I have posted budget records before, mostly focusing on the German variety: Tip, Tempo, Rondo, Okay. This here record came out on the legendary British budget label Embassy owned by the Woolworth chain store and exclusively sold through stores at half the price of major label releases. Apparently there are quite a number of collectors already occupied with assembling Embassy releases as can be seen on this Embassy label tribute website.
Isn´t that a beautiful sleeve!? The label operated from 1954 to 1965 producing mostly double-a-side singles with cover versions of hit songs. Just like the musicians that worked for other European budget labels, these musicians were professionals. Considering that they had to record these songs in a very short time, it´s amazing that their versions, like this instrumental originally recorded by the Shadows, turned out to be so good.
I found this 45 at the flea-market last Saturday. My girlfriend and some friends were standing behind me and my girlfriend said: ” Are you buying records again? You bought 200 records in the US last month!! You´ve got flea-market-Verbot!!!”
Well, it was only 50 cents so I got it anyway from the old lady that sold it. I didn´t know what it was either but Fingers Lee sounded pretty close to Freddy “Fingers” Lee, the famous British Rockabilly pianist. Later at home a quick Internet check confirmed my assumption. And when the needle hit the record I was floored! PURE FUZZED-OUT BRITISH FREAKBEAT!!!
Freddy Fingers Lee was a regular on the British Rockabilly Scene in the 70´s and played with Crazy Cavan and the Rhythm Rockers. Because he only had one eye he always wore a eye-patch and his trademark cowboy hat. He cut many records and toured Europe extensively.
In the early 60´s he played with Screaming Lord Sutch and the Savages and later moved to Hamburg where he played in the house-bands at the Top Ten and the Star Club. His own band, The Upper Hand included bassist Ian Patterson (Ian Hunter) and Pete Phillips on drums. Ian Hunter later joined Mott The Hoople.
Here´s a video of a legendary Freddy Fingers Lee performance doing “Lights Out”. Watch how he takes the axe and destroys the piano while all the British Teddy Boys cheer him on!!!
The Midnight Run appeared on Volume 9 of the Incredible Sound Show Stories compilation LP series that came out in the 90´s .
Oh yeah, it´s WIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILD!!!!!!!
The Nix-Nomads from Ipswich attracted a devoted mod following and released only this single.
She´ll be sweeter than you is a stomping Rhythm & Blues influenced British Beat number while You´re nobody ´til somebody loves you , a Ray Charles cover, is slower but equally heavy.
She´ll be sweeter than you has been featured on the British R&B and the British Freakbeat comps.
This is from the soundtrack of the film Girl On A Motorcycle written by Les Reed starring Marianne Faithfull and Alain Delon. The Girl On The Motorcycle starts with a roaring engine and then goes into some weird mix of Les Baxter Orchestra meets the funky organ.
Since last week the protests in Iran have largely been suppressed and are now in the process of regrouping. The coming days and weeks will show how strong the movement really is. As I wrote last week, I believe we have seen the crack in a system that is doomed to fall. By the way, here´s a interesting Iranian perspective about Why the Mullahs are Un-Iranian. All of this was overshadowed however by last week´s top international news: the death of Michael Jackson. And how could the first time, at least in the last decade, that there has been massive resistance against a Islamic dictatorship in a Muslim country, be more important than the death of the King of Pop! He invented the Moon Walk, his best friend was a monkey and we knew him since we were kids!
This week I´ll return to my mainstay and initial reason to start this blog: advertisement records, flexi discs and private pressings by people who just wanted to leave a trace of themselves. Records that are off the radar of most serious record collectors. I´m also happy to announce that Jungle World, the lefty pop culture paper that publishes my weekly comic-strip BIGBEATLAND finally, after bugging them long enough, gave me a column. It´s basically a printed version of this blog in German. You can read the first installment of Berlin Beatet Bestes here and the second one here.
I bought this week´s stack of records at the little flea-market that is happening every Saturday down the street. My girlfriend and a couple of friends were waiting for me to have a coffee and to do the weekend shopping so I had about 15 minutes to pick them up. Also it was already 2 p.m. and the market closes at 4. So I assume it was already combed over by other collectors. But as I wrote, these are the type of records that they always leave behind anyway.
This little compilation EP called Töne gejagt und eingefangen ( Hunted and Captured Sounds) was released to commemorate the 9. International Amateur Recording Contest held in Amsterdam in the fall of 1960 and of course to advertise for Telefunken reel to reel tape recorders. Apparently the International Federation Of Soundhunters and the contest still exists. A cool little subculture even more obscure than record collecting.
