Thursday, August 6, 2020

Uglys - The Quiet Explosion (1965-69 uk, wonderful jazzy swinging beat psychedelia, 2004 remaster)



This great CD compilation collects together all the recordings from one of the most interesting Brum bands of the 1960s. The Uglys were a big part of the West Midlands live music scene with a line-up that included a long list of well-known local musicians. Despite recording a number of fine singles, the band never had the chart success deserving of the considerable talent existing within the group.

All of the band's original singles have been much in demand by collectors during recent years and apart from a handful of tracks appearing on various compilations, there has not been a collection dedicated to The Uglys until now. Along with the previously-released Ugly's records on this CD, Sanctuary Records included a dozen tracks never before issued which more than makes this compilation worth purchasing.

The CD package comes with extensive liner notes and band biography written by David Wells who chronicles the history of the Uglys from their first incarnation as "The Dominettes" in 1957 up to their evolution into "Balls"! by the end of the 1960s. David Wells interviewed original band members in order to write a definitive Uglys biography - not an easy task considering the number of different musicians who went through the line-up. Included also is a good selection of rare photos and memorabilia from various band members' own collections. The highly appropriate cover artwork and design were created by Rupert and Phil Smee.

The first 12 tracks on the Uglys CD are arranged in chronological order consisting of all their released 1960s singles (A-sides and B-sides). This starts with 'Wake Up My Mind' from 1965 which is probably one of their best known records outside of the U.K. Although not a hit in Britain, the song apparently reached the top chart position in Australia and New Zealand. It's probably one of the earliest socially aware pop songs by a British group - no doubt a result of vocalist Steve Gibbons' attraction to the music of Bob Dylan. The unique sound of the recording is achieved partly due to Steve's use of a king-sized harmonica. In contrast, the sparse instrumentation of the B-side 'Ugly Blues' gives the impression that the band used up their production budget on the A-side but it remains a lyrically amusing song nonetheless.

The next Uglys single 'It's Alright', features prominent use of the harpsichord (as played by the talented Jimmy O'Neil) but what stands out most to me in this recording is John Hustwayte's great bass playing which really adds power to this track. This record got plenty of airplay on the U.K. Pirate Radio stations - soon gaining the Ugly's an appearance on television's popular Ready Steady Go! and it seemed set for a high chart placing. Unfortunately, a strike by the record distributors prevented it from reaching the shops (I wonder if the Ready Steady Go! performance still survives on tape somewhere? - what a fantastic find it would be!). The singles' B-side entitled 'A Friend', is a faster paced and highly danceable track composed by guitarist Bob Burnett and Jimmy O'Neil.

'A Good Idea' from 1966, features a distinctive kazoo intro by Steve Gibbons, but it's really the B-side 'The Quiet Explosion' which is the stand-out track. The lyrically-gifted Steve Gibbons does nothing less than a brilliant job on this one with a socially aware verse and chorus even more relevant in 2004 than it was back in 1966! This record is powered along by Jim Holden's innovative drumming and John Hustwayte's echoey Dr. Who style bass riff. This, when coupled with Jimmy O'Neil's prominent organ, creates the most psychedelic-sounding track to be released by the band up to that point.

New Ugly's recruits Dave Pegg (bass) and former Brumbeats guitarist Roger Hill were present for the next single which was a cover of a Kinks record 'End Of The Season' as composed by the brilliant Ray Davies. This one marks a departure from the Ugly's previous records as up to this point they had been composed by the group themselves. Despite the addition of sound effects in the form of chirping woodland songbirds, this record missed out on a chart placing. The B-side however, is likely much more representive of the band's sound at that time as their recording of 'Can't Recall Her Name' has a distinctly "live" feel to it - certainly one of my favourites on this disc. Dave Pegg and Roger Hill left the Ugly's to form their own band called The Exception and Dave later joined the Ian Campbell Group before becoming a pivotal member of Fairport Convention.

1967 saw the arrival into the band of former Yamps/Traction guitarist Will Hammond. The new line-up recorded 'And The Squire Blew His Horn' which continued the Uglys tradition of including strange instruments on their records as it features Steve Gibbons' performance on a real hunting horn. This track has long been highly prized amongst collectors and when listening to the quirky lyrics and vocal backing it's not hard to see why. The song was apparently recorded as a joke by the group and not intended for release, but the record company thought otherwise. The B-side 'Real Good Girl' was far more representive of the band's sound. Guitarist, Will Hammond says it was a powerful number for the group to perform on-stage but they were told to tone it down for the recording session as the producer thought it was too loud!

