Wednesday, 18 July 2018

B0b Dyl@n - 1967 - J0hn Wesley H@rd!ng


John Wesley Harding/The Wicked Messenger/Baby Tonight/All Along the Watchtower

"John Wesley Harding" is a song by Bob Dylan that appears on his 1967 album of the same name.Dylan told Jann Wenner in a 1969 Rolling Stone interview that the song "started out to be a long ballad. I was gonna write a ballad on ... like maybe one of those old cowboy ... you know, a real long ballad. But in the middle of the second verse, I got tired. I had a tune, and I didn't want to waste the tune; it was a nice little melody, so I just wrote a quick third verse, and I recorded that.

"The Wicked Messenger" is a song written and originally performed by Bob Dylan for his album John Wesley Harding. The song was recorded in Columbia's Studio A, Nashville, on November 29, 1967. The song's instrumentation is light, a characteristic shared with the rest of John Wesley Harding. It features a repetitive descending bass line that carries the song, and the most prominent instrument used is Bob Dylan's acoustic guitar.

"All Along the Watchtower" is a song written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan backed with "Baby Tonight" both songs initially appeared on his 1967 album John Wesley Harding it was the only single taken from the album and it was not successful, "All Along the Watchtower" has been included on most of Dylan's subsequent greatest hits compilations. Since the late 1970s, he has performed it in concert more than any of his other songs. Different versions appear on four of Dylan's live albums.

Covered by numerous artists in various genres, "All Along the Watchtower" is strongly identified with the interpretation Jimi Hendrix recorded for Electric Ladyland with the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The Hendrix version, released six months after Dylan's original recording, became a Top 20 single in 1968 and was ranked 47th in Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Following a motorcycle accident in July 1966, Dylan spent the next 18 months recuperating at his home in Woodstock and writing songs. According to Clinton Heylin, all the songs for John Wesley Harding were written and recorded during a six-week period at the end of 1967. With one child born in early 1966 and another in mid-1967, Dylan had settled into family life.

Young Rascals - 1967 - Groovin' FLAC


Groovin'/Sueсo/Come On Up/Too Many Fish In The Sea


 "Groovin" is a single released in 1967 by the Young Rascals that became a number-one hit and one of the group's signature songs it's B-Side was "Sueno".

Written by group members Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati and with a lead vocal from Cavaliere, it is a slow, relaxed groove, based on Cavaliere's newfound interest in Afro-Cuban music. Instrumentation included a conga, a Cuban-influenced bass guitar line from session musician Chuck Rainey, and a harmonica part, performed first for the single version by New York session musician Michael Weinstein, and later for the album version by Gene Cornish.

"Come On Up" / "What Is the Reason" was released in September 12, 1966 taken from the album Collections it reached #43 on the US charts while "Too Many Fish in the Sea" was a track from the same album.

Jeannie C. Riley - 1969 - Harper Valley P.T.A. @320


Harper Valley P.T.A/ Sippin' Shirley Thompson/Widow Jones/Mr. Harper


Jeanne Carolyn Stephenson was born in 1945 in Stamford, Texas. As a teenager, she married Mickey Riley and gave birth to a daughter, Kim Michelle Riley on January 11, 1966. Later, they moved to Nashville, Tennessee, after receiving a letter from Weldon Myrick, who heard a demo tape of Jeannie's and believed she could be successful.

In Nashville, Riley worked as a secretary for Passkey Music while recording demos on the side.

Riley's career was stagnant until former Mercury Records producer Shelby Singleton received a demo tape of Riley's voice. Singleton was starting and succeeding with his own label, Plantation Records, at the time. He worked with Riley in the recording of the Tom T. Hall demo song that Singleton saw potential in, "Harper Valley PTA." The record quickly became one of the best-known country music songs of all time. Riley became the very first female with the Number 1 in the Pop and Country charts at the same time. 

"Harper Valley PTA" was released in 1968. The song immediately became a hit for Riley and went to number one on both the Billboard Pop and Country charts, a feat not repeated by a woman until 1981 when Dolly Parton released "9 to 5". The song is about a widowed woman by the name of Mrs. Johnson, who confronts a group of members of the PTA after her daughter brings home a note from school that is critical of her (Mrs. Johnson's) habits of wearing miniskirts, going out with men, and other behavior of which they do not approve. The climax of the song comes when Mrs. Johnson turns the tables on the PTA and exposes their hypocrisy, one member at a time, noting that their private behavior is far worse than what their letter criticized her for.

Riley and the song became an overnight sensation, and the song earned her the Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance and the Country Music Association 'Single of the Year' award. Riley also became one of the few country artists ever nominated in the major pop Grammy Award categories of "Best New Artist" and "Record of the Year". Globally it sold over five and a half million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. just four weeks after the song's release. The album of the same name sold over one million units to gain a further gold disc for Riley.

 The song was a phenomenon which led to Riley making country music history in 1969 as the first female vocalist to have her own major network variety special, Harper Valley U.S.A., which she hosted along with Jerry Reed and featured performances by Mel Tillis and the song's writer, Tom T. Hall. The song spawned a 1978 film and a 1981-83 television series, both titled Harper Valley PTA and both starring Barbara Eden as the widow Mrs. Johnson.


During the late 1960s and into the very early 1970s, Riley ranked among the most popular female vocalists in the country music industry. She had five Grammy Award nominations and four Country Music Association nominations, and performed a duet with Loretta Lynn. She had success on the country charts again, but on a lesser scale. Other hits following "Harper Valley PTA" include "The Girl Most Likely," "There Never Was A Time," "The Rib," "The Back Side of Dallas," "Country Girl," "Oh Singer," and "Good Enough to Be Your Wife."

 Riley became known as much for her sex appeal and beauty as for her music, foreshadowing Shania Twain and other contemporary female vocalists by nearly three decades. At a time when many country queens were keeping a wholesome image by wearing gingham dresses, Riley kept in tune with typical late-1960s fashion by donning miniskirts and go-go boots for her stage outfits (somewhat in the character of the protagonist in "PTA"). Her mod persona opened many doors (and perhaps started a sexual revolution) in country music, as hemlines of other female country artists' stage outfits began rising in the years that followed. But Riley herself was not comfortable with her image, and she eventually abandoned it for a more conservative wardrobe (floor-length gowns and ankle-length dresses typically worn by conservative female country artists). In the 1993 CBS documentary The Woman of Country, she noted that during the "Harper Valley" period, it was largely her publicist and manager who were responsible for creating and playing up her sexy image (replicating somewhat the look of the protagonist in the song).

