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Various Artists: Wild Sounds From An Overheated Jukebox – album review

Wild Sounds album front cover

Various Artists: Wild Sounds From An Overheated Jukebox (Righteous / Cherry Red Records)
2CD | DL
Rel Date: 18th June 2021

Buy via Sister Ray Records (LTW has an affiliate deal with Sister Ray) Buy This Album Here

For Wild Sounds From An Overheated Jukebox, Righteous have trawled another 50 lunatic tracks from the depths of a discarded Select-O-Matic, carefully remastered them and neatly bundled them into a 2CD release with sleeve notes courtesy of MOJO Magazine author Dave Henderson. As ever most of these no-hit wonders (sadly failed) to shine as brightly as the excessive amounts of chrome, steel, coloured glass, and plastic panels that invited you to deposit a dime and make your selection – that’s not to say none of these forgotten gems deserve to languish in obscurity for any longer!

Just how did Bud Spudd And The Sprouts fail to score a hit with dance craze The Mash? From the opening vocal yelp to the blues heavy guitar that leads you through the essential moves ahead of a honking sax, and barked instructions; turns out it was Buds sole release, however as Little Junior he did turn out a couple of Gospel releases for the Fuller label in 1964. Lenny Johnson’ Walk Ginny Walk is a similar chugging number, complete with by today’s standards inappropriate lyrics concerning Ginny’s ‘wiggle’ which sets locations such as New York and ‘an Indian Reservation’ alight’ whilst Sid King And The Five Strings offer up Purr, Kitty, Purr which was released via Columbia in 1956, to secure a decent copy of one of those will set you back at least £25, which renders this entire collection a bargain. Another track that can command a hefty price tag is the wonderfully deranged brass driven 500 Pound Canary courtesy of Jules Blattner And The Teen Tones, complete with baritone “chirp chirp” vocal barbs – though this pales to country tinged divorce Court barb from Larry and Dixie Davis via their 1960 debut Mental Cruelty, poor ol’ Larry complains his wife lies to the Judge citing ‘Mentally Cruelty’ as she isn’t gaining the “excitement of the honky tonks” which lets the Judge rule in her favour – this one was later covered by Buck Owens and Rose Maddox who took it to #1 on the Billboard chart.

Cindy Malone appeared on the earlier Righteous release Fast Jivin’ Class Cutters High On Booze with the genius Weird Beard; it’s so good its been included here again, but neatly leads into other hirsute advice in the form of That Goatee’s Got To Go from Dick Summer which is a true jazz oddity, this one came out in 1959 via K-W Records from Indianapolis, whilst the badge for the most valuable vinyl to be included goes to the novelty genius of Al Katraz And The Breakouts who put out Charlie And The Bank Job on Solitary Records back in 1962 – a copy of this will set you back at least £250!

Arthur Godfrey would be buried under the clamour of racial appropriation were Heap Big Smoke to be released now, a red-headed white slicker with a song chock full of dubious lyrics and primitive tribal drumming, and even a second-rate Mr Magoo gets a vocal yelp. The Daywains appear with Heartbeat – this one doesn’t even appear on Discogs, I can find no information, that said it certainly sounds like something Poison Ivy would have appropriated into a Cramps original, a blazing surf, guitar picking instrumental that could have been the seed for something like Sunglasses After Dark – this is brilliant! Duane Eddy is the guitarist in The Threeteens who penned a love letter to Elvis with 53310761, which refers to Elvis’s US Army serial number, whilst Sonny Cole takes it one further with, I Dreamed I Was Elvis which is based around a simple rock and roll motif and dogs barking!

That Chick’s Too Young To Fry came from Louis Jordan who offers up this jump jazz belter from 1946 – probably the only track here to have only been released on 10“shellac, and certainly the only one to offer couched advice to avoid possible child abuse charges!

Disc Two is equally enthralling, The Memories offer up Little Bitty Girl – a sax driven tale of unbridled love for a lady competing with Tom Thumb in the height stakes, whilst Lonesome Lee’s gravel voiced tones infuse Pretty Please a doo-wop, rocker from 1959 – and another that commands very good money for an original copy, The Threeteens make their second appearance – this time offering up algebraic advice with X + Y = Z, which came out via the Rev label in 1959. Rev are a label that surely warrants a full release of their own – some absolute classics nestling in those long-forgotten archives.

