Sunday, 23 October 2016

"Geordie Boy: The Anthology" by ALAN PRICE (2002 Sanctuary/Castle Music 2CD Reissue - SIMON MURPHY Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...






"...Just For You..." 


This 46-song comprehensive overhaul of ex Animals front man ALAN PRICE brings together a huge swath of his largely forgotten catalogue stretching from early 45s on Decca in August 1965 (as Alan Price Set) - through his singer-songwriter Seventies output on CBS, Warner Brothers, Polydor and Jet Records to finally rest at the CD "A Gigster's Life For Me" on Indigo Records in 1995.

And since its original release in late 2002 (reissued in 2008) – the jam-packed "Geordie Boy: The Anthology" has been deleted and become very pricey ever since. Ex Record Collector writer and musicologist Peter Doggett (who wrote the liner notes) thinks that Price’s output is just as important as his more famous Newcastle compatriot Eric Burdon and his solo stuff - I'm not sure if the aural evidence here confirms that but there's plenty to uphold his enthusiasm. Here are the details for Fatfield's finest (Fatfield, Co Durham that is)...

UK released October 2002 (reissued February 2008) - "Geordie Boy: The Anthology" by ALAN PRICE on Sanctuary/Castle Music CMEDD 384 (Barcode 5050159138425) is a 46-track 2CD Remastered compilation that plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (78:45 minutes):
1. Any Day Now (My Wild, Beautiful Bird) - August 1965 UK 7" single on Decca F 12217, A (as Alan Price Set)
2. I Put A Spell On You - March 1966 UK 7" single on Decca F 12367, A (as Alan Price Set)
3. Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo - July 1966 DUTCH 7" single in a Picture Sleeve on Decca F 12442, A (as Alan Price Set)
4. Take Me Home - July 1966 DUTCH 7" single in a Picture Sleeve on Decca F 12442, B (as Alan Price Set, written by AP)
5. Getting Mighty Crowded - on his 1966 UK Debut LP "The Price To Pay" on Decca LK 4839 (Mono only)
6. Simon Smith And His Amazing Dancing Bear - February 1967 UK 7" single on Decca F 12570, A
7. Tickle Me - February 1967 UK 7" single on Decca F 12570, AA (double A-side)
8. The House That Jack Built - July 1967 UK 7" single on Decca F 12641, A
9. So Long Dad - on his 1966 UK Debut LP "The Price To Pay" on Decca LK 4839 (Mono only)
10. To Ramona - on his 1966 UK Debut LP "The Price To Pay" on Decca LK 4839 (Mono only)
11. Shame - November 1967 UK 7" single on Decca F 12691, A
12. Don't Stop The Carnival - January 1968 UK 7" single on Decca 12731, A
13. Love Story - July 1968 UK 7" single on Decca 12808, A
14. The Trimdon Grange Explosion - June 1969 UK 7" single on Deram DM 263, A
15. Sunshine And Rain (The Name Of the Game) - May 1970 UK 7" single on Decca F 13017, A
16. Rosetta - March 1971 UK 7" single on CBS Records S 7108, A - and on the 1971 UK LP "Fame & Price Together" on CBS Records S 64392 [with Georgie Fame]
17. Yellow Man - on the 1971 UK LP "Fame & Price Together" on CBS Records S 64392 [with Georgie Fame]
18. That's How Strong My Love Is - on the 1971 UK LP "Fame & Price Together" on CBS Records S 64392 [with Georgie Fame]
19. O Lucky Man! - September 1973 UK 7" single on Warner Brothers K 16266, A - and on the 1973 UK LP "O! Lucky Man! on Warner Brothers K 46227
20. Poor People - November 1973 UK 7" single on Warner Brothers K 16293, A - and on the 1973 UK LP "O! Lucky Man! on Warner Brothers K 46227
21. Jarrow Song - March 1974 UK 7" single on Warner Brothers K 16372, A - and on the June 1974 UK LP "Between Today And Yesterday" on Warner Brothers K 56032
22. Between Today And Yesterday - on the June 1974 UK LP "Between Today And Yesterday" on Warner Brothers K 56032
23. In Times Like These - August 1974 UK 7" single on Warner Brothers K 16452, A - and on the 1974 UK LP "Between Today And Yesterday" on Warner Brothers K 56032
24. Papers - June 1975 UK 7" single on Polydor 2058 613, A - and on the April 1975 UK LP "Metropolitan Man" on Polydor 2442 133
25. The Drinker's Curse - on the April 1975 UK LP "Metropolitan Man" on Polydor 2442 133

