Thursday, 30 May 2013

Fogg - This Is It

Now I'd never heard of Fogg before up until the other day when I laid my fingers on their LP at Leicester Market. Fogg were not the best looking bunch in the world and would have probably been best not to stick their mugs on the cover of their album, a similar mistake was made by Ironbridge, Starry Eyed & Laughing and many other uncomely bands before and since. I personally see this as a good omen and was more than willing to shell out £3 for it!

Fogg were from Newcastle, UK and their line up consisted of Derek Rootham (guitar), David Robson (bass), Chris McPherson (Vocals) and Robert Porteous (drums). The LP is a German only release and was produced by Wally Allen from the Pretty Things. Both the label and the sleeve date the album as 1971 but several discography websites show that singles taken from the album date from 1974, which sounds about right to me. While not an amazing record, it does have its moments, usually when McPherson's Noddy Holder like vocals are embellished with harmonies which almost make Fogg sound a little like Badfinger (specifically the Tom Evans songs) at times.

"Captain Moonshine" starts the album off well with some space sound effects, layered vocals, harmonizing lead guitar and a catchy chorus. "Water Into Wine" is another good track, sounding a bit like something off "Slade In Flame". "Wind It Up" is a tough rocker with plenty of Moog Synthesiser. Album closer "Winter Sun" is a great ballad and the most Badfingery thing on here and one the Fading Yellow fans will dig, some ace Moog on it too. The real stand out track on the album is "Northern Song" which has got an early 1970's Tremeloes feel about it. I've put included my Youtube soundclip of it at the bottom of this post.

I haven't got heaps of information about Fogg so I've included Heidi Esser's sleeve notes to finish off this entry. As always, I'll add any extra information I may find as and when.

Take it away Heidi....

The Windsor Castle, a small pub on the outskirt of London, was packed. Some friends of mine had taken me to see FOGG, the group I had been wanting to meet for a long time. The atmosphere was outrageous. Fogg had played half way through their set and it looked like the place would fall apart any minute. Fans, Freaks and workmen were totally turned on, clapping, drinking, raving along to the music. The Geordie's really played their hearts out. From "Captain Moonshine" they rocked, spacy but straight into "Water In My Wine", the song which always knocks me out, listening to such fantastic harmonies. Without warning, they come back for strong, rough Rock n' Roll, like "Horrible Hannah", which makes the stiffest bone go crazy. 

Fogg is not just one of those bands which you can categorize. They are like their name says, unexpected, heavy, almost above you but easy to go along with, if you get the right vibrations. "Wind It Up", then gets stamping, roaring applause. The set finishes with a unique scream into the mike: "This is it"...!And trying to reach my ears, which had taken off for a musical trip, I thought, that could well be the best name for the album. Actually there is no more to say than: FOGG is a great band. dig the Fogg!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Toffee Sunday Smash (podcast)

You can find some really great music on Mixcloud these days. Music fans from around the world are spending their time, love and effort creating some amazing mixes and sharing them with the rest of us. One Mixcloud user that will be of interest to readers of this blog is Andy Morten, a name that will be familiar to readers of Shindig! magazine.

A few years ago Morten did a monthly podcast focussing on the UK psychedelic scene of the mid nineteen sixties to early seventies. Each show was jammed packed with equal amounts of psych classics and obscurities (and some great jingles too!) with plenty of interesting information about the artists read out by Morten in the gaps. I for one will most definitely be re-listening to these shows as and when they are uploaded.

Track them down, have a listen and spread the word you lucky people!!!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Lally Stott

Lally Stott, real name Harold Stott was born in Prescot, Lancashire near Liverpool in 1945 and was a member of many Merseybeat groups during the early sixties including The Vaqueros, Denny Seyton & The Sabres and Four Just Men who released two singles for Parlophone during 1964-65. This band would evolve into freakbeat favourites the Wimple Winch, although Stott had quit the group by that time and relocated to Italy with some friends from Liverpool and formed Lally Stott & The Black Jacks. Photographs from this period show Stott with notably long hair for that time. The Black Jacks went through many line up changes, eventually changing their name to the Motowns. There's a great clip of the Motowns in action here on an Italian movie called "Soldati e Capelloni", watch out for Lally on guitar on the right with the shoulder length hair!

