Friday, 12 July 2013

‘Quant by Quant: The Autobiography of Mary Quant’ (V&A Publishing) reprinted and released on 8th July 2013

Originally published in 1966, Quant by Quant is the hugely entertaining story of Mary Quant's early career and life with husband and business partner Alexander Plunket Greene. After opening the ground-breaking Bazaar boutique on the King's Road in 1955, Quant soared to international fame with her brand of witty fashion style which fitted perfectly with modern life about town. Just as her signature styles have become synonymous with the Pop culture of the Swinging Sixties, her joyful, evocative autobiography captures the world in which she found inspiration - and which she ultimately helped to define and change. 

It is currently available on Amazon for £7.99

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Michael Caine: The 1960s - a new book by Graham Marsh (Reel Art Press)

The epitome of cool, Michael Caine: 1960s features stunning photography of the actor both on and off screen in this, his defining decade. As part of the Swinging Sixties scene in London, Caine was pictured with the hippest actors, models and photographers of the period. Also captured here is Caine on the set of many of his most iconic films from the era, including Zulu, Alfie, The Ipcress File and The Italian Job. These hip and stylish photographs are accompanied by design and text from the renowned Graham Marsh.

Released 1st July 2013, 128 pages and is £19.95 on Amazon.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Review of ‘Mr. Cocking’s Descent’ by the Green Circles (Off The Hip Records)

Australia’s finest, the Green Circles, are back with their fourth studio album, ‘Mr. Cocking’s Descent’, and what a fine collection of delights it is.

The Adelaide boys kick matters off with ‘I Can’t See The Day’, which, as always with a Green Circles album, gets things off to a great start. The next track up is the chunky, ‘Time Comes’, with its new wave aural leanings. ‘I’ll Give You Thanks’ slows the pace down a little, but is a beautiful song and shows the versatility of these boys.

Track 4 is ‘Flown’ which begins with a Spanish influenced acoustic guitar before a very tight and menacing bass line and drum pattern joins in, creating something from an imaginary spy film soundtrack. It shouldn’t work, but somehow it does – big style. ‘Because’, with its choppy guitar and harmonica riff comes across like something from the first Housemartins album (which is no bad thing) whilst ‘Tin Toy’ with its late sixties organ sound is a big, big, song which surely must be the centre-point of their current ‘live’ set.

‘Baby You Flirt’ has a kind of Mod revival band styling to it and I could imagine this as an out take from ‘Mods Mayday ‘79’ (if ‘live’) or ‘Uppers on the South Downs’. Showing a great versatility of style, the Green Circles then hit us with ‘Martin’s Wild’, a fantastic instrumental with the influence of The Prisoners hanging large and a sax thrown in for good measure – awesome.

‘Where’s Charlie’ is absolutely hilarious (there’s a bit of ‘Carry On’ humour in there), incredibly catchy, and I am sure this would be a hit single if released (and if it was picked up by the radio stations). It’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face. An absolute classic.

Another candidate for a single A-side is the next song, ‘Semaphore Girl, which is powerful and contains a great hook line. You’ll soon be singing along to this. And all too soon we are at the end of the album with track 11, ‘Watermelon Sugar Blues’, but you won’t blink and miss this one – it’s 12 & ½ minutes long. Think of ‘The End’ by The Doors but overlay this with a fabulously catchy organ riff and here you have a great song – so good actually that it is hard to believe, when listening, that it is longer than 4 or 5 minutes.

To summarise, ‘Mr. Cocking’s Descent’ is another great release from down under heroes, the Green Circles, and well worth you searching out.

Paul Hooper-Keeley

Review of ‘The Outsiders’ - the great new album by The Universal (Buster Records)

The Universal have just released their second album, ‘The Outsiders’, and what a fine long player this is.

With production crisper than an iceberg lettuce and the band tighter than a tight drum on a tight day, Terry Shaughnessy’s songwriting skills throughout this 11-song collection put him at the forefront of original material that is keeping Mod modern in 2013.

The album starts with, ‘If You Want It’, which is meaty, beaty, big and bouncy and is so radio friendly it begs to be a future A-side. The musicianship on this track (including Terry on Hammond) is truly breathtaking and a powerful start to proceedings.

Track 2 is ‘Choke’ and this is the first single to be taken from the album and has a much more indie feel about it. ‘Let it Reign’ comes next and has flavours of some of Paul Weller’s best early solo recordings whilst ‘The Worshippers’ is just a magnificent song that will have the ‘Here Come The Worshippers’ line lodged in your brain for ages. Next up is ‘Is This England?’; a reaction to the general malaise and mediocrity that seems to be sweeping our nation.

