Monday, 31 August 2015

EXPORTATIONS "MEET THE EXPORTATIONS" (1978)

Once you were in love with me
There was no-one else that you wanted to see
But now that you've gone all I do is cry
Once I was the apple of your eye

Because I fell in love too late
There's no correcting my mistake
Time wasn't on my side, hey baby
Because I fell in love too late
There's no correcting my mistake

Now that I'm in love in with you
You say there's nothing that you can do
But my love for you grows each passing day
And girl, oh girl, I've got to find me a way

That special feeling that you had is gone
And like a fool I sit all alone
For the love, for the love that we could have had
Oh girl I know that I need it so bad

Now, when I had you, I just let you slip away from me, baby
Girl, you see, time wasn't on my side
But I feel in love, in love, in love
Can I say, can I say, can I say, that we can start all over again
Too late, too late to apologize, I need you baby right by my side...


[from the lyrics of "Fell In Love Too Late"]



My friends, I've been delaying this post for about two months hoping that I would be able to find a little bit more information about the Exportations, the lovely vocal group from Detroit that is featured today. Unfortunately, I wasn't successful and this time you'll have to enjoy the music with just a few accompanying words...

Let's start from the elusive liner notes written by Clarence "Foody" Rome Jr. of W.C.H.B. Radio 110 AM that appear on the back cover of "Meet the Exportations":

«I've known The Exportations for four years now, but those of you who don't know them let me take time to introduce them to you. The Exportations is a Five member group with three brothers (The Gibson Brothers) Arthur (Rick), Willie (Crick) and Bernard (Bee), also there is Anthony Pilgrim (Amp) and Lucian Thomas (Sonny). Ladies and gentleman you have just met the Exportations and we truly hope you'll enjoy this LP for it is a first, but not the last. Once you have heard this album you'll agree The Exportations sing with close tight harmony and feeling. As you know we could go on and on but I'll let you judge for yourself. While enjoying this album keep these thoughts in mind. Sometimes words can't express feelings but it all comes out in a song. After it's all said and done we couldn't have done it at all without the help of the Lord above.»



Well, at least now we know the name of the five members of the group and we can play a little game: Give every face a name... I bet my luck that the three Gibson brothers are - on the front cover, from the left - the first, the second and the fourth guy, what do you think? It would be way too long to explain how I came up with this conclusion, but I believe that Bernard Gibson is the second guy from the left... Now, seriously, maybe there is someone out there who can match the faces with the names...? Let's get in touch if that is the case, thanks!

According to Jimmy Anderson, who wrote songs for the group and also managed them, all the five members could lead-sing, and Exportations toured nine countries in Europe sometimes during the late'70s or early '80s.

"Meet the Exportations" is the only album that the group recorded. During the '80s it was followed by four singles, most of which are rare - and quite expensive! - nowadays.

Here's the short list:

- "Find Another Day" b/w "I Want You", VIR-RO Records, EXP 1001, 7", 1980

- "Easy Come, Easy Go" b/w "You Did It", VIR-RO Records, VR-001, 7", 1981

- "Party Down (Vocal)" b/w "Party Down (Instrumental)", Birdie Records, BD-1003, 12", 1982

- "Find Another Day (Vocal)" / "Find Another Day (Instrumental)"b/w "Find Another Day (Fresh Mix)", Spectrum X Records, SPX 404, 12", 1986


"Meet the Exportations" original inner sleeve shows United Artists goodies of 1978...

During the mid '80s, the Exportations changed their name to Living Proof and enjoyed a few 12" releases which culminated in their only album (...again...), which was published in 1989 by G.E.M.C. Records; this will be the subject of a future post here on Stereo Candies.

Here's the complete list of Living Proof's output:

- "Hold On To Your Dreams" b/w the same track, Fantasy Records, Fantasy 977, 7" promo, 1986

- "Hold On To Your Dreams" b/w "You Can Make It If You Try", Fantasy Records, D-278, 12", 1986

- "Hold On To Your Dreams" b/w "You Can Make It If You Try", Marquee Records, MQ 100, 12", 1986

- "You're the Apple of My Eye" b/w "You're the Apple of My Eye (Radio Edit)", G.E.M.C. Records, 12-PO18, 12", 1988

- "Where Did I Go Wrong" b/w "Where Did I Go Wrong (Radio Edit)" / "Where Did I Go Wrong (Instrumental)", G.E.M.C. Records, 12-PO29, 12", 1989

- "Living Proof", G.E.M.C. Records, GEM 4002, LP/CD with 8 tracks, 1989

According to this page, during the years Bernard Gibson was also briefly involved with the Five Special and The Floaters; he toured with The Jackson Five and Jeffrey Osborne, and later became a member of the Dennis Edwards Temptations Review for sixteen years.

I truly don't know what happened to the rest of the group; after months of research the Exportations remain almost a black hole for me...


...the warmth of music brights up a cloudy day, sort of...


"Meet the Exportations" contains the following tracks:

01. Strange Sensations (4:14)
02. Fell In Love Too Late (5:31)
03. Kiss Me Love (5:07)
04. Main Ingredient (3:33)
05. You've Been a Long Time Coming (8:19)
06. Music (6:52)
07. Strange Sensations (Instrumental) (4:09)

All tracks were remastered from vinyl in June 2015 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files. Both formats offer complete printable PDF artwork.

Please have a look at the comments for the download links.



"Meet the Exportations" was released sometimes in 1978 by United Artists with cat. number UA-LA872-H. No singles were excerpted from the album, except a promo version of "Strange Sensations" which contains a mono version of the track on Side A and a stereo version on Side B.

I guess that the album wasn't supported or promoted very much by the label and it probably didn't sell well; most of the copies that are available for sale nowadays have a cut corner and we all know what this means...

Side A starts with "Strange Sensations", a track written by producer Clarence W. Rome, Jr.; the song has a nice arrangement and is a fine way to begin an album. The group show off their individual features and it would be interesting to know who's singing what, the falsetto, the tenor, the harmonies, etc.

"I Fell In Love Too Late" is one of my favourite tracks from the album, and the only one whose lyrics I was able to decipher in their entirety. The song was written, once again, by Rome along with bassist Alfred Boyd, Stephen Nathaniel Pettis and Eugene Pettis; the harmonies on this piece are particularly effective and I guess it's no coincidence that the song was recycled on the Living Proof album in 1989.

With the faster "Kiss Me Love", we enter in a more Funky territory. Just like the previous number, this piece was written by Rome with Boyd and the two Pettis. The second half of the song has a long instrumental section and I'd like to give a particular mention to the arrangement which succeed in keeping the track busy without making it overcrowded.

First side closes with "Main Ingredient", another slow song written by the band's manager, Jimmy Anderson, along with Soul singer and songwriter Tyrone Pickens of Tony & Tyrone fame.

Side B starts with the veeery long (...more than eight minutes...) "You've Been a Long Time Coming", another piece written by the Rome / Pettis / Boyd / Pettis team. The song begin with a relaxed intro but soon changes direction to almost reach the Disco dancefloor. The refrain stucks in your head and you can't help to wonder why this song wasn't released as a single...