The Little Martian comes from Jan Amber who has elements of both Wanda Jackson and Brenda Lee in this energetic rockabilly gem, Amber only released another two singles and seems to have disappeared into the mists, similarly Faron Warmer who sticks to the tried novelty formula of car-based rock n’ roll, but this one went wrong as they hit a truck which was also Crusin’ Central. Billy Kent just pours so much soul into Take All Of Me, a huge gospel, soul ballad with sweet keys and the massed backing wails of The Adantees, members of which would go onto to provide vocals for Marvin Gaye, whilst The Crenshaws mine the same soul inspired rock n’ roll, it’s well worth noting that The Crenshaws were an alias of The Rivingtons whose Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow famously found its way into The Cramps repertoire.

Wild Sounds From An Overheated Jukebox

A real highlight is Squad Car from Don Cole, who’s Lie Detector Machine is included on Disc One; Squad Car is like The Shadows on Mogadon, dark sinewy guitar twanging, that somehow sounds at times like an early version of The Cure even though the lipstick abusing Robert Smith would have been in playgroup when this one came out. Al Casey was essentially a session musician who worked with Duanne Eddy, though he had earlier met Lee Hazelwood, with whom he wrote Night Beat, a low paced guitar and brass instrumental with ambient party noises in the background, that leads you into the doo-wop scorcher Hello Schoolteacher! complete with a piercing whistle from The 4 After 5’s who were The Rivingtons (yet again) in disguise. Loy Clingman paints a sorry tale during Uranium Blues that he self-released back in 1955 on his Viv label, warning us “They cost me my wife, made a wreck of my life”

Single centre label

Bob Wilson And The Easy Dealers completes a difficult double; having the spectacularly titled Ain’t No Freckles On My Fish, and it being a stunning skank like brass powered chugger; that said Lee Hazelwood co-wrote this one which makes stringing those notes together a bit easier – anyway there has to have been a novelty dance to go with this one??
And the whole thing is wrapped up by The Renegades, a one-off studio group assembled and produced by Kim Fowley as part of the soundtrack to the 1959 film Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow, which had a plot involving a drag racing club that decides to throw an all-night monster mash party at the mansion, it becomes clear that something is amiss – you can imagine how this one sounds!

Another essential collection from Righteous, 50 tracks of largely failed endeavour, daft ideas allowed within the confines of a recording studio… and for that we should be thankful!

Various Artists: Wild Sounds From An Overheated Jukebox

Track list:

1. THE MASH – Bud Spudd and the Sprouts
2. WALK GINNY WALK – Lenny Johnson
3. SINBAD – Bobby Freeman
4. PURR, KITTY, PURR – Sid King and the Five Strings
5. NO TIME – The Titans
6. 500 POUND CANARY – Jules Blattner and the Teen Tones
7. MENTAL CRUELTY – Larry And Dixie Davis
9. BODACIOUS – The US Rockets
10. WEIRD BEARD – Cindy Malone
11. THAT GOATEE’S GOT TO GO – Dick Summer (with Bill Coe and the Escorts)
12. CHARLIE AND THE BANK JOB – Al Katraz and the Breakouts
13. HI’FI’ BABY – Teddy “Mr Bear” McRae & his Orchestra
14. BIG BAD WOLF – Kim Garri and the Rhythm Rockers
15. HEAP BIG SMOKE (BUT NO FIRE) – Arthur Godfrey
16. NAMELESS – Bob Strauss (with Donald George Orchestra and Chorus)
17. HEARTBEAT – The Daywains
18. DEAR 53310761 – The Threeteens
19. I DREAMED I WAS ELVIS – Sonny Cole and the Rhythm Roamers
20. LOVE BLOOD HOUND – KC Mojo Watson
21. LIKE KEYED – Jack B Nimble And The Quicks
23. DEATH OF AN ANGEL – Donald Woods and the Vel-Aires
25. TWILIGHT ZONE – Gary Smith