Disc 2 (78:25 minutes):
1. Changes - on the December 1975 UK LP "Performing Price" on Polydor 2683 062
2. Goodnight Irene - January 1976 UK 7" single on Polydor 2058 682, A
3. Kiss The Night - October 1976 UK 7" single on Polydor 2058 806, A
4. Glass Mountain - on the October 1976 UK LP "Shouts Across The Street" on Polydor 2383 410
5. I Know When I've Had Enough - on the October 1976 UK LP "Shouts Across The Street" on Polydor 2383 410
6. Shouts Across The Street - on the October 1976 UK LP "Shouts Across The Street" on Polydor 2383 410
7. I've Been Hurt - November 1977 UK 7" single On Jet Records UP 36315, A - and on the January 1977 UK LP "Alan Price" on Jet/United Artists UAS 30133
8. Just For You - April 1978 UK 7" single on Jet Records UP 36358, A - and on the January 1977 UK LP "Alan Price" on Jet/United Artists UAS 30133
9. I'm A Gambler - on the January 1977 UK LP "Alan Price" on Jet/United Artists UAS 30133
10. England, My England - May 1979 UK 7" single on Jet Records JET 143, A - and on the 1978 UK LP "England, My England" on Jet Records DLP 207
11. Baby Of Mine - February 1979 UK 7" single on Jet Records JET 135, A - and on the 1978 UK LP "England, My England" on Jet Records DLP 207
12. Those Tender Lips - on the 1978 UK LP "England, My England" on Jet Records DLP 207
13. The House Of The Rising Sun - April 1980 UK 7" single on Jet Records JET 177, A - and on the 1980 UK LP "Rising Sun" on Jet Records JET LP 227
14. I'm Coming Back - on the 1980 UK LP "Rising Sun" on Jet Records JET LP 227
15. Perfect Lady - on the 1980 UK LP "Rising Sun" on Jet Records JET LP 227
16. Over And Over - on the 1980 UK LP "A Rock 'n' Roll Night At The Royal Court Theatre" on Key Records KEY 1
17. Don't Slam That Door - on the 1986 UK LP "Travellin' Man" on Trojan Records APB 101
18. 50 Pence - on the 1986 UK LP "Travellin' Man" on Trojan Records APB 101
19. People Are Talking - on the 1986 UK LP "Travellin' Man" on Trojan Records APB 101
20. Boom Boom - on the 1995 UK CD album "A Gigster's Life For Me" on Indigo IGOCD 2048
21. Some Change - on the 1995 UK CD album "A Gigster's Life For Me" on Indigo IGOCD 2048

At the time of release I remember thinking how good the Sanctuary compiled CD sets were - and if you want proof of that - the 8-square-per-side foldout insert is a minor work of presentation art. Quite apart from Peter Doggett's superb liner-notes assessment of Price's up-and-down career (someone Doggett feels has been unfairly overlooked) - each and every square on both sides of the foldout page is festooned with pictured memorabilia from the varying periods of his long career - 7" single labels from Decca and Deram - 60ts and 70ts press clippings, reviews and trade adverts and of course all those album sleeves. There are even foreign picture sleeves of "Rosetta" (with his pal Georgie Fame), snaps with Brenda Lee, Lulu and Brian Poole as well as a repro of the rare "A Price On His Head" Decca LP from 1967 that you never see. Compiled by ROGER DOPSON for Castle Music and 'Sound Restored' by SIMON MURPHY at SRT Studios in St. Ives - the whole set reeks of class and has wickedly good audio too (given the myriad sources). Let's get the music...

