THE EVERLY BROTHERS – Two Yanks in England – (Warner Brothers) – 1966

Everly Brothers - Two Yanks in England

I love the Everly Brothers.

Many people do, though generally, they aren’t as revered as the hell raisers and out and out rock ‘n’ rollers from the 1950s.

Elvis will forever reign supreme as he straddled or created a number of styles of rock ‘n’ roll in those years 1954 -1958 where he reinvented himself regularly. But despite his rock ballads, country-ish rock, pop, faux jazzy rock, trad pop stylings, rhythm and blues, gospel, seasonal rock it is his out and out rockers he is lauded for.

People gravitate to that in rock music.

Buddy Holly aside, 50s enthusiasts generally like their rock and roll, loud, aggressive and with beat. And these are the songs we remember by Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Carl Perkins, Billy Lee Riley, Link Wray et al.

Their twin harmonies of the Everly Brothers were just too pop despite the fact they could rock out and had the right pedigree for first generation white rockers: they were of Southern heritage and grew up listening to (a lot of) country, gospel and R&B

But it is these harmonies that took (along with Buddy Holly) US rock in a different direction and influenced the British Invasion bands as well as The Beach Boys, The Byrds, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Gram Parsons, The Eagles, Simon & Garfunkel, and any other number of duos.

Their influence is obvious.

But by the mid-1960s, like many of their 50s peers, their career was on the wane.

Of the first generation only Elvis had a career, though he was in Hollywood making movies and not extending himself (yet).

Many of the first generation black guys had retreated into rehashing the same rock ‘n’ roll rhythms over and over again whilst many of the white guys had moved to country music.

All, though, had a career, playing live, in England.

Say what you will of the English public and music, and I have said a bit, they do love their dinosaurs.

And, I’m not using dinosaur here in a pejorative way (not this time), I just mean the English love to hang on to things. Perhaps it’s because, in this case, they missed out on much of this early on but I suspect it has more to do with the fact that their smaller population (and smaller market) means that new things aren’t being continually invented so there is room for “oldies” in the charts even a lot later on.

The Americans also love to hang on to things (if gigs are any indication of anything) but their musical dinosaurs rarely invade the charts after their initial burst of popularity is over.


  • if you have influenced English music;
  • you are popular over there;
  • and things aren’t going all that well in your home country,

it is a no brainer what you have to do …

And, that is, go to England and record an album of English tunes, with some English musicians.

This music kicks with rhythm and beat and the Everlys nail a number of the covers and perhaps do some even better than the originals. And … I’m happy to say, the music is eclectic, and even quirky as the Everlys play around with their familiar harmonies (which must have alienated their traditional fans looking for more of the same) whilst some of the songs are just weird, well weird by Top 40 standards.

The Hollies, apparently (and perhaps not surprisingly) played on most of the album as did James Burton, but it has also been rumoured that Jimmy Page contributed some guitar as a session musician and, John Paul Jones and Reggie Dwight (a.k.a. Elton John) also played on the album.

Clearly a no brainer album, though, doesn’t mean success with the music public.

What does that say about them?

This didn’t chart.

The Everly Brothers went the way of the other 1950s white rock ‘n’ rollers into safer country pop …. though there were many little masterpieces there also.

Check my other comments for biographical detail.

Note, the author “L. Ransford” (who wrote eight of the twelve songs on the album) is, actually, Allan Clarke, Tony Hicks & Graham Nash of The Hollies who were asked (wisely by someone) to supply songs for this album.

Tracks (best in italics)

             Side One

  • Somebody Help Me – (Jackie Edwards) – a UK #1 in early to mid-1966 for the Spencer Davis group. A good version of the song. It doesn't add anything to the original (even if I prefer it a little).
  • So Lonely – (L. Ransford) -Graham Nash) – originally done by The Hollies as a B-side in 1965 and, here, not dissimilar to Peter & Gordon. Excellent with the yearning the Everlys made famous in the late 50s.
  • Kiss Your Man Goodbye – (Don Everly, Phil Everly) – a great tune with some great guitar. The Everlys sound is contemporised to mid-60s London.
  • Signs That Will Never Change – (L. Ransford) – recorded by the Hollies though not released until 1967 as a B-side. A pretty song and very a wistful mid-60s mid-tempo ballad.
  • Like Every Time Before – (L. Ransford) – the Hollies released this as a B-side in 1968. A cross between the Beatles "And I Love Her" and Unit 4 Plus 2's 1966 hit "Concrete And Clay" all done to a Latin beat.
  • Pretty Flamingo – (Mark Barkan) – a UK #1 in early to mid-1966 for Manfred Mann. A magnificent song. Not as good as the original but the song is so good it doesn't matter too much.

Side Two

  • I've Been Wrong Before – (L. Ransford) – had been issued under the title “I've Been Wrong" in 1965 on the US ‘Hear! Here!” and the UK “Hollies” LPs. A good up-tempo number.
  • Have You Ever Loved Somebody? – (L. Ransford) – also recorded by the Hollies , released on their 1967 album “Evolution” though The Searchers had a minor hit with it in the UK in 1966 (#48Uk, #94 US). Another up-tempo number which is quite good.
  • The Collector – (Sonny Curtis, Don Everly, Phil Everly) – based on the 1963 British novel of the same name by John Fowles (which was made into a successful film by William Wyler in 1965). Apparently song authors Don Everly and Sonny Curtis (a former Cricket with Buddy Holly) had read the book though Curtis, has said that it really is Don Everly's song, despite what the songwriting credits say). Suitably tortured and quite beautiful.
  • Don't Run and Hide – (L. Ransford) – originally done by The Hollies as a B-side in 1966. Very Hollies (not surprisingly).
  • Fifi the Flea – (L. Ransford) – originally done by The Hollies on their US “Beat Group!” album and UK “Would You Believe” album (1966). Like a downbeat version of the Beatles' "Michelle" … a tale of a doomed love affair between circus performers … and one of the best songs in the "doomed love affair between circus performers" song genre.
  • Hard Hard Year – (L. Ransford) – originally done by The Hollies on their US “Beat Group!” album and UK “Would You Believe” album (1966). Some nice organ and a good vocal though a downbeat ending to a "swinging London" album.

And …

The Everlys are out of their comfort zone but not out of their depth. There are many treasures here. A underrated album … I'm keeping it.

Chart Action

Nothing nowhere


Somebody Help Me

So Lonely

Kiss Your Man Goodbye

mp3 attached

Signs That Will Never Change

Like Every Time Before

Pretty Flamingo

mp3 attached

I've Been Wrong Before

Have You Ever Loved Somebody?

The Collector

Don't Run and Hide

Fifi the Flea

Hard Hard Year







The Everly Brothers with singer Kelley in Dublin, Ireland 1966. Kelley was in the Irish "Nevada Showband". Okay it's not England but the threads are influenced by English fashions (though, apparently, all bought in Dublin).


Everly Brothers with singer Kelley in Dublin 1966


Posted in Rock & Pop | Tagged | Leave a comment

WEREWOLVES – Werewolves – (RCA) – 1978

Werewolves - Werewolves

I had not heard of The Werewolves before but picked this up because there is a vaguely New Wave-ish power pop look to this band from 1978.

Something I'm not alone in as they do crop up on power pop and punk sites

Well, the lesson is, appearances are deceiving.

But, in this case, a pleasant one.

The label may have marketed their appearance on the then popular New Wave but the Werewolves are anything but.

The information on-line is sketchy.

Texas always was a fertile ground for dusty, swaggering, and often idiosyncratic rock 'n' roll and The Werewolves were a Dallas (from Oak Cliff), Texas bar band. And they were very popular, almost legendary, on the Dallas scene in the 1970s.

The band formed in 1974 and like many bands of the day, and in their locale, they were a working band.  They played covers and originals and played them tight.

