vrijdag 19 januari 2018

Cut The Wire. Tim Knol

What a nice surprise, this new record by Tim Knol. The level of pop is so exquisite it is near impossible to resist.

From the get go of his career Tim Knol was on the radio and tv without that leading to a massive breakthrough in the form of hits. He played every festival for two years in a row. Which seems the 10s normal for artist in the more serious segment of music. I have seen him play twice, but somehow his music never totally convinced me. Too much of trying to be someone else? Perhaps. His third album totally passed me by, as it seems to have been the case for more people. The The Miseries album came totally out of the blue for me. An album so different from all that went before, including a near earsplitting show in Leiden. After that silence. Tim was noted as having become a photographer and traveller.

Come 2018 and a new album in which all seems to come together. His singer-songwriter characteristics blend with the pop part of the The Miseries pop-punk. Tim Knol has no fear to use the most, blatantly obvious choices of notes and chords, including a na na na part to get to the most beautiful result. In that he comes close to the music of Douwe Bob and his former band companion Duyf, now playing with Douwe Bob. Comes close, I write, as Tim Knol is not copying here. This is his own distinct voice and signature, leading to his best album to date. Reading the bio accompanying Cut The Wire shows there is no animosity between the two. Douwe Bob joined the recording process for two days, as did Tangerine (his once support act). Anne Soldaat is, as ever, present as side kick and producer.

Promo photo by Renate Beense
In the music elements of country are infused into the songs via guitar licks and even a pedal steel guitar. Pop shines through the vocals, the acoustic guitar and vintage (sounding) keyboards. Some songs hold The Beatles or The Kinks like vocal melodies, others delve into singer-songswriters of old and Americana from the U.S. The influences on this album range from far and wide.

I'm going to focus on 'Going Places'. A song that has it all as far as I'm concerned. A great pop feel melody, some light behind the shade and a blistering guitar solo, distorted, fierce and fiery. Upsetting the whole apple cart of Cut The Wire. A 30 second plus intro. This is Tim Knol having come of age and showing us who he is and where he stands in life. The pop feel 'Going Places' is of the same quality Maggie Brown plays on its last album 'Another Place'. Knol lets us hear what he wants us to hear, released of all pre-conditions and expectations of others and, yes, that may well be the outcome of the freedoms The Miseries allowed him. Chapeau, Mr. Knol for this song.

In all Cut The Wire is an album that presents a few sounds and textures. Different sides from Tim Knol show through, including a darker, perhaps more doubting one. Like in a song called 'Kickin'', sung with a deeper voice. This is offset by the more poppy and 60s sound of 'Listen Love'. In short there definitely is something for more people in Cut The Wire than in his previous solo recordings that were more one-sided. Whether that is a good thing for Knol's career remains to be seen. In my opinion it is. Change allows for longevity and growth in a career. Cut The Wire is abundant proof of that.

Wo.

donderdag 18 januari 2018

Lost In Light. Sumie

Lost In Light van de Zweedse singer-songwriter Sumie roept vooralsnog gemengde reacties op, waarbij vooral de uitersten goed zijn vertegenwoordigd.
 
De een vindt de tweede plaat van het alter ego van Sandra Sumie Nagano (zus van Yukimi Nagano van Little Dragon) van een bijna onwerkelijke schoonheid en intimiteit, de ander vindt de plaat ondraaglijk saai en totaal kleurloos.
 
Lost In Light is mijn tweede kennismaking met de muziek van de Zweedse singer-songwriter met deels Japanse roots, want precies vier jaar geleden was ik al erg enthousiast over haar titelloze debuut, dat de muziekliefhebber overigens ook al in twee kampen verdeelde. (Lees hier Erwins recensie van 'Sumie': https://wonomagazine.blogspot.nl/2014/01/sumie-sumie.html?m=0)
 
Laat ik er niet langer omheen draaien. Ik vind ook Lost In Light weer wonderschoon.
 
