By the time Lawrence (b. 1944) and Lawrencine Collins (b. 1942) were 11 and 13, respectively, they were already tearing it up on country package shows, recording for Columbia Records, and performing on national TV almost weekly. Older sister Lorrie held up the cowgirl fringe-rustling-against-nylons teenage sensuality department; kid brother Larry was a bundle of hyperkinetic energy, bopping all over the place while laying down exciting, twangy guitar breaks learned firsthand from the King of the Doublenecked Mosrite, Joe Maphis. As time went on, the Collins' recordings veered from mawkish brother/sister country-style duets to white-hot rockabilly, and they were just reaching their peak when Lorrie eloped, effectively breaking up the act. Revered by rockabilly collectors the world over, their filmed television appearances and recordings are testimony to the fact that the Collins Kids weren't just "good for their age," they were just plain good, period.
Rita Chao, aka "Seow Mei-Mei", the A-G0-Go Queen of the 60s. Recorded her first EP with The Quests that included one of her greatest hits during that period, "Shake, Shake, Shake" or "Yeow, Yeow, Yeow" in Mandarin. Like Sakura, she sang in Mandarin, English and Japanese. Most of her recordings were accompanied by The Quests. "Sixteen Candles" was one of her most popular English songs.
Rita Chao, best known to her Mandarin-speaking fans as …Ling Yun, Ling Ying or Seow Mei-Mei, depending on the source of information you’d prefer to rely on…), was born in Singapore, most probably during the mid '40s of the last century, probably in 1946.
According to some reports, her family originated from the city of Hangzhou (杭州), which is located in the Zhejiang Province in Eastern China, not so far from Shanghai (上海).
Her interest in music developed at school, and when she was 15 she started singing and performing on stage. Her grandmother, Zhao Yongchun a former amateur Peking Opera singer, encouraged her to leave school and at that time she embarked on short tours through Vietnam and North Borneo (Malaysia) along with small acting companies.
Since then, Zhao Yongchun, determined to make her beloved granddaughter famous, became her manager and successfully arranged for her to perform in some of the most famous nightclubs in Singapore. In those days, Rita also used to perform at the now defunct New World Amusement Park along with Sakura, and they both lived in Jalan Besar.
In 1966 Rita was signed by Columbia / EMI and released her very first 7" EP, the subject of this post. On this record, she was paired with the top guitar band from Singapore, The Quests, and it was instant stardom.
During her career Rita Chao recorded many great Mandarin covers of popular English songs and she was part of the pioneers who launched the Rock Movement in Singapore. Along with Sakura (with whom she joined forces on many recordings during the late '60s) they were both known as 'A Go-Go Queens of the Sixties".
Rita Chao, who was wildly popular in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong in the 1960s , has passed away in July last year. She was 64.
Out of Control is an album of material by The