This record features a mixture of sound excerpts made by various winners of the contest. Thankfully the only full track here is also the only one that is interesting to pop music fans. Beat´n heart was also featured on volume 4 of Prae-Kraut Pandemonium, the most essential LP compilation series of obscure German Beat music. Since it was becoming too expensive to continue putting out vinyl, it´s been released for free via some handy Zip files on the Spurensicherung blog. You can download the two latest volumes here and here.
I didn´t know what was on the record and just bought it because it looked interesting. What a surprise when I found this little gem! Beat´n heart is clearly influenced by Joe Meek. Only this recording was all done by Ronald Patrick Guttridge himself, a British travelling salesman as the insert states, with the use of a reel to reel tape recorder. As you can guess, it´s him playing guitar and drums mixed with the sound of a beating heart. The insert even speculates on the real hit potential. Obviously it didn´t make it.
But it is a charming instrumental Rock´n´Roll tune in all it´s primitive glory…
( Ein kleiner, von mir auf deutsch geschriebener Text über diese Platte, Flohmärkte und das Schallplattensammeln, erschien am 9. Juli in der Wochenzeitung Jungle World. Im Internet zu finden ist er hier. )
Yesterday Julia and I returned from our snowboarding trip to the French Alps. We had a great time but right now I still feel like resting. The bus ride back took 16 hours and although the seats were transformed into beds, I still didn`t get much sleep. But you`ll see why later…
Our vacation itself was great: the sun was shining every day, the ski lift started right in front of our “Chalet” and the food was excellent because the cook was Sebastian, owner of Berlin`s craziest and best Pizza take-out Ron Telesky.
All these years I`ve had problems adjusting to the people we spent these ski-trips with and this time was no exception. Julia always tells me to relax and not think about the people but there is a certain way people look at me and that irritates me: I`m not used to being observed any more like I was as a teenage Punker. Nowadays I don`t see myself any different from anybody else but that`s not the way people see me. Maybe it`s the way I slick my hair back or the way I dress or maybe I`m only the image of all the snub-nosed, arrogant hipsters they have ever met before.
To contrast that, I`m always very nice and polite to everyone, whereas Julia makes up her mind about most people quickly and then loves to bitch about them and generally doesn`t avoid conflict at all. The guests on these ski trips are mostly in their mid-30`s to 40`s, a lot of them teachers or social workers, most of them couples, some families and some singles. The weirdest ones are mostly among the 40-plus singles: hardened women who don`t take any shit from anyone any more or Julia`s favorite type: guys who “explain the world” to everyone who listens. This time she was surprised, because there were no “real assholes” to hate with us, but she had everyone eating out of her hands once she brought her “business” to the table.
A while ago she started knitting little wool caps and once she showed them around, people asked if she could make one for them. In the end the sold a total of 10 caps and the (mostly) girls came together for this group shot. If you still need a cap, they are 15 euros each made from real wool and of course you can choose the colors you like.
How different Julia and I react in a group situation became especially apparent on our bus ride home. After the first stop the seats were transformed into beds and we were told that the couples should take the extra big beds. The group we had spent the week with, shared the bus with another group that travelled back to Germany. Julia found us a bed and before I could get to her a woman from that other group confronted her and demanded that she moved over the bed to her because her husband was way too big to be sleeping in the smaller bed next to us. Julia flat out refused and said that we had a right to be sleeping in a bigger bed because we were a couple too. That got the woman really angry and she put her bags on “our” bed.
“The bigger beds are reserved for the bigger people”, she said with a slight Russian accent.
This was kind of weird, because she was not very tall herself, actually she was quite small. All the while they were arguing her big husband didn`t even stick his head out of the lower bunk bed once, that really did seem kind of uncomfortable. Maybe he was as embarrassed about the whole thing as I was and I was already half-way on the way to complying.
“Two small people in this bed is just not right! Look at you two midgets!”, the woman said.
When she repeated “midgets”, Julia snapped: “Not if you talk like that!” and “I can sleep here with your stuff still on the bed! We are staying!”
With this she motioned me to move onto the bed. Some other people had gotten in on the discussion and pretty much stood on our side.
The woman said: “Some people are just so inhuman!”, but then more or less resigned to her fate.
In the end they got two separate beds that were probably more comfortable than our bed. Once I had climbed into the bed Julia whispered to me that she wouldn`t let anybody bully her into leaving and that they could go to hell. It impressed me how hard she had been but still I felt kind of bad and kept my back turned to the couple until they left the bus a couple of hours later. Naturally, I didn`t get much sleep…
Most of us will probably be drinking a little bit on New Year`s Eve so here are a couple of songs about alcohol. The first one is a great novelty Rock`n`Roll instrumental from 1961 by Tommy Steele.
“Hick!…Give us another offa the bar… `cause I`m a drunken guitar…”
TOMMY STEELE, Drunken Guitar, 1961