Ook op haar tweede plaat kiest Sumie voor uiterst ingetogen songs vol echo’s uit het verleden. De Zweedse singer-songwriter raakt nog altijd aan de pastorale Amerikaanse en Britse folkies uit de jaren 60 (Linda Perhacs, Vashti Bunyan, Karen Dalton en noem ze maar op), maar schuurt ook stiekem tegen de muziek van het door mij bewonderde Mazzy Star aan en raakt heel af en toe ook aan een Portishead (maar dan wel een totaal gestripte versie van Portishead).
 
De songs van Sumie worden gedomineerd door haar prachtige stem, die een brug slaat tussen de folkies en psychedelische folkies uit het verleden en de zwoele en zweverige zangeressen uit het heden (onder wie uiteraard Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval en Portishead's Beth Gibbons).
 
De mooie, indringende en vaak wat pastoraal aandoende zang wordt net als op het debuut spaarzaam begeleid. De akoestische gitaar vormt hierbij de basis, maar laat je niet misleiden door de op het eerste gehoor uiterst sobere klanken op de tweede plaat van Sumie.
 
Op haar debuut wist de singer-songwriter uit Gothenburg pianist Dustin O’Halloran en muzikant en componist Nils Frahm te strikken voor bijzonder fraaie accenten en dit keer geven niemand minder dan Peter Broderick en een aantal Zweedse muzikanten de songs van Sumie veel meer glans dan je bij oppervlakkige beluistering zult horen en betovert de muziek van Sumie ook met strijkers, piano en hele mooie gitaarklanken.
 
Het gekke is dat ik Lost In Light na een aantal keren horen helemaal geen hele sobere plaat meer vind. De songs van Sumie zitten vol wonderschone details en worden gedomineerd door ingehouden en onderhuidse spanning.
 
De stem van Sumie klinkt op het eerste gehoor misschien wat vlak en plechtig, maar hoe vaker ik naar de muziek van de Zweedse singer-songwriter luister, hoe mooier en gevoeliger ik haar stem vind en hoe meer impact haar muziek heeft.
 
Het debuut van Sumie sneeuwde vier jaar geleden wat onder door een onhandig getimede release in december. Het vorige maand verschenen Lost In Light moest concurreren met stapels andere releases en komt hierdoor nog maar weinig aan de oppervlakte. Het is doodzonde, want ook de tweede plaat van Sumie is er een die bij voldoende aandacht naar grote hoogten kan stijgen en heel wat kleine of vroege uurtjes op bijzonder fraaie wijze kan inkleuren. Hele mooie en bijzondere plaat.

Erwin Zijleman

Je kunt het album hier beluisteren en kopen:

https://sumie.bandcamp.com/album/lost-in-light

woensdag 17 januari 2018

Simple Life. M-Jo

What am I looking at?, I wondered to myself when I looked at the cover of Simple Life for the first time. Charles Bronson as a young man in a rare colour photograph, while he was practising for a just as rare role as a Viking/Mongol drummer? Something like that.

My thoughts on the cover all disappeared like clouds from the sky after the rain when the sun breaks through announcing a warm summer day once I started to listen to the EP M-JO sent me. A nice piece of indie rock with fuzzy distorted guitars with a clean drum mixed in the middle. Layers of guitars fly in and out over and under the basis of bass and drum.

The fuzz gives the music a hint of psychedelia, the basis is a strong sense of rock with indie rock in the details. From the 60s to the 10s. Six decades of rock can be found on Simple Life. The EP does not let itself get caught in a small corner. It branches out in sound and approach, making it much more divers than I would have thought on the basis of the first two songs. For me it is the right approach. I got caught by the more up tempo rocksongs and hooked by the ballads on psych later on. In the last song the circle is completed with fuzzed guitars.

