Album Chart of 1966

<1965 1967>

  • This chart features albums released in 1966 and is limited to all of the albums in my collection which have “A-list” status.
  • The Top 30 albums are profiled, and the full chart (Top 56) is summarised, in sortable table form, on the Albums released in 1966 page, which shows the full range of albums in this sites' database, including the “B-list” records.
1966-a-bob-dylan.jpg

A PROGRESSIVE YEAR FOR MUSIC - AND THE FIRST DOUBLE ALBUMS IN “ROCK”

“We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first - rock 'n' roll or Christianity” ~ John Lennon, London Evening Standard, 4 March 1966.

I love John. You’ve just got to laugh with him. Despite his cocky boasting, Bob Dylan prevails as the Planet’s Supreme musical Being, according to Rebel sensibilities, for the FOURTH consecutive year.

As if to underline his majestic credentials, his “Blonde on Blonde” masterpiece stands as the first set of “Rock” songs to be issued on the double long play format, clocking in just shy of the 72 minute mark. The Jazz and Classical markets had been producing such sets since 1950, and even Johnny Cash had got involved in 1965, but Dylan's ambitious release was regarded as an influential landmark in the story of the album.

Hot on Dylan's heels with a 4-sided set (just 7 days later) were Frank Zappa’s MOV crusaders with their 66 minute “Freak Out!”, openly disdainful of authority and disgusted with religion, paving the way for the counter-culture revolutionaries.

Dylan, Zappa, Love and The Stones all thought it'd be a good idea to include extended 10+ minute “epics” within their vinyl grooves this year – only Sir Bob had the nous to pull it off. This development does not bode well for Rock n Roll animals.

Musically, following close behind Dylan for sheer song power, were keen disciples Paul and Art, with two mighty long players to their credit.

Albums from The Beatles, The Kinks and The Beach Boys demonstrated phenomenal song writing growth, whilst The Rolling Stones displayed tantalising glimpses of comparable innovation.

Pushing it one step beyond all pretenders were the Monks, with überbeats from Köln, hitherto unplayed on this wondrous little globe of ours.

Amongst the higher quality LPs introducing the genre tag “psychedelia” onto albums for the first time, were offerings from The Beatles, The Seeds, Blues Magoos, Donovan, Love, The Mothers Of Invention and 13th Floor Elevators.

The entire Top 20 has a rating of 7 or higher – the strength in depth, to my ears, becomes greater with each passing year.

The Jukebox Rebel
06-Jan-2016

revised 17-Feb-2016

TJR says:

9.44 “A masterpiece”

Surprisingly, recording sessions with the NYC “Highway 61 crew” weren’t going so well for the follow up, and only one song, “One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later)”, was deemed good enough. Producer Bob Johnston persuaded Dylan to head down to Nashville and surrounded him with a cadre of top-notch session men. At Dylan’s insistence, the services of Al Kooper (organ, piano) and Charlie McCoy (guitar) were retained, along with his touring guitarist, Robbie Robertson. Dylan famously praised the latter as “the only mathematical guitar genius I’ve ever run into who doesn’t offend my intestinal nervousness with his rear-guard sound.” He has a way with words that boy. And I know exactly what he means. “Blonde On Blonde” was an ambitious double album set, meticulously packed out with 14 epic chapters, featuring what Dylan later called “that thin wild mercury sound“. Al Kooper described the album as like “taking two cultures and smashing them together with a huge explosion… the musical world of Nashville and the world of the quintessential New York hipster”. On “Visions Of Johanna” Bob’s got them playing JUST right – listen to Joe South’s light but rhythmic and tuneful bass, Robbie Robertson’s insistent guitar chops, Al’s out of reach organ and Bob’s harmonica of longing. This concoction is pure lust on 33⅓. It’s immediately followed with “One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later)”, the break up song of all break up songs, in which Paul Griffin’s piano, Al’s organ and Bob’s vocal almost reinvent an entirely new genre melding gospel and classical traits with their pre-established “folk rock with attitude” template. The intoxicating onslaught of “Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again” has seven minutes of prose with virtually no pause for reflection, and features the immortal line “Your debutante just knows what you need, But I know what you want.” It makes me blush every time. With an exemplary level of taste on show (as always) “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” digs on Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Automobile Blues”, both with melodic snips and lyrical patterns. Old sarky pants has great fun as cheating lovers, materialism, fashion victims and animal cruelty are torn to pieces, all within an immaculate 4 minutes of electric blues perfection. With “Blonde On Blonde”, Bob Dylan moved on to create something entirely new. Folk rock now comes with added grooves and extra warmth. And he’s only gone and made the greatest album of the year for the fifth year in a row…

The Jukebox Rebel
17-Apr-2006


TJR says:

8.61 “A classic”

This treasure-packed classic was recorded in Köln in November 1965 and issued in March 1966. These weren’t ordinary musicians with a normal image. They were irregular players styled as monks, with überbeats that came from somewhere else entirely. As has always been the case for those positioned on the outer fringes, the group struggled to be heard beyond their German base, and often had a difficult ride of it there too. Lead singer Gary Burger: “I can’t remember that there was much response at all. The Monks were pleased that we had an album out but I don’t remember getting much feedback from fans or press at the time. I think it was ignored and quickly buried. Maybe it was too edgy for 1966. I know that there wasn’t a single sweet note in Black Monk Time and I’m glad of it to this day. We made many of our audiences nervous… I think our album did the same.” At the time of their sole album release they were: Gary Burger (22, lead guitar, lead vocals); Lawrence Spangler (22, organ, vocals); Eddie Shaw (26, bass, vocals); Dave Havlicek (24, electric banjo, vocals) and Roger Johnston (26, drums, vocals). The five were tightly bonded with their common experiences; all were American GI’s based in Germany, and all had a keen interest in playing and creating music, as they did formally and informally before and after their army duties had ceased. A restless streak lay within them as a group – even the new English beat groups couldn’t lift them out of their boredom which had set in with the endless Chuck Berry riff-o-rama. The group themselves were always looking to add a twist to the standard template, and when they ran into a couple of art-school graduates by the names of Walther Niemann and Karl-H. Remy, fate spun them onto a new pathway. The Monks moniker was conceptualized all the way down to a set of offstage rules which meant they must always be seen in public with the trademark look of short hair with tonsures, black clothes, ropes around the neck, and an image of being hard and dangerous. Bassist Eddie Shaw: “We were the reaction to the moment – the anti-anti. As in all art forms there is a reaction and in rock and roll we might have become the first to react. That I don’t know for sure. At the time I do know that rock was not considered an art form. We became the anti-purists. There is no purity in rock music – perhaps that’s why we became known as the anti – anti’s. Actually there is no purity in art, period.” It was their new German friends and management team who introduced the electric banjo to Dave – immediately he dropped his rhythm guitar. Singer Gary Burger: “Roger’s drums and Dave’s banjo defined the Monk sound. Incredible.” Legend has it that Monks members sang anti-war songs while they were sat in tanks, and no time was wasted in getting that across on this album, which gets off to a provocative start. On “It’s Monk Time”, the opening gambit reads: “All right, my name's Gary, let's go, it's beat time, it's hop time, it's monk time! You know we don't like the army. What army? Who cares what army? Why do you kill all those kids over there in Vietnam?” The music was repetitive and intended to create tension. These confrontational lyrics, made all the more notable by the fact that they came from former GI’s, were in-keeping with the group’s ethos. It was a brave thing to be doing – and Burger later admitted that even he felt uneasy about putting it out there – but they were true to their conviction and time would prove them to be correct. Former US Defence Secretary, Robert McNamara, writing on the management of the Vietnam War in his 1995 memoir, “In Retrospect”, said: “We were wrong, terribly wrong. We owe it to future generations to explain why.” One can only surmise that Mr McNamara did not avail himself with a copy of “Black Monk Time” in ’66. The demented excellence is omnipresent on this album, but “I Hate You” in particular hits hardest, with a screaming vocal, a slow beat drag and a depth charge organ which pummels down and dirty where no organ has been before. I'd go to church if they played the organ like that. It’s probably one of the most honest love songs ever written – boy meets girl sweet nothins’ were not for Monks. The classic “Oh How To Do Now” follows, and you get a sense of what the band was up against when you hear comments that people felt insulted that a singer could chant those same words some 30 times in a row, getting more and more frantic with the mantra. For this heinous crime against traditional musical values they were lambasted by at least one magazine reviewer at the time – although most writers just ignored them completely. “Complication” keeps up the anti-war sentiment with the most scathing intonations on the whole album: “People KILL for you… people go to their DEATH for you”. Having fun with their bewildered German audience, they throw in the odd “constipation” in amongst the “complication”. This tomfoolery works for me. Second last in is “Blast Off!” which, not unsurprisingly by its' futuristic sound, had tentatively been titled “Space Age”. Here, in this most egalitarian of groups, all members get a chance to shine. You can add proto Silver Apples to the proto-VU, proto-krautrock and proto-punk recognitions. Bassist Eddie comments: “We all knew that we were doing a different sort of music, but as far as being a forerunner band—that was the furthest from our minds. We really weren’t thinking that. We were thinking that we were playing rock and roll with a twist, and the twist was the electric banjo, the feedback, the drums, basically not using cymbals but lots of tom toms. We had no idea that we were creating a new movement. And I’m still thinking, hey, we were just a rock and roll band that really had a lot of fun, and was able to be lucky enough—or unlucky enough, depending on your point of view—to work on the album.” On a personal level, I worked really hard to get a hold of this album, eventually getting it imported via mailing list from Germany sometime in the 90s. “Black Monk Time” was barely a blip on the radar back then, unheard of even in those record shop tomes, preventing your local friendly dealer from uttering those immortal words “I can order it for you”. It was Mark E. Smith who pointed the way – he rarely lets you down that boy. Typically, after I struggled to get it for months, it got the full re-issue treatment a few years later and became about a quarter of the price. Kids today don’t know how easy they’ve got it. It’s now only the press of a button way. Isn’t it a pity the war mongers couldn’t make such dynamic progress?