The opening 7" single is awful pap and to add insult to injury - the audio sounds like some poor Reggae 45 recorded in a bucket. Things improve immeasurably with the very-Animals cover of the Screaming Jay Hawkins classic "I Put A Spell On You" - Price digging into great material as that lone organ whines in the background. I can't be certain but I'd swear the chipper Dutch single "Hi Lili, Hi Lo" and its non-album Alan Price penned flipside "Take Me Home" are both in Stereo (the flip could easily be a Mod dancer). Next up Price has a go at Betty Evertt's "Getting Mighty Crowded" - a wickedly good talcum-powder dancer on Vee Jay Records 628 from late 1964 penned by a young Van McCoy (one of the jewels on here no doubt). Randy Newman's witty "Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear" has always been grit for the cool covers mill - and Price does a great job at capturing its vaudeville charms (a No. 4 chart hit in 1964). Even better is "Tickle Me" - another Newman track on this 1967 Double-A (is that Page on guitar?) and he returns to the American songsmith for "So Long Dad" on the debut LP. The lyrics and melody to his "The House That Jack Built" show why Price was so drawn to Newman songs - they share the same wit and cleverness with a melody and set of words (another No. 4 chart hit).

With "To Ramona" Price's inner singer-songwriter is truly awakened - as I'm sure Bob Dylan songs did for so many. With just him and the piano - it's a sweet and well-chosen performance. His own bopper "Shame" is a stab at chart action while he's probably copying Nilsson a little too much in his piano and vocal phrasing for Randy Newman's acidic "Love Story" - or is it the other way around. "The Trimdon Grange Explosion" represented a new start with the weird and wonderful Deram label - the song laden with banks of brass, strings and organ all competing for your ears (the Remaster sounds great). We reach a genuine hit with "Rosetta" in the early Seventies - a successful pairing on single and LP with his pal Georgie Fame. The pair go after Randy Newman again with Newman's typically clever take on just how ripped-off Indian culture was and still is in "Yellow Man". A change to Warner Brothers brought on a renaissance - especially in his LPs. "O Lucky Man!" sounds great while "Poor People" again reflects his likely-lad upbringing - thoughts on the plights of the hard-pressed 'working man' who has to smile while he's 'making it'. An unlikely hit - "Jarrow Song" put his tale of Geordie McIntyre into the charts - the 4:36 minute edit peaking at an impressive No. 6 in May 1974 (in fact I remember Pans People doing a dance routine to the historical song on Top Of The Pops). A sophistication crept into his work on the beautifully orchestrated "Between Today And Yesterday" where Price sounded like really good Gilbert O'Sullivan on Mam.

Disc 2 opens with the lovely self-penned "Change" recorded live for the "Performing Price" LP that bookended a good year for AP – 1975. He sounds almost gaunt on the Leadbelly classic "Goodnight Irene" and "Glass Mountain" has both wicked keyboard moments and production values. His own "Shouts Across The Street" is so Randy Newman as to be embarrassing but its also a cool little 'trick-or-treat' song with smart lyrics. The utterly delightful "Just For You" saw him back in the British charts for a brief brush with a No. 46 placing (I recall Jet Records put it on a heart-shaped picture disc - yikes). "I'm A Gambler" is a guitar-bopper where our hero keeps on taking too many chances - a gentleman of fortune laying it on the line a little too much. "England, My England" and "Baby Of Mine" show his fast vs. ballad combo to great effect (and lovely production too). Of the later material I'm partial to the old-time barroom slobber of "Don't Slam The Door" while his cover of Hooker's "Boom Boom' returns to his first love - American Rhythm 'n' Blues.

"Geordie Boy..." is not all genius by any stretch of the imagination but the compilers are right to be proud of their 'anthology' which seems to have changed artwork during its run too both front and rear (see my photos of the original below). Huge playing times on both CDs - great annotation and audio - fans needs to own this... 

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