But, their pedigree goes back a lot further.

Guitarist, Seab Meador, had been on lead guitar and vocals as a teenager in Dallas garage band "The Gentlemen" from about 1964 – 1968. He then joined The Bridge, before joining The Werewolves.

Seab Meador, also, did a short tour as a member (along with two future members of ZZ Top) in a fake version of the Zombies in the late-60s. The manager had the legal rights to form a band to tour off of the Zombies great hit songs, as the original band had broken up.

Singer Brian Papageorge had his roots in other Dallas bands also, and formed The Hurricanes in Houston with Seab and Ron Barnett, both later of The Werewolves (this band may have directly morphed into The Werewolves).

Like any other band of the early 1970s The Werewolves were loud and took on board the influences of Jeff Beck, The Animals, The Kinks, Bad Company and the rhythm and blues swagger of the Rolling Stones .  

"We're always being compared to them," says singer Brian Papageorge, whose spry frame makes him closer to Nuryev than Jagger. "It's understandable, and even quite a flattering comparison, but not really that true." "When the Stones first came along I was really influenced by them," says guitarist Meador. "But they influenced me to go back but they influenced me to go back and discover the roots of their music the old blues and r-and-b groups which are the roots of our music, too. That's really the way in which we're like the Stones." (

The Beatles were the English band most emulated in the 60s but the 70s belonged to the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin … well, up till late in the 70s.

This was (white) bluesy flavoured rock and roll similar to what the Flamin’ Groovies had been doing in California, The New York Dolls had done in NYC and (especially) what Grin had done in Washington DC. But like the Vaughan Brothers (other Oak Cliff boys), The Werewolves added some Texas country flavouring and desert grit to the sound.

This, despite the influence of English bands (doing American music), was distinctly Texan American roots music, blues, rock ‘n’ roll and soul.

(Belabouring the point) the band sounded like a Texan version of the Rolling Stones and Bad Company albeit with some glam trappings. Singer Brian Papageorge could wail and was often compared to Paul Rodgers or Mick Jagger though I think he sounds more like Nils Lofren if Lofren in a bluesy rock ‘n’ roll band  (or even a bit like Graeme "Shirley" Strachan from Skyhooks).

Apparently the Werewolves became very popular locally (and were known for their raucous live act).

With the resurgence of progressive country throughout Texas they donned Blue Brothers outfits (prior to the Blue Brothers) and played up-tempo blues as The Texas Kingsnakes (,1346566&hl=en)

But it was time to make a move.

In the mid to late 70s they moved to New York. They played the CBGBs with the punks of the day and were eventually heard by Rolling Stones manager and producer Andrew Loog Oldham.

Oldham, well known and Svengali-like, gave them exposure but it was, perhaps, a double edged sword. Oldham had a tremendous ego so any discussion of the band, inevitably, ended up being a discussion about alchemist Oldham.

He had them signed and produced this, their first album.

In their original unadorned incarnation their sound was ahead of its time and probably pre-empted The Black Crowes and the Georgia Satellites.

This album doesn’t capture that.

Oldham had been quiet in the 70s and the Stones had long since left him.

No doubt he hears some of the Stones in the Werewolves but the times were changing. The Stones rock swagger sound was on the way out and even they would try other things, hence the disco and hard (ish) rock dabblings in the late 70s.

Perhaps that’s why (market considerations) there is a vaguely New Wave-ish makeover for the Werewolves … short (er) hair, nice (albeit country) threads and a smoother sound etc.

But, a band is a creature of habit and the old stylings can still be heard. It has been toned down a little but there is still a lot of 70s rock swagger in the tunes. Even more impressive is their versatility (and quirkiness in a genre not really know for that). This is rock and roll but there are many shadings here that show that The Werewolves had put in a lot of time playing gigs and soaking up their musical ancestry.

The album failed. It was probably lost in the in the rush of “new bands” from the late 70s.

Likewise, their sound was a little too old, though in a few years it would be new again.

There is something here and they could have been great.

One more album followed, “Ship of Fools (Summer Weekends And No More Blues)”, on RCA in late 1978 and then they imploded.

Seab Meador died from brain cancer in 1980.

Tracks (best in italics)

Side On

  • The Flesh Express – (Papageorge-Meador-Ballard) – suitably rocking and themeatically, perhaps, an apt way to kick off the album. Perfectly 70s.
  • Hollywood Millionaire – (Papageorge-Meador-Ballard) – the up-tempo ballad with the "la di dah dah dah" hum a long bits.
  • Too Hard – (Papageorge-Meador) – The slow burn and not unlike some of Grin's ballads.
  • City by The Sea – (Ballard) – the country blues rock exercise and there seems to be some accordion in there.
  • Never Been To Hades – (Meador-Ballard) – a great tune which is rock with country asides and a touch of left of centre style.

Side Two

  • Lisa – (Papageorge-Ballard) – some pop influences (in a Flamin Groovies kind of way) and quite engaging.
  • The Two Fools – (Papageorge-Ballard-Meador) – a country rock ballad in the style of Doug Sahm.
  • Heaven Help Me – (Papageorge-Meador-Brewster) – a good song though the horns are misplaced.
  • Deux Voix – (Papageorge-Ballard) – a mid tempo rocker with some late 70s keyboards diffusing the excitement
  • One Night – (Bartholomew-Steiman-King) – Elvis Presley’s #4 smouldering sexual ballad from 1957. The band do it faithfully … even the echo and backing vocals are included.
  • Silence –  (Papageorge-Ballard) – another melodic up-tempo rocker.

And …

Occasionally derivative but ballsy and a lot of fun … I'm keeping it.

Chart Action

Nothing nowhere


Full album

The Flesh Express

mp3 attached

Hollywood Millionaire

Never Been To Hades




A truckload of photos

A Dallas doco



  • Personnel: Seab Meador (gtr) / Bucky Ballard (bass)(gtr) / Bobby Baranowski (drms) / Kirk Brewster (gtr) / Brian Papageorge (vcls) / Ronnie Barnett (drms) / Keith Ferguson (bass)
Posted in Hard Rock, Rock & Pop, Southern and Boogie Rock | Tagged | Leave a comment

PAUL PARRISH – Songs – (Warner Brothers) – 1971

Paul Parrish - Songs

How sensitive to I feel today?

I have fears that Paul Parrish is going to be a singer songwriter of the most maudlin kind. Usually,  the piano player ones, for whatever reason,  lean that way. That, combined with the song titles, anything with "poem" or "time" in the title.

Still, I don't mind maudlin.

It may be contrary to the punk I may listen to (though, admittedly, that is less frequent now) but I like either end of the noise spectrum. It's the squidgy, neither here nor there middle, that usually bores me.

If you are going to be punk, be 100% punk, if you are going to be pop be 100% pop.

And, it's not about the music exclusively it's about attitude.

Paul Parrish on fist listening is 100% singer songwriter and, to some, definitely, 100% maudlin.

But he does like most artists I have time for throw something else into the mix.

The entire allmusic entry on him is: "Paul Parrish is an American singer, songwriter and pianist. His songs have been recorded by Helen Reddy, Kenny Rogers, The Dillards, Robin Dransfield, and others. Jon Pruett of Allmusic called his first album, The Forest of My Mind, "a bright, excellently produced LP filled with remarkable sunshine-dipped folk-pop songs." … Parrish wrote the song A Poem I Wrote for Your Hair for the 1970 film "Fools" starring Jason Robards and Katharine Ross … With Lorenzo Toppano, Parrish was half of the duo Parrish & Toppano. They recorded two albums together".

