst, confusion, bewilderment and annoyance in equal amounts. We design/host/manage great sites like this one! Why not hire us one day soon?

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook

March 7, 2014 By : Category : Fashion Front Page Interviews Style Tags:, , , , ,
0 Comment

Carlo Sesto – Hey! Mr DJ

This entry is part 20 of 20 in the series Hey! Mr DJ

Carlo Sesto is based in London, UK but originally from Pisa, Italy and describes himself as a collector and dealer at Casbah Candy Records, founder of The Impossibles Italian Mod List. He took some time out recently to talk to Dr. Robert @ Nutsmag.

1. How and when did you get into music and what were you listening to then?

I don’t recall a time when I haven’t bought records. Since a small kid I’ve been purchasing singles (mainly cartoon soundtracks), then during my teenage years I was very keen to explore and experiment any music genre (at the time we swapped tapes at school). Through listening ska revival and Quadrophenia and the Who I started getting to the whole mod thing, with northern soul (a total new and obscure thing to me) and 60s beat.

2. Where was your first DJ slot?

Can’t really remember but probably a one off 60s party in my home town. By 1996 I was running my first monthly club in Pisa called “Treacle Toffee World”, named after the Fire tune.

3. What was your most memorable DJ spot?

Of course djing at Modstock and Le Beat Bespoke is a huge thing to me coz I have been in the same ticket with many artists I love. But clubs in Venice, Up Club in Germany, the wild and crazy Ye Ye in Gijon and the legendary Mod Chicago are all great memories too.

4. What so far, has been your worst DJ experience?

Probably first Volcano night in London when speakers blown, but the real worse is when I have been asked a couple of times to dj at weddings… man… never again!

5. Your favourite scene DJ’s and why?

I love Speed and Rob Bailey, but surprisingly to some I actually like a lot Catford Chris and Lee Miller.

6. What has shaped your DJ sound and why?

I play mainly UK psychedelia and freakbeat. And I’m quite orthodox with that. Was in love dancing to it in my twenties at the time when Mousetrap was on two floors. My favourite club ever.

7. What was your best ever find/discovery?

In those ancient times pre ebay I was lucky to obtain some bargains through the Record Collector ads, specifically I remember a £15 Rebel Rousers “As I Look”. Sometimes u get lucky to buy some records before they become massive. In 2004 it was great to go through the BBC stock that Reckless had acquired with my big friend Irish Paul, who worked there, and discover a bunch of fantastic new tunes “Pretty Blue Bird”, Steve Ryder “Remember me”, Spirit of progress “Om pa pa”, Promise “Nine to five”… to mention a few….

8. Who was your biggest influence musically and your favourite artist(s)?

My favourite bands are all mod/underground british acts of mid to late 60′s. Smoke, Creation, the Eyes, the Birds, the Attack, Fleur de Lys, Rupert’s People etc

9. Do you collect specific labels/artists/genres?

I collect exclusively British pressings but various genres, mainly as said psychedelia, freakbeat and blue eyed soul, but got a nice collection of soul, Rnb and 60′s ska.

10. Where can folks currently catch your DJ set?

Next spot will be at Modstock 2014 which I’m very looking forward to…

11. What is the record you would most like to own?

Southern Sound – Just the same as you on UK Columbia

12. Please give us a top 10 all time favourites and a current top 5 spins?

Top 10 Tracks of All Time:

01. Birds Birds – Say Those Magic Words
02. Richard Kent Style – All good things
03. Creation – Tom Tom
04. Action – I’ll keep on holding on
05. Open Mind – Magic potion
06. Tintern Abbey – Vacuum Cleaner
07. Calum Bryce – Love-maker
08. Aquarian Age – 10.000 words in a cardboard box
09. Turnstyle –Riding a wave
10. Pretty Things – Midnight to six

Current Top 5 Tracks:

01. Barrier – Dawn breaks through
02. Wimple Winch – Save my soul
03. Smoke – Dreams of dream
04. Toby Twirl – Romeo and Juliet 1968
05. Enough’s Enough – Please remember

Web Links:

casbahcandy.com (under construction)
facebook.com/casbahcandy

Next Club Spots:

