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Shame For The Angels

Shame For The Angels

Mother to child in Aldi- "Ged ear else oi'll mark ya" (get here, or I 'll mark you")

Mother to child in Boots "You haven't earned a lollipop today, Sebastian"

And they say we don't live in a class ridden society:-) Oh well I don't know. All you want is to GROOVE GROOVE GROOVE to the music, an endorsement with which I heartily concur. You could, like I did last week, get bogged down in some heavy shit with your close family, go pale, have a cry, etc. I did that shit last week. Or you could do what I did tonight, which is SO much more wonderful- let me tell you what I did. I got my 7 inches out. I had a huge amount of fun. It was ecstasy, the pleasure was immense, as I got out my 1959 Dansette record player, and sat down with a pile of original 1960s 45s. Actually I did what Paul Weller does and did a workout while playing the tunes, which kicks off the endorphins to give a natural high. I got a load more endorphins and special good feelings from the records, which were:- Now you've got to groove to this. Its too good. First 45 was-
Pretty Ballerina by American psych popsters The Left Banke.This was a pricey rarity via vintage ebay, if you aren't familiar with this band and you are a 60s music enthusiast, read on. With its lyric of wonder and transcendence at the thought of a beautiful girl pirouetting in a ballet costume, this record brings aching violins and, a little glimpse of heaven.

Mark Lemon recording
Sartorial of England


And if a pop record can stop the world turning this way, put it this way words fail me now. It is though a beautiful brilliant record, with a lovely slow dance beat, a bump and grind rhythm, but with this wonderful song with its incredible melody over the top. A little like There She Goes by The La's. anyway you have surely already realised you need this in your life, if you don't have it there already. It is one of the Left Banlke's most famous songs, another being Walk Away Renee. So not hard to find. I think Michael Brown who was in the group and wrote this, is a genius. These songs are as good as Paul MCcartney's best songs.

Next on the Village Green Machine Dansette record player came a Mamas & Papas "b" side called Got a Feelin'. It is an intimate psychedelic gem, played to the rhythm of a grand ticking clock, a gentle lullaby composed by Denny Doherty and master songsmith Jon Phillips from the band.It seems to be mostly the vocal of beautiful Michelle Phillips, it is so special. I am a big M&Ps fan and am delighted to be watching their DVD with these great TV clips. They dressed cool They looked incredible. They had really good songs, great voices and unique chemistry. Lou Reed didn't like them, but what does that matter.

Things occasionally are so good in life it leaves me standing. such is the case when I tell new readers (and lord knows the old ones have heard this enough times) but my next 45 on the VGM Dansette has a fuzz guitar sound on it which, folks, sounds remarkably like the new Village Green Machine stuff. I can tell you this with some authority, as John Mcnally from The Searchers gave me the fuzz pedal, and it is the same one I use on my latest tunes which ain't released yet. My all time favourite record is Have You Ever Loved Somebody by The Searchers, which has this fuzz pedal on. What were the chances I would end up being given that very pedal? Nil. this is,proof that God exists. Anyway, I blasted this sound on my Dansette 3 times, its a great song written and recorded originally by The Hollies, but the Searchers being a great band improved upon it, it is a late beat era great pop record. Not a big hit, as the world had become psychedelicised by then, but it was a cutting edge pop record. Totally brilliant. You should try to get hold of an original vinyl copy, sounds loads better than on CD.

Michelle Phillips


I thought things couldn't get any better but then they almost did, when I span Ruby Tuesday by The Rolling Stones on the VGM Dansette. Its not the record player pictured in my gallery on the website (although that is a lovely great sounding record player of mine), it is a dark blue model which my long suffering manager repaired for me. Ruby Tuesday, has a special quality which is hard to describe, but my opinion of The rolling Stones is perhaps best conveyed thus. One day, I believe pop music will again reach the pinnacle the Stones and a few other 60's bands arrived at. This song about a groupie, tenderly described by the emotional and sensitive Keith Richards, conveys compassion, beauty of melody, and Brian Jones wondrous composition with the added flute? or is it a descant recorder? I don't know, but everyone needs the record in their lives. And the good thing is you can pick these 45s up cheap as chips on vintage ebay..sometimes I'm preaching here to the converted, but not always. I truly believe it all sounds a lot better on 45rpm vinyl, on a good Dansette. There are bad Dansettes- go for a late 50s early 60s one, Ebay or, there's a guy who restores and sells them and he shouldn't be hard to find.