The final Uglys record was 'I've Seen The Light' that was never officially released until now. The song is probably the band's heaviest number and was undoubtedly very powerful when performed live. The track was recorded by the final line-up of the Uglys consisting of Steve Gibbons (by this time the only remaining original member), Will Hammond on guitar, Dave Morgan (bass), former Lemon Tree drummer Keith Smart, and Richard Tandy (piano). Composed by the multi-talented Dave Morgan, I've Seen The Light was intended as the A-side of a proposed Uglys single in February of 1969.

Due to the band re-forming as Balls with the addition of the Move's Trevor Burton and ex-Moody Blues vocalist Denny Laine, I've Seen The Light was pressed as demo-copies only. It has since attained status as not only the rarest of all the Uglys singles, but for record collectors, THE rarest U.K. psychedelic single. One of the few copies known to exist belongs to Will Hammond and as the master tape is lost, the recording heard on this CD was re-mastered from Will's vinyl original.

The proposed B-side 'Mary Colinto' also composed by Dave Morgan and again recorded with the final Uglys line-up, is a much more straight-forward 'rocker' sounding like it could have been written for The Move. This was certainly a possibility as Dave's composition 'Something' featuring Carl Wayne, was selected for the B-side to the Move's chart topping Blackberry Way single in 1968. Mary Colinto features an especially fine performance by Keith Smart - certainly one of Birmingham's best drummers (he later joined Roy Wood as part of the Wizzard line-up).

All the remaining tracks on this CD are issued here for the first time. The first of these is a Steve Gibbons original titled 'This Is Your Mind Speaking' recorded as a demo for Carl Wayne's "Penny Music" publishing venture in 1968. This track will be of much interest to fans of The Move and ELO as it includes Carl on backing vocal and Trevor Burton on bass guitar/backing vocal as well as Dave Morgan and Richard Tandy both contributing on guitar. Two more Steve Gibbons compositions 'All That Glitters' and 'Speakly Weekly' feature the later line-up of the Uglys - only this time with original drummer Jim Holden instead of Keith Smart.

The tracks 'Love & Best Wishes' and 'Morning' (both Dave Morgan originals) are from rare BBC sessions recorded during 1968 at Walker Hall in Edgbaston. The line-up of the band for these sessions was Steve Gibbons (lead vocal); Will Hammond (lead guitar, vocal); Dave Morgan (rhythm guitar, vocal); Jimmy O'Neill (bass); and Jim Holden on drums. Other BBC tracks included here are covers of Moby Grape's 'Hey Grandma' and Eddie Cochrane's 'Summertime Blues'.

These, along with the other BBC tracks are probably the closest most of us will get to hearing what a 1968 Uglys performance sounded like. They are certainly performed with an exciting raw energy and some have an almost "garage punk" feel to them - especially 'Summertime Blues' to which Will Hammond delivers the kind of blistering guitar solo that Jimmy Page would make famous within the next couple of years. Another worthy cover by The Uglys was Arthur Lee's 'She Comes In Colours' as originally performed by Love.

The collection includes an alternate recording of 'Mary Colinto' - this time with lead vocal by the song's composer Dave Morgan. This version, though obviously a demo, sounds far more like The Move than the previous one - hardly surprising really when considering both Carl Wayne (vocal, tambourine) and Trevor Burton (bass guitar, vocal) also participated on this track. Note also Keith Smart's drumming which sounds more like Keith Moon on this recording. 'Ill Wind That Blows', also by Dave Morgan, is a real gem as it features some slide guitar as played by the Move's Roy Wood who also contributes some backing vocals to this plaintive composition.

The final listed track on the CD is Steve Gibbons 'Roses In The Rain' demo from 1967 which reportedly attracted the attention of no less than Graham Nash from The Hollies. A proposed new recording deal did not go as far as planned due to Nash's condition that The Uglys change their name to "Yellow Balloon" but fortunately the group, especially Steve Gibbons, decided against it. This final cut on the CD is shortly followed by a "hidden" track but I won't spoil the surprise by saying what it is!