M-JO is Mark de Jonge from Amsterdam on guitar and vocals. He's assisted by Marcus Bruystens (Claw Boys Claw) on drums, Annelies Jonkers (Jonkers & Merlot) vocals, keyboards and tambourine and Auck Boersma (previously of Melanocaster, Seewolf) on bass.

The EP opens with the title song. An enormously poppy opening on keyboards giving 'Simple Life' an 80s feel, that is taken away by the spacy guitars. The singing has a 60s feel to it, like the greatest underground bands from this country. The Outsiders, that sort of thing. So far from virtuoso but in your face and direct. The effect is catchy to say the least. This feeling is heightened by the second song, 'Your Call'. The pop is thrown overboard for a rock approach with loads of guitars all over the place. If I get to pick a favourite of Simple Life this would be it. I love the sound of the bass, of the guitars and the melody is elementary, yet effective. The Kinks of old with distorted guitars.

That band returns to mind when I'm listening to 'The Weekend'. Being a fan for life, it isn't hard to come up with these comparisons, yet they are correct. The influence is 100% in the melody and way of singing. That other influences come in when the solo arrives is just nice.

'Let Her Go' is an acoustic guitar strummer. For a while I'm kept under the impression that it will remain that way, until the band kicks in, with a keyboard in the lead role. Something resembling a mellotron or a real one. The sound is just great. Mark de Jonge's voice reaches for its breaking point, not afraid to sound vulnerable and show another side of the vocalist.

The EP closes with the more comically sounding 'We're Just Looking For A Bar'. Like an outtake from any famous 60s band it rocks out. The members of M-JO are having fun together and sharing some of it with us. It rocks and isn't half bad.

Summing up, Simple Life is a nice introduction to the music of M-JO. Although certainly no barns were stormed, Simple Life contains a nice collection of rock songs that have a feel for the right melodies and can be tough as well as modest and tender. Another nice band to follow.

Wo.

You can listen to Simple Life and buy it when you like it here:

https://m-jo.bandcamp.com/album/simple-life

dinsdag 16 januari 2018

In Search Of The Lost Chord. Moody Blues

Years ago Wo. started a series of reviews on albums he had never heard from bands scoring hits in the year that he discovered Radio Veronica's Top 40. The years before he could afford anything but one or two single 45s a year. This led to introductions to the music of bands and singers like Chicago Transit Authority, Barry Ryan, Donovan, Golden Earrings, etc. Some of them were revelations, others far from. The series had come to a bit of an end with reviews of albums that he had bought since. With the recent death of Ray Thomas another album, that he has heard long ago, came to mind. The one containing the late 1968 hit single 'Ride My See-Saw'.

I am very sure that I knew 'Nights In White Satin' before 'Ride My See-Saw', but how can one be certain almost 50 years after that fact. What I do know is that I started listening to the radio in earnest in the early fall of 1968 after I learned there were things like hits and 'Ride My See-Saw' was in that list and an exciting song at that.

As I wrote recently in a little piece remembering France Gall and Ray Thomas I copied all the Moody Blues album from 1968 to 1972 from a friend, but found them to not really like them. I was happy with the few singles I owned and with 'Days of Future Passed'. We are 30 years plus down the road, so let's see if a reappraisal is in order. (As an aside, the pace in which this band released records...)

On the very first listening session I notice that something must have been wrong with my 20 something ears at the time. In Search Of The Lost Chord is an extremely varied album filled with some fine compositions ranging from psychedelic outings, LSD infused, fine ballads to a great rock song like 'Ride My See-Saw', one of two singles released from this album, although the first single, 'Voices In The Sky', never was a hit over here. The second thing I notice is the number of voices Moody Blues had. It was not just John Lodge and Justin Hayward leading the band, far from. Except for drummer Graeme Edge, all sang lead (Edge does narration of his poems though) and wrote songs solo or together. Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder were full contributors to the band's sound, just not their most famous songs. Within the whole it is clear that they were full members with a specific voice, together making up Moody Blues.

