lördag 30 juli 2011

Dreammakers: Les Baroques

Les Baroques "Working On A Tsjing-Tsjang / Dreammaker" Whamm 1967
Some people say that Holland band Les Baroques stopped making good records when original lead singer Gary O'Shannon (real name Gerard Shoenaker) left the group for military service in September 1966 and replacement vocalist Michel van Dijk joined instead. And true, the group never was the same without O'Shannon (even if i think van Dijk was a pretty good singer, actually), except for on this single.
'Working On A Tsjing Tsjang' features some nice acid rock guitar and savage, tortured vocals from van Dijk. Just one thing, isn't it meant to be "Chain gang"? Anyhow, the flip, Dreammaker, sounds like a somewhat blues-influenced pop song with some nice, slow keyboards that reminds me of The Pink Floyd's 'See Emily Play'. Now, my question is, is it about drugs? Listening to the spoken lyrics in the end, it sounds very much like van Dijk describes an LSD trip.

And i would also like to share some nice pictures of the group i found while just floating around on the internet some weeks ago.

Very early Baroques pic, probably late '64-early '65.
Promo shot, 1965.

Promo card for the "Such A Cad / Summerbeach" 45, 1965

Les Baroques rocking in 1965

Les Baroques rocking in 1965/66

Ad for the "I Know / She's Mine" 45, 1966

In the park with new vocalist Michel van Dijk, 1966

Backstage in late '66/early '67

Photo session, 1967

Without guitarists Hans van Emden and Frank Muyser; with new guitarist
Ferdy Karmelk, 1968. Around this time Les Baroques began falling apart.
Working On A Tsjing-Tsjang


(ignore the weird promo clips)

fredag 29 juli 2011

Austrian Psych Beat(!): The Charles Ryders Corporation

The Charles Ryders Corporation: "White Flames / Happy Day" Decca 1968
What a week it's been. Anyhow, let's have some Austrian psych beat to cheer us up! The Charles Ryders Corporation came from Wien, Austria and released two brill 45's in 1968, this one being the first. The A side, 'White Flames', is a great piece of fuzz with spoken, poetic lyrics, and in some way it reminds me of Cuby & The Blizzards. 

The flip, 'Happy Day', is a pretty charming, moody, soul-influenced pop song, which reminds me of The Mockingbirds' 'Lovingly Yours' or A Band Of Angels' 'Accept My Invitation'. Anyway, the guitar work makes the song a little more like a garage-pop track. 

White Flames

Happy Day

Excerpt of the group performing 'Happy Day' in Austrian 1968 mindf*ck movie 'Schamlos'.

fredag 8 juli 2011

The Wheels: Belfast Beat

Victor Catling, Rod Demick, Brian Rossi, Tito Tinsley, Herbie Armstrong

If you think that Van Morrison's Them were the only great beat group from Belfast in the 60's then you are terribly wrong. These guys, The Wheels (The Wheel-A-Ways in the US to avoid confusion with Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels), maybe released much less material than Them but they're just as great anyway! The group also had a strong relation to Them: The Wheels covered some of Them's material and Van Morrison even was a member in their very early days and plays sax at some recordings!

The Wheels formed in 1964, and had previously been playing under the name The Golden Eagles. In '65 The Wheels got a record deal with EMI Columbia, and released their debut, a cover of Them's 'Gloria' and a cover of Tommy Scott's 'Don't You Know' as B-side (which Them also would cover). 'Gloria' starts in the same tempo as Them's version, and then gets a little more up-tempo towards the end. 

In February 1966 they released their second and greatest single, 'Bad Little Woman', b/w 'Road Block', two self-penned songs. Both songs are very Them-esque songs, and 'Bad Little Woman' was later covered by The Shadows Of Knight.

The Wheels released another single in 1966, 'Kicks' b/w 'Call My Name'. Both songs are strong covers (Paul Revere & The Raiders and Them). This was the group's last single and The Wheels split up in 1967.

Brian Rossi passed away way too early in 1984.

Below is a tribute video to Brian Rossi by his daughter Tamara Rossi; it features some interesting pictures of The Wheels.

torsdag 7 juli 2011

Psychedelic favourites: The Sound Express - The Sound Express (Anette Records, 1969)

So, i got bored while having summer vacation. I'm back. And now, i'm going to write about Sweden's best jazz/prog/psych duo from the 60's (along with Hansson & Karlsson): The Sound Express.

Coming from the small, Swedish town Vänersborg and still do a fairly non-commercial LP in the 60's was actually a minor achievement. The album "The Sound Express" was also elected to the Swedish debut album of the year in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. As the instrumentation and titles suggests another Hansson & Karlsson. The duo Tillbjörn Persson and Ingemar Landén started playing Beatles influenced pop in the middle of the 60's. The group called themselves Tilles which was later changed to the more British sounding Tiles. The group came to the final in the contest "The West Coast's Beatles" 1965. Tiles split up in 1967 and Persson and Landén changed their style. They would call themselves the, to say the least, pretentious Regis Gotorum (The kings of Götaland (Götaland is a Swedish landscape, where Vänersborg is located)), but fortuneately they came up with a better name. A contract with the label Anette was obtained. The label was driven by  Einar Svensson, drummer of the Swedish group The Cool Candys.
The Sound Express split up in the early 70's and Tillbjörn Persson did start making more commercial music by being a member of The Cool Candys and another Swedish group called Säwes. He has also been a session man and arranger on around 40 albums. On later years, he has become the principal on a music school. Ingemar Landén educated himself to a teacher in Gothenburg, but also continued making music with the Jazz group Olle Bäver and Frölunda Big Band. He also became percussion manager for Vänersborg's City Band and started an own percussion orchestra in Gothenburg.

måndag 4 juli 2011

RIP Alan Weir

2011 seems to be a bad year for Scotland's The Poets. In May i wrote about the departure of their guitarist Hume Paton. Now, i am sad to say that i've newly heard that the Poets drummer Alan Weir died of cancer in Cambridge on June 9, also at the age of 66.

Alan Weir behind the drums. Also newly departed poet Hume Paton on
12-string guitar, far left.

Alan Weir 1944-2011