"Music", written by producer Clarence W. Rome, Jr. alone, is for sure the funkiest track on the album. Its repetitive structure only allows a couple of breaks and includes the usual chit-chat as found in other more famous songs, for example the full version of The Intruders' "I'll Always Love My Mama" or the beginning of Isaac Hayes' "Juicy Fruit (Disco Freak)".

The album ends with an instrumental version of "Strange Sensations" which doesn't suffer much from the lack of vocals.



Here's the complete credits and personnel list of "Meet the Exportations" as they appear on the back sleeve:

Exportations are:
Arthur "Rick" Gibson
Willie "Crick" Gibson
Bernard "Bee" Gibson
Anthony "Amp" Pilgrim
Lucian "Sonny" Thomas

Dave Davidson: lead and rhythm guitar
Willie Hollis: keyboards, piano and Clavinet
Tony Longgrear: bass
Norman Perry: drums
Butch Lomax: drums

Wendell Spencer: string synthesizer and Clavinet
Jimmy McKee: Clavinet
Dennis Addison: congas
Clarence W. Rome, Jr.: congas and bongos

Art director: Bill Burks
Album design: Earl Klasky and Jeff Lancaster
Photography: Houser D'Orio

Rhythm arrangement by Foverro and Dave Davidson.
Rhythm arrangement on "Strange Sensations" and "Music" by Foverro.
Horns arrangement by Jimmy McKee, Foverro and Harold Jones.
Horns arrangement on "Strange Sensations" by Jimmy Roach.

Mixing and recording engineers: Mike Grace and Mark Calice
Recorded and mixed at The Sound Suite, Detroit, Michigan.

Produced by Clarence (Foody) Rome, Jr., for Foverro Productions.

Special thanks to all the Sound Suite Gang, John, Mike, Karen and Mark, Major Anthony, Jack, Pat and Spencer, Mike Stokes.

God bless Mrs. Lillie Mae Gibson, Mrs. Lenore Pilgrim and Mrs. Kathryn Thomas, our mothers, for their strenght, guidance and prayers.

Right on to Al (Perk) Perkins for his help and encouragement.

Special thanks to Masai Karega Kenyatta (Fred Goree) of W.C.H.B. Radio 1440 AM, Detroit, Michigan, for his very much accepted advice and idea for the song "Main Ingredient".


The following clips offer a preview of the remastered album, enjoy "Fell In Love Too Late", "Kiss Me Love", "Main Ingredient" and "You've Been a Long Time Coming"!










More information about the Exportations and Living Proof is available here:

http://www.discogs.com/artist/1380950-Exportations

http://funk-o-logy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=49&t=5831

http://souldennis.blogspot.com/2013/07/an-interview-with-jimmy-anderson-aka.html

http://seesaawiki.jp/w/golden_age_of_soul/d/The%20Exportations

http://blog.livedoor.jp/adhista/archives/1544299.html

http://blog.livedoor.jp/adhista/archives/1545696.html

http://soulful.cocolog-nifty.com/soulog/2009/07/the-exportation.html

http://www.discogs.com/artist/990762-Living-Proof-3

http://seesaawiki.jp/w/golden_age_of_soul/d/Living%20Proof?wiki_id=39060

http://soulful.cocolog-nifty.com/soulog/2009/07/living-proof-li.html

http://blog.livedoor.jp/adhista/archives/1544295.html

http://blog.livedoor.jp/samny/archives/51977408.html

http://www.discogs.com/artist/652873-Bernard-Gibson

http://www.discogs.com/artist/445432-Rick-Gibson

http://reedmusic.wix.com/magic-of-motown#!music/c1x9v

http://www.discogs.com/label/324743-The-Sound-Suite-Detroit


If you have any other useful information about this post, or if you spot any dead links, just get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

BRIAN BENNETT BAND "ROCK DREAMS" (1977)



Brian Lawrence Bennett was born in Palmers Green, North London, on February 8th, 1940. His interest in music dated from an early age: as a small child he used to listen to radio broadcasts from the Aeolian Hall. He was soon hooked on the sounds of Glenn Miller and other Big Bands of the era.

He became fascinated by drums and percussion and lists Gene Krupa, Louis Bellson and, especially, Buddy Bich as his early musical heroes. By 1953, Brian had saved up enough money to purchase a rudimentary drumkit and he practiced constantly. Before long he was performing regularly with his school orchestra and youth club big bands.

He began playing professionally even before he left school, with his own Tony Brian Trio and The Esquires Dance Band. He also began composing music and writing songs from the age of fourteen onwards.

Brian's initial background was in Jazz and Swing, but by 1956 - the year he left school at sixteen to play drums in a Ramsgate skiffle group performing for holiday makers- he was equally adept at playing Rock'n'Roll. «It wasn't originally by choice», recalled Brian, «but there were more and more jobs being offered and I didn't want to turn them down!».

A teenage prodigy, he became the house drummer at the legendary 2Is Club - now known as the birthplace of British Rock'n'Roll - in London's Soho, backing artists like Tony Sheridan, Terry Dene, Vince Eager and Vince Taylor, and from there he earned a regular spot on the Jack Good's legendary TV music showcase Oh Boy!.

By 1959, Bennett was regarded as one of the top Rock & Roll drummers in England and one of the most sought-after percussionists around. That year he joined The Wildcats, the backing band of Rock & Roll singer Marty Wilde.



He remained with Wilde for two years, also playing outside live gigs with stars such as Tommy Steele, and he was also featured on a Wildcats instrumental release of "Trambone" recorded as the Krew Kats. In 1960 he embarked on the legendary tour featuring Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent and Marty Wilde.

When Marty embarked upon a career in films and musicals, The Wildcats evolved into The Krew Kats and cut a brace of fine instrumentals. After a brief stint as an orchestral pit drummer, in October of 1961 lightning struck for Bennett's career when Tony Meehan - then regarded as the top drummer in England - quit The Shadows, who were then the top Rock & Roll British band as well as the backing group for Cliff Richard, the top singer in the field.

The opening was one of the most coveted in the country - The Shadows were regularly topping the charts in their own right, and their concerts with Richard were riotous affairs, huge sell-outs in front of hordes of screaming fans across England - Bennett was offered the spot. He accepted and was with the group across a string of hit singles and albums, lasting through their intended official breakup in 1968, on the occasion of the group's tenth anniversary as a professional band.

His drumming talents were but one aspect of his monumental musical contribution to the band. He wrote or co-wrote over 100 tracks for them, as well as over 20 compositions for Cliff Richard... He also earned his first Ivor Novello award for composing the title theme to the movie "Summer Holiday", which starred Richard and the band - he also contributed songs to their subsequent movies, up through "Finder's Keepers".

A favourite feature for the audience at any Shadows' concert was always his drum solo, with "Little B" - a must showcase for every Beat-Drummer in the pre-Beatles era - perhaps being the best known and highly regarded piece which has inspired countless drummers over the years and is still performed now by budding young drummers at Shadows' music clubs throughout the UK.

