Friday, December 31, 2010

Merry Christmas! С Новым Годом! Happy New Year!


We wish you happiness, good luck and prosperity on New Year!
May all your dreams come true!
Happy days to you and your family! 
Good health
much happiness throughout the year.
Have a good holydays !
With Christmas Greetings and all 
Good Wishes for the New Year.

Jancy and Dmitrich

Excuse me for the long silence but I have urgent business in another city.
See you next year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Connie Francis - Christmas in my Heart

Here's wishing you more happiness
Than all my words can tell,
Not just alone for New Years Eve
But for all the year as well.

01 - White Christmas
02 - Winter Wonderland
03 - The Christmas Song
04 - I'll Be Home for Christmas
05 - The Twelve Days of Christmas
06 - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
07 - Adeste Fideles
08 - The Lord's Prayer
09 - Silent Night
10 - O Little Town of Bethlehem
11 - The First Noel
12 - Ave Maria

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Hollies - Carnival Show In Mainz feb 23rd 1982

Mainz is a city in Germany and the capital of the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinat.The Hollies played a big carnival show in Mainz on Feb 23rd 1982. It was one of the very first Hollies shows with Alan Coates.

The Hollies 23.2.1982 Mainz SWF3 Fassnacht Festival

01 - I Can't Let Go
02 - Just One Look
03 - Another Night
04 - Sandie
05 - Bus Stop
06 - Draggin My Heels
07 - Write On
08 - Something Ain't Right
09 - Medley
10 - Take My Love And Run
11 - King Midas In Revers
12 - Too Young To Be Married
13 - On A Carousel
14 - Carrie Ann
15 - The Air That I Breathe

01 - Soldier Song
02 - He Ain't Heavy
03 - Blowin In The Wind
04 - Johnny B. Good
05 - Long Cool Woman

The Kinks - BBC Chronicles

"The Kinks' truly live performances for the BBC between 1964-77; although many more songs were aired, these were usually the studio records with maybe re-recorded vocals. The years covered span the peak of their career from an artistic point of view, and most of their big hits from the time "

The heart of the Kinks beats hardest in brothers Ray Davies and Dave Davies, founder members and creative drivers. They formed the band in 1963 with Peter Quaife and Mick Avory and it took only three single releases until they released the seminal “You Really Got Me”: a noisy, rousing anthem for a generation. Their fourth single “All Day and All of the Night”, proved that this band were a keeper. Their first album was The Kinks, released in 1965.
They toured extensively and wildly, managing to get themselves banned from the US in 1965. This marked a change in Davies’ writing style, resulting in “Sunny Afternoon”, the landmark hit single in 1966 from The Kink Kontroversy album. Face to Face continued the progression of the band’s style, and Something Else by the Kinks (1967) was hugely acclaimed. They went one better with the concept album Village Green Preservation Society, a nostalgic look at the traditional values of the English countryside, which was loved by critics even though it didn't sell well.
In 1969 Peter Quaife was replaced by John Dalton, and the band released another classic album, the rock opera Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire). Also in this year, the US ban was lifted and they were finally able to tour in America.

The album Lola Versus Powerman and the Money-Go-Round, Part One was their most commercially successful so far, and their popularity in the US soared. Although a new five-album deal with RCA failed to help them recapture their earlier glories, they were sufficiently successful to maintain their momentum in the US and the UK.
The early 70s saw the Kinks dabble in rock opera with Preservation Act 1 (1973),Preservation Act 2 (1974), Soap Opera (1975) and The Kinks Present Schoolboys in Disgrace (1976).
In 1976 the band returned to rock and released Sleepwalker and MisfitsLow Budget(1979) was their hardest rocking LP yet and led to their biggest US success to date.
By 1984 the bubble had burst and the band entered a period of decline, although they continued to release albums. A revival of interest was sparked in the mid 90s, though this was more to do with the influence that their early years had on new generations of musicians.

