Posted tagged ‘60s’

♪ Random Record A Day #6: Love Sculpture – Sabre Dance / Think Of Love (SP, 1968)

January 16, 2010

Love Sculpture – Sabre Dance

b/w Think Of Love
(SP, 1968, Parlophone)

Cover (not mine)

Today’s entry is brought to you by my good friend Freda, via the highly scientific method of picking a number. I have to say I laughed out loud at the name of the band (which I’d never heard of before), but then as we found out yesterday, I have a very dirty mind indeed.

So, Love Sculpture (1966 – 70) were a hard blues rock band from Cardiff (go Wales!), which according to my research (ie, wikipedia) were basically guitarist Dave Edmunds and his backing band. Their music generally consisted of blues standards, done harder and faster than usual. They released two albums – Blues Helping (1968) and Forms and Feelings (1970) – and two singles. Sabre Dance actually made it to #5 in the UK charts, with a little help from John Peel who gave the single lots of airplay. He also gave the band three Peel Sessions in two years.  However, further fame was not to beckon and after touring their second album in the US, they split. Edmunds went on to release a wildly popular version I Hear You Knocking (yes, that version) and later formed the band Rockpile with Nick Lowe.

So first off, everybody knows the Armenian-Soviet composer Aram Khachaturian‘s classical/ballet piece Sabre Dance. Even if you don’t think you do, you do – and this is a cover of it.

I love a good guitar-driven rock instrumental (think The Just Brother’s Sliced Tomatoes or The Virtues’ Guitar Boogie Shuffle). I absolutely hate guitar wankery (think John Squire’s noodling at the end of the album cut of Love Is The Law*, or the more, erm, ‘excessive’ parts of Second Coming – ahhhh coke, you’ve a lot to answer for). And there’s a pretty fine line between the two.

Happily, this is a simply splendid interpretation of the above-mentioned piece, and firmly in the camp of the former. It’s what I’d imagine would happen if you locked The Shadows in a cellar, forced mushrooms and speed down their throats and up their noses, convinced them a zombified Cliff Richard was coming to get them, and told them to write the theme tune to their own escape.

Side A

Everything in this song is hurtling along at breakneck speed. The guitarwork is just amazing and the drums – for the most part – monotonous, yet frantically intense. It actually sounds as if the guitarist and drummer are racing against each other for dear life. The whole song is just… immense. I think, though this is something I’ve considered for the first time today, that the key to a good rock instrumental is the rhythm section – it must keep the song interesting and steady, not allowing it to stray off into Guitarfetishland or the neighbouring borough of Soundscapesville. And despite the fact that this song is basically saying “look how great I am on guitar”, the galloping drums keep it focused on just being a good fucking tune. There are even bits of this song that sound like East Bay Ray studied it intensely. In fact, it reminds me a lot of his work on Fresh Fruit, especially Chemical Warfare.

Side B

The B Side, Think Of Love, is also pretty damn good. The opening bass riff reminds me of some Nirvana song I can’t think of right now, then it sounds a bit like Honey by Moby – eh, but in a good way – and then it goes slightly mad for the rest of the song. It’s not an instrumental, but it might as well be having only two short verses and no chorus. As with the A Side, its all about frenetic guitarmanship with a great rhythm backing.  I might even slightly prefer it to the A Side.

In my esteemed judgement, this is a fabulous 7″.

Download / Listen – Via DivShare (Mp3)

Side A – Sabre Dance (4:55)
Side B – Think Of Love (3:01)

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* For the first time since that album came out (1997),  I actually re-listened to the full version of Love Is The Law. It’s still as appalling to me now as it was then. Despite thinking to this day that the radio edit is a decent britpop tune, I lost interest in The Seahorses almost immediately after hearing the album in full. But curious as I am, I did a quick wiki to see what happened to them. Turns out they split up in 1999 while writing a second album. It was acrimonious, with the former vocalist Chris Helme describing Squire’s work as “muso wanking”. Good man.

Barb Wire Love


♪ Random Record A Day #5: Eddie Cochran – Drive In Show b/w I Almost Lost My Mind (SP, 1963)

January 15, 2010


Eddie Cochran – Drive In Show

b/w I Almost Lost My Mind
(SP, 1963, Liberty / EMI)

Eddie Cochran - No cover available

At last the randomiser (which is actually just my brother) has thrown up something that isn’t mod or psychedelia!  Unfortunately, its one of my least favourite Eddie Cochran songs, with a B Side I’d never heard before.