The Jukebox Rebel
24-Jun-2007


TJR says:

8.32 “Excellent”

The second long-play offering of ’66 from the duo arrived in October, and was widely acclaimed as their finest work to date. Unusually for folkies, they spent many months in the studio in an attempt to get the atmosphere “just so”. The results show the effort to be worthwhile; the respectful melding of the traditional folk template with a contemporary mid-60s vibe could hardly be any more perfect, and effortlessly veers between themes of love, war and social commentary. Side 1 is particularly stunning. The big single from earlier in the year, “Homeward Bound”, appears 4th track in. I love the feeling I get from this – it's semi-joyous, semi-wistful, but with an overall sense of something good that's on the horizon. Unfortunately, Paul Simon pours cold water on the whole affair – don't you just hate when that happens? From a 1990 interview with SongTalk magazine: “That was written in Liverpool when I was traveling. What I like about that is that it has a very clear memory of Liverpool station and the streets of Liverpool and the club I played at and me at age 22. It's like a snapshot, a photograph of a long time ago. I like that about it but I don't like the song that much. First of all, it's not an original title. That's one of the main problems with it. It's been around forever. No, the early songs I can't say I really like them. But there's something naive and sweet-natured and I must say I like that about it. They're not angry. And that means that I wasn't angry or unhappy. And that's my memory of that time: it was just about idyllic.” It’s a perfect 10 all day long – what’s the matter with him? I think I'll give up reading interviews… This is immediately followed by the organ-led rockabilly jangler “The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine” which sees Paul sneer at the vacuous and oft-banal world of consumerism. It’s most agreeable in every way. Side one’s triple whammy of excellence is cemented with “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” a feel-good 100-seconds shot of morning caffeine which exudes chilldom with it’s simple message “slow down, you move too fast” to a pseudo-jazzy backdrop which features Dave Brubeck Quartet members Joe Morello (drums) and Eugene Wright (bass). “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” is the smell of coffee percolating to perfection. And that’s timeless…

The Jukebox Rebel
16-Dec-2007


TJR says:

8.22 “Excellent”

The second Simon and Garfunkel album opens mightily with their recent Number One single. Paul Simon would later comment: “I had come back to New York, and I was staying in my old room at my parents' house. Artie was living at his parents' house, too. I remember Artie and I were sitting there in my car one night, parked on a street in Queens, and the announcer [on the radio] said, “Number one, Simon & Garfunkel.” And Artie said to me, “That Simon & Garfunkel, they must be having a great time.” Because there we were on a street corner [in my car in] Queens, smoking a joint. We didn't know what to do with ourselves.” Following the major success of Tom Wilson’s rocked up remix of “The Sound of Silence”, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel reunited for another crack at an album as a duo. “Sounds of Silence”, almost wholly recorded in December ’65, bore much fruit. Eschewing the acoustic approach of their ’64 debut album, they took their cues from the single’s sound, and producer Bob Johnston got to work with: Paul Simon (lead vocals, guitar); Art Garfunkel (lead vocals); Fred Carter Jr. (guitar); Larry Knechtel (keyboards); Glen Campbell (guitar); Joe South (guitar); Joe Osborn (bass) and Hal Blaine (drums). There are ten Paul Simon originals as well as an instrumental cover of Davey Graham’s catchy “Anji”, a piece which had been excellently covered by Bert Jansch on his debut LP in ’65. Ever tasteful, there are no weak points on this LP. My favourites are noticeably all in the euphoric rocker vein of the lead single. Both “Blessed” and “I Am A Rock” were cut at the same session – “play it like the Byrds” was the instruction given out by producer Bob Johnston. He knew what he was doing – and he was working with great material and great players…

The Jukebox Rebel
16-Dec-2007


TJR says:

8.18 “Excellent”