Many drummers back then considered each new Shadows' record as a drum lesson - learning how to play the fills in classic tunes such as "The Rise and Fall of Flingel Bunt" and "Foot Tapper".


"Rock Dreams" original insert (front)

In 1967 Bennett released his first solo LP exploring Jazz and Easy Listening territories with the aptly entitled "Change of Direction", which was followed in 1969 by "The Illustrated London Noise", a return to Rock and Funky music.

Following the 1968 "farewell" Shadows concert, he participated along with lead guitarist Hank Marvin and bassist John Rostill in the band's brief 1969 reunion for a tour of Japan.

By the early '70s Brian was a highly successful and much sought after session drummer working with a vast array of different artists including Ella Fitzgerald, Olivia Newton-John, Engelbert Humperdinck, Richard Harris, The Walker Brothers and many more.

With The Shadows on extended hiatus, Bennett turned to other areas of music. He'd already developed some insights into the mechanics of music through his work as a songwriter, and he took a correspondence course in arranging and orchestration that, when added to his natural ability as a composer, ended up reshaping his whole career. He'd always provided vocals on the Shadows' own recordings, and now he re-established his performing credentials on the piano as well as the vibraphone.

He became Cliff Richard's musical director and formed The Brian Bennett Orchestra touring the world including the first Western rock concerts performed in Russia. Even more important, amid the string of hit albums with Richard that followed, he also started writing music for movies / television and part of this huge load of work was published on many library records by specialized labels like KPM Music and Bruton.

In 1977 he published his third proper solo album, "Rock Dreams" - the subject of this post - credited to the Brian Bennett Band, which was followed the next year by the Disco/Funk opus "Voyage - A Journey Into Discoid Funk".


"Rock Dreams" original insert (back)

Later on, Brian developed yet another career composing music for films. During the '80s, he was awarded his second Ivor Novello award (for 25 years services to music) and wrote music for a wide range of programmes including "Dallas", "Knotts Landing", "Pulaski", The Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer (!!!), "BBC Golf" theme, "The Sweeney", Dennis Hopper's film "The American Way" and Ellen Barkin and David MacCallum's "Terminal Choice". In 1990, he won his third Ivor Novello award for Best Score For a Television Series (The Ruth Rendell Mysteries).

From the 1990s to 2000, he was in demand more than ever and he composed music for the long-running series "The Knock", "Nomads of the Wind", "Global Sunrise", "Living Britain", "Dirty Work", "David Jason In His Element" and Hansjörg Thurn's film "The Arpist".

In 2001 Bennett was the proud recipient of the Gold Badge Award given by the British Academy of Composers & Songwriters Society. He also won the Royal Television Society Craft & Design Awards 2000/2001 for Best Original Title Music for "Murder In Mind". In 2004 he was awarded an OBE and collected his award from The Queen at Buckingham Palace.

In 2009 and 2010 Cliff Richard and The Shadows embarked on a 50th anniversary tour with 36 shows in the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.More recently, Bennett wrote with his son, Warren, 24 episodes of the award-winning TV series "New Tricks". He also recorded and produced an album with Cliff Richard and The Shadows.

As of early 2015 he is working on a musical called "Soho", the music for a production called "Starchild" and an album of the music of John Barry played by The Brian Bennett Orchestra...

Although he'll always be associated with The Shadows, playing drums for them is merely one aspect of a glittering musical career.


"Rock Dreams" contains the following tracks:

01. Rock Dreams (Introduction) (1:17)
02. Rock & Roll Dreamer (4:13)
03. Banja Booga (2:44)
04. Rave On (2:49)
05. Milwaukee Massacre (3:01)
06. C'mon Everybody (2:54)
07. Thunderbolt (3:04)
08. Saturday Night Special (4:23)
09. The Girls Back Home (3:37)
10. Wallop (3:40)
11. Farewell To a Friend (2:48)
12. Drum Odyssey (5:36)
13. Rock Dreams (Finale) (1:02)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl and CD in July/August 2015, they are available as a FLAC lossless format file or as a high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 file. Both formats offer complete printable PDF artwork.

Before burning this album on CD-R using the provided CUE file you will need to convert the original files to WAV format using an appropriate software. Here's an option for FLAC to WAV conversion and one for MP3 to WAV conversion.

As usual, please have a look at the comments for the download links.



"Rock Dreams" was released in the U.K. by DJM Records with cat. number DJF 20499 sometimes in early 1977. The album was preceded by the "Thunderbolt" single which was released in September 1, 1976, which included "Clearing Skies", an exclusive cut, on the flip side.

Two more singles were excerpted from the album in 1977: "Saturday Night Special" b/w "Farewell To a Friend" on March 18, and "The Girls Back Home" b/w the exclusive track "Jonty Jump" on June 24. Strangely enough another single including "Wallop" and "The Girls Back Home" was released in Sweden by Mercury in 1981, about four years after the original album release...

In 1997, exactly twenty years later, the album was finally re-released on CD - coupled with Brian Bennett's "Voyage - A Journey Into Discoid Funk" by See For Miles Records. Unfortunately, all the tracks on this edition were remastered from vinyl, not from the original master tapes... Anyway, the booklet of such CD offers precious information about Bennett and the album. The notes were compiled by Rob Bradford, here's some of them:

«During the mid '70s, one of Brian Bennett's jobs was as producer/arranger/MD for DJM Records. It was during this period that the idea for "Rock Dreams" came to him:

«I'd actually been reading a book called "Rock Dreams". It was full of photographs and paintings. I realised that I actually knew, or had worked with many of the stars featured in the book. It was then that the idea for my own "Rock Dreams" proiect began to take shape. Instead of a photographic or pictorial album, what about a musical equivalent? It would be like a trip down memory lane for me, paying homage to a lot of the musicians I'd encountered along the way. That's how the whole thing started. I discussed the idea with a few friends and they said 'Go for it!' Luckily, the people at DJM thought that it was a good idea too. It was a lovely album to work on because all of the people involved were personal friends as well as being great musicians. I mean, I was even able to get Cliff to do backing vocals! So that's what it is, basically a musical journey from circa 1958 to 1978.»



Rock Dreams (Introduction and Finale): a gentle, dreamy little item with rippling synths and voices employed quasi-instrumentally as they intone "Rock Dreams". The structure is not dissimilar to a familiar passage from "Tubular Bells".
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Brian: «Just a simple little number to lead into and out of the album.»

Rock and Roll Dreamer: a contemporary rocker, with Joe Fagin handling lead vocal chores. Excellent soloing from Alan Parker, without being over-indulgent. Very classy playing from all concerned. Clean sound and production.
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Brian: «It's about the wannabes you come across. That, and the life of the roadies. Everybody dreams of making it.»

Banja Booga: a real fun instrumental. A sort of Hillbilly / Cajun / Bluegrass pastiche. Brilliant playing from both Alan Parker and Pete Willsher. It's not exactly "Duelling Banjos" or "Foggy Mountain Breakdown", but you get the picture.
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Brian: «It was just a little C&W thing. Something that I'd always wanted to do. I wrote it with Alan Hawkshaw and Alan Parker.»