1. TIME MACHINE – The Gamblers
2. LITTLE BITTY GIRL – The Memories
3. LONELY TRAVELLIN’ – Lonesome Lee
4. PRETTY PLEASE – The Kinglets featuring Leroy Thomas
5. X+Y=Z – The Threeteens
6. YOU BETTER DIG IT – Bill Johnson and the Four Steps Of Rhythm
7. SHE CAN ROCK – Little Ike with the Jimmy Beck Orchestra
9. THE LAST MEAL – Hurricane Harry
10. CRUISIN’ CENTRAL – Faron Warmer
11. 59 VOLVO – Vernon Green and the Medallions
12. THE STORM – Dough Harden
13. TAKE ALL OF ME – Billy Kent and the Andantes
14. MOONLIGHT IN VERMONT – The Crenshaws
15. THE BEAR – Billy Kent and the Andantes
16. PEACH FUZZ – Bob Taylor
17. SQUAD CAR – Don Cole
18. NIGHT BEAT – Al Casey
19. HELLO SCHOOLTEACHER! – The 4 After 5s
20. WOLF CALL – Mark Anthony
21. MY MEMORIES OF YOU – The 4 After 5s
22. (THOSE OLD) URANIUM BLUES – Loy Clingman
23. AIN’T NO FRECKLES ON MY FISH – Bob Wilson and the Easy Dealers
24. ZINDY LOU – The Mariners
25. GERONIMO – The Renegades

Wild Sounds From An Overheated Jukebox

More writing by Phil can be found at his Louder Than War Author’s Archive

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Marc Almond: Enchanted – album review

Marc Almond – Enchanted

Cherry Red

2CD/1DVD box set

Released June 25, 2021

There’s always a debate among music heads about who is the best singer in any genre, but there’s no doubt that Marc Almond is the UK’s greatest ever torch singer.

Enchanted was his sixth solo release back in 1990 featuring that rich voice, big orchestrations and his penchant for telling the stories of an assorted bunch of misfits and denizens of the underground. It was also his first solo effort without his regular band The Willing Sinners, although he did do the demos, released as part of this three-disc box set with ex-member Billy McGee who shares some of the songwriting duties. They are essentially stripped-down versions of the complex finished tracks, but they do offer his fans an insight into Almond’s thinking as he develops his ideas musically and lyrically.

Stephen Hauge produced lead single A Lover Spurned, but the other nine tracks on the album released here in its entirety were produced by two producers, Gary Maugham and Bob Krausharr, who Almond had a tense relationship with. Almond says he had ‘spontaneity, and surprise, passion and grit’ in mind, but noted in his biography that Krausharr was much more of a technophile who would have happy for computers to do all the work.

Maybe that tension helped create a record that sort of disappeared on release – it only made number 52 in the charts despite Almond having just had a massive number one with Gene Pitney – but in the minds of his hardcore fans remains one of his best.

This well-curated package offers a chance to reappraise Enchanted as it’s one of Almond’s most ambitious records. The epic opener features transgendered Madame De La Lune taking a trip around her vivid world, and is sort of a pop Tangled Up in Blue, which, given its complexity, has never been played live.

Waifs and Strays is much more straightforward electro of its time, and the writer of Sex Dwarf sings of the tough lives of a bunch of lost boys – probably in deepest Soho. Almond was listening to a lot of world music at this time, and there is a definite Middle Eastern feel to the opulent histrionics of Orpheus in Red Velvet.

In many ways the twisted A Lover Spurned is classic Almond, and an unlikely lead single, as appropriately he’s joined by The Life and Loves of a She-Devil star Julie T. Wallace as a very, very angry wronged woman who is determined to totally take down her former paramour. Throw in a 48-piece orchestra and you have the Fatal Attraction of electro.

But let’s be honest most Almond fans already have this album so as with all Cherry Red releases it’s the extras that are of most interest. Handily they bring together all six B-sides that are currently on different tatty 12-inch singles in people’s collection, like the debauched A Libertine’s Tale which most acts would have put out as an A-side.

Almond biographer Jeremy Reed provides detailed and informed liner notes explaining the background of the record and all the lyrics are here in their gothic glory. As always there are plenty of photos and even a reprint of a Parlaphone press pack from 1990.