Modstock April 2014, London


 Powered by Max Banner Ads 

drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook

March 7, 2014 By : Category : DJs Europe Front Page Interviews Music Psych Scene Tags:, , ,
0 Comment

Motown Spotlights – The Velvelettes

The Velvelettes were co-founded in 1963 by Bertha Barbee-McNeal and Mildred Gill Arbor, at Western Michigan University, where they were both students. Norma Barbee-Fairhurst (Bertha’s cousin), Caldin Gill Street (aka Carol), Mildred’s younger sister, and Betty Kelley (Cal’s best friend), were asked to join the group. The Velvelettes formed at WMU and performed regularly around WMU’s campus at various dances. After much preparation and rehearsing at Maybee Hall, they entered the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity talent show on campus, and they won first prize!

Berry Gordy’s nephew, Robert Bullock, was also a student at WMU at the time of their performance and first place win in the talent show. Upon seeing the show, he immediately saw merit and he encouraged them to audition for his Uncle’s company, Motown Records, in Detroit. Shortly thereafter, and after some serious persuasion, Millie’s and Cal’s parents, Rev. and Mrs. Gill, agreed the group should go to Detroit to audition for Motown Records. Rev. Gill, along with Cal and Millie’s brother, Charles, drove the group to Detroit in a snow storm. A normal 2 hour drive took almost 5 hours in the middle of winter. They successfully auditioned at Motown Records, and were eventually signed to the infamous record label, thus beginning their professional singing career. Motown’s Mrs. Esther Gordy-Edwards had very often referred to the Velvelettes as Motown’s “college girls.”

The Velvelettes recorded numerous hits at Motown’s Hitsville USA, Studio A, located at 2648 W. Grand Boulevard in Detroit, MI. That’s “where it all began!” Their recording career with Motown Records spanned almost a decade (1963-1971). The group’s most notable hits of the early 60s, ‘Needle In A Haystack’, and ‘He Was Really Sayin’ Something’, went to the Top 40 in Cash Box and Billboard international record magazines. These two songs also went on to be Number 1 in several cities and towns across America. The Velvelettes were featured on Motown tours, they worked the “chitlin circuit” (theaters mainly on the east coast) they were also featured on two Dick Clark Caravan of Stars tours in the mid 60s.

After about a year with the Velvelettes, Betty Kelley left the group to join Martha & The Vandellas, at the request of Berry Gordy and Martha Reeves. Betty was asked to fill a vacancy for one of the original Vandellas. Her first gig with the Vandellas was a European Motown Revue tour. The remaining Velvelettes kept performing, and started traveling out of the Detroit area after Cal finished high school. They performed throughout the U.S. and Canada in the mid 60s and early 70s. In the late 60s they took a well deserved break and left the business to marry and start their families.

In 1985 the original members reunited to do a show for an organization Bertha was involved with, the Concerned Black Women’s Roundtable Conference of Southwest Michigan. Since their performance for this event they have been performing together ever since! The Velvelettes have managed to juggle corporate jobs and their professional singing careers for many years, and they continue to answer to the many calls to perform throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. In February 2009, a Velvelettes exhibit was created at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, located in downtown Kalamazoo. The exhibit showcases the group’s career and takes you on a nostalgic journey with pictures, uniforms, music and various awards. A must see, indeed!

The Velvelettes are revered in Europe, particularly England, where they still maintain a cult like following to this day! The late Amy Winehouse amongst other luminaries was a huge fan and Bananarama had a top 5 hit in the UK with a cover of ‘Really Saying Something’ The group’s hits, ranked them among other notable “60s girl groups” that were honored at the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH in 2000! Today, these legendary ladies of Motown still reside in Michigan. The year, 2009, marked Motown’s 50th Anniversary! In November ‘09, the Velvelettes, along with other Motown artists, came together in Detroit to celebrate the magical, timeless sound of Motown.

This group is a true sisterhood and they are often told by fans that they are still “really sayin’ something!”

