CDs

  • The History of Rhythm and Blues series of CDs brings you the accidental synthesis of jazz, gospel, blues, ragtime, country, pop and Latin into a definable form of black music, which would influence pretty well all popular music from the 1950s to the present. It is the first attempt to put together a cross-label compilation showcasing the most important and influential records in the rise of Rhythm & Blues. This exhilarating compilation …is a distillation of a four-CD set; as such, it’s an exceptionally strong collection, each of the 25 tracks a discovery, a joy. The liner notes are worth the price in themselves: Well-written and entertaining, they detail not only the history of each artist, but the context of each song…The most recent song on the album was recorded more than 65 years ago, but this is no dusty exercise in musicology. This is creative, vibrant music. Even today, it quickens the pulse. M.D.Spenser Blog May 2009 Anyone looking for a great sampler to hear some of the classic early rhythm and blues could do worse than to check out this 25-track release…As an introduction to early blues and more this compilation takes some beating – and to anyone doing research or a historian – I would imagine pretty essential, well done to compiler, Nick Duckett and to all concerned. GRAHAME RHODES RANDB002
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    Dance crazes have come and gone in America ever since the roaring twenties, but nothing quite compares to the epidemic of dance fever that hit the USA in the early 60s brought on by the twist and the rise and rise of soul music. The country was infected by wave after wave of catchy dance rhythms, each necessitating new moves on the dance floor. Everybody was getting a bit of that new soul bug! This collection brings you only a small proportion of the 100s and 100s of dance records produced between 1960 and 1965, before the soul industry got away from the promotion of dance records. There may have been dance rages in the next several decades, but nothing else comes even close to the 1960s for its sheer energy and diversity.

    SOUL031
  • 1. Storm Warning Harry South Big Band 2. Raga (edit) Harry South Big Band 3. Sound Of Seventeen Harry South Big Band 4. Limited Freedom Harry South Big Band 5. Southern Horizons Joe Harriot Quintet 6. Minor Incident Dick Morrissey Quartet 7. Black Eyed Peas Harry South Big Band 8. The Sweeney Harry South Big Band 9. 4 Dimensions Of Greta Harry South Big Band R&B12
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    WHO BEGINNINGS Vol1

    £4.00
    Pete Townshend might have been the most articulate songwriter of his generation but like every other band of their era , The Who cut their teeth on cover versions which influenced how their sound developed. From their first gigs The Who were open to a wide range of influences including rhythm and blues, soul, country, jazz, surf, rock ’n’ roll and classical. And it’s all here, in great sound and with a full explanation of what every track meant to The Who. At least three of the cover versions in this collection subsequently mutated into “originals” - see if you can spot them! This CD analyses the songs and styles that inspired The Who and includes a fully illustrated 24-page booklet. R009
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    The mambo was born in Cuba in 1938, of African and European parentage. It arrived in New York ten years later via Havana and Mexico City. 1954 was the year of the mambo in America as dancers flocked to the ballrooms to see exciting new bands led by Machito, Tito Puente, Perez Prado and Tito Rodriguez. To cash in on the craze, record companies encouraged their R&B artists to come up with songs in a Latin vein and to include the word mambo in the title. Latin rhythms have infiltrated every branch of popular music, but none has had such a wide ranging influence as the rumba. Its 3-3-2 rhythm, combined with the New Orleans second line beat, formed the basis of the Stax and Motown sound and the more complex rhythms of funk in the 1960s. RANDB041
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    This is a delicious 2CD production with a 28-page booklet choked with information, pictures (the Earl Palmer one is terrific) and a discography that indicates the rhythm pattern associated with the song. The appendix gives instruction on how to speak aloud the rhythm of the beats and tap out the accented beats with your hands (difficult or what?)...Let me assure you on the majority of tracks my foot jumps and I want to dance...The tracks do not appear to be common to the vast amount of PD releases...CD 2 is very interesting with a different feel to your normal run of the mill PD...due to their late 50s/early 60s recording dates...It’s the more obscure tracks...that grab you...The number one and most essential is the quality of the recordings. They are first class and on a personal note, I now have the best copy in my collection of ‘The Freeze’ by Albert Collins. There is a lot to discover and long established collectors will have the opportunity to refresh their musical diet by checking this compilation out. Highly recommended to all. Keith Scoffham Blues & Rhythm R012
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    Late night, swinging soul and rockin' blues... Tracks that not only accompanied the dance crazes of the time, but also showcase the essential elements that inspired them. The strong recurring bass riff, four-to-the-floor beat, and blasting horns all influenced the tight choreography of The Temptations in Detroit through to the improvised moves of the dancers in the soul clubs of the midlands and north of England

    SOUL027  
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    OHIO SOUL 2CD

    £5.00

    Before the Second World War, the African American population of Ohio was small and concentrated in the southern part of the State, mainly in Cincinnatti; black music recordings from that era in the state are pretty rare. But the great northward migration from the old slave states during and after the war drew large numbers of blacks to the factories of Akron, Dayton and particularly Cleveland. This encouraged musical entrepreneurs to establish independent recording companies in Ohio that produced music for the new populations. The state's powerhouse for music was of course the King label and its subsidiaries run by the iron fist of Syd Nathan in Cincinnati. So it is quite appropriate that this CD set has a preponderance of tracks from this source, and from King's Chicago outpost.