“Revolver” was, for me, the greatest album of works in the Beatles discography, with a stimulating variety of stylistic twists, laden with oodles of sonic invention. Notably, Paul and George step up to the mark with vital contributions to match those of John. It’s an album borne of the disparate influences upon the group members at the time; whilst Harrison and Lennon found inspiration through LSD, McCartney drew his from the artsy intellectuals by whom he was surrounded in a thriving London scene. For the first (and only) time in the Beatles “A-list” discography, it’s a song by George which opens up; the classic mod-rocker, “Taxman”, blasting Harold Wilson’s Labour administration for their aggressive 95% supertax policy, which was directly affecting the group at the time: “let me tell you how it will be, there’s one for you, nineteen for me” sings George, with a biting humour which gets the point across splendidly. Harrison provides another stone-classic shortly thereafter with “Love You To” a paean to wife on the surface, but laid upon a bed of musical revolution, as authentic Asian music is placed firmly on the world’s centre stage. George’s fascination with the Sitar, and Indian culture in general, first touched upon in “Norwegian Wood” (Rubber Soul, 1965), is fully realised here on this stupendous piece. He created the track with tabla player Anil Bhagwat and other Indian musicians from the Asian Music Circle in London. Sandwiched between those two magnificent contributions was “Eleanor Rigby”, quite possibly, Paul McCartney's finest song writing hour. Inspired by Vivaldi, a string section scored by Beatles producer George Martin consisting of 4 violins, 2 violas and 2 cellos were used in recording. The Beatles didn't play any of the instruments on this – all of the music came from the string players, who were hired as session musicians. “Father Mackenzie” was originally “Father McCartney.” Paul decided he didn't want to freak out his dad and picked a name out of the phone book instead. Speaking in Observer Music Monthly (November 2008) he said: “When I was a kid I was very lucky to have a real cool dad, a working-class gent, who always encouraged us to give up our seat on the bus for old people. This led me into going round to pensioners' houses. It sounds a bit goody-goody, so I don't normally tell too many people. There were a couple of old ladies and I used to go round and say, 'Do you need any shopping done?' These lonely old ladies were something I knew about growing up, and that was what 'Eleanor Rigby' was about – the fact that she died and nobody really noticed. I knew this went on.” On an album which has an embarrassment of riches to commend it, it’s a monotonous, droning wig-out which emerges as one of thee greatest creations in their entire catalogue. “Tomorrow Never Knows” will sound fantastic for ever and a day, but I often wonder how many teeny boppers were lost for good when this closed “Revolver”? The title came from an expression Ringo used – they chose it to take the edge off the heavy, philosophical lyrics. John Lennon had written it, and described it as “my first psychedelic song.” It was inspired by Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert's book “The Psychedelic Experience”, which Lennon would read while tripping on LSD. Each Beatle created strange sounds which were mixed in throughout the recording, often backward and in different speeds. McCartney had the idea for using tape loops to create effects. John Lennon used only one chord in the whole song, creating that amazingly hypnotic feeling. For his vocals, he asked producer George Martin to make him sound like the Dali Lama! They were The Beatles man – bigger than Jesus haven’t you heard? They could do whatever the hell they wanted in 1966 – thankfully. As a result, this work of art was duly delivered.

The Jukebox Rebel
10-Dec-2005


TJR says:

8.16 “Excellent”

The group’s second LP, issued in January of 1966, squeezed 16 tracks into the grooves, most of which continued to hang on with their own joyous brand of beat group R n B. The set opens up with “Could You Would You” – a direct descendant of their summertime ’65 smash “Here Comes The Night”. This is no bad thing. The stomping “Call My Name” drives a cool beat, and sets the upbeat tone for the masterpiece rendition of “Turn On Your Love Light” which follows. This is pure and utter raw, honest to goodness joy! Written by Deadric Malone and Joseph Scott, this song was first recorded by blues singer Bobby Bland in 1961. It earned Bland a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999, and is listed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the 500 songs that shaped Rock and Roll. Them had been playing it in their live sets since 1964 – it was actually a fan's recording of Them performing this song that brought the group to the attention of Dick Rowe and led to a recording contract with Decca Records. For me, it's Them who have delivered the definitive version – their incredibly exciting rendition can't be touched. As if to immediately make a statement that the group could be ready to move away from this R n B template, “I Put A Spell On You” offers a sophisticated, almost jazzy, song writer spin. “I Can Only Give You Everything” gets thing back on a classic garage rock tip. Again, wrestling with a restless energy, “My Lonely Sad Eyes” immediately steps away into fresh and new territory. It’s a Van Morrison original which hints at new cerebral pop sensibility. Again, this is betrayed straight away as the group step back into the easy approach of tackling Ray Charles “I Got A Woman”. It’s not a musical revolution at play here; but it’s completely fantastic all the same, with some terrific sax to accompany Van’s excellent vocals. Side 2 isn’t quite as strong as the first, but this is a relative complaint as the strength in depth for a 16 track LP is impressive. Best of the side for me are “It’s All Over Baby Blue”, an excellent reading of Dylan’s fine song, and the slow paced soul rocker “How Long”. The R n B groovers may have been on the way out in 1966, but it was delivered here by its coolest exponents in 1966…

The Jukebox Rebel
18-May-2008


TJR says:

8.14 “Excellent”

Despite the misleading cover image (which was used despite Ray Davies objection) there was virtually zero evidence of the new psychedelic revolution on the 4th Kinks LP, aside perhaps from “Fancy” which flirts with the fashionable raga drone of the day. Eschewing their beat-group roots, “Face To Face” delved headlong into a new, sophisticated era of song writing from the Kinks. This was a new brand of thoughtful pop writing, where the words and music painted equally strong colours on the canvas. All songs were penned by Ray Davies; social observations and every day vignettes were the order of the day. The song-writing growth was as rapid as it was welcome. The schizoid “Dandy” is an early highlight; the playboy is chastised before a brilliantly gritty vocal finishes by surmising that actually, Dandy’s alright. Love-hate brotherly relationship on show there methinks! It’s one of Ray’s many fine vocal performances on this LP; he’s become very experimental with his delivery and it’s very entertaining. Ye olde harpsichord underpins “Too Much On My Mind”, deflecting attention from the depressed insomniac whose “poor demented mind is slowly going.” It’s brave stuff – this is a b/s free zone, and the singer’s cathartic use of pen is to be applauded. The classics just keep on coming on this LP – “Session Man”, is another with a barmy harpsichord from Nicky Hopkins, who is actually is the centre of the somewhat hilarious tribute by Ray: “Rock 'n' roll or folk-group star, a philharmonic orchestra, everything comes the same to him. He is a session man, a chord progresh-eean, a top musish-eean… he's not paid to think, just play” Davies would later acknowledge that he was indebted to Hopkins for many great twists on Kinks works. The masterpiece track, “Rainy Day in June”, every bit the equal of a Phil Spector’s most dramatic works, has a real down to earth background which belies the monumental production. Apparently, it was simply inspired by Ray’s backyard garden sanctuary, poetically and musically. Ray explains: “I love rain and the moistness after a storm, and it was about fairies and little evil things within the trees that come to life.” On the mod-rocker “A House In The Country” young Mr Davies can barely conceal his disdain for the undeserving upper classes of the silver spoon variety. As a fantasy, the downfall of such types on the magnificent “Most Exclusive Residence for Sale” is hard to beat. Much respect is due for this brilliant creation. On this evidence, the notion of Ray Davies, a national treasure, is one which is well earned.

The Jukebox Rebel
13-Jul-2006


TJR says:

8.12 “Excellent”

“A Web of Sound”, featuring the 4 group members trapped by the most ginormous spider ever, arrived in October ’66 – a whole lot heavier, crazier and more psychotic than the debut from back in April. Demented album opener “Mr Farmer” nods and winks to marijuana culture, with a utopian vision which involves a finely harvested crop. Sky Saxon’s vocals may have been the standout feature of the previous LP, but it’s immediately apparent that Darryl Hooper’s keyboards are going to have a big role to play on album # 2. “Tripmaker” offers another tell-tale sign of where Sky Saxon’s head’s at – it’s a creative place maaaan. After the frantic 4-track opening sequence, “A Faded Picture” serves as an exquisite come-down. “Rollin’ Machine” keeps the non-subtle class 2 references coming and practically invents the Doors whilst doing so. All of this leads to the group’s defining moment – the incredible “Up In Her Room”, a decadent psychedelic-garage-punk classic like no other from 1966. This 15 minute onslaught closes out the LP and almost takes up the entirety of the side. 15 minutes? Up in her room? Sounds about right. PARENTAL ADVISORY! Along with Ray Manzarek, surely Lou Reed had a copy on his turntable? This epic trance out is sure to have had some influence on the seminal “Sister Ray” from The Velvet Underground – the recording of which was 14 months after the Seeds session of July ’66. I've read many people say that The Seeds were wonderfully inept, and so limited musically that they were a beacon of hope for every tone deaf kid who just bought guitar. Keep it raw I say. The kids know where it's at.