The DVD offers three gloriously over the top videos including A Lover Spurned, directed by album designers Pierre et Giles, who also contribute two unseen photographs. Derek Jarman’s collaborator John Maybury helms The Desperate Hours and Waifs and Strays. CD 2 is the real treasure trove as it collects together remixes of various tracks with some sounding not that much different, but the highlight is a radical reimagining of Waifs and Strays by Almond’s former Soft Cell bandmate Dave Ball trading as The Grid.

Marc Almond fanatics will be salivating at having all these hard to get and unreleased tracks in one place but if you like your pop twisted and over the top then Enchanted counts as a lost masterpiece by a true one-off.

You can follow Marc Almond on Facebook and Twitter.


Words by Paul Clarke, you can see his author profile here.


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Album review: THE ALMIGHTY – Welcome To Defiance (7 CD Boxset)

Almighty-HNEBOX145-tHNE / Cherry Red Records [release date 26.03.21] Glasgow band, The Almighty, was formed in 1988 and revolved around Ricky Warwick on guitar and vocals. (He now does the same job for the Black Star Riders.) Such was the band’s … Continue reading

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Various Artists: Shake The Foundations – album review

Various Artists: ‘Shake The Foundations – Militant Funk & The Post-Punk Dancefloor 1978-1984’ (Cherry Red Records)
3CD Boxset | DL
Rel Date 26th March 2021

If you can get past the juxtaposition of having the gloriously sordid Nightmares In Wax bundled onto the same compilation as the Colgate clean Haircut 100 then this is a decent attempt to look back at a particularly furtive time in musical development. The initial flames of punk had subsided, but the message had been delivered; bands and artists had been encouraged to experiment, to allow all their influences to come to the fore. The result was an explosion, a myriad of styles – now neatly bundled as post-punk, many of which were heard in the underground nightclubs as DJ’s carved out their own identities on the back of these efforts.

Bill Brewster was one such DJ, having initially escaped Grimsby to the draw of the London punk rock scene, he arrived post the Clash signing to CBS, so admits he was too late. He was later a member of Group Therapy and then went on to co-write the book Last Night a DJ Saved My Life with Frank Broughton, and editing Mixmag. Brewster compiled this 3CD set and wrote the accompanying 36pg notes, all neatly housed in a clam-shell case. Obviously, all compilations are limited by licencing deals, as such Brewster admits this is not a comprehensive study, rather a ‘shakily hand-drawn’ map. The tracks are thematically arranged; the more polished material fills Disc One, Disc Two is populated by electronic experimentation, whilst Disc Three is more rough and ready.

Manchester’s A Certain Ratio open with Guess Who? which appeared on the bands 1982 album I’d Like To See You Again. Brewster acknowledges an ACR gig as being the spark needed to form his own band Group Therapy. ACR certainly spearheaded the funk direction, though the use of brass separated them from many of their peers, this has some gloriously rich bass resonating through as ACR headed in a more off kilter R&B direction. Another band to utilise brass were 23 Skidoo, who somehow managed to mix industrial, post punk, and funk into one cohesive unit. Coup was the bands 5th single, the first for Illuminated Records, and is cited as a major influence for the Chemical Brothers Block Rockin’ Beats, the ethnic drumming, the ascending brass (utilising Aswad’s brass section) the chanted lyric and the Apocalypse Now samples turned this elastin number into an Indie Chart Top 3 hit.

And so, to Haircut 100, no doubt dismissed as chart fodder by some; personally, I think Fantastic Day is a slice of perfect pop. Included here with the instrumental Evil Smokestacking Baby a post Heywood B-side which I had never heard before; you would never guess this was by Haircut 100, as it shimmers and glistens in a blissed-out Ibiza type vibe, which goes some way to explain why it was later utilised by Pony Express on an unofficial release in 2007.