I don't want to make some of the mods jealous, but my next 45 was If You Think You're Groovy by queen of soul and Small Faces collaborator PP Arnold. It was lovely to hear from her recently, she digs my village Green Machine stuff. On this record, The Small Faces back her as the tune builds with bass, gospel backing and tambourine towards Kenny Jones's clattering intro, to one of the 60s best 45s. Written by Steve Marriot after having withdrawn Tin Soldier from her,which he wrote for her, it encapsulates the soul, the rhythm and blues, the gospel, in a 3 minute statement infused with sheer pop glory, as all fans of it know. Verges on religious experience, and they were just kids.

I also played her excellent 45 of Cat Steven's song The First Cut Is The Deepest. Another spellbinding 45.

Waterloo sunset by The Kinks was another special one, another gem to lift the spirits. Earlier in the week Dave K and I discussed the way Dave Davies gritty guitar playing compliments so well the gentler atmosphere of Kinks songs, which is what Dave Kusworth has tried to do admirably on my future song English Cafe. I wrote it under the spell of Syd Barrett and The Beatles, before I had got into The Kinks, but I digress. Nobody is going to believe me but that is the truth. anyway, Waterloo Sunset is a pastel watercolour 3 minute novel and an example of what a pop record can, and should be. A friend of mine is a friend of Ray's but he seems aloof. That's fine by me.

Then I played Born To Be Wild by Steppenwolf. I don't like it. But it was way, way ahead of its time and surely, made in '68, was the blueprint for 70s hard rock. It is a really good record, but its not my sort of thing. It gave birth I can confidently guess to the expression "heavy metal" as this is part of the lyric. The guitar playing is pure 70s rock, much more 70s than Jimmy Hendrix, say. I hate it.

So I had to then play Take Me For What I'm Worth.

PP Arnold


We are having a lot of fun working on new Village Green Machine material, and making the first video. Its a "steep learning curve", but funnily enough, it is really obvious what works and what needs editing out. We mimed 4 separate takes then put the best parts together. Filmed coincidentally at the same location as DC Fontana's video, it is now full of other mod and psychedelic imagery- think Ogden's and you'll know pretty much where I'm at. Its way psych for one bit, but I'm no hippie. It is SO GOOD! More mod than psych. Should be out in a week or 2, and I will remind all via Facebook.

Last week at the hotel bar I mentioned to my mother that I like the new Paul Weller LP. Long pause. "Isn't he that man in his sixties"? Sorry Paul I told you I couldn't take her anywhere. Not content with prematurely ageing Britain's foremost musical artist, she then turned her attentions to a rotund night porter. " I wouldn't fancy having him on top of me". The sound of a persons voice deflects off the walls, straight into his ears I suspected. I have talked about Laura "just like nan" Lemon quite a bit in pat blogs, I like her utterly Keith Richards approach to life, which extends to her drinking propensities. She is famous for drinking my cousins under the table on Tennents Super. She has reassuring words for those who fear death, I personally was calmed by her reflection that "when you're dead, you're fucking dead". Further afield I was pleased this week to see a notice on the wall of the church hall where I record, advertising crumpet at 20p. Sounds like a bargain to me. Also glad to see the dog at the end of my suburban garden making full use of a trampoline, and yet another suburban delight was my encounter with a driver with the green "P" letter stuck on the back of their car. Veering directly in front of me as I approached at some speed, I was led to wonder what the "P" actually stood for. Imagine my surprise when I overtook, to see the vehicle concerned was being driven by a fully made up transvestite.