    SOUL026
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    Volume Two 1962-1965 African American popular music was mostly known as Rhythm and Blues in 1962, the beginning of the era covered in this collection. But by the end of the period, 1965, the music was universally called Soul. The Chicago music industry exploded with the growth of soul music in this period, producing thousands of records and dozens and dozens of new labels. The two biggest black music labels Vee-Jay and Chess led in the creation of the Chicago soul brand with names familiar and not so familiar: the former with Etta James and Tony Adams and the latter with Gene Chandler and Moss Tolbert. And yet it's the smaller labels that make up the bulk of the Chicago story: Conlo with Jamo Thomas, Blue Rock with Otis Leaville, Ja-Wes with Sandra Stephens and it's here that we explore some of the finest sounds of the era in this collection.

    SOUL032
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    The black music scene in post war America was dominated by the emerging urban, electrified R&B scene in Chicago. Nearby Detroit was musically dwarfed, with much of its talent being drawn to the Windy City, but as the 50s drew to a close, things began to change. Detroit’s population bulge coincided with the consumer boom, making its age profile younger than its neighbour’s. Thousands of southern black migrants were joined by many immigrants from Europe come to work in the automobile industry. Henry Ford’s pay was good, and with plenty of disposable income available for its inhabitants, Detroit became the goodtime capital of the USA.

    Hundreds of bars, clubs and backroom record labels emerged, hosting a tidal wave of new talent. By 1960, although it was still too early for any definitive Detroit sound to be identifiable, the city was developing a lighter, more popular style than neighbouring Chicago. It was spearheaded by a young man from Gladstone Street, whose distinctive Motown sound went on to dominate the 60s pop charts.

    The tracks on these CDs represent the cream of this transitional pre-Motown era, when various labels, artists and producers were putting out popular music that they hoped might get noticed and sell enough to make them rich and famous. In 1963, Detroit had by far the fastest growing black music industry in the USA, not just recorded music but a live gig scene just as prolific. Back then no one knew that Berry Gordy Jr would emerge victorious and define the Detroit sound for the decade that followed.

    Sit back and enjoy another batch of Detroit gems.

    In the 32 page booklet, each track is given a quarter-page with details of the release plus label shots, period photographs and interesting notes from Keith Rylatt...Overall this is terrific music with great presentation and is a real source for discovery...This compilation should appeal to all readers who have soul in their system... An excellent release and worth investigating. Blues & Rhythm Keith Scoffham

    As with previous History Of Soul product reviewed on this site, the selection has been well thought-out and the presentation is top-notch, appeal here going well beyond the core niche of Detroit devotees.' Basement Group David Cole. STAR PICK*****

    SOUL023
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    The black music scene in post war America was dominated by the emerging urban, electrified R&B scene in Chicago. Nearby Detroit was musically dwarfed, with much of its talent being drawn to the Windy City, but as the 50s drew  to a close, things began to change. Detroit’s population bulge coincided with the consumer boom, making its age profile younger than its neighbour’s. Thousands of southern black migrants were joined by many immigrants from Europe come to work in the automobile industry. Henry Ford’s pay was good, and with plenty of disposable income available for its inhabitants, Detroit became the goodtime capital of the USA.

    Hundreds of bars, clubs and backroom record labels emerged, hosting a tidal wave of new talent. By 1960, although it was still too early for any definitive Detroit sound to be identifiable, the city was developing a lighter, more popular style than neighbouring Chicago. It was spearheaded by a young man from Gladstone Street, whose distinctive Motown sound went on to dominate the 60s pop charts.

    The tracks on this CD represent the cream of this transitional pre-Motown era, when various labels, artists and producers were putting out popular music that they hoped might get noticed and sell enough to make them rich and famous. Back then no one knew that Berry Gordy Jr would emerge victorious and define the Detroit sound for the decade that followed. 'As with previous History Of Soul product reviewed on this site, the selection has been well thought-out and the presentation is top-notch, appeal here going well beyond the core niche of Detroit devotees.' Basment Group B Cole ..STAR PICK***** SOUL013
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    In the early 1960s, African American music styles were still hugely diverse, and several regions had their own distinctive style. The West Coast was generally quite pop-oriented, yet the magnificent Bobby Taylor and Alexander Patton prove that there were plenty of deep, soulful singers located in California. Here's another full-tilt collection of the very best that the busiest LA studios had to offer in the early-mid sixties. Quality music from 50 years ago that still moves the feet and the heart. Timeless! SOUL029
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    The glory days for soul music in Philadelphia were the 70s, when the smooth orchestral Philly sound stood tall in the charts, and when writer/producers like Thom Bell, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff were at the peak of their powers and when almost every soul singer and group travelled to Philly hoping some of the magic would rub off on them.

    But this success didn’t happen overnight. Philadelphia was a major music centre long before, particularly in the late 50s when Dick Clark’s Bandstand TV show was the biggest in the US. This platform developed in the 60s as Philly consolidated its position as a key recording location for pop and soul.