01 - You Really Got Me
02 - All Day And All Of The Night
03 - Tired Of Waiting
04 - See My Friends
05 - This Strange Effect
06 - Well Respected Man
07 - Till The End Of The Day
08 - Where Have All The Good Times Gone
09 - Autumn Almanac
10 - Sunny Afternoon
11 - Mr. Pleasant
12 - Susannah's Still Alive
13 - David Watts
14 - Love Me Till The Sun Shines
15 - Death Of A Clown
16 - Good Luck Charm
17 - Got My Feet On The Ground
18 - All Aboard

Monday, December 13, 2010

Beach Boys - Christmas Album (1964)

While it may seem rather incongruous for the definitive voices of summertime to tackle the music of the holiday season, The Beach Boys' Christmas Album succeeds brilliantly; Brian Wilson's pop genius is well suited to classic Yuletide fare, and the group delivers lush performances of standards ranging from "Frosty the Snowman" to "White Christmas" as well as more contemporary material like "The Man With All the Toys" and "Blue Christmas."  
The Musicians
Al Jardine - guitar, vocals
Mike Love - vocals
Brian Wilson - bass guitar, vocals
Carl Wilson - guitar, vocals
Dennis Wilson - drums, vocals 

The Beach Boys' Christmas Album is a Christmas album by The Beach Boys, released on November 16, 1964. Containing five original songs and seven standards, the album proved to be a long-running success during subsequent Christmas seasons, initially reaching #6 in the US Christmas album chart in its year of release and eventually going gold.
Of the original songs, "Little Saint Nick" was already famous, having been a hit single the year before. "The Man with All the Toys" was another hit during Christmastime 1964. "Christmas Day" is noteworthy for being the first Beach Boys song to feature a lead vocal from Al Jardine.
While leader Brian Wilson produced and arranged the "rock" songs, he left it to Dick Reynolds (an arranger of The Four Freshmen, a group Wilson idolized) to arrange the orchestral backings on the traditional songs to which The Beach Boys would apply their vocals.

VA - A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector

“A Christmas Gift for You From Phil Spector stands as inarguably the greatest Christmas record of all time. Spector believed he could produce a record for the holidays that would capture not only the essence of the Christmas spirit, but also be a pop masterpiece that would stand against any work these artists had already done. He succeeded on every level, with all four groups/singers recording some of their most memorable performances. This is the Christmas album by which all later holiday releases had to be judged, and it has inspired a host of imitators.” 

Featuring Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" in its prime and his early stable of artists, the Ronettes, Crystals, Darlene Love, and Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, A Christmas Gift for You From Phil Spector stands as inarguably the greatest Christmas record of all time. Spector believed he could produce a record for the holidays that would capture not only the essence of the Christmas spirit, but also be a pop masterpiece that would stand against any work these artists had already done. He succeeded on every level, with all four groups/singers recording some of their most memorable performances. This is the Christmas album by which all later holiday releases had to be judged, and it has inspired a host of imitators.

1. Darlene Love - White Christmas (2:56)
2. The Ronettes - Frosty the Snowman (2:20)
3. Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans - The Bells of St. Mary (2:59)
4. The Crystals - Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town (3:28)
5. The Ronettes - Sleigh Ride (3:06)
6. Darlene Love - Marshmallow World (2:27)
7. The Ronettes - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (2:41)
8. The Crystals - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (2:34)
9. Darlene Love - Winter Wonderland (2:30)
10. The Crystals - Parade of the Wooden Soldiers (2:58)
11. Darlene Love - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) (2:50)
12. Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans - Here Comes Santa Claus (2:07)
13. Phil Spector and Artists - Silent Night (2:10)

Brenda Lee - Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

Brenda Lee's Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree includes the festive title track and a mix of classic holiday tunes, including "Winter Wonderland," "Silver Bells," "White Christmas," and "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." Unique Christmas and winter tunes like "Christy Christmas," "A Marshmallow World," "Strawberry Snow," and "I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus" round out this happy holiday collection.

If Brenda Lee had not recorded "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" in 1958, the holidays would not quite be the same. But for those who think that Lee's Christmas repertoire begins and ends with that beloved tune, they need to put this disc on their wish list. The Decca Christmas Recordings is a charming collection of Lee's holiday work, both known and obscure. And the range is fairly compelling. Moving from the lovably offbeat sentiments of the bayou-influenced "Papa Noel" and the angry child's take on the fat man "I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus" to more somber fare such as "Christmas Will Be Just Another Lonely Day," and the peculiar "Strawberry Snow," Lee's unforgettable vocal style leaves a perfect imprint. Her little hiccup-tinged singing voice is a hallmark of the season, making this 18-track set a true gift. --Martin Keller