Released in July 1968, just months after 'Days Of Future Passed', In Search Of The Lost Chord' is another extremely well worked out album with so many layers and instruments. This time around all played by the band itself. Wikipedia counts up to 33 instruments used on the album. It is an album that rides the wave of psychedelia just after it started crashing down. The Beatles and The Stones led the way towards a more rock oriented future. The Kinks remained who they had always been and The Who was slowly working its way from a singles band to the rockopera monster it was soon to become. Moody Blues had found its voice as well and moved towards the symphonic rock field as one of the early adaptors. The sound of this album still had the 60s psychedelia and Indian sounds in it. The basics were all there for a career that would lead them to being one of the bigger subtop bands of the late 60s and early 70s, and to remain popular to this day.

A small fun fact around the album is the b-side of 'Ride My See-Saw', 'A Simple Life'. I do not have the single in my possession (yet), so have not been able to lay the connection. The Four Tops, one of the great Tamla Motown vocal groups scored a hit with the song in 1970. Listening to it for the first time on Spotify parts of the Four Tops hit are instantly recognisable. Moody Blues as songwriters for others? Why not. The song fits the Tamla Motown sound perfectly.

In Search Of The Lost Chord starts with a poem, which was normal for Moody Blues at the time, written by drummer Graeme Edge. Brought in a Napoleon XIV kind of way by growing into madness slowly but surely. The madcap laughter morphs into the opening riff of 'Ride My See-Saw' one of the two John Lodge rock hits for Moody Blues. The other one being 'I'm Just A Singer in Rock And Roll Band'. Yes, two of my favourites. The song has a strong rock riff or two, so many different sounding voices, going over the edge and all, and a strong soulful element, creating an irresistible mix that just lurches forward and forward like a train under full steam.

The album starts to surprise me from the moment the unknown (to me) 'Dr. Livingstone, I Presume' is played. Again so much happens within one song in the singing and the instruments used and the way the song develops itself. The voices and the approach do sound familiar to me as I have heard Moody Blues one way or another through the years. It is my ears and brain that seem to have changed and making me appreciate the music so much more. And, who wrote this song? Ray Thomas.

'House Of Four Doors, Part 1' is a mini symphony including a radio suspense show with all creaking doors stuff. The band was not afraid to stop the beautiful music to create a totally different atmosphere adding something to the album that perhaps should not be there. It becomes more than a song without hindering the flow of the whole. A very fine balance the band strikes here.

"Timothy Leary is dead", 'Legend Of A Mind' starts, "No, no, no, no, he's outside looking in", it continuous. The mind is explored, the inside of it that is. Like the lyrics of the whole album is about exploration. Through physical travels, synthetic drug use and transcendental meditation. The lost chord of the lost word isn't 'om' for nothing. It is Ray Thomas who wrote this most spacy of tracks on In Search Of The Lost Chord. In everything a signature Moody Blues sound.

So here I am going to correct myself. Was I wrong writing that Ray Thomas was one of the men in the background of Moody Blues. Despite being the flautist and tambourine player, Ray Thomas made a huge part of what the Moody Blues sound is for me. And for Wikipedia writing Ray Thomas quit Moody Blues in 2002? I just saw a video from 2015 where he is singing his heart out to the single mentioned here several times. So, here you go, ignorance even happens to people who seem to know a lot of and about music.

The quality of In Search Of The Lost Chord remains at this incredibly high level. I will not go into each and every song. Instead what I am going to do is go to the record shop now and see if I can find a nice second hand copy to start playing the record for real, instead of on Spotify.

As Gary, with whom I have e-mail conversations regularly that find their way to this pages, wrote on me discovering this album: "sometimes it takes someone to die before we truly appreciate them". Very true, Gary.

Finally, take one look at the cover art of this album. Very special, isn't it?

Wo.