Simple Minds are rightly included with This Fear Of Gods – this being sometime ahead of their descent into stadium guff. Jim Kerr credits this track as being influenced by Donna Summers’ I Feel Love, I’d suggest it also owes a huge debt to the Human League debut Being Boiled certainly in respect of the vocal delivery, but clearly demonstrates a band seeking to stretch themselves beyond the perceived confines of punk. Born Every Minute is the surprising inclusion from The Passage, lifted from the 1982 album Degenerates which also housed their best-known track XOYO, the track is darkly sinuous as vocalist Dick Witts, an accomplished musician, and member of the Halle Orchestra repeatedly chants the title to an apex of US funk inspired jerkiness, whilst Medium Medium actually featured on the US Dance Chart with Hungry, So Angry, though the track included her, Serbian Village appeared on the 1981 album The Glitterhouse, its sparse to the point of being taut, built entirely around the bass, with low in the mix choppy guitar, and anguished semi-spoken vocals.

Other inclusions are John Cooper Clarke, The Passions with ‘Skin Deep’ the vastly improved follow up to the hit I’m In Love With A German Film Star, and Jah Wobble with Invaders Of The Heart a track that has so many ideas, so many textures all woven into an intricate spasmodic dance tune that only someone with Wobble’s ability could pull this off. Can You Move from Modern Romance is I would suggest the bands only semi-credible track as they seem to impersonate everything from Blondie’s Rapture to the entire Sugarhill labels early output.

Daniel Ash formed Tones On Tail as a Bauhaus side project, Lions was the bands fifth single and was included on their sole album Pop. Ditching the more obvious and darker tones of Bauhaus this is built around a simple two note keyboard with hushed lyrics that is surprisingly effective, less so being What Dance Is This? from Perfect Zebra who crammed half a dozen singles and two albums into their brief career.

Fun Boy Three are included with Faith, Hope And Charity, the B-side to the wonderful Lunatics Have Take Over The Asylum, the song assembled around a drum machine pattern and bassline and demonstrated just how far they had evolved from The Specials. Shock’s Dream Games sounds like someone had nicked the tapes from The Sound Of The Crowd recording, they were well connected via The Blitz club, Rusty Egan produced some of their material – though I’d suggest it’s a bit of a push to suggest they were pushing post punk boundaries, likewise Big Man Restless from Kissing The Pink which came out in 1982; personally I was more attuned to the likes of Cabaret Voltaire (not featured) who with Just Fascination were making their own, far superior inroads onto the dance floor.

Frequency 7 by Visage is an interesting release, lifted from the US only Visage EP, the version here is the instrumental, a much more muscular version with clear links to the likes of DAF and perhaps Nitzer Ebb who formed some twelve months after this was released. Quando Quango were one of those groups who seemed painfully hip, pan European in makeup, signed to Factory Records and to my then teenage sensibilities losers to the likes of The Cramps and the Sisters Of Mercy, listening now it’s clear that they were far better than the likes of Vicious Pink (who I had the misfortune of see live) who scored a minor chart ranking with Cccan’t You See which with its reliance upon drum machines and as then current electronic wizardry has not fared well over the years.

Fashion was another band that relied on technology, Move On is essentially an advert for Simmons drums and Roland guitar synths set to the funk pre-set, similarly with Set Fighter from Wide Boy Awake the band formed by ex-Adam & The Ants bassist Kevin Mooney – neither artist featured on the dancefloors of any club I ever attended, though I am sure with the level of polish applied to their material and image they were a shoo-in for a feature in The Face.

Disc Three houses some real gems, including tracks from bands entirely new to me, many of these bands were limited by budget, so instead of relying upon a rack of Roland synths etc they improvised with what they had, often creating an at times bleak yet more welcoming atmosphere. Surface Mutants were a Sheffield based 4-piece who recorded at Cabaret Voltaire’s legendary Western Works studio, included here with When Are We? The B-side to their 1982 debut 7” Anaesthetic which they headed to Cargo to record as Joy Division had recorded there; the track is 39years old yet still sounds fresh, the use of space, the distinctly northern vocal phrasing, the niggling choppy guitars this could have been released yesterday!

The Pop Group require no introduction, here with Rob A Bank, a tightly drawn, engulfing and joyously chaotic deconstruct of the Robin Hood theme that perfectly encapsulates all that early post punk was trying to achieve, Animal Magic eased off on the chaos and churned out some seriously bass heavy dancefloor wreckers – Get It Right was released as a single in 1982, it’s a brass tinged muscular workout, though it’s up against the sordid diamond that is Black Leather from Pete Burns pre DOA band Nightmares In Wax. I was 16 when this was released, having sneaked into one of Liverpool’s less salubrious clubs then hearing this at ear-shredding volume was an experience I recall to this day. Burns helps himself to KC & The Sunshine Band, and Iggy Pop and morphs the lot into a filthy paean to muscled men in leather “astride big motorbikes”.

