Saturday, 27 April 2013

Lightning Never Strikes - Sheridan (1970) Vs Lightnin' Never Strikes Twice - The Move (1970)

"Lighting Never Strikes" was written by Rick Price and Michael Tyler (aka Mike Sheridan). Sheridan was the leader of Mike Sheridan and the Nightriders, one of Birmingham's most well known and top local bands in the early 1960's and a band at the top of the Rock Family Tree of The Move/Electric Light Orchestra as it held both Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne in it's mid-sixties line-up. Rick Price had been in Sight And Sound shortly before joining the Move in 1969.

The Move 1969 with Rick Price
It was on the b-side to the single "Bronotsaurus" released on Regal Zonophone records in March 1970, where Price and Sheridan get there only songwriting credit for the Move. With a slightly altered title of "Lighnin' Never Strikes Twice", the Move's version is the tougher version with a crunching guitar, heavy bass and incendiary drums courtesy of Bev Bevan. The lead vocals are handled by Carl Wayne with backing by Roy Wood although it was released just after Wayne had departed to be replaced by Jeff Lynne. The Move version also contains some tasty electric sitar which takes over for the 45 second outro.

Rick Price & Mike Sheridan
Whilst still a member of the Move, Price teamed up with Mike Sheridan to release an LP called "This Is To Certify That..." on Gemini Records in 1970 (highly recommended!) on which their version of "Lightning Never Strikes" is included. It was also released as a b-side to the killer "Sometimes I Wonder" single although listed as only Sheridan. This version is much faster with breakneck drums (Bevan again?) and TWO guitar solos, the first played through a Leslie speaker and the other played backwards!

I've never been able to pick a favourite out of the two versions, I love them both,  but I guess I'm more fond of the Sheridan & Price single as it is a much scarcer record. The move single had charted at number 7 in the UK and is far easier to find a copy. I've included both songs below, plus the lyrics so you can sing along!!!

Lightning Never Strikes by Sheridan
(Price / Tyler)

Let the wind blow you out of my memory
Let the rain wash you out of my eyes
Too many bad times loving you
So I gotta realise
That I can throw you right out of my mind
And put you right back in your place
Cos lightning never strikes twice in the same place

Well I can live without loving you
Carry on in the same old way
Do anything that I wanna do
Say what I wanna say
And I can throw you right out of my mind
And put you right back in your place
Cos lightning never strikes twice in the same place

Lightning strike
Lightning strike

Your kind of woman just drags me down
Wanna put on a ball and chain
I was king till you took my crown
I got to win it back again
Cos I can throw you right out of my mind
And put you right back in your place
Cos lightnin' never strikes twice in the same place

Lightning strike
Lightning strike

Friday, 19 April 2013

Bite It Deep Volume 11 - BBC Special

Just about every signed British band back in the sixties would have passed through the BBC's studios at some point, recording session tracks for the likes of Brian Matthew's Top Gear, Saturday Club and the Top Of The Pops Radio Show. Sadly not many of these recordings exist. Tape was expensive back then and the BBC had no archival policy in place until 1978. The amount of quality recordings that are gone forever could bring a music fan to tears. Luckily, the BBC made transcript LP's of some of their shows for use on the World Service, international broadcasting, so along with some home recordings which turn up every now and then, what we are left with are a few hundred session track from our favourite sixties bands. Most of these have been put out on CD either as bonus tracks to album reissues or as standalone releases.

The Bite It Deep Mix Volume 11 is a 45 minute collection of some of my favourite tracks from the BBC archive. They're all available to buy on CD or download, so if you enjoy what you hear then go and spend some cash. For the time being, give Volume 11 a play and just image what it would've been like tuning into 1214 kHz medium wave back in 1967 and hearing so much killer music for free!

Kaleidoscope - Jenny Artichoke
The Zombies - Friends Of Mine
Marmalade - Suite Judy Blue Eyes
Gulliver's People - Horizontal
The Tremeloes - You
The Montanas - A Step In The Right Direction
Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich - Rain
The Move - Cherry Blossom Clinic
The Bystanders - Royal Blue Summer Sunshine Day
Manfred Mann - My Name Is Jack
Earth - Everyone Sing The Song
Barclay James Harvest - So Tomorrow
Family - Second Generation Woman
The Mirage - The Wedding Of Ramona Blair
Fairport Convention - Tried So Hard
Hollies - Jennifer Eccles
Honeybus - She Comes To Me

Friday, 12 April 2013

The Family Tree - Miss Butters (1968)

I love a good late 1960's Beatles inspired album. There were quite a few of these released in the states in 1967-1968 when many of the garage bands traded in fuzz and snarl for moustaches and melody in the post Sergeant Pepper apocalypse. Music cynics have often declared this period as the end of pop's innocence, paving the way for overblown stadium rock and the like. There may be a little bit of truth in this, especially in the mainstream but there are always exceptions. Bob Segarini is an exception, a true champion of the melodic pop song. Bob knew that no matter what, you gotta have pop!