    This CD set traces the way disparate musical elements led to the ascent of Philly soul. Groups have always been central to music in Philadelphia and there are plenty of groups here, singing soulful doo-wop and gospel-tinged R&B as these styles led into soul. There’s rhythm and blues too, the odd pop tune and instrumental - all ingredients in the mix that became America’s favourite music in the 70s.

    Soul lovers will find plenty to attract then here.. A very strong opening that assures the listener’s attention..Overall, a fine compilation and anyone with an interest in early soul music should take a listen. Norman Darwen – Blues & Rhythm

    Listen to this CD and you soon realize that Motown wasn’t made in a day, nor was the musical history of Detroit restricted to nothing other than Berry Gordy’s label. Most of the titles were previously unknown to me. The O'Jays and David Ruffin are unrecognizable, the Vandellas are getting on  very well for now without Martha, Sammy Ward sounds like Lowell Fulson, Barrett Strong sings a penniless version of Money and Harvey Fuqua is just as wild as Billy Stewart. Julien Cure – Soul Bag (France)

    SOUL024
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    By 1960, the sound of black popular music had turned away from a driving, largely uptempo rhythm and blues towards a more emotionally poignant style described at the time as secularised gospel. The term 'soul' popped up here and there, but only became common parlance after Ray Charles's I Believe To My Soul was released at the end of 1959. This compilation, part of the History of Soul series, brings together the finest tunes before soul went mainstream. We hope you will find the accompanying 28-page booklet interesting and informative.

    SOUL011
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    The “5” Royales were one of the greatest of all the R & B groups. Their ground breaking sides for Apollo from 1951 – 55 are rightly highly regarded for being amongst the very first to marry the rhythms and instrumental stylings of the blues with the vocal fire of gospel music. This innovation was not just daring and controversial but also highly successful – the Royales had five top ten hits including two number ones in a very short space of time. SOUL014
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    Volume Three presents all their Apollo recordings together with a disc of "5" Royales 1960s cuts, curios and outtakes.

    The "5" Royales were the very first group to merge secular and sacred musical influences into a coherent whole, laying down the future guidelines of soul music. These CDs contain some of the very best early soul and R&B ever recorded and the Royales' music still has the power and the passion to move us all. Long may it continue.

