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.

TOMMY ROE: The Folk Singer; Sweet Pea (Probe GFF 109).
From out of the murky distant past (actually, from the time that Tommy and Chris Montez were topping the Beatles on tour, Spring 1963), here’s a wistful slow murky distant hit which I never liked the first time round. And why on earth isn’t “Sheila” on the flip instead of this recent Bubblegum garbage? Bah!

DANNY O’KEEFE: Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues; The Valentine Pieces (Signpost SGP 751).
Now for a Folk Singer what IS some Folk Singer, or a darned appealing Soft-Rock singer, least ways. I defy you not to warm to his easy going gently swaying, harmonica-enhanced, soft slow style immediately. The most relaxing record since J. J. Cale’s “Crazy Mama“, and the subtle Boz Scaggs-ish flip is superlative too.

JACK JONES & SUSAN GEORGE: That’s The Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be (RCA 2276).
For lovers everywhere, the currently most-publicized woosome twosome alternate the verses of Carly Simon’s beautifully-written slowie in such a tendersweet way that soppy girls the nation over will be going “aaahh” and feeling all funny and warm inside. If you saw “Straw Dogs” you know what Jack’s got himself, and I must say she’s got a jolly nice voice too. A hit!

GOLDIE HAWN: Carey; I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight (Reprise K 14211).
Other than proving that gloriously lovable Goldie can actually sing, and well, this Joni Mitchell song (and Dylan flip) do nothing to bring out the zany madcap’s own individuality — which seems rather a waste. What’s more, I don’t really see ace producer Andy Wickham’s plan of next recording her singing Reggae working much either, However, as seriousness is their evident intention their Mitchell cover is a good start … but who’s going to buy it?

Yeah, that Geffen can get ’em — here CSN&Y manager/Asylum boss David G. has a bluesy-guitar-backed goodtime harmony stomper by a guy who partnered Eagles’ Glen Frey in Longbranch Pennywhistle and who now self-pens/produces/plays (guitar, bass, piano)/multi-track harmonizes his own stuff. Get it ONNN!

STEPPENWOLF: Magic Carpet Ride; Born To Be Wild (Probe GFF 108).
Long ignored in favour of the “Easy Rider” hit on the alternative A-side, “Carpet Ride” is a stop-and-start, freaky sound effects, exciting pounder that really ought to appeal to “Silver Machine” freaks now if not before. Also from the group’s past is “Monster” (Probe PRO 571), with its “America, where are you now?” chant, which is a messy snip from the politically conscious boys’ old album of the same name.

JO JO GUNNE: Shake That Fat; I Make Love (Asylum AYM 507).
Rather odd choice of follow-up, this, as it’s the same tune as “Run Run Run”‘s flip — albeit given a slightly different (and less powerful) new mix or treatment.

THE MAIN INGREDIENT: Everybody Plays The Fool; Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me) (RCA 2270).
This is that glorious Soul Vocal Group slowie which Bert de Coteaux’s naggingly tootling flute arrangement has swept to the very top of America’s Charts: In this new age of acceptance for Soul Vocal Groups in Britain, can this be the next hit here for that genre? It should be. And then what about the ridiculously mellow sweet & low version of the old Anthony Newley warhorse on the flip? By itself, it would be a great A-side (and the least chest-beating, easiest to listen to version yet), so that you really DO get your money’s worth here.

TOWER OF POWER: You’re Still A Young Man (Warner Bros K 16211).
Pete Wingfield reckons that the lead singer of this otherwise white and brassy line-up is black, and he’s probably right because the only photo of Rick Stevens I’ve seen is the oddly-lit colour one on the band’s “Bump City” LP sleeve. Which brings me to the next point: this exquisitely beautiful Soul Vocal Group-like slowie is an absolute MUST, but in its full 5:36 album version. Of course, the edited 3:36 cut here is exceptionally good on its own, and should not be missed by those unwilling to lash out for the whole elpee … although I do assure you that those extra two minutes are worth the extra two quid. The sheer heart-stopping Soulfulness of this (admittedly slightly BS&T-ish) beauty never fails to hang me up and mess up the rest of the day’s duties each time I play it: do see if it wrecks you too, please!

THE STYLISTICS: I’m Stone In Love With You; Point Of No Return (Avco 6105015).
Thom Bell’s latest creation for the Stylistics, and their latest US hit, this new sweet slowie (about the things like throwing a press reception that Russell would do to show that, yup, he’s stone in love with you ) is perhaps not as immediately grabbing as their last few. Nice, though.