All other google searches and searched through my paper library indicate very little on him:

  • He was friends with producer Dan Dalton and singer and songwriter John Beland (later of Swampwater and The Flying Burrito Brothers) who he seasoned for.
  • He sang the theme song to "The Brady Bunch" sitcom in 1969. Yes, you read right. You have to eat I suppose. Wikipedia: "The theme song, penned by Schwartz and Frank De Vol, and originally arranged, sung, and performed by Paul Parrish, Lois Fletcher, and John Beland under the name the Peppermint Trolley Company" though hey weren't in that band. The Peppermint Trolley Company is credited with arranging and singing the theme song for the show's pilot. After the band left their label, the vocals were re-recorded and sung by Paul Parish, John Beland and Lois Fletcher leaving the original music intact.
  • Beland says this "Ahhh the Brady Bunch. I was just a teenage new kid on the block when I sang it, along with Paul Parrish and Lois Dalton (Dan Dalton's wife). I was more impressed by the $350.00 check I received for doing it, than the actual show. LOL….."

Most praise heaped on him is in relation to that first album from 1968, "The Forrest of My Mind", which has a cult following and discovered an ever bigger (cult) following after its digital release.

It is, and I have listened to a few snatches on youtube, lush orchestrated pastoral folk pop-psych betraying a heavy influence of Donovan with sunshine pop and baroque pop asides.

And, there is nothing wrong with that.

This album came along in 1971 and on the Warner Brothers label (the first album was on the small though MGM backed label, Music Factory, label). I'm not sure how he got that deal but sensitive singer-songwriters were the flavour and all the majors were rushing out to sign them up, record them, and see what struck gold.

I have no idea how old Parrish is here  but I suspect he is in his mid-to late 20s. On the 1968 album he betrayed (on what I have heard) a wide eyed innocence and optimism that only works when you are young.

Here things are getting darker, though not gloomy.

Lyrically, the album can be (prima facie) a little precious much like Shawn Phillips (who I like) but without the accompanying musical virtuosity. The difference is that Parrish keeps it straightforward. Many of the songs deal "looking back" , "things past" and "passing time" (check out the song titles) but his knack is in keeping everything low key.

It is a very simple album, there is a band behind him but they don't intrude. The piano (played by Parrish) is dominant whilst the classical or "non-rock" instruments (melodica (played by Parrish also), clarinet, harp, cello) make appearances throughout adding to the mood.  What better instrument than the cello for "things past" and melancholy songs?

This album, then, is a nice mix of chamber pop and singer-songwriter though there are elements of soft rock also creeping into the sound (good to some but something I approach with a lot of trepidation).

The music would be a close to early Elton John if his music was more gentle or David Ackles, if Parrish's voice was deeper or gruffer, but it's not. His voice is high and sweet. Very high and sweet. It is akin to Art Garfunkel and perhaps even a little sweeter.

In fact, the album at times is quite Simon and Garfunkel (in their ballads) with Parrish playing both Simon the songwriter, and, Garfunkel the gentle singer.

There was a third album in 1977 (Song For A Young Girl) and then he formed half of Parrish & Toppano in the 1980s who played soft rock. They released two albums and from what I have heard it's not that good unless you like 80s soft rock … soft music against a lot of keyboards and a full orchestra. (It seems the band did well in Europe. "The Royal Falcon" from 1987 album went to #38 in Germany).

This album does have it's soft rock tendencies. It is a slippery slope, and not a good one.

But, for the moment, Parrish is at the top of the slope.

All songs written and arranged by Paul Parrish.

Tracks (best in italics)

            Side One

  • Many Years Ago –   A "Jesus" song and a good one. Parrish (though it should be "parish" here) has given the backing a contemporary medieval feel to fit the reverential though matter of fact lyric. Quite moving.
  • I Once Had A Dog –  is this dog a metaphor for something or is it just another rehash of "Old Shep"? There is a touch of Cat Stevens here.
  • Jaynie –   pretty and up-tempo by this albums standards.
  • Poem I Wrote For Your Hair – a sweeter David Ackles.  Quite melancholy and quite wonderful. The song was written for the film "Fools".
  • Time – another beautiful melancholy song.  

Side Two

  • Numbers –   a big ballad beat and not as effective
  • Cello – The song features, err a cello. Beautiful. Parrish later did this (and released it as a single) when he was in Parrish & Toppano. 
  • Pink Limousine – an interesting song and fun. Quite English. Poppy and a cross between David Ackles, The Monkees and Ray Davies.   
  • Nathan –  moving into bombastic Elton John territory but diverting.
  • When They Return – I'm not sure who the "they" is but the song is quite spiritual and hymn like. Quite good.

And …

Quite beautiful at times, more often than not. It gets under your skin … I'm keeping it.

Chart Action

Nothing nowhere


Many Years Ago

Poem I Wrote For Your Hair

mp3 attached  

Pink Limousine






  • Personnel: Bass – Steve LaFever / Cello – Nathan Gershman / Clarinet – Bill Fritz, Jim Snodgrass / Drums – George Bell, Larry Brown / Guitar – Dick Rosminni, John Beland / Harmonica – Danny Cohen, Tom Morgan / Harp – Verlye Mills / Piano, Organ, Melodica – Paul Parrish / Producer – Dan Dalton
  • Apparently Parrish is a Michigan native (from Walled Lake)…unsubstantiated but the first album was recorded in Detroit.
Posted in Baroque Pop, Singer Songwriter | Tagged | Leave a comment

BADFINGER – Say No More – (Radio Records) – 1981


This is the last album from Badfinger.

Here they are trying to hook onto the resurgence of power pop and retro sounds through the New Wave.

It's not sad, as they had being doing it all along.

It is slick and well produced though, ultimately, the songs aren’t as good as their earlier material.

What they have added is a touch of old time rock ‘n’ roll.

Odd, given a lot of Beatle harmony bands were doing well in the power pop resurgence of skinny tie bands of the late 70s and early 80s

The rockin’ sound is like something the Travelling Wilburys would be doing (though ballsier) seven years before them.

Yet again, Badfinger were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It is not that different to what Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe were doing at time (though with a more 60s bent) or is it a case of like minds think alike and develop (musically or otherwise) alike?

The concessions to the new wave are understandable. Their hit-making days were gone and this may have been a grab for some of the airwaves but since their first album twelve years earlier they were remarkably consistent (the punchy pop and catchy melodies were never diluted) even though they had lost a main singer and vocalist in Pete Ham.

So they didn’t go out with a whimper or a bang but with an album with its fair share of joys.

Check out my other comments on this most underrated (by the mainstream) band.

Tracks (best in italics)

             Side One

Side Two

  • Passin' Time – (Molland) – more Travelling Wilburys
  • Three Time Loser – (Evans) – a magnificent mid tempo pop rocker and reminiscent of ELO without the over the top full sound.
  • Too Hung Up on You – (Evans) – a most melodious retro piece.
  • Crocadillo – (Evans/Roach) – a fairly generic rocker.
  • No More – (Molland) – trying to be a little New Wave (via the Beatles). But like a lot of old rockers they thought that meant squealy guitars

And …

Not perfect but still a cut above the average … I'm giving it to a mate though I swill search for it again.

Chart Action



1981 Hold On #56


1981 #155






Complete album

I Got You


Hold On


Because I Love You

mp3 attached

Passin' Time







Posted in Power Pop | Tagged | Leave a comment

CLAUDE KING – Meet Claude King – (Columbia) – 1962

Claude King - Meet Claude King

I know Claude from his 45, “The Comancheros” which I bought because of its John Wayne tie-in novelty value. I loved the film, which is one the earliest John Wayne films I recall seeing, and the song (released after the film) much like Gene Pitney’s “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”, was released after the film was a hit.

Despite being ‘cash ins” after the films they both fit into the large group of dramatic opening credit songs which were popular, especially in westerns in the 1950 and 1960s.

The songs (especially those after the fact), really, just repeat the narrative of the film to music accentuating the emotional highlights or themes.