In conclusion, The Complete Ugly's - The Quiet Explosion lives up to the high standards we have come to expect from the Sanctuary Records re-issues. Fans of The Uglys, Steve Gibbons, Fairport Convention, The Move or ELO will certainly be interested in getting this and the package makes a solid addition to the collection of anyone who collects Brum bands or 1960s U.K. psychedelic pop.
by John R Woodhouse, 2004
Tracks
1. Wake Up My Mind (Bob Burnett, Jim Holden, Steve Gibbons) - 2:48
2. Ugly Blues (Bob Burnett, Jim Holden, Steve Gibbons) - 3:00
3. It's Alright (Bob Burnett, Jim Holden, Jimmy O'Neil) - 2:14
4. A Friend (Bob Burnett, Jimmy O'Neil) - 2:13
5. A Good Idea (Bob Burnett, Jim Holden, Steve Gibbons) - 2:52
6. The Quiet Explosion (Bob Burnett, Jim Holden, Jimmy O'Neil, Steve Gibbons) - 2:38
7. End Of The Season (Ray Davies) - 2:54
8. Can't Recall Her Name (Dave Pegg, Jim Holden, Roger Hill, Steve Gibbons) - 2:38
9. And The Squire Blew His Horn (Jimmy O'Neill, Steve Gibbons) - 3:34
10.Real Good Girl (Jimmy O'Neill, Steve Gibbons) - 3:02
11.I've Seen The Light (Dave Morgan) - 3:35
12.Mary Colinto (Dave Morgan) - 3:02
13.This Is Your Mind Speaking (Steve Gibbons) - 2:14
14.Love And Best Wishes (Dave Morgan) - 2:57
15.Morning (Dave Morgan) - 3:00
16.All That Glitters (Steve Gibbons) - 3:07
17.Hey Grandma (Don Stevenson, Jerry Miller) - 3:06
18.Speakly Weekly (Steve Gibbons) - 3:07
19.Summertime Blues (Eddie Cochran, Jerry Capehart) - 2:46
20.She Comes In Colours (Arthur Lee) - 2:59
21.Mary Colinto (Alternative Version) (Dave Morgan) - 3:00
22.Ill Wind That Blows (Dave Morgan) - 2:26
23.Roses In The Rain (Steve Gibbons) - 5:32
Tracks 15, 17, 19 BBC Sessions

The Uglys
*Steve Gibbons - Lead Vocal, Harmonica
*Bob Burnett - Guitar (Left In 1966)
*John Gordon - Organ (Left In 1965)
*Jim Holden - Drums (Left In 1968)
*John Hustwayte - Bass Guitar (Left In 1966)
*Roger Hill - Guitar, Vocal (Joined In 1966 Left In 1967)
*Jimmy O'Neil - Piano, Organ, Bass Guitar (Joined In 1965 - Left In 1968)
*Dave Pegg - Bass Guitar, Vocal (Joined In 1966 - Left In 1967)
*Will Hammond - Guitar, Vocal (Joined In 1967)
*Dave Morgan - Bass Guitar, Vocal (Joined In 1967)
*Keith Smart - Drums (Joined In 1968)
*Richard Tandy - Guitar, Keyboards (Joined In 1968)

Related Act
1976  The Steve Gibbons Band - Any Road Up 
1977  The Steve Gibbons Band - Rollin' On 

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Monday, August 3, 2020

Mungo Jerry - Gold (1970-74 uk, a fine bag of folk jug roots 'n roll and glam rock, 2019 three disc remaster)



Led by the heroically sideburned Ray Dorset, Mungo Jerry rose to overnight fame with their debut single, 1970's "In the Summertime," a loose-limbed celebration of the carefree summer months set to a rollicking acoustic accompaniment that invoked the sounds of skiffle and jug band music in its playful approach to the blues. "In the Summertime" would become and remain their signature song, but it was also the basis for a long and successful career for Dorset, who continued to tour and record under the Mungo Jerry banner half-a-century after the band made their debut. The playful acoustic sound of that effort would give way to a more full-bodied approach on 1971's You Don't Have to Be in the Army and 1972's Boot Power, and tougher electric arrangements would dominate 1976's Impala Saga and 1977's Lovin' in the Alleys, Fightin' in the Streets. But the playful, good-time spirit of Mungo Jerry would almost always shine through, even on latter-day experiments like 2001's Candy Dreams, which featured several electronic reggae tracks, and the rockabilly leanings of 2007's Naked - From the Heart.