The Jukebox Rebel
26-Dec-2007


TJR says:

7.98 “Brilliant”

The real catalyst for Pet Sounds was the U.S. version of The Beatles’ album Rubber Soul, released late in 1965. Brian Wilson later recalled his first impressions of the ground-breaking album: “I really wasn’t quite ready for the unity. It felt like it all belonged together. Rubber Soul was a collection of songs … that somehow went together like no album ever made before, and I was very impressed.” Inspired, he rushed to his wife and proclaimed, “Marilyn, I’m gonna make the greatest album! The greatest rock album ever made!”. His muse resulted in this splendid work of pop art which, somewhat amazingly, only reached no.10 in the Billboard Albums chart of the time. “Pet Sounds” delivered those legendary Beach Boys harmonies and melodies under and over a somewhat darker approach, fusing all that they’d learnt to date with a psychedelic orchestration steeped in Phil Spector’s dramatic production values. Paul McCartney was perhaps the most moved man on the planet: “It was Pet Sounds that blew me out of the water. I love the album so much. I’ve just bought my kids each a copy of it for their education in life… I figure no one is educated musically ’til they’ve heard that album… I love the orchestra, the arrangements… it may be going overboard to say it’s the classic of the century… but to me, it certainly is a total, classic record that is unbeatable in many ways… I played it to John [Lennon] so much that it would be difficult for him to escape the influence … it was the record of the time.” The gauntlet was well and truly laid down to the Fab Four…

The Jukebox Rebel
04-Sep-2005


TJR says:

7.79 “Brilliant”

Irma’s second LP was finally issued in January ’66, having been held back for several months for some reason unknown (Imperial had initially assigned the catalogue number LP-9275 for the set). It seems the label weren’t as committed to Irma as was merited. It’s another brilliant set, split down the middle between the upbeat dancefloor numbers and the heartfelt ballads. Eight of the twelve tracks compile single sides from 1964-65, half of which come from the pen of Van McCoy. Two of the finest tracks, “Take A Look” and “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)” hail from 1964 releases. Irma herself pens a major highlight “You Don’t Miss A Good Thing (Until It’s Gone)” – she seems to revel in these tragi-tales of the failed romance. All 4 of the newly unveiled tracks are no less than great – “Teasing, But You’re Pleasing”, “I Haven’t Got Time To Cry”, “Baby Don’t Look Down” and “Wait, Wait, Wait”. For those who never had the singles this album was the bomb. Sadly, this would prove to be Irma’s final statement on Imperial – she’s had no luck in her music biz dealings: “They just gave me my contract. I didn’t leave them on my own, they released me. I have no idea what the reason was.” There’d be no new Irma Thomas LP for seven years – what a travesty.

The Jukebox Rebel
18-May-2008


TJR says:

7.74 “Brilliant”

These young cats, influenced by The Animals and Them, seem to have a mature ear for good music, and their debut LP showcases their own unique brand of garage-psychedelia. The memorable lead track “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet” rips it’s bass-line riff directly from Rick Nelson’s “Summertime”, whilst “I’ll Go Crazy” brilliantly re-invents the James Brown original. It’s top notch re-invention like this that keeps music moving forward healthily…

The Jukebox Rebel
13-Nov-2009


TJR says:

7.68 “Brilliant”

Big in California but ignored everywhere else, the Seeds debut LP was completely brilliant nonetheless. At the time of the release in April ’66 the Los Angeles group were: Sky Saxon (vocals), Jan Savage (guitar), Daryl Hooper (keyboards) and Rick Andridge (drums). The album kicks off with the group’s first ever recording, “Can't Seem to Make You Mine”, which had been issued as a single back in March ’65. The vocal is especially affecting, as critic Michael Hicks noted: “he superimposes an Eddie Cochran-like buzz on classic Buddy Holly-style baby talk and adds a Jagger-like pseudo-dialect, but a seemingly arbitrary one, in which vowels are colored and recolored with no particular consistency.” The voice as an extended instrument is a key feature which is prominent throughout the LP, with all sorts of tremors, yelps and wails emanating from the imaginative front man. Second track in, “No Escape”, bubbles with excitement and is incessant with a driving bass-led rhythm which accompanies the claustrophobic nature of the lyrics. “Lose Your Mind” follows with Diddley’s rhythm, Dylan’s moothie and Jagger’s vox; it’s all good stuff. The relentless “Evil Hoodoo” challenges music fans of the day with a provocative and punky trance-inducing 5-minute assault on the senses. You get the feeling that it could be a deal-breaker for many. Those enjoying the ride would be flipping out though, and the high continues at the close of Side 1 with the inclusion of the group’s second single, “Pushin’ Too Hard”, an inimitable classic of the heady garage rock era. In many ways it sums up the sound of the Seeds debut LP, serving as it does as a conduit between the Rock n Roll and Punk eras, whilst revelling in the now of the burgeoning psychedelic scene.

The Jukebox Rebel
26-Dec-2007


TJR says:

7.67 “Brilliant”

First time on LP for these 12 tunes, all recorded live at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, over 2 nights on April 26th / 27th, 1966. The album was their third and final to be recorded for Transatlantic Records. The packed crowds are hanging on every word from these fine craftsmen of the folk genre; on their home territory they serve up their most outspoken and anti-authoritarian set to date. Something clicked down the line with a certain Shane McGowan – listen out for the cry of “Pogue Mahone” in “Monto” (a highly controversial jibe at the Catholic Church’s closing down the infamous red light district). And check out the political satire of “Nelson’s Farewell” – a hoot at every turn. “Oh, poor auld Admiral Nelson is no longer in the air, toora loora loora loora loo!” On the face of it, a cheery Dublin farewell to an old friend – but deeper down, this was a 2 fingered salute to authority, 11 years ahead of the Pistol’s “God Save The Queen” in terms of sheer bollocks. Admiral Nelson’s column in Dublin had been built in 1808 – the campaign to remove it started with newspaper articles in 1809! In 1876, the Dublin Corporation took up the question of removal, but discovered it did not have the power to do so. In 1923, W. B. Yeats supported its removal on aesthetic grounds (“It is not a beautiful object.”), and in 1926, and again in 1928, the debate was renewed. The peoples’ will constantly rebuffed, it was to be a group of “social revolutionaries” that settled the matter once and for all. At 2am on the 8th March 1966, a bomb blasted the upper half of the pillar (“But now the Irish join the race, we have an astronaut in space!”), throwing the statues rubble into the street. O'Connell Street enjoyed a cheery atmosphere for a few days as people crowded in to appreciate the novelty that was being referred to around town as ‘The Stump’. Within a matter of days of the blowing up of the pillar, a group of Belfast school teachers (Gerry Burns, Finbar Carrolan, John Sullivan and Eamonn McGirr, known as The Go Lucky Four), reached the top of the Irish music charts with “Up Went Nelson”, a popular folk song set to the tune of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”, which maintained the number one spot for eight consecutive weeks. Other songs very quickly followed – there was “Good Lord Nelson” by Tommy Makem and “Nelson's Goodbye” by Joe Dolan. It was Joe Dolan’s song which The Dubliners took for their own as “Nelson’s Farewell”. They were playing it live within a month of the bombing, and it appeared here on “Finnegan Wakes” shortly afterwards. Topical folk – you can’t beat it! Ronnie Drew was born to sing these songs – the King of earnest sarcasm was in his element… “Oh fifty pounds of gelignite it sped him on his way, and the lad that laid the charge, we're in debt to him today. In Trafalgar Square it might be fair to leave aul' Nelson standing there, but no one tells the Irish what they'll view. So the Dublin Corporation can stop deliberations, for the boys of Ireland showed them what to do!” The Rule Brittania flute at the end was the cheeky genius finishing touch to this fantastic anti-government pro-folk blast! This quintet were pure dynamite – as Irish as a shillelagh and as together as a brotherhood. Ronnie Drew’s gruff rasp and Spanish guitar, Luke Kelly’s balladeering, and chords on the five-string banjo, the multi-talented Ciarán Bourke’s guitar and tin whistle, Barney McKenna’s tenor banjo and mandolin and the classically trained John Sheahan’s violin. What a combo. Will the world of folk ever see their likes again?

