Sunday, November 30, 2014

W.O.C.K On Vinyl: Little Roger and the Goosebumps - Stairway To Gilligan's Island (1978)

Before things get too serious here at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song / album at the end of each month, that could be categorized as being either Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.
Supposedly Robert Plant's favorite version of Stairway To Heaven and done with Gilligan Island Lyrics.....
Little Roger and the Goosebumps was a pop/rock band from San Francisco active during the 1970s and early 1980s and resurrected in 2006. It has been led throughout its history by Roger Clark and Dick Bright, with various sidemen.
The band is best known for its single "Gilligan's Island (Stairway)", a song combining the lyrics to the theme song of the television show Gilligan's Island with the music of "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin. The band wrote the song in 1977 as "material to pad the last set of the grueling 5 nights a week/4 sets a night routine," recorded it in March 1978, and released it as a single in May 1978 on their own Splash Records label. Within five weeks, Led Zeppelin's lawyers threatened to sue them and demanded that any remaining copies of the recording be destroyed. The song was reissued in 2000 on the CD Laguna Tunes with the song title renamed "Stairway to Gilligan's Island."

During a 2005 interview on National Public Radio, Robert Plant referred to the tune as his favorite cover of "Stairway to Heaven."
For background information on my favourite T.V Sitcom 'Gilligan's Island' see my previous posts:
 The Ballad Of Gilligan's Island - A Parody 
The Mosquitoes - Gilligan's Island

But for a first hand account on some of those perplexing questions that always crop up when discussing the show, this is what castaway Russell Johnson (alias 'The Professor') says in his book:

Sometimes I've wondered if people take Gilligan's Island too seriously. It amazes me how even today, people assume it's hip to pose this bright revelation by asking, "Why would the Howell's bring all that money along on a three-hour tour?" Man, it doesn't take any gray matter to figure that out!
You don't know how many stand up comics owe money to Gilligan for writing their material for them. Our show has been fodder for their routines for years. They pose all kinds of riddles,"How come the Professor could build a nuclear reactor, but he couldn't build a boat to get them off the island?" (And I never built a nuclear reactor.)
Of course, our show was inconsistent and incongruous. Of course there are unanswered questions. At first, we asked the same questions, and then we just accepted it all and stopped wondering. Jim Backus explained it perfectly for a reporter a few years ago:
"The question we always get is, "Where did [the Castaways] get all those clothes?" I always say, 'They had a very large suitcase.' What's funny is that they never think that's a phony answer. They wink; they're in on the joke. After all these years, they are still in on the joke."
My answer: "It's in the script."


.In fact, it's in the theme song. Do you realize the lyrics lie to you? Think about it: "The mate was a mighty sailing man"? C'mon now.
"If not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Minnow would be lost..." Would be lost? We were lost.
And it wasn't a desert isle. It was a jungle island.
So your imagination gets a workout—or your gullibility, depending on how you look at it. Sure Mr. Howell brought along his stock certificates for the Tahatcha-Pookoo Oil and Mining company. Sure Mr. Howell packed an Indian chief's headdress in his trunks of clothing. Once you get past the insanity of it all, it's not so bad.
One question that is often posed to me involves the Professor's total lack of sexual interest. Was he asexual? He didn't even know how to kiss a woman affectionately.
The answer is that Sherwood Schwartz did not want to get into the sexual natures of the characters too deeply, outside of the obvious, like the Howells' devotion to each other and Ginger's lusty one-liners. Keep in mind, the consensus from the cast in the beginning was that we were targeting this show toward children. The fact that adults came along was a surprise to all of us. As time went by, it became more sophisticated, if you'll allow me that. We could see how the scripts would grab some adults. [ Transcript by Russell Johnson, 'Here On Gilligan's Island', HarperPerenial 1992,  p183-4 ]
So, once again, my regular monthly WOCK on Vinyl post is dedicated to yet another 'Parody' based on my favourite T.V sitcom from the 60's - 'Gilligan's Island'. The C is definitely for Crazy Castaways, while the K is reserved for the Korny idea of mixing a Led Zeppelin tune with the lyrics from the Gilligan Island's theme, and then releasing it on the SPLASH label.