I digress, but it is relevant as Claude King was very much of the country storyteller ilk with a distinct Hollywood-ness to his music.

King was no different to many other country singers of his day:

"King (1923-2013) was born in Keithville in southern Caddo Parish south of Shreveport in northwestern Louisiana. At a young age, he was interested in music but also in athletics and the outdoors. He purchased a guitar at the age of twelve, and although he learned to play, most of his time was devoted to sports. He received a baseball scholarship to the University of Idaho at Moscow, Idaho

He said he grew up "…about as poor as you can be." His dad was a farmer and back then, it was using a plow and mule. But the farm land did not treat them well for it was red land dirt and did not seem to favor any type of good crop.

"From 1942 to 1945, he served in the United States Navy during World War II … King formed a band with his friends Buddy Attaway and Tillman Franks called the Rainbow Boys …”:

Also Buddy & Claude with The Kentuckians with who he commenced recording g in the late 1940s before releasing solo records from 1950 on

The trio played around Shreveport in their spare time while working an assortment of other jobs. He joined the Louisiana Hayride, a television and radio show produced at the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium and broadcast throughout the United States and in the United Kingdom. King was frequently on the same programs with Elvis Presley, Tex Ritter, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Webb Pierce, Kitty Wells, Jimmie Davis, Slim Whitman, Faron Young, Johnny Horton, Jim Reeves, George Jones, Tommy Tomlinson, and Lefty Frizzell … King recorded a few songs for Gotham Records though none were successful. In 1961, he became more serious about a musical career and signed with the Nashville division of Columbia Records. He struck immediately, cutting "Big River, Big Man," both a country top 10 and a small pop crossover success. He soon followed with "The Comancheros" inspired by the John Wayne film of the same name It was a top 10 country hit in late 1961 and crossed over into the popular chart".

And then he had the mammoth hit was “Wolverton Mountain”.

An album to follow was a no-brainer.

Whack on his three hits, throw in some originals and fill it out with covers.

It got to #80 which is respectable given how much effort was put in.

The surprising thing is how this, and others like it, hand so well together.

King had his style down pat, and had been playing for enough years to know his way around a tune so, sound wise the album is always going to sound good.  What I like about his music around this time is its filmic qualities (you can see the narrative unfolding in your head as you listen to the tune) and its subtle crossover appeal.

The music is instantly familiar to a lot of early rockabilly and western rock n roll. The beat of his country led to rockabilly much like the other immortal storyteller Johnny Cash. In attitude and spirt, though, King wasn’t Cash. He was more like (the wonderful) Johnny Horton. King and Horton were contemporaries and (I gather) friends and King recorded an album of Horton songs in 1969 “I Remember Johnny Horton” (Horton was killed in car crash in 1960 at age 35).

Horton was at the time the king of the country storytellers. He had had four crossover hits in 1959-1960, “The Battle of New Orleans” (#1 pop and country), ‘Johnny Reb”, “Sink the Bismark”, “North to Alaska”.

King took over the space that was left open by his death though Johnny Cash starting off with his series of concept albums about America and his history would also occupy some of that space.

King never replicated that success in the charts of the early 60s though he did have a number of Top 10s, 20s and 40s in the country charts before they dried up altogether in the early 70s.

Country music is always a more complicated genre of music than it is given credit for and even when sung straight with crossover pop appeal there is always something in the lyric or the tune which makes it instantly identifiable.

King sings it straight (in his rich voice) and there is the Nashville slickness to the backing vocals and musical edges but I like that because I like the era. I also like the drama and the stories being told.

And, better still, you can sing along.

Tracks (best in italics)

           Side One

  • The Comancheros – (T. Franks) – magnificent. A sing a long narrative to the film.
  • You're Breaking My Heart – (H. H. Melka) – an Ernest Tubb song from 1957. The usual familiar country themes.
  • I'm Just Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail – (R. Carter) – originally by pseudo brother act Karl & Harty from 1934. The song has been covered by everyone in country music. A great tune that resembles a Johnny Cash tune though it predates him in its original form.
  • Give Me Your Love And I'll Give You Mine – (A. P. Carter) – A Carter Family song from the 1930s. Apparently in the 2000s when appearing live on one occasion King sang this song to his wife of over 50 years, Barbara Jean. A very romantic country song.
  • Big River, Big Man – (G. Watson, M. Phillips) –  a good song in the Johnny Horton style
  • Sweet Lovin' – (C. Baum, T. Franks) –subsequently covered by country singer David Houston in 1969.

    Side Two

  • Wolverton Mountain – (C. King, M. Kilgore) – The song is a rewrite of the original version by Merle Kilgore, which was based on a real character named Clifton Clowers who lived on Woolverton Mountain (the mountain's actual name) in Arkansas. It was actually about an uncle of Merle's that lived on the mountain. The song's storyline is about the narrator's desire for Clowers' daughter and his intention to climb the mountain and marry her. The song has been well covered: Jimmie Rodgers (1962), Roy Drusky (1962), Nat King Cole (1962),  Frank Ifield (1963), Hugo Montenegro (1963), The Brothers Four (1963), Connie Francis & Hank Williams Jr (1964), Pat Boone (1965), Jerry Lee Lewis (1965), Bing Crosby (1965), Wayne Newton (1968), Louis Armstrong (1970), Hank Williams, Jr. with The Mike Curb Congregation (1970), Sir Doug & The Texas Tornados (1976), Conway Twitty (1977), Bill Haley & His Comets, Southern Culture on the Skids (2007), Sleepy LaBeef and many others. A great song.
  • Would You Care? – (A. Cole, T. Franks) – The usual country themes.
  • Pistol Packin' Papa – (J. Rodgers, W. O'Neil) – The Jimmie Rodgers classic from 1930. Very Jimmie Rodgers, so very good!
  • Little Bitty Heart – (C. King) – typical of the Nashville of the time. Sweet lyrics with gril voice backup.
  • I Can't Get Over The Way You Got Over Me – (C. King) – a good country song of a broken relationship with a great title.
  • I Backed Out – (T. Glaser) – very Nashville but quite catchy. A real sing a long song.

And …

Modest but quite wonderful, and definitely enjoyable … I'm keeping it.

Chart Action



1961 Big River, Big Man  #7 Country, #82 Pop

1961 The Comancheros #7 Country, #71 Pop

1962 Wolverton Mountain #1 Country, #6 Pop 


1962 #80




Whole album

The Comancheros

mp3 attached

You're Breaking My Heart

I'm Just Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail

Give Me Your Love and I'll Give You Mine

live recently

Big River, Big Man

Sweet Lovin'

Wolverton Mountain

live recently

mp3 attached

Would You Care?

Pistol Packin' Papa

Little Bitty Heart

I Can't Get Over The Way You Got Over Me

I Backed Out






  • King was born February 5, 1923 in Keithville, Caddo Parish, Louisiana, USA. Died March 7, 2013 in Shreveport, Louisiana, USA.
  • Tillman Franks (1920-2006) wrote or co-wrote a number of songs and also did the same with Johnny Horton.
  • "Wolverton Mountain" spent nine weeks at the top of the country charts and peaked at number six on the pop charts.
  • King acted in a couple of films in the 70s, the backwoods melodrama, “Swamp Girl" (1971) and the non-gore Herschell Gordon Lewis political melodrama “The Year of the Yahoo!” (1972).
Posted in Country | Tagged | Leave a comment

BOBBY VEE – Live! On Tour – (Liberty) – 1965

Bobby Vee - Live On Tour

A live album.


This would have been the first live rock ‘n’ pop album ever … if it was live.

It wasn’t.

The audience noise is “canned”

"Canned” applause is pre-recorded applause which is usually added to the sound track of something recorded in a studio so that it sounds like it was recorded in front of a live audience (rather than in a studio). And, yes, it would be done in order to suggest that there was an enthusiastic audience listening.