The Jukebox Rebel
12-Mar-2011


TJR says:

7.53 “Brilliant”

He’s such a masterful interpreter that it matters not whether he’s working with his own material or that of others. Released in April ’66, “The Soul Album” had a few originals, as well as borrowing from soul brothers such as Sam Cooke, Wilson Pickett and Smokey Robinson. All the usual gang are present: guitarist Steve Cropper, bassist Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn, drummer Al Jackson with Booker T and Isaac Hayes on keyboards. They make for such a tight group and just nail it every time; Otis and the Booker T crew were a dream team. Best on a consistently brilliant LP are the deep soul ballads “Just One More Day” and “Good To Me”, both of which are Otis originals, and “634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A.)”, a vital reading of Wilson Pickett’s big hit from the chart of the day. His catalogue has been impeccable thus far, and this is yet another fine addition; best played at quarter to three in the morning with your lover in your arms.

The Jukebox Rebel
13-Jan-2010


TJR says:

7.43 “Really good”

Although it has a largely acoustic feel, the album, produced by Mickie Most, benefitted from highly skilled arrangements, which empathised with the mystical, ethereal poetry of the talented Scot. Most’s production was able to incorporate drums and electric guitars without over-imposing, and bongos, sitar, harpsichord, organ, violin, bouzouki and flute all further graced the third Donovan LP; a set which he himself regarded as his masterpiece. Frustratingly, the album’s release was blocked due to some contractual dispute with Pye Records. Adding to this frustration, Donovan was arrested in June ’66 for drug possession and this prevented him from entry to the US for a while, a penalty which would hamper his imminent promotion of the album over there. Somewhat tragically, the LP never did see the light of day in Britain and was only finally issued in September ’66 Stateside. By this time, a cheesed-off Donovan had fled to a Greek island with his trusty creative sidekick, Gypsy Dave. Much to his surprise and delight, the insanely catchy “Sunshine Superman” shot to Number 1 in the U.S. singles chart, turning his world upside down. He recalled to Billboard Magazine: “The phone rang, and Ashley Kozak, my manager, said 'Get yourself back to Athens, you've got a first-class ticket to London. 'Superman''s released and it's #1 all over the world.'“ Little did the US playlist makers realise that “Sunshine” was a name for LSD! It’s got to be one of the most pleasing number one singles ever to sit atop the American single charts, and it opens up the album with a nod and a wink to the scenesters. My favourite track appears on the first side, “A Ferris Wheel”, which as Donovan explained in a Mojo interview: “was about a girl we met that got her hair caught in a Ferris Wheel and had to cut it off.” He can turn any old hap-penance into a thing of poetic wonder that boy: “A silver bicycle you shall ride, to bathe your mind in the quiet tide, far off as it seems your hair will mend, and a Samson's strength to begin again” I quite like a tale with a moral; keep reaching for those goals. Not so hopeful is the excellent “Season of the Witch” which opens up side 2. Paranoia reigns supreme: “When I look over my shoulder, what do you think I see? Some other cat looking over his shoulder at me, and he's strange, sure he's strange… Beatniks are out to make it rich, oh no, must be the season of the witch” In the same Mojo interview, Donovan said: “I remember the bass line going down and Mickie saying, 'We've got a problem. The engineers are saying that they can't turn the bass up.' I said, Why? They said, 'Well, it's going into the red.' And so he said to the engineers, 'Look, you go into the red, I'm giving you permission. Go in the red! That's the bass sound I want. Very, very loud.' And they said, 'Well, we'll have to have a meeting.' So they went upstairs and had a meeting about whether the bass should go into the red. And they came down, they said, 'No, I'm sorry, the equipment can't stand it.' So Mickie Most said, 'Look, I've just made a record deal with your boss Clive Davis for $5 million and seven bands. And he's given me $1m right now. So do you think if I phone him up, you'd give me a little bit more bass?' And they looked at each other, and immediately realized that their jobs were on the line. They said, 'OK, you've got more bass.' We got more bass the needle went into the red, the equipment didn't blow up. I guess next time they made that needle, they did that thing by just moving the red bit a bit farther to the right, like in Spinal Tap: 'My amp goes up to 11!'“ Well done Mickie and Donovan! It can be hard work this art business but, as this album demonstrates, it’s worth all the blood, sweat and tears…

The Jukebox Rebel
14-Nov-2015


TJR says:

7.35 “Really good”

The counter-culture revolution is underway all around, evidenced here via Frank Zappa’s double-album debut of June ’66. The stormy Mothers of Invention, even if it wasn’t so clear at the time, would prove to be an ever-revolving cast of musicians, always with Zappa at the epicentre. On this occasion, the Californian rebels lined up: Frank Zappa (vocals, guitar), Ray Collins (lead vocals, tambourine), Elliot Ingber (guitar), Roy Estrada (bass, vocals) and Jimmy Black (drums). With informed eloquence, dangerous minds.net notes: “The Mother’s uncompromising sound was an unheard of combination of corny doo-wop (which Zappa both loved and parodied mercilessly), R&B, tape manipulations, musique concrète ala Zappa’s idol Edgard Varese, free jazz, shifting time signatures, classical music touches and trenchant satirical social observations. Zappa was nasty to both ‘straights’ and ‘hippies’ in equal measure, even his own audience had their noses tweaked by Frank Zappa, one of history’s ultimate non-conformists.” The double album here is used deliberately to separate key aspects of the production. Whilst the first record is closest to conventional templates (in relative terms) the second delves deeper and deeper into the avant-garde, ending with suites rather than tracks. The all-important album opener, “Hungry Freaks Daddy”, serves as a party political broadcast for the new-wave of thinkers who would influence Gen X: “Mr. America, walk on by your schools that do not teach, Mr. America, walk on by the minds that won't be reached, Mr. America try to hide the emptiness that's you inside, But once you find that the way you lied, And all the corny tricks you tried, Will not forestall the rising tide of HUNGRY FREAKS DADDY!” The light ripping of “Can’t Get No Satisfaction” is surely no coincidence; just as the introduction of Kazoo was irksome genius. The agitators made quite a statement right there. Also on Side A, “Go Cry On Somebody Else’s Shoulder” is a doo-wop piss-take which is so good that it can only have been made with love for the genre; it’s hilarious and endears me further still to the crazy ones. Side B benefits most from “Any Way The Wind Blows” and “I’m Not Satisfied”; two fantastic blasts of cerebral pop for the new thinking generation, or, as Zappa puts it in the liner notes: “intellectually and emotionally accessible for you”. Wot? Slagging off his readership? No commercial potential. Side C boasts the mighty “Trouble Every Day” which, as Zappa explains: “is how I feel about racial unrest in general and the Watts situation in particular. It was written during the Watts riot as it developed. I shopped it briefly all over Hollywood but no one would touch it… everybody worries so much about not getting any air play. My my.” The man himself takes the lead vocal for this one. Side D ends on a low with the 12 minute nothing-noodle of “The Return Of The Son Of Monster Magnet (Unfinished Ballet In Two Tableaux)” which takes up the entirety of the side and, according to Zappa is: “what freaks sound like when you turn them loose in a recording studio at one o’clock in the morning on $500 worth of rented percussion equipment. A bright snappy number. Hotcha!” No commercial potential he says. Accurate. All in, “Freak Out!” is a great title for this imaginative and spirited debut release, blessed with a caustic wit and a bonkers musical brief. And praise-be for the left-behinds not afraid to speak their minds.

