When I told Peter that I had sent off for this anthology he told me that he was expecting a long and slightly dull blog post to emerge. There’s my challenge. It will undoubtedly be long (there are 66 songs) but not dull. Surely?
As the remarkable story of the Beatles get re-told over and over again, the stories of the people around The Beatles tell us more and more about the four members of the band and the influence that they exerted over late Sixties and early Seventies culture. Every one of the 66 artists on this compilation are intertwined with the careers of John, Paul, George and Ringo. While some of the connections are a little tenuous, I’m going to try to say a little about each of these artists as well as illustrating the pervasive influence of The Best Band In The World.
There are two star ratings for each track. The first shows the closeness of the Beatles connection. The second is simply a subjective opinion of how much I like it.
Disc 1 Track 1 “Journey” by Duncan Browne (1972) */****
Duncan Browne wrote the brilliant music for “Travelling Man”, a TV series starring Leigh Lawson who had a child with Hayley Mills who starred in the film “The Family Way” which was scored by Paul McCartney. “Journey” reached Number 23 in the U.K. Charts. Duncan Browne died in 1993, aged 46.
Disc 1 Track 2 “Girl On A Swing” by Kevin Ayers (1969) ***/*****
Kevin Ayers first album, “Joy Of A Toy“, was recorded after he left Soft Machine. The album was recorded by Peter Jenner, who was part of a Notting Hill “set” that included John “Hoppy” Hopkins, Peter Jenner, Joe Boyd, Ron Atkins, Michael de Freitas, John Michell, Julie Felix, Michael Horovitz, Nigel Waymouth and Barry Miles. Their regular meetings attracted more and more meetings until, eventually, they decided to organise a carnival in Notting Hill. Barry Miles was a good friend of Paul McCartney – he became the manager of Zapple Records and later wrote Paul McCartney’s official biography. “Girl On A Swing” sounds like a memory of a blissful childhood seen through a cocktail of psychedelic drugs. Kevin Ayers died in 2013, aged 68.
Disc 1 Track 3 “The Poor Ditching Boy” by Richard Thompson (1972) **/*****
This wonderful song is from Richard Thompson’s first post-Fairport Convention album, “Henry The Human Fly”. It features Sue Draheim on fiddle who had also played on John Renbourn’s album “Far Annie” along with sitar player, Keshav Sathe. He was a member of the Asian Music Circle, the collective which introduced George Harrison to Ravi Shankhar, as well as providing the musicians for “Within You Without You”. At this time, Richard Thompson had an amazing ability to make a song sound like it was written in the middle of the 19th Century and this is no exception.
Disc 1 Track 4 The Cause Is Good by Clifford T. Ward (1972) ***/****
Clifford T. Ward’s first album was on the Dandelion label, which was owned by John Peel whose long and influential career as a DJ started with the Dallas station KLIF in 1964, where he was billed as their Beatles correspondent. Clifford T. Ward had a huge hit in 1973 with “Gaye”. “The Cause Is Good” is an anti-war song and showcases Clifford T. Ward’s great voice. He died in 2001, aged 57.
Disc 1 Track 5 It’s All Up To You by Jim Capaldi (1974) ****/****
Jim Capaldi and Steve Winwood founded Traffic in 1967 and after they split, Jim Capaldi released a single “It’s All Up To You”, which reached Number 27 in the U.K. Charts. The following year, his version of “Love Hurts” reached Number 4. Dave Mason was also a member of Traffic who played on Jim Capaldi’s first solo album, “Oh How We Danced”. He subsequently played on George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” and Wings’ “Venus And Mars“. The style of this music is not typical singer/songwriter – it’s not one person with an acoustic guitar – it sounds like a great pop song to me. Jim Capaldi died in 2005, aged 60.
Disc 1 Track 6 Don’t Count Me Out by Gerry Rafferty (1971) ****/****
Gerry Rafferty was born in Paisley and his first band was in a group called The Maverix which played mainly Beatles covers. He formed The Humblebums with Billy Connolly and went on to form Stealer’s Wheel. After their demise, he had a huge hit with “Baker Street” which featured drumming by Henry Spinetti who also appeared on two Paul McCartney albums (“Tug Of War” and “Choba B CCCP”) and George Harrison’s “Gone Troppo”. The signature sound of “Baker Street” is Raphael Ravenscroft’s saxohphone playing. In 2010, Raphael Ravenscroft played on Mary Hopkins’ album “You Look Familiar” whose “Those Were The Days” was produced by Paul McCartney in 1968 and was the second single to be released on the Apple label. This is another wonderful pop song with a great arrangement, lovely harmonies and Gerry Rafferrty’s instantly recognisable voice. Gerry Rafferty died in 2011, aged 63.
Disc 1 Track 7 Mad Boy by Kevin Coyne (1972) **/*****
In 2004, Kevin Coyne said “Looking back, I never stopped being a social worker” and “Mad Boy”, from his Dandelion album, “Case History” is a terrifying account of the state of mind of a psychiatric patient, based on Kevin Coyne’s experience working at Whittington Mental Hospital in Preston. “Case History” was produced by Dave Clague who formed Siren with Kevin Coyne. Dave Clague had appeared as a member of The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band in every performance they gave on “Do Not Adjust Your Set”, an early vehicle for members of Monty Python, whose “Life Of Brian” was later bankrolled by George Harrison’s Handmade Films. Kevin Coyne died in 2004, aged 60.