Stairway To Gilligan's Island Link (10Mb)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Manfred Mann - The Best Of (1975) plus Bonus Tracks

(U.K 1962–1969)
Manfred Mann was originally formed by Mann (b. Mike Lubowitz in Johannesburg, South Africa, Oct 21, 1940) and Mike Hugg (b. Andover, Hampshire, Aug 11, 1942) as a jazz-band called the Mann-Hugg Blues Brothers; in 1964 they started playing R&B, and consolidated themselves into a five-piece with the line-up as above though Dave Richmond was the group's original bassist. Jones (whose real name was Paul Pond) was still an undergraduate at Oxford University.

They signed to HMV and released an unsuccessful, but promising, instrumental called "Why Should We Not?", and then found their style with a fast-moving "Cock-A-Hoop". However, it was not until their third single "5-4-3-2-1", with Jones' harmonica-playing prominently featured, that the band established themselves as a chart act.
"5-4-3-2-1", which reached No. 5 in the U.K. charts in February 1964, was undoubtedly assisted by the fact that it was used as the theme tune to the TV programme, "Ready Steady Go", until it was replaced by the Manfreds' follow-up, "Hubble Bubble (Toil And Trouble)", also a major hit. Manfred Mann had 15 hits in the next few years (although Hubble Bubble was the group's last self-penned single), with what was often just high-class pop material, while they tried to show their more substantial skills on albums like- their blues-oriented, debut Five Faces Of Manfred Mann.
Their hits included "Doo Wah Diddy Diddy" (1964), which reached No. 1 on both sides of the Atlantic, despite the fact that it was a cover of a record by The Exciters, "Come Tomorrow". "Oh No Not My Baby" (both 1965) and "Pretty Flamingo" (1966).

They also recorded a very popular EP which included Paul Jones' composition about the band (and himself) "The One In The Middle", and also Dylan's "With God On Our Side". Meanwhile, Vickers left to pursue some solo projects, and McGuinness moved over to lead guitar, with Jack Bruce (*) coming in on bass.
Within six months, Bruce had left to join Cream, and Paul Jones had similarly opted for a solo career (he had two hits, "High Time" and "I've Been A Bad Bad Boy", the theme-tune from "Privilege", a movie in which he starred); their replacements were Klaus Voorman and Mike D'Abo from a Band of Angels respectively.
The band signed to Fontana label, and resumed their chart success with "Semi-Detached Suburban Mr James", "Ha! Ha! Said The Clown" and "My Name Is Jack".

The outfit always made capital out of covering Dylan songs, "With God On Our Side", "If You Gotta Go, Go Now", and later Just Like A Woman and "The Mighty Quinn", which provided the band with their third British No. 1 in February 1968. Dylan himself was quoted as saying that he thought Manfred Mann came up with the best cover versions of his material.
Meanwhile, Manfred Mann were becoming increasingly jaded with what seemed the demeaning process of merely following hit single with hit single, and many members, like Vickers, had absorbed themselves in "heavier" pursuits - Hugg, for example, had written the score for "Up The Junction".
So in 1969, Mann broke up the band and he and Hugg formed the more ambitious Manfred Mann Chapter Three with a full brass section; although their debut album included a fine version of a Hugg song, Shapes Of Things, that had been a 1966 hit for The Yardbirds, Manfred Mann did not find true happiness and artistic credibility in an albums-oriented band, and Chapter Three was dissolved in 1971, only for Mann to try again with Manfred Mann's Earth Band.
This post consists of MP3 (320kps) ripped from my pristine vinyl copy which I picked up for a song (pun intended) at me local flee market last week. Although this pressing was released on Phillip's Australian budget label 'Rainbow' the quality of the recording isn't too bad. Some bass enhancement was added to enhance the sound, but overkill was avoided to retain the authentic sounds of the 60's.
As a side note, I'm somewhat intrigued by the intro to "Trouble and Tea" which sounds so much like the Beatles 'Day Tripper'  it's a wonder Manfred Mann weren't sued for breach of copyright. Have a listen and see what you think.
Even though the tracks on this compilation were recorded when Manfred Mann were signed to the Fontana label, I'm also including as bonus tracks their two singles "Pretty Flamingo" and "DoWah Diddy Diddy" which were released earlier by HMV, to make this collection complete. This compilation has also been released under other titles such as 'Mannerisms' and 'Attention! Manfred Mann'
Track Listing 
01. The Mighty Quinn
02. Ha Ha Said The Clown
03. Up The Junction
04. Just Like A Woman
05. Semi-Detached, Suburban Mr. James
06. Fox On The Run
07. My Name Is Jack
08. Ragamuffin Man
09. Sweet Pea