You can listen to 'Ride My See-Saw' here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1r1iqNasZlY

maandag 15 januari 2018

67 lost songs from the 60s. A discussion

Gary, Mark and Wo. go out on another online musical adventure together, writing to each other by mail on their findings to this message that started off things.

Gary, 12-1
Interesting stream of lesser known 60s releases - 67 'lost songs'.

Below we provide a link that allows you to join in as well, so please do and comment to share your knowledge and feelings on this interesting and nice, if random, collection of more or less obscure songs from the 60s. If you feel like it, that is.

https://www.udiscovermusic.com/playlists/1960s-music-67-lost-songs/

Mark, 13-1

Thanks for this link to a very interesting listing. I'm unfamiliar with most of these records but can comment on a few.

6. I don't know this song but Spooky Tooth were an under-rated early progressive band notable for daring to do a version of "I Am The Walrus"! There are other Beatle linkages: after the band fizzled out, keyboardist Gary Wright played on George's solo albums and Wings guitarist Henry McCollough (most famous for the remarkable solo on "My Love") was a member of this band for a while. I have the cd "best of".

15. Jimmy Page "She Just Satisfies" - I bought this single when it was a Record Store Day release a couple of years ago. It is a very short (smack on 2 minutes: no blistering, long guitar solos!) pacey R'n'B effort complete with brief harmonica solo. He co-wrote and knocked off in the studio (playing most of the instruments) in 1965 when he was doing time as a session musician. Very much in the Them vein but with unremarkable "she's my baby - oh yeah" lyrics....sung by Page himself. He never sang a word with Led Zep and his more successful solo releases relied on others for vocals, rather dubiously at one time on David Coverdale but of course later more credibly on Robert Plant. So that adds to this record's curiosity value. I don't know if Fontana gave it any kind of marketing push but I expect they may have considered it too rough and raucous for it be to be pop chart material. 

27. "I Wish It would Rain...blue skies, please go away!")  was a big Temptations hit. Not being much of a fan of Tamla, I am more familiar with this song courtesy of The Faces who used to do it live (it's on their "Coast to Coast" live album). 

28-49 - big gap....maybe you guys have some comments....?

50. Flying Burrito Brothers "Train Song" was a single recorded after the sessions for the classic "Gilded Palace of Sin" with the great Gram Parsons - and I still haven't got this record! (I'm going on ebay after I finish this e-mail). It may well have been a hit in the US.

54. Fairport Convention's "Meet on the Ledge" is their signature tune - a wonderful, timeless, rousing Richard Thompson song so not at all obscure. Sandy Denny one of the greatest vocalists ever of course who tragically died young. My friend Ko in Rotterdam who gave up on vinyl years ago gave me his Dutch pink Island label copy of this single with picture sleeve (very rare in UK) and a non-album B-side, It had been rightly played to death so not in great condition but is one of the treasures in my singles box. (Ko also gave me his first pressing Satanic Majesties Request with lenticular sleeve and a mono copy of Piper at the Gates of Dawn - both now worth a bob or two!).

58. Jackie Lomax "Sour Milk Sea" - I found this Apple single in a junk box about 30 years ago. I didn't know who he was then but I noted the song-writing credit was "Harrison" but did not know the song. Sure enough this was one George gave away to this mate of the Fabs from the Cavern days and never recorded himself. Below par, it is one of his noisier efforts with awful fuzzy production and an unintelligible lyric about meditation: so not huge chart potential and not helped by the disintegrating Apple organisation's random and chaotic marketing (Lomax soon switched to Warner Brothers but never found success: he died largely unrecognised in 2013)..So this is a Fab 4 collectible curio made all the more notable by the composition of the backing band: George on rhythm guitar, Paul on bass, Ringo on drums and on lead....Eric Clapton. There was also an Apple album with an unhelpful title - "Is this what you want?"  - which was re-mastered about 10 years ago that improved the sound.... but alas is not to be found in any  "1000 albums you must hear before you die" listing.