    SOUL016
  • SIDE ONE 1. Down Home 2. Love For Sale 3. I Married An Angel (take one) 4. Landslide 5. I Married An Angel (take two) 6. Announcements1. 7. Down Home (take one) 8. Minor Incident 9. Gypsy 10. Bang (take one) 11. Bang (take two) 12. Down Home (take two) 13. Announcements R&B18 SLIMLINE Produced as CD-R (professionally manufactured recordable CD printed for short run) as opposed to CD-P (professionally manufactured pressed CDs made in quantities of 500+). All CDs whether CD-R or CD-P are 100% guaranteed error free. Discs will always be replaced if any problems are encountered.
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    Henry Glover was the first producer/writer in the American music industry, paving the way for a host of illustrious followers such as Phil Spector, Leiber & Stoller and Burt Bacharach. Composer, producer, arranger, publisher, talent scout, vocalist, trumpet player, engineer, A&R executive, and, later, a label owner in his own right, Glover was one of the most talented music industry entrepreneurs of the mid-twentieth century. The fact that he was black and working in an exclusively white executive environment makes his achievements all the more remarkable. Glover’s career illustrates the evolution of modern popular music from its beginnings in jazz and blues, through its mutation into rhythm and blues, rock’n’roll and pop, culminating in soul and rock music. His first compositions in the forties were for mainstream artists such as Ella Fitzgerald and Dinah Washington in the big band and orchestral mould, but he established himself in the early fifties as a composer of risqué blues such as The Swallows’ It Ain’t The Meat (It’s The Motion), Wynonie Harris’s I Like My Baby’s Pudding and Bull Moose Jackson’s I Want a Bowlegged Woman as well as a host of drinking songs. Glover’s formative years were spent at Cincinnati-based King Records and the majority of hits on that label during its golden era from 1947 to 1958 were Henry Glover productions, most notably Little Willie John’s original 1955 version of Fever. He was equally at home with white country music and black sacred gospel music. His hillbilly song Blues Stay Away from Me has attained the status of classic in its field with versions by such diverse artists as B.B.King, Merle Haggard, Harry James, K.D.Lang and Tennessee Ernie Ford. His pioneering work with Moon Mullican and Hawkshaw Hawkins combining blues and country predates Elvis Presley’s Sun recordings by several years. His best-known song in the soul genre was Ray Charles’s 1960 number one hit Drown In My Own Tears. Towards the end of the fifties, Glover tried his hand at doo-wop and rock’n’roll music, but he found his greatest success in the dance craze era of the early 1960s with songs such as Peppermint Twist, Let The Little Girl Dance and California Sun, later covered by The Ramones. In later years, Glover channelled his energies into finding new artists and forming his own record label (he launched the careers of The Hawks, who mutated into The Band, and of the recently departed Nick Ashford). One of his last productions was Muddy Waters’s swansong The Woodstock Album, which won a Grammy in 1975. RANDB020 Produced as CD-R (professionally manufactured recordable CD printed for short run) as opposed to CD-P (professionally manufactured pressed CDs made in quantities of 500+). All CDs whether CD-R or CD-P are 100% guaranteed error free. Discs will always be replaced if any problems are encountered. 36-page booklet included
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    1960 may have been the big year for Instrumentals, but back in 1959, several white instrumentals acts were already making a dent in the pop charts, among them the Virtues, the Rebels, the Rock-A-Teens and the Fireballs. Duane Eddy had broken through in ‘58 but in 1959 he had no less than seven singles on the Hot 100. Johnny & the Hurricanes had their first success this year with three big hits. Black artists, however, had less mainstream success. Jimmy Beck sneaked in at #82 for two weeks with Pipe Dreams, Larry Kerrin’s The Hunch was a hit for both Paul Gayten and the Bobby Peterson Quintet; Bill Doggett had three discs in the R&B charts but apart from a couple of organ hits for Preston Epps and ‘Dave Baby’ Cortez, that was it for R&B instrumentals chart-wise. If you’re knocked out by what you hear from 1959, just wait till you find out what was on offer in 1960 and 1961. RANDB037 My gosh! Can compilations of great R&B instrumentals get any better? Joyous album full of unbridled passion...toe-tapping and dancey- great party or listening musicwith racey, funky guitars, rattling sax and rollicking piano. And the drummers all had fun too. Can’t recommend these two albums highly enough. New Gandy Dancer  
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    1960 may have been the year that Instrumentals hit the charts in a big way, but it was in 1961, that their hold on the hit parade was consolidated with a good number of guitar or sax-led rockers and slinky organ groovers. These are the discs that teenagers wanted to hear in the juke joints: exciting, uptempo stompers with catchy, melodic riffs, and slow, soulful, down home blues. Our compilation throws the spotlight on instrumentals by artists who are more widely associated with vocals, along with more obscure musicians who may only have one or two releases to their name. We hope you enjoy these grooves and if you like what you hear from 1961, just wait till you find out what was on offer in 1959, and in 1960! RANDB038 Awesome R&B instro Cd's - well pleased and great to hear a load of new material. Just when I thought I'd heard it all! Graham Cann These are two mighty instrumental collections from R&B Records...with no real duds amongst them. A veritable cornucopia of fine sounds which will be of interest to all instrumentally minded fans of R&B. Fred Rothwell Blues & Rhythm
