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Dansette 45s

Dansette 45s

Hi, this blog has been a bit erratic but please bear with me, I am aiming to be consistent as I have realised, that's the key to so many things in life. Consistency. In fact, music is one of the only things I am consistent with. I record once a week, every week. And so this week, brings a new song,on which I played all the instruments as usual. It kind of feels like the stakes are high, as I have been sorting out my songwriting archive, and am now choosing the best of my older songs, and recording them. Having recorded a few lately which (unreleased) are somewhat off the beaten track, stylistically, I am now focusing in on the style of music which I originally set out to record. I mean, all my stuff is 60s sounding. But now I am really focusing on that '66 feel and sound, on my best songs too, so wish me well:-) This week, bearing this in mind, I recorded My Precious Time. I originally wrote it along the lines of The Searchers, adding early Beatles and Byrds influences. I did a tape of it years back, I have come to regard it as one of my best songs, and the tape was good except, it had a stinking drum machine on it!


This was before I learnt to drum and put my own drums down. So anyway, it was a challenge to make a better version, as, usually first versions are best. Even with a dodgy drum machine. I put down the drums, and realised earily that the drum track is exactly the same, rolls and all, as Marvin Gaye played on Please Mr Postman. I mean, I played identically and didn't realise. Anyway, its the perfect backdrop for one of my best, and now I have the AC30 and Epiphone Casino guitar, and valves and tape everywhere, and guess what, a great new version. We used a 1950's ribbon mic, for a big ambient drum sound. This song is big on melody and groove, packed with 60s r&b riffs and jangly guitar, handclaps and tambourine. It really has come out great. Even I thought it had been recorded in '65. I could be a pop star. People think, I suspect, some people, I am an eccentric marginal footnote but I will remind them I have already played most instruments on a no 1 album. Sorry mates, this is just me sounding off for the benefit of others. That bar, I have it right up there. I just believe its a really serious deal, pop. It is fun to challenge the greats. I hope I can achieve greatness, how long have I been saying this for? Am I any good oh I don't f****** know, Anyhow, we are finalising production on Dave K's splendid overdubs for the second VGM LP, I am writing and doing my stuff as usual. And that video for One For The Mods, well its almost done.

Old sixties pop, do those words make a little light go on in your brain? Today, I heard this incredible sound in the park. I thought for a moment I had strayed near the canal and was hearing a foghorn from a passing tugboat, but infact the sound in question was a belch let out by a member of the Sutton Ladies walking society. She really let rip with that big one, you really wanted to know that, didn't you? Actually that park, do you know what goes on there? I see men in white cloaks deep in woodland, chanting and jumping up and down and going crazy. 2 kneeling down, one standing and jigging up and down. It is a weird trip, I'm not making this up. And then the other thing is, I saw written on a tree, "TV needs cock" and a text number underneath. Whatever would someone want to put a cockerel on top of a television set for?


Have you ever heard of Mayfair magazine? Get this. That magazine is a collectors item, it is a 1970s porn mag. Someone keeps leaving copies of it lying around in that park. On the front is a picture of what looks like a 60's dollybird, Prescilla Presley, that's it! I did consider confiscating it, for charitable reasons/research purposes, have you ever heard of Lord Longford, deceased? He was an upper class liberal, who was so worried about pornography that he, allegedly, went on a tour of every strip club in Hamburg, just to see what this terrible corruption was. :-))) I hope he found what he was looking for. This man was friends with the Yorkshire lunatic who killed lots of women, he had a pet name for him. This reminds me of deceased John Mortimer, another suave but rather foolish fellow IMO. These people do not live in the real world, they can think whatever absurd thoughts they like, they are theoreticians, insulated by privilege. They don't live down on the dirty ground and frankly would not last 2 minutes. Where was I? Sorry for the complete digression, but I will now tell you what has been on the Village Green Pop Machine Dansette record player tonight. When I have just said this. At the hotel bar I saw a kid who works there, he had a really bad black eye and was a mess. Had been mugged , had a chain taken off him. He is a bit on the camp side to be honest. I don't like to see things like that happen.

Right, on a lighter note, back to the Dansette, and my original 45s. I just grabbed a pile from a suitcase full, and so these are records I've had a good while, dating back to before I really got into the mod thing. Nevertheless, I found some fun uplifting tunes in that pile of records, as I know you will understand, and here are the songs I blasted tonight -

Massachusetts by The Bee Gees, 1967. It is a perfect song, which could only come from true talent, surely? Maybe though, the song structure behind it came from elsewhere, from an archetype- is that the word? It has a country feel as their early stuff often did, but the lush production and quality of the whole thing, make it transcend that. Great record.


