Week 48 - Fri 2 Dec
Welcome to the RPM Seven Day Soundtrack, week ending Friday 2nd December 2022. This edition was compiled as submissions were received, sooooo......over to...
"Ooooops!!!! First up, it looks like the photo last week of Elvis at the piano featured the wrong instrument. According to the credits, the photo was taken at the opening of the Katz Drug Store on September 8th 1954.......... but just why there's a piano in a drug store seems a mystery to me. Oh well, not my first blooper!!!!
On to this week's (rather 'rawkist') selections from compilation albums and first up it's a (hopeful) first hearing of a track by one of Tim's favourite bands..."
SOB- 'Albert' (unreleased? This from bonus CD with Martin Lilleker and John Firminger's book 'Not Like a Proper Job: The Story of Popular Music in Sheffield 1955-1975 as Told by Those Who Made it' published May 2001. Publisher Juma Ltd)
"SOB? Formed from the ashes of two Barnsley area bands, Coast and Blue Condition, they changed their name initially to Son of a Bitch, which was shortened in 1975, presumably when gigs became hard to get, to SOB. The line up at this time was Peter "Biff" Byford on vocals, Paul Quinn and Graham Oliver on guitars, Steve "Dobby" Dawson on bass; and former Glitter Band member Pete Gill on drums. This line up did record some demos in 1976 and 'Albert' is probably one of the few recorded under this appellation. They gigged extensively under the Son of a Bitch/SOB name between 1976 and 1978 before changing to the slightly less confrontational Saxon in July 1978 and were immediately signed by the French label Carrere. Their prospects further improved when they were then added to tours with Motorhead and the Ian Gillan Band and the band released their eponymous debut album in 1979. Their follow up offering included two hit singles ( '747' and the title track 'Wheels of steel') and charted at Number 5 and was promoted with an appearance at the Monsters of Rock Festival and an unlikely performance on TOTP!!! The following ten years saw the band remain extremely popular in the UK and Europe but they were continually frustrated in trying to break through in the US which, coupled with a dip in popularity in Europe in 1988, saw the band without a contract for a year. Their popularity restored somewhat, there were further problems when two original members who had left the band 'copyrighted' the Saxon name but this was overturned by a High Court judgement in Byfords favour in 2001. Since then there have been a multitude of line up changes, festival appearances and album releases up to the most recent 'covers' album 'Inspirations' in 2021 and, more recently, 'Carpe Diem' in February this year. (I'll let Tim fill in the gaps 😉) (I'd just slightly disagree with "a multitude of line up changes"; Byford (vocals) and Quinn (lead guitar) have been there since day one, Nibbs (3rd bassist) since 1988, Doug Scarett (2nd lead guitarist) since 1995, and Nigel Glocker (drums) since 1981 with a 2 breaks due to injury and ill health, one of a year and one of 5 years. So, I'd say they've had a very stable line up, myself. Tim.)
The 'Not like a proper job....' CD includes a plethora of very rare tracks by Sheffield's finest (plus some of the most obscure) groups including Dave Berry, the legendary guitarist Frank White, Chesterfields Shape of the rain (AKA Riley, Riley, Wood And Waggett), Made in Sheffield and a track from Joe Cocker's ultra rare 'Rag goes mad at the Mojo' EP amongst it's 20 tracks. However, copies of the book seem to be attracting between £50 and £100 so if Tim wants to complete his collection..."
Blue Oyster Cult- 'I'm on the lamb (but I ain't no sheep)' (from 'The Music People' triple album, released 1972. CBS label. Initially released on 'Blue Oyster Cult' LP released January 16th 1972)
"One of the few 'heavy rock' bands in my collection (just two BOC albums plus the odd Purp and Heep, .... err, that's it I think?), I'm sure I should add some more of their earlier (pre 'Agents of fortune') albums to the shelves but they do seem elusive. Formed at the Stoney Brook University, NYC in 1967, the group were heard rehearsing by fellow student and future rock critic Sandy Pearlman who not only offered to manage them, he also wrote lyrics for the band (as did fellow student and future author Richard Meltzer) and negotiated contracts with Elektra and later, Columbia. Taking their initial name from Winston Churchill's description of Italy as the 'soft underbelly of the (fascist) axis' the band recorded an entire album's worth of material for Elektra in late1968 which still remains unreleased, thanks mainly to the decision of co-lead singer Les Braunstein to quit the band. Fortuitously, the bands acoustic engineer, Eric Bloom, shared a drive to an upstate gig with lead guitarist Alan Lanier and played him an old tape which featured Bloom on vocals and he was soon offered the lead singer's position. The band then played the Fillmore East and received a scathing review which led to Pearlman to change the band's name, initially to Oaxaca and then to the Stalk-Forrest Group. A further album was recorded for Elektra, with just a lone single released (500 copies of "What Is Quicksand?" b/w "Arthur Comics") and the rest shelved until Rhino released them as 'St. Cecilia: The Elektra Recordings' in 2001, St Cecelia being one of several names they temporarily adopted until they settled on Blue Oyster Cult, a name taken from a race of aliens who featured in a string of poems ('Imaginos') written by Pearlman and this was coupled with the hook-and-cross logo (designed by fellow Stony Brook student Bill Gawlik for his master's thesis in January 1972) which appears on all of the band's albums. Pearlman wanted the band to become the US equivalent to the then mega successful Black Sabbath and this was reflected in many of the bands debut album songs, but there were also nods to their earlier psychedelic roots with "She's As Beautiful As a Foot" and "Redeemed". There were tours with the Byrds, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Alice Cooper during 1972 and this was followed by their second album, "Tyranny and Mutation' in early 1973 which included a (heavier) rewrite of 'I'm on the lamb...' and their first lyrical collaboration with Patti Smith. Smith had been considered as lead vocalist for the band before forming the Patti Smith Group and was, at that time, romantically involved with Lanier. Between 1972 and 1981 the band enjoyed huge success in both the recording and live spheres but, following that years 'Fire of Unknown Origin' album, the band underwent a prolonged series of membership changes and their fortunes declined with no new material being released between 1988 and 1998. The malaise seems to have continued since then as there have been only a further two albums released since that year.