Village Green Machine is primarily a 60s/mod vibe, making new sounds from old sources, trying and I hope succeding in making great records. I was in Jacobites with Dave Kusworth a long time before VGM, and we have been working together again. For the benefit of Jacobites fans, I will tell you all about my recent encounter with the good Mr K. He rang a couple of times wanting to know if I would like to get up onstage with him. We did this last year on some old tunes from Jacobites days, it went well and both of us were up for another crack. I turned up in shorts at the venue which Mr K thought was my new image, along with cropped hair, which had come off as I'd made a mess of cutting it, so it was back to short back and sides. Anyhow I assured Mr K there was no way I would be going on stage in shorts, and drove back across the city to get changed into my suit. On setting off for the venue, someone overtook on a bend, missing me by, all of a few inches. This is ominous I thought. At the venue Dave had already played, so there I was dressed up with my guitar, adrenalin racing and filled with dashed anticipation. An obnoxious drunk (no not Dave) kept falling into me as he danced, then persisted in elbowing me. DK told me to ignore this obvious fight provocation, and had apparently told the man over the mic' that he was a "fat bald headed cunt" Well said, Dave. I arranged for Dave to be picked up the next afternoon, to come across for a session (musical) with me. He rang to say he was feeling fragile at precisely the time my manager had arranged to pick him up, so I suggested he made it to the front door and came over for the session despite feeling rough. I had the guitars and amp all ready to go, and Dave picked up my 12 string acoustic and went straight into a version of Silver Street. We had to smuggle him in because the church warden lives virtually on site.

Dave Kusworth
"Shame For The Angels"


In came a few strong cans, and we got down to overdubs on my songs for the second Village Green Machine LP. Actually my AC30 took one look at Dave and promptly blew up so I had to go back and get the Fender, as used on England's Dreaming Spires. Dave played my Epiphone Casino on a song of mine called Hindenburg, in his typical bluesy rock & roll style. I am in the process of producing the track, editing D's take. I have decided to use only the best bits, short splurges of pure DK, but we are putting heavy compression and lots of reverb and fuzztone onto his playing, just a ton of reverb in fact, and turning him right up in the mix. It sounds really cool. (PS this is now sorted, took 4 production sessions, he's sounding great). He is also on my Stooges influenced "Poodle Dog". A while ago I recorded a new, very 60s style version of Pin Your Heart To Me, our old Jacobites song which was covered by Evan Dando's Lemonheads. I am delighted to say, Dave Kusworth has overdubbed a great vocal onto it, and I am thrilled to be using the track for the second Village Green Machine LP, with parts of Dave's take and some of my vocals. I am happy for the song to be released by Dave as well. There is other important news, but I can't say any more at the moment. but I think something really exciting may be about to unfold which will be of interest to Jacobites fans. I am itching to disclose some stuff but it isn't appropriate to yet. You know, Dave and I are symbiotic musicians. We were in a band called The Rag Dolls for 3 years, (which made us gel) and actually I have learnt so much from him. He is not a part timer. He was a great guitar player when he was 20, you wouldn't believe how great he was even then. He knows how to dress, has bags of style I hardly need tell his fans. And of course, he has been the most exciting performer one could be onstage with. It comes from within, this force of soulful expression in music which he puts out on stage. He and cellist Jacqueline Dupre are my favourite performers. It transcends any Keith Richards comparisons or any other comparisons when Dave does his stuff, because that inner soul could only be his. That's a lesson for any musician. You have to be yourself in an honest way, and talent plays a real part. Experimentation is important too. And anyone who really wants to go the distance with music has to be willing to pay the price, for the privilege of doing music seriously. Also, I reluctantly advise any serious musician to get to session standard and be able to do some pro sessions, or do a day job and allocate hours around this to do music. Not that I ever have lol.
I get a lot of messages from Jacobites fans so I'm talking quite a lot about it all here. I want to say to all the mod readers, that Dave K's contributions are like Dave Davies playing on Ray's songs.

Reading the Village Green Machine blog. Shame For The Angels