"Canned laughter" is more common. This is the pre-recorded laughter that you often hear in television sit-coms.

As it turns out, the first rock ‘live’ album is generally regarded to be, 'Got Live if You Want It' (1966) by The Rolling Stones.

The Stones, however, have (apparently formally) disowned “Got Live If You Want It” as the band’s first live album because the amount of studio tracks and overdubs featured on the recording make the album barely “live”.

I’m not sure why Bill Haley’s “Twistin’ Knights at the Roundtable” (1962)( recorded at the "Bitter End" club in New York),  Trini Lopez "at PJ's" (1963), "More Trini Lopez at PJ's" (1963), or "Live at Basin St. East" (1964) and Johnny Rivers "at the Whisky à Go Go" (1964), "Here We à Go Go Again!" (1964), "Meanwhile Back at the Whisky à Go Go" (1965), "…And I Know You Wanna Dance" (1966), which are all recorded live, aren’t considered to be firsts.

Perhaps it’s because they were recorded in small venues rather than on tour … or perhaps it’s because they don’t fit in with rock music snobbery.

If Haley, Lopez and Rivers don’t get a mention then neither will Elvis for his “Elvis (NBC TV Special)” album, half of which was live, which was released in December 1968. Presley's informal live jamming in front of a small audience in the special is, however, regarded as a forerunner of the "unplugged" concept, later popularized by MTV.

Given the dismissal of Haley, Lopez and Rivers and the Stones dubs, perhaps, then, the first “true” live rock album was “Live at Kelvin Hall” (1967) by The Kinks or Cream’s “Wheels of Fire’ (1968).

And then there is Ritchie Valens “In Concert at Pacoima Jr. High” (1960) which is partially live and partially canned.

I digress.

There is nothing live on Bobby’s album.

If we didn’t know, the give away would be the fact that all but two songs (his hit, “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes” and the medley of two hits Take Good Care of My Baby / Run to Him) are songs that had never been released before on single or album.  Any big pop act with a lot of hits (like Vee) would not be trialling this much new material live. 

So, it is proper to treat this album as a studio album.

With that in mind I don’t know if his hits, mentioned above, are originals with audience applause attached on, or re-records. Likewise I don’t know if the medley is a splice or a re-record as a medley.

By 1965, Vee’s star had waned (though he would have a big bounce back in 1967 with his US #3 "Come Back When You Grow Up") as he hadn’t had a Top 20 since “Charms“(#13 US) in 1963.

His albums, like most rock ‘n’ pop albums of this era weren’t big on the charts but they did sell.

Also, as far as I know, no singles were released from this album (canned applause or otherwise).

With all that, I’m not sure where the logic for this album is, unless this is all earlier unreleased material.

They would have been better to release it as a studio album with advance singles.

If it is new, Vee digs back into his musical memory and does songs he liked (I assume) as a youth, as well as some recent hits.

Tracks (best in italics)

            Side One

  • Every Day I Have to Cry – (Arthur Alexander) – Steve Alaimo’s #45 US hit from 1962. The faux screams works on this as it is the type of song you would expect the teens to scream over.
  • Let the Four Winds Blow – (Dave Bartholomew / Fats Domino) – the first release was by Dave Bartholomew (1955) but it was a #15US hit for Fats Domino in 1961.
  • The Night Has a Thousand Eyes – (Marilyn Garrett / Dorothy Wayne / Ben Weisman) – Bobby's hit (#3US, #3UK) from 1962. A great song live or not.
  • Weekend – (Bill Post / Doree Post) – Eddie Cochran’s 1961 single which didn’t chart in the US but went to #15 in England. Very Eddie Cochran which Bobby pulls off well though Eddie's guitar is missed.
  • You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby – (Johnny Mercer / Harry Warren) –  Johnny Mercer’s song done by everyone which was a #5 for Bobby Darin in 1961.
  • Hey Little Girl – (Otis Blackwell / B.W. Stevenson) –  Dee Clark's #20 Pop, #2 R&B US hit from 1959. Vee is convincing again witha rock beat song ….

           Side Two

  • Sea Cruise – (Huey "Piano" Smith) – Frankie Ford's #14 hit US from 1959.
  • Things – (Bobby Darin) – Darin’s #3US and #2 UK hit from 1962. A great pop song.
  • Shop Around – (Berry Gordy, Jr. / Smokey Robinson) – The big hit from the Miracles in 1961 (#2 Pop, #1 R&B US). Very contemporary by Bobby standards and quite good.
  • It'll Be Me – (Jack Clement) – the first recording was by Jerry Lee Lewis (February 1957) as B-side to his hit single "Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On" (#3Pop, #1R&B US). Brit Cliff Richard and the Shadows released their version as an A-side which went to #2 on the UK Singles Chart. Bobby Vee's version is halfway between Cliff and Jerry Lee …not a bad place to be. He can rock.
  • Medley – Take Good Care of My Baby – (Gerry Goffin / Carole King) / Run to Him – (Gerry Goffin / Jack Keller) –  Bobby's two hits from 1961, #13US, #3UK on the first part and #2US, #6UK on the second done as a medley. Great songs.

And …

Bobby tackles a number of styles convincingly in this good set … the faux screams are totally unnecessary …. I'm keeping it.

Chart Action

Nothing nowhere


Hey Little Girl


It'll Be Me

mp3 attached

Run to Him


Take Good Care of My Baby

The Night Has a Thousand Eyes






  • The Beach Boys “Party” released in November 1965 was, also, recorded in a music studio. It was presented as an impromptu live recording of a party with informal chatter by friends and family overdubbed later. Though not ‘rock” James Brown's "Showtime" (1964) was also “live” and canned (his James Brown and His Famous Flames Tour the U.S.A. (1962) was a studio album).
  • Folk, classical and, especially, jazz had released live albums prior to this.
Posted in Live, Pop Rock, Rock & Pop | Tagged | Leave a comment

TOMMY ROE – Phantasy – (ABC Records ) – 1967

Tommy Roe - Phantasy


The times were a changing … again.

Well, at least the musical times were.

Some people that music can change times but I believe that the times create the music.

That music may have a profound impact on you, the individual, but it doesn't necessarily change times … unless you are a Charles Manson type who listens to The Beatles (allegedly) and then goes out and does what he did.

And, even then, he was a product of his times, perhaps, and his own personality, probably, and the music was the straw that broke the camels back.

That's not to say that musicians can't create history, they have, but that is something different.

I'm straying off the point here and I'm talking about Tommy Roe not Bob Dylan.

No disrespect to Tommy Roe but it is not a discussion that is associated with him.

But, it applies to Dylan as equally as it does to Tommy Roe.

It's only music and it wasn't created in a vacuum.

Like many other pop (and rock) performers Tommy Roe reflected his times. His music is both a reflection of him and his times, as well as the representation of a popular or dominant sound which had, in market driven increments, evolved to that point

ie: subject matter and music both reflect the themes and sounds of the day.

What drives that is commercial considerations or, if you don't like equating modern music with money, then you can use "popularity".

And what is popular becomes the basis of "pop (ular)" music.

The music has to appeal to as many people as possible so changes in style and themes are incorporated into its frame work.

And, that is not a bad thing.

Pop music and the pop singer are often derided but in many ways they accurately reflect their times.

Tommy Roe was a pop singer, and a convincing one.

As the popularity of sunshine and psych pop increased Roe decided to move in that direction. It was a natural move anyway. His 60s pop had all the basics but needed the obscure or questioning lyrics as well as pop instrumentation and arrangements which were a little trippy to fit into 1967 comfortably.

Commercial considerations always dictate you follow the sun

And, here, Roe did follow the sun (shine pop)(sic) and psych sounds of the day.