Disc 1 Track 8 Sweet Little Fat Girl by Harvey Andrews (1973) **/*
Harvey Andrews later went on to record a song called “Riding Free”, the theme song for a 1973 film called “Psychomania” which starred Robert Hardy who had appeared in “How I Won The War”, alongside John Lennon. Although this is purportedly a love song, the patronising title indicates how terrible the song is.
Disc 1 Track 9 Paper And Smoke by Mike Cooper (1971) ***/****
Mike Cooper initially played country-blues music as a solo performer but later branched out to play in a more improvised jazz style. After recording six solo albums, he played with Lol Coxhill in a band called The Recedents, recording an album called “Aveklei Uptowns Hawaiians”. Lol Coxhill, as well as having played in Kevin Ayers’ band, The Whole World, played in a trio called The Melody Four with Tony Coe, who later played on Paul McCartney’s “Tug Of War”. Lol Coxhill recorded a ridiculous version of “I Am The Walrus” which was released on “Looking Through A Glass Onion. The Beatles’ Psychedelic Songbook 1966-72 by Various Artists” There doesn’t appear to be any acoustic guitar on this song so it doesn’t fit into the classic singer/songwriter genre. Nevertheless it’s highly enjoyable.
Disc 1 Track 10 The Fawn by Keith Christmas (1970) **/**
“The Fawn” is from Keith Christmas’ album “Fable Of The Wings”. He played guitar on three tracks on David Bowie’s eponymous solo album of 1969 along with Mick Wayne who had played guitar on “Carolina On My Mind” from James Taylor’s eponymous debut album which was released on Apple in 1968. Paul McCartney produced his brother’s album “McGear” in 1974 on which Gerry Conway played drums. Gerry Conway had been in Sandy Denny’s band Fotheringay and all the members of Fotheringay backed Shelagh McDonald on her eponymous album of 1970 along with Keith Christmas who was Shelagh McDonald’s boyfriend at the time. A year later, a bad LSD trip caused Shelagh McDonald to lose her voice and suffer from paranoia. She disappeared completely until, reading an article in The Scottish Daily Mail in 2015, she resurfaced after forty years of living a nomadic life around the Scottish highlands. It’s not known if she ever visited The Mull Of Kintyre.
Disc 1 Track 11 The Survivor by Ian A. Anderson (1971) **/***
Ian A. Anderson appeared on the front cover of Island’s iconic sampler “You Can All Join In” but Jethro Tull’s management objected to his song appearing on the album because they thought that having two Ian Andersons would be confusing. He subsequently added his middle initial to his name and has followed two careers as a singer and also as the editor of “Folk Roots” (now called “fRoots”). “With You I’m Born Again” was a single recorded by Billy Preston and Syreeta in 1979 which reached Number Two in the U.K. Singles Charts. It had originally been on the soundtrack for a film called “Fast Break”. Billy Preston first met The Beatles in Hamburg when he was playing in Little Richard’s backing band. He later became the only non-Beatle to get a joint billing on a song (“Get Back”). The percussionist on “With You I’m Born Again” was Bobbye Hall who played on Ian A. Anderson’s album, “Book Of Changes”.
Disc 1 Track 12 I Don’t Know by Dave Ellis (1973) ***/****
On August 25th 1973, The Faces were the headline act at The Reading Festival. Opening at Noon was Liverpool born Dave Ellis who had just released an album called “Album” which showcased his virtuosity on the acoustic guitar. After his set, Claire Hamill performed numbers from her new album, “October” where the drumming was provided by Alan White who was about to join Yes, having already played on John Lennon’s “Plastic Ono Band” and George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass“. Dave Ellis’ acoustic guitar playing on this song is exceptional.
Disc 1 Track 13 Hold On To Love by Peter Skellern (1975) ****/*
Peter Skellern’s romantic ballad, “You’re A Lady” reached Number 3 in the U.K. Charts in 1972. He failed to have another hit until 1975 when “Hold On To Love” reached Number 14. 1975 also saw the release of his album, “Hard Times” and the title track was later covered by Ringo Starr. George Harrison played guitar on one track on the album, “Make Love Not War”. Lots of people will love this song. Peter Skellern died in 2017, aged 69.
Disc 1 Track 14 Audrey by Mike Heron (1971) ***/****
Mike Heron had been in The Incredible String Band and “Audrey” is a song from his first solo album, “Smiling Men With Bad Reputations”. The array of backing musicians on this album is astonishing, including Pete Townsend, Keith Moon, John Cale, Richard Thompson, Dave Mattacks, Dave Pegg, Simon Nicol, Pat Donaldson, Steve Winwood and Elton John. Playing synthesiser was Tony Cox who had been a member of The Young Idea, and they were the first artists to have a hit with “With A Little Help From My Friends”. He later married Leslie Duncan and settled on The Isle Of Mull.