The Velvelettes next performance is at the Tamla Motown Revue at MODSTOCK (50 years of Mod) on Friday 18 April 2014 @ www.229thevenue.co.uk


 Powered by Max Banner Ads 

drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook

November 25, 2013 By : Category : Articles Bands Front Page Music USA Tags:, , , , ,
1 Comments

Rob Bailey Modstock Interview

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Movers and Shakers

01. Can you tell us about Modstock which first happened in 1994?

1994 was held in Saarbrucken in South West Germany, home to the Apemen and featured six of the best scene bands from that period. Three days of fun with friends from all across Europe. Also a live album featuring all the bands that performed at Modstock 94, was brought out on Detour Records and captures the great atmosphere of the event.

02. How did the Event in 2004 differ from 1994?

2004 was held in London an International event with people from all over the World who made the pilgrimage to the birthplace of Mod. We added new elements including a film commissioned especially for the event entitled Ready, Steady Sew featuring some of the original innovators like Lloyd Johnson. The most satisfying part for me was a fashion show which had never been done before and was a triumph. It featured models and props from the bespoke photo shoot by Pip! Pip! and included well known scenesters Mark Raison. Patrick and the twins Paula and Karen Baker.

03. Can you tell us about some of the bands that appeared in 2004?

The whole weekend sold out, so all ten bands played to a full house which was great. Friday night featured my teenage heroes the Prisoners and the Pretty Things, it was loud. Saturday afternoon saw the Aardvarks and the Solarflares and on Saturday night we had  The Gene Drayton Unit who also supplied the soundtrack to ‘Ready, Steady, Sew’ plus headliners the Creation. Sunday afternoon hosted the Apemen and Fur Delux and rounding it all off on Sunday night were Les Cappuccinos from Japan, who wowed everyone before the final ever gig from my all time favourites The Action.

04. What are you criteria for booking the DJs for an event such as Modstock?

A very good question, obviously this is a special event featuring talent from the last fifty years from artists and DJ’s who have made a big impact on the Mod scene past and present. Nobody has done more than NUT’s to give opportunities to new bands and DJ’s over the years as the Strypes for one, will testify. I am looking for talented young bands and DJ’s that have energy, enthusiasm, style, competence and originality.

05. What will Modstock3 in 2014 attempt to achieve?

Modstock will showcase all aspects of Modernist Culture and I hope, leave a lasting memory that will be talked about for years to come.

06. Can you explain the 50 Years date aspect?

We hold this event once every decade and who knows if we will all be around in another ten years. The ‘golden jubilee’ is obviously a huge milestone. The Mod phenomenon has touched the hearts and souls of so many people and is still influencing fashion, music, art and culture in the 21st century. This event is a celebration of 50 years of Mod, not from its mysterious birth but when it swept across the whole of Britain. Since then it has reinvented itself time and time again, to each new generation in keeping with the spirit of its pioneers and originators.

07. What special ideas have the New Untouchables in store for the 2014 Modstock event that you can tell us about now?

We have plenty of special ideas including a Riverboat Cruise down ‘old father’ Thames on Sunday afternoon giving folks a chance to see the sights, sounds and sensations of the capitol from the best vantage point. A Scooter and Classic Car Show, Art Expos, a huge Market and specialist Record Fair on the Saturday afternoon. And we will also attempt another Fashion Show and Bespoke film for the event, featuring archive footage from the 60’s onwards and including footage from Modstock 2004 that has never been seen before.

08. What sort of sounds, scenes and sensations can we expect from the dancefloor perspective?

We have booked the cream of DJ talent, past and present from around the World. We have 3 rooms with specialist music like the authentic R&B/Mod Club sounds, the Beat Basement with maximum R&B, Garage and Psych. The main room will be themed each night with a Motown Revue on Friday and a best of British Legends Revue Saturday. The finale on Sunday will feature the Fashion Show followed by the London scene favourite club night Crossfire.

09. Do you think Modstock will generate a re-birth of interest and energy in the wider Mod Scene?

I really hope so, the signs are good right now with young faces joining the Scene stalwarts and plenty of smart youngsters forming bands and buying 45’s.

10. Any special memories from 1994 and 2004 that you hold dear?

1994 were unique as for many of us it was our first experience visiting another country for a Mod Event. The 2004 event, for the sheer size and ambition and managing to pull it off. The most satisfying moment for me was the Fashion Show which was a first at a Mod Event of this type, We also had a stand-up Cinema as a pre-lude. I was relieved it went so well.