It's a little jarring hearing Roe singing so gently and sweetly but he had already moved in that direction when he created the "It's Now Winter's Day" album (apparently) earlier in 1967 with vocal arrangements by (sunshine pop legend) Curt Boettcher.

That album got to #159 in the charts.

Not a success commercially.

But they tried again with a similar team team. Detail is thin on the ground but it seems this music may be from the same sessions. The producer, Steve Clark. Is the same, the tracks were recorded at the same place (Gray Paxton's Hollywood) and nearly all the musicians are the same.

Curt doesn't appear here (former band mate Jim Bell does) but future Millenium band member, Sandy Salisbury, provides two songs as well as vocals, as does Lee Mallory who also plays.

These guys are all intertwined and collaborated, performed or sessioned together like on this album which was recorded in Hollywood.

This is part of the "California Sound" and it's a sound I like. It's pleasing to the ears.

It's also era I like …. California in the 60s.

The optimism is palatable (even in criticism) as are the possibilities.

Is there any better place that California in the 60s before Altamont and Manson?

Despite following the in sound the album and the single releases didn't do well … to have a hit involves so much more (or perhaps so little less).

Tommy Roe writes most of the songs which is impressive. Not that writing your own songs is the be all and end all of musical expression (it's not) but I note this because pop singers like him (and Gene Pitney, Bobby Darin, Del Shannon etc) are rarely given credit when it comes to song writing.

I haven't heard the "It's Now Winter's Day" album released in earlier in 1967 )though I have it) but some of have said that album is stronger and it was asking, perhaps, too much for Roe to pump out another album or original material (though some of the material may have been older unrecorded stuff he had written dating back to 1964). If the former is correct, then that is reasonable. He was 24 years old and probably had other things to do.

But, as a capsule of the times the album is great listening.

And, Roe bounced back with the worldwide #1 cabaret psych pop hit, "Dizzy" in 1969.

All songs written by Tommy Roe, unless indicated

Tracks (best in italics)

           Side On

  • Paisley Dreams – a slow , moody song with very familiar themes.
  • Plastic World – as a pejorative comment on the (then) contemporary world, "plastic" was used as a short hand. Think "Plastic Man" (1969) by The Kinks, "Plastic People" (1968) by Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention, "Plastic Jim" (1968) by Sly And The Family Stone. I quite like this.
  • Melancholy Mood – this is sugar but quite nice.
  • Visions – ripe psych lyrics.
  • Mystic Magic – this one has a foot in both camps… like a gentler version of something Paul Revere and the Raiders were doing.

    Side Two

  • Little Miss Sunshine – this is more like the old Roe. Pop. The psych vibes are in the background. This predates bubblegum by a couple of years.
  • These Are The Children – (S. Salisbury) – the obligatory song about kids … which is normal in sunshine pop. Kids are the future …
  • Goodbye Yesterday –  (S. Salisbury) – another (very) poppy one. All sugar but one you can tap your toe to.
  • The Executive – (T. Roe & B. Bowie) – another cynical one … on the lonely, shallow "executive". A good tune with good conga / bongo (?!) beat. Okay, this is dated but I like it. It reminds me a little of PF Sloan or Bob Lind.
  • The You I Need – a psych pop love song.
  • It's Gonna Hurt Me –  Quite a good song with all sorts of things going on, but what is missing is a killer hook.

And …

A successful (albeit minor) psych pop album. But, what is needed is more of Roe's trademark pop hooks, still … I'm keeping it.

Chart Action



1967 Little Miss Sunshine #91 Pop US





Paisley Dreams

Plastic World 

mp3 attached

Mystic Magic

Little Miss Sunshine

Goodbye Yesterday

It's Gonna Hurt Me







  • Future Elvis Presley regular, Jerry Scheff plays bass on this album.
  • On all things Elvis, the cover art looks, strangely, like the playground scene (where "Confidence" is sung) from Elvis' film "Clambake" (1967).



RIP David Axelrod (1931 – 2017)



Posted in Psychedelic, Rock & Pop, Sunshine Pop and Baroque | Tagged | Leave a comment

THE ROLLERS (Bay City Rollers) – Elevator – (Arista) – 1978

Rollers - Elevator

The Rollers were the renamed Bay City Rollers trying to shake off their teen idol past but the only thing they suceeded in shaking off was their popularity.

I don’t remember this incarnation of the Bay City Rollers but I do recall the craze of the three or so years pervious.

At least one of my school friends would come to school in his tartans … and he wasn’t Scottish and we were in Australia at a Catholic Boys School in the inner-west of Brisbane.

The Bay City Rollers were a micro phenomena (the so-called “Rollermania”) but a pheomena nevertheless.

They were, certainly, Scotland's greatest musical phenomena and one of the first boybands, though strictly speaking they were more os a teen band cecause they played their instruments.

The phenomena wasn’t micro but its longevity was. It dissipated pretty quickly and the band was rapidly forgotten by many of their fans.

Worse still, for them, they aren’t revived by kids (well, not many) nowadays or subsequent generations..

The Spice Girls, One Direction, Justin Beiber, David Cassidy … there have been many (teen) manias but only Elvis, The Beatles and Frank Sinatra have maintained their fans and transcended the manias.

But for a few years the Bay City Rollers could do no wrong.

Between 1974 and 1978 they had single hits in England (2 #1s, 8 Top 10s, 2 Top 40s), Australia (1 #1, 6 Top 10s, 3 Top 40s), the US (1 #1, 2 Top 10s, 4 Top 40s), New Zealand (1 Top 10, 8 Top 40s) and elsewhere.

They, also had, perhaps unusually, album hits in England (2 #1s, 2 Top 10s, 1 Top 40), the US (4 Top 40s), Japan (2 No1s, 1 Top 10, 3 Top 40s), New Zealand (3 Top 10s, 3 Top 40s) as well as charting albums in many other countries.

Apparently they sold some 300 million records (I've also read 80 million) and that would have been prior to 1978.

They were also called the next Beatles for a while … a tag that brings certain death to a musical act, much like the "next Dylan".

Allmusic: The Bay City Rollers were a Scottish pop/rock band of the '70s with a strong following among teenage girls. The origins of the group go back to the formation of the duo the Longmuir Brothers in the late '60s, consisting of drummer Derek Longmuir (b. March 19, 1952, Edinburgh, Scotland) and his bass-playing brother Alan (b. June 20, 1953, Edinburgh). They eventually changed their name to the Saxons, adding singer Nobby Clarke and John Devine. Then they changed their name again by pointing at random to a spot on a map of the United States: Bay City, Michigan. Their first hit was a cover of the Gentrys' "Keep on Dancing," which reached number nine in the U.K. in September 1971. In June 1972, guitarist Eric Faulkner (b. October 21, 1954, Edinburgh) joined. In January 1973, singer Leslie McKeown (b. November 12, 1955, Edinburgh) and guitarist Stuart Wood (b. February 25, 1957, Edinburgh) replaced Clarke and Devine, stabilizing the quintet's lineup … After flopping with three singles, they finally hit the Top Ten again in February 1974 with "Remember." At this point, the Rollers became a teen sensation in Great Britain, with their good looks and tartan knickers, and they scored a series of Top Ten U.K. hits over the next two and a half years: "Shang-a-Lang," "Summerlove Sensation," "All of Me Loves All of You," "Bye Bye Baby" (a cover of Four Seasons hit that went to number one), "Give a Little Love" (another number one), "Money Honey," "Love Me Like I Love You," and "I Only Want to Be with You" (a cover of the Dusty Springfield hit). Their albums Rollin', Once Upon a Star, Wouldn't You Like It, and Dedication were also Top Ten successes, with Rollin' and Once Upon a Star getting to number one. They scored their first U.S. hit with "Saturday Night," which was released in September 1975 and hit number one in January 1976. It was followed by the Top Ten hits "Money Honey" and "You Made Me Believe in Magic." The Rollers also had five straight gold albums in the U.S.: Bay City Rollers, Rock 'n' Roll Love Letter, Dedication, It's a Game, and Greatest Hits.