The 021 released just two albums, Asbestos Lead Asbestos was from the 1984 Let’s Get Professional release, the band featured Keith Dobson (ex-Here & Now) who later formed the more successful World Domination Enterprises who put out the same track as their 1985 debut; that said the track is worth it, it’s a sort of anarcho, commune living funk, with a bass that weaves its way through the barrage of distorted noise.

Mataya Clifford was signed to Do It Records and benefitted from having Stuart Goddard (AKA Adam Ant) design the sleeve to Living Wild a decidedly funk based workout with a strong vocal chant that also incorporates patterns and chants no doubt based in the artists Zimbabwean heritage. So Many Ways from Electric Chairs was a real curveball surprise, instead of the preferred NY rock ‘n’ roll sleaze of their frontperson Wayne/Jayne we get a an off kilter electric funk shuffle with some great additional percussion and the benefit of production courtesy of David Cunningham which highlights the stuttered cold vocal delivery, another band to benefit from a name producer, this time Adrian Sherwood were London Underground here with Dreams Are Better which combines glacial dub with scratched post punk guitar, released in 1982 this was years ahead of its time. Sherwood is also involved with both The Chicken Granny which essentially mirrors the early PIL output, whilst Machine Gun Hogg & Co craft an assortment of squelches and dragged beats into something entitled Bed Bound Saga

Group Therapy were new to me, Arty-Fact is a sinewy brass tinged funked up post punk number that sadly really fails to go anywhere, similarly with The Diagram Brothers who contribute We Are All Animals, though there is a decent bass line buried beneath the vocal chanting.

Shake The Foundations is a fascinating attempt to showcase one aspect of what became post punk, some of it works and remains both relevant and influential – listen to say Drunk Tank Pink by Shame which came out a matter of weeks back and you will hear a clear lineage to some of the bands included here, as such this compilation is perfectly timed, and you can easily skip the duff bits on Disc Two!

Track Listing:

1. GUESS WHO? – A Certain Ratio
2. COUP – 23 Skidoo
3. 100 EVIL SMOKESTACKING BABY – Haircut 100
4. THIS FEAR OF GODS – Simple Minds
5. LOVE 30 – The Stranglers
6. BORN EVERY MINUTE – The Passage
7. SARAVA – Blue Rondo A La Turk
8. SERBIAN VILLAGE – Medium Medium
9. PUSH OUT THE BOAT – The Higsons
10. POST WAR GLAMOUR GIRLS – John Cooper Clarke
11. SKIN DEEP – The Passions
13. CAN YOU MOVE – Modern Romance
14. SLANG TEACHER – Wide Boy Awake
15. HYPNOTISED – C Cat Trance
16. STRETCH – Maximum Joy

1. LIONS – Tones On Tail
2. TRUST IS A MUST – Ian Dury
3. WHAT DANCE IS THIS? – Perfect Zebras
4. FAITH & HOPE & CHARITY – The Fun Boy Three
5. DREAM GAMES – Shock
6. RUSHA – Jesse Rae
7. DON’T – Thomas Leer
8. BIG MAN RESTLESS – Kissing The Pink
9. BLUE FOR YOU – Paul Haig
10. FREQUENCY 7 – Visage
11. BANG EM RIGHT – Six Sed Red
12. TINGLE – Quando Quango
13. CCCAN’T YOU SEE – Vicious Pink
14. MOVE ON – Fashiøn
15. SET FIGHTER – Wide Boy Awake