Mungo Jerry were formed in 1970 by singer/guitarist Ray Dorset, who was fascinated with early rock & roll sounds, as well as skiffle and blues. The other original members were Mike Cole on upright bass; Paul King on guitar, kazoo, and jug; Joe Rush on washboard; and Colin Earl on keyboards. Dorset and Earl had first hooked up in the Good Earth, a group with a mixed rock & roll and blues sound that cut some tracks for the mid-priced Saga label, none of which sold. Cole, King, and Rush came aboard, and the Mungo lineup was complete. The name Mungo Jerry -- from a T.S. Eliot poem -- came next, along with a contract from Pye Records.

The quartet had a pleasing, low-key jug band sound, folk-like but also bluesy, which was unusual at a time when most British bands into the blues were shooting for high-wattage virtuosity. They sounded less like Cream or Blind Faith and a lot more like Jesse Fuller or Tampa Red. Mungo Jerry became one of the very first acts placed on Pye's new Dawn Records imprint, a progressive label that was intended to update Pye's image. In May of 1970, following an appearance at the Newcastle Hollywood Festival, their debut single "In the Summertime," written by Ray Dorset, was released. An easygoing, catchy skiffle-like piece reflecting the mood of the season in its title was an instant hit, shooting to number one in England in only two weeks and riding the charts for much of the summer. Concerts and television appearances followed in profusion. The song was a Top Ten hit in America, riding the charts for weeks, and was a success in practically every country in which it was released, ultimately selling between eight and 16 million copies around the world. 

A self-titled debut album was rush-released to capitalize on the hit. By the time the LP was recorded, washboard player Rush was gone, and Cole had left by the time the record was issued, departures that started a dizzying series of personnel changes. The group's second single, "Baby Jump," was a chart-topper in England but didn't fare as well overseas; the song heralded a second album, Electronically Tested, which was followed by a third, You Don't Have to Be in the Army, that same year with a parallel U.S. release, Memoirs of a Stockbroker (issued by Janus Records). "Maggie," "Johnny B Badde," "Mighty Man," "Lady Rose," and "You Don't Have to Be in the Army to Fight in the War" all charted in England and got decent, if not spectacular, airplay at various other points around the globe.

The membership of Mungo Jerry began coming apart almost from the outset of their success. Cole, who was replaced by John Godfrey, led to the exodus of King and Earl, although their exit was somewhat more acrimonious. They attempted to take the name Mungo Jerry, but Dorset, as the singer, guitarist, and songwriter, held onto the handle. Instead, King and Earl cut solo albums for Pye and went on the road as the King Earl Boogie Band, with former bandmate Rush in the lineup. Meanwhile, Dorset recruited keyboard player Jon Pope and drummer Tim Reeves for Mungo Jerry.

Essentially, from 1972 onward, Dorset was Mungo Jerry, much in the same way that Ian Anderson was Jethro Tull in the eyes of his fans. Drummer Paul Hancox (ex-Chicken Shack), bassist (and future Ozzy Osbourne alumnus) Bob Daisley, and keyboard man John Cook passed through, as did piano player Ian Milne and guitarist Dick Middleton, and that was just during the band's time on Pye through 1975.