10. So Long, Dad
11. One Way
12. Trouble And Tea
13. Pretty Flamingo (Bonus Track)
14. Do Wah Diddy Diddy (Bonus Track)


Manfred Mann - keyboards
Paul Jones - vocals, harmonica
Mike Vickers - saxophone, flute, guitar
Tom McGuinness - bass
Mike Hugg - drums, vibraphone
Manfred Mann Link (97Mb)  New Link 25/12/2023

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Dave Mason - Scrapbook (1972)

(U.K 1966 - Present)
Dave Mason was born in Worcester, England, in 1946. As a teenager he began to sing and to play the guitar, performing frequent gigs in Worcester with The Jaguars and The Hellions. In addition to Dave Mason, the youthful membership of The Hellions also included Jim Capaldi, a local musician who had ability as both a drummer and a vocalist. Dave Mason and Jim Capaldi later became acquainted with Steve Winwood, a young singer, keyboardist, and guitarist who was the star of The Spencer Davis Group ("Keep on Running," "Gimme Some Lovin'," "I'm a Man"), and in 1967, together with Chris Wood, a musician from Birmingham who played flute and saxophone, they all committed themselves to the formation of Traffic.
The first single to be recorded by Traffic, "Paper Sun" (released on Island Records in May, 1967) featured the sound of Dave Mason playing the sitar (in common with George Harrison of The Beatles and Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones), and was a hit in the United Kingdom. Their second single, "Hole in My Shoe" (released in August, 1967), which Dave Mason wrote and sang, did even better, and still is
remembered as one of the foremost British hits of that year. 'Mr. Fantasy', the first album by Traffic, included three further tracks that were written and sung by Dave Mason ("House for Everyone," "Utterly Simple," and "Hope I Never Find Me There"), but he had removed himself from the band by the time the LP was released at the end of 1967.
After leaving Traffic, Dave Mason recorded a single on his own, "Little Woman," which was released in the early part of 1968. He also played acoustic guitar on Jimi Hendrix's recording of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower," and produced the first album by Family, 'Music in a Doll's House'. Later in 1968, he returned to the fold, providing a handful of tuneful songs for Traffic's second album, 'Traffic'. "You Can All Join In," "Don't Be Sad," and "Cryin' to Be Heard" were excellent tracks, showing off Dave Mason's abundant talents, but the one song that truly stood out was "Feelin' Alright?" Joe Cocker covered "Feelin' Alright?" with great effectiveness in 1969, and it has since established itself as one of the most durable standards in rock'n'roll. Nevertheless, Dave Mason's second stint as a member of Traffic was even shorter than his first, and by October of 1968, he was out of the band again.
Dave Mason did not remain idle after his second departure from Traffic. In 1969, he toured as a member of Delaney and Bonnie and Friends (along with George Harrison and Eric Clapton), and in 1970, his first album, 'Alone Together', featuring contributions from Jim Capaldi, Leon Russell, Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, Carl Radle, Jim Gordon, Jim Keltner, and many others, was released on Blue Thumb Records. 'Alone Together' displayed Dave Mason's full abilities at their musical height, with songs such as "Only You Know and I Know," "Shouldn't Have Took More Than You Gave," "World in Changes," and "Look at You Look at Me" receiving repeated airplay on FM radio. Also in 1970, Dave Mason briefly served as an early member of Eric Clapton's new band, Derek and The Dominos.
In 1971, Dave Mason recorded an album with Cass Elliot of The Mamas and The Papas (Dave Mason and Cass Elliot, released on Blue Thumb Records), but their fruitful partnership was short-lived, and he soon
was back to pursuing his own path in music, although he did return to Traffic for a third time, taking part in a string of performances in England that resulted in the release of a live album, 'Welcome to the Canteen'. When Dave Mason (with The Pointer Sisters, three young women from the nearby city of Oakland, as his backup vocalists) appeared at Winterland in April, 1972, he had stepped out of the shadow of Traffic
and was in high demand as a performer, being warmly regarded as one of the best musicians, and one of the best songwriters, of the period. [extract from sweetylovefashion.blogspot]