But by 1978 things were going astray.

At the end of 1978, the band had split with lead singer Les McKeown, then fired their manager. Shortly after they decided to continue in a more new-wave, rock-oriented sound.

They brought in South African-born Duncan Faure (from South African rock band Rabbitt) as new lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter and called themselves The Rollers.

“Elevator” was the first album under the new line up

They aren’t the first band to change their image and their sound.

Their initial fans (lots of young teen girls) may have been a little older but not old enough to appreciate this new-wavish power pop sound which appealed to late teens and 20s somethings and mainly boys I expect.

Check out the other power pop comments on this blog for some history but the term powerpop wasn't really used until around 1978. The Rollers were, rather, playing the melodious pop rock they always had but now with some sharpness, punch, maturity and cynicism (the pill on the elevator on the sleeve is an indication as there are some rock 'n' roll drug references in the songs).

With the new sound they fell into the same groove as Cheap Trick, The Knack, The Romantics, The Cars, The Shoes and others with a smidgen of ELO thrown in, though without the focus of those bands. Power pop and the New Wave do intersect but The Rollers aren't sure which camp they want to be more in.

In any event nobody went for it, though live clips of them at the time show enthusiasm from their female fans.  They lost many of their old fans because that’s what happens with the fickle fans of teen bands, and no music geek was going to fall for a name change or give them a break. 

And it's a pity because they had something, and , continual playing during their successful period would only have honed their musical ability.

With Faure the line-up produced three albums: "Elevator" (1979), "Voxx" (1980), and "Ricochet" (1981).

Following the expiry of the band's Arista contract (and poor sales) they stopped touring in late 1981 (though they have reformed since on a few occasions).

Faure and the classic earlier line-up have since sued the Arista label for unpaid royalties.

Tracks (best in italics)

             Side One

  • Stoned Houses #1 – (Faulkner, Wood, Faure) – a intro
  • Elevator – (Faulkner, Faure, Wood) – a great punchy power pop song with all the right musical motifs hit.
  • Playing in a Rock and Roll Band – (Faure, Tom Seufurt) – Lead Vocals by Eric Faulkner. A catchy song about a kid in a rock n roll band and without much cynicism.
  • Hello & Welcome Home – (Faulkner, Faure) – quite a pretty song and quite McCartney-esque though a throwback if filtered through the Raspberries.
  • I Was Eleven – (Faure) – more power pop though with a rather full back end sound
  • Stoned Houses #2 – (Faulkner) – a slightly bizarre faux new wave song.

Side Two

  • Turn on the Radio – (Faulkner, Faure, Wood, Alan Longmuir) – a great tune and very Beatles with a John Lennon-esque vocal.
  • Instant Relay – (Faulkner) – more faux new wave with dance / disco overtones much like Blondie in some ways
  • Tomorrow's Just a Day Away – (Faulkner, Wood) – Lead Vocals by Woody Wood. The obligatory ballad that appears on all powerpop albums.
  • Who'll Be My Keeper – (Faure) – a rock 'n' roll lifestyle song.
  • Back on the Road Again – (Faulkner, Faure, Wood, Alan Longmuir) – another rock 'n' roll lifestyle song with a driving rock n roll rhythm.
  • Washington's Birthday – (Wood, Faulkner, Faure) –  nonsensical slightly pretentious lyrics, big production, layered harmonies, silly musical asides. A perfect later Beatles rip off. But it is undeniably catchy.

And …

A mix of new wave and power pop sounds the power pop comes off best and is at times spectacular. Undervalued … I'm keeping it.

Chart Action

Nothing nowhere



Hello & Welcome Home

Turn on the Radio


mp3 attached

Back on the Road Again


Review –




  • wikipedia: They were also extremely popular in Australia. One example of their popularity, was put into the book about Countdown – the Australian TV music show which ran from 1974 – 1987. Their 1976 appearance on Countdown coincided with a total eclipse of the sun. Director Ted Emery recalls '(there)… were thousands of kids done up in tartan pants that didn't reach the top of their shoes, constantly bashing on the plexiglas doors. They would do anything… to get into that television studio. There's 200 kids bashing on the door and a total eclipse of the sun occurred. I'd never seen one. On this day we all stopped in the studio and the Rollers went up on the roof. We stood out there and watched the flowers close up and all the automatic street lighting come on. It was chilling, the most fantastic thing you'd ever see. Downstairs the kids never turned around, staring into the plexiglas waiting to see the Rollers come out of the studio, go down the corridor and into the canteen. (They) never noticed the total eclipse of the sun'.
  • Bay City Rollers starring Les McKeown are touring Australia in July 2017.
Posted in Power Pop | Tagged | Leave a comment

MICKEY NEWBURY – After All These Years – (Mercury) – 1981

Mickey Newbury - After All These Years

The magnificent Mickey Newbury.

One of the greatest of all country singer songwriters.

Check out my other comments for biographical detail on him as well as other ramblings.

The guy on the cover art could be a salesman or perhaps a university professor. He certainly doesn't look like a country music star.

And, that is, perhaps, appropriate.

Newbury was always more about content than image.

He was thoughtful and insightful emotionally.

His songs often deal with relationships, things lost and memories.

No wonder he is a country musician and a country styled singer songwriter.

He is, I think, perhaps too straight looking and sounding for country music and too country sounding for the singer songwriter movement. He is somewhere in-between though he is undeniably both.

In that in-between place he has made himself one of the greatest exponents of the style.

It's his smarts, his skill to get a melody to amplify the lyrics, and his considered vocals that all work together to create music that is emotionally powerful.

I may sound portentous but his music has the ability to impact.

Sure you have to be in the right musical headspace to approach his music (as you do when you are approaching anything more than straight pop) but, just a sit, and a listen, should reveal Newbury's skill.

The tales are both heartbreaking and life affirming with a strong spray of melancholia.

Newbury (a Texan by birth) was 41 years old when he recorded this album but he could have been 70. He is not the first guy to "think old" (or feel old?) but he does it with style.  And perhaps in 1980 when this was recorded 41 was older. Or, perhaps, in today's world of eternal youth where 50 is the new 40 and 60 is the new 50 he just sounds a lot older than his 41.

The album differs to its predecessor. "The Sailor" from 1979 which was a glossy, late night country lounge album (take that Lambchop). But it does return to the his early to mid 70s work with song suites, lush orchestrated melodies and a general deceptive MOR slickness.

It's like a country opera playing at an avant-garde dinner theatre.

I think he was always out of touch a little (his record sales suggest he was) because his music is too thoughtful, emotional and often looking back.

It is, perhaps, a reflection on (by what is unsaid), of the state of the world circa 1981. By looking back he is escaping or some would say retreating but I would say the answers for the future lie in the past.

This was his last album for seven years.

He died in 2002.

All songs written by Mickey Newbury (unless otherwise indicated). The album is produced by musician extraordinaire and Elvis offsider Norbert Putnam.

Tracks (best in italics)

           Side One

  • The Sailor – the title of his last album though the song didn't appear on it. The song has less to do with saining and more to do with mortality. It is powerful. This and the next two songs mesh into each other creating a 12 minute 3 song sequence.
  • Song of Sorrow – very melancholy
  • Let's Say Goodbye One More Time – very familiar country themes lyrically. The stings and whistling interlude work … it may be mush to some but I love it.
  • That Was the Way It Was Then – a beautiful looking back song … here looking back to the 1950s.
  • Country Boy Saturday Night – This has to the gentlest "Saturday night" song written The cowboy narrator is all cashed up and ready to go out but he isn't a hollering… wonderful.