Disc 1 Track 15 Easy To Slip Away by Peter Hammill (1973) **/*
One of the best progressive rock albums of all time is “The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other” by Van Der Graaf Generator and one of the best songs on that album is “Refugees” which mentions two of Peter Hammill’s former flat mates Mike and Susie. They make another appearance in “Easy To Slip Away”. Susie is Susan Penhaligon, whose first film credit was the 1972 film, “Under Milk Wood” where she appears alongside Victor Spinetti who was the only non-Beatle to appear in all three of the first three Beatles films. I love the Van Der Graaf Generator album but have tried, unsuccessfully, to get into other Peter Hamill projects.
Disc 1 Track 16 For Your Love by Graham Gouldman (1968) ****/****
Graham Goulman’s first album, “The Graham Gouldman Thing”, was only released in the U.S.A. and featured his versions of his own songs that had been recorded by other artists including “For Your Love”, “Bus Stop” and “No Milk Today”. The album was engineered by Eddie Kramer who had also engineered “All You Need Is Love” and “Baby You’re A Rich Man” at Olympic Studios in Barnes (one of the rare Beatles recordings not made at Abbey Road). Graham Gouldman would go on to have huge success with 10cc. This is an excellent version of a very familiar song.
Disc 1 Track 17 Maybe That’s The Way by Ray Dorset (1972) **/*
Ray Dorset’s first solo album, “Cold Blue Excursion” was recorded whilst he was lead singer with Mungo Jerry and released two years after their big hit “In The Summertime”. The album features Sue and Sunny who were in The Brotherhood Of Man between 1969 and 1972 and had left the band before “Save Your Kisses For Me” won the Eurovision Song Contest. The sisters’ real names were Yvonne Wheatman and Heather Wheatman; they were born in India and grew up in London. Leslie Duncan, (before marrying Tony Cox, before appearing at the 1973 Reading festival and before moving to The Isle Of Mull), employed Sue and Sunny as backing vocalists on some of her songs and this resulted in lots of interest from other musicians, including Joe Cocker, who used Sue and Sunny on his version of “With A Little Help From My Friends”. They appeared on “Top Of The Pops” with Joe Cocker. Sue, later known as Sue Glover, recorded a solo album called “Solo” for the DJM label, which stood for Dick James Music, the label formed by the former Beatles music publisher. The warbly vocal style, made popular by Marc Bolan is quite appealing to a lot of people.
Disc 1 Track 18 Beware Of The Beautiful Stranger by Pete Atkin (1970) ***/***
Pete Atkin and Clive James met at Cambridge and after they met Julie Covington at the Cambridge Footlights, they recorded some demos for EMI. They wrote a number of songs for her third album which failed to sell but her version of “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” became a Number One hit in the U.K. Charts. Mo Foster played bass on that song and he later wrote a song called “In My Car” which was released on Ringo Starr’s ninth album “Old Wave”. “Beware Of The Beautiful Stranger” is the title song on Pete Atkin’s first album and, like most of his songs, the dazzling lyrics were written by Clive James.
Disc 1 Track 19 California Sun by Eddie Hardin (1972) **/***
In February 1966, a rock band from Manchester called St Louis Union won a talent competition organised by Melody Maker and their first single, a cover of “Girl” from “Rubber Soul” got to Number 11 in the U.K. Charts. In the same year, they appeared in a film called “The Ghost Goes Gear” in which a group (played by The Spencer Davis Group) visit a haunted house. Eddie Hardin had been a member of The Spencer Davis Group before forming Hardin and York with Pete York. “Home Is Where You Find It”, the first of eleven solo albums, was released whilst Hardin and York were still operating. The word languid was invented to describe this song. Eddie Hardin died in 2015, aged 66.
Disc 1 Track 20 The Bells Of St. Mary’s by Leo Sayer (1974) ****/****
Roy Young often appeared on stage with The Beatles in Hamburg. He later formed The Roy Young Band who played brass on Roger Daltrey’s solo album, “Daltrey” which included ten songs written by Leo Sayer and David Courtney. One of the songs was “Giving It All Away” which also appears on Leo Sayer’s second solo album, “Just A Boy”. The album also includes a bittersweet account of teenage life in Shoreham-By-Sea called “The Bells Of St. Mary’s”.
Disc 1 Track 21 Red Lady by Phil Cordell (1969) **/****
Joe Meek was a well regarded producer in the early Sixties and Brian Epstein sought his advice about a demo of The Beatles’ recordings he was hawking around London. Joe Meek said that they were “just another bunch of noise, copying other people’s music.” He later offered to record a band on the condition that they got rid of their lead singer, Rod Stewart. In 1964 he recorded a band called The Prophets but he was not enthused by the results. The lead singer, Phil Cordell changed their name to Tuesday’s Children but when they failed to achieve success, he recorded a solo single, “Pumping The Water” with the superior “Red Lady” on the B Side. He subsequently changed his name to Springwater and his song, “I Will Return” reached Number Five in the U.K. Charts in 1971. The guitar sound (which vaguely resembles a sitar) dates this song explicitly to the late Sixties and the strength of the song along with Phil Cordell’s marvellous voice helps to produce a memorable song. Phil Cordell died in 2007, aged 59.
