Saturday, 8 September 2012

Bite It Deep Volume 5 - Top of the Pops Special (Mixcloud)

Every record collector in the UK will have flicked past their fair share of Top of the Pops albums while at a car boot sale or charity shop.  This series of albums, 92 in total not including countless spin-offs, ran from 1968 to 1985 on the Hallmark record label who would release six or seven of these a year and would feature cover versions of the current pop hits.  The quality of the music often reflected the time the session musician were allocated in the studio.  Regular vocalist Tony Rivers (ex Harmony Grass) once stated that "Quite often than not, you had to do three songs in three hours then you were out of there".  Billy Kinsley (Merseybeats, Merseys, Rockin' Horse, Liverpool Express) said that sometimes he'd have the time it took his train journey to the studio to learn the song.  The public didn't mind the inferior versions and thanks to its budget price and sexy bird on the cover, it sold by the shit load, regularly topping the album charts in the early 1970's before being made ineligible.

For a long while the albums were written off  by collectors, even Oxfam refused to stock them, but they are now being accepted for their kitschyness.  Mojo magazine inlcluded an article about the series a few years back and there are many websites celebrating the world of Top of the Pops records and other budget albums. I even saw one of the rarer ones selling for £10 on ebay the other day! 

And so I present to you, Bite It Deep's own budget record. A tribute to cheapo records.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Beatlealikes (Twitter)

A few of my fellow Junipers and I have set up a Twitter account to celebrate all things Beatlesque.  The aim is to provide Beatles fanatics with songs that resemble the fab four.  Some obscure, some not so obscure but all ace!  So if you've worn out your Beatles albums, want more of the same (or similar) and have a Twitter account, be sure to follow us and join in the fun.

You can follow The Junipers too, if you wish.  Plug, plug plug!!!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Elli (aka Elli Meyer)

Elli Meyer was born in in 1946 in Calcutta, India and moved to London, England in the late 1950's.  After holding down a job as a painter/decorator for a few years he swapped the paintbrush for a microphone after getting compliments on his fine singing voice.  Meyer found himself singing in several beat bands in the early/mid sixties including The Eagles (UK), The Nutrons and The Madhatters with whom he would provide the support to acts like PJ Proby, The Honeycombs and The Moody Blues.

After a brief stint with The Infernos, replacing Troy Dante, Meyer became ill with Diabetes, a disease which would eventually take his life in 2001.  He decided to leave the Infernos and go solo aided by his new songwriter friends Mike Finesilver and Peter Ker.  Joined by Vincent Crane on Piano and Drachen Theaker on Drums, Meyer and co recorded a set of demos which would impress music publisher, Malcolm Forrester to secure a single release for Parlophone.  The mildly psychedelic "Never Mind" b/w "I'll Be Looking Out For You" was released in February 1967, the same time as The Beatles "Strawberry Fields Forever". Guess which single EMI decided to push.  "Never Mind" sank without a trace but has since been comped on Incredible Sound Show Stories Vol.02 "When The Tangerine Strikes Twelve" and is highly regarded a minor classic by UK psych collectors.

EMI were set to release a follow up single "Mister Man" b/w "My Lady Of Love" but Meyer's A&R man was fired thus leading the single to be forgotten about.  Chances are that the single would've bombed the same way as "Never Mind", but that doesn't stop it from being a prime slice of British popsike and can be found on Incredible Sound Show Stories vol.06 "Plastic & Rubber Lovers Of Life".

Elli Meyer continued to record demos with the help of Finesilver and Ker up until 1970, but these recordings would not be released until 1999 when Dig The Fuzz records released an album, "Elli". collecting all of Meyer's known recordings, a total of ten tracks.  The quality of the songs on this album is very high and prove Finesilver and Ker's songs were the perfect platform for Meyer's sweet, angelic vocals, which sound uncannily like Carlos Guerrero from We All Together.  Hopefully, following the release, Meyer saw some recognition of his talents before he passed away.

Finesilver and Ker went on to put out one killer single, "Happy Miranda" b/w "It" as Excelsior Spring on Instant records in 1968 and would also pen the best songs on Love Sculpture's second album "Forms and Feelings" in 1969.

Enjoy Elli...

More Zuider Zee...(YouTube)

One of my best discoveries of last year was the Zuider Zee album from 1975 on Columbia records. One of my first blog entries (and the most popular, see here) was a reappraisal of the album which I consider a genuine lost pop classic and which shockingly, remains to be re-issued.

To my absolute delight, this morning I've found that a YouTube user going under the name of UncleRiko1 has recently uploaded three Zuider Zee rarities for our listening pleasure.  Not only are all three songs killers but the accompanying videos show some great photos of the band playing live and in the studio. Much like the album, the three songs are in the McCartney/Badfinger style that songwriter, Richard Orange, managed to craft so well.

I hope you enjoy as much as I do...

1. Better Than All The Others

2. Lana

3. Night Light

Thanks to for alerting me of these songs.