One of my favourite songs on here is ‘Hanging in Space’ which has a feel of something from The Beatles ‘White Album’ mixed in with a ‘Changing Man’ descending progression. A quality recording indeed. ‘Superman’ is next with its intense, tenacious riff and again gives me a feel of Weller at his best.

‘Don’t be Fooled’ is another powerful and catchy number which, in my opinion, would be another great candidate for a future A-side, whilst ‘This is War’ is another song demonstrating the Fire’n’Skill of a certain Woking musician (again, this is mentioned in a very positive way).

The album wraps up with another fabulous song, title track ‘The Outsiders’, which along with ‘The Worshippers’, feels like core ‘Universal’ ground in terms of originality, talent and musicianship.

Overall, this is one of the best albums of 2013 so far and I am blown away with Terry’s songs and all of The Universal’s recordings on ‘The Outsiders’ album – I’d love to hear it played ‘live’ from start to finish. I would recommend that you buy this album immediately or miss out at your peril.

Paul Hooper-Keeley

Friday, 5 July 2013

The Strypes & The Who ‘live’ on Consecutive Nights – 27th & 28th June

Georgina H-K meets The Strypes
I’m still coming down from the fantastic double header of ‘live’ entertainment last week – the young and the old, if you like.

On Thursday 27th I was at The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton with my daughter, Georgina, for the 550 capacity sell out show of The Strypes. As you would expect from your roving reporter, I was right at the front and directly in line with lead guitarist Josh – already a guitar hero at such a young age (with the passing resemblance of a youthful Jimmy Page/Jeff Beck and plenty of attitude too).

Playing authentic R&B, they covered much of their regular set list (see my review of their March gig at Nottingham in the current issue of ‘Scootering’) like a modern day Yardbirds, but also introduced a couple of new originals, ‘Angel Eyes’ and ‘That’s A Shame’, which were both excellent and keeping to their rhythm and blues style (no pressure on them from their major label just yet, thankfully). They played 17 songs in their main set, came back to the demands of the crowd to give us ‘Route 66’, and then came out after the show to meet their fans and have a few pictures taken.

All in all, a great night of Maximum R’n’B – and talking of Maximum R’n’B brings me nicely on to the following night and a little matter of The Who playing Quadrophenia at the LG Arena in Birmingham. Although a considerably bigger crowd (15,000), I was once again right at the front against the barrier (it helps being a member of The Who’s fan club).

They played the entire Quadrophenia album back-to-back as per the original double album (no gimmicky minor celebs coming on to be Jimmy or the Ace Face, thankfully). The vintage film footage being played behind and above the band was amazing, and it was great to see film of John Entwistle segued into the set (the band played along to a bass solo from him) and Keith Moon (via old footage) was able to take his place (via the huge screens) singing ‘Bell Boy’.

Although now 69/70 years old, Messrs. Townshend and Daltrey still have bags of energy and desire and put on a fantastic show (aided by Pete’s brother Simon on second guitar). After playing the full double album, and having a brief respite as they talked and joked with the audience, they launched into a ‘Best of…’ sequence featuring the likes of ‘Who Are You’, ‘Pinball Wizard’, ‘Baba O’Riley’, ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’, ‘You Better, You Bet’ etc. and in all played for almost 2 & ½ hours. Very impressive indeed.

A fantastic two nights of top Mod entertainment and good to see Karen & Trish from Sheffield at The Strypes show (apparently Tony B & Howard from Brum were there too, but I wasn’t about to leave my place at the front to find them – sorry guys), and Maggie (of Peggy Jane) and Andrea (of Rimini Mod Rally/Lowestoft Dreamsville fame), plus Anthony ‘Burton Brewer’ Gregory, at The Who show.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

‘Looking Good - 75 Femme Mod Soul Nuggets’ [Box set] out on RPM on 29th July

Available to pre-order for £21 at Amazon – their product description says: -

“Compiled by Northern Soul and Girl Group specialist Glenn Joe Boy Gunton, with booklet essay by noted music journalist , Mojo and Record Collector writer Lois Wilson and Looking Back creator John Reed. These collectable rarities are from the vaults of the classic US labels Columbia, Challenge, Hickory, Era, King, Scepter, Musicor, Cameo, Swan, Velgo, ABC, Dial, Lawn, Okeh, Date. Looking Good will be promoted by a major Facebook campaign, with reviews in all major music-based publications and websites. This box set meets a ready market, with RPM itself having had excellent sales track records with its girl group sound collections of The Shangrilas, Ruby & The Romantics, The Royalettes, The Cookies and the compilation Girls Go Zonk . Plenty of rarities throughout, including unreleased and first time on CD tracks.”

