Motorhead - ‘Motorhead’ (7")
The Speedfreaks national anthem. Opening blast of high energy psychosis from the Obergruppenführer of amphetamine Lemmy Kilmister. This was his reply to being kicked out of Hawkwind. He got together with hot-wired guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clark and drummer “Filthy Animal” Taylor and proceeded to kick out the jams in true high energy long hair fashion in a British version of the MC5 during the punk year of 1977. “Don’t you know it’s righteous stuff, goes up like prices at Xmas, MOTORHEAD! You better believe it, MOTORHEAD! Alright!”
Vince Taylor - 'Brand New Cadillac' (7")
When Primal Scream opened for David Bowie at his show in Belgium in summer 2002 we watched a BBC documentary about Vince Taylor on the overnight ferry. When we met the Thin White Duke in the dressing room area after the soundcheck we mentioned the film and asked him if he’d seen it. “Do you know I based Ziggy on Vince Taylor?” said the Duke to the starstruck “Primal Screamers” as he called us. Straight from the horse’s mouth indeed. One of the finest UK rock and roll records, it’s up there alongside ‘Shakin’ All Over’ by Johnny Kidd and the Pirates and ‘Move It’ by Cliff Richard and the Shadows. The Clash brought it to the attention of teen punks like myself courtesy of the late great Guy Stevens. Vince Taylor is a mythical black leather clad rock and roller in the Gene Vincent tradition. I have many great live video clips of Vince onstage in Paris in the early-mid 60s. Causing the fans to riot as he smashes heavy bike chains down onto the stage: “Smash the theatre and slash the seats”. Vince is immortal.
Link Wray - "Early Recordings" (LP)
Back in the mid-80s my friends and I got into Link Wray via the Cramps and their hijacking of ‘Fat Back’ for their own demented ‘Sunglasses After Dark’. This Ace album has it all. If you only want to own one Link Wray album this is it. ‘Hidden Charms’, ‘Batman Theme’, ‘Jack The Ripper’, ‘Rumble’, ‘The Shadow Knows’, ‘Black Widow’ – all killer, no filler. Turn it up loud and drive your neighbours out.
Link Wray - "Growling Guitar" (LP)
If you only want to own two Link Wray album’s then this is the other one to get. Check out the diseased psychosis of “Climbing A High Wall“, when he rips the solo on this Link sounds like Lou Reed playing his berserk “ostrich guitar “ on the insane version of “What Goes On “ from La Cave , Cleveland from the “Live ’68” bootleg. Yes, it’s that good. Other choice cuts are a great version of Dion’s “Ruby Baby “ and a tearjerker instrumental called “Hungry”. But my fave cut on this album is Links’ heartbreaking version of Dylan’s “Girl From The North Country “ if you listen to this and it doesn’t move you then your well and truly dead.
Chocolate Watchband - "44" (LP)
When we in Primal Scream were getting into 60s garage sounds in the early 80s, the Watchband were one of our major fave raves. Future professor of astronomy Dave Aguilar and the boys melted our post-teenage heads with untamed high-energy rock’n’roll power and total commitment. I think it was Julian Cope who said “The Watchband out-stoned the Stones” and he was so right. This comp has all the tracks the original band played on for real. There’s none of the Ed Cobb psychedelic session guys on this one. (Although some of that stuff is incredible, like ‘Expo 2000’ and ‘In The Past’.) Saying that, Ed Cobb is total genius. The man wrote and produced ‘Tainted Love’ for the future Mrs Marc Bolan, Gloria Jones. Anyway, let’s get back to the Watchband. Everything you need by this band is on this album: ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’, ‘No way Out’, ‘I’m Not Like Everybody Else’, ‘Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love In )’, ‘Sweet Young Thing’, ‘I Ain’t No Miracle Worker’. This record is too fucking much……it still blows my mind all these years later.