Rave On: a contemporary reading of the old Buddy Holly favourite. Launched on a raft of acoustic guitars, it's quite laid-back and yet charged with emotion and loaded with affection. Joe Brown's vocals are beautifully understated.
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Brian: «I just had to have a Buddy Holly number on there. He was such a great influence on so many people. Not only that, but Jerry Allison was one of the first Rock'n'Roll drummers that I actually paid any attention to.»

Milwakee Massacre: a great boogie-woogie type rave up of a number. Alan Parker trots out some splendid Chuck Berry pastiche riffs, but the real star here is Alan Hawkshaw. He's a great pianist and he really cuts loose in the manner of 'Pine-Tops' Smith, Freddie 'Fingers' Lee, Jerry Lee Lewis et al. The Killer would love it!
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Brian: «It wasn't a tribute to Jerry Lee Lewis as such, at least it didn't start out with that intention. It was just an excuse to indulge in one of those rocking boogie-woogie type things.»

C'mon Everybody: it has a contemporary, almost lazy feel to it, yet it harks back to the past as well. The early slapback echo feel is recreated quite effectively. This may sound heretical, but with the thumping backbeat, it's almost akin to what Mike Leander was doing with Gary Glitter! Nice percussive effects with handclaps and a tasty guitar break from Alan Parker. Plus, Joe Fagin performs a fair Eddie type vocal.
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Brian: «I wanted this track on in memory of Eddie Cochran. The tour with him and Gene Vincent back in 1960 was one of my personal highlights. Eddie was a talented musician and a really nice guy. Everybody learned an awful lot from him on that tour. Big Jim Sullivan, Brian Locking, Colin Green and myself. Eddie wasn't just a great singer and guitarist, he played drums too!»

Thunderbolt: Shadows' fans have long admired this splendid instrumental. Indeed, they've lobbied the group to record it over the years. Alan Tarney is featured on bass and former Cliff Richard guitarist Terry Britten plays the elegiac lead with some aplomb. Great thunderstorm FX too.
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Brian: «I'll come clean now. Many fans over the years have assumed that "Thunderbolt" was one of my library music pieces. It wasn't. It was written specifically for "Rock Dreams" to represent that part of my career spent with the Shads.»

Saturday Night Special: this is not the classic Lynyrd Skynyrd track of the same name, nor is it "Saturday Night Fever". But it is a track for the early '70s. The FX on the guitars is reminiscent of the [Shadows'] "Specs Appeal" era. Alan Parker, Les Hurdle and Alan Hawkshaw are all prominent. There's lots of percussion and funky bass guitar. Superb congas from Jim Lawless too.
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Brian: «It's a sort of nod to the typical dance floor music of the time. I did a lot of sessions playing stuff like that. I thought it would be interesting to write something in a similar vein.»

The Girls Back Home: quite simply, this is a delightful recreation of the 1966/67 era Beach Boys sound. Sheer vocal delight. Tony Rivers, Stu Calver, John Perry and the rest turn in a quite magnificent performance. The fact that they recorded Beach Boys' styled vocals in the '60s as Tony Rivers and the Castaways undoubtedly helped!! I can certainly detect elements of "California Girls" and "God Only Knows" in there!
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Brian: «I've always been a great Beach Boys' fan. Again, it was just a little exercise to write something in a similar vein. I was quite pleased with the end result. Actually, Warren [Bennett] helped to write this one. It must have been one of his earliest efforts. He was only about fifteen or sixteen at the time.»

Wallop: the kind of track where everyone has the chance to solo on various instrumental breaks, be it organ, keyboards, bass, drums, guitar or whatever. It's like a melange of heavy rock and Quo-like boogie, ...almost. There's even a Moog in there somewhere. But it's all very tasteful and veers away from histrionic over-indulgence.
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Brian: «I wrote this one with Alan Hawkshaw, just to give everyone a chance to show off their playing skills a little bit. Also. again, an attempt to write something similar to a lot of the mainstream music that was around in 1978.»

Farewell To a Friend: sheer poetry, but without words. Beautiful acoustic guitars, shimmering synthesisers and plangent, keening pedal steel. Very nostalgic. It's just a gorgeous, yearning track played with great sensitivity.
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Brian: «That was my tribute to John Rostill. A lovely guy and I still miss him.»

Drum Odyssey: I recall that when Brian released "Change of Direction" [back in 1967], reviewers were quick to point out that it simply wasn't a terribly self-indulgent Sandy Nelson type LP with loads of drum numbers on it. Brian has never been that way inclined, his drums have always been an integral part of the whole. On this track though his drum and percussion work is well to the fore. As ever though, it's not iust mindless incessant tub-thumping. No, it's intelligent and well-crafted. It's avant-garde and yet accessible with myriad overdubs. Just lots of drums, percussion and fascinating FX. Other instruments support relatively unobtrusively. Also, an early appearance of syndrums, which Brian used to good effect on 1979' "Riders In the Sky". A sort of Techno "Little 'B"!
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Brian: «I always like to try out new ideas. There were some interesting technological developments at the time and I tried to utilise and incorporate some of them. I was fairly pleased with the overall effect.»


A magazine ad for the "Thunderbolt" single, late 1976

Listening to "Rock Dreams" in 1997, exactly twenty years after it was released, is a pleasant and edifying experience. It hasn't really dated and it still sounds quite fresh. It's probably a more relevant album now than it was then!

It's significant that artists then could put out carefully prepared albums that they were both really interested in and had a certain amount of direct control over. Brian did "Rock Dreams" simply because he genuinely wanted to do it! He wasn't at the mercy of executives who wondered whether or not this album would sell in excess of 250,000 copies.

The cover of "Rock Dreams" is made to look like a photograph from an album (...hands up those who remember adhesive photo-corners...). The cover painting was actually faithfully copied from a print of Brian lugging his drumkit down the platform of Bexhill station during the Eddie Cochran tour in 1960. «It was bloody hard work,» recalls Brian, «but I got nearly as good at carrying my drums as I did at playing them!»»