Stott left the Motowns in 1969 and moved to Rome where he would write many songs including "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep" which would become a worldwide hit in 1971 and was recorded by Middle Of The Road, Mac and Katie Kissoon and many others. Stott released his own version of the song and an acompanying LP on the Philips record label also in 1971. "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep" the album is a great  lost pop record with it's fair share of highlights, arranged and produced by Stott himself, my favourite is "Love Is Free, Love Is Blind, Love Is Good", a post psychedelic, cello driven piece which brings to mind The Move and early ELO. "London Town" is a simple yet effective orchestrated ballad with a killer guitar hook. "Jakaranda" is a groovy, tribal like tune which would most definitely get me up on the dancefloor if I ever hear it out. This was chosen by Philips to be the follow up single to "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep" although it was not to be anywhere near as successful.

"Fe Fe Fi, Fo Fo Fum" sounds more 1966 than 1971, nicely funky and not at all as bubblegum as the title might have you think. "Help Me Mrs. Jones" is a symphonic tune with full orchestration and even some harpsichord, kind of like what you'd hear on a Ripples compilation of late 1960's PYE acts. The same can be said for "Ting Aling Along". These song names have most probably scared off collectors for years, not knowing the treats that lay behind the cheesy titles. The album ends with "Red Sun, Blue Moon" another dreamy ballad which melodically reminds me of late Simon & Garfunkel. On the whole this album is consistently good and deserves wider appreciation. It's never been released on CD as far as I know so hopefully a reissue label will get on board soon and spread the word.

Not on the album but also worth mentioning is the b-side to Chirpy, "Henry James" which is a funky psychy dancefloor beast, not what you'd expect on the flip side at all. Two more single for Philips followed, "Father Christmas" and "Sweet Meeny", both sounding like attempts at repeat his previous chart success, nice pop but not killers.

Throughout the early to mid seventies, Stott would write and produce records for other bands including both sides of Candlewick Green's debut single "Doggie" b/w "Like We Still Do", both sides of a single for Roger Peacock (which deserves it's own separate post) and a single for his old band the Black Jacks. There is also an album which he recorded with his wife Cathy as The Lovebirds in 1976 which was reissued by Splash records in 2012. I've listened to the clips on itunes and some of the songs sound pretty good so I'd definitely pick up a copy if I see it going cheep!!

Sadly Lally Stott died in 1977 in a motorcycle accident, some say he was knocked off his Harley Davidson while other rumours reckon he was riding his mother's scooter, either way it was a tragic loss to a talent that is worthy of wider recognition. More than just a one hit wonder with long hair.

Dig this...

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Bite It Deep Volume 12

Octopus - Rainchild
Rain - You Take Me Higher
Samantha Jones - Today Without You
Autumn - It's Just A Thought
The Rockits - Gimme True Love
Tunefull Trolley - Written Charter
Timon - Something New Everyday
Vaughan Thomas - Good Old Sam
Slade - Martha My Dear
Sun Dragon - Five White Horses
Pilot - My Auntie Iris
D Beaver - Don't Give Up
D, B, M & T - Mr. President
Andy Desmond - Let Me Take You In
Grapefruit - Ain't It Good

Friday, 10 May 2013

Pinkiny Canandy - Pinkiny Canandy (1969)

I was browsing on Ebay the other day and I noticed an LP that I'd bought over a decade ago, one that I'd totally forgotten about. The bids were at about £20 when I looked although I never did see how much it finally sold for. I read the sellers description of the album and he was doing a great job of bigging it up, claiming it to be a Beatlesque masterpiece with every track a killer. I figured I'd better dig it out and give it another spin.

The LP is housed in a superhero/comic book sleeve, aimed at the younger, bubblegum market although there is little on here that is true bubblegum. The sleeve notes give little away about who Pinkiny Canandy is but the songs are credited to Michael Chain who I figured must be the guy on the sleeve dressed in pink. So after a little bit of googling I discovered that Chain was in another band I'd heard of called The Knack, not the "My Sharona" bunch but the sixties band who had a minor hit with "Time Waits For No One" on Capitol Records in 1966 which is a great garage pop tune, you can listen to here. I also found out that the Pinkiny Canandy record was demoed by the Knack before they split in 1969 after being dropped by Capitol. Would be interesting to hear that.

The album is not a one man project that it appears at a glance. He is accompanied by Doug Altman (Drums), Mike Rice (Bass) and Gary Kato (Lead Guitar). None of the musicians are mentioned on the sleeve. Both Rice and Kato had played in Emitt Rhodes's Merry Go Round who also split in 1969.