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    This is the latest of a terrific series of classic 1960's British jazz… digging a good deal deeper into the jazz side, and, moreover, offering the considerable bonus of rare as hen's teeth UK jazz 7"/EP and LPs with a second CD of American jazz…Rounding off an excellent overview of the club scene are the terrific black and white photos and these capture the atmosphere to perfection. Extensive liner notes come courtesy of Paul 'Smiler' Anderson. A fascinating insight into the kind of music that was played in the hipper clubs of the era... A good, if expensive, time to be a 1960s jazz devotee. Tim Stenhouse UK Vibe A little difficult to grasp: 1961 - The British Perspective by Simon Spillett Not so long ago, the unlikelihood of the Briton as a jazzman would have been perfectly expressed by thinking of him in a bowler hat. Result: complete incongruity, like Mrs Grundy dancing the can-can. Philip Larkin, The Daily Telegraph, July 15th 1961 It's hard to work out what caused the biggest noise in British jazz circles back in 1961. Was it the one and only UK visit of John Coltrane, the first bona-fide American avant-gardist to play to an English audience, whose London début was dismissed in Jazz Journal as “the low water mark of jazz in this country.” Or was it the installation of a new espresso machine at Ronnie Scott's club, “the most out-of-tune contraption of its kind in all of Britain,” according to Jazz News, issuing “steaming sibilance...guaranteed to blast almost any soloist out of audial existence.” Then again, perhaps it could have been the clamouring wheels of the Trad bandwagon, pushing its way up the mountainous slopes of the popular charts? Actually the big story of the year wasn't one at club or concert level, although both appeared to be doing well. Despite the predictions of nay-sayers and the odd spat with other West End promoters (“From Monday to Thursday, the Flamingo quietly folds its wings and drops dead,” observed Scott in December 1960), Ronnie Scott's had survived for just over a year, its successes coming in fits and starts not unlike the splutterings of its new espresso maker. The coffee machine was a good sign though, as was the long-awaited installation of a bar at the premises in April 1961, an event only made possible by the formation of the club’s own “wine committee”, of which Benny Green made a puzzled secretary. Ronnie's was by no means the only London modern jazz spot doing well. Regardless of Scott's jibe, The Flamingo continued to pull the punters, pressed into what one magazine called its “dark, Turkish-bath, but always swinging, atmosphere.” Further afield there was success too; opened in January 1961, by November of the same year Klooks Kleek in West Hampstead boasted a membership of 1600, no mean feat for a venue promoting solely local attractions. On the touring package front, things also looked to be on the up. A welcome relief from what had already begun to seem like a veritable carousel of mainstream and big band artists, the visits of Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk and Coltrane had shown a distinct shift towards the modern, with their respective bands introducing then largely unknown new stars such as Elvin Jones, Eric Dolphy and Wayne Shorter to local audiences. Each of these visits caused moments both controversial and thought-provoking, some less well-publicised than others, including Elvin Jones' memorably Dadaist sit-in at Scott's, which brought delight to some (Tubby Hayes) and dismay to others (a well-known British trumpeter who was moved to scoff “that man can't count four bars!”). Another US visitor that year – bassist Charles Mingus, in England to appear in the jazz-does-Shakespeare film novelty All Night Long – hung around long enough to get more of a measure of the parochial scene, holding court in a series of interviews which found him unafraid to confront what he saw as the failings of the UK's jazzmen. “The trouble here, so far as I can see, is that everyone's listening to records and taking their cues from these,” he remarked perceptively. “It seems to me if our records weren't issued in Britain, the British cats would have to think for themselves.” Balancing this critique, Mingus had been quick to praise those local players who he did think were onto something of their own, including Ronnie Scott and Joe Harriott (“he's got a good sound”) in whose free-form experiments he recognised the spirit of a fellow maverick . As cutting as Mingus was, his remarks about “our records” had an almost laughable irony to them. The label to which he was then signed – Candid – hadn't yet found a UK distributor. Indeed, local modernists weren't nearly as up-to-date as their album-chasing legend might have us believe, something rammed home early in 1961 by the arrival in the UK of the Blue Note catalogue, arguably the finest on-record representation of modern jazz to date. If the label had long exemplified the height of hip to US jazz listeners, its message had taken an age to find English ears. Hitherto available as super-inflated imports or sailor-smuggled luxuries (Tony Hall recalls paying an astronomical £4 per LP in the late 1950s), a deal struck with Central Record Distributors meant that from February 1961, Blue Notes were now regularly available in the UK for the first time. Regardless of a still-expensive price tag (49/9 each, 12/- more than an average British 12” LP), the demand was ridiculous, with Doug Dobell's famed London record shops' initial stock selling out in less than ten days. Within seven months, Blue Note had sold four times as many albums as they'd budgeted for, good news for record retailers and fans but a further kick in the teeth to those trying to sell local modern jazz on record. The timing couldn't have been more bittersweet. Shortly after Blue Note began to appear in the racks, Tony Hall finally threw in the towel at Tempo, the label that had almost single-handedly documented the harder end of UK modernism for close to five years. Tempo's final modern jazz release – The Jazz Five's The Five Of Us – had received good press, but as a commercial commodity it had been a dead loss. “When you can buy a Miles Davis LP for a couple of bob less, can you really afford to buy, say, Tubby Hayes' latest, however much you dig British jazz?” Hall had asked ruefully in Jazz News. If the question was somewhat academic, there were nevertheless some signs of a welcome change of pace. At the eye of the Trad hurricane, in February 1961, Johnny Dankworth's incessantly catchy African Waltz three-foured its way into the popular charts, selling a staggering 24,000 copies in a month. Barely had this news broken than Tubby Hayes put his moniker to a contract with Fontana, “the first British modernist to be signed to a major label in some years,” reported Melody Maker excitedly. Indeed, the big noise in British modernism that year wasn't in the clubs, at festivals or on the radio - it was on record. And, like all things in British jazz, it was a tale of equal parts triumph and disaster. The latter were all too easy to under-sensationalise: the end of Tempo, Blue Note's dismissal of its one ex-British artist (Alfred Lion: “the public did not really take to our recordings of Dizzy Reece”), the Musicians' Union putting the block on Dizzy Gillespie recording in London. After all, hadn't this been the story for