59. Same situation with this one: you can only attribute the failure as a single of James Taylor's much-covered great song about homesickness, "Carolina In My Mind", to Apple's disorganisation and failure to follow up on the genuine talent that knocked on that famous white door in Savile Row (which is now a clothes shop by the way so you can freely wander around and imagine Lennon shouting down the impressive staircase for more.....tea. You can't access the roof though!) This song is on James Taylor's first eponymous album that Apple released. Taylor was bumming around in Notting Hill in 1968 and had sent a demo tape to Peter Asher - and Paul and George ended up playing on the recording.

60. Still in Fabs territory, "The Iveys" was the previous name of......Badfinger. The history of that group is one of the greatest tragedies in music ending in the penniless suicide of the two guys who wrote one of the biggest hits in music ever - "Without You":  Pete Ham and Tom Evans. This is another great melodic song that compares well with McCartney, Bee Gees.... how could it have failed?. Apple fiasco again.....

61 (I'm on a run here...)  The Stone Poneys were a pop-flavoured folkie trio in the US featuring prominently on vocals of a certain Linda Ronstadt. They were quite successful in the US only I think and this is their most famous song. This is a rather earnest genre of American music that didn't translate easily into the global pop charts and after three albums Linda Ronstadt ditched it and hitched up with the country-rock fraternity notably, Emmylou Harris, Lowell George and The Eagles. This song is off the trio's second album "Evergreen" (having become obsessed on more than one level with Linda Ronstadt about 30 years ago I eagerly sought out these difficult to find now quite collectable albums.... but they don't get played much! Her later career took for me a regrettable turn into the bland mainstream but her collaboration in 2006 with Ann Savoy entitled "Adieu False Heart" was a an impressive return to the kind of authentic country I love, so is highly recommended. She had a wonderful voice tragically now silenced by Parkinson's Disease. 

I think that's it for me: no doubt I've overlooked some gems (I'm very weak on the soul side...and there are some bands I've never heard of like the Five Man Electrical Band and the 23rd Turnoff!) so I would be interested to read your take on this list and any thoughts however random that you may have on the other songs!
Wo., 13-1

It seems we have a start for a new story here, Gary, Mark. I haven't had time to listen yet, but will over the coming days. Currently I'm working on an old Moody Blues album following the demise of Ray Thomas, In Search Of The Lost Chord. It's great what I'm hearing so far, having last listened to it in the 80s and not really liking it at the time.

That aside. I'm curious to what I will find on the link.

Gary, 13-1

Wow, thanks Mark!

You really are a walking encyclopaedia of 60s/70s vinyl! You really should consider writing a book/guide to music in this era (maybe a personal perspective?)… I am sure that others would be very interested in such a tome! For myself, I can’t claim any such authority on the 60s and to be honest, most of the 67 on this list are unknown to me…. I just found them very interesting to hear on Spotify…. So much so, I had an uncontrollable urge to regrow my hair (maybe too late for that?), locate and wear a flowery shirt and flared trousers!

Certainly it would be great to source and purchase some of these as original singles!

It seems to me that you are sitting on a goldmine…. But I would imagine it would be heartbreaking to monetise and part with your collection?
Gary, 13-1

It is sad that we have to wait for the passing of a talented person to finally appreciate just how important they were….. I would imagine that is even more keenly felt by those same people that have put their heart and soul into a work and it is all but forgotten?

As for the list, I found it is like walking down a long corridor with 67 doors that you can open, look in and decide wither you you wish to enter…. Great fun!

Wo., 13-1

Looking at the list, while listening to the number 1, Spanky & Our Gang, I am looking at so much I have never heard from before. Despite having several of the 'Nuggets' albums and the 'Psychedelic States' series albums, until it just became a blur of unknown regional bands, this list brings forth another bunch of songs and artists I have never heard of. (This collection goes way beyond the garage rock psychedelia of 'Nuggets' though.)