.Single: Just For You / Little Woman
Released 1968 on Island Records
Some folks will remember Dave Mason's song "Just For You" from it's inclusion on the fragmented 1969 Traffic album "Last Exit". In fact this was not a Traffic song at all but the topside of a splendid solo single released by Mason in 1968. It might just as well have been a Traffic single as it carries the group's trademark sound. "Just For You" is an infectious pop single that had hit written all over it, the song features bright guitar chords a propulsive bass riff combined with Mason's pleasing vocals, Traffic instrumental whiz Chris Wood also supplies attractive flute. A great single that deserved to hit big but somehow slipped thru the cracks.
The flipside "Little Woman" is kinda obscure it's only other appearance was on Dave Mason's "Scrapbook" album. This song is a raga-rock masterpiece that recalls Mason's trippy excursions on the first Traffic album and his work on the first Family album..
Single: Hole In My Shoe / Smiling Phases
Released in 1967 on Island Records
"Hole in My Shoe" was a single by English rock band Traffic which as a single release reached number 2 in the UK Singles Chart and number 22 in the German charts, in 1967. This psychedelic song was written by Traffic's guitarist Dave Mason, who played sitar on the track. Depending on your state of mind, you might find some weighty meaning in the song, but Mason says he was just writing down random thoughts in the style of a nursery rhyme. He also insists that he hadn't tried LSD when he wrote it.
Mason has since revealed "That's the first song I ever wrote. It was my first attempt at songwriting. I mean, that stuff I did back then, when I listen to it, I cringe and realize I need to work on writing. But writing comes out of living. You have to have something. Dave Mason tells us that this song was "the beginning of the end as far as the other three guys were concerned for me." The band's second single (after "Paper Sun"), it was a the biggest UK hit for Traffic, but it wasn't what Mason's bandmates had in mind, since they didn't think it represented their sound.
Steve Winwood explained to The Sun June 26, 2008: "We never wanted to be a pop band but we had a hit with 'Shoe,' which was Dave's song. Dave had his own idea about the band, the rest of us had another one - a not-quite-as-sensible one, really, because it wasn't half as commercial."
Mason quit the band soon afterwards and Traffic began to develop a less commercial sound, which put an end to their run of hit singles in the UK. However their new material proved popular on American Rock stations and it gave the band a second wind across the Atlantic.
Mason (Far Right) in Traffic
This post consists of MP3 (320kps) ripped from my vinyl (acquired sometime ago at an Opp shop) and contains full album artwork. Note that this Australian release is a single LP release, unlike its European and U.S counterparts that were double album releases. I'm unsure why this was the case and can only assume the distributor 'Festival' decided that releasing a double LP was too risky for an artist who's name may not have been well known (although 'Traffic' certainly was).
Most of the tracks on this Best Of compilation originate from Mason's association with Traffic, with just a few tracks being sourced from his earlier two solo albums.
Mason's inclusion of the Sitar on some of these tracks demonstrates his versatility as a musician, but somehow seems like a cash in on what George Harrison had already achieved during his Beatles era.
Track Listing
01 - Hole In My Shoe
02 - Utterly Simple
03 - Hope I Never Find Me There
04 - Cryin' To Be Heard
05 - You Can All Join In
06 - Feelin' Alright (Alternate Version)
07 - Little Woman
08 - Vagabound Virgin
09 - Just For You
10 - Sad And Deep As You (Live)

Dave Mason Link (80Mb) New Link 08/07/2019

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Air Supply - Selftitled (1976) plus Bonus Tracks

(Australian 1975 - Present)
With their heavily orchestrated, sweet ballads, the Australian soft rock group Air Supply became a staple of early-'80s radio, scoring a string of seven straight US Top Five singles. Air Supply, for most intents and purposes, was the duo of vocalists Russell Hitchcock and Graham Russell; other members came through the group over the years, yet they only functioned as backing musicians and added little to the group's sound.