years now? But, for once, the triumphs seemed to be coming in greater numbers; that year the US Riverside subsidiary Jazzland licensed recordings by The Jazz Couriers, The Joe Harriott Quintet and The Vic Ash-Harry Klein Jazz Five for Stateside release (“MUST HAVE!” Jazzland's Bill Grauer had cabled Tony Hall on hearing the Ash/Klein tapes); pianist Dave Lee's album 'A Big New Band From Britain' spent six weeks in the famed US 'Cash Box Top Ten'; and Don Rendell found himself the first British modernist signed exclusively to an American label - also Jazzland - (“Forgotten Jazzman nets big disc deal” Melody Maker), effectively resuscitating his career. Rendell wasn't the only beneficiary. Almost overnight, it was as if the lifeblood had been pumped back into British modernism. Cool, it seemed, was well and truly out. “Filling the void is something which should inject a new life into the whole modern scene,” wrote Melody Maker's Bob Dawbarn that summer, “- excitement”. It was hard not to sense a burgeoning confidence beginning to infuse the music. All of a sudden, local modern LPs began to receive rave reviews, with one – Tubby Hayes' initial salvo for Fontana, Tubbs – named Melody Maker's Jazz LP of the Month in July 1961, succeeding none other than John Coltrane's Blue Train. There was even sign of an end to the closed shop mentality that had for so long kept British bop hemmed in. Hot on the heels of signing Tubby Hayes, Fontana had also bagged twenty year old Dick Morrissey, a saxophonist whose precocious ability came close to that of Hayes himself. “I'm still trying to find a really serious grouse with the whole thing,” wrote Jazz News's Kevin Henriques reviewing Morrissey's debut disc, as if it just wasn't cricket to favour the local lads. Even those not generally sympathetic to contemporary jazz styles had at last begun to yield. In late 1961, Denis Preston – Lansdowne studio’s maven of mainstream and a leading architect in building the Trad Boom – recorded the Emcee Five, a frighteningly accomplished “territory band” from Newcastle upon Tyne, the mere existence of which said everything about how deeply modernism had taken root throughout the UK. Where it should venture next was obvious. Having successfully exported recordings by its leading exponents – Harriott, Scott, Dankworth – to the US, it was now only a matter of time until we exported the real thing, a pipe-dream that became a reality in September 1961, when Tubby Hayes inaugurated a UK/US soloist exchange deal enabling American players to appear at Ronnie Scott's club while their English opposites played New York. Earlier that year, Hayes had complained, “the British scene is very limiting. It is difficult to get beyond working around the Wardour Street-Gerrard Street area.” Now, he was working Hudson and Spring, attracting audiences including Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderley, a sure fire sign that British modernism had finally made the biggest leap of its short-life – one as much cultural as artistic. The story of this transatlantic détente was set out on record for all to hear: Hayes recording in New York with a band including Clark Terry, while Zoot Sims was taped over several nights at Ronnie Scott's club, sounding just as comfortable with his English accompanists as Hayes had with his US ones. It was the ultimate victory. “Even five years ago, [this] would have seemed like wishful thinking,” summed up Benny Green in his sleeve note to Tubbs in N.Y. “Even after hearing [this record] I find it all a little difficult to grasp.” What Hayes and has colleagues had grasped though – in essence the nettle of opportunity – was to prove particularly awkward to hang onto in the year ahead. Indeed, far down among the provincial undergrowth lay a threat few would have thought serious at the time. Yet it was there all the same. Reviewing the club scene in Liverpool at the end of 1961, Jazz News cautioned “you would be quite surprised at the 'jazz section' of the evening paper. Some of the groups that appear are called The Beetles [sic.], Undertakers and the Galvanisers...” The Beetles? The name said it all: this was to be one hard-shelled opponent. RANDB042
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    THAT WAS THE YEAR THAT WAS: 1963 – The British Perspective by Simon Spillett “There is a new look to British jazz these days. The soloists are still going their own way but against a more saleable framework.” Melody Maker, February 2nd 1963 “Rarely has a new year caught the British jazz scene in such as state of flux.” So began an article in Melody Maker on January 5th 1963, outlining what the paper thought might be likely trends within the music over the coming months. The Trad Boom - for so long the mainstream media idea of what British jazz was all about - it maintained was finally over, while Rhythm and Blues, the new style that had latterly begun to feature in London jazz hot spots like The Flamingo and The Marquee, had yet to truly prove its worth. Elsewhere in the same issue, R&B was the subject of a piece with the provocative strap-line Trend or Tripe, in which figures including Alexis Korner and a nineteen year old called Mick Jagger debated what the music’s likely impact might be in the near future. Having now got its foot firmly in the door of two of the country’s leading jazz clubs, was it possible that with Trad now on the wane, this might be the next real threat for Britain's tight clique of modern jazzmen? Not everyone thought so. To the surprise of some, Pete King, manager of Ronnie Scott's club believed R&B could “definitely assist modern jazz”, adding that when played by jazz musicians the new music “sounds really good.” King's comments were the latest in a series of indications that, after a decade of cool indifference to public tastes, the capital’s modernists were starting to thaw out. Indeed, as the country froze in the grip of the coldest winter since 1947, there were even signs of them melting. “The modernists are beginning to move backwards towards less-complex, more easily assimilated music”, Melody Maker concluded, a prediction borne out by the launch the following month of The Seven Souls, a co-operative band headed by John Dankworth, which aimed to “please the dancers” with “uncomplicated arrangements and a strong beat.” The band’s début gig was a roaring success, with Melody Maker's Bob Dawbarn postulating that the group might even shake the British record industry out of its almost total indifference to local jazzmen. “If [the producers] had heard [them play] Hoe Down they would have had the contracts out on the stage,” he gushed. Sadly, the musicians knew just how unlikely