Of course not everything is totally unknown. Several of the artists have scored a hit and some more than one around 1970. It is nearly undoable to comment on each individual song, but some comments I will make up front.

#2. Edwin Starr, was a part of the soul artists that scored a few hits in the late 60s and early 70s in NL. 'Twenty Five Miles' was a hit. His most famous hit of course is 'War', covered by many artists including Bruce Springsteen himself.

#3. The Impressions are best know for having Curtis Mayfield in its line up and the song 'People Get Ready' that gospel song between the Lord and politics.

#4. This may be the only song I actually own. In the late 70s I ordered 'Summertime Blues' by Blue Cheer from some post order company. To my surprise another band was on the b-side. I may never have bothered to listen to it. The Blues Magoos was the b-side with this song. Later, listening to the Blue Cheer album that contains 'Summertime Blues', I found out why this company did not bother with another Blue Cheer track. This band was really bad (read on here: http://wonomagazine.blogspot.nl/2014/05/vincebus-eruptum-blue-cheer.html). The Blues Magoos track, '(We Ain't Got) Nothing Yet)' is fun I notice. It may well be it inspired Deep Purple for the 'Black Night' riff. It comes very close

#6. Spooky Tooth had two hits over here. 'That Was Only Yesterday' and a cover of 'I Am The Walrus, as Mark also commented on. (Oasis did a great version on Jools Hooland's show in the 90s as well.) I really like the band's second album, that I also reviewed in a series on 1968-1969 albums, I am intermittently running on the blog. As soon as I run into the album second hand, I'll buy it. (Read more here:  http://wonomagazine.blogspot.nl/2014/03/spooky-two-spooky-tooth.html).The band's prequel, a band called Art, returns later on this list, I noticed.

#8. It is explained why the song is included in the intro to the music itself, but of course The Beach Boys should not be in this list, but o.k., the story of the miss-listing of the song is nice. The names are a dead give away though.

#11 -15. Nina Simone, Stan Getz, Jan & Dean, Jimmy Page, should I say more on this famous singers/musicians?

@Mark, Online I have found at least two compilation cds full of tracks, some well-known, others totally obscure, that have Jimmy Page on them. Unfortunately the album is spread out per artist in iTunes, so unplayable as a whole. There are quite some gems between them, actually.

#17. I think I have a few The Velvettes tracks on a double soul album filled with hits by Sam & Dave, James Brown and others.

#19. Yes, I'm curious to hear more from The Box Tops, featuring Alex Chilton. Chilton produced his best work when he was aligned to the brilliance of Andy Bell, which lasted far too short. The first album of Black Star is one of the best kept secrets of the early 70s. It should have been a smash, it went absolutely nowhere until in the early 90s bands like The Posies and Teenage Fanclub started to list it as their main influence. The Box Tops have reached immortality through its one hit 'The Letter', the only song I know by them, so yes, I'm curious for this one.

#20. Friends of my parents had one The Cowsills record in their home. Their sons and my friends played it regularly. I distinctly remember the band's rendition of 'Hair', following the original closely. I hated it, owning the version by an Amsterdam based band called Zen. The best ever version. You should look out for this one of hit. The rest of The Cowsills did not interest me at all. That may be different now actually.

#21. Glenn Campbell has scored several hits through the years. This song I do not know of course. I never really liked his music. Last April I was at a show where the singer-songwriter of duty praised 'Whichita Linesman' into heavens. I listen to it once at home, with a predictable outcome. I liked the singer on stage's version better.

#23, I've just finished my piece on 'In Search Of The Lost Chord'. I'm getting that record as soon as I find a vinyl version. This song I have never heard. (It turned out that the shop I went into had all relevant Moody Blues albums second hand.....except this one, so I selected the one after this one for €3,=.)