Disc 2 Track 1 The Days Of Pearly Spencer by David McWilliams (1967) ****/*****
Although this song wasn’t a U.K. hit, it received a lot of airplay on the pirate radio stations due to David McWilliams’ manager, Phil Solomon, being a director of Radio Caroline. To achieve the megaphone effect of the chorus, David McWilliams went outside the studio and phoned in his vocal. The arrangement of the song was by Mike Leander, who had recently scored She’s Leaving Home” due to George Martin’s time being taken up with recording Cilla Black on the day that Paul McCartney wanted the work done. David McWilliams died in 2002, aged 56.
Disc 2 Track 2 You Should Have Listened To Al by Al Stewart (1969) *****/****
Before his recording career started, Al Stewart backed Tony Blackburn’s failed singing career, played on Jackson C. Frank’s only album, shared a flat with Paul Simon and gave Yoko Ono £100 to help finance her film “Bottoms”. “You Should Have Listened To Al” features Richard Thompson on lead electric guitar. I once saw Al Stewart in London with Brinsley Schwarz as the opening act and I’ve never really forgiven him for demoting my favourite band to a guest spot. Until now, that is because this is a very good song.
Disc 2 Track 3 May You Never by John Martyn (1973) ****/*****
“May You Never” is from John Martyn’s magnificent sixth album, “Solid Air” which features Tony Coe on saxophone, who played on Paul McCartney’s “Tug Of War” as well as Mike McCartney’s “McGear”. John Martyn died in 2009, aged 60.
Disc 2 Track 4 I Really Wanted You by Steve Tilston (1971) *****/*****
“Danny Collins” is a 2015 comedy drama film starring Al Pacino and based on the true life story of Steve Tilston. Towards the start of the film, Danny Collins uncovers a 40 year old letter of advice from John Lennon advising him to clean up and reconnect with his family. This is based on a real letter from John Lennon, written in 1971 but never delivered. He had been inspired to write the letter, after having read an interview with Steve Tilston in ZigZag magazine in which he admitted he feared wealth and fame might negatively affect his songwriting. Steve Tilston did not become aware of the letter’s existence until a collector contacted him in 2005 to verify its authenticity. John Lennon had written “Being rich doesn’t change your experience in the way you think. Love John and Yoko.” This wonderful track is a single artist with two acoustic guitars and fits the typical singer/songwriter genre perfectly.
Disc 2 Track 5 Say It Ain’t So, Joe by Murray Head (1975) ***/*
Murray Head is an actor and singer whose career started with an appearance in “The Family Way”, for which Paul McCartney and George Martin wrote the music. “Say It Ain’t So” is a phrase chanted by fans of the baseball star, Joe Jackson, when he admitted to taking a bribe to make sure that The White Sox lost the 1919 World Series final.
Disc 2 Track 6 Family Man by John Howard (1975) ***/*
Norman Smith engineered all the Beatles albums up to and including “Rubber Soul” before he was promoted from engineer to producer. He subsequently dabbled in performing and released four singles. He was managed by Stuart Reid who spotted John Howard playing at The Troubadour Folk Club in Earls Court. A recording contract followed and his first album was recorded at Apple Studios and Abbey Road Studios. His first single, “Goodbye Suzie” dealt with teenage suicide and was banned by the BBC. The brightly cynical follow-up, “Family Man” was also ignored, maybe because of John Howard’s well publicised homosexuality or maybe because the lyrics describe how he “gives it to” his wife whenever she wants it. Other lyrics include “She’s got a double belly and she’s got a double chin. She watches lots of telly and she drinks a lot of gin“.
Disc 2 Track 7 Two Weeks Last Summer by Dave Cousins (1972) ***/*
Dave Cousins was a member of The Strawbs and, in 1971, he recorded a solo album on which Roger Glover played bass guitar. As well as being the bass player for Deep Purple and Rainbow, Roger Glover had been in a band with Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan called Episode Six. When he left to form Deep Purple, he was replaced in Episode Six by John Gustafson who had been a member of The Big Three, a Liverpool Band who, in their previous incarnation as Cass And The Casanovas had auditioned alongside The Silver Beetles for Larry Parnes. Brian Epstein signed The Big Three in 1962 and they played The Star Club in Hamburg between The Beatles’ third and fourth residencies in the city. The word ephemeral springs to mind when listening to this song.
Disc 2 Track 8 Tell Me What Is True Love by Bert Jansch (1971) **/***
Bert Jansch, as a member of Pentangle was responsible for the theme tune (“Light Flight”) to a TV series called “Take Three Girls”. One of the three girls was played by Carolyn Seymour, whose first film appearance was in the 1972 film, “Steptoe And Son” starring Harry H. Corbett and Wilfrid Bramble who had played Paul McCartney’s grandfather in “A Hard Day’s Night”. “Tell Me What Is True Love” is a quiet, gentle song. Bert Jansch died in 2011, aged 67.