The group evolved after Graham joined the cast of Jesus Christ Superstar in April 1975 and began singing with fellow cast members Russell Hitchcock and Chrissie Hammond. The trio became a serious project during Superstar's New Zealand tour when they made some appearances at campuses and on radio and TV.
Chrissie left to pursue a solo career and went on to play the part of Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar before becoming part of the duo, Cheetah. She was replaced by Jeremy Paul, who joined the show in Brisbane after performing in Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Jeremy had also played bass with a Sydney band called Soffrok and therefore added additional instrumentation to the trio.

In September 1976, they scored a recording contract with CBS and subsequently released a single comprising two Graham Russell compositions, 'Love and Other Bruises' backed with 'If You Knew Me'.
"Love And Other Bruises" and "If You Knew Me", the first demos of Graham’s compositions were recorded on a tiny tape deck in a theatre orchestra pit. Everyone turned them down, but one - CBS Records who admired their unique style. They made a single in one afternoon and it shot to number one on the National charts. The duo found help from Frank Esler-Smith, Superstar’s musical director, and Air Supply’s future keyboardist. Graham and Russell settled on the named Air Supply, because it held several meanings: Air is the term used in classical music, meaning melody. At the time, it seemed as though everyone else in Australia was doing heavy metal. Ballads were a breath of fresh air. Astrologically speaking, Graham and Russell are both Geminis, which is an ‘air’ sign. In the mid-seventies, "the star sign bit was really hip, you know", laughs Graham.

Superstar ended its season in Sydney on October 16, thus freeing the boys to make personal appearances to promote the single which was already receiving airplay. By the end of October they had begun touring and had augmented their line-up with a drummer (NIGEL MACARA, ex-Ariel), guitarist (BRENTON WHITE) and a keyboard player (ADRIAN SCOTT).

For several years, the group gained no attention outside of Australia, earning one significant hit single, "Love and Other Bruises" (1976). In December 1976, they released their first album 'Air Supply' which is featured in this post, and it attained them a gold record three months later. Meanwhile their follow-up single, 'Empty Pages', was released in February 1977, and although it sold well, particularly in Brisbane, it just missed becoming a top forty hit.

Their first international exposure came in the late '70s, when Rod Stewart had them as his opening act on a North American tour. The group's tour of Australia with Rod Stewart increased their status enormously and gained them assurances from Rod and his management as to the international potential of their act. At this point also, they began receiving some recognition overseas with the release of their first album and single in Canada, the UK and New Zealand.

The group's big break came hot on the heels of the release of their new single, 'Do What You Do', when, in June 1977, it was announced that they would be appearing at the annual CBS Convention in London with Chicago and Boz Scaggs. This was a fantastic achievement being the first Australian act to work at such an exclusive function.

Late June saw another step forward with the release of the new LP, 'The Whole Thing's Started' (which featured Graham's compositions and continued in their soft rock theme), and a tour of the US and Canada with their old friend, Rod Stewart. Air Supply's first stumbling block happened in August when it was announced that Jeremy was leaving and returning to Australia with no news of a replacement. This retarded their progress and was not helped by the lack of airplay and therefore chart success of their next Australian single, "That's How The Whole Thing Started', released in October 1977. However, the group continued as a duo supported by their band and completed their tour with Rod, which turned out to be more than successful, before returning to Australia late in December.

Air Supply signed a record contract with Arista in 1980, releasing their first album for the new record company by the end of the year. 'Lost in Love', was a major success in the U.S., selling over two million copies and spawning the hit singles "Lost in Love", "All Out of Love" and "Every Woman in the World". The following year they released their second Arista album, 'The One That You Love'. The title track became their only number one hit and it also featured two other Top Ten hits, "Here I Am (Just When I Thought I Was Over You)" and "Sweet Dreams". With their third album, 1982's 'Now and Forever', their popularity dipped slightly -- it only had one Top Ten hit, "Even the Nights Are Better" and the other two singles, "Young Love" and "Two Less Lonely People in the World", scraped the bottom of the Top 40. Air Supply released a Greatest Hits collection in 1983, featuring a new single, "Making Love Out of Nothing at All". The single spent two weeks at number two while the album peaked at number seven and eventually sold over four million copies.