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Cilla Black - 1969 - Step Inside Love FLAC


Step Inside Love/Words/Aquarius/Surround Yourself With Sorrow


"Step Inside Love" is a song written by Paul McCartney (credited as "Lennon–McCartney") for Cilla Black in 1967 as a theme for her TV series Cilla, which first aired on 30 January 1968.

In late 1967 McCartney was approached to write the theme by Black and her series producer Michael Hurll. He recorded the original demo version at his London home, accompanying himself on guitar, which consisted of just one verse and the chorus.

Black's recording of this song was used as the theme during the early weeks of the show, until it was decided that the song needed an additional verse, so McCartney came to the BBC Theatre and wrote it there. According to Hurll, the opening line of the second verse ("You look tired, love") came from McCartney's observation of Black looking tired from the long rehearsals for the TV show. McCartney then added a third verse and that version was recorded as a studio demo at Chappell Studios in London on 21 November 1967, with McCartney on guitar accompanying Black on vocals. That demo was the basis for the single, although whereas the McCartney demos were recorded in the key of D, the final arrangement of the single version was transposed up a fourth to G, to take advantage of Cilla's higher register.

The single version of the song (with Black singing live over the studio backing track) was premiered on 5 March 1968 edition of her show; the single was released on 8 March 1968, and reached number eight on the British charts in April 1968. The record also reached Number 15 in Ireland in the same month. The recording was also featured on Black's third solo studio album Sher-oo! Remixed club versions of Cilla's original 1960s vocal were released in 2009 on her album Cilla All Mixed Up.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Glen Campbell- 1970 - Try A Little Kindness FLAC


Honey Come Back/Both Sides Now/Oh Happy Day/Try A Little Kindness


Glen Travis Campbell (April 22, 1936 – August 8, 2017) was an American singer, guitarist, songwriter, television host, and actor. He was best known for a series of hit songs in the 1960s and 1970s, and for hosting a music and comedy variety show called The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour on CBS television, from January 1969 through June 1972. He released over 70 albums in a career that spanned five decades, accumulating over 45 million record sales worldwide, including 12 gold albums, four platinum albums, and one double-platinum album.

Raised in Arkansas, Campbell began his professional career as a studio musician in Los Angeles, spending several years playing with the group of instrumentalists later known as "the Wrecking Crew". After becoming a solo artist, he placed a total of 80 different songs on either the Billboard Country Chart, Billboard Hot 100, or Adult Contemporary Chart, of which 29 made the top 10 and of which nine reached number one on at least one of those charts. Among Campbell's hits are "Universal Soldier", his first hit from 1965, along with "Gentle on My Mind" (1967), "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" (1967), "Wichita Lineman" (1968), "Dreams of the Everyday Housewife" (1968), "Galveston" (1969), "Rhinestone Cowboy" (1975) and "Southern Nights" (1977).


In 1967 Campbell won four Grammys in the country and pop categories. For "Gentle on My Mind", he received two awards in country and western; "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" did the same in pop. Three of his early hits later won Grammy Hall of Fame Awards (2000, 2004, 2008), while Campbell himself won the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. He owned trophies for Male Vocalist of the Year from both the Country Music Association (CMA) and the Academy of Country Music (ACM), and took the CMA's top award as 1968 Entertainer of the Year. Campbell played a supporting role in the film True Grit (1969), which earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer. He also sang the title song, which was nominated for an Academy Award.

 "Try a Little Kindness" is a song written by Curt Sapaugh and Bobby Austin, first recorded by American country music singer Glen Campbell. The song was hit on three different music charts,it peaked at number two for one week on the country charts. "Try a Little Kindness" went to number one for one week on the Hot Adult Contemporary chart as well as peaking at number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100. The single was also a hit in Australia reaching numger 10.

"Honey Come Back" is a song written by Jimmy Webb and recorded by the American country music artist Glen Campbell. It was released in January 1970 as the second single from his album Try a Little Kindness. The song peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. It also reached number 1 on the RPM Country Tracks chart in Canada and number 6 on the Australian Go-Set chart.

"Oh Happy Day" is a gospel music arrangement of an 18th-century hymn. Originally recorded by the Edwin Hawkins Singers,Glen Campbell covered the song in 1970, reaching number 40 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and just making the top 100 in Australia at number 73.

"Honey Come Back" is a song written by Jimmy Webb and recorded by the American country music artist Glen Campbell. It was released in January 1970 as the second single from his album Try a Little Kindness. The song peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. It also reached number 1 on the RPM Country Tracks chart in Canada as well as number 6 here in Australia.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Ne!l Y0ung - 1977 - H@rvest


Old Man/The Needle and the Damage Done/Heart of Gold/Harvest/Alabama


 Neil Percival Young, OC OM (born November 12, 1945), is a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, producer, director and screenwriter. After embarking on a music career in the 1960s, he moved to Los Angeles, where he formed Buffalo Springfield with Stephen Stills, Richie Furay and others. Young had released two solo albums by the time he joined Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1969, in addition to three as a member of Buffalo Springfield. From his early solo albums and those with his backing band Crazy Horse, Young has recorded a steady stream of studio and live albums, sometimes warring with his recording company along the way.

Young's guitar work, deeply personal lyrics and signature tenor singing voice transcend his long career. Young also plays piano and harmonica on many albums, which frequently combine folk, rock, country and other musical styles. His often distorted electric guitar playing, especially with Crazy Horse, earned him the nickname "Godfather of Grunge" and led to his 1995 album Mirror Ball with Pearl Jam. More recently Young has been backed by Promise of the Real.





Young directed (or co-directed) films using the pseudonym Bernard Shakey, including Journey Through the Past (1973), Rust Never Sleeps (1979), Human Highway (1982), Greendale (2003), and CSNY/Déjà Vu (2008). He also contributed to the soundtracks of the films Philadelphia (1993) and Dead Man (1995).

Young has received several Grammy and Juno awards. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted him twice: as a solo artist in 1995 and in 1997 as a member of Buffalo Springfield. In 2000, Rolling Stone named Young the 34th greatest rock 'n roll artist.

He has lived in California since the 1960s but retains Canadian citizenship. He was awarded the Order of Manitoba on July 14, 2006, and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada on December 30, 2009.