Disc 2 Track 9 All Around My Grandmother’s Floor by Andy Roberts (1973) ****/*****
Andy Roberts had previously been the guitarist who accompanied Scaffold. The three members of Scaffold were Roger McGough, John Gorman and Mike McGear, who was Paul McCartney’s brother. This was Andy Roberts’ third attempt to release the song, two previous versions (1969 and 1972) being unreleased. It’s a great song with interesting instrumentation, a catchy chorus and a late Sixties feel to it.
Disc 2 Track 10 Two Separate Paths Together by Gary Farr (1969) ***/****
Gary Farr’s brother, Rikki along with Ray Foulk and Ronnie Foulk, organised the Isle of Wight festival in 1969. This guaranteed him a spot at the Festival which was Bob Dylan’s first live appearance, anywhere in the world, for three years. There were strong rumours that all of The Beatles were going to join him on stage, but, in fact, it was The Band who were the backup band. Before travelling to the Festival, Bob Dylan and The Band rehearsed at Forelands Farm, in Bembridge which George Harrison had rented out. Bob and Sara Dylan stayed with George and Pattie Harrison for two nights before playing the gig on 31st August, watched by John and Yoko Lennon, Ringo and Maureen Starkey and George and Pattie Harrison. This song gives the title to the compilation and describes how many people can follow the same general direction without ever really intersecting. The analogy is with the different forms of “singer/songwriter”: the acoustic troubadour expressing their innermost feelings, the writer of pop songs, someone who investigates the folk tradition, someone else who emerges from singing country/blues, a music hall wannabe or someone completely unique. This intense song is called “two” separate paths together but the compilation illustrates that there are several different paths that a “singer/songwriter” can take. Gary Farr recorded three solo albums and he died in 1994, aged 49.
Disc 2 Track 11 Frozen Orange Juice by Peter Sarstedt (1969) **/*
“Frozen Orange Juice” reached Number 10 in the U.K. Charts and was the follow up to the Number One hit for Peter Starstedt, “Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)”, a song about a fictional character called Marie-Claire who was born in the back street of Naples but socially climbs to live a jet set life in Paris, wearing clothes by Pierre Balmain. He was the designer of many dresses worn by Mae West who was the star in one of the worst films of all time, “Sextette”, also starring Ringo Starr. Peter Starstedt died in 2017, aged 75.
Disc 2 Track 12 When I Leave Berlin by Wizz Jones (1974) ***/*****
In the early 1960s, Wizz Jones toured Europe with Rod Stewart, whose song “The Killing Of Georgie” was, according to John Lennon (in his Playboy interview of 1980), a rip-off of “Don’t Let Me Down”. This excellent song was covered by Bruce Springsteen in 2012, when he played in Berlin.
Disc 2 Track 13 Jesus Christ Junior by Patrick Campbell-Lyons (1973) ****/**
Patrick Campbell-Lyons had been the lead singer in Nirvana, whose single, “Rainbow Chaser”, is a classic British psychedelic single from 1968. Before forming Nirvana, he was in a duo called Hat And Tie with Chris Thomas, who produced “Birthday” and “Happiness Is A Warm Gun” from “The Beatles“.
Disc 2 Track 14 There Once Was A Time by Beau (1971) **/***
Trevor Midgeley never really enjoyed his time in Corps Cadet Force at Leeds Grammar School and was thrown out for insubordination, forced to spend extra time in the school library, where he exchanged musical ideas with Jeff Christie. In 1971, Jeff Christie’s band had a huge hit with “Yellow River”, produced by Mike Smith at Decca. On January 1st 1962, Mike Smith was the head of A&R for The Beatles’ unsuccessful audition at Decca.
Disc 2 Track 15 Love Owed by Meic Stevens (1970) ***/***
Meic Stevens’ first single was produced by John Paul Jones, whose career before joining Led Zeppelin was kick started when Jet Harris and Tony Meehan invited him to join The Shadows. On January 1st 1962, Tony Meehan was the producer for The Beatles’ unsuccessful audition at Decca. This lovely song owes a lot to the ballads on the first three Bob Dylan albums.
Disc 2 Track 16 Frankie Joe by Jimmy Campbell (1970) *****/****
Jimmy Campbell was born in Liverpool and his band, The Panthers, supported The Beatles in January 1962. “Frankie Joe” sounds spookily similar to a lost John Lennon song from 1965. He died in 2007, aged 63.
Disc 2 Track 17 Song For Susan by Dave Cartwright (1972) **/***
Michael Nyman is an English composer of minimalist music and in 1969 he directed a film called “Love Love Love” which was identical in length to “All You Need Is Love”. He was in The Portsmouth Sinfonia, an avant-garde orchestra that included Brian Eno and thanks to the owner of Transatlantic Records, Nathan Joseph, they released an album in 1969. Nathan Joseph produced Dave Cartwright’s first album for Transatlantic, from which “Song For Susan” was the opening track. It’s pastoral, gentle and archetypical of the “singer/songwriter” genre. Dave Cartwright died in 2015, aged 72.
