Sunday, 18 June 2017

"Making Time: A SHEL TALMY Production" by VARIOUS ARTISTS (April 2017 UK Ace Records CD Compilation of Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...Night Comes Down..."

What you have here is a Chicago Yank who came to England in the summer of 1962 at the age of 25 - produced some of the most hard-hitting and instantly recognisable Pop & Rock rockers in the mid Sixties (The Kinks and The Who) as well as genre-changers like Roy Harper, Pentangle and even an early Mod-Freakbeat David Bowie (credited under his real name Davy Jones) - and then re-exported those angry young men to the States.

"Making Time: A SHEL TALMY Production" is yet another superb CD compilation from England's Ace Records concentrating on Producers, their influence, forgotten musical history and continuing legacy. Compiled by Soul and Mod boy expert and long-time Ace associate ALEC PALAO with huge contributions from Shel and Jan Talmy - the 28-page booklet for starters is a total feast for fans and music historians alike. Crammed to the gills with sheet music, letters from LHI Records (Lee Hazelwood's company), calling card for his own short-lived but much revered Planet Records, April 1965 tape boxes for the Who's Brunswick Records classic "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere", invoices to Pye for recording The Kinks and even an Acetate for Davy Jones and Test Pressing for The Rokes – there is a lot to take in...

Musically (as these things always are) it's a mixed bag. The big coup is a Previously Unreleased Version of Bowie's own "You've Got A Habit Of Leaving Me" with wilder fuzz guitars and bass where David Robert Jones of Bromley Kent discovers his inner Freakbeat - and in great audio too. Some may treat the track as a curio - but I'd say it's a bit of a find. Speaking of overall sound - although some like the chipper Billy J. Kramer bop of "Caroline" by The Fortunes, the Mamas and Papas identikit "A Certain Girl" from The First Gear, the girl-group angst of "Surrender" by Perpetual Langley and the Byrds jangle of "Stop And Watch The Children Play" by The Rokes are all so very Sixties Pop - many of the songs presented here are more hard-hitting than that.

As you wade through the list - you notice a kind of hard-edged drum-based R&B sound that was identifiably Talmy - bands like The Creation, The Who and The Kinks. The others run the gamut from the catchy-as-a-cold Trini Lopez hit "Sinner Not A Saint" (an early songwriting credit for Talmy) to Roy Harper’s hipster acoustic cool of "Ageing Raver" and fantastic B-sides like The Sneeker's "Bald Headed Woman" and Mickey Finn's "Night Comes Down" - clearly worth every penny of its £100 price tag in the 2018 Record Collector Price Guide. On top of that you get pure Mod Dancers like "Drowning in My Own Despair" by Oliver Norman where you can literally see the talcum powder being showered on the wooden floor as young British men in winklepickers are unable to resist its angst-ridden Motown backbeat.

With NICK ROBBINS Remasters and 7 of the 25 tracks in STEREO (all others MONO, see list below) - the audio also rocks. Here are bald-headed details...

UK released 26 May 2017 (9 June 2017 in the USA) - "Making Time: A SHEL TALMY Production" by VARIOUS ARTISTS on Ace Records CDCHD 1497 (Barcode 029667079020) is a 25-track CD compilation (18 Mono, 7 Stereo) of Remasters that plays out as follows (71:34 minutes):