ETTA JAMES; Tell Mama; I’d Rather Go Blind; I Found A Love (Chess 6145016).
Clarence Carter’s powerful topside always was one of Etta’s best disco dancers (although I personally think it was bettered by Martha Velez); her “Blind” was always THE version and completely obliterates Rod Stewart, and to a lesser extent the admirable Christine Perfect (remember Gloria Walker’s glorious preaching rap, “Talking About My Baby“, to the same tune?); her recent US hit revival of Wilson Pickett & the Falcons’ all-time greatest Soul record is good in its own way but cannot begin to compete with the incredible original. Anyway, a very worthwhile maxi, even if only because it’s a weapon to show that Rod Stewart ain’t as all-powered good as the bedazzled believe.

MAJOR LANCE: Um, Um, Um, Um, Um; Sweet Music (Epic EPC 8404).
The 1963 Curtis Mayfield-penned classic of the Chicago Sound, sounding here a bit odd in fact, but nevertheless the original recording, is possibly set for renewed success. “Um 6”, as we say in the trade, along with “The Monkey Time“, “It’s All Right“, “Mama Didn’t Lie“, and all those other Mayfield greats, was a very important record in its day and remains as fresh as ever. Remember how Beatle Paul was clutching a copy of Major’s album at the airport when returning from the fab moptops’ first US visit?

MILLIE JACKSON: My Man, A Sweet Man (Mojo 2093022).
POW! Bangedy-bangedy-bangedy-bang, bang! Yeah, it’s the outasite driving girlie group stomper that’s likely to make Millie our new Freda Payne. Just try and stay still during this one! Make it a hit, y’all.

KING FLOYD: Woman Don’t Go Astray; Everybody Needs Somebody (Atlantic K 10162).
Now who’da guessed that K-Floyd’s great new fast-rising US smasheroo was hidden away all this time on the flip of his last, kinda dull, British release. Yup, there it is … 2:21 of the best sockin’ to ya Soul that he’s ever cut since “Groove Me“, “Woman Don’t Go Astray” is not only a dramatic groover but also it’s a refreshing variation on the bloke’s by now over-tired original sound.

BETTY WRIGHT: Baby Sitter; Outside Woman (Atlantic K 10250).
Rockabye baby, in the tree top, when the wind blows … you gotta watch out, ‘cos a sixteen year-old schoolgirl baby sitter will strut and become a clean up woman with your old man. Yeah, she’s a man-getter, wails John Peel’s favourite Soulstress on her latest bubbling beat gas. Flipside, she goes the slow Doris Duke route, saying you gotta learn the tricks of the street if you want to stay his wife — which reminds me: how can the BBC justify its inconsistency in banning the trite “Big Six” yet playing “Loop Di Love” which is about a prostitute?

XIT: I Was Raised (Rare Earth RES 107).
Following the Redbone trail, and rather well too, here are some more Red Indian heavy rockers who dress up in authentic Redskin clothes and spout heavy bullshit about the Redman’s plight to sell records which, musically, could be about anything. Oonka-choonka electric rock, pronounced “Way Out”.

REDBONE: Fais Do (Epic EPC 8323).
The original red rockers, Redbone here do some more of the same but with more emphasis on the Rock. Filmed against a sunset, they were just one part of an incredibly expensive set of “Music People” video-cartridges which CBS made to give their distributors (and press officer, Lon Goddard) lots of fun. Lon just loves the full-frontal nudes who appear with Percy Faith atop a mountain, and will soon have worn out that particular bit of film!

EAGLES: Witchy Woman (Asylum AYM 508).
When it comes to Red Indian noises, though, the Eagles’ newie has more subtle Redskin atmosphere than either of the real Redman groups. Much as I was underwhelmed by their initial hit, I’ve really been snared by the cool sounds of this semi-slowie, with its chilling harmonies and perfect guitars. Ugh!


LESLEY GORE: It’s My Party; Judy’s Turn To Cry (Mercury 6052179) Get two copies for consecutive play of these Classic Oldies.
BRENDA LEE: Let’s Jump The Broomstick (MCA MU 1171) Oldie.
MICKEY NEWBURY: How I Love Them Old Songs (Elektra K 12070) Perky Slowie with beautiful brass band/harmonica outro, ideal before “You’re A Lady”.
EDMUNDO ROSS: Love Thy Neighbour (Decca F 13349)
Great Palais-type Cha Cha.
JOHN BALDRY: Everything Stops For Tea (Warner Bros K 16217) and TINY TIM: Am I Just Another Pretty Face (Wand WN 33) Both Easy Listening 20/30’s-type camp fun.

One thought on “October 21, 1972: Brenda Lee, Len Barry, Gene Pitney, Tommy Roe, Danny O’Keefe”

  1. The terrific B-side of that Long John Baldry single, “Hambone”, has a breakbeat that is screaming out to be sampled (and never has been yet).


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