The Librettos - Let's Go With The Librettos (1964/65 ) New Zealand;Australia


The Librettos were, at one point in the mid-'60s, the top rock & roll group in New Zealand -- a status they deserved based on their recordings, which were among the hardest-rocking sides of this era to come out of New Zealand or their transplanted home, Australia. And at least one of their members, Brian Peacock, went on to an international career that took him all the way to England. The band was formed in 1962 at Rongotai College in Wellington, where all five of the original members -- Roger Simpson (vocals, piano), Rod Stone (lead guitar), Paul Griffin (bass), Johnny England (guitar), and Gordon Jenkins (drums) -- attended school. They built a reputation locally in Wellington, at dances and the like, before their first breakthrough, a residency at a club called Teenarama -- the latter became to Wellington's (and New Zealand's) rock & roll community something akin to what the Cavern was in Liverpool and the 2I's was in London, a mecca for audiences seeking good music and managers and producers seeking worthwhile talent. The band gained a huge fandom in 1963, though they did lose their original drummer, Gordon Jenkins, who was replaced by Dave Diver late that year. And they were soon spotted by Kevan Moore, a television producer who installed them as the house band on his weekly program, Let's Go, a kind of pop/rock showcase aimed at younger viewers.

They lost rhythm guitarist Johnny England a little later, and he was succeeded by Lou Parun, who had already recorded four singles under his own name. And Paul Griffin left and was succeeded by Brian Peacock on bass, formerly with a band called the Downbeats. And with the departure of Roger Simpson later in 1964, this left the Librettos as a quartet, of which lead guitarist Rod Stone was the only original member. This configuration was leaner and punchier, mixing the British beat sound that they were hearing on records coming in from England and Australia with American R&B. The group got a recording contract in 1964 with the EMI label imprint HMV and debuted with "Funny Things" b/w "I'll Send It Your Way," followed by "Young Blood" b/w "That's Alright with Me" a few months later. "Baby It's Love" b/w "Great Balls of Fire" was released in late 1964, and "It's Alright" b/w "Walkin' the Dog" appeared in 1965. And amid that string of four singles, they also issued their first and only LP in 1964, Let's Go with the Librettos. That record has a pleasingly raw, crunchy garage band sound to it, reminiscent of the early Kinks. They also got to appear with Roy Orbison and the Rolling Stones when they toured New Zealand, and shared a bill with Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs, one of the top rock & roll bands in Australia. 

The Librettos realized by the start of 1965 that they'd gone as far as they could in New Zealand and turned their sights toward Australia. They turned down another season of Let's Go and headed to Sydney, where they found a thriving -- and also almost impossibly competitive -- band scene. Dave Diver went back to New Zealand, to be replaced by Craig Collinge, and the band soldiered on, releasing a single of "Great Balls of Fire" b/w "Twilight Time" in the spring of 1965. Another single, "Ella Speed" b/w "I Want Your Love," followed in the fall of that year, which was only issued in New Zealand. Gradually, they broke through to a serious fandom and began separating themselves from the competition, and even managed to return home to New Zealand every so often to huge audiences. Meanwhile, back in Australia, they left HMV for the Sunshine label, through which they released "I Cry" b/w "She's a Go-Go." Both that record and a follow-up, "Rescue Me" b/w "What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For," failed to chart. 

By 1966, Parun had returned to New Zealand, and the Librettos decided to continue as a trio. They also relocated to Melbourne and recorded the single "Kicks" b/w "Whatcha Gonna Do About It," which proved to be their swan song. Peacock and Stone were offered spots in the Playboys, the backing band for Normie Rowe, who was getting ready for a British tour, and that was it for the Librettos. Their final recording, "It's Loving Time," cut in the summer of 1966, wasn't even issued, and remained in the vaults until 1997. Brian Peacock later formed Procession, while Rod Stone became part of a late-'60s band called the Groove, and was still active in music at the start of the 21st century. Meanwhile, the Librettos' music was unearthed in a CD compilation, which included most of their recorded output, released by EMI in 1997. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

It was rough, raw and alive and oh so electric and chances are if you were a New Zealand teenager in late 1964 and it was Tuesday night your television would likely be tuned to it. There in front of your eyes would be a tall blond compere in impeccable suit saying: “Hi there, this is Pete Sinclair, once again, Let’s Go with the Librettos...” followed by an brisk attack of handclaps and insistent Brian Peacock bass then a surge of Rod Stone surf guitar as the sharp suited Librettos paced out The Ventures’ song and theme music of the hot Wellington-based TV music show. 