2019 saw the release of Gold, an ambitious three-CD, 45-track box set that included all of Mungo Jerry's U.K. hits of the '70s, as well as a bonus 15-track LP pressed on gold-colored vinyl. 
by Bruce Eder
Tracks
Disc 1
1. In The Summertime - 3:35
2. Mighty Man - 4:48
3. Johnny B.Badde - 3:07
4. Sad Eyed Joe (Paul King) - 2:53
5. Maggie - 4:14
6. See Me - 3:58
7. My Friend - 2:40
8. Santo Antonio Santo Francisco (Paolo Conte, Vito Pallavicini) - 2:57
9. Baby Jump - 4:13
10.The Man Behind The Piano (Paul King) - 3:26 
11.Lady Rose (Single Version) - 3:12
12.Have A Whiff On Me (Traditional) - 3:58
13.Somebody Stole My Wife - 2:59
14.She Rowed - 3:19
15.Follow Me Down -3:23 
All songs by Ray Dorset except where stated
Disc 2
1. You Don't Have To Be In The Army To Fight In The War - 3:14
2. Memoirs Of A Stockbroker - 4:09
3. You Better Leave That Whisky Alone - 4:04
4. The Sun Is Shining - 3:40
5. Take Me Back (Traditional) - 3:27 
6. Northcote Arms - 3:16 
7. There's A Man Going Round Taking Names (Traditional) - 3:09 
8. Simple Thing - 3:53
9. On A Sunday - 3:19
10.We Shall Be Free (Traditional) - 3:00 
11.Open Up (Single Version) - 3:25
12.Going Back Home - 2:18
13.I Don't Wanna Go Back To School - 4:01
14.My Girl And Me (Single Version) - 3:00
15.No Girl Reaction - 4:37
All compositions  by Ray Dorset except where noted
Disc 3
1. Summer's Gone - 3:40
2. 46 And On (Single Version) - 3:20
3. She's Gone - 5:25
4. Lookin' For My Girl - 4:23
5. Alright Alright Alright (Jacques Dutronc, Jacques Lanzmann, Joe Strange) - 2:50
6. Little Miss Hipshake (Barry Murray) - 2:37
7. Wild Love - 3:17
8. Glad I'm A Rocker - 2:52
9. Long Legged Woman Dressed In Black - 2:54
10.Gonna Bop Till I Drop - 2:58
11.All Dressed Up And No Place To Go - 2:06
12.Shake Till I Break - 1:04
13.Don't Stop - 2:32
14.Too Fast To Live And Too Young To Die - 1:46
15.Say Goodnight - 4:04
All tracks  by Ray Dorset except where indicated

Mungo Jerry
*Ray Dorset - Guitar, Percussion, Vocals
*Mike Cole - Bass
*Colin Earl - Piano, Vocals
*Paul King - Banjo, Guitar, Vocals
*John Godfrey - Bass
*Jon Pope - Keyboards
*Tim Reeves - Drums
*Paul Hancox - Drums
*Bob Daisley - Bass
*John Cook - Keyboards
*Ian Milne - Piano
*Dick Middleton - Guitar

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Sunday, August 2, 2020

Mighty Joe Young - Blues With A Touch Of Soul (1970 us, spectacular electric cihicago blues with horn section)



Mighty Joe Young, longtime sideman for Magic Sam, leads his own 1970 session on Blues With A Touch Of Soul (Delmark DD-629; 43:18). With Dawkins on second guitar and John “Big Moose” Walker on piano and organ, Young turns in urgent and earthy renditions of Albert King’s “I Walked All Night,” Guitar Slim’s “The Things I Used To Do” and Bill Doggett’s instrumental classic “Honky Tonk.” But he digs deepest here on the slow blues, “Somebody Loan Me A Dime.”

This was Mighty Joe Young’s first LP. Fellow Delmark recording artist Jimmy Dawkins wrote the original LP notes and said “Young is one of the Midwest’s most gifted and conclusive guitarists and certainly Chicago’s best.” Mighty Joe was very active in the 60’s with his own career and as session player; he recorded with Magic Sam on the two classic Delmark albums West Side Soul and Black Magic, with Willie Dixon for Columbia and on Tyrone Davis’ million-seller “Can I Change My Mind.” Similar to Magic Sam’s albums, the music is sound of 60’s soul .

Mighty Joe Young was born as Joseph Young Jr. in September 23, 1927 and passed away on March 24, 1999.
Tracks
1. I Walked All Night (Mighty Joe Young) - 3:06
2. Somebody Loan Me A Dime (Fenton Robinson) - 10:40
3. Every Man Needs A Woman (Mighty Joe Young) - 8:24
4. Why, Baby? (Mighty Joe Young) - 5:36
5. Things I Used To Do (Eddie Jones) - 3:50
6. Got A Bad Case Of Loving You (Mighty Joe Young) - 5:50
7. Honky Tonk (Bill Doggett, Billy Butler) - 5:23

Musicians
*Mighty Joe Young - Guitar, Vocals
*Jimmy Dawkins - Guitar
*Sylvester Boines - Bass
*Hezekiah Roby - Drums
*John "Big Moose" Walker* - Organ, Piano
*Dennis Lansing - Tenor Saxophone
*Jordan Sandke - Trumpet

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