Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Swinging Japan (The Neo-Mod Scene...Tokyo Style)

First and foremost, this is a fan album.
A young collector (Emmanuel Guerit) tired of the domestic sounds and scenes, ventured further afield in his quest for music that excites. He stumbled upon a wealth of sixties influenced contemporary bands, none of which suffered from the self-conscious rules and restraints upon which cliquey European modernists constantly insist; he discovered Japans uber-hip Neo-Mods. 
A chance meeting with an acquaintance of Acid Jazz Records resulted in his treasured recordings being aired in the label office one evening; dozens of raw energetic garage tracks, plus jazzy groovy psychedelic tunes, one after another, streamed from Emmanuel's portable compact disc player.

The label A&R guy was impressed and asked Emmanuel to select some of his favourite numbers with a mind to release them on Acid Jazz. This compilation is the result; The Hair, The Furs, Les Cappuccino, Shotgun Runners, Six, The Marquee, The Scarletts, The Bergamotts, The Absolude, Soul Mission, The Crawlin' Kingsnakes, The Tramp and Sandiest. 

Tokyo's finest - It will not disappoint.

Monday, 23 March 2015

The Ossie Layne Show - Barcelona 69

The omnipotent modernists that dwell upon the mystical mount of East London's Acid Jazz towers have, in there ultimate wisdom, seen fit to grace us with yet another offering in their series of fine and rare sixties extended play releases; Barcelona 69 by The Ossie Layne Show......and it is good.

Norman Watt-Roy is recognized as one of the worlds greatest bass players, foremost for his involvement with punk legend Ian Dury and The Blockheads and more recently Canvey rocker Wilko Johnson, but back in the swinging sixties, Norman and his brother Garth, smashed the mod scene with soulful, powerful, and highly infectious rhythm and blues.

In 1967 the Watt-Roy bothers signed to Philips Records with Essex outfit The Living Daylights, releasing 2 singles including Let’s Live For Today (originally recorded by UK beat group The Rokes). In 1968 they formed a nine-piece soul band, backing visiting American soul singers including Solomon Burke, and notably, Ossie Layne, who took them to the Costa Brava for a summer residency. Layne previously recorded a single in 1966 on the R&B label, based in Stamford Hill, North London; the same label that released Georgie Fame's first two singles. 

The following year, billed as The Ossie Layne Show, the band recorded a live album, for Spanish only release, with Layne taking vocal duties on four of the tracks, side A. However, Layne's voice wasn't aggressive enough for the more dynamic numbers, and on the flip side flutist Colin Jennings took over lead vocals; it is the B-side recordings from which the Barcelona 69 E.P is composed.

Rod Stewart's Rock My Plimsoll and a cover of Spirit's Fresh Garbage, a fantastic version of the Sly and The Family Stone number Sing A Simple Song and a blistering instrumental of Midnight Hour.

This record is much more than just another 'soul-review' re-reissue, it's a beautifully packaged, highly playable, portion of mod muso history. 


Wednesday, 25 February 2015

New Street Adventure - The Big A.C

New Street Adventure specialise in an 'urban' lyric, the passionate lament of a city-bred modernist and his battle for love and recognition in a godless city where nothing shines except the glint of a Hackney blade or a tarnished coin. And then sometimes they just write feel-good stompers like The Big A.C

Front-man, Nick Corbin, loves soul music and a good all-nighter in which to hear it; The Big A.C attempts to capture that impossible to explain exhilaration of a talcum powder patterned wooden dance-floor alive with feet and smiles; this is a song about the joys of sharing a great tune with fellow tune lovers... and it does it well.

Built around a solid snare and immaculate bass line, this is DJ record box heaven.
The flip is a cover version, Nobody Wants You When Your Down And Out; made famous by the late and great Bobby Womac, here recorded live with given the respect that it deserves.

Released by Acid Jazz Records on limited edition 7 inch vinyl and picture sleeve, I urge you to seek and find; not to be missed.

Monday, 20 October 2014

New Street Adventure - Debut Album.

Nick Corbin, singer, guitarist and songwriter of New Street Adventure, wears his heart on his bespoke sleeve; he has been hurt. Not only from the damaged or unrequited relationships that pepper the lyrical content of his songs, but by the very fabric of his surroundings, the pressures and struggles of urban clutter that spoil his vision of a joyous existence, like a cataract clouding his otherwise perfect vision. The eternal optimist, his music, despite the dark social comment, is uplifting and invigorating.

The songs on NSA's debut album, No Hard Feelings, are beautifully written, and skillfully played. His band, Ashley Hayden (bass), Billy Farr (lead guitar), Charlie Myers (keys) and Jeremy Paul (drums), are a tight and exciting young unit, that have already refreshed the live circuit; igniting with a spark of 'new wave' fire that has escaped the offerings of similar sixties flavoured modernists. This album captures that live energy, yet displays a self restraint in it's recording that is normally the reserve of a band with several albums already under it's belt - New Street Adventure are masters of a craft; they got soul.

The album contains Northern stompers, She's An Attraction and The Big A.C, funk fusion, Lucky Lady, and even some catchy indi-pop, Be Somebody (video below), plus set stopping ballads like Foolish Once More, sprinkled throughout; energetic, emotive, glorious and gorgeous. The 'holy-record-label-grail-of-album-producing-quests' capture light and shade, is successfully achieved and seamless.

No Hard Feelings is released by Acid Jazz Records.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The Memoirs of Damage & Vom (Misadventures in Doctor and The Medics)

Dicky Damage (Richard Searle) and Mr Vom (Stephen Ritchie) were aboard the fastmoving punk-psych juggernaut that was Doctor and The Medics; a heady roller-coaster ride that famously peaked, when music industry moguls deemed fit to hype the band to Number One in the charts with a version of Norman Greenbaum's classic Spirit In The Sky, in the summer of 1986. 
      This memoir is a re-telling of their story, the rhythm section (Damage on bass, Vom on drums), that started from humble in-crowd nightclub origin, to television saturation, massive shows, and industry infamy.

The two friends parted company at the tale end of the Eighties, Searle went to to join proto Brit- Pop-clothes horses Boys Wonder, later to morph into Acid Jazz funksters Corduroy. Ritchie, having played with punk originators The Boys, eventually settled behind the kit of Germany's stadium rockers, Die Toten Hosen. Circumstance contrived to re-unit the duo some twenty years later, an eclectic low-fi indie rock album was the result, Perfect Crime, released under the moniker Wet Dog, on Ritchie's own Drumming Monkey Records. This collaboration inevitably served to re-stoke the flames of former glories, memories faded from the forgiving mists of alcohol and denial; two years in it's conception, a hundred beer soaked 'memory sessions' later, The Memoirs of Damage & Vom is the result set to ink.

The usual rock n' roll antidotes are present, groupies, substance abuse, lives put in danger etc, plus others that frankly are not for the squeamish, but the overall impression of this collection of funny stories is that of being a 'how to – and how not to succeed - in the music business' manual. The Medics achieved great things during the decade, the book details a route from garage-punk oiks to Top Of The Pops darlings. But their inevitable fall from grace was the result, apparently, of poor decision making and ego.

The humour is dry, and on occasion hilarious. The pace is fast and often bewildering, but if you only read one rock memoir this century, read this might learn something.

Richard Searle – The Memoirs of Damage & Vom (Misadventures in Doctor and The Medics) with Forward by Stephen Ritchie, is out now on ebook and paperback.