Segarini cut his teeth in California band, The Brogues who released a couple of great, tough R&B garage singles in the mid-sixties. The best track of the two singles, "I Ain't No Miracle Worker" turned up years later on the Nuggets compilation. The Brogues went their separate ways with two members, Greg Elmore and Gary Duncan winding up in the Quicksilver Messenger Service. Segarini along with fellow ex-Brogue bass player Bill Whitington to form The Family Tree in 1966 along with drummer Newman Davis and keyboard player Mike Olsen (who would later change his name to Lee Michaels and score a big hit with "Do You Know What I Mean" in 1971). The band were picked up up by Mira records and released their first single, the Segarini penned "Prince Of Dreams" in September 1966. An LP was planned but Mira eventually lost interest. By early 1967 was the only original member left in the Family Tree, now a quintet with Jim DeCocq (keyboards), Michael Dure (guitar), Bill Troachim (bass) and Vann Slatter (drums). Now signed to RCA Victor records, for whom their debut single "Do You Have The Time?" revealed themselves as a more melodic band with a distinctive Anglophile edge and serving as a taster for their debut (and only) album which would appear nine months later.

Unlike The Beatles' Sgt Pepper album, the "Miss Butters" record was released without fanfare or hype and slipped by the general public capturing very little attention along the way. Eventually getting a CD release in 2007 by Rev-ola records "Miss Butters" is finally getting the praise it deserves. Apparently Elton John is a big fan and once listed it in his all time top 25 favourite albums! The theme of the album is very loose, as is often the case with concept albums. The song titles suggest that it is based on the life of a lonely lady and split into four sections of separate songs; The Early Years, It Is Better To Have Loved, The Effect Of It All and The Underture. Some of the songs flow into each other nicely providing a little continuity but overall its just a collection of great pop tunes. The album was written solely by Segarini, produced by Rick Jarrard with orchestral arrangements by George Tipton who were both simultaneously working on a similar project; Harry Nilsson's "Aerial Ballet" also for RCA Victor.

"Slippin Thru My Fingers" was chosen as a single to promote the album but didn't result in any significant sales. One last single was punted, the non-LP "She Had To Fly" b/w "He Spins Around", two great songs but again failing to set the world alight. Family Tree were never going to bring home the same amount of dollars as The Mamas & The Papas or The Monkees so they were subsequently dropped by RCA in 1969. Segarini and DeCocq continued together to form Roxy releasing one "OK" album for Elektra. Shortly after Segarini teamed up with Trochim to form The Wackers who would release a trio of Power Pop LPs in the early seventies...but that's a story which deserves it's own separate blog entry. For now though dig this...

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Nimbo - Maisie Jones / Forget Her (1971)

Nimbo were a four piece, British Power Pop band comprising of Gordon Smith (guitar), Dave Powell (drums), Bruce Evans (bass) and John Wilson (guitar, vocals). The group cut two singles for PYE records during 1971-72, their first single is a dead ringer for Badfinger and at the time there were whispers that this was a mid-sixties Beatles demo, one listen to a-side "Maisie Jones" with it's neat harmonies and 'high in the mix bass', the comparisons become clear. B-side "Forget Her" is equally brilliant. A great example of early 1970's post-Beatles, melodic pop (e.g. the stuff I cream over!)

Nimbo circa 1972
Their second single on PYE is a cover of the 1968 Bee Gees album track "When The Swallows Fly". I've never heard this or its b-side "Noticeingly By" but I'm sure it's ace. If anyone has an mp3 of either, I'd love to hear them. In 1973 the band signed to Mowest, changing their name to The Rockits for two singles before splitting up. Wilson and Powell recruited Tommy Evans and Bob Jackson from the recently disbanded Badfinger to form the Dodgers although neither of them lasted in the band long enough to see the release of their fantastic "Love On The Rebound" LP in 1978. There is a cool video of the original line up performing "I Just Wanna Love You" in 1976 here. You can read more about the Dodgers and a little bit about Nimbo on this very informative Badfinger website.

Dig Maisie Jones...