Disc: 1

1. Do What You’re Supposed To Do - Three Degrees

2. Put Yourself In My Place – Azie Mortimer

3. Someone To Treat Me (The Way That You Used To) – The De Vons

4. Mister Loverman – Yvonne Carroll

5. I’ve Got Mine, You Better Get Yours The Sapphires

6. Poor Unfortunate Me – Gigi And The Charmaines

7. Hear You Talking – Beverly Jones With The Prestons

8. You’re So Fine – Dorothy Berry

9. Run Run – The Persianettes

10. Handsome Boy – The Ladybirds

11. You Better Be A Good Girl Now – The Swans

12. Just A Feeling – Irma And The Fascinators

13. Little Baby – Kathy Lynn & The Playboys

14. I’m No Runaround – Ginger Davis With The Snaps

15. Blow Out The Candle – Ronnie & Robyn
16. Magic Island – Kathy And Larry

17. Stop Shovin’ Me Around – The Delicates

18. You’re Gonna Be Sorry – The Opals

19. He’s So Fine – The Corvells

20. Nothing To Write Home About The Francettes

21. I’ll Be Crying – Gwen Owens

22. Write Me A Letter – The Blossoms

23. I Promise – Flo Fay

24. You Ain’t So Such A Much – Bette Renee And The Thrillers

25. Here’s To Our Love – Cathy Carroll
Disc: 2

1. Never In A Million Years – The Honey Bees
2. And In Return – Sheila Ferguson
3. I Got My Heart Set On You – The Toys

4. You’ve Got The Power – Gail Wynters

5. Gotta Find A Way – Naomi Wilson

6. Gotta Find The Right Boy – Audry Slo

7. I’ll Remember Jimmy – Miss Cathy Brasher
8. He’s My Special Boy – Kathy Lynn & The Playboys

9. Two Happy People – Candy & The Kisses
10. I Gotta Tell It – The Blossoms

11. So Many Days – The Vonns

12. Looky Looky (What I’ve Got) – The Yum Yums

13. Teardrops – Sugar And Spices

14. He Walks Softly – Cherry Stone

15. If The World Only Knew – Dee Dee Dorety

16. They’re Trying To Tear Us Apart Mary Moultrie

17. Still True To You – Gwen Owens

18. Stuck On You – Yvonne Caroll And The Roulettes

19. Dream World – Donna Loren

20. I Want To Get Married – The Delicates

21. Try – Barbara Mills

22. The Boy I Love – Renee Medina

23. I’m Nobody’s Baby Now – Reparata & The Delrons

24. Dressed In Black – The Pussycats

25. All Cried Out – Diane & Annita

Disc: 3

1. I Stand Accused (Of Loving You) The Glories

2. Panic – Reperata & The Delrons

3. Marching – The Camp

4. The 81 – Candy & The Kisses

5. We Belong Together – Honey Love And The Lovenotes

6. I’m Gonna Pick Up My Toys – The Devonnes

7. Love’s What You Want – Marisa Gatti

8. It’s Gonna Be A Big Thing – The Yum Yums

9. Evil One – The Sapphires

10. Baby Baby You – The Love Notes

11. My Boyfriend – Becky And The Lollipops
12. Gonna Make Him My Baby – April Young

13. You Don’t Have To Be In Love – Gail Wynters

14. Breakaway – Linda Lloyd

15. Make Me Your Baby – Barbara Lewis

16. Don’t Say Nothin’ (If You Can’t Say Anythin’) – Sherrill Roecker

17. Bobby’s Come A Long Long Way – Eight Feet

18. I Want Your Love – The Pussycats

19. That Boy Is Messing Up My Mind The Orchids

20. Let Me Get Close To You – Skeeter Davis

21. Baby Sitting – The Corvells

22. So Glad Your Love Don’t Change The Little Foxes
23. You Can’t Hurt Me No More – The Opals

24. Baby You’re Mine – Sandi Sheldon

25. I’m So Young – Naomi Wilson