Joan Baez - "Farewell, Angelina"
A beautiful record. I love this so much. Love the atmosphere; it’s so gentle and still and soothing. Fantastic versions of Dylan’s ‘Farewell, Angelina’, ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’, ‘Daddy, You’ve Been On My Mind’ and ‘One Too Many Mornings’. Also ‘The Wild Mountain Thyme’, Donovan’s ‘Colours’, ‘Satisfied Mind’ (I bet the Byrds heard them here first). Don’t let ‘Don’t Look Back’ put you off; Joan was hardcore, a totally committed social activist. She put herself on the line time after time for good causes. She marched with Dr King at Selma, Alabama, went out on all the anti-Vietnam demos and got arrested countless times trying to dissuade teenage American boys from enlisting to fight and die in a sick imperialist capitalist-driven war. Oh yeah, and she knew hundreds of old Scots/Irish/American folk songs and had a beautiful voice. And was a beauty too. Wow, she had it all. And……Dylan was her boyfriend. What a woman.
Check out her fantastic double album “Any Day Now”, (the songs of Bob Dylan). She cut it in Nashville with the “John Wesley Harding” band with Charlie McCoy and Kenny Buttrey. She covers some “JWH”/“Basement Tapes” tracks and Dylan classics like ‘Love Minus Zero’. Her a cappella version of ‘Tears Of Rage’ is stark and beautiful. Her 11-minute version of ‘Sad Eyed lady Of The Lowlands’ is incredible. Parts of that song may have been written for her. Maybe all of it?
Take Me To The River: A Southern Soul Story 1961-1977
Various Artists (A Southern Soul Story)
Take Me To The River
This 3CD box set is Southern Soul heaven. From Luther Ingram’s cheating classic ‘If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don’t Want To Be Right)’, to Eddie Hinton’s ‘Cover Me’, James Carr’s ‘Dark End Of The Street’ and beyond.
Memphis and Muscle Shoals pretty much owned this sound. There’s a darkness and truth to some of this stuff that’s impossible to shake off once it hits you deep and makes a connection. That’s it, it’s got you for life: hooked. It’s not called “deep soul” for nothing. These discs are full of sad testimonials and erotic spirituals: lonely voices yearning and pleading for some kind of sweet release. Buy this and get yours.
The UK Sue Label Story: The World Of Guy Stevens
Rhythm & Blues
Various Artists (UK Sue Label Story)
Sue's Rock'n'Blues: The UK Sue Label Story Volume 2
Rhythm & Blues
Various Artists (UK Sue Label Story)
"The UK Sue label Story Volumes 1 & 2"
What can you say about Guy Stevens? The guy was super-hip and out there beyond everybody. He was DJ at modernist mecca the Scene Club in Ham Yard W1. He was the super-connected cat who guys like the Kinks, Stones, Small Faces and the Who would go each week to listen to the latest hot-off-the-press US soul 7-inch imports Guy owned so they could tape/copy/learn them to record or wow teens at their next London, or out-of-town club shows. He was the guy who put Ian Hunter together with Mott The Hoople and produced all their early pre-Bowie albums. He told Hunter he “had to wear shades and never take them off”. He discovered Free. He produced ‘London Calling’ for the Clash – pouring alcohol into the piano, so it would sound “more rock’n’roll” and ripping off Joe Strummer’s headphones mid-song, screaming into his ear to “make it more like Jerry Lee”.
Paul Simonon told me the Clash arrived at Wessex Studios ready to start work one day to find Guy and engineer Bill Price jumping up and down on the mixing desk to “get in the right mood”.
Mick Jones told me Guy went to the USA in the early 60s with a bundle of bank notes and paid Chuck Berry’s bail and get him out of jail so he could come over and tour the UK.
He also ran the UK branch of Sue Records on behalf of Island head honcho Chris Blackwell who trusted Guy’s exquisite taste and left him to it. You can hear the soul shakers and heartbreakers and blues cuts that Guy released on Sue over these two CDs. There’s a third volume but I prefer 1 and 2.
In the immortal words of Dr Horse, “Jack, that cat was clean”.