Like the show, Let’s Go, The Librettos were young, raw and oh so electric peddling a hot new sound in a hot new medium.

The Librettos - master guitarist Rod Stone, singer and guitarist Lou Parun, bassist Brian Peacock and drummer Dave Diver - were already Wellington’s top groupfast taking off to national fame after a spot on a well-received national tour with Billy J Kramer and The Dakotas and Cilla Black in 1964 and a string of consistently well attended shows around Wellington, and at Teenarama, the hot teenage dancehall of the era.    

The years of struggle around Wellington were paying off. The rock n roll band with the operatic name had been there at the beginnings of the group sound in New Zealand having been formed in 1962 by singer Roger Simpson, pianist Dave Clark, guitarists Rod Stone and Johnny England, Paul Griffin (bass) and Gordon Jenkins (drums). When Jenkins departed he was replaced in December 1963 by a young opportunistic Christchurch drummer, Dave Diver, late of The Tempest and The Secrets who’d approached Rod Stone and Ian Dawson to offer his services during a brief stint in Wellington.    

Johnny England, reluctant to go fulltime, left next eventually releasing Jezebel/ Linda Lu as Johnny England and The Titans (The Premiers incognito) and joining The Verse 5 in the late 1960s. He was replaced by solo singer Lou Parun, a veteran of four solo singles for Lexian Records (some backed by The Librettos). Rod Stone also released a solo single on Lexian (although Stone says it was effectively an early lineup Librettos release) - Skye Boat Song/ Friendly Persuasion.      

Much to the concern of Dave Diver (who could see the band he’d moved to Wellington for disbanding) The Librettos lost a talented bass player in Paul Griffin. In came Brian Peacock, late of Nelson’s Downbeats, and they gained a strong stage presence and eventually a songwriter. With Peacock came a change in sound with more beat and R & B songs finding their way into The Librettos’ sets.       

The classic Librettos line-up was now complete - their sound plugged in the fast flowing current of pop. They edged past rivals, The Premiers, as the top Wellington group, confidence brimming,  and manager Ian Dawson (of  Dawson-Cooper Associates) arranged an audition at EMI Records. The Librettos were quickly signed to HMV Records and Castle Publishing. A boon for the band as the previous line-up had been turned down. Through 1964 into 1965, The Librettos, cut four singles at EMI studios with engineer Frank Douglas - Funny Things, Young Blood, the minor hit Baby, It’s Love, a much requested live favourite, and one of Peacock and Stone’s best compositions, and It’s Alright.  An album, Let’s Go With The Librettos, chock full of six Stone and Peacock originals (notably I’m Gonna Say Yeah and I’m A Dog)  appeared in February 1965.      

Overexposed in New Zealand, The Librettos with manager Ian Dawson, moved to Sydney in March 1965 after turning down a second series of Let’s Go. With no contacts outside the EMI/ HMV link, The Librettos started the graft again. They were sacked from the Sylvania Hotel after three nights for playing too much Beatles/ mod style music and after that scrambled for work taking part-time jobs as they searched for a break in the developing Sydney teen scene where they were competing with hundreds of simarly hungry groups.   

Dawson’s dubious managerial doings and the hard times got to Dave Diver who headed home in September 1965 to briefly join The Countdowns and the embryonic Avengers before settling back home in Christchurch’s Five Degrees. His replacement was young Aussie Craig Collinge who was studying at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.     

The Librettos eventually landed a spot at a dive called the Sound Lounge in Kings Cross followed by a spell at the notorious Suzie Wong’s where they replaced theequally notorious Missing Links.    

In September 1965, The Librettos entered EMI’s Sydney studio to record Ella Speed, a Leadbelly blues, backed with the Stone and Peacock original, I Want Your Love, for October release in New Zealand and Australia. Their only previous Australian release being a coupling of their New Zealand-recorded Great Balls of Fire and Twilight Time.     