The Foundations - 1968 - It's All Right FLAC


Back On My Feet Again/I Can Take Or Leave Your Lovin'/It's All Right/Baby. Now That I've Found You




The Foundations were a surprisingly obscure late-'60s outfit, considering that they managed to reach the tops of the both the British and American charts more than once in the space of a year and had a solid three years of recordings. At the time of their debut in mid-1967, they were hailed as being among the most authentic makers of soul music ever to emerge from England -- the best practitioners of the Motown sound to be found on the far side of the Atlantic -- and were also accepted in jazz circles as well. "Baby Now That I've Found You," "Build Me Up Buttercup," and "In the Bad, Bad Old Days" were the biggest hits for this multi-racial octet, made up of Londoners and West Indians.

The Foundations were formed in January 1967 in the basement of a local coffee bar in Bayswater, gathered together through advertisements in Melody Maker. Lead singer Clem Curtis was a former boxer from Trinidad, while lead guitarist Alan Warner had been making his living in the printing trade in London while waiting for music to pay off. Flutist/saxman Pat Burke hailed from Jamaica, tenor saxman Mike Elliott had played with Colin Hicks (brother of Tommy Steele) in his band the Cabin Boys, as well as in several jazz bands, and trombonist Eric Allan Dale was another jazz veteran. Tony Gomez (keyboards), Peter Macbeth (bass), and Tim Harris (drums) rounded out the lineup. They selected the name Foundations based on their surroundings, a rehearsal space in the basement of a building.

The group made very little headway during their first few months together, although they did manage to get an audition at the Marquee Club. It was at their regular spot at a much smaller club called the Butterfly -- where they played one legendary gig on the last night of the Stax/Volt European tour -- that led to their breakthrough. They were spotted by record dealer Barry Class, who was impressed enough with what he heard to become their manager. He arranged a meeting with Pye Records producer/songwriter Tony Macaulay, who was working with Long John Baldry with some success, but also was desperately looking for a new act to break for the label. He'd written a song with his partner John Macleod called "Baby Now That I've Found You," which seemed to suit the Foundations.
 
 The resulting single, issued in the summer of 1967, got no reaction from the public or on the airwaves until it got picked up by the BBC's newly founded Radio 1, by a stroke of pure luck. The station wanted to avoid any records being played by the pirate radio broadcasters, and looked back at recent releases that the pirates had missed. "Baby Now That I've Found You" was the immediate beneficiary, along with the group -- by November, the single held the number one spot on the British charts. The group's timing was as perfect as the song -- there had been a soul boom in England since late 1965, and the subsequent Motown and Stax/Volt tours by American R&B stars only heightened the public's interest.

The Foundations were hailed for being the first British band to come up with an authentic soul sound, and the fact that they were first multiracial band to top the British charts only made their success that much more impressive (at a time when England was beginning to come to grips with its own racial attitudes). What's more, the group had the goods to back up the press' accolades. Their performances revealed a seasoned, well-rehearsed, exciting stage presence and a bold, hard soul sound that most British bands managed to imitate only in the palest manner, if at all.

Meanwhile, their debut single got to number 11 on the American charts in the hands of MCA's Uni label, and it was equally well received in the rest of the world, selling something more than three and a half million copies. Suddenly, the Foundations were a British phenomenon and had a worldwide following. 

An album, From the Foundations, was duly recorded and featured some superb material, embracing both current soul and the then-popular discotheque sounds. The covers included everything from Joe Tex ("Show Me") to Tony Hatch ("Call Me," in a version worthy of Motown), as well as some new Macaulay/Macleod numbers. The debut album never made the British charts, but it remained in print for years, a perennial seller that held up well over time.

Unfortunately, a follow-up single, "Back on My Feet Again," didn't crack the British Top Ten, despite very heavy airplay and promotion, and barely made the U.S. Top 50. In retrospect, it may have been too similar to "Baby Now That I've Found You," which had sold in enormous numbers. Its relative failure led to the beginnings of a split between the group and Macaulay, as both songwriter and producer, exacerbated by the latter's decision -- as their producer -- not to permit the group to record any of their own songs, even as B-sides. Additionally, they felt that Macaulay reined in their "real" sound, making them seem more pop-oriented than they were.

These disagreements occurred at just about the same time that the group itself began experiencing internal fractures. It seemed to Curtis, in particular, that some of the other members, having topped the charts and chalked up an international hit, weren't putting out the same effort they'd been giving to the group when they were still struggling.



Curtis was persuaded to pursue a solo career, ironically right after he'd recorded perhaps the best track he ever cut with the group, a killer rendition of "It's All Right," a number they'd been knocking crowds dead with on-stage all along. (They also released a live album, Rocking the Foundations.) Additionally, saxman Elliott quit as well, and was never replaced. Curtis was succeeded by Colin Young, a good singer in his own right who fit in perfectly with the group's sound, and the reconstituted group hit once more in early 1969 with "Build Me Up Buttercup," written by Macaulay with Mike D'Abo, which reached number two in England and number one in America. "In the Bad, Bad Old Days (Before You Loved Me)" was yet another hit, reaching the U.K. Top Ten and the U.S. Top 30.

The band's success finally faltered when Macaulay exited Pye Records. As he later revealed, he was still being paid solely as a producer and he received no royalties for his songs, despite millions of copies sold. With his departure, the group was cut off from the only composer who'd written all of their hits. Additionally, the sounds of soul were changing faster than the group could assimilate it all -- they tried for a funkier, James Brown-type sound on their last recordings together in 1970 but failed to attract any attention.


                                                                                 Clem Curtis

 The Foundations split in 1970, and by the middle of the decade that followed, Curtis revived the band -- but so had Young, and both outfits were called the Foundations. A lawsuit resulted in Curtis getting the rights to the original name, while Young was allowed to use the New Foundations. The group remains fondly remembered, if not often written about, in England, and it achieved some fresh international recognition in 1998 when "Build Me Up Buttercup" appeared prominently in the hit movie There's Something About Mary. Curtis continues to perform in a revived version of the group, and he and Warner have recorded new versions of the Foundations' classic numbers. Various versions of the Foundations continued to tour into the first decade of the 21st century, including Curtis as Clem Curtis & the Foundations and Warner as Alan Warner's Foundations.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Mourning Reign - 1966 - Mourning Reign (1996)