Two years later, they released another self titled album 'Air Supply' (1985), their fourth album. It featured the number 19 single "Just As I Am", but it was clear that their audience was shrinking -- the album was their first not to go platinum. 'Hearts in Motion' (1986) was even less successful, peaking at number 84 and spending only nine weeks on the charts. The duo still released their 'Christmas Album' (1987) and after its disappointing performance, Air Supply decided to break up. Russell started a solo career without any participation of Graham and released his first solo album, Russell Hitchcock (1987). The cover song "Someone Who Believes in You" (previously recorded by Carole King) was a hit in several countries.

Hitchcock and Russell reunited in 1991, releasing 'Earth Is...', but the album failed to make the charts, although its tracks "Without You" and "Stronger Than The Night" were being played in several countries. Two years later, they released 'The Vanishing Race' (1993), whose single was a smash hit worldwide, except in the States. The duo released 'News From Nowhere' (1995) and topped the world charts with "Unchained Melody", another cover songs recorded previously by the American duo The Righteous Brothers. That same year, Air Supply recorded a live album during their successful tour in Asia, 'Now And Forever... Greatest Hits Live and More' which featured a brand new studio song "The Way I Feel" and a re-recording of their old hit "Now And Forever". The album was released worldwide followed by the releasing of a VCD, VHS tape and a laser disc which would offer their fans anywhere the chance of seeing the band performing live during their famous Asian tour. An interactive CD-ROM called 'As Closes As This' (1996) was also available featuring videos, music and much more about that tour. Still in the end of the decade, the due released 'The Book of Love' (1997), which featured woman's backing vocal and a new rhythm and instruments on some songs. The same year, they also released a new compilation album called 'Air Supply The Ultimate Collection'. Two new studio songs were included, "Longer" (a new cover) and "The Scene", which would be released later on Yours Truly.

Graham Russell (left) and Russell Hitchcock (right) Today

The new millennium marked the band's first studio album in four years, and a summer tour in support of 'Yours Truly' (2001). Their single "You Are The Reason" (duet with Manhaz) had a minor hit. That would be their last studio album for Arista (BMG). The next ones would all be released by their new recording company, A Nice Pear: 'Celestine Travelers', 'The Heart of the Rose' (both in 2002), 'The Future' (2007, all Graham's solo recordings), 'Across The Concrete Sky' (2003) and their last studio album 'The Singer' and the 'Song' (2005). Still in 2005, the band released 'It Was 30 Years Ago Today' (recorded live during their tour in Canada) and 'Love Songs', featuring their last studio recording "Miracles".

The band keeps on the road, touring live across several countries, performing their greatest hits ever. They also have included some Graham's solo songs from his last album 'The Future' and some brand new Air Supply songs which will hopefully be included on their next studio album, Zed as The River and Me, Faith in Love, Let Me Be The One and A Little Bit of Everything. [Sources: All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine; and Noel McGrath's Australian Encyclopedia of Rock. Outback Press. 1978  p9-10]
This post consists of FLACs ripped from my vinyl bought the same year I was doing my HSC and "Love and Other Bruises" was riding high in the 3XY charts, reaching #5 by the start of 1977.
Also included is full album artwork and inserts featuring lyrics and band credits. As a special bonus, I'm also including the (non-album) B-Side Single "If You Knew Me" (flip side to Love and Other Bruises) plus a live rendition of "Love and Other Bruises" which was recorded in 1977 and sourced from a compilation LP "The Lost Tracks". Another Air Supply album which I recommend is "Life Support" (released in 1979) and is available from a mate's blog Vinyoleum.
(On thing that I learned while researching this post, is that Mark McEntee eventually went on to play guitar for the Divinyls - a complete change in musical style I must say ! )
Track Listing
01 - Feel The Breeze
02 - I Don't Believe You
03 - Empty Pages
04 - What A Life
05 - Secret Agent
06 - The Weight Is My Soul
07 - Love And Other Bruises *
08 - It's Not Easy
09 - We Are All Alone
10 - Strangers In Love
11 - Ain't It A Shame
12 - If You Knew Me (Bonus B-Side Single)
13 - Love And Other Bruises (Bonus Live, 1977)