Here's the complete credits and personnel list of "Rock Dreams" as they appear in the original liner notes:

Rock Dreams, 'Introduction' and 'Finale' (Bennett)
Alan Parker: electric guitars
Alan Hawkshaw: keyboards
Les Hurdle: bass
Brian Bennett: drums
Tony Rivers, John Perry, Stuart Calver: vocals

Rock'n'Roll Dreamer (Bennett)
Joe Fagin: vocals
Alan Parker: electric guitars
Alan Hawkshaw: keyboards
Les Hurdle: bass
Brian Bennett: drums

Banja Booga (Bennett / Parker / Hawkshaw)
Pete Willsher: Driftwood steel guitar
Alan Parker: 5 string banjo
Alan Hawkshaw: keyboards
Les Hurdle: Fender bass
Brian Bennett: drums and percussions

Rave On (Sonny West / Bill Tilghman / Norman Petty)
Joe Brown: vocals
Alan Parker: D6 dobro guitar, FT49 High Strung (1934)
Les Hurdle: Fender bass
Alan Hawkshaw: Fender piano
Brian Bennett: drums and percussions

Milwakee Massacre (Bennett / Parker / Hawkshaw)
Alan Hawkshaw: piano
Alan Parker: 1958 Fender Strat, D6 dobro guitar, guitar
Les Hurdle: bass
Brian Bennett: drums

C'mon Everybody (Eddie Cochran / Jerry Capehart)
Joe Fagin: vocals
Alan Parker: electric guitars
Alan Hawkshaw: keyboards
Les Hurdle: bass
Brian Bennett: drums
Cliff Richard, Tony Rivers, Dennis Waterman, John Perry, Stuart Calver: backing vocals

Thunderbolt (Bennett)
Terry Britten: guitar
Alan Tarney: bass
Graham Todd: piano
Brian Bennett: drums and tymps

Saturday Night Special (Bennett)
Alan Parker: Martin D28 and Les Paul standard guitars
Alan Hawkshaw: Clavinet, A.R.P. synthesizer, keyboards
Les Hurdle: bass
Brian Bennett: drums, tambourine, timbales and cowbells
Jim Lawless: congas

The Girls Back Home (Brian Bennett / Warren Bennett)
Tony Rivers: lead vocals and vocal arrangements deluxe
Alan Parker: guitars
Alan Hawkshaw: Fender piano, A.R.P. synthesizer
Les Hurdle: bass
Brian Bennett: drums, tuned woodblocks and percussion
Cliff Richard, John Perry, Stuart Calver: backing vocals

Wallop (Bennett / Hawkshaw)
Alan Parker: guitars
Alan Hawkshaw: Moog and keyboards
Les Hurdle: bass
Brian Bennett: drums and percussion

Farewell To a Friend (Bennett)
Alan Parker: Martin n° 4 gut-strung, solo guitar
Les Hurdle: bass
Pete Willsher: steel guitar

Drum Odyssey (Bennett)
Brian Bennett: Premium drums, congas, shakers, maracas, claves, bells, tuned woodblocks, Los drums, African talking drums, Premier piccolo snare drum, tymps + odds and sods
Alan Hawkshaw: Fender piano
Alan Parker: guitars
Les Hurdle: bass

Produced by Brian Bennett.

Engineered by Dick Plant at The Music Centre, Wembley, Middlesex

Cliff Richard appear courtesy of EMI Records Ltd.


Brian Bennett as he appears on the cover of the Dutch release of "Thunderbolt", 1976


The following clips offer a preview of the remastered album; here's "Drum Odyssey", "Banja Booga", "Saturday Night Special", "The Girls Back Home" and "Thunderbolt", enjoy!












More information about Brian Bennett is available here:

http://www.discogs.com/artist/934594-Brian-Bennett-Band

http://www.45cat.com/artist/the-brian-bennett-band

https://rateyourmusic.com/artist/brian_bennett

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Bennett_%28musician%29

http://www.brianbennettmusic.co.uk/

http://zildjian.com/Artists/B/Brian-Bennett

http://www.brianbennettmusic.co.uk/art_rhythm.php

http://www.mikedolbear.co.uk/story.asp?StoryID=1449

http://www.drummerworld.com/drummers/Brian_Bennett.html

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/brian-bennett-mn0000621102

http://www.whosampled.com/Brian-Bennett/sampled/?sp=1


If you have any other useful information about Brian Bennett, and "Rock Dreams" - especially corrections and improvements to this post - or if you spot any dead links, please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

NEW LINKS FOR OLD FILES (3)



I recently discovered that the files I uploaded to Rapidshare are gone since long... Today I uploaded all of them somewhere else: if you unsuccessfully tried to download something from this blog in the last months, please try again now; new links are available in the comments section of each post.

Once again, I'd like to remind you that this is a quality blog: if you let me know about any broken links and deleted or unavailable files, I'll do my best to quickly reupload them.

If you enjoy my efforts please consider leaving a comment, your feedback is important, thanks!

Oh, and for those of you who asked about Torrent downloads: I really tried hard but I can't make the damn thing work, sorry!

Friday, 31 July 2015

DICK JENSEN "CLOUDY MORNIN' / LOVE SHACK" (1975)



Well, if you already visited this blog in the past few years, I'm sure that you noticed the huge amount of material I posted about the sadly missed Hawaiian entertainer Dick Jensen. If you stopped by frequently, you probably have also noticed that I tried to reconstruct a correct timeline of his activities and discographic releases. Chronology is something that I really care about and I always try my best to post information on these pages according to that.

As I was trying to document the end of Jensen's tenure with legendary Philadelphia International Records, after the release of his self-titled album in 1973, I had to confront myself with my most bitter enemy: lack of information.

When exactly - and why - the label dropped him? I understand that "Dick Jensen" probably wasn't very successful, and maybe the problem laid within the fact that Jensen wasn't the usual Soul singer; he ranged from Pop and Easy Listening right through to Jazz and Gospel...

But this should be considered positive, at least in my opinion: I can only dream about what he could have made when Disco break through a couple of years later, if only the label had kept on supporting him... Althought Jensen's voice was not deep and smooth as Lou Rawls', his late '70s releases come to mind.

At last, the liner notes written by Stephen SPAZ Schnee for the 2013 "Dick Jensen" CD re-release on Big Break Records came through for me, confirming that "Upon release, critics and Soul fans didn't know what to make of the album. Jensen's talent was undeniable, but the album was not what they expected from the house that Gamble & Huff had built and the project itself got lost in the confusion." Well, damn critics and Soul fans, that is a great album even forty years after his publication, how didn't you know what to make of it in 1973?!?


Dick Jensen performing at The Oceania Empire Room, December 1975

Jensen returned to Honolulu around 1974 or 1975 and quickly re-estabilished himself as a local showroom star with engagements at the Hula Hut and at the Empire Room on the Oceania Floating Restaurant; the latter was jammed night after night for eight years.

Jensen's signature number, a fanciful comic story about the Lone Ranger and Tonto in which he single-handedly created all the voices and sound effects, was always a highlight, and every bit as impressive as his singing, dancing and overall showmanship... You can catch a glimpse of this performance - and much more - in the tribute video available on YouTube.

OK, since the lack of information I mentioned above, I can only speculate from now on: what do you do if you're a first class performer, you've written new songs but you find yourself without a recording contract? For some reason Jensen thought the best option was to self-release his own fresh material on a private label created on purpose, the evocative Record Club of Honolulu.


Here's the track list for this 7" single:

01. Cloudy Mornin' (Mono version) (3:41)
02. Love Shack (3:00)

Both tracks were remastered in July 2015 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files; both formats include scans of the complete original artwork.

Please have a look at the comments for the download links.



The "Cloudy Mornin' (Mono Version) / Love Shack" single was released sometimes in the mid '70s. I don't know the exact releases date, but I'm inclined to think that it was pressed in late 1975 or early 1976 at the same time when the album "Giant of Hawaii" was released.

My copy of this record comes in a plain white cardboard sleeve; compared to the vinyl, the sleeve doesn't seem to be 40 years old, so I guess that at some point in time it was replaced for some reason.