Satisfaction Guaranteed/Our Fate/Light Switch/Cut Back



Formed in San Jose, California, USA, the Mourning Reign were garage band peers of the Chocolate Watchband and the Harbinger Complex. Initially known as the English, they comprised Frank Beau Maggi (vocals), Johnnie Bell (lead guitar), Steve Canali (rhythm guitar), Charlie Garden (bass) and Craig Maggi (drums). They were highly popular in the suburbs of south and east San Francisco, playing punk-styled material derivative of the Rolling Stones and Yardbirds. The group recorded a cover version of ‘Evil Hearted You’ as their debut in 1966, before completing a compulsive original song, ‘Satisfaction’s Guaranteed’, as its follow-up. Thomas O’Bonsawin then replaced Bell, but although two further tracks were completed for a third single, it remained unissued as the Mourning Reign split up in 1968 when several members were drafted to Vietnam.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

The Fortunes - 1972 - Four Hits From The Fortunes FLAC


Freedom Come Freedom Go/Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again/Storm In A Teacup/Eye For The Main Chance



The Fortunes are an English harmony beat group. Formed in Birmingham, the Fortunes first came to prominence and international acclaim in 1965, when "You've Got Your Troubles" broke into the US and UK Top 10s. Afterwards, they had a succession of hits including "Here It Comes Again" and "Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again"; continuing into the 1970s with more globally successful releases such as "Storm in a Teacup" and "Freedom Come, Freedom Go".

The Fortunes were formed as a vocal trio (Rod Allen, Glen Dale and Barry Pritchard) - all three had been the Merrie Men backing Robbie Hood (A.K.A Mike West, previously co-singer with Fred Heath in Johnny Kidd & The Pirates). The Fortunes were originally backed by an instrumental group known as the Cliftones, and the band placed an instrumental track on a compilation album, Brumbeat, issued by the local Dial record label. "Cygnet Twitch" was a working of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake", and they subsequently signed to British Decca in 1963. Their first single, "Summertime, Summertime", was credited to the Fortunes and the Cliftones. However, the vocalists picked up guitars, jettisoned the Cliftones, and added Andy Brown on drums, and Dave Carr on keyboards. The follow-up disc "Caroline", co-written by the singer-songwriter and future Ivy League member Perry Ford and songwriter Tony Hiller, was used as the signature tune for the pirate radio station, Radio Caroline. 

 The group's next two singles, Gordon Mills's co-composition "I Like the Look of You" and a revival of "Look Homeward Angel" — like the initial brace of releases overseen by the American record producer Shel Talmy — also failed to chart. Their fifth release, the Roger Greenaway/Roger Cook number, "You've Got Your Troubles" (1965), reached Number 2 in the UK Singles Chart and was a worldwide hit, including reaching Number 1 in Canada and the American Top 10. Their next two singles were "Here It Comes Again", a UK Number 4, and "This Golden Ring" a UK Number 14. These sold well, but each less than the previous release. When Glen Dale left in 1966 he was replaced by Shel McCrae. Three more singles ("You Gave Me Somebody to Love", "Is It Really Worth Your While?" and "Our Love has Gone") all failed to chart.

At this point in 1967, the Fortunes left Decca for United Artists. They reunited with Talmy for their next release, "The Idol", a song they had written themselves, and although it did get some airplay in the UK, it did not become a hit.

 
 The Fortunes also recorded an advertisement for Coca-Cola in the United States. Their first recording in 1967 was a version of the theme tune, "Things Go Better with Coke", but they are most remembered for introducing the 1969 new slogan recording, used as the main theme for Coca-Cola on both radio and television commercials — "It's The Real Thing".

In 1968, they tried covering The Move's hit "Fire Brigade" for the US market, but with little airplay or sales. In 1970, they recorded an album for the US World Pacific record label, and then signed with Capitol in both the UK and US in 1971.

Then followed a steady succession of singles, some of which were hits outside of the UK and US, culminating in 1972 with the release of "Storm in a Teacup (The Fortunes song)". During this period, they had another worldwide hit, "Here Comes that Rainy Day Feeling" (1971).

P. J. Proby - 1968 - I'm Coming Home FLAC


I'm Comin' Home/Turn Her Away/Together/I Apologise



 PJ Proby was born James Marcus Smith on November 6, 1938, in Houston. His great-grandfather on his mother’s side was the outlaw gunfighter John Wesley Hardin and his father was a successful banker. He was educated at the strict San Marcos Military Academy, but even at school he was known as a bit of a hellraiser and was early on convinced that he was a genius and destined for greatness of some sort. His showbiz ambitions started early with local preteen appearances singing country music. He met Elvis Presley on that circuit when he was just 12 or 13 and Elvis at one point dated his step sister, Betty. But this was just the start of Proby’s improbable, Zelig or Forrest Gump-like ability to always be where the action was. Even at that age, he just was warming up, but already in the right places at the right time and always with the right crowd.

After moving to Hollywood in the mid-50s to become and actor and/or a singer, Smith took the name “Jett Powers” and recorded the single “Go, Girl Go!,” which is best known today as a song that the Cramps dug. (Jett’s backing band the Moondogs included Elliot Ingber/“Winged Eel Fingerling,” later of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention and Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band, on lead guitar). Signed to a songwriting and performing contract with Liberty (along with the likes of Leon Russell and Glen Campbell), he recorded under the name Orville Woods so that the public would think he was black!

 Additionally Proby made a living working as a bodyguard for closeted gay entertainers like Rock Hudson, Liberace and Tab Hunter (by his own account, brutally dispensing anyone who dared hassle one of them in a “gay bashing” manner). Proby also recorded “vocal guides” for $10 a pop so that performers like Elvis could more efficiently make use of expensive recording studio time. (He did twenty such vocal guides for Presley, mimicking his singing style in a full-throated manner that was said to have amused the King.) In early 1964 Jackie DeShannon and songwriter Sharon Sheeley (who’d been his best friend, Eddie Cochran’s, fiancée) introduced Proby—then bearded and wearing his hair extremely long as he was hoping to play the part of Jesus in a musical—to Jack Good who was visiting from London. The meeting would change the course of his life.

Good, the prominent TV producer and manager who gave the world Shindig!, Cliff Richard, Tommy Steele, Billy Fury, Marty Wilde and others of Britain’s first wave of rock and roll stars (he’s also the guy who convinced Gene Vincent to don that Richard III garb) is alleged to have grabbed Proby’s ponytail to see if it was real. Soon afterward, Good’s secretary called from London and offered the complete unknown a spot on the Beatles’ upcoming television special “With the Beatles.”