1. WHEN ARE WE? (NOW WE ARE) – Surface Mutants
2. WHY ARE WE IN LOVE – Furniture
3. ROB A BANK – The Pop Group
4. GET IT RIGHT – Animal Magic
5. BLACK LEATHER – Nightmares In Wax
6. OBEDIENCE – Normil Hawaiians
9. LIVING WILD – Mataya Clifford
10. SO MANY WAYS – Electric Chairs
11. DREAMS ARE BETTER – London Underground
12. ARTY-FACT – Group Therapy
13. WE ARE ALL ANIMALS – The Diagram Brothers
14. QUIT THE BODY – The Chicken Granny
15. BED BOUND SAGA – Machine Gunn Hogg And Co
16. HOGGS MIGHT FLY – Playgroup
17. SHAKE (THE FOUNDATIONS) – Glaxo Babies
18. DISCO PURGE – Family Fodder

Various Artists: Shake The Foundations

More writing by Phil can be found at his Louder Than War Author’s Archive

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Album review: SPIRIT – Son Of America (3CD reissue/remaster)

spirit_son_of_americ_YE05fCherry Red Records [release date 26.03.21] Californian band, Spirit, blossomed in the fertile fields of psychedelic rock. A year after forming in 1967, the year of “The Summer Of Love”, they released their self titled debut, on Ode Records (now … Continue reading

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Album review: LYNYRD SKYNYRD – Nothing Comes Easy

lynyrd_skynyrd_5cdCherry Red Records (5CD Boxset) [Release date 26.02.21] Arguably, it’s only when your roots run as deep and as wide as Lynyrd Skynyrd’s that you achieve the kind of longevity that sees you still running hard today, 48 years, 15 … Continue reading

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Album review: VARIOUS – Oh! You Pretty Things Glam Queens And Street Urchins

oh you pretty thingsCherry Red [Release date 26.02.21] Oh! You Pretty Things is a 3 disc, 66 track Glam (and more) boxfest, which disappointingly, despite its title, doesn’t feature the late David Bowie song. And ironically, nothing from Hermans Hermits, who turned it … Continue reading

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Various: Pure Exotica As Dug By Lux & Ivy – album review

Pure Exotica album review

Various: Pure Exotica As Dug By Lux & Ivy (Righteous / Cherry Red)
Dbl CD | DL
Rel Date 19th February 2021

Buy HERE (LTW has an affiliate agreement with Sister Ray Records, London)

Another compilation from Righteous that is aimed at the fervent Cramps fanbase; tagged on the sleeve ‘As dug by Lux and Ivy’ – this one however will really test both the Marketing Dept. and the taste buds of the gore hounds out there!

Exotica; a much mis-understood musical sub-genre, written off by many who’s only real exposure would be to the novelty efforts that sound-tracked swinging 60’s bachelor pad film scenes – at the other end of the scale exotica can track its lineage from experimental jazz and its willingness to include modern orchestration alongside studio wizardry; it’s essentially easy-listening lounge music with added ethnic sounds blended into pop, the sort of thing that evokes far flung traveller destinations – a world away from the bug eyed rockabilly, doo wop and induced madness of the previous Righteous releases.

All the tracks are remastered from the original sound sources with sleeve notes by MOJO magazine’s Dave Henderson.

This two CD compilation includes contributions from the major artists of the genre, including Martin Denny, Les Baxter, and Arthur Lyman. Denny is credited with creating and titling the genre; a child prodigy he studied piano under Lester Spitz and Isadore Gorn, and later spent many years touring South America with the Don Dean Orchestra. Following a spell with the US Air Force he subsequently relocated to Hawaii and whilst performing there he realised that the croaking of bull frogs fitted perfectly with Denny’s exotic musical outlook; these sounds were then supplemented with traditional South American instrumentation and Exotica was born.

Denny has four of his compositions included on Disc One – Exotica Lite, opening with ‘Bali Ha’I’, this captures the genre perfectly, you literally unwind as the music washes over you, the bird calls, the animal yelps, which leads perfectly into Arthur Lyman’ ‘Magic Islands’ – Lyman was initially a member of Denny’s group, playing the wonderfully named vibraphone, though on this quicker paced piece he draws more on his jazz background. Lyman has another couple of tracks featured including the suitably spooky ‘Moon Over A Ruined Castle’, and ‘Legend of The Rain’. Lyman actually had a Top 10 hit in the early 60’s with ‘Yellow Bird’ which isn’t included – aside from Denny’s ‘Quiet Village’ these were the only Exotica tracks to really trouble the charts.