1. Making Time - THE CREATION (June 1966 UK 7" single on Planet Records PLF 116, A-side)
2. Bald Headed Woman - THE SNEEKERS (October 1964 UK 7" single on Columbia DB 7385, B-side to "I Just Can't Go To Sleep")
3. Semi-Detached Suburban Mr. James - MANFRED MANN (October 1966 UK 7" single on Mercury TF 757, A-side)
4. That's Why I Love You - GOLDIE & THE GINGERBREADS (April 1965 UK 7" single on Decca F 12126, A-side)
5. Tired Of Waiting For You - THE KINKS (January 1965 UK 7" single on Pye 7N 15759, A-side)
6. Bye Babe - LEE HAZELWOOD (from the 1969 US LP "Forty" on LHI Records S 12009 - a co-write between Talmy and Jon Mark later of Mark-Almond and Sweet Thursday)
7. Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere - THE WHO (May 1965 UK 7" single on Brunswick 05935, A-side)
8. Night Comes Down - THE MICKEY FINN (March 1965 UK 7" single on Columbia DB 7510, B-side of "The Sporting Life")
9. Light Flight (Theme From "Take Three Girls") - THE PENTANGLE (October 1969 UK 7" single on Big T Records BIG 128, A-side)
10. Stop And Watch The Children Play - THE ROKES (from a 1966 Spanish LP "The Rokes" on VIK Records VIK 3021)
11. A Certain Girl - THE FIRST GEAR (October 1964 UK 7" single on Pye 7N 15703, A-side)
12. Surrender - PERPETUAL LANGLEY (May 1966 UK 7" single on Planet Records PLF 115, A-side)
13. You've Got A Habit Of Leaving - DAVY JONES [David Bowie] - Previously Unissued Alternate Overdub from 1965
14. Ageing Raver - ROY HARPER (from his January 1968 debut LP "Come Out Fighting Genghis Smith" on CBS Records S 63184)
15. Lisa - THE EASYBEATS - Previously Unissued Alternate Version - Recorded 1967
16. Daddy Long Legs - LINDSAY MUIR'S UNTAMED (June 1966 UK 7" single on Planet Records PLF 113, A-side)
17. A Summer Song - CHAD & JEREMY (July 1964 UK 7" single on United Artists UP 1062, A-side)
18. Jack O' Diamonds - BEN CARRUTHERS & THE DEEP (June 1965 UK7" single on Parlophone R 5295, A-side)
19. Toymaker - WILD SILK (January 1969 UK 7" single on Columbia DB 8534, B-side to "(Vision In A) Plaster Sky")
20. I'm Coming Home - THE NASHVILLE TEENS (March 1967 UK 7" single on Decca F 12580, A-side)
21. Caroline - THE FORTUNES (January 1964 UK 7" single on Decca F 11809, A-side)
22. Drowning In My Own Despair - OLIVER NORMAN (July 1967 UK 7" single on Polydor 56176, A-side)
23. I Don't Need Your Kind - THE ROCKIN' VICKERS (October 1966 UK 7" single on CBS Records 202241, A-side)
24. Jamie Sue - TIM ROSE (from his 1970 US album "Love, A Kind Of Hate Story" on Capitol Records ST 673)
25. Sinner Not A Saint - TRINI LOPEZ (1962 US 7" single on DRA Records 315, A-side)

Tracks 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 14 and 24 are in STEREO – all others are in MONO
Tracks 13 and 15 are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED.

Pages 16 and 17 of the booklet features a fab black and white of a young Bowie looking skinny-tie Mod and in need of a good meal - itself sat above the staggeringly rare I.B.C. Sound Recording Studios Acetate for Davy Jones - while over on the other side is a photo of the Spanish "Rokes" LP. I can safely say I've never seen either of these in decades of frequenting dens of vinyl inequity. Other rarities include the Ray Davies track "I Don't Need Your Kind" by The Rockin' Vikers and a dapper Roy Harper staring out at us all on the rear cover of his debut LP - no doubt thinking about calling up Jimmy Page for "Stormcock" in 1971.

I love sheer adventurousness and future-feel to Pentangle's brilliant "Light Flight" - but I find Tim Rose's "Jamie Sue" hard to take. Not all of the tracks are brill by any means (that Easybeats unreleased version should probably have stared in the tins) - but there's still plenty on here to get the juices of even the most jaded 60ts fan flowing. And it's beautifully presented too.

Another CD winner from those upstanding dudes and dudettes over at Steel Road - I'm already 'making time' for Volume 2...
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