 When the show aired, Proby immediately became extremely famous, the very definition of the overnight sensation, even if his fame was to be short-lived. A single, “Hold Me” was recorded and rushed out so quickly that a stray vocal was inadvertently pressed into the record’s fadeout on the initial run. The song became a smash, reaching #3 in the UK charts. He racked up more hits with utterly histrionic (and almost insane-sounding, yet mesmerizing) cover versions of West Side Story‘s “Somewhere” and “Maria,” as well as with a song the Beatles had tried unsuccessfully to record for the Help! soundtrack, but that none of them could adequately sing. They opted to gift the song, “That Means a Lot,” to someone with the pipes who could, their American pal (well at least Lennon liked him) Proby. Incredibly, George Martin even arranged the song for him!



What insane luck, right? Soon Beatles manager Brian Epstein set up Proby with a UK package tour, co-headlining with Cilla Black. That’s when things got a bit out of the egotistical young rocker’s control: At a date in Croydon, Proby clad in his trademark tight velvet jumpsuit and looking like an 18th century dandy, was doing his James Brown-inspired stage act (the likes of which still staid post war Britain had not yet seen) and slid across the stage, tearing his pants around the knees and upwards from there. The crowd of teenaged girls went utterly mad, but the incident caused a stir in the media getting Proby on the radar of Britain’s self-appointed moral censor, Mary Whitehouse. When Proby did the same thing two nights later it was widely reported that he’d done something lewd in Luton. The Daily Mirror wrote that he was a “morally insane degenerate” and urged parents to keep their children from attending one of his shows. Whitehouse called his “thrusting” obscene but Proby claimed otherwise and available photos seem to corroborate his side of the story. He was kicked off the tour anyway and banned from the ABC theater chain and BBC radio and television. This was a good decade before the Sex Pistols, of course. Proby had a few more semi hits, but without radio play his star quickly faded. 

Back in Hollywood, Proby had his sole Billboard Hot 100 Top 30 hit with the infectious cajun-spiced rocker “Niki Hoeky.” He bought a mansion in Beverly Hills and married one of Dean Martin’s daughters. When he found out that she’d been having an affair with his car mechanic and saw them walking together hand in hand, he discharged his gun in the air several times to intimidate them. He soon found himself surrounded at gunpoint by much of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department and did a three month stint in a holding cell before moving back to the UK. He recorded his Three Week Hero album in 1968 with Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Bonham and John Paul Jones, then of the New Yardbirds, but soon to be rechristened Led Zeppelin. It was the very first time all four of them would be inside of a recording studio together.

In 1971 Proby played Cassio on the West End in Catch My Soul, Jack Good’s rock musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello. He made the cabaret and nightclub circuit for money and even recorded an album with the Dutch prog rockers Focus (it’s amazing!). In 1977, again with Good producing, he co-starred in Elvis – The Musical—Shakin’ Stevens played the young King of rock and roll while Proby played him in his later years—which won a Best Musical award the following year. Proby was fired when he began getting drunk before going onstage and started speaking directly to the audience.

 There are all kinds of crazy PJ Proby stories involving Jack Daniels, bankruptcies, guns, underage girls, more guns and more Jack Daniels. Every once in while during the 80s he’d turn up again in some completely insane or scandalous situation. He went through six wives. He worked as a shepherd on a farm before running off with the farmer’s daughter. He recorded some totally off the wall covers of songs like “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” “Heroes” and “Tainted Love” for the Manchester-based Savoy label, there was at least one fairly lurid television news piece about him (see below) and several “where is he now?” type articles. He was able to keep the wolves from the door singing on the oldies circuit for many years and been sober for a long time, but still has a reputation for being a bit “difficult.” (He is said to have burned through five road managers on a 2015 Australian oldies tour.) Proby recorded the remarkable Legend album with Marc Almond and Neal X, with a duet with Almond—the soaring “Yesterday Has Gone”—reaching #58 on the UK pop charts in 1996. (It’s well worth seeking out if you are so inclined, I think it’s a super strong album.) He toured with the Who during their 1997 Quadrophenia US and Europe show playing the role of the Godfather.

 As late as 2011, Proby was still getting himself into trouble, being charged with nine charges of benefit fraud, specifically for signing on the dole while failing to declare savings and that he’d been working again. He pleaded not guilty to all of the charges and was cleared all of them in 2012. He celebrated by recording two loopy new songs “I’m PJ” and “We The Jury”. In 2015, he performed with Van Morrison on the album, Duets: Re-working the Catalogue, actually singing Morrison’s 2002 song “Whatever Happened to P.J. Proby” with him and simultaneously answering that question himself: PJ Proby was still improbably here.








PJ Proby’s wild life has been bizarre and outsized—and his talent so HUGE—that if this is your first exposure to him (and odds are that might be) you probably can’t believe you’ve never heard of him before. But he was always his own worst enemy which is why he remains the Zelig of rock, a fascinating footnote of celebrity in our time. PJ Proby is meant to be sitting on the manuscript of a 500 page autobiography. I hope it gets published. No one will believe it. A documentary film, long in production, titled PJ Proby: A God Amongst Men (how he has often described himself, apparently not completely without irony) remains unreleased.




Friday, 6 April 2018

Arthur Conley- 1967 - Sweet Soul Music


Sweet Soul Music/Take Me/Who's Fooling Who/There's A Place For Us




Arthur Conley sang and (with mentor Otis Redding) co-wrote the 1967 classic "Sweet Soul Music," arguably the finest record ever made about the genre it celebrates. Born January 4, 1946, in McIntosh, GA, and raised in Atlanta, Conley was just 12 years old when he joined the Evening Smiles, a gospel group that appeared regularly on local radio station WAOK. By 1963 he was leading his own R&B outfit, Arthur & the Corvets, which over the next two years issued three singles -- "Poor Girl," "I Believe," and "Flossie Mae" -- for the Atlanta label National Recording Company. Despite Conley's graceful yet powerful vocals (which owed an immense debt to his idol, Sam Cooke), the NRC singles earned little attention, and he dissolved the group to mount a solo career, releasing "I'm a Lonely Stranger" on the Ru-Jac label in late 1964. Label owner Rufus Mitchell then passed a copy of the single to soul shouter Redding, who was so impressed he invited Conley to re-record the song at Memphis' Stax Studios. With Jim Stewart assuming production duties, the recut "I'm a Stranger" hit retail in the fall of 1965, and was just the second single to appear on Redding's fledgling Jotis imprint. Conley's "Who's Foolin' Who" followed in early 1966, and proved the fourth and final Jotis effort.