No catalogue number appears on the center label, the handwritten etchings in the run-out grooves are "DICK JENSEN 'CLOUDY MORNING' MONO SIDE-1A K-9575" and "DICK JENSEN 'LOVE SHACK' SIDE-2B STEREO K-9576". On both sides there is an additional "KENDUN A" stamped etching; this means that the record was mastered at Kendun Recorders in Burbank, California.

Since the version of "Cloudy Mornin'" on Side A is mono, I guess that the single was aimed at radio promotion. Although both tracks are available (in stereo) on the album "Giant of Hawaii", I believe that this is one of the rarest Dick Jensen items in my possession: I never had the chance to see another copy up for sale since I purchased mine years ago.

For this release, Dick Jensen teamed up again with Don Costa, who already worked with him back in 1969 for the "White Hot Soul" album. According to the credit that appear on the back cover of "Giant of Hawaii", he took care about production and arrangements for his own Don Costa Productions.



As already mentioned, the version of the lovely "Cloudy Mornin'" featured on Side A is mono; the stereo version released on the album has a slighthly different title, which is the same as the one etched in the run-out grooves here: "Cloudy Morning". Furthermore, writing credits on this release are split between G. Costa, J. Slaughter and T. Wybaczynsky, while the credits on the album omits Wybaczynsky...

Anyway, these details didn't help me to find more information about the song, whose style doesn't differ much from the slower numbers that were featured a few years earlier on the "Dick Jensen" album.

The arrangement features strings, horns and chorus, and also include a touch of vibraphone and percussions; a mellow soloing guitar is nicely placed behind Jensen voice during the three verses, and all the crescendos are just in the right place. This is a classy track that deserved a place in the charts rather than just a place in my heart, what do you think?

On Side B we find "Love Shack", which - of course - has nothing to do with the B-52's song of the same name... The song is credited to Jensen himself and it seems to arouse derision among other reviewers.

I understand that the main reason for this is the jumpsuit that Jensen is wearing on the cover of the album, but let's give credit where credit is due: wouldn't the world be worse without little songs like this? This is one of the first Jensen songs I ever listened and it's just adorable, in my opinion.


The following clips offer a complete preview of the remastered single, enjoy "Cloudy Mornin' (Mono version) and "Love Shack"!






More information about Dick Jensen is available here:

http://archives.starbulletin.com/2006/06/22/news/story02.html

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2006/Jun/22/il/FP606220304.html

http://www.oahuislandnews.com/May05/Home.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Jensen

I'm currently compiling a Dick Jensen biography, the first part of this work-in-progress covers the period 1942-1972 and is available here.

I'm also trying to compile a Dick Jensen exhaustive discography, my work-in-progress is available here.

Last but not least, I'm also trying to build a collection of Dick Jensen pictures and memorabilia, my work-in-progress is available here.

All my posts dedicated to Dick Jensen on this blog are available here.


I will post more Dick Jensen stuff in the next months, if you have any other useful information about him and his releases or if you spot any dead links, just get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

PANCY LAU (劉鳳屏) "你幾時回家" (1969)



Pancy Lau (Lau Fung Ping, 劉鳳屏 or 刘鳳屏, also referred to as Liu Feng Ping) was born sometimes in the late 40s / early 50s in a family of musicians; her father Lau Bak Lok (劉伯樂) - also known as Tin Ngai (天涯) - was a well-known Cantonese Opera Star. He was her very first music teacher, and guided her through the entertainment world.

Her career started when she was around 8 or 9 years old singing Cantonese Opera. As a teenager she transitioned to singing songs she enjoyed: Pop music. During the early 60s she participated two times in the Sing Tao Daily Singing Competition in Hong Kong with no significant results. In 1965 at last she won the Mandarin section of the 6th edition of the contest with the song "三年" (Three Years). Upon winning the competition, she became a resident singer at the prestigious Golden Crown Night Club (金冠).

Television Broadcasts Limited (電視廣播有限公司), commonly known as TVB, commenced broadcasting in Hong Kong on 19 November 1967. Pancy Lau was one of the first musical artists who participated in the popular show "歡樂今宵" (Enjoy Yourself Tonight), which was the longest running variety show in Hong Kong's television history.

In 1968 Fung Hang Records released her debut 7" EP entitled "水長流" ("Water Flows Long") which included four songs. It was the first in a long series of recordings that was about to continue for more than fifteen years...

Following a second EP entitled "山前山後百花开" ("When the Flowers Bloom On Mount Qian Shan") released in 1969, Pancy Lau's first album was finally published in 1970. "快回頭望一望" ("Quickly Turn Around and Look") contained twelve songs - including the eight tracks already released on her previous EPs.

The record was a huge success with no less than four editions published - and sometimes also bootlegged - by different labels in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. At the time, a lot of popular music was coming from being featured on television or were theme songs from television serial dramas. The album, however, did not need any push from the media to become an instant hit, as it contained enough fresh material to estabilish itself as a modern classic.

It's not easy to come up with an exact chronology of Pancy Lau's early output, since in a few years she had quite a lot of publications and none of them comes with a date printed on... I easily guess that FHEP1007 "你幾時回家" (When Will You Come Home?) was released after FHEP1001, but I'm not sure if the year was 1969 or 1970... As a matter of fact, all the four songs on the EP were also later (...or earlier?) included on Pancy's second album, "劉鳳屏之歌" (Pancy Lau's Songs), released by New Wave Record Co. (新風) in 1970...

The text above is mostly based on this original feature that our friend Brian was kind enough to translate for us, THANK YOU! For a more detailed biography of Pancy Lau, please have a look at this other post of mine: "The Very Best of Pancy Lau Volume 1 [1968-72]".




Here's the track list for this 7" single:

01. 你幾時回家 (1:42)
02. 天上人間 (2:48)
03. 磁性的迷惑 (2:27)
04. 一吻定情 (2:29)

All tracks were remastered from vinyl in July 2015 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files; both formats include scans of the complete original artwork.

Please have a look at the comments for the download links.



Here's what I discovered searching information about the songs included on this EP:

Side A begins with the happy vibes of "你幾時回家" (When Will You Come Home?). Since I wasn't able to find much about his song, I speculate that it is an original composition; I patiently wait for someone who can shed light about this... The song was covered by 周玲寶 (Chow Ling Po) and 太陽神樂隊 (The Apollo), which is also supposed to be the backing band on all the track featured on this release.

Compared to the previous number, "天上人間" (Heaven on Earth) seems to be more linked to a traditional form, but once again I couldn't find any relevant information about it... This post is getting annoying, isn't it...?

...uhm, the first track on offer on Side B is entitled "磁性的迷惑" (Magnetic Seduction) and was previously performed by 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong) in a 1969 movie whose title eludes me...Once there used to be a clip on YouTube to testify it, but now it's gone so you must take my word for it.

