Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Stars on 45RPM: It Isn't There by The Swinging Blue Jeans (HMV POP 1375)

Incredible to think that in the 1960s not everything turned to gold, popularity didn't automatically score you a chart hit and the music charts were a highly competitive area with bands struggling to maintain success.

It appeared for a time that Liverpool band The Swinging Blue Jeans could do no wrong, their second chart hit The Hippy Hippy Shake rocketed to No.2 in the UK charts in 1963 in good company at the time with fellow Liverpool bands Gerry and The Pacemakers, The Searchers, The Fourmost and The Beatles.

1964's beat boom dawned with another rocker, the Little Richard favourite, Good Golly Miss Molly (UK No.11) and the bluesy You're No Good (UK No.3).

By Summer 1964, there was another single Promise You'll Tell Her but chart success didn't follow and nor did it with their December '64 release It Isn't There.

It Isn't There shows a gentler side to the band who are perhaps better known for a slightly edgier hard hitting sound.

Chart success would elude The Singing Blue Jeans throughout 1965 although they would reach No.31 in early 1966 with Don't Make Me Over.

I found my copy of It Isn't There covered with One Of These Days (His Master's Voice, POP1375) in a Tenby charity shop back in August for 50p.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Retro CD Review: Matt Monro - Collection (EMI)

In recent years I've taken to picking up the occasional Matt Monro album on vinyl format. There's something quite wonderful about listening to Matt's music, be it his rich laid back vocal tones or the wonderful production of his records.

He was often compared to Frank Sinatra and for a time left the UK to work in America when signed to Capitol Records where he was held in as high esteem as Sinatra, Dean Martin and Nat King Cole.

It is said that Frank Sinatra even became a fan of Matt's music and a look through the Sinatra discography of the 1960s you can see he even recorded some Matt Monro ballads.

So there I was a few weeks back perusing a local charity shop and this 2005 compilation on CD pops up.

Matt Monro Collection opens in glorious style with John Barry'and Don Black's Born Free, the theme to the film of the same name then follows through with some fabulous Matt standards including Fly Me To The Moon and The Music Played and a great meaure of hits Softly As I Leave You, Portrait Of My Love, Yesterday and From Russia With Love.

My favourites undoubtedly are his 1964 hit Walk Away, (recently performed with egreat passion by Martine McCutcheon on the Don Black From Hackney To Hollywood Tour) and Matt's cover of Blood Sweat and Tears You Made Me So Very Happy demonstrating Matt's knack of making a great song a big song!

Friday, 19 September 2014

Who View: Listen

Listen finds The Doctor in a questioning mood as he investigates if every being has a constant companion in their lives.

In this case, its a dream that everybody experiences, hands reaching out from under a bed and grabbing their ankles!

The Doctor asks Clara to help him investigate by returning to her childhood, but the plan backfires as Clara is distracted by her first date with fellow teacher Danny Pink. Distracted and Connected to the TARDIS telepathic link, Clara takes the ship back to Gloucester in the mid 1990s and to Danny's childhood...

Listen proves to be an interesting episode in that although The Doctor tries to examine Clara's timeline it is both his and Danny Pink's that ultimately seem to be investigated by Clara. Again the impossible girl seems to be leaving footprints in the past and future of of The Doctor and Danny with seemingly little knowledge of her own timeline.

Perhaps one of the most gripping of of the new Doctor Who episodes, Listen proves to be an exciting script from Steven Moffat and deliberately scary in places and all with good reason by ultimately proving there is nothing to fear but fear itself.

My children pulled away but returned as quickly to see the essential episode resolve which undoubtedly ends on a positive.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Stars on 45RPM: Sorrow by The Merseys (Fontana, TF694, 1966)

Sorrow was a No.4 UK hit in 1966 for The Merseys, at that time made up of former Merseybeats Tony Crane and Billy Kinsley.

The song was originally recorded by The McCoys in 1965 with a folk-rock arrangement however The Merseys interpretation had the bonus of an upbeat drum style  provided by Clem Cattini giving it a rockier edge.

The lyrics of Sorrow "with your long blond hair and your eyes a blue" were later referenced by George Harrison in the closing moments of The Beatles "It's All Too Much".

David Bowie later took the song into the UK charts in 1973, ultimately scoring a Number 3 hit with it.

I recently  found this original 1966 copy covered with the track Some Other Day in a Tenby charity shop for 50p.