The Jukebox Rebel
17-Jun-2007


TJR says:

7.18 “Really good”

This was a hugely enjoyable debut set from the infamous singing group which would eventually find adoring fans in every corner of the globe. Over the decades which followed, the line-up would change many times but the brand retained its strength always. The group were named after a road sign, somewhere between Pietersburg and Johannesburg, which read: “amahhotela (hotel), 3 miles”, a name which tickled producer Rupert Bopape so much he immortalized it via his Mahotella Queens. By 1966, they were way more famous than an old road sign, and had an album of works on offer! “Meet The Mahotella Queens” was only the second LP on the Motella label, and was the first to be billed to a single group – a sign of the buzz that had been created in the preceding couple of years. The front cover of the LP was shot in 1965, and featured (L to R): Ethel Mngomezulu, Simon Mahlathini Nkabinde, Nunu Maseko and Hilda Tloubatla. The album rounded up 12 single sides, almost all of which had appeared in 1965. Stepping up to the mic as soloists at various times are: Simon Nkabinde, Windy Sibeko, Nunu Maseko and Hilda Tloubatla. The group consists of: Marks Mankwane (lead guitar), Lucky Monama (rhythm guitar), Vivian Ngubane (rhythm guitar), Joseph Makwela (bass) and Wilfred Mosebi (drums). Catchy proto-funk chops from Lucky Monama preside over the fantastic opener, “Kuqale Bani”, which allows the listener multiple opportunities to sing-a-long with the oft-repeated title in a range of distinctive styles to suit boy or girl, man or woman. The harmony blend is immediately intoxicating – the whole template as described is the key to the success of the group in purely audio terms. Their dance routines and energetic live performances sealed the deal all over their Southern African homelands at the time. The pure and true lead vocal of Hilda Tloubatla shines on track 4, “We Boy”, the first track on the LP to be credited to a group member, Nuno Maseko. Aside from the ever-wonderful vocal harmonies, I particularly love that proto-reggae bassline. Johannesburg calling Kingston, come in Kingston! I can’t help but wonder if there was a connecting party line here. “Hamba Mzala” immediately follows, and benefits immensely from the rough and ready throaty growl of Simon Nkabinde played against the sweet girlishness of Windy Sibeko. Meanwhile in the background, Marks Mankwane traces all sorts of pretty patterns up and down the strings. On this evidence, team Mahotella clearly had much to offer. Final word to the liner notes which read: “Not long ago – about two years – the country was swept by a craze for a new kind of jive. First presented and popularised by the Mahotella Queens, it shows no signs of decreasing – in fact it gets bigger with the release of each new “Queens” record. Demonstrating the dance all over the country, The Mahotella Queens (not to forget their “King” Mahlatini Nkabinde) have become the idols of the young “with it” crowd. Growing from original “Jive Motella” many other fads and variations have recently hit the scene – all of them introduced and demonstrated by The Queens and their King: Jive Mgqashiya (which is available on MO 33 and, incidentally is named after the word meaning the Bantu traditional way of dancing), Jive Jibav (on MO 50) and most recently a wild, crazy jive called ‘S’modern’. The charm, vivacity and ultra-modern go-ahead spirit of these vital young artists fully deserves to have captivated the country. Ever since they started, back in Johannesburg in 1963, their fame has been growing by leaps and bounds. Today they have no equal in their field. But although they are the ones who glory in all the limelight, they owe an enormous debt to the “man behind the scenes”. He is the “brain” who guided, formed and trained the group – Rupert “Bops” Bopape.”

The Jukebox Rebel
04-Mar-2012


TJR says:

7.13 “Really good”

Arriving in November ’66 was the second LP of the year from the Los Angeles group led by Arthur Lee, with the quintet now expanded to a septet, a move which pays dividends on this vibrant, classy affair with arrangements incorporating organ, harpsichord, saxophone and flute in amongst the standard guitar and drums template. Harpsichord and sax help drive the thrilling opener, “Stephanie Knows Who”, the album’s leading single, which has a superb vocal from Lee and a terrific stutter-beat. Guitarist Bryan MacLean steps up for a rare song-writing entry, with a flute-laden love song very much of the time, full of “Carnivals and cotton candy and you”. The light pop rumba continues with “¡Que Vida!” – these tones could easily be a massive fail, but the delivery and musicianship are first class and the hippy-drippy effect is overcome, leaving a feel-good glow. By sheer contrast, “7 and 7 Is” comes blasting in, all aggressive and nasty with some truly spectacular drumming from Alban ‘Snoopy’ Pfisterer, although it exasperated him so in the June recording session that he moved to keyboards, allowing Michael Stuart to take up the sticks for the rest of the album! It gave them their biggest hit single, although only a #33 in the Billboard 100. Clearly, there is no justice in these matters. “The Castle” then follows, with some neat flamenco guitar action underlining this group’s desire to push on. The flower-power love vibe is encapsulated on the wonderful side closer, “She Comes In Colors”, a beautiful and complex piece which serves to underline the ambition and talent within the group at this time. Strange that after such an innovative, high quality side we should be subjected to a practice session jam for the entirety of the whole second side. Said Mr Lee: “The song “Revelation” was a long jam we did so the musicians could express themselves.” Gee, thanks Arthur. Revelation my ass. What was heading for a “brilliant” album became only a “really good” one with the tiresome 19 minute chore. They’re easily forgiven though – you only need to flip over and repeat side 1.

The Jukebox Rebel
19-Nov-2015


TJR says:

7.04 “Really good”

Sometime in 1965, the smoothest, most suave, most soothing voice in all of recorded history was commissioned to script and record a series of commercials for paint; I for one am not surprised to hear that those commercials had people phoning up stations requesting for them to be aired again. When did you ever hear that about an advert? That’s the Nordine effect for you. Ken himself explains the background to this wonderful LP: “A fellow by the name of Bob Pritkin, a very strange and talented man, worked at an advertising agency, called me up and wanted me to do the Fuller Paint commercials. The assignment was to take nine colors, and then one would be all colors—spectrum. From that I wrote the ten commercials, starting with “The Fuller Paint Company invites you to stare with your ears at yellow,” and then we would do yellow or blue or green. What I did was I wrote this out, and then I got a group of musicians together to depict—free form—as we were recording it. For example, “The Fuller Paint Company invites you to stare with your ears at yellow”: “In the beginning” (whatever the musicians thought “in the beginning” sounded like) “or long before that”—and it would continue as light was deciding who was going to be in or out of the spectrum—”yellow was in serious trouble.” Well, that was one. We also did another one which was a yellow canary, or a yellow lemon drop, or y’ello, can you hear me?—a lot of light-hearted things. At any rate, I wrote the ten commercials and was very pleased. They were only on the air for thirteen weeks, and then they went off. People would call up and say, “Hey—play that again,” and they couldn’t, because they were commercials. And so, they caused quite a stir. They won an International Broadcast Award, which was wonderful, you know—something to dust. Very strange to win this big award, and that was the end of it. I thought, “God, how ephemeral. That was so much fun, doing that, and now it isn’t going to be heard anymore.” So I added about thirteen more colors—we did forty-four, all told—and I went back to Universal Recording in Chicago, and did the whole series of the colors, taking out the name of the Fuller Paint Company and just doing the colors as you hear them on the record. Yellow is different, but the rest are pretty much the same as they were.“ Although most of the 90 second pieces were surrealistic adventures through the vivid imagination of Ken’s brilliant mind, one or three proffered some insightful social commentary; and one piece in particular serves up Ken's finest hour… on every level. You and I both know that the proper colour for “Flesh” to be is the colour it is ; – )