‘Ebb Tide’ from Living Strings, sounds like the soundtrack to an early 60’s MGM romp featuring an array of buxom ‘island beauties’; Living Strings were essentially arranger Johnny Douglas who has been responsible for more than 100 albums and more strangely has two releases credited to Living Strings and Noel Edmunds!! He also has the track ‘Ochun’ included here under his own name lifted from his 1958 album ‘The Rites of Diablo’ which itself is a sought after release and saw Douglas interpret the rituals of the Bantu people of Southern Africa, with an array of percussionists and multiple vocalists in a suitably ‘tribal’ manner.

Les Baxter was another pioneer of exotica, once a member of Mel Torme’s band, he also worked on early hits for Nat King Cole – he differentiated his sound with influence from Africa, Polynesia and South America and introduced a theremin into the instrumentation. Three tracks are featured, including the darker ‘Papagayo’, and the effects heavy ‘Dawn Under The Sea’ – another aspect of exotica was the use of striking sleeves, Baxter’s ‘The Passions’ being a case in point, everything was lavishly packaged in fire lit tropical scenes, semi clad temptresses inviting you in.

The fantastically named Jack Fascinato is included with ‘Foggy Recollections’, this from his 1959 album ‘Music From A Surplus Store’ which was released via Capital Records and is now regarded as a space-pop classic. Originally a high school music teacher, he served in WW II before forming a jazz ensemble upon discharge. Fascianato was clearly a visionary, the ‘Surplus Stores’ album was composed and performed utilising sound effects from items found in local junk stores; he went onto have a hugely successful career as a jingle score writer, composing hundreds prior to his death in 1994.

Stan Kenton appears courtesy of ‘La Suerte De Los Tontos (Fortune Of Fools)’ which was released in 1956as apart of his ‘Cuban Fire’ album; Kenton was a controversial figure, lauded by some yet reviled by many jazz purists for his desire to push boundaries; In 1950 he put together, the 39-piece Innovations in Modern Music Orchestra that included 16 strings, a woodwind section, and two French horns!

Righteous have brought together an excellent selection of material that showcases all aspects of Exotica, it is a brave release, the 34 collected tracks will certainly challenge the boundaries of your average Cramps fan, that said there is enough here to delight or just plain confuse, and maybe even link into a couple of Lux and Ivy’s own compositions.

Track Listing:

1. BALI HA’I – Martin Denny
2. MAGIC ISLANDS – Arthur Lyman
3. EBB TIDE – The Living Strings
4. BALSA BOAT – Elisabeth Waldo
5. MOON OF MANAKOORA – Henry Mancini
6. DAY DREAM – Phil Moore
7. I TALK TO THE TREES – Ruth Welcome
8. VOODOO DREAMS – Martin Denny
9. SINGING BAMBOOS – Martin Denny
10. PAPAGAYO – Les Baxter
11. CARAVAN – Tak Shindo
12. PALM SPRINGS – Ray Anthony
13. TEMPLE DANCE – Webley Edwards
14. STONE GOD – Martin Denny
15. ALGIERS – Bianchi
17. NOW IS THE HOUR – Leo Addeo
18. DAWN UNDER THE SEA – Les Baxter

1. ROOM 43 – Ray Anthony
2. DESPAIR – Les Baxter
3. OCHUN – Johnny Richards
4. HAIL THE KING – Olatunji
5. POLYNESIAN SUITE – Buddy Collette (with narration by Robert Sorrels)
6. BESAME MUCHO – Ralph Font
7. LEGEND OF THE RAIN – Arthur Lyman
8. VOODOO – Robert Drasnin
9. HEAD HUNTERS – John McFarland
10. FOGGY RECOLLECTIONS – Jack Fascinato
11. HYSTERIA – Richard Shores
12. 125TH STREET PROPHET – Phil Moore
14. PERDIDO – Marty Gold
15. ANGER – Bill Russo
16. INCANTATION – Richard Hayman

More writing by Phil can be found at his Louder Than War Author’s Archive

The post Various: Pure Exotica As Dug By Lux & Ivy – album review appeared first on Louder Than War.

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Album review: HEAVY PETTIN – Best Of

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