Sunday, 25 January 2015

The Ringleaders "Grin and Bare It"

Secret Stash Records of Minneapolis, USA have been poking around in the archives of  the 1960s Chicago based One-derful! family of labels for a 6 disc compilation series.  In the process they've happened upon some tremendous hitherto unissued soul gems which are now taking their rightful place on 7" vinyl.  "Grin and Bare It" by The Ringleaders is a crisp, horn-filled beat-stepper that'll make a welcome addition to any Northern Soul DJ's box.  "I've Got To Find My Baby" on the flip is far mellower group soul fare which again features some wonderfully soulful horn lines and a few moments that would have made lovely samples for Wiggs & Stanley in the early 90s.  Two top quality sides and easily the best unreleased soul cuts to reach these ears since that sensational Up Tights 7".

Hear lengthy samples and buy it here (US) or here (UK).

Saturday, 24 January 2015

The Wrong Society "To Be Free"

Once again I find myself hugely indebted to Higher State chap Mole.  His keen ears and knowledge of the current garage scene make his m.brooks m.porium ebay store a smashing resource for helping lazy lumps like me to keep up with what's out there.  The latest smash to hit the m.porium's virtual shelves is a 7" by Hamburg's The Wrong Society:

What a fizzing tune!  That guitar solo is pure desperation and do you hear the slightest tang of Martin Phillips (The Chills) in the way the singer pleads "Set me free!", too?  "To Be Free" could be slipped without any qualms onto any of those vintage Teenage Shutdown downer jangle comps.  With Denmark's The Youth, France's Les Grys-Grys and now Germany's The Wrong Society, European garage punk is in a right good state.  My self-imposed mailorder embargo was never gonna last, not with 45s of the quality of "To Be Free" screaming for attention.  I just didn't think my resolve would crumble so soon!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Missing, presumed lost

For the second time in three years my Christmas present from me to me has been 'lost in the post'.  This comes hot on the heels of my first copy of The Luxembourg Signal's phenomenal lp being 'lost in the post' and a consignment of 7"s from Groovie Records allegedly meeting the same fate.  The sellers have been really good about it all: Groovie Records sent replacements, I got a refund on the LS lp and I'm sure the person from whom I bought an original copy (Mint-, by all accounts) of The Romancers' sublime "She Gives Me Love" will do like likewise but it's killed my enthusiasm for buying records by post.  Music and buying records is supposed to be fun, not fraught, and those around me are heartily sick of hearing me moan about the postal services of the world so, for the time being, my PayPal account will get a much needed rest, my postman won't have to cart records up 3 flights of stairs and (in a small way) it'll be a boom time for the bricks and mortar record shops of Glasgow.

"She Gives Me Love" is, for me, one of the standout cuts on Outta Sight's wondrous "East LA Soul - Rampart Records 1963-1971" cd.  It would've been such a thrill to own a well preserved copy of it on vinyl.

* - 'first' as I bought a second copy from a different seller - the original seller had none left - with my refund which in total cost in excess of 30 quid and arrived bashed despite being packaged well.  Yet another thing that's chipped away at my enthusiasm for buying mail-order.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Action & Reaction

When Cherry Red assembled their recent 4 cd collection of Mod revival sounds,  "Millions Like Us: The Story of the Mod Revival 1977-1989", they included a track by a group called The Reaction.  "I Can't Resist" is an energetic, power pop contender from Mark Hollis's pre-Talk Talk days.  I like it loads but I can't help thinking that "Make Up Your Mind" (1986, Waterloo Sunset) by the other The Reaction from the decade in question would have been more a appropriate choice.  With its ultra-catchy Rickenbacker riff and hip 60s pop art pop feel, you can practically hear the polo necks and corduroy fishermen's caps!

("Make Up Your Mind" and its flip can be downloaded for free from the above bandcamp page)

It's my guess that The Reaction were named in honour of their Mod forebears The Action.  Unexpectedly, Top Sounds has just released a 4 track 10" of unreleased Action/related tracks which includes the best version I've heard them do of Martha Reeves & The Vandellas' "In My Lonely Room" and a fabulously vibrant take on The Tempations' "Why You Wanna Make Me Blue" .  There are samples of all 4 tracks at  Blue eyed soul seldom sounded so convincing or so vital.