The Jukebox Rebel
05-Mar-2012


TJR says:

7.03 “Really good”

I’ve heard of close-knit harmonies, but the 4-in-the-bath routine was maybe taking it TOO far. Scraping some ceramic from left to right were: John Phillips (30, vocals & guitar), Cass Elliot (24, vocals), Denny Doherty (25, vocals) and Michelle Phillips (21, vocals). The debut LP from the quartet arrived in March ’66. It was album of the year for dreamers who love to sing in the tub, whilst drifting away to sunnier climes and happier times. Simply latch on to your favourite harmony line and go with the flow. Sigh. Why can’t all Pop albums be this glorious? Helping to make the magic happen most often were: Larry Knechtel (keyboards), Joe Osborn (bass), Hal Blaine (drums) and P.F. Sloan (guitar). The ensemble makes it all sound so simple. Mamas and Papas ’66 I LOVES YA. x

The Jukebox Rebel
15-Nov-2015


TJR says:

7.03 “Really good”

The Otis Redding dream team delivered their second high quality LP of the year in October ’66. Once again it features the Booker T. & the M.G.'s—Booker T. Jones (organ), Steve Cropper (piano, guitar), Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn (bass), Al Jackson Jr. (drums)—pianist Isaac Hayes, and the Memphis Horns, consisting of Joe Arnold (tenor sax), Wayne Jackson (trumpet), Andrew Love (tenor sax) and Floyd Newman (baritone sax). There are seven Otis originals and 5 covers on this set, and once again Otis demonstrates how to turn any old ham into easy cool with renditions of “Tennesse Waltz” and “Try A Little Tenderness”. There’s an airing for Lennon and McCartney’s “Day Tripper”, clearly with half an eye on an easy dollar. The LP ascends to its greatest highs with self-penned works. “Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)” is a call-and-response classic and never feels dumb despite the lyrics in the chorus. That’s the Otis effect. “My Lover’s Prayer” reverts to his default mode of deep-southern soul-ballad spine-tingling greatness. Mr. Pitiful my ass; this man’s sweet soul groove albums were fab winners every time.

The Jukebox Rebel
13-Jan-2010


TJR says:

6.78 “Good”

This fine debut LP arrived in June 1966. At the time of release the trio were: Mike Heron (24, lead vocals, guitar); Clive Palmer (23, lead vocals, banjo, guitar, kazoo) and Robin Williamson (22, lead vocals, backing vocals, violin, guitar, tin whistle, fiddle). The album contained 7 from the pen of Mike, 5 from Robin, 1 from Clive and 3 traditionals. The Wiki gives an excellent summary of the back story: “In 1963, acoustic musicians Robin Williamson and Clive Palmer began performing together as a traditional folk duo in Edinburgh, particularly at a weekly club run by Archie Fisher in the Crown Bar which also regularly featured Bert Jansch. There they were seen in August 1965 by Joe Boyd, then working as a talent scout for the influential folk-based label Elektra Records. Later in the year, the duo decided to fill out their sound by adding a third member, initially to play rhythm guitar. After an audition, local rock musician Mike Heron won the slot. The trio took the name “The Incredible String Band”. Early in 1966, Palmer began running an all-night folk club, “Clive's Incredible Folk Club”, on the fourth floor of a building in Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow, where they became the house band. When Boyd returned in his new role as head of Elektra's London office, he signed them up for an album, beating off a rival bid from Transatlantic Records. They recorded their first album, titled “The Incredible String Band”, at the Sound Techniques studio in London in May 1966. It was released in Britain and the United States and consisted mostly of self-penned material in solo, duo and trio formats, showcasing their playing on a variety of instruments. It won the title of “Folk Album of the Year” in Melody Maker's annual poll.” Mike shines as my favourite, placing all 7 of his songs in the top 9. All 3 Jukebox picks are his. I just love his apparent indifference; he’s most “alternative” and unconventional and just seems to kinda goof around with smile inducing intonations, dragging his voice and guitar left, right and all over. ISB as a trio broke up after recording the album. Palmer left via the hippie trail for Afghanistan and India, and Williamson and his girlfriend went to Morocco with no firm plans to return. Heron stayed in Edinburgh, playing with a band called Rock Bottom and the Deadbeats. These three amigos were as talented as they were free and easy spirits, not chasin' a hope or a dream or a plan. This set was a lovely snapshot in time @ 22 May, 1966.

The Jukebox Rebel
25-Sep-2009


TJR says:

6.77 “Good”

1966 was very much a progressive year for music in general, with phenomenal song writing growth in evidence all around from the finest pop and rock group’s both sides of the Atlantic. The Stones were certainly players and were hard at it. “Aftermath” was the first LP in their cannon which wholly consisted of Jagger / Richards originals. Furthermore, Brian Jones played a variety of instruments not usually associated with their music, including sitar, Appalachian dulcimer, marimbas, and Japanese koto, as well as guitar, harmonica and keyboards. With this in mind, and based on past evidence, they should have been right up there with The Beatles, The Kinks and The Beach Boys but, in my opinion, they’re found wanting in this year’s class. The excellence of album opener “Mother's Little Helper” suggests the Stones are with the programme; it’s an indian rocker dealing with the houswife diazepam craze which is sweeping the nation. “Stupid Girl” immediately follows and although it’s ok, we’re suddenly 18 months back in time with the R n B beat group thing, and it’s a bit of a b-side example at that. The perfectly lovely “Lady Jane” contradicts again – it’s a sure fire sign that a thoughtful and creative group are at work. “Under My Thumb” keeps up the invention – bet it sounds good on the dancefloors of ‘66. “Doncha Bother Me” jumps back to the blues rock vibe – it might not be progressive but it’s as cool as a freshly pulled pint in a homely tavern, and Mick’s acrobatic vocal is completely ace. Finishing side 1, “Goin’ Home”, is touted by some as being a breakthrough simply for busting through the 10 minute barrier. Well, as Frank Zappa demonstrated on this year’s “Freak Out!” aimlessly noodling on an uninteresting bed is a complete chore for the listener and a massive turn off. Similarly boring is “Flight 505”, which opens side 2. This is nothing more than a practice-session Chuck Berry mess-around, stretching about for a new rock beat. Should have kept it in hand for the session out-takes reissue in 25-years-time. Best on side 2 is the magnificent “Out of Time” – despite sounding a bit rush-released and bare-boned it shines like a diamond and would be fully realized and immortalized by the Chris Farlowe treatment within the next few months. The album is dogged with inconsistency – and this is underlined on “What To Do”, a dumb country rocker, which is one of the worst things to have appeared on a Stones LP to date. It’s their “Love Me Do”. That they thought this would be a worthy finale at this stage of their development raises much doubt as to cool credentials. For all my moans and groans, I still rate and care for “Aftermath” – although a ten track artistic statement might have fared better than a 14 track “value for money” job…

The Jukebox Rebel
16-Nov-2015


TJR says:

6.44 “Decent enough”

The fourth and final album by Animals mkI took their love of the blues and fused it with a harder-edged guitar sound, adding in solo flourishes, and could be regarded as the beginnings of what would later be regarded as “Rock”. Throughout the album there were also hints of the psychedelia that was set to rule the second half of the 60s, and by this time they could quite happily double song playing times to 5 and 6 minutes whenever the mood took them. The original incarnation of The Animals collapsed in September 1966, by which time their business affairs “were in a total shambles” according to bass-guitarist Chas Chandler (who went on to manage Jimi Hendrix) and the group disbanded. Even by the standards of the day, when artists tended to be financially naïve, the Animals made very little money, eventually claiming mismanagement and theft on the part of their manager Michael Jeffery.