'The Music People' album features a who's who of CBS artists including Dylan, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Johnny Winter, the Byrds and the Mahavishnu Orchestra plus a host of the companies hopefuls such as Sweathog, Lesley Duncan, Jimmy Spheeris and Chase and can generally be picked up for around £5 to £7."
Slade - 'The Shape Of Things To Come' (from 'Bombers' double LP released 1971. Polydor label. Initially released on 'Play it loud' LP released 6th March1970. Fontana label)
"Wolverhampton area group The Vendors were yer usual covers and chart outfit playing the local gig circuit and, in 1964, they recorded a privately pressed EP. Meanwhile, Steve Brett and the Mavericks, another Midlands group, went one better and were signed to Columbia where they recorded three unsuccessful singles in 1965. The Vendors, like many other groups of the time, were exposed to the music of John Lee Hooker, Howling Wolf and the like and decided to change their musical output and, at the same time, change their name to the hipper N Betweens which saw them gain tours as support on tours by the Hollies, the Yardbirds, Georgie Fame and Spencer Davis. The now de riguer trip to Germany's fleshpots.... errrr, nightclubs soon followed but, on the ferry over they met Brett and Co and struck up a conversation with their lead vocalist, one Neville Holder. Impressed with Holder, they asked him to join the Mavericks but, at this point he declined. However, some time later, the N Betweens signed bassist and electric violinist from Nick and the Axemen and re-approached Holder and, this time, Holder accepted the gig. 1966 saw the band playing Tamla/Stax covers and they were signed to the tiny US Highland label 1966 where they released covers of Otis Reddings 'Security' and the Young Rascals fine 'You better run'' which proved popular in their immediate area but didn't make any national impression. Picking up on the burgeoning psychedelic scene, they then recorded 'Delighted to see you' (unreleased for many years) and continued to gain a following in the greater Midlands area before, in 1969, they were spotted by local promoter Roger Allen who alerted Jack Baverstock at Philips Records. Baverstock offered to sign and record the group if they changed their name and, following a conversation with Baverstocks secretary, it was decided, despite the bands reluctance to potentially lose their local following, they were renamed after her handbag (Ambrose) and her shoes (Slade), hence, Ambrose Slade!! The group were signed to a new management deal with Chas Chandler and issued their debut album, 'Beginnings' (containing a plethora of covers of songs by the Mothers of Invention, Marvin Gaye, Moody Blues, Steppenwolf, Ted Nugent and others) in June 1969, along with the instrumental single 'Genesis' and, under The Slade moniker, a song by jobbing composers Bob Saker and Jack Winsley entitled 'Wild winds are blowing'. None proved commercially successful and Chandler decided the group needed a change of image and, recognising the influence of the growing 'skinhead' culture, pitched the band towards this new audience with cropped hair, Doc Martins, braces and rolled up jeans etc and shortened their name again to Slade. Into the studio they went to record an excellent cover of this Mann/Weill song, first recorded by the (fictional) Max Frost and the Troopers for the cult political/teen movie 'Wild in the streets' starring (?) Shelley Winters, Hal Holbrook, Richard Pryor, Dick Clark and Ed Begley amongst others. Despite an appearance on Top of the Pops, the single failed to break through. The Slade debut album, 'Play it loud', soon followed and featured nine songs composed by group members and, amongst the covers, a song by ex-Bonzo Neil Innes! A further single, 'Know who you are', also failed and the group disappeared to lick their wounds until mid 1971 when Chandler persuaded them to record the Little Richard song 'Get down and get with it' and the rest, as they say........... is history!!!
'Bombers' is another fine double album of, primarily, UK blues/rock groups including John Mayall, Ginger Bakers Airforce, Stone the Crows, Taste (with an 8 minute 'Sugar Momma'!) and Derek and the Dominos (plus a solo Clapton too) alongside Gass, The Web and Andy Pratt from the less familiar names. A good buy at between £3 and £6 too!!!"