But first, what is there to say about Cochran? Born in Oklahoma in 1938, he had a short, but prolific and highly influential, career. As part of The Cochran Brothers – with Hank Cochran, no relation – he cut his first track in mid-1955 aged 17 (a country tribute to the late Hank Williams and Jimmy Rogers). By 1958 he had secured his place in history by writing and recording Summertime Blues and appearing in a cameo role in the film The Girl Can’t Help It. A string of other hits followed, and at the age of 21 he was dead, having been thrown through the windscreen in a car crash in England. The driver (who got 6 months for dangerous driving), along with the other passengers Gene Vincent and Sharon Sheeley, survived.

There are two really interesting bits of trivia surrounding Cochran as well. From wikipedia:

The car and other items from the crash [that killed Cochran] were impounded at the local police station until a coroners’ inquest could be held. At that time, David Harman, better known as Dave Dee of the band Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich, was a police cadet at the station. He taught himself to play guitar on Cochran’s impounded Gretsch 6120.

Coincidentally, earlier in the tour, the same guitar had been carried to the car for Cochran by a young fan called Mark Feld, later to become famous as Marc Bolan of T.Rex and who, in a further coincidence, was also killed while a passenger in a single-car automobile accident … [At one stage] Bolan had his main Les Paul model refinished in a transparent orange to resemble the Gretsch 6120 guitar played by Cochran.


On July 6, 1957, 15-year-old Paul McCartney’s successful audition to join John Lennon’s earliest rock group The Quarrymen opened with Paul picking up one of the groups’ guitars and performing Twenty Flight Rock in the same manner as he saw it played by Eddie Cochran in The Girl Can’t Help It.


Side A

Alas, now I have to talk about the music. Well first its worth nothing that one of the things Cochran was notable for was that he wrote most of his own songs – but neither of these two are his own compositions. The A Side, Drive In Show, was written by a chap called Fred Dexter and the recording is credited to ‘Eddie Cochran with Orchestra and Chorus under the direction of Johnny Mann‘ (quite a mouthful). Thankfully, its not some protoprog lunacy – unfortunately, its not very good either. It was originally recorded and released in 1959 – but this single is a posthumous UK release from 1963.

Basically its an innocent rock ‘n’ roll love ballad about a first date, almost doo-woppy in sound (probably due to the chorus singers). At least I think its innocent – but an uncareful listen might lead one to believe one of the lines goes “I bet my penis to a candy bar” (I’ll leave it you you to figure out what the actual line is). There’s also a reference to “six hotdogs” – but then again, I may just have a filthy mind. It’s not a bad song as such – its just… boring. It’s got none of the oomph of rock ‘n’ roll, nor any of the soulfulness of doo-wop. It seems just a bit pointless.

Side B

Unfortunately the B-Side, I Almost Lost My Mind, while a title I can definitely relate to is not much cop either – though its definitely better than the A Side.  It’s a cover of an Ivory Joe Hunter (actual real name!) song from 1950 – and the original is far, far better than this effort. It’s another slow ballad, piano-backed with a decent guitar break. Again, as with the lead track, it’s not terrible by any means, there’s just nothing there that really stands up to repeated listenings.

Put these songs up against most of Cochran’s output and they fade into the background. I’ve no idea why anyone thought releasing this 7″ was a good idea, apart from maybe they had run out of things to release. The B Side was actually first recorded in 1956, but as far as I can tell never released in the US, and only appeared in the UK on this 1963 release (and later on a UK compilation album, My Way) – so it wouldn’t surprise me. Frankly, I wouldn’t care if I’d never heard either song again.

Download / Listen – via DivShare (MP3)

Side A – Drive In Show (2:02) [note: my own record is a little warped, so I uploaded a version I have from a compilation album]
Side B – I Almost Lost My Mind (2:33)

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Barb Wire Love

♪ Random Record A Day #4: John’s Children – Desdemona b/w Remember Thomas À Becket (SP, 1967)

January 15, 2010

John’s Children – Desdemona

b/w Remember Thomas À Becket
(SP, 1967, Track / Polydor)

7" single cover

John’s Children (1966-1968) are one of those groups I’d always been aware of as being something of a ‘cult’ (I hate that word) psychedelic-mod-freakbeat band, having often seen them referenced as “influential” and “inspirational” in articles and interviews about music – though mainly their influence lay in their raucous live shows. On a tour of Germany supporting The Who, they managed to out-Who The Who by going a bit mad on stage, resulting in the arrival of the riot squad. They were kicked off the tour and fled back to England. Legend also has it that when Yardbirds manager Simon Napier-Bell saw them for the first time he said, “positively the worst group I’d ever seen”. A few drinks later and, “I’ll sign you”.