11. What would be your message to Band, DJs, Artists, and potential Sponsors eager to become involved?

The program is almost complete but if you have something unique you really feel should be part of Modstock 2014, then please get in touch. For potential sponsors this is going to be the event of the year attended by a global audience marking a seminal moment in the history of Mod that will have a lasting legacy.

12. Is there anywhere that folks wishing to get a ticket can go to on-line in anticipation of the potential big demand for this Event?

You can keep up to speed with all things Modstock on our website here www.newuntouchables.com Early bird tickets will go on sale to members of our network first here newuntouchables.com/modstock3-50-years-of-mod

13. What would you say to folks from other Countries and Cities that have never visited London and an Event like this?

Book your accommodation, buy your ticket and make your travel plans now! Get aboard the MODSTOCK train to London, the birthplace of Mod for the Party of the twenty first century.


 Powered by Max Banner Ads 

admin

Pip! Pip! Are the Creative Business Engine behind various music based organisations of the cool underground variety. Providing angst, confusion, bewilderment and annoyance in equal amounts. We design/host/manage great sites like this one! Why not hire us one day soon?

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook

November 20, 2013 By : Category : Events Front Page Interviews Tags:, , ,
1 Comments

Live! – Kaleidoscope

This entry is part 4 of 9 in the series Live!

London Islington Assembly Hall, November 17 2013

So… can it really be 40 years? Well, yes and no. Not 40 years since Peter Daltrey set foot on a London stage, by any means but yes, four decades have passed since he last called his band Kaleidoscope (or, for that matter, Fairfield Parlour) During that time he’s continued floating around the fringes of the world’s outsider music scenes, recording with musicians young and old of a similar cosmic persuasion, and constantly lurking in the shadows like the ephemeral presence that he is, but it was always hoped that one day he would front a band worthy of the name he remains most associated with. And now, finally, it’s happening. To those of us assembled here in the ancient, sprung-floored, red carpeted environs of the Assembly Hall, it’s almost like the climax to a very long dream: but what happens when we awake?

After all, when bands reform after a long absence, it’s not uncommon for them to meet with derision, smugness and ageism: we do still live, largely, in a music scene presided over by the maxims of those whose eye teeth were cut in the snarling moshpits of ‘Punk Rock’, and thus, there remains an underlying current of ‘live fast die young, and anyone over a certain age is a sad old git’ that, whilst never explicit, is seemingly carved in stone in the minds of many. And true, certain bands (Le Fleur De Lys, Standells, Jade Warrior) whose remergences have been somewhat disappointing, haven’t helped matters. Yet somehow, we always knew that Daltrey, and his new Kaleidoscope featuring the majority of Glasgow psych-folksters Trembling Bells (also Mike Heron’s backing group, and thus perfectly chosen inasmuch as they’re young enough to play with attack but old enough to understand true Psychedelia) would pull it off. And we were right.

From the moment the band enter, mist swirling, liquid backdrops spiralling and with poetry recited, it’s obvious that this isn’t going to be just another old geezer’s comeback. The younger members, spearheaded by towering guitarist Mike Hastings, take up instruments first, then the man himself appears: slim, white-haired, bearded and clad in elegant black, Daltrey is no conventional rock frontman, he’s a wizard. He probably always was, but tonight, leaning intently into his mike from behind a lectern, his words, songs and stories are imbued with extra-magical import. Of course, we all know the lectern’s just there to read the lyrics from, but under the lights, with the spell cast, it reinforces further the idea that this is not a gig per se, but a ceremony. The high priest of quaintly English Psychedelia addressing his acolytes? Quite possibly and a cursory glance round the room does show the assembled throng to be of a shared mind.

Tonight, actually hearing ‘Snapdragon’ and ‘A Dream For Julie’ live, is a transcendental, consciousness-altering experience: these songs are very real! And there’s the bloke who wrote them, singing them! Puts paid to all those myths about Phil Smee and Ed Ball spending the 80s knocking out fake Freakbeat and Bubblegum acts in their garden sheds for release on compilations of “unearthed mindbending psych gems” sold to unsuspecting punters. Of course there were really that many bands then, the Beatles were still around, and everybody wanted to be them. But Kaleidoscope went one better they wanted to be the Beatles, Hollies, Kinks, Bee Gees and Dylan all in one go – and they managed it too! Yet they have still stamped their own personality on their work, and it’s that personality which elevates the likes of ‘Dear Nellie Goodrich’above a mere ‘Jennifer Eccles’ clone, and the bouncy ‘In My Box’(one of three tunes tonight from their early 70s tenure as Fairfield Parlour) above a zillion other twee Popsike nuggets gracing numerous comps, their delicate effervescence remaining intact but also boosted by Hastings’ scraping guitar tones and the thrumming bass of Simon Shaw. Comparatively, this also means that the songs that were weightier first time round ‘Murder Of Lewis Tollani’and the epic ‘Sky Children’ in particular, now sound huge.