By November, The Librettos were starting to make some impact in Sydney picking up work at The Bowl, one of promoter Ivan Dayman’s chain of teen clubs - playing there three shows a day - and on one of Dayman’s package tours of Sunshine artists (from his booking company and record label) backing fellow Kiwi Jim McNaught, Marcie Jones, Peter Doyle and Graeme Chapman and playing their own set on athe one night stand tour around country New South Wales and Victoria that seemed to run for months.        

Back home to refresh their coffers and visit loved ones over the 1965 to 1966 holiday break ,The Librettos, with newcomer Craig Collinge in tow returned to a high profile New Zealand welcome playing the holiday season at the YMCA in Nelson before venturing as far south as Christchurch. They paused long enough to play packed home town shows in Wellington and be acknowledged New Zealand’s Best Group of 1965 then turned their attention to Australia again.    

Going back to Australia after two failed singles and a low profile previous visit, albiet, one which included appearances on the national Sing Sing Sing show presented by Johnny O’Keefe, Saturday Date, Ten on the Town and TV Tonight took guts but it was a punt that would pay.    

Dayman had offered them the chance to record for his Sunshine label (home of stable mate Normie Rowe) with accomplished producer Pat Aulton. Ian Dawson had an idea for their first Sunshine single - go go girls - they were hip - write a song about them. Stone and Peacock came up with She’s A Go Go for  the flipside to the unimpressive I Cried. The single flopped as did the follow-up; a version of Fontella Bass’s Rescue Me.   

Lou Parun had had enough. He quit in April 1966, leaving the music industry for good. Peacock took over lead vocals as The Librettos looked for a keyboard player to replace Parun. None could be found. By then the group were enjoying the three piece line-up and honing a more progressive/ experimental sound and gathering a small following, especially among musicians, in their new base Melbourne. 

Stone: “By the time we ended up in Melbourne as a three piece, we played old blues stuff and R & B things. It was very enjoyable but it didn’t make us a lot of money.”   

They’d drifted to Melbourne, Australia’s rock capital, for its plentiful venues and active band scene. It was there they had their greatest recording success. The Librettos’ final Australian single was a hot take of Paul Revere and The Raiders’ US hit, Kicks, backed with R & B raver What Cha Gonna Do...”  which garnered some good airplay in Melbourne but again failed to sell.   

When mate Normie Rowe asked Brian Peacock then Rod Stone if they wanted to join his ace backing band The Playboys for an assault on the British pop scene; The Librettos ceased to be. They played their last show at weekly gig, Pinnochios, in August 1966. A final recording, taped at Festival in Sydney, It’s Loving Time - a stab at a Righteous Brothers-style epic ballad - remained unreleased.  

Normie Rowe bombed in Britain despite six singles and a massive PR push. Rod Stone left early after falling out with the other Playboys, returning to Australia and forming The Groove with Peter Williams from Max’s Meteors. He is now a guitar teacher in Melbourne and still plays regularly.   

Brian Peacock returned to Australia with Normie in 1967 and joined Procession. He became the road manager for the New Seekers briefly glimpsed the big-time of hit songwriting when his composition was recorded for the flipside of The New Seekers’ biggest hit, I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing. Another Peacock composition was slated for the New Seekers’ next single until Electra Records got cold feet and bumped it back to the flipside. Peacock, like Stone, and indeed, The Librettos, was destined to stay just to the side of real sixties fame

This is an amazing CD from EMI, encompassing the original 1965 New Zealand HMV LP, and more than doubling its length, adding on all but one of the single sides recorded by the Librettos, New Zealand's hottest mid-'60s rock & roll band. The sound is pure British Invasion with a lean garage band edge on the best songs, all a little reminiscent of the Kinks in their early days -- that may make them seem a bit like the Easybeats of the same era (but hey, is that a bad thing to be?). The singles are a pretty strong body of work, but this quartet, given the then-rare opportunity of recording an entire LP, ran with that as well -- and a couple of previously unreleased tracks defy any logic justifying their obscurity. And while it all might not sound too special to a lot of people in 2009, it's also not surprising that these guys were able to blow away all of the competition in their homeland and also compete effectively in Australia as well, until 1966; these guys seem to have understood rock & roll and had the talent to make it work for them, better than most of their rivals. The covers range from Leadbelly and Jerry Lee Lewis to the early Small Faces, and their originals -- the work of founder/lead guitarist Rod Stone and bassist Brian Peacock -- weren't bad, either

Helen Shapiro - Tops with me(1962)

In 2000, BGO released 'Tops' With Me/Helen Hits Out, which contained two complete albums -- 'Tops' With Me (1962, originally released on EMI) and Helen Hits Out -- by Helen Shapiro on one compact disc.