    Side Two

  • Truly Blue – MOR country rock pop which is quite unusual by Newbury standards. Not too bad …and it would have been perfect for Elvis.
  • Just as Long as That Someone Is You – a standard country love song though Mickey's voice is special.
  • Over the Mountain –  (Newbury, Joe Henry) – beautiful. Romantic love given expressed in real terms. Interesting, thematically, this resembles the start of Joan Didion's essay "John Wayne: A Love Song" written in 1965 and  from her "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" (1968) collection of essays where she quotes John Wayne from his film "War of the Wildcats", where he talks about taking his woman away and building a house "at the bend in the river where the cottonwoods grow".

                        Over the mountain I will build us a cabin

                        Over the mountain I will build us a home

  • Catchers in the Rye – a great bouncy "rural" type of song.
  • I Still Love You (After All These Years) – a tribute to a wife. Another one Elvis could have done. Sorry for the Elvis references but mid to late 70s Elvis would have covered these tunes in a heartbeat…. as it is Elvis only did one Newbury song, "An American trilogy")

And …

Beautiful … I'm keeping it.

Chart Action

Nothing anywhere


That Was the Way It Was Then

Country Boy Saturday Night

Just as Long as That Someone Is You

Over the Mountain

mp3 attached

Catchers in the Rye

I Still Love You (After All These Years) –






  • The album was recorded at producer Norbert Putnam's 1875 mansion, the Bennett House in Franklin, Tennessee. with crack personnel including Mickey Newbury on guitar and vocals, Norbet on guitar, Dave Loggins on guitar and vocals, Buddy Spicer on fiddle, David Hungate on bass, Shane Keister on piano  and Steve Brantley – vocals, Bruce Dees – vocals, Steve Gibson – guitar, Jon Goin – guitar, Sheldon Kurland – strings, Mike Manna – piano, Terry McMillan – harmonica, Weldon Myrick – steel guitar, Bobby Ogdin – piano, Cindy Reynolds – harp, Buddy Spicher – fiddle, James Stroud – drums, Jack Williams – bass
  • An example of the regard other musicians held for Newbury came in 1977 when Waylon Jennings released the #1 country smash "Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)," (written by Bobby Emmons and Chips Moman) which contains the lines "Between Hank Williams' pain songs, Newbury's train songs…"



RIP: Chris Cornell 1964-2017

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BADFINGER – No Dice – (Apple) – 1970

Badfinger - No Dice

Badfinger where on the way up at the time of release of this album.

This is their first proper album.

Their actual first album, the soundtrack album, "Magic Christian Music", was actually a hodgepodge of tracks. Five songs were recorded specifically for the film "The Magic Christian" and the other seven songs were tracks previously released, in the late 1960s, when the group was known as “The Iveys”.

Badfinger knew where they were going and in had it all. They good all sing and they could all write songs and they were undoubtedly good musicians … and I mean all four of them.

They were like a supergroup without anyone having anyone having been in a band of repute. With Pete Ham they had a focused and sometimes inspired songwriter, and Tom Evans and Mike Gibbins were no slackers either. The recent addition of Joey Molland would provide a songwriter and vocalist perhaps the equal of Hams.

But, they, despite some hits, never really made it.

They should have been much, much bigger.

Such is rock 'n' roll, such is life.

Career missteps, intruding wives and girlfriends, friction between band members, and a suicide were probably to blame.

But, there are many acts who have overcome obstacles to reach the top level.

With Badfinger it was inevitably, possibly all these things, as well as being in the wrong place and the wrong time.

If they were American and, perhaps, ten years later they would have had a successful career in the skinny tie movement and the talent to outlive it. Quite tellingly, despite what patriotic revisionist English rock historians would have you believe, the band have been generally more popular and had more of a post career influence and following in the USA. The charts support that (they placed 4 singles and no albums in the UK charts, whereas in the US they placed 8 singles and 8 albums … albeit most were quite low in the charts) as does the flood of power pop bands indebted to them in the late 70s. It wasn't until, perhaps the Britpop bands of the 90s that Badfinger got some respectability at home (outside of the hardcore Beatles nuts).

Maybe it because they weren't from London? The original band (Gibbins and Ham) were from Swansea in Wales while newer members Evans and Molland were from Liverpool. Outsiders?

They did reform in the early 80s and try their hand at the same but they weren't as young as they once were.

They are usually lumped into the powerpop category along with The Raspberries but like The Raspberries I always found them to be precursors to power pop (and I don't mean in chronological time)

This album, like their others of the time (that I have heard) is a 70s rock 'n' roll album but with an emphasis on catchy melodies, ie: pop. There are songs with swagger, others that rock, ballads, and acoustic numbers. There is a lot of Beatles here but there is also, quite a bit, of The Rolling Stones as well as, perhaps, a little (Ian) Matthews' Southern Comfort.

They are often compared to the Raspberries though a better comparison is Washington DC band Grin (with Nils Lofren) and perhaps Big Star (though its unlikely that anyone would have heard of them at the time).

Either way there are stellar moments here and the best they did with an album (in the charts). After their next album it was all downhill but there were small treasures on the way down.

See my other comments for biographical detail on the band. Check out the links for bios on the band.

Tracks (best in italics)

Side One

  • I Can't Take It – (Pete Ham) – vocals : Ham with Evans – Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock N Roll" as if it was done by The Beatles
  • I Don't Mind – (Tom Evans/Joey Molland) – vocals : Evans with Molland – a gentle ballad.
  • Love Me Do – (Molland) – vocals : Molland – ha harr, for a band with such obvious Beatles influences to write a song called "Love me Do" must have been a statement. The songs have nothing but the title in common. This is a straight ahead "old fashioned" rocker.
  • Midnight Caller – (Ham) – vocals : Ham with Evans – a ballad.
  • No Matter What – (Ham) – vocals : Ham – a great song and perfect Paul McCartney and perhaps, even, a little better than McCartney at the time.
  • Without You – (Ham/Evans) – vocals : Ham with Evans and Molland – a magnificent melancholy classic of a song. I like the little snatch from "A Whiter Shade of Pale" at the end. Badfinger do it beautifully, and then Harry Nilsson (with his own beatles connections) covered it and had a #1 US hit with it in 1972. His version is beyond spectacular. A great example of the paucity of supremacy of authorship arguments.

Side Two

  • Blodwyn – (Ham) – vocals : Ham with Evans and Molland – a country flavoured mid tempo song. Catchy.
  • Better Days – (Evans/Molland) – vocals : Molland – another catchy ballad type song.
  • It Had to Be – (Mike Gibbins) – vocals : Ham with Gibbins – a mid tempo ballad with Beatles harmonies.
  • Watford John – (Evans/Gibbins/Ham/Molland) – vocals : Ham and Evans – A mid tempo rocker and very of its time.
  • Believe Me – (Evans) – vocals : Evans with Ham – very similar to The Beatles "Oh Darling" but still good.
  • We're for the Dark – (Ham) – vocals : Ham – a pretty acoustic mid tempo ballad.

And …

Excellent … the best of their albums I have heard thus far. I'm sorry to say I hadn't listened to it earlier (Mitchell was right). I'm keeping it … well actually I'm not as I'm giving it to a mate. Now I have to find another copy.

Chart Action



1970 No Matter What #8


1970 #28



1970 No Matter What #5



Full album


No Matter What


mp 3 attached

Without You


Believe Me







  • The album emerged difficultly. A version produced by the band with Geoff Emerick and rejected by Apple, then George Harrison produced but didn't finish the album.  It was "overhauled", apparently, by Todd Rundgren. What belongs to who I don't know. The final producers credit goes to Geoff Emerick with the "No Matter What" and "Believe Me" being credited to Mal Evans.

                    Badfinger - No Dice - full          Badfinger - No Dice - gatefold

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