this pipe-dream was. Despite the predictions of writers like Dawbarn and Benny Green (who in an article in Scene magazine in October 1962 had even gone so far to suggest that “the prospects for British modern musicians...so far as recording studios are concerned, are...better than they have been for many years”) things had fallen ominously quiet on the album front. Although Fontana had made some in-roads into recording local modern jazz during the previous two years – signing both Tubby Hayes and Dick Morrissey in 1961 – there was little resulting windfall on other labels. In fact, looking at the number of British modern jazz recordings reviewed in the pages of Melody Maker, Jazz Journal and Jazz News and Review during 1963 reveals the story in stark black and white. MM reviewed a dozen such LPs and EPs, JJ thirteen and JN&R just eight discs, a meagre ratio when set beside the space allotted American albums, and a statistic also somewhat skewed when one remembers that “modern” back in 1963 could still take in certain fringe artists, such as Steve Race. But this wasn't just the old conundrum of local press prejudice – the problem was Britain's modernists simply weren't recording. In fact, in this regard, 1963 was a truly dismal year. Modern jazz recording sessions in London over those twelve months could almost be counted on the fingers of one hand; a couple of Dankworth dates, one by Jamaican guitarist Ernest Ranglin, a session each for Dick Morrissey, Michael Garrick and Joe Harriott, but little else. “The [record] companies have virtually closed their doors to modern jazz,” complained saxophonist Don Rendell in an interview in March, believing “only US records will sell well here.” Painful as it was for men like Rendell to hear this, the record labels had a point. Some thought money an issue; in October of 1963 Ronnie Scott suggested that British jazz might sell if “available on record at prices lower than those charged for American LPs” a suggestion also made more than once that year in Melody Maker's Mailbag (Scott himself briefly tried his hand at record store management, opening a short-lived shop in Soho's Moor Street in May 1963). But this had already been done, disastrously as it turned out, by the SAGA Company back in the late 1950s. A cut in record prices from all the major UK labels - following Purchase Tax relief in January 1963 - hadn't helped much either. No, what was needed was an ingenious way to drip feed the work of London's modernists to the record buying public; in other words – the jazz single. The success of the 45rpm of Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd's Desafinado the previous year (lifted from the Grammy-nominated album Jazz Samba) was all the argument needed to prove that just occasionally modern jazz could find favour with popular taste. And although bossa-nova's insinuating mood of gentle romance hadn't moved everyone who heard it (Jazz News’ critic Patrick James had dismissed it as “a curious Latin-American scrubbing sound”) nobody could deny its commercial potential. For a jazz recording, however diluted, to reach the Top Twenty was nothing short of a minor miracle. Surely Britain’s jazzmen could cash-in too? And so they did – or rather they tried to, with the new Brazilian rhythm inspiring a small wave of singles by British artists over the winter of 1962/63 – Shake Keane, Vic Lewis, Elaine Delmar, Johnny Scott – each hoping that a little of the Getz magic might rub off. A few of the locals even went for the expedient option of refitting existing material to meet the new groove, like Bill Le Sage, whose composition Autumn in Cuba dated back to the late 1950s but whose title – post-October 1962 - now had a delicious irony to it. In spite of their good intentions, none of these discs really hit the spot, with Melody Maker's review of one – Vic Ash's Banco – more or less encapsulating the fate of them all: “haunting on repeated spins but we can't see it scoring highly.” But bossa wasn't the whole story. Other influences were at play too, among the most pervasive that of soul-jazz, a music whose imprint could be felt in the work of several of the newer London jazz groups of the day, such as the John Burch Octet, one of whose members – Graham Bond – had done the impossible, signing a five year contract to EMI that spring. Bond had gone the whole hog, of course, abandoning his alto saxophone – and eventually jazz altogether – in favour of an earthy, R&B-driven mix of Hammond organ and vocals. This new “back to the roots” angle had also thrown a lifeline to those associated with older styles of jazz; Humphrey Lyttelton was now playing things like One Mint Julep alongside his otherwise solid diet of mainstream, while vocalist Beryl Bryden weighed into the singles market with a surprisingly effective version of Bobby Timmons' Blue Note anthem Moanin'. Normally all washboard and Trad, Bryden re-emerged like a female Ray Charles. Crass commercialism was still an ever present trap though, with some of the years British jazz output hanging unashamedly from the coat tails of others; Dave Lee's Five To Four On openly aped Dave Brubeck, and the likes of Laurie Johnson (There's A Plot Afoot) and Ken Jones (Dodgy Waltz) proffered a bastardised reflection of the latest jazz fashions more suited to Come Dancing than the floor of The Flamingo. The well-tried conceit of co-opting the songs of a Broadway show remained popular too, with Tony Kinsey's How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying notable if only for the absolute mauling the group received when the album was reviewed in Jazz Journal, a critique describing the band as “highly proficient dance band musicians playing at jazz” whose performance was “unforgivably trivial.” However, there remained one British modernist whose work seemed positively unassailable, and it was he who provided what was perhaps the biggest surprise of 1963. Yes, in the same year when Christine Keeler went to bed with John Profumo, Valentina Tereshkova went into orbit and Ronnie Biggs went to ground, Tubby Hayes went pop. Then the éminence gris of British jazz, Hayes' bid for chart stardom began in February 1963, when the saxophonist’s recording manager at Fontana, Jack Baverstock, bolstered by the recent success of his label's release of Take Five, suggested his recent signing take a crack at recording a single. Hayes agreed, taping four potential items, out of which Baverstock plumped for the highly unusual choice of Sally, former property of none other than Lancashire legend Gracie Fields. Nobody has ever quite been able to fathom what informed this selection; was it some sort of in joke? Had Hayes been