At Redding's urging, Conley signed to Atco-distributed Fame Records for his next single, the Dan Penn-written "I Can't Stop (No, No, No)." Though his strongest, most incendiary record to date, it met the same commercial indifference that greeted his previous efforts. Likewise, the follow-up "Take Me (Just as I Am)" fell on deaf ears, even though the song was a major pop hit for Solomon Burke the following year. At that point Redding took an even greater role in Conley's career, encouraging his songwriting and advising him in business decisions; while jamming on a cover of Cooke's "Yeah Man," the pair began tinkering with the original song, creating what would ultimately become "Sweet Soul Music." An electrifying tribute to the Southern soul idiom that name-checked icons including James Brown, Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett, and -- at Conley's insistence -- Redding himself, the resulting single (Conley's debut for new label Atco) proved a massive hit, reaching number two on both the Billboard pop and R&B charts while reaching the Top Ten across much of Europe. An LP also titled Sweet Soul Music soon followed, compiling the singer's little-heard Jotis and Fame sides. Conley's next single, a reading of the Big Joe Turner chestnut "Shake, Rattle and Roll," returned him to the pop Top 40 and the R&B Top 20, although its follow-up, a cover of Cooke's "Whole Lotta Woman," reached only number 73 on the pop chart.

 Conley was performing in Florida the night of December 10, 1967, when Redding and members of his backing band the Bar-Kays were killed in a Wisconsin plane crash; without Redding to run interference with Atco executives, the singer's career threatened to revert back to its rudderless beginnings, but in early 1968 Conley righted the ship, traveling to Memphis' American Recording Studios to collaborate with the crack producer Tom Dowd. The session generated some of the singer's finest material, including the Top 20 R&B hit "People Sure Act Funny," "Run On," and the stirring Redding tribute "Otis Sleep On." Best of all was the scorching "Funky Street," which hit number five on the Billboard R&B chart and number 14 on its pop counterpart. Weeks later Conley teamed with Burke, Don Covay, Ben E. King, and Joe Tex as the Soul Clan, recording the all-star LP Soul Meeting; he then embarked on a month-long tour of Europe, returning to American to cut the Dowd-produced "Aunt Dora's Love Soul Shack," a minor hit that was reportedly the inspiration for the Temptations' smash "Psychedelic Shack." Conley closed out the year by recording a cover of the Beatles' "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da." Featuring the great Duane Allman on guitar, the single reached number 51 pop and number 41 R&B in early 1969.

 
 After one final outing with Dowd, the Allen Toussaint-penned "Star Review" -- a naked and failed attempt to recapture the brilliance of "Sweet Soul Music" -- Conley signed on with producer Johnny Sandlin, returning to the R&B Top 40 in early 1970 with "God Bless." His final Atco disc, an ill-advised rendition of Harry Belafonte's perennial "Day-O," foreshadowed the poor choices that characterized his subsequent tenure with manager Phil Walden's Capricorn label. Between 1971 and 1974, Conley released only four singles ("I'm Living Good," "Walking on Eggs," "Rita," and "It's So Nice [When It's Someone Else's Wife]"), all of them substandard and none of them hits. In 1975 he relocated to England, spending several years in Belgium before settling in the Netherlands in 1980. There he legally changed his name to Lee Roberts (the first name his own middle name, the surname his mother's maiden name). A live date recorded in Amsterdam on January 6, 1980, was issued commercially in 1988 under the title Soulin' and credited to Lee Roberts & the Sweaters. In the years to follow he emerged as a successful entrepreneur. At one point in time his Art-Con Productions consisted of some nine companies, among them Sweat Records, Upcoming Artists Records, Charity Records, Happy Jack Publishing, and the New Age Culture Exchange radio station. After a long bout with cancer, Conley died in the Dutch city of Ruurlo on November 17, 2003.

Tommy Roe - 1967 - Sing Along With Me


Sing Along With Me/Nightime/ It's Now Winter's Day/Kick Me, Charlie



Thomas David "Tommy" Roe (born May 9, 1942 is an American pop music singer-songwriter. Best-remembered for his hits "Sheila" (1962) and "Dizzy" (1969), Roe was "widely perceived as one of the archetypal bubblegum artists of the late 1960s, but cut some pretty decent rockers along the way, especially early in his career", wrote the Allmusic journalist Bill Dahl. Roe was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, where he attended Brown High School. After graduating, he landed a job at General Electric soldering wires.

He had a Billboard number 1 hit in the U.S. and Australia in 1962 with the track "Sheila". A buildup of global sales of "Sheila" meant that the Recording Industry Association of America did not present the gold record until 1969. When "Sheila" became a hit in '62, ABC-Paramount Records asked him to go on tour to promote the hit. He was reluctant to give up his secure job at GE until ABC-Paramount advanced him $5,000. 

However, in March 1963, the UK music magazine NME reported that he and Chris Montez had both been upstaged by the Beatles and their fans on a 21-day UK tour. Late that year Roe scored a Top 10 hit with "Everybody", which reached US number 3 and UK number 9, and "The Folk Singer" (number 4 UK) written by Merle Kilgore was also popular.

Following a more successful tour of the United Kingdom by his friend Roy Orbison, Roe toured there and then moved to England where he lived for several years. In 1964 Roe recorded a song written by Buzz Cason entitled, "Diane From Manchester Square." It was a story in song about a girl called Diane, who worked in an upstairs office at EMI House, when it was based in London's Manchester Square. Sales of this single in the UK were poor, and it failed to chart. During the 1960s, he had several more Top 40 hits, including 1966's number 8 "Sweet Pea" (number 1 Canada) and number 6 "Hooray for Hazel" (number 2 Canada).[2] In 1969, his song "Dizzy" went to number 1 on the UK Singles Chart, number 1 in Canada, as well as number 1 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. This transatlantic chart-topper sold two million copies by mid-April 1969, giving him his third gold disc award.

Roe guest-starred in an episode of the American sitcom, Green Acres, called "The Four of Spades", which first aired on 8 November 1969, one week to the day before the Hot 100 debut of his final Top 10 single, a track co-written with Freddy Weller, "Jam Up and Jelly Tight", which became his fourth gold record, peaking at number 8 in the U.S. and number 5 in Canada.