As I already wrote in this other post, "一吻定情" (One Kiss To Mark Our Love) is my favourite Pancy Lau song for sure: the arrangement is simply marvellous, probably the grooviest Far-East track I happened to listen ever! The original version was a Japanese song recorded by singer / actor 橋 幸夫 (Yukio Hashi) in 1964. 黃菱 (Wong Ling) performed the original Mandarin version in 1967.




The following clips offer a preview of the remastered single, enjoy the title track "一吻定情" (One Kiss To Mark Our Love) and "你幾時回家" (When Will You Come Home?)!






More information about Pancy Lau is available here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_Hong_Kong

http://home.ied.edu.hk/~hkpop/music/hkpophistory.html

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dk_gilbert/sets/72157608139056712/

http://www.goldenage.hk/b5/ga/ga_article.php?article_id=1079

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUIeOiDudhg&feature=related

http://baike.baidu.com/view/5637119.htm

http://www.vinylparadise.com/4pop_can/1/066LFP0A.htm

http://www.inkui.com/a1/A/A4A8B8CB7ABE6FF6C1CF_a.html

http://robokon.orgfree.com/5080/5080_LauFungPing.htm

http://rateyourmusic.com/artist/%E5%8A%89%E9%B3%B3%E5%B1%8F

I'm currently trying to compile a Pancy Lau exhaustive discography, my work-in-progress is available here.

All my posts dedicated to Pancy Lau on this blog are available here.



In the next months I will post more Hong Kong/Taiwan/Singapore/etc. Pop/Instrumental records released in the late-60s / mid-70s. As usual, I would like to provide information about these releases and their authors.

Unfortunately the Internet doesn't offer much information - written in English - about these artists and this is the reason why I need help: if you can translate from Chinese to English please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you so much!

It's been difficult to obtain these vinyls, some are not in the best conditions and I'm currently working hard to properly master them. It seems that these artists and their music are poorly known in the West, of course it's a real pity because they made stunning releases: I'd like to share them with you with a proper presentation, hope that someone will be able to help.

Friday, 10 July 2015

TAMIKO JONES "TAMIKO" (1968)

In my loneliness
when you're gone and I'm all by myself
I need your caress
I just think of you
and the thought of you holding me near
makes my loneliness soon disappear

Though you're far away
I have only to close my eyes and you are back to stay
I just close my eyes
and the sadness that missing you brings
soon is gone and this heart of mine sings

Yes I love you so
and that for me is all I need to know
I will wait for you
till the sun falls from out of the sky
for what else can I do
I will wait for you
meditating how sweet life will be
when you come back to me


[from the lyrics of "Meditation"]



Barbara Tamiko Ferguson was born in 1945, one of ten children, in Kyle, West Virginia, USA.

So exotic in her features, ethnically she might be described as multi-racial: her father was an African-American and her maternal grandmother, Mrs. Arma Dalton - who used to live in Charleston - was partly of Japanese descent. Mrs. Dalton's parents, now deceased, were nisei. Because of her Japanese background, Mrs. Dalton at one time lived in a federal internment camp on the West Coast during World War II.

«My mother married a white man of Scotch-Irish ancestry, and on my maternal grandfather's side there is Cherokee Indian blood. So, racially at least I'm really mixed up. Like the rest of my family I consider myself a Negro [1]

The extreme versatility of Tamiko's singing is readily appreciated in considering her own musical background. She was raised in Detroit and, while working as a secretary, she auditioned for a talent agency and made her professional debut in 1961 at the Flame Show Bar in Detroit, a room that earlier showcased such talents as Johnnie Ray and Della Reese:

«I got that job strictly on nerve, I decided one day I wanted to be a singer. Though my repertoire consisted of only one song, "Goody, Goody", I got an audition through an agent with Maurice King, who led the orchestra at the Flame Show Bar. I was hired on the spot for a one-week engagement, but stayed six months.» [1]



During that first six-month engagement, she expanded her repertoire considerably under Maurice King's guidance and improved her showmanship. She developed a style of her own, though she never learned to read music. She describes such style as "jazz-bop", which is a unique styling compounded of pop songs on a jazz base:

«I depend on my ear, I think God gave me a gift for music which I express through my voice. When I first started out, I used to get so scared my knees would knock. The more I sing the more confident I feel, but I still get a little nervous on an opening night.» [1]

She began her recording career on the Checker label in 1963; her first release, credited simply as Timiko, was the happy-go-lucky song "Is It a Sin?" written by Richard "Popcorn" Wylie backed with "The Boy For Me" written by Robert Bateman on the flip side.

By 1964, Timiko became Tamiko and she relocated to the Atco Records imprint releasing the single "Don't Laugh If I Cry at Your Party" backed with "Rhapsody". Both tracks were also released in France as side A of a 7" split EP coupled with two songs by Angela Martin on side B.


Tamiko Jones as pictured on the cover of the French 7" split EP shared with Angela Martin, circa 1963-64

In July 1966 she briefly moved to the Golden World label and released her third single offering "I'm Spellbound" on side A and "Am I Glad Now" on side B. The single was produced by Gene Redd who wrote the tunes along with Rose Marie McCoy, Jimmy Crosby and a certain Mike Jones.

During the same year Tamiko also appeared as an extra in a few movies, namely "Penelope", "You're a Big Boy Now" and "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying":

«Acting is a very exciting and stimulating outlet for my artistic energies. I love to act and want to become an expert at it. My greatest ambition is to appear in a Broadway musical. But singing is my main love. I'll never give that up, because it gives me a chance to express myself fully and freely.» [1]

Anyway, let's take a step back: after the six months at the Flame Show Bar, Tamiko began touring the East Coast and Midwest, including stints on the Playboy circuit, the Catskill Mountains and the Carribean area, before getting her first national exposure on the Tonight Show in 1965. Later she performed on the Johnny Carson Show several times as well as on the Merv Griffin and Joey Bishop programs...


Tamiko Jones, publicity shot for the "A Man and a Woman" single, 1966

Tamiko's career saw some elevation when she signed with Atlantic in late 1966. She teamed up with label mate Herbie Mann and released a single offering "A Man and a Woman", the theme song from the film of the same name composed by Francis Lai and Pierre Barouh, backed with "Sidewinder", a composition by Lee Morgan which has become a jazz standard nowadays.

Many different versions of "A Man and a Woman" were recorded around this time by different artists, but only the Jones / Mann rendition made the best-selling charts.

«The first Herbie Mann / Tamiko Jones collaboration was a brilliant rendition of the attractive title tune from the French movie "A Man and a Woman". That recording, released in the fall of 1966, helped make "A Man and a Woman" one of the most popular movie themes of the year. The union of Herbie Mann and Tamiko Jones started almost fortuitously at the Atlantic Recording Studios in New York. Herbie heard Tamiko singing in the studio one afternoon and was so taken by her warm, sensuous jazz-pop styling that he stayed throughout her entire rehearsal. When it was over he asked if she would like to record with him.» [2]


Tamiko Jones, press / publicity photo, circa 1966-67

The album was recorded in Rio de Janeiro during three sessions between September and December 1966, and was published by Atlantic in February 1967. It consists of ten songs with musical backgrounds provided by both the Cannonball Adderley Trio and Herbie Mann's Band, mostly arranged by Joe Zawinul and Jimmy Wisner.