Disc 2 Track 18 Postcards Of Scarborough by Michael Chapman (1970) ***/***
Harry Nilsson released an album called “Son Of Dracula” to tie in with a film that he starred in alongside his good friend, Ringo Starr. Some of the instrumental tracks heard in the film were composed by Paul Buckmaster who arranged the strings for “Fully Qualified Survivor”, Michael Chapman’s second album. This song features wonderful acoustic guitar playing and lyrics which betray huge regret at the passing of time.
Disc 2 Track 19 Daddy’s Here by Ralph McTell (1969) ***/**
Klaus Voorman was a friend of The Beatles in Hamburg, he designed the cover of “Revolver” and he played on John Lennon’s first album, “Plastic Ono Band“. He was also a member of Manfred Mann along with Mike Vickers who composed the orchestral arrangements for Ralph McTell’s second album, “Spiral Staircase” which includes this harrowing story of a child rejecting his father, based on Ralph McTell’s childhood.
Disc 2 Track 20 Dark And Devil Waters by Mick Audsley (1973) ***/****
David Wigg was a columnist for the London Evening Standard and, in 1976, an album of some of his interviews with The Beatles was released. To break up the interviews, some instrumental versions of well known Beatles songs were included. Amongst the musicians playing these songs was Ann O’Dell on piano and she also played on “Dark And Devil Waters”, the album released by Mick Audsley in 1973. He has subsequently become a film editor, working with Stephen Frears and Mike Newell. Robert Kirby produced and arranged the album, “Dark And Devil Waters”, and because of his association with Nick Drake, it was rumoured that the greatest of all British singer/songwriters appeared on the album, although Mick Audsley has denied this.
Disc 2 Track 21 She’s That Kind Of Woman by John Williams (1967) **/***
“Too Much Monkey Business” was recorded by The Beatles on 10th September 1963 for a show called “Pop Go The Beatles”. The same song was recorded live by The Yardbirds for their “Five Live Yardbirds” album which was recorded at The Marquee Club in 1964. Supporting The Yardbirds were a band called The Authentics whose lead vocalist was called John Williams – not to be confused with a classical guitarist or an American composer. The phrase “she looks pretty easy to lay” meant that an interesting song received no airplay.
Disc 2 Track 22 My Friend Upon The Road by Richard Digance (1974) */*
“Love Me Do” reached Number 17 in the U.K. Charts. Every subsequent Beatles single reached Number One until “Penny Lane”/”Strawberry Fields Forever” was kept off the Number one spot by “Release Me” by Englebert Humperdinck whose follow up single “The Last Waltz” also reached Number One. Barry Mason and Les Reed wrote “The Last Waltz” and they also wrote “I Pretend” a Number One hit for Des O’Connor in 1968. Richard Digance first achieved prominence as the studio warm up act on “The Des O’Connor Show”. (You try finding a connection between Richard Digance and The Beatles. That’s the best I could come up with.)
Disc 2 Track 23 Nothing Rhymed by Gilbert O’Sullivan (1970) ****/*****
As well as playing bass on “Transformer” by Lou Reed, Herbie Flowers also played on Ringo Starr’s 1981 album, “Stop And Smell The Roses” and Gilbert O’Sullivan’s wonderful “Nothing Rhymed”, which reached Number Eight in the U.K. Charts in 1970.
Disc 3 Track 1 One Of Those Days by Steve Gibbons (1971) ****/***
Steve Gibbons was a member of The Uglys and then formed Balls along with future Wings guitarist, Denny Laine. A solo album, which included “One Of Those Days”, was subsequently recorded with Gary Wright on piano, who had recently played on “All Things Must Pass“. Steve Gibbons went on to replace Jeff Lynne (who later produced “Cloud Nine” and “Free As A Bird“) in The Idle Race. “One Of Those Days” reminds me of a Delaney And Bonnie song – it’s a good groove, soulful vocals but maybe lacking a memorable melody.
Disc 3 Track 2 Jeffrey Don’t You Touch by Al Jones (1973) ***/*
In 2016, Les Claypool formed a group with Sean Lennon called The Claypool Lennon Delirium. He played an Ashbory Bass guitar which was invented by Alun Ashworth-Jones and developed by Nigel Thorbory. In a previous life, he was simply Al Jones whose second album, Jonesville included this rather disgusting song. Al Jones died in 2008, aged 62.
Disc 3 Track 3 Welcome To The Citadel by Marc Brierley (1969) ***/****
Marc Brierley released two albums and the second one, “Hello” was produced by Ashley Kozak who had formerly been an executive at Brian Epstein’s NEMS Enterprises. This is a strangely lovely song in which an important question is posed: “Am I?”
Disc 3 Track 4 Miss Swiss by Bryn Haworth (1974) ***/**
Bryn Haworth had been the lead guitarist in the magnificent Fleur De Lys before travelling to the U.S.A. where he joined The Jackie Lomax Band, whose leader had tired of his lack of success as an early signing to Apple. This quiet reflective song is as far removed from the explosive excitement of Fleur De Lys as it is possible to get.
Disc 3 Track 5 Thought Of You Instead by Stephen Jameson (1973) **/****
Stephen Gold was a member of The Truth, who had a hit with “Girl” in 1966, one year after St Louis Union. He changed his name to Stephen Jameson and released two singles and an album which contained the excellent “Thought Of You”. He subsequently changed his name to Nosmo King and is now known as Sol Bernstein, the world’s oldest living Jewish comedian.