Air Supply were:
Graham Russell (Lead Vocal, Acoustic & Electric Guitar)
Russell Hitchcock (Lead Vocal, Congas)
Adrian Scott (Keyboards)
Jeremy Paul (Bass)
Mark McEntee (Electric, Rhythm and Lead Guitars)
Jeff Browne (drums)
Ian Bloxson (Percussion)
* Guest artists - Graeme Pearce (Drums) Peter Dawson (Piano)


Air Supply FLAC Link (307Mb)  New Link 15/12/2023

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Silver Beatles - The Original Decca Tapes (1991) Bootleg

(U.K 1960-70)
In 1959, McCartney, Lennon, Harrison and Sutcliffe (previously named The Quarrymen and Moondogs) started to seriously trying to think of what to call themselves, just as they'd done for the Carroll Levis audition, as it looked as if they were about to get another important audition.
This is when the idea of calling themselves the Beatles came up for the first time. No one is definitely sure how it happened. Paul and George just remember John arriving with it one day.
They'd always been fans of Buddy Holly and the Crickets. They liked his music, and the name of his group. It had a nice double meaning, one of them a purely English meaning which Americans couldn't have appreciated. They wished they'd thought of calling themselves the Crickets first.
Thinking of the name Crickets, John thought of other insects with a name which could be played around with. He'd filled books as a child with similar word play. "The idea of beetles came into my head. I decided to spell it BEATles to make it look like beat music, just as a joke.'

That was the real and simple origin of their name, though for years afterwards they made up different daft reasons each time anyone asked them. Usually they said a man with a magic carpet appeared at a window and told them.
Though they'd at last thought of a name they liked, they weren't simply called the Beatles for a long time.
They met a friend who ran another beat group, Casey Jones of Cass and the Casanovas, who asked them what then- new name was. They said Beatles. Cas said it was rotten. You had to have a long name for a group, he said, like his. Why didn't they call themselves Long John and the Silver Beatles? Beatles on its own, he said, was far too short and simple.
They didn't think much of his idea either. But when this important audition came up and they were asked what they were calling themselves they said 'Silver Beatles' which was a name they stuck to for the rest of that year, 1959.
The important auditioner was none other than the famous Larry Faroes, then the king of British rock and roll who had in his stable Tommy Steele, Billy Fury, Marty Wilde, Duffy Power and Johnny Gentle.

They'd heard about Larry Fames coming to Liverpool while hanging around the Jackaranda, a club where many beat groups used to play. This was owned by a Liverpool-Welshman called Allan Williams. He also ran the Blue Angel, the club in which the Larry Fames audition was going to be held.
They arrived at the Larry Fames audition without a definite name - it was only when one of Larry Parnes's assistants asked them for a name that they came out with Silver Beatles. They also arrived without a drummer. A drummer they'd been using had promised to turn up, but he didn't. Once again, they were drummerless.
A drummer who was at the Blue Angel for the audition with another group did them a favour and stood in with them. He was Johnny Hutch, looked upon as one of the top three drummers of the time in Liverpool. There is a photograph of the Silver Beatles taken at that audition. Johnny Hutch is sitting at the back looking very bored and superior. As usual, you can't see much of Stu Sutcliffe. He has his back to Larry Fames, trying hard to hide his fingerwork on the bass.
The audition was to find a backing group for Billy Fury. Larry Fames didn't think any group was good enough, but he offered the Silver Beatles a two week tour of Scotland, as the backing group to one of Larry Parnes's newest but unknown discoveries, Johnny Gentle. It was in no sense their tour. The Silver Beatles were to be very minor. But it was their first ever proper engagement as professionals, and a real tour at that, however short and however second rate. 