Helen Shapiro is remembered today by younger pop culture buffs as the slightly awkward actress/singer in Richard Lester's 1962 debut feature film, It's Trad, Dad. From 1961 until 1963, however, Shapiro was England's teenage pop music queen, at one point selling 40,000 copies daily of her biggest single, "Walking Back to Happiness," during a 19-week chart run. A deceptively young 14 when she was discovered, Shapiro had a rich, expressive voice properly sounding like the property of someone twice as old, and she matured into a seasoned professional very quickly. 

She grew up in London's East End and was performing with a ukulele at age nine as part of a school group -- supposedly called Susie & the Hula Hoops, whose members included a young Mark Feld (aka Marc Bolan) -- that used to sing their own versions of Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly songs. She subsequently sang with her brother Ron Shapiro's trad jazz turned skiffle outfit at local clubs before enrolling in classes at Maurice Burman's music school in London. Burman was so taken with Helen Shapiro's voice that he waived the tuition to keep her as a student. He later brought her to the attention of Norrie Paramor, then one of EMI's top pop producers (responsible for signing Cliff Richard & the Shadows). Shapiro's voice was so mature that Paramor refused to believe from the evidence on a tape that it belonged to a 14-year-old until she came to his office and belted out "St. Louis Blues." She cut her first single, "Please Don't Treat Me Like a Child," a few weeks later and broke onto the British charts in 1961. 

That record was an extraordinary effort for a 14-year-old. Shapiro's voice showed the maturity and sensibilities of someone far beyond their teen years; her depth of emotion, coupled with the richness of her singing, made her an extraordinary new phenomenon on the British pop scene. She surprised everyone once again with her second single, a slow ballad called "You Don't Know," which managed to appeal to listeners across several age groups and hit number one in England. This was followed by the greatest recording of her career, "Walking Back to Happiness," which scaled the top of the charts with far greater total sales. Ironically, she'd never wanted to cut it; she felt it sounded hopelessly corny and old-fashioned, but her singing invested the song with such depth that it transcended any limitations in the writing. 

This was to be the last time Shapiro would top the charts. Her next record, "Tell Me What He Said" (written by Jeff Barry) was held out of the top spot by the Shadows' "Wonderful Land." In April of 1962, Shapiro made her movie debut in Lester's It's Trad, Dad, but her single of "Let's Talk About Love" (featured in the movie) never broke the Top 20. Shapiro next turned back to the songwriting team of John Schroeder and Mike Hawker, who had written "Walking Back to Happiness" and "You Don't Know," for what proved to be her last Top Ten record, "Little Miss Lonely." She made the charts once more with "Keep Away From Other Girls," the first song by Burt Bacharach to make the British Top 40. During this period, Shapiro also got the opportunity to record Neil Sedaka's "Little Devil," and the two later became friends when Sedaka toured England. 

Listening to Shapiro's records nearly 40 years later, it's amazing to think that her hit-making career lasted only two years. She was equally at home belting out "The Birth of the Blues," imparting a surprisingly blues-influenced feeling to "A Teenager in Love," or oozing pre-feminist defiance in "Walking Back to Happiness," and by rights should have been able to find a niche on the charts well into the middle and late '60s. The incongruity of a 15-year-old who might usually be spending her time in high school doing a song like "Walking Back to Happiness" was lost in the more innocent era in which she worked.

Shapiro wasn't remotely as soul-influenced as Dusty Springfield (though Shapiro's Helen in Nashville album from 1963 does sort of anticipate Dusty in Memphis), or a raspy shouter like Lulu, and there wasn't much of the cool teenager in her in the style of Sandie Shaw or the wounded teen softness of Lesley Gore. Rather, Shapiro was much more of a female pop/rock crooner, almost a distaff Bobby Darin with a style all her own, and should have been able to cut a path for herself well into the '60s in the music marketplace. 