Disc 3 Track 6 Caravan by Mick Softley (1970) ****/**
Mick Softley wrote “The War Drags On” and “Goldwatch Blues” which were recorded by Donovan. He also taught Donovan how to play cross-picking guitar, a technique which Donovan passed on to John Lennon and Paul McCartney in Rishikesh. “Julia” and “Blackbird” are prime examples of Mick Softley’s influence on the Beatles. “Caravan” is very gentle and is reminiscent of Donovan. Mick Softley died in 1977, aged 77.
Disc 3 Track 7 Country Joe by Jackie McAuley (1971) **/*****
Jackie McAuley was a member of Them until Van Morrison left, at which point he formed The Belfast Gypsies. He formed Trader Horne with Judy Dyble, before embarking on his solo career. The fantastic fiddle playing on this remarkable track is by Henry Lowther who also played trumpet on Alan White’s only solo album, “Ramshackled”, recorded four years after his drumming on “Imagine“.
Disc 3 Track 8 Inside A Hole by Dave Bundy (1972) */****
Dave Bundy was a friend of Dave Gilmour, who introduced him to Jonathan King who had produced a single for Jokers Wild, Dave Gilmour’s first band. Jonathan King founded UK Records in 1972 and Dave Bundy was one of the first acts that he signed. After being released from prison having served four years of a seven year sentence for child sex abuse offences, the verdict was questioned by Bob Woffinden in his 2016 book, “The Nicholas Cases”. This was the seventh book by the former NME journalist having published his first book, “The Beatles Apart”, in 1974. “Inside A Hole” is a great pop song with excellent lead guitar but weak vocals.
Disc 3 Track 9 Soliloquy by Bob Bunting (1968) ***/***
Bob Bunting made one album for Transatlantic Records in 1968, which was produced by Tony Visconti who produced several tracks for The Iveys’ first album which was released on Apple (before they changed their name to Badfinger). This is a gloomy song featuring great clarinet.
Disc 3 Track 10 Disbelief Blues by Mike Hart (1970) ***/**
Mike Hart was a member of The Liverpool Scene, a poetry band, which included Adrian Henri, Andy Roberts, Mike Evans, Percy Jones and Brian Dodson. Adrian Henri was (according to Wikipedia), a good friend of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. “Disbelief Blues” is from Mike Hart’s only solo album and is a pastiche of the electric talking blues that Bob Dylan brought to wider attention with songs like “Outlaw Blues”. Mike Hart died in 2016, aged 73.
Disc 3 Track 11 One Sunday Morning by Paul Brett (1974) ***/****
After Paul McCartney got arrested in Japan, Denny Laine felt that his future was uncertain and so he quit Wings, forming The Denny Laine Band. One of the members of this short lived enterprise was Mike Pigott who had recently played remarkable fiddle on two albums with Paul Brett who had played with Strawbs and been a member of Elmer Gantry’s Velvet opera. Part of “One Sunday Morning” is a copy of “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”.
Disc 3 Track 12 Naked Fingers by Chris Baker (1971) **/**
Dear Mr. Time were a symphonic-rock/psych band that released the album called “Grandfather” in 1970. They had formed their reputation in France, performing a cover of “Paperback Writer”. Lead singer Chris Baker made demos of a number of songs including “Naked Fingers” that was never released until a few days ago (on this compilation).
Disc 3 Track 13 What You Gonna Do Now by Keith Riley (1972) */****
The Chants were a five-piece vocal harmony group who proved to be Liverpool’s most popular black vocal act. When the lead singer, Joe Ankrah, went along to the Tower Ballroom during an appearance by The Beatles, he had a chat with Paul McCartney, who asked him to bring the group for an audition. In fact, when they turned up at the Cavern for an audition, but didn’t have a backing group, The Beatles offered to provide backing for them, but Brian Epstein objected. The Beatles overruled him and The Chants made their Cavern debut on Wednesday 21st November 1962 with The Beatles providing their backing. Another member of The Chants was Eddie Amoo who went on to be a member of The Real Thing in the 1970s who changed their name from Vocal Perfection at the suggestion of manager Tony Hall. In 1971, Tony Hall produced an album called “Riley Riley Wood and Waggett” by a band called Shape Of The Rain. One of the “Riley”s is Keith Riley whose unreleased demo, “What You Gonna Do Now” is described in the sleevenotes to this compilation as ” a dazzling creation firmly in the vein of McCartney acolytes like Emitt Rhodes and Chris Bell”.
Disc 3 Track 14 Sing Us One Of Your Songs, May by Bill Fay (1969) ***/***
In March 2020 Ray Russell featured on an episode of “Antiques Roadshow”, in which his fretless six-string electric guitar was valued at between £300 000 and £400 0000. The guitar had been given to him by George Harrison, having originally belonged to John Lennon. Ray Russell had played lead guitar on Bill Fay’s second solo album, “Time Of The Last Persecution”. The heavy orchestration on his solo albums disguised some great songs and the demo version of “Sing Us One Of Your Songs, May”, included here, is poignant. Bill Fay was dropped by his label after the album and his career was put on hold for over 40 years until interest from Jeff Tweedy and The War On Drugs rekindled interest in his music, resulting in three recent albums.