The Silver Beatles in 1960, auditioning before Larry Parnes. Left is Stu Sutcliffe,
who had just joined the group. At the time he could hardly play bass which he is
trying to keep his back to the audience. John, Paul and George are in the foreground,
trying very hard. The drummer, looking very bored, is Johnny Hutch who stood-in at
the last moment as they arrived without a drummer

Day By Day Account Jan, 1962
The Star Club opens in Hamburg, Germany, with The Beatles as first-nighters; they stay for only a few weeks, returning in April.   BAB-96 (opened in May)   BCE-15 (Jan 1961)

JAN 1      The Beatles travel to London for their audition at Decca
Records, driven there in a van by Neil Aspinall. The Beatles perform 15 songs for their first audition before a major record company, Decca Records; Mike Smith, Decca A&R man, auditions them at Decca's Hampstead studios, London, along with another group, Brian Poole and the Tremoloes. (The other group is subsequently signed by Dick Rowe, Mike Smith's superior - The Beatles are not.)

JAN 2/3  Music critic of the Liverpool Echo, Tony Barrow (known as "Disker"), mentions the possibility of The Beatles recording for Decca, the first printed notice about The Beatles.

JAN 4     The front page of Mersey Beat proclaims The Beatles -John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul "McArtrey" and Pete Best - Liverpool's top beat group in MB's popularity poll.

JAN 5     My Bonnie/The Saints (45) is released in the U.K. on the Polydor label.

JAN 6     The Beatles perform at The Cavern with The Collegiansin an evening show

In 1962 Brian Epstein first writes to "Disker," music critic of the Liverpool Echo - Tony Barrow, later The Beatles' senior press official - after Barrow's paragraph about the possibility of The Beatles recording for Decca appeared.

JAN 10   Beatles perform at The Cavern, part of an evening show with The Strangers and Gerry and The Pacemakers.

JAN 12   The Beatles perform during an evening show at The Cavern, along with Mike Cotton's Jazzmen.

JAN 17 The Beatles perform as part of an evening show at The Cavern, along with The Remo Four and lan and The Zodiacs.

Sometime during this period, before their turndown by Decca, The Beatles play their first engagement as artists contracted by Brian Epstein at the Thistle Cafe in West Kirby, ten miles from Liverpool.
Stu Sutcliffe again collapses in Hamburg, returns to his room and remains there writing, drawing and enduring headaches and temper tantrums.

FEB 3     The Beatles perform in an evening session at The Cavern, along with Gerry and The Pacemakers and The Saints Jazzband.

FEB 24   The Beatles perform as part of an all-night session at The Cavern, along with four other groups.

FEB 28   The Beatles perform at an evening session at The Cavern, along with The Searchers, and Gerry and The Pacemakers.

The Beatles perform at the BBC's Playhouse Theatre, Manchester.
Decca Records turns down Brian Epstein and The Beatles after reviewing the audition tapes made on January 1, executive Dick Rowe tells Brian Epstein that groups of guitars are on the "way out."
[extract from The Beatles: A Day In The Life (The Day-By-Day Diary 1960-70) by Tom Schultheiss. Omnibus Press 1980. p28-29]
This post consists of FLACs ripped from my Yellow Dog CD Bootleg and includes full album artwork, along with a multitude of photos when the Beatles were called the The Silver Beatles.
Alternative covers and pictures of original LP releases are also included. Not bad for 1962 I must admit.
But how wrong were Decca for turning them down - I'm sure they've been kicking themselves ever since !
Track Listing
01 - Like Dreamers Do
02 - Money (That's What I Want)
03 - 'Till There Was You
04 - The Sheik Of Araby
05 - To Know Her Is To Love Her
06 - Take Good Care Of My Baby
07 - Memphis
08 - Sure To Fall (In Love With You)
09 - Hello Little Girl
10 - Three Cool Cats
11 - Crying, Waiting, Hoping
12 - Love Of The Loved
13 - September In The Rain

14 - Besame Mucho
15 - Searchin'
16 - I Saw Her Standing There
17 - The One After 909 (Take 1)
18 - The One After 909 (Take 2)
19 - Catswalk (Take 1)
20 - Catswalk (Take 2)

Tracks 1-15: Recorded Monday, January 1, 1962. Decca Studios, London
Tracks 16-20: Rehearsals. Early 1962. Cavern Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool

The Silver Beatles were:
Paul McCartney (guitar)

John Lennon (guitar)
Stuart Sutcliffe (bass)
George Harrison (guitar)
Johnny Hutch?, Pete Best (drums)

Silver Beatles FLAC Link (246Mb) New Link 02/01/2024