It wasn't to be, however. After appearing in her second movie, Play It Cool, which starred Billy Fury, Shapiro faded from the charts, although she didn't disappear from the British musical consciousness. She still headlined tours in the United Kingdom and in early 1963, she made the acquaintance of a support act that had been newly signed to EMI: the Beatles. She headlined the Beatles' first national tour of England and Shapiro and the group enjoyed each other's company. At 16, she was much more the seasoned professional than the older Liverpool quartet, who loved her voice and her unassuming manner. She sang with them on the bus, advised them to make "From Me to You" their next record after "Please Please Me," and they, in turn, wrote "Misery" for her. Astonishingly, EMI -- not yet sensing the golden touch that the Beatles (who had yet to cut their first LP) would soon reveal -- declined to give Shapiro the chance to record a Lennon-McCartney tune, costing her the chance to become the first artist to cover a Lennon-McCartney song just at the point when the Beatles were about to sweep all before them in the pop charts. 

There's no telling what Shapiro, with her rich intonation, could have done with that downbeat little diamond in the rough in the early Lennon-McCartney song bag. Shapiro had another chance at an even more promising song later in 1963 when she went to cut an album in Nashville. In a session backed by the likes of Grady Martin and Boots Randolph, she cut the very first recording of "It's My Party." And again, EMI failed to get behind the single, sitting on its release until a virtual unknown named Lesley Gore got her rendition out first on Mercury and topped the U.S. charts. Shapiro's career at EMI ended in 1963 and her periodic attempts to resume recording at Pye, DJM, and Arista over the next decade failed to generate any chart action. 

Shapiro has busied herself over the years very successfully as an actress, appearing as Nancy in Lionel Bart's musical Oliver and appearing on British soap operas as well. She has remained an attraction on the cabaret circuit over the decades and was well-known enough as a pop culture figure to justify the release of a best-of CD in Japan in the early '90s. She also cut albums devoted to the music of Duke Ellington and Johnny Mercer.
1. 01 Little Devil (2:32)
2. 02 Will You Love Me Tomorrow (3:25)
3. 03 Because They're Young (3:36)
4. 04 Day The Rains Came (2:38)
5. 05 Are You Lonesome Tonight (2:51)
6. 06 Teenager In Love (2:24)
7. 07 Lipstick On Your Collar (2:21)
8. 08 Beyond The Sea (3:32)
9. 09 Sweet Nothin's (2:40)
10. 10 You Mean Everything To Me (2:37)
11. 11 I Love You (2:21)
12. 12 You Got What It Takes (2:45)

Friday, December 03, 2010

Please - Seeing Stars (1969)

Please were a late-period UK psych outfit, better-known for the bands their members went on to join, notably Peter Dunton, who was playing in T2 within a year of this material's recording. The difference between the two bands is startling; Please have a sound that really predates their era, being more early than late psych, with much Farfisa, whereas T2 were definitely proto-prog, although both bands actually sound rather dated these days. I don't believe Please actually released anything much (at all?) at the time, so I presume Seeing Stars is your typical demos and outtakes collection. It seems to be quite highly rated by some psych fans, but to my ears, it falls between too many stools to really cut it all these years later.

1.Seeing Stars 2.Words to Say 3.Before 4.Time Goes By 5.The Road 6.Rise and Shine 7.Still Dreaming 8.Secrets 9.Who You Know 10.But 11.Steal Your Dreams

Completely different track listing than their other release, "1968 / 69". Please was a UK psych band that, well I think they had a lot going them, musically. The eleven cuts on Seeing Stars had never even seen the light of day until this CD was put out by Acme. Members of Please were apparently later in a couple of other bands, Bulldog Breed and T2. Some of these tracks remind me of early Pink Floyd, pretty much because of the keyboard arrangements, like "Words To Say", "Before", the wailing "Still Dreaming" (possibly the disc's best tune), "Secrets", "Who You Know" and "But". I thought "Time Goes By" had the characteristics of perhaps an early unreleased King Crimson B-side. Seeing Stars has nicely-done vocals, soaring mellotron, fluid guitar work and cleverly constructed songs to offer it's listeners. It's so good that on the first listen you'll fully understand as to why ' true psychedelia' has never really died, if you don't already.Truly great early British psych that gets better with each play. Line-up: Peter Dunton - keyboards, lead vocals & drums, Bernie Jinks - bass & backing vocals and Nick Spenser - drums. Should appeal to fans of early Floyd, Tomorrow, The Move, Yes, solo Syd Barrett and The Doors.