Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Hudson Farnsworth - From Night To Day (1975)

Up until a couple of years ago, I wouldn't have been too eager to be spending my cash on albums from 1975, considering it "a bit too late" in the seventies to be any good, and I'm probably not the only record collector who feels this way. Some of these albums though, while sounding very much a product of it's time, production wise, revive a certain spirit/vibe from the post-psych, soft pop days of the late 1960's. "From Night To Day" by Hudson Farnsworth is one of these albums.

Mike Hudson and Bob Farnsworth wanted to be millionaire pop stars and set about this by moving to Nashville in 1974, landing a recording contract with ABC Records within a matter of weeks. Recorded and mixed at Jerry Shook's Celebration Studio in Nashville, the album was produced by Rory Bourke and Henry Hurt for Gallery Productions

The majority of the album is acoustic based with the band joining in in a mellow fashion as you'd expect after taking one look at the guys yawning on the LP sleeve. The acoustic guitar sound throughout the album is as nice and well recorded as you could every wish to hear, with every note ringing clear. A string quartet and some generous scatterings of Moog synth (to my delight) are mixed to great effect to embellish the songs adding depth and colour while keeping it keeping it interesting. Simon and Garfunkel are an obvious influence on the duo and I can't help thinking that this is what Jamme would have sounded like, had they lasted a few more years. 
Bob Farnsworth & Mike Hudson
The back cover states "the songs on this album represent the progression in our lives from night to day", and by that they can only mean that the first song is called "Night" and the last song is called "Day" because I've been listening out for a theme and as usual with these concepts, the only people that get it are the songwriters! That's just me being picky though. 

Things were looking good for the duo but despite some critical acclaim, the album bombed. Shortly after, Bob Farnsworth started writing and producing music for adverts and his company, Hummingbird Productions have provided jingles for Coke, Pepsi, McDonalds and were the brains behind the Budweiser Frogs!

With not a bad song on the album, an easy one to find, and cheap (I paid £4 for a sealed copy), you really have no excuse for not owning this album. Two songs on the album are tipped to appear on the next volume of the Fading Yellow series, so the cheap copies will soon get bagged. Fans of Chad & Jeremy, Twinn Connexion and the late period Association will most definitely dig this. 

Now listen...

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Bite It Deep Volume 19


The Sundowners - Captain Nemo
The Association - Like Always
Kippington Lodge - Land Of Sea
The Rubettes - Something's Coming Over Me
The Buckinghams - Big Business Advisor
Paul Williams - Nilsson Sings Newman
M.J. Parker - Elodie
Tuesdays Children - Mr Kipling
The Lemon Pipers - The Shoemaker Of Leatherwear Square
Mystic Astrologic Crystal Band - Sunbeams & Rainbows
Paul Parrish - Pink Limousine
The Tremeloes - If You Ever
Love Scupture - River To Another Day
Marvin Welch & Farrar - Simplifiy Your Head
Barry Ryan - Kristan Astra Bella

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Godiego - A Fool (1978)

As a kid growing up in the UK in the 1980's, I was exposed to some great television shows with equally killer theme music. For me, the intro music was the highlight of the show most of the time. One show that was guaranteed to get me all pumped up was Monkey. Based on a 16th century Chinese novel of folk religion and mythology called "Journey To The West", the show followed five characters on their path to spiritual enlightenment. 
Lead character Monkey was a short tempered half man-half monkey, a great fighter with some cool weapons including a stick which he would shrink down to the size of a match and keep behind his ear, a pink cloud that used to come down from the sky whenever he whistled for it and when he was outnumbered in a fight he could pinch of few of his chest hairs and he'd be cloned several times over. Joining Monkey on his pilgrimage were Pigsy, a horny half man-half pig, Sandy, a balding half man-half fish, a great swimmer and Tripitaka a young Buddhist monk (played by a bald headed girl) who would regularly get the gang into some dangerous shit and then punish Monkey for fighting with the baddies! There was also a horse, "Horse" who spoke about three times in the whole series.

Monkey & Co
The soundtrack was performed by Japanese, five-piece pop band Godiego and the songs were repeated throughout the series. I finally found a copy of the soundtrack LP a couple of weeks ago in a record shop in Brighton and its great to hear the full songs instead of just the snippets scattered around the show. There's some great funky pop on the record which was used in the fight scenes on the show, but the real stand out track, "A Fool" is a great McCartney-esque piano pop tune which would be played whenever Pigsy would fall for a girl, but end up having his heart broken. 

The Monkey soundtrack album topped the Japanese charts in 1979 and was released in the UK on the BBC record label. The band at the time were Mickie Yoshino (Keyboards), Yukihide Takekaka (Vocals), Steve Fox (Bass), Takami Asano (Guitar) and Tommy Snyder (Drums, Vocals, Marimba). Godiego remain active as a band and are still very popular in Japan, having released an impressive 55 albums since 1975 including many English language and soundtrack recordings. 

I should also mention that the actor who played Monkey, Masaaki Sakai was in pop group in the sixties called The Spiders, Japan's answer to the Beatles! And there's more...Sandy, aka ShirĊ Kishibe was also in a sixties band called The Tigers who had a hit record in 1968 called "Smile For Me", which was written for them by Barry & Maurice Gibb!!

"A Fool"

A fool, I'm a fool
Fallin' in love like this
I shouldn't let myself
Run away with a dream like this

It started as a harmless game
But I was playin' with fire
And now so hopelessly
I can't stop my desire

(*) A fool, I'm a fool
Cause I'm in love with you
How could there be a chance
To make this love come through
A fool yes you are
I know that you are

I hope that you weren't
A fool like you are
Oh boy aren't you dumb
A fool that you are
A fool
I'm a fool

I gotta go through that pain
Of always wantin' you near
And wishin' you'd give me one look
That knows my heart and hears

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Banchee - I Just Don't Know (1970)

According to Fuzz, Acid & Flowers, Banchee were among the East Coast's premier heavy blasters of the post-psychedelic era. The band hailed from New Jersey, USA and consisted a line up of Peter Alongi (lead guitar/vocals), Jose Miguel DeJesus (guitar/vocals), Victor William Digilio (drums) and Michael Gregory Marino (bass/vocals).

Their self-titled debut album, produced by Warren Schatz and Stephen Schlaks, was released on Atlantic Records and is the typical rock band sound of 1969. The vocals (harmonies in particular) on most of the LP remind me of UK psych act, The Gods especially on songs like "The Night Is Calling" and "As Me Thinks". Although it is not a favourite of mine, the album does have it's share of great moments. "Evolmia" is a like a hard rocking Crosby, Stills and Nash, heavy bass and fuzz guitar balanced out with some sweet harmony vocals. Another good one is the closing track on the LP, "Tom's Island", a real cruncher of Live At Leeds era Who vain, again with the nice harmonies.

The real highlight for me though is "I Just Don't Know", penned by vocalist, Alongi, comprising of a blistering guitar riff that doesn't come up for air throughout the duration of the song and plenty of "aaaahhhh"'s from the backing vocalists who were probably imagining their own take on the Beatles' "Helter Skelter". Atlantic saw potential in this song and put it out as a single in 1970. There is no mention anywhere of it being a hit of any kind but over the years it has built up a steady following and fills the dancefloors at many mod/psych clubs around the UK. It's a record that has remained in my DJ box for over a decade!

For most part on the follow up album, "Thinkin'" released on Polydor in 1971, the band ditched the cool harmony vocals thus leaving behind a pretty average rock album, a little heavier than before and less charming it's predecessor. Banchee presumably called it a day soon after their second album.

Dig it...