#25. I should look up my compilation album of Tommy James & The Shondells if I have this one on there. The band scored several hits in NL throughout the second half of the 60s. 'Hanky Panky', Mony Mony' and 'Crimson And Clover' as the best known ones.

#27. Gladys Knight are well-known soul singers, like

#30. Eddie Floyd is super well-known for his 'Knock On Wood'.

#34. The Creation scored a hit with 'Painter Man', covered by Boney M none the less in the 70s.

I can go one with the other half like this, but won't. The three songs that really stand out because they made the charts here are:

# 51. 'Gin House Blues' by Amen Corner. Not its best known song, but a small hit.

#57. Nothing But A Heartache by The Flirtations was one of the hits in 1968 that I remember distinctly from the time, because it was hardly ever played after. Something like 'Captain Of Your Ship' by Reparata & The Delrons of the same days. The Flirtations were a sort of The Supremes is my guess now with only one hitsingle.

#60. Maybe Tomorrow was a minor hit also, in 1969. The Iveys, if I remember correctly later became Badfinger after The Iveys had reached its zenyth with this single. It may be that Apple's oversea partner in NL did a bit better job. Several artists on Apple scored hits here in 1968 and 1969. I remember Mary Hopkin, this one and Billy Preston.

#63. Don Covey sings 'Seesaw'. I am wondering whether this is the same as Aretha's and it is. Covey's version, written with Steve Cropper, you can clearly hear his typical guitar playing here, is the original. Covey had formed a duo once with Don Cherry, who is Neneh's father.

#66. Vashti Bunyan is a U.K. folk singer of legendary proportions who returned with a record after decades fairly recently. If I remember correctly there is a Jimmy Page connection here somewhere as well. I can't get this song to play, but on Wikipedia I just found that it was written by Mick and Keith. She also sang in Twice As Much (that recorded 'Sitting On A Fence').  In the meantime I have found that Page produced the song, formally accredited to Andrew 'Loog' Oldham. So the song must be on that compilation I was writing about earlier. The information I found shared that PAge was the producer in residence at Immediate Records, owned by Oldham.

There is so much to discover here. While writing I have heard about 12 songs. Two of them I thought, I have heard before, but where and by whom? There were some true revelation as well. Starting with the first song right away.

#58. Because I can't seem to stop. Mark has already commented on 'Sour Milk Sea' by Jackie Lomax. I remember the single being advertised on a Top 40 copy. Despite heavy pushing from the side of the Apple representatives, the song went nowhere here.

#47. Let me end with Shorty Long, another one hit wonder here in NL with 'Here Comes The Judge'. Long, who was called Frederic in real life, was another soul singer who recorded mostly in obscurity. 'Devil In A Blue Dress' is just another one of those nice gospel soul songs with an interesting guitar solo in the middle.

#48. Thanks for this, Gary. Really, really enjoyable listening to these doors to obscurity. There's even a cover of 'Evil Ways', Santana's second hit here. Oh, wait, this is the original by Willie Bobo. Such fun!

13-1. Gary

Thanks Wout,

Again, I am impressed with your authoritative and knowledgable report on these singles…. But yes, this was fun!

14-1, Wo.

Coming back to Moody Blues. It turned out that the two record stores I went to yesterday afternoon had all its albums 2nd hand except for the one I had come to buy, In Search Of The Lost Chord. Patience is a nice thing. Instead I came home with Noel Gallagher's last effort. So will know soon enough if Mark is right and let it grow on me. He previous album I truly liked better than most Oasis albums. Also a recent 12# single by Mick Jagger I didn't know existed. So enough to listen to today.

To come back to Ray Thomas. The man wrote scores of Moody Blues songs, was one of the lead vocalists of the band and I hadn't a clue. I always though it was all about the two blond guys up front. Fact is that I have discovered another band to like. My review of the album is on on Tuesday.

Our latest discussion will be on tomorrow (Monday). I take it as a live document as there's still so much more to discover. So we can just add if we like.