Disc 3 Track 15 Jewel by John Pantry (1972) ***/*
John Pantry was an apprentice engineer in 1965, working with Glyn Johns, who worked on the “Get Back” sessions.
Disc 3 Track 16 Fox On The Run by Tony Hazzard (1969) ***/****
Tony Hazzard provided backing vocals when Manfred Mann covered his song, “Fox On The Run” and took it to Number Five in the U.K. Charts in January 1969. Klaus Voorman played bass with Manfred Mann and had known The Beatles in Hamburg as well as going on to play on John Lennon’s “Plastic Ono Band“. Tony Hazzard’s version of this song comes from album called “Tony Hazzard Sings Tony Hazzard” which included his versions of “Ha! Ha! Said The Clown”, also covered by Manfred Mann.
Disc 3 Track 17 Love, Love, Love by Crispian St. Peters (1970) ***/*
After Robin Peter Smith was renamed Crispian St. Peters and he had a Number Two hit in 1966 with “You Were On My Mind”, he told the music press that he was already a better songwriter than The Beatles. Unfortunately, up until this point, he had only released songs written by other people but after he fell from favour, he resurfaced in 1970 with an album, simply called “Simply” featuring Nicky Hopkins on piano who had played piano on “Revolution” and would go on to play on “Imagine“. This song is insipid. Crispian St. Peters died in 2010, aged 71
Disc 3 Track 18 The Swan by Jona Lewie (1975) ***/****
In 1967, Robert Stigwood, who was already a successful manager, merged his company with Brian Epstein’s NEMS. After Brian Epstein died, there was an assumption that Robert Stigwood would take over management of The Beatles, but they refused to work with him so he left to form RSO (Robert Stigwood Organisation). In 1970, Brett Marvin And The Thunderbolts signed to RSO and they maintained their purity as a blues band until in 1971, as a joke, they recorded a song written by their vocalist and keyboard player, John Lewis, called “Seaside Shuffle”. However, to maintain credibility, they called themselves Terry Dactyl And The Dinosaurs. After the single reached Number Two in the charts, John Lewis left the band, changed his name to Jona Lewie and embarked on a solo career which would peak in 1980 with “Stop The Cavalry” and “You’ll Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties”. “The Swan” is a great catchy pop song with excellent accordion and typically diffident vocals from Jona Lewie.
Disc 3 Track 19 Reach Out For Each Other by Philip Goodhand-Tait (1973) ***/****
“Thomas the Tank Engine” is a much loved series of children’s books written by The Reverend W. Auty. It was turned into a TV series and one of the narrators was Ringo Starr. The models for the first series were made by Tim Staffell, who was in a band called Morgan, named after Morgan Fisher. As well as being a member of Mott The Hoople, Morgan Fisher had been a member of Love Affair, who had a number of hits in the late Sixties with songs written by Philp Goodhand-Tait. The most well known (and possibly most disliked) of these was “Everlasting Love”. Philip Goodhand-Tait was signed by Dick James (The Beatles’ publisher) as a songwriter and performer and this intricately arranged song with a lovely melody was released on his eponymous 1973 album.
Disc 3 Track 20 So Weary by Dave Morgan (1971) ***/***
Dave Morgan was another member of The Uglys, along with Steve Gibbons. He later became a permanent member of The Electric Light Orchestra’s touring band. Jeff Lynne, as well as being the leader of ELO, produced Paul McCartney’s “Flaming Pie“. His solo album, “Morgan”, has never been released in the U.K. The vocals on “So Weary” are excellent and the multi-part nature of the song makes repeated listening a pleasure.
Disc 3 Track 21 Wake Up by Gerald Thomas Moore (1972) */****
Peter Eden was a manager, record producer and label executive. He managed Donovan, Heron and Mike Sarne, who appeared in a 1963 film called “A Place To Go”, along with Roy Kinnear. This was two years before Roy Kinnear appeared as the mad scientist in “Help!” Heron were a folk-rock group which included Gerald Thomas Moore. “Wake Up” is the longest song on this compilation, at six minutes long and is a moody, jazz-tinged song with very soulful vocals.
Disc 3 Track 22 Turquoise by Donovan (1965) *****/****
Donovan went to Rishikesh with The Beatles in 1968 and taught them the finger picking guitar method that he had learned from Mick Softley. Donovan’s second management contract was with Ashley Kozak, who was working for Brian Epstein’s NEMS organisation. Ashley Kozak introduced Donovan to Allen Klein who, in turn, introduced Donovan to Mickie Most with whom Donovan decided to work after his third single, “Turquoise”, only reached Number 30 in the U.K. Charts. John Lennon included “Turquoise” on his 20 track portable jukebox. Donovan was one of the guests at the recording of the final orchestral overdubs to “A Day In The Life”. It’s an utterly gorgeous song and a perfect way to complete this amazing compilation.