given the most unlikely piece Baverstock could think of as a challenge? (“There you go, Tubbs! Try and make jazz out of that!”) Was it a reference to the early sixties' cultural fascination with all things Up North? Was Lancashire being played off against Rio De Janeiro? Whatever the reason, to his credit, Hayes had actually managed to transform this most innocuous of English ditties into a rather neat Horace Silver-like arrangement, but beyond that – and in spite of some canny publicity from Fontana and an in-person airing on ATV's otherwise pop-dominated Discs-a-go-go - the record wasn't a success. “This one doesn't stand an earthly,” said Dusty Springfield when she was played the record in Melody Maker's Blind Date that summer. “It's probably well done but I don't like it. It doesn't get anywhere.” Indeed, the fate of Sally seemed to speak volumes about what a naïve folly it had been to ever believe British post-bop could score a commercial hit. The message from the pop world was clear: this is our turf, so leave us to it. With the monopolising force of the Beatles about to break through, advice like this was soon to be rendered academic. Nevertheless, one could see some sense behind the efforts of Jack Baverstock and co. It hadn't all been about sales figures, it had been about keeping the music visible, a point driven home by remembering that not only had 1963 been a lean year for British modern jazz records, it had also been a particularly bad time for modernism on the radio too. For much of the year, players like Tubby Hayes had found themselves shut out of the BBC's popular Jazz Club slot, the after effect of a ban on “weird stuff” initiated by the corporation’s Light Programme the previous spring. “Many of them just don't play ball,” said Jazz Club's producer Terry Henebery at the start of the embargo, shaming the hermetic “take it or leave it” attitude with which many of London's modern jazzmen then regarded their art. The irony was laughable; the very things the modernists had so admired in their American role models – lengthy solos, ambitious original material and harmonic complexity – had actually cost them a valuable part of their already shrinking workload. However, when the ban was finally lifted in the summer of '63, it was clear that something had been learned in the interim, a lesson in part drummed home by the catchy and condensed requirements of the three-minute single. Indeed, it was telling that, on his first appearance on Jazz Club's new Saturday slot that September, John Dankworth had included Hoe Down, the spirited slice of soul-jazz which Bob Dawbarn had predicted would turn heads back at the beginning of the year. There could be no resting on laurels though. “British musicians should try to find something that is individual,” Dankworth remarked in the final weeks of 1963, as if sensing the next great leap forward for UK jazz. “One shouldn't say 'I'm going to make this sound like an American.' To me it should be completely the opposite.” 1963 had been a year of transition then – twelve months in which Britain's modern jazzmen had gone from chasing hits and following fashion to realising their own worth. Where they went next would be quite a story... RANDB043
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    Johnny Burch is probably best-known for songs he wrote in 1963 for Georgie Fame such as “In The Meantime” and “Preach and Teach”. This was at a time when the boundaries between modern jazz, rhythm and blues and beat music were being broken down at such places as the Flamingo and the Marquee. For a few months, Burch was leader of a group that included several musicians who found fame in the blues and rock scene of the late 60s such as Graham Bond, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. This CD features the earliest-known recordings of Bruce and Baker together in a live broadcast for the BBC from March 1963. It also contains five tracks from a session that Burch’s 1965 line-up recorded for BBC’s Band Beat. Burch was never a major figure in the London jazz scene but this collection highlights his group’s unique role which acted as a bridge between modern jazz and the nascent British R&B movement. RANDB055 Overall, an amazing collection of pieces, many obscure, some best described as period pieces but much to enjoy. Peter Vacher Jazzrag When one thinks of bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker, the name of Eric Clapton immediately comes to mind since the three masterful musicians formed Cream. However the first time that Bruce and Baker played together was not in a rock group but back in 1963 as members of the Johnny Burch Octet.     Pianist Johnny Burch (1932-2006) was part of the British jazz scene starting in 1959. After a period as a member of Allan Ganley’s Jazzmakers and with Don Rendell’s group, he evolved to become a leader in modern jazz without achieving much fame. He did get to accompany such visiting American greats as Freddie Hubbard, Red Rodney and Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and wrote a few songs for the popular singer Georgie Fame. Jazzbeat has Burch at the head of two different octets, playing live in 1963 and 1965. These seven selections have so-so recording quality but are full of plenty of excitement with the numbers including “Moanin’,” “Del Sasser,” and Burch’s “Nightwalk.” On both broadcasts, the playing is top-notch and at the level of their American counterparts. The music is very much in the modern mainstream of the mid-1960s, forward-looking while never hinting at the music of Cream. Scott Yanow Los Angeles Jazz Scene
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    This little gem… the extensive, well-written accompanying notes could usefully be used by anyone lecturing on the subjects. Brian Smith R2 If this collection doesn’t put an umbrella in your pina colada then you should see a doctor. There’s the genuinely hard-core instrumental Latin gems bristling with brass such as the Griffin Brothers with Griff’s Mambo, and Illinois Jacquet’s terrific sexy sax on Mambocito Mio. And if you’re thinking this might be all snake hips and exotic women’s hats piled with fruit, there are even Latin tracks from Chuck Berry, Howlin’ Wolf and Elmore James. As a collection to dance to, this is a brilliant idea. Olé! Git down and boogie…er…mambo. Blues Matters RANDB012 Produced as CD-R (professionally manufactured recordable CD printed for short run) as opposed to CD-P (professionally manufactured pressed CDs made in quantities of 500+). All CDs whether CD-R or CD-P are 100% guaranteed error free. Discs will always be replaced if any problems are encountered. 24-page booklet included