Up the back, a rather subtle Lavinia Blackwall provides eerie portative keyboards, stabs of jabbing rhythm guitar and occasional waves of sonorous, operatic backing vocal but without her, ‘Song From Jon’ (the set’s one nod to 1971’s concept opus White Faced Lady) and ‘Aries’ would sound slight: this interaction, however, only proves just how much of a combined effort the new band is, with each member literally “in concert” with Daltrey. His voice, pitched somewhere between Robin Gibb, Syd Barrett and Peter Noone, was never one of rock’s louder, more bellowing tones, but commands perfect, almost rapt attention, even on the inevitable fluffed notes (trust me, everybody makes them) and betwixt songs, spins tales of hazy days, russet evenings, Sunnyside Circuses (more impassioned axe-thrashings from Hastings and Shaw) chocolate children and tangerine dreams that still continue to shape a lifestyle for many of us.

The final quarter sees an added sitarist in their midst: the only possible improvement at this point would be the addition of more original members. Enter guitarist Eddie Pumer and drummer Danny Bridgman (the latter incredibly youthful for 65 and bearing a scary resemblance to Matt Berry) take the stage, the colours of the Kaleidoscope finally become complete. A garagish ‘Faintly Blowing’, the proto-prog time changes of ‘Dive Into Yesterday’, mantra-like chantings of ‘Flight From Ashiya’ and pre-shoegaze, bongo-laden drone swirls of ‘Music’ – never was a tune more succinctly named end proceedings on a note of optimism: an optimism that’s justified because, whereas many reunions are short-lived, tentative affairs, this could be the rebirth of something long-lasting with greater potential than any of us who spent our 20s down the Mousetrap dancing to ‘Room Of Percussion’, could have ever imagined. Peter Daltrey ends the evening dispensing flowers like a true ’67 prophet should – is a true star in our constellation. The American and Mexican Kaleidoscopes, should they be aware, must be kicking themselves.


 Powered by Max Banner Ads 

Dashing Drewe Shimon

Dashing Darius Drewe Shimon, aka just 'Drewe' 'Druid' or 'The Shim' to his mates, was born in East London in 1974. As a small child, both parents inflicted their musical tastes, from The Beatles and The Moody Blues to Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis, on him, and he was never the same again. Despite being born and bred a 'Cockney tosser', Drewe actually spent his teenage years in and around Birmingham, attending his first 60s/50s-themed nights there at The Ship Ashore, before "coming home" in 1993 to the South, where, with the exception of three years spent in Glasgow between 2007-2010, he has remianed ever since. In the almost two decades that have passed he has trod a strange meandering path from a shy 60s/70s-obsessed teen with no 'scene' to speak of to a Metalhead, sleaze-glammie, Goth, indie kid, glam-punker, garage-rocker, eventual Mod and psych freak (first attending Mousetrap in 2000) In that time he's also written for Shindig! Britmovie, DarkSide, Black Velvet and Get Ready To Rock, promoted various vintage and veteran acts at Camden Underworld, Glasgow Ivory Blacks and several other venues, DJed everything from psych, garage and soul to Metal at practically every well-known club in central London. Drewe is trying to build a time machine that will enable him to visit any period between 1960 and 1980 but still be able to use a mobile and Facebook. His ambition, aside from directing films and building said machine, is to morph into a cross between Jason King, Timmy Lea, Jerry Cornelius and Richard Hannay, and drift about the ether having adventures in a kipper tie, pinstriped flares and camel hair coat.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook

November 25, 2013 By : Category : Bands Front Page Music Reviews Tags:, , , , ,
0 Comment