October 28, 1972: Gary U.S. Bonds, Jackson Five, Temptations, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Ike & Tina Turner


GARY U.S. BONDS: Quarter To Three; Please Forgive Me (UA UP 345437).
Tying in (cashing in? … no, let’s not be uncharitable in this deserving instance) nicely with Harley Quinne’s current Chart revival of U.S. Bonds’ first hit, “New Orleans“, here’s the Norfolk, Virginia, lad’s monster 1961 international smash in its original version, just as it appeared on the legendary old Top Rank label except that now its flip is a nice plodding R&B slowie from the “Dance ’til Quarter To Three” album. Interestingly, Gary Bonds and his producer, Frank Guida, were really into Jamaican music back then in the early ’60s (Gary’s second LP was devoted to an Americanisation of Ska), and although a strong Jamaican influence can be heard in many Bonds hits it was Guida’s 1963 hit with Jimmy Soul’s “If You Wanna Be Happy” that really made capital out of the authentic Ska/Blue Beat sound. Anyway, “2.45” is one of the all-time stomping party records, and stands a good chance of repeated success. It’s a pity that “New Orleans” or, post-Alice Cooper, “School Is Out” aren’t on the flip, actually. Two last points: UA singles now have a nice new brown sleeve, and the legendary Gene Barge (Daddy Gee) is swingin’ on the sax, fit to bust, still.

THE JACKSON FIVE: Lookin’ Through The Windows; Love Song (Tamla Motown TMG 833).
By far their most adventurous outing yet, the boys’ newie is a complex staccato harmony-bit and hustling film-score-type tempo attractive tricky stomper (although to stomp to it you’ve got to be more than familiar with it). Having lived with this for a while, I’ve decided that it’s rather like something from “Shaft” done vocally instead of instrumentally — so that, as you should be able to guess, it really is kinda clever. Lovely pretty flip too.

THE TEMPTATIONS: Smiling Faces Sometimes; Mother Nature (Tamla Motown TMG 832).
While everyone waits with bated breath for producer Norman Whitfield to get so clever that he disappears up his own fundamental orifice, musically, here’s a drastically edited version of his 12.35 track from the Temptations’ last British LP but one. All terribly clever and atmospheric in a totally sterile way, it says so little that you don’t miss the last nine minutes at all. A slow starting mid-tempo clomper, it has a slow flip. Continue reading “October 28, 1972: Gary U.S. Bonds, Jackson Five, Temptations, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Ike & Tina Turner”

October 21, 1972: Brenda Lee, Len Barry, Gene Pitney, Tommy Roe, Danny O’Keefe


BRENDA LEE: Here Comes That Feeling; Let’s Jump The Broomstick (MCA MU 1171).
To welcome the diminutive La Lee to Britain (and, let’s face it, to probably have a hit in this reissue-crazy age), here are her melodic “Feeling” from 1962 and 1960’s herky-jerky nervily infectious “Broomstick” rocker, complete with yakkety sax break. While the less well-remembered topside shows off her incredible mechanical-like note-hitting technique in good Easy Listening setting, the flip’s THE side!

LEN BARRY: 1 -2- 3; You Baby (MCA MU 1172).
From out of those disco days of 1965 comes Aram Boormazian’s great immortal clomp clomp clomper, co-penned/produced by Aram/Len with those Philly genii/ex-Danny & the Juniors, Johnny Madara & Dave White, who were responsible for so many goodies in the early ’60s. The Ronettes’ oldie flip‘s good too.

GENE PITNEY: Twenty-Four Hours From Tulsa (Pye Int 7N 25596).
The original 1963 Musicor recording, but remixed so that the backing, especially at the start, sounds incredibly weedy. Why? Otherwise, it’s that famous Bacharach & David epoch-making Oldie you all know. Continue reading “October 21, 1972: Brenda Lee, Len Barry, Gene Pitney, Tommy Roe, Danny O’Keefe”