The Jukebox Rebel
04-Oct-2009


TJR says:

6.40 “Decent enough”

Welcome to the garden of earthly delights; time to take a trip and elevate your mind! I’m not one for a lot of psychedelic babble myself, but there was some great action adventure to be had within the grooves of “The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators”, the first LP to wholly I.D. itself as an album of psychedelic works. The innovators were: Roky Erickson (vocals, rhythm guitar), Stacy Sutherland (lead guitar), Tommy Hall (amplified jug), Benny Thurman (bass), Ronnie Leatherman (bass) and John Ike Walton (drums, percussion). They had an AMPLIFIED JUG? There weren’t too many of THEM kicking around in ’66, but then Tommy Hall wasn’t much of a regular guy. He was the “spiritual one” who instilled much other worldliness into the group vibe. When his jug wasn’t being used for, er, stashing things, he put it to miraculous use by somehow concocting a great rising and descending bubbleicious sound through his top-secret method of blowability. However he managed it, it sounded great and defined the sound of this wondrous LP which would have been a WHOLE lot less interesting without him.

The Jukebox Rebel
28-May-2012


TJR says:

6.25 “Decent enough”

The first Animals album to feature any originals and there’s three of them, with new organ player Dave Rowberry being credited on all of them, and Eric Burdon co-credited on two. The Animals were already one of the major English Invasion groups in May 1965, when founding keyboardist Alan Price suddenly left due to fear of flying and other issues. According to lead singer Eric Burdon, Rowberry, whilst considered a good musician, was chosen partly because of his passing physical resemblance to Price. On the other hand, Burdon’s crony Zoot Money claims that he was approached first, and Rowberry only selected as a second choice. On “Animalisms” the group’s trademark R n B groove remains prevalent, although a more soulful undercurrent is very noticeable throughout, especially with the covers of Joe Tex, Eddie & Ernie and Jackie Wilson.

The Jukebox Rebel
04-Oct-2009


TJR says:

6.23 “Decent enough”

The first of two ’66 LPs from the quintet arrived in May. The set was notable for including songs written by all group members – something which was proving to be a destructive bone of contention within the inner sanctum. Ironically, the LP opens with their stomping Top 5 hit “Kicks”, a tune which was written by industry professionals Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and had been rejected by its intended recipients, The Animals! In fact, the best track on side 1 is “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone” – another written by a couple of industry pros; Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. Most enjoyable piece comes from the rarely credited guitarists Phil Volk and Drake Levin who step up to the mark in splendid form with the Stones-aping rocker “Get It On”. Whilst there are quite a few cool moments like this, warning signs are there on this album that this group are losing their edginess; things occasionally get a bit drippy. Lead guitarist Drake Levin quit the group following the release of the album citing “musical differences”. The album also marked the end of the band's relationship with the Brill Building music publishing house, which had provided both “Kicks” and “I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone”. It’s clear that Paul Revere’s gang will not be signing up for the counter-culture revolution any time soon…

The Jukebox Rebel
02-Nov-2008


TJR says:

6.14 “Decent enough”

Issued in January ’66 following the release of their two latest singles, “A Lover’s Concerto” (August ’65) and “Attack!” (December ’65). At the time of their sole album release, the Toys were: Barbara Harris (20, lead vocals), Barbara Parritt (21, vocals) and June Montiero (19, vocals). Although Harris sang lead for the majority of the album (the group's producers felt that her voice was the most commercial), Parritt and Montiero were each given a chance to shine, the former on “Hallelujah” (terrific) and the latter on “Yesterday” (un-affecting), the album’s sole cover version, and a strange choice at that. Parritt and Harris share the lead vocal duties on “Back Street” (average). Apart from the aforementioned Lennon / McCartney piece, all tracks were written by the Toys' producers, Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell. The Billboard advertisements sold the vision: “High-pitched vocal gymnastics! Low-toned counterpoints! Soulful harmonies! Dramatic arrangements! Jumpy rhythms!” All of which is spot on actually. The blend is popish and groovy without ever being cheesy. That said, the album is really dominated by both sides of the monster 45 – “A Lover’s Concerto” and, to a lesser extent, “This Night”. The former, one of thee pop hits of the decade, was worth all of the considerable studio effort. It was a swinging pop dance rewrite of Christian Petzold’s “Minuet in G” which had been used as a framework by Johann Sebastian Bach in his “Notebook For Anna Magdalena Bach, Minuet In G”, a five finger piano exercise. Ambitious, I LIKE it! The girls and their production crew reached for the stars and literally struck Gold, as certified by the RIAA on December 17, 1965. The single’s flipside proves to be the other main highlight here, veering away from the Supremes onto the Shirelles for inspiration. Neat work Toys.

The Jukebox Rebel
15-Feb-2009


TJR says:

6.13 “Decent enough”

They were never the greatest band for a left-field music lover like myself, but they had their moments here and there with some neat 60s singles and b-sides. “Would You Believe?” was their pinnacle of their album’s discography – it was their roughest, toughest and meanest set, generally leaning in a folksy rock direction. That said, it’s a soul ballad which steals my utmost affection. Their take on “That’s How Strong My Love Is” (O.V. Wright with The Keys, 1964) may lack the emotional depth of the Stones or Redding’s versions but it’s fantastic all the same, and demonstrates good taste. Strangely, it’s followed by “Sweet Little Sixteen”. Who was still playing Chuck Berry covers in 1966? This betrays the aforementioned good taste. Closing side 1, the upbeat groovy-ness of “I Am A Rock” swings the taste-o-meter back in their favour. Pleasingly, one of their own, “I’ve Got A Way Of My Own”, a stirring and harmonious folk-rocker in the style of Paul Simon’s “Blessed”, provides a late album highlight, sealing the deal on a thumbs up album rating from this leftie.

The Jukebox Rebel
11-Dec-2008


TJR says:

6.11 “Decent enough”

Group tensions had led to the departure of principal songwriter Gene Clark in February 1966. It would be Roger McGuinn and David Crosby who’d take up the slack on this one, as the covers were cut back to just 3½. It was the first Byrds album not to feature any Dylan. Although nowhere near as riveting as the preceding LP’s, “Fifth Dimension” had plenty of interesting moments, with “Eight Miles High” in particular pointing the way to psychedelic pastures new…

The Jukebox Rebel
27-Feb-2008

chart first published 6 Jan 2016; last edited 28 Jan 2016

Album Charts

by year…

1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

Comments…