 Although his style of music declined in popularity with the 1970s mass market, Roe maintained a following and continued to perform at a variety of concert venues, sometimes with 1960s nostalgia rock and rollers such as Freddy Cannon and Bobby Vee. In 1986 Roe was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, and his pioneering contribution to the genre has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

On February 7, 2018, Roe officially announced his retirement on his Facebook page (@TommyRoeOfficial) with this statement: "Today I am announcing my retirement. I have so many great memories of the music and of my fans who have supported me through the years. Fifty five years to be exact. What a gift it has been for me to share this time with you. I hope my music will continue to bring a smile to your hearts and joy to your life. ...I will stay in touch through our Facebook page. But for now I am stepping out of the spotlight from scheduled concerts and interviews. Thank you again for your loyal support. I love you all, and may God Bless you. Tommy"

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Brian Poole & The Tremeloes - 1965 - Brian Poole & The Tremeloes FLAC


Time Is On My Side/Sho' Miss You Baby/It's All Right/You Don't Own Me



The Tremeloes are an English beat group founded in 1958 in Dagenham, Essex, and still active today. They were formed as Brian Poole and the Tremoloes (the spelling "tremoloes" was soon changed because of a spelling mistake in an East London newspaper) influenced by Buddy Holly and the Crickets.

On New Year's Day, 1962, Decca, looking for a Beat group, auditioned two promising young bands: Brian Poole and the Tremeloes and another combo (also heavily influenced by Buddy Holly) from Liverpool, the Beatles. Decca chose Brian Poole and the Tremeloes over the Beatles, reportedly based on location – the Tremeloes were from the London area, making them more accessible than the Liverpool-based Beatles. The original quintet consisted of lead vocalist Brian Poole, lead guitarist Rick West (born Richard Westwood), rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Alan Blakley, bassist Alan Howard and drummer Dave Munden.
 
Brian Poole and the Tremeloes first charted in the UK in July 1963 with a version of "Twist and Shout", a song previously popularised in America by the Isley Brothers, and already released by the Beatles in the UK in March 1963 on their first British LP, Please Please Me. Brian Poole and the Tremeloes followed "Twist and Shout" with a chart topping cover of the Contours' US million-seller "Do You Love Me" in the same year, in turn followed by "I Can Dance". The group also had success in the UK in 1964 with covers of Roy Orbison's B-side, "Candy Man" and a previously obscure Crickets' B-side ballad, "Someone, Someone"; both entered the UK Singles Chart Top Ten, with the latter peaking at no. 2. Other Decca-era chart singles included "Three Bells" and a version of "I Want Candy".

With Poole leaving to attempt a solo career (which proved unsuccessful) in 1966, the Tremeloes continued as a four-piece band with a revised line-up (Howard left the band in 1966). Len "Chip" Hawkes, father of 1990s hitmaker Chesney Hawkes, replaced Howard.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

The Sandals - 1967 - The Endless Summer


Theme From The Endless Summer/Out Front/Wild As The Sea/Trailing


The Sandals, also known as The Sandells, were an early, influential surf rock band formed in 1964. They are most famous for scoring the surfing documentary The Endless Summer.

The Sandals began in 1962, when Danny Brawner, a drummer, joined a high-school group called The Twangs, headed up by the brothers Gaston and Walter Georis. The Twangs were a group heavily influenced by The Ventures. At this point, the core of The Sandals was formed: Brawner on drums, Gaston on keyboards, Walter on rhythm guitar, John Blakeley on lead guitar with his brother, David, on bass. David was replaced by John Gibson early on. The band changed their name to The Shadows, and eventually settled on The Sandells, a portmanteu of "Sand" and "ells", a popular ending for groups at the time. They released their first album, Scrambler!, in early 1964. They partnered with World Pacific Records for the release, which allowed them to come in contact with Bruce Brown, who was then just beginning editing work on his next documentary project, The Endless Summer.

Brawner and the Georis brothers met with Brown, hoping to sell him one of their songs for use on Brown's new film. Brown, however, was so impressed by their music that he agreed to use a number of their songs in the film. It was agreed that all film profit would go to Brown, and all soundtrack profit to go to The Sandells. The group used the studio time that working on the film gave them to release a number of LPs and Singles during this period. Jim King worked with the group at this time, producing a number of songs, including "Always" and "All Over Again", both of which received limited national radio airplay. The group also slightly modified their name during this time, to the surf-inspired "The Sandals". For a time, the group toured with the film, providing live backing for the live narration by Bruce Brown.

After The Endless Summer film reached nationwide distribution, The Sandals recorded the song "Endless Summer", one of their first songs with vocals. The song was a departure in a number of ways, and not just relating to the vocals. They were attempting a Beach Boys-esque sound, with mixed results. They also re-released the Scrambler! LP as The Endless Summer, along with new single records similarly retitled.

 In 1967, Dick Barrymore hired The Sandals to score his skiing documentary, The Last of the Ski Bums. As on Scrambler!, John Blakeley's songwriting skills were at the forefront of the album — 10 of the 12 songs contained at least some of his input. However, this album also marked Danny's departure from the band after he refused to leave San Clemente, California, where the band had been based, for Riverside, California. He was replaced by Steve Ekwall, who played on the album.

Soon after the release of the Last of the Ski Bums album, the group broke up. The Georis brothers went on to start a restaurant in Carmel, California; Danny Brawner worked for Mobile Surfboards. John Blakeley remained involved in music, joining Stoneground in 1971.

There have been two reunions to date: in 1992, the Georis brothers and Blakeley reformed the band, and released a few albums, most notably working on The Endless Summer II. They also rerecorded (in 1992) the original album (that includes a few new songs) using some of the original instruments. In 2002, the Georis', Blakeley, Gibson, and Brawner played at the Galaxy Theater in Santa Ana, California, to a packed house.

Ray Charles - I Can't Stop Loving You WAVE


I Can't Stop Loving You/Born To Lose/Moon Over Miami/Blue Hawaii


 Ray Charles Robinson (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004), known professionally as Ray Charles, was an American singer-songwriter, musician, and composer. Among friends and fellow musicians he preferred being called "Brother Ray." He was often referred to as "The Genius." Charles was blind from the age of seven.

He pioneered the soul music genre during the 1950s by combining blues, rhythm and blues, and gospel styles into the music he recorded for Atlantic Records. He also contributed to the integration of country music, rhythm and blues and pop music during the 1960s with his crossover success on ABC Records, most notably with his two Modern Sounds albums. While he was with ABC, Charles became one of the first black musicians to be granted artistic control by a mainstream record company.

Charles cited Nat King Cole as a primary influence, but his music was also influenced by country, jazz, blues, and rhythm and blues artists of the day, including Louis Jordan and Charles Brown. He became friends with Quincy Jones. Their friendship lasted until the end of Charles's life. Frank Sinatra called Ray Charles "the only true genius in show business," although Charles downplayed this notion.