"Plus a hopeful bonus (first in several weeks surely??) for early Slade fans."
"November: not a good month for the blues........... Danny Kalb of the Blues Project, Wilko Johnson and now Christine Perfect (McVie). Two great guitarists and a fine vocalist to add to the heavenly choir!!!!"
"Greetings and best wishes to all RPMers. I failed to submit anything last week as Jac and I went into Norwich last Friday for a pre-Christmas mooch around the city, including a meal in The Wine Cellar (highly recommended) and a look at the craft stalls in The Forum ( We've got to make use of those bus passes now we have them).
My choices this week are..."
Black Friday by Steely Dan - "I suspect Messrs. Becker and Fagen had a different Black Friday in mind. This was the opening track on what I think is the Dan's most under-rated album."
Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac - "On hearing the sad news about Christine McVie this week I thought someone was bound to select "Songbird," so I decided to opt for another of her hit numbers, which have of course ensured that she is indeed with us everywhere."
Pear Tree by Billy Strings - "An instrumental number from his wonderful and very traditional new album made with his step-dad Terry Barber.
"Another wonderful singer/ songwriter has died this week. There is a wealth of her talent left behind for us to still enjoy , thank goodness. "
When The Train Comes Back by Chicken Shack - "A bluesy rendition by the then Christine Perfect – pre Fleetwood Mac."
Oh Daddy by Fleetwood Mac - "Now Christine McVie, a track from Rumours Album 1977."
Songbird by Fleetwood Mac (live @ O2 London 2013) - "This was one of the tour dates that Christine McVie played on her return to the Band. I was there for my first ever live Fleetwood Mac show. It was an amazing night and it ended with this rendition. I’m so glad to see it on YouTube."
"Hi Everyone, Here are my three for this week..."
"Hoping this finds all my RPM friends well.
Very sad to see the passing of yet another great, Christine 'Perfect' McVie, following the loss of Wilko Johnson recently. So I dedicate my choices this week to them both in various collaborations."
Going Back Home Wilco Johnson and Roger Daltrey - "You said there's nothing to add to Jackie's selections last week but nevertheless I'd like to embellish her selection of WilKo and Roger doing 'Going Back Home' by revisiting a version I've picked before because I love it."
"And here's my two choices to mark the sad passing of a huge presence in one of the greatest bands of last century. I never got to see Christine perform with the band but she was in the audience the second time I saw them. She deserves all the accolades that have come her way. I watched 'Songbird' and 'The Dance' yesterday evening on't telly which reminded me what a vital part of FMc's success she really was. "
Love Shines Christine McVie with remnants of Fleetwood Mac
Everlasting Love by Love Affair - "A blast from the past; played at my dancefit class."
"Hi folks. Here's my 3. Take care all + have a lovely weekend."
"Hi RPMers, the year is slipping away !! Here’s my 3 this week." .
"Good wishes to all RPMers, I hope everyone is well."
"Well, it is the World Cup…."
Referee’s Alphabet by Half Man Half Biscuit -
I hope everyone has their mitts and wooly scarves at the ready, I am tiring of the grey skies, dark evenings and the chill in the air already, and it isn't even February yet!
As is often the case at this time of year, I react against these late autumn days either by digging out lots of Western Swing or proper perky music from the classic Dixieland Jazz bands.
By the time that The Original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded, and turned on the taps to release the tidal wave of Jazz onto the world's ears, Storyville had long been closed and many of the musicians who had made their livings in the hugely prosperous red light district were forced out of New Orleans. Most joined the great northward diaspora. (Though some headed to the West Coast and produced some really interesting music).
As a result two major new forms of 'Dixie' evolved. They are distinct stylistically, (There were Pianos in Chicago bands due in some large part to Lil Armstrong's input into Louis' band, whereas the NY style remained closer in some ways to the marching style of NO) but a hundred years on I can say that they were effectively interchangeable. (I hope there are no jazz zealots ready to hunt me down for having made that potentially sacriligeous statement!)
I lean towards the belief that the Chicago bands had 'hotter' tendencies but at the moment my liking is for the the cooler bands operating out of New York! This year as the weather has changed along with a heaping helping of the Sourcrust Dough Boys, I have been listening to lots of 'early' jazz from the ever groovy east including Bix (from Iowa but essentially a NY jazzer by 1926) and Tram, Hoagy Carmichael with Bix and Bing, and of course it goes without saying Miff Mole...
Oh alright it is all subjective but...."
Original Dixieland One Step by Miff Mole & His Little Molers -
"A wide musical mix this week...."
Kapital by Gong - "Starting where I left off last week as Gong were on a double bill with Ozric Tentacles. Here's a short one encapsulating their psychedelic off-beatness in a mere 4mins 22secs..."
The Ballydesmond Polkas performed by Kevin Burke - "These tunes have turned up at the session in York a few times recently; trouble is, folks there don't seem to know which one is #1, #2 or #3. Keven Burke plays them here in numerical order...so next time I can hopefully settle any confusion!"
The Promised Land by Bruce Springsteen - "Dug out a classic Bruce album for the car this week...."
'Til Next Time...