Chain and Kato
Pinkiny Canandy is by no means a killer album, but it does include some ace tracks with some songs that I'd definitely tag as power pop and with some with Beatlsey touches, musically rather than vocally. It's a relatively short album even by 1969 standards with eight of the ten tracks clocking in under the three minute mark and the album lasting little more than 25 minutes. The production was handled by Mike Post, known mostly for composing television theme tunes including the "A-Team".

Opening and closing tracks "Hello Hello" and "Goodbye Goodbye" bring to mind the opener and reprise on the Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band with some real neat guitar work from Chain and Kato. Some nice harpsichord on "Barbara" fixes what would otherwise be a standard ballad into something more like Left Banke/Peppermint Trolley Co. "Sadie Godiva", a song about a nude female Manhattan taxi cab driver. Some fab guitar riffs fill the censored spaces on what would be Sadie's response to drivers that honk her. There's a whiff of the Lovin' Spoonful on "Mr Keiley's Roof", a laid back tune sung in a hushed vocal style that really suits Chain. It's also a dead ringer for "Bryant Hotel" from "Left Banke Too" LP. The real highlight for me is "Christopher Centipede", a great catchy pop tune which showcases Chain's craft for writing good, humble, unpretentious songs. There's even a picture of the Christopher Centipede riding a skateboard (freaking out Pinkiny!) on the back sleeve. Had record label UNI chosen to release this as a single, the album may have shifted a few more copies.

Bizarrely, Pinkiny Canandy winded up supporting Led Zeppelin in Las Vegas in 1969. I wonder what the Zep fans made of them? Lack of any major success ultimately meant the end of the band. Chain went solo for a while, releasing singles on Metromedia, RCA and 20th Century Records respectively before going on to write TV show scripts in the 1980's. Michael Chain has since returned the music business where he appears to be writing prolifically and performing regularly to US armed forces troops.

Anyone interested in finding out what he's up to lately should check out his website here. He also has a YouTube channel here which is worth checking out.

Dig Christoper Centipede.......

Friday, 3 May 2013

Tinsley - My Brother Mary (1971)

Here's one for the Kinks fans out there. I might have been writing my theory on how Tinsley was a pseudonym for Ray Davies had I not found out that it was in fact Mike Tinsley, ex vocalist from the Hedgehoppers Anonymous who had a UK hit in 1965 with "It's Good News Week".

Tinsley released this one off single for Pye records in April 1971. "My Brother Mary" is a song about a chaps brother and sister who both happen to be cross dressers. What are the chances of that?! This topic was covered by the Kinks on "Lola" but the comparisons don't stop there. The vocals also sound a lot like that of Ray Davis' and the chorus is rather Kinksy, simple and catchy, almost nursery rhyme like and will stay in your head for days. The song was written and produced by Peter Hawkins, the guitarist from Pickettywitch and Ron Roker who co-wrote "Storm In A Teacup" with Lynsey De Paul. The b-side, a funky pop song called "Situations Vacant" was written by Tinsley himself. Not a bad tune but the vocals are a bit too blue eyed soul, cabaret style for my liking.

Tinsley with a horse
"My Brother Mary" failed to chart. I'm not even sure if it even got a proper release as the only copies that I've seen have been the yellow Pye promo discs. Still, it took more than a flop record to obstruct Tinsley in his music career as he go on would team up with fellow songwriters Peter Yellowstone and Steve Voice (the Yellowstone & Voice album is a big, big fave of mine) penning songs and ultimately bringing fame for Kelly Marie and Joe Dolan. There's an informative website (although there's no mention of "My Brother Mary") which covers Mike Tinsley from the Hedgehoppers to the present day (yes, he's still going!) and you can check it out here.

Warning!!! The following song is ultra catchy!

My Brother Mary - Lyrics
(Roker, Hawkins)
My brother Mary goes to the west
and dressed in a dress made of hessian weave
No one believes my brother Mary

My sister Billy loves Piccadilly
walks down the strand like Burlington Bill
No one believes my sister Billy

Isn't it a funny world we're living in today
Everybody's going to the moon
Funny people acting in a very funny way
Things are getting better pretty soon

Ask me why am I singing this song
Ask me why are you singing along
Ask me why are we singing it wrong I don't know

Isn't it a funny world we're living in today
Everybody's running out of air
Funny people acting in a very funny way
Never really getting anywhere