In 2002, Rolling Stone ranked Charles number ten on its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time", and number two on their November 2008 list of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time." Billy Joel observed, "This may sound like sacrilege, but I think Ray Charles was more important than Elvis Presley".

The Pretty Things - The Pretty Things FLAC


Don't Bring Me Down/Big Boss Man/Rosalyn/We'll Be Together


 The Pretty Things were the also-rans of the British Invasion, a band that never got its due. Despite this lack of recognition, they were never quite ignored, cultivating a passionate cult that stuck with them through the decades -- a cult that was drawn to either their vicious early records, where they sometimes seemed like a meaner version of the Rolling Stones, or to their 1968 psychedelic masterwork S.F. Sorrow. Some of their fans advocate for the entirety of their catalog, noting how the group adeptly shifted with the times. Despite these shifts in style, they rarely racked up hits on either side of the Atlantic. In the United States, they didn't chart until 1975, a full decade after they released their rough-and-tumble debut. Back then, the Pretty Things seemed like rivals to the Rolling Stones and that was no great leap: guitarist Dick Taylor played bass in the first incarnation of the Stones, not long before he teamed up with Phil May to form the Pretty Things in 1963. Taking their name from a Bo Diddley song, the Pretty Things were intentionally ugly: their sound was brutish, their hair longer than any of their contemporaries, their look unkempt. This nastiness was evident on their first pair of singles, "Rosalyn" and "Don't Bring Me Down," two 45s that charted in 1964, their success helping to get their eponymous debut into the U.K. Top Ten a year later, but that turned out to be the extent of their commercial success. 

 The Pretty Things may not have shown up on the charts but their cult proved to be influential: it's been said Pete Townshend was influenced by S.F. Sorrow to write Tommy for the Who and David Bowie covered both "Rosalyn" and "Don't Bring Me Down" for his 1973 album Pin Ups. Critics liked them too but that acclimation didn't sell records. Nevertheless, the Pretty Things were survivors, soldiering on through the '70s, turning into a harder, heavier outfit that was rewarded with marginal U.S. success -- 1974's Silk Torpedo and 1976's Savage Eye made the lower reaches of Billboard -- cutting a credible new wave album at the dawn of the '80s. The Pretty Things would split not long afterward but their cult remained so strong that they became a semi-active concern at the beginning of the new millennium, as they would occasional reunite for tours and recordings.

Such perseverance would've seemed unlikely back in 1963 when Dick Taylor and Phil May first formed the band. Taylor had been playing with Mick Jagger in a London outfit called Little Boy Blue & the Blue Boys since he was a schoolboy and he later met Keith Richards at Sidcup Art School. In 1962, Taylor, Jagger, and Richards all started playing, once again calling themselves Little Boy Blue & the Blue Boys, with Brian Jones and Ian Stewart aboard, and this group turned into the Rolling Stones, but Taylor tired of bass and left to concentrate on art. Soon, he was convinced by fellow Sidcup Art School student Phil May to form the Pretty Things. The duo brought in bassist John Stax, guitarist Brian Pendleton, and drummer Pete Kitley; the latter would soon be replaced by Viv Prince. Bryan Morrison, who also was attending art school with Taylor and May, managed the band and helped get it signed to Fontana.

"Rosalyn," the group's first single, peaked at 41 in 1964 but "Don't Bring Me Down" went to ten and "Honey I Need" topped out at 13 in 1965. These three singles helped the group's self-titled debut reach number six on the U.K. album charts, but with success came some turbulence. Drummer Prince left toward the end of 1965 and was succeeded by Skip Alan, while the group's 1966 album Get the Picture? showed the rough, ragged rock & roll group adopting a slight pop art stance.More lineup changes soon followed -- Pendleton and Stax left by early 1967, with John Povey and Wally Waller taking their place -- and Fontana pushed the group in a softer, string-laden direction for that year's Emotions. This wasn't a hit and the Pretty Things soon lost drummer Alan and decamped for EMI's Columbia, where they recorded what is roundly regarded as their masterpiece, S.F. Sorrow. Appearing at the end of 1968, S.F. Sorrow is by many measures the first rock opera, earning a big cult but not selling much.

Dick Taylor left in the wake of S.F. Sorrow -- guitarist Victor Unitt, previously of the Edgar Broughton Band, took his place -- and Alan returned to the band. This new lineup first stretched its legs supporting French playboy Philippe DeBarge as he dipped his toes into rock & roll -- these recordings were long shelved; they appeared in 2010 -- and this wasn't the only way the Pretty Things made money; they moonlighted anonymously for the music library company DeWolfe, recording film music that wound up reissued under the name Electric Banana. Despite all this activity, the next big release from the Pretty Things was Parachute in 1970, which received acclaim but no sales.


The lack of success led to a temporary disbandment, but they regrouped for a new contract with Warner that was inaugurated with Freeway Madness in 1972. Next, they teamed up with manager Peter Grant -- the giant behind Led Zeppelin -- and were signed to Swan Song, which released Silk Torpedo in 1974 and Savage Eye in 1976. These harder, heavier records were a bigger success in America than any previous Pretty Things LP, but it wasn't enough to keep the group together: they split up in 1976.

 A full-fledged reunion teaming Phil May and Dick Taylor came in 1980 when the group recorded Cross Talk, an admirable attempt to ride the new wave that did not sell. They split again, but May and Taylor started to perform regularly under a variety of different monikers, including teaming with Yardbirds drummer Jim McCarty in the '90s. As the new millennium approached, they embarked on special projects such as a revival of S.F. Sorrow, and then they recorded a brand-new full-length album called Rage...Before Beauty in 1999. Reissues and biographies followed in the 2000s as did one more album, 2007's Balboa Island, and the band also toured regularly.

 They decided to celebrate their 50th anniversary in style, touring Europe and the U.K. in 2013 and releasing the career-encompassing box Bouquets from a Cloudy Sky in 2015. The box set found the Pretty Things looking back during a potentially dark time, as Phil May suffered a serious health scare in 2014 when he was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which impacts the lungs and makes it very difficult to breathe. But after giving up smoking and adopting a healthier lifestyle, May was well enough to begin work on a new Pretty Things album with Taylor, guitarist Frank Holland, bassist George Woosey, and drummer Jack Greenwood, and late 2015 saw the bloodied but unbowed Pretties not only winning enthusiastic reviews for The Sweet Pretty Things (Are in Bed Now, of Course...), but touring Europe and the U.K. in support.