Next up I span a 1972 Supremes single called Tossin' and Turnin'. It is something of an oddity in as much as it was recorded well after Diana Ross's departure, and well after the band's heyday. It sounds nothing like their classic period, having been recorded several years later, at a time when Tamla bubblegum was very much a thing of the past. Music in that (soul) area had moved on to reflect grittier aspects of real life, the Tamla sound had changed hugely with Norman Whitfield's productions and by this stage, was something else again. This song is a pleasing enough 70s pop soul groover, pretty lightweight stuff, and sounds nothing like you would imagine a Supremes record to sound. Actually my favourite Supremes records, some anyway, were put out after Ms Ross left. Ie the great, fabulous Nathan Jones, what a winner, and Stoned Love. Special records for me. I love Chairman Of The Board as well, incidentally.

Next I played rattling bone shaker and exciter Not Fade Away by The Rolling Stones, an original Decca 45. It encapsulates all which made The Stones a ridiculously exciting proposition at the time. I reckon you know this stuff- but- you might never have heard much 60s music, you could be new to that scene. So this is for you, and maybe if this isn't you and you are a 60s diehard like me, you will be able to nod along in agreement or howl with disgust, at my extrapolations. I've tried some ointment for them, but it simply doesn't work. Not Fade Away sounds as fresh and invigorating as it did in '64, and I'll bet on a good night they can still do a great version.

Then I played Small Faces Itchycoo Park. I honestly believe a new wave (now there's an expression) of bands could draw from influences like these and become, the new guard. I. P has innocence and brilliance, style and grit, flower power and mod, humour and serious intent, and an injection of joy for you. What more can I say-. Except that maybe they were the 60s greatest band.

Thankyou again to PP Arnold for giving Village Green Machine's sounds the thumbs up recently, that really is an honour. Unless I am completely mistaken, her name was mentioned in the Monty Python I watched last night on DVD. ?


After this, stacked up on the spindle of my old record player, ready to drop down, clunk, onto the revolving deck, was a Shirley Bassey 45 called I (Who Have Nothing). I have always liked this record, a showcase for her dynamic, dramatic style and power. A great song too, and timeless. I used to be frustrated by her material, but I saw her do Diamonds Are Forever on a tv chat show, and the world stopped turning.

Here's One For The Mods- I opted for the "b" side of Judy Clay and William Bell's Private Number, not being a huge fan of that song, which is a little syrupy for me. Pleased then to find a groove driven r&b number on the flip, the splendid Love- Eye-Tis. Sexy and down in the groove, I will give it some more spins. A nice original copy of this Stax 45.

I've just decided I like Budweiser. It took me a few bottles to make up my mind, my thoughts thus animated I will reflect on my next Dansette 45 , another "b" side, The Beatles "You Can't Do That". Peak stuff from their early phase, it is just brilliant white r&b with Lennon's heartfelt gritty vocal, the longer I am a fan, God its like being in love. Their melodies, and diversity, and how much they achieved as artists, I feel wistful, it is awe inspiring. And so many records in a few years, too. Where does brilliance come from?

I don't know, but another very pleasing 1960s 45 I span tonight is Build Me Up Buttercup, a great soul pop confection by The Foundations recorded in '68. It is innocent, has a trite lyric, but a great melody and song construction. It is joyful and will make life's burdens feel lighter if you give it a blast. Promise.

Much like, Georgy Girl, another original 45, which I am pleased to be talking to you about. I just love that record. I always did. Great, great song and so utterly, quintessentially 60s. Lyrics by Jim Dale from the Carry On Films, it was of course the song from the film of the same name. I haven't seen that film for a long time, but I have a DVD of it, and am sorely tempted to go downstairs and watch it even though it is 3 a.m. I am not a Seekers fan, their straight folk turns me off, but this is something else entirely. Beautiful, it has that whole 60s vibe more than almost any record I can think of. And then there's the black and white film with all the 1960s cars parked in the streets of England.


Then I put on Mama Cass's Its Getting Better. She was frustrated at making bubblegum and had a leaning towards show tunes, but this 45 showcases her powerful voice in a marvellous pop context. Great song, uplifting, its 60s bubblegum, its another shot of drugs without the side effects. Highly recommended.

Lastly, this exhausted writer listened to The Byrds 8 Miles High. Roger Mcguinn applied contemporary jazz trumpet influences to his 12 string Rickenbacker playing, with pretty spellbinding results. At the time it represented the ground breaking avant garde in American pop, they were the coolest guys in the US when this came out. Jimmy Hendrix, The Velvet Underground, none of the white groups, had anything better than this. It has an eerie charismatic atmosphere and presence entirely its own, and is positively angry and convulsive. I get the impression The Byrds didn't have too great a time in the UK, it was nice of them to pay us back with such a great record.

In 2 weeks, I'll write another of these, do come back

Love Mark




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