One more single was culled from the album, with side A offering a cover of The Beatles' "Day Tripper" paired on the flip side with "A Good Thing (Is Hard To Come By)", a Tamiko's own composition.

By the way, "A Mann and a Woman" was re-released on CD in Japan sometimes in late 2013, and at the time of writing it is still available on major retailers as an import at a fair decent price, don't let it escape you!


Tamiko Jones on the cover of Jet magazine, March 1967

A few months after the successful release of "A Mann and a Woman", Tamiko was signed by Jimmy Wisner's new label December Records. As far as I know, the label didn't last long and its output consisted mostly of the Tamiko Jones releases and a few more items...

The first Tamiko's single on the label was released in September, and offered her rendition of "You Only Live Twice", the theme song to the James Bond movie of the same name, coupled with a cover of Aretha Franklin's "Don't Let Me Lose This Dream".

Another single followed towards the end of the year; Side A featured a cover of the Bacharach-David tune "Don't Go Breaking My Heart", originally performed by Dionne Warwick, while Side B offered the exclusive "Pearl", a song written by Tamiko herself and Wisner.

Two more singles were released as promotional items but were not distributed to the public; the first one included "Live For Life", an English adptation of the song originally written by Francis Lai for the soundtrack of the French movie "Vivre pour vivre", coupled with "You Only Live Twice" on the flip side, while the second featured "Someone To Light Up My Life" and "Where Do I Go From Here".

Smartly arranged with a Bossa Nova flavour, probably as an attempt to repeat the exploit of "A Mann and a Woman", the "Tamiko" album was released on December Records in February 1968.


With Ed McMhon and Joey Bishop, 1967

Sources:

[1] from a feature/interview published on "Jet" magazine, March 1967

[2] from the "A Mann and a Woman" LP liner notes written by Bob Rolontz, 1967

[3] from the "I'll Be Anything For You" LP liner notes written by Peter J. Levinson, 1968


"Tamiko" contains the following tracks:

01. Someone To Light Up My Life (2:48)
02. You Only Live Twice (2:49)
03. The Folks Who Live On the Hill (2:58)
04. Only Yesterday (2:40)
05. Meditation (3:43)
06. Don't Go Breaking My Heart (3:02)
07. Where Do I Go From Here (2:41)
08. Don't Let Me Lose This Dream (2:33)
09. How Can I Leave You (2:07)
10. Live For Life (2:47)
11. That's Life (3:05)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in July 2015 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files, both formats include restored and printable PDF artwork.

As usual, please have a look at the comments for the download links.



The album begins with the light Bossa Nova rhythm of "Someone To Light Up My Life", an English rendition of "Se Todos Fossem Iguais A Você", a song written in 1956 by Antônio Carlos Jobim - with original lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes, then adapted by Gene Lees - for the play "Orfeu da Conceição".

"You Only Live Twice" is the theme song to the 1967 James Bond movie of the same name. Music was written by veteran James Bond composer John Barry, with lyrics by Leslie Bricusse. The original version is considered to be one of the best James Bond theme songs, and has become one of Nancy Sinatra's best known hits. The song has been extensively covered by other artists and Tamiko's version is particularly sweet to my ears; unsurprisingly it was choose as the album's first single.

The jazzy "The Folks Who Live On the Hill" is a popular song composed by Jerome Kern, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. It was first performed by Irene Dunne in the 1937 movie "High, Wide and Handsome". I must admit that this is my least favourite track on "Tamiko"...

"Only Yesterday" is an original composition by Jimmy Wisner, producer and arranger of the album - as well as owner of December Records - and already made its apparition just one year earlier on the "A Mann and a Woman" album... I guess that the reason for including it here again is just connected with royalties, but anyway... In my opinion this more lively version is superior to the original, and maybe the author was just trying to popularise it.

Side A ends with my favourite number of the album, "Meditation" ("Meditação" in Portuguese), which was composed by Antônio Carlos Jobim and Newton Mendonça. With English lyrics by Norman Gimbel, it was successfully included on the "Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim" album in 1967. If I had to choose a track to represent the album, then I would not hesitate for a second: this is pure class!



Side B starts with Tamiko's beautiful rendition of "Don't Go Breaking My Heart"; this Bacharach-David song was originally recorded by Dionne Warwick for her 1965 album "Here I Am". According to AllMusic, it is "one of Burt Bacharach's most subtle, effervescent grooves ever". The song was aptly choose as the second single excerpted from the album; it was backed with "Pearl", an exclusive number which I truly hope to present here sometimes in the future as soon as I find a decent copy.

"Where Do I Go From Here" is another song penned by Jimmy Wisner which, according to my search, seems to have been recorded exclusively by Tamiko and no other singer... As the lesser-known track on the album, along with "How Can I Leave You", it manage just fine to keep quality high and a generally relaxed atmosphere.

"Don't Let Me Loose This Dream" was written by Aretha Franklin and Ted White, her first husband and manager. The song was originally included on Aretha's 1967 masterpiece "I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You". This is the most lively piece on "Tamiko" for sure; it feature an uptempo rhythm and it even includes a saxophone solo... It was included on the flip side of the "You Only Live Twice" single. Here'a link to the original for your reference.

"How Can I Leave You" is a song by American drummer, percussionist and vibraphonist George Devens; as a musician he has been featured on countless releases from the early '60s on, and his incomplete credit list is quite impressive. His small contribution to this album should not be left unnoticed.

"Live For Live" was written by French composer Francis Lai as the main theme for the 1967 movie "Vivre pour vivre". Originally an instrumental, it was given English lyrics by Norman Gimbel.

"Tamiko" ends with a cover of the popular "That's Life", a song written by Dean Kay and Kelly Gordon whose most famous version was recorded by Frank Sinatra for his 1966 album of the same name.


Tamiko Jones as she appears on the cover of "Tamiko", circa late 1967

Here's the few credits printed on the back sleeve of "Tamiko":

A Jimmy Wisner production.

Arranged and conducted by Jimmy Wisner, except "Someone To Light Up My Life", "Only Yesterday", "Meditation", "Where Do I Go From Here" and "That's Life" arranged and conducted by Pete Dino.

Recorded at Bell Sound Studios, New York City.

Engineers: Harry Yarmarck and Phil Macey

Photos and design: Mark Roth


The following clips offer a preview of the remastered album; for this purpose I chose my favourite tracks: "You Only Live Twice", "Meditation", "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" and "Don't Let Me Lose This Dream", enjoy!










More information about Tamiko Jones is available here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamiko_Jones

http://www.soulwalking.co.uk/Tamiko%20Jones.html

http://supersoulsisters.blogspot.com/2009/11/tamiko-jones-collection-1963-1986.html

http://www.discogs.com/artist/8483-Tamiko-Jones

http://soulfuldetroit.com/showthread.php?484-Tamiko-Jones


If you have any other useful information about the Tamiko Jones and "Tamiko" - especially corrections and improvements to this post - or if you spot any dead links, please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

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