Researching them was a joy – but to be honest there’s no way I could do the story justice in a few brief lines here . So, if you’re anything like me, you love a good rock ‘n’ roll story – and therefore I command you to read this, part of which was written by Andy Ellison, one of the members – who among other things says: “Still we were all now exactly the same height, a thing that was very important that year” – which I just love!

However, what John’s Children are perhaps most famous for is being the home of the young Marc Bolan for about 6 months in 1967. Now, I love T-Rex – always have done and am not ashamed of it, nor of my fondness for Glam Rock in general – so I was quite excited when I saw that the lead track, Desdemona,  was written by the electric warrior himself! Even though I did know that at this time Bolan was in his I-wanna-be-a-folky-hippy-like-Donovan phase, and was expecting the worst.

Side A

However, I’m glad to say that there’s nothing particularly Donovanesque about this song at all really. In fact, it’s totally rockin’ and not at all what I expected to hear. I guess I’d call this hard-psychedelia, and to be fair, it took me more than a few listens to really appreciate it. But its infectious – I found myself several times today humming it to myself.

It starts off like its going to be a standard rock ‘n’ roll song, but once the drums and the MASSIVE bass kick in, its a wild ride. It’s all over the place like, but it really works. And it gets bonus points for being banned by the BBC for containing the line “lift up your skirt and fly”. The single was reissued with the line “why do you have to lie”, but still received fuck all airplay.

The lyrics, by the way, are nonsense, but when did that ever matter with Bolan?

Side B

Side B

The B Side instantly loses points for calling him Thomas À Becket – which was not his name! Unless they were referencing this chap that is. However, that minor quibble aside, this is another fine song.

Begins with what sounds like a squealing car, before turning into another bass and tom heavy rocker (with nonsense lyrics, this time not penned by Bolan) . Top stuff.

Listen/ Download – Via Div Share (Mp3)

Side A – Desdemona (2:25)
Side B –  Remember Thomas À Becket (2:20)

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Barb Wire Love

♪ Random Record A Day #3: The Creation – Making Time (SP, 1966)

January 12, 2010

The Creation – Making Time

b/w Try And Stop Me
SP, 1966, Planet

This cover is from a French EP release featuring both the A and B Sides, also from 1966

Apart from being vaguely aware that I have several of their singles in my collection, The Creation are a band that I previously had no knowledge of whatsoever – so after giving this 7″ a few whirls, it was off on an internet excursion to find out more.  Now I’m going to try and sound like I knew this shit all along…

The Creation (1966 – 68, reformed mid-80s) started out as 60s mod-rockers, then went a bit psychedelic, and after a few line up changes (including Ronnie Wood on guitar, his second band) split up. They reformed in the mid-80s and presumably still gig to this day.

Interestingly, despite receiving decent press in Britain, especially with regard to their live appearances – which saw, allegedly, the first instance of a guitarist playing with a violin bow, along with acts of on-stage arson – they were never particularly successful at home, being more popular in Germany. In fact, the only proper album they released before splitting –  1967’s We Are Paintermen – was only issued in Germany, Holland, France and Sweden. A live album released the following year suffered a similar fate.  They only charted in the British Top 50 twice.

Trivia fans (like me!) will love the fact that in 1996 – thirty years after their debut single – the reformed Creation released an album (Power Surge) on… Creation records. Ahhhh.

So anyway, the music. Well, it turns out Making Time was their debut single, and one of only two hits they had (the other being Painter Man, which I’m pretty sure also resides in my collection somewhere), charting at #49, though getting to #5 in Germany. Musically, this is mod-rock not dissimilar to the Small Faces, The Kinks or The Who of this period (they shared a producer – Shel Talmy – with the Who at this time, so its no surprise). A big rockin’ stop/start riff drives the song, the bass is chugging, it’s got a great Brit-r’n’b vocal, which reminds me of Steve Marriott, a strong chorus, and a tambourine.

Side A

Other than that there’s not really that much else to say about the track, other than that I really like it. See, this mission is paying off already!

The B Side, Try And Stop Me, reminds me even more of the Small Faces than the A, though that could be because a) the drum intro sounds like the opening of All Or Nothing (though predating that by two months) and b) I think all mod-rock sounds like the Small Faces.

Side B

Musically it’s a pleasant enough song – propelled by a heavy bass with a tinny staccato guitar thing going on – which lyrically seems to be about the singer’s quest to “take down” some girl he knows. So either its a revenge song, or its some 60s sex-lingo that I’m ignorant of. I don’t care either way, its a decent song.

Listen / Download – Via DivShare (Mp3)

Side A – Making Time (3:00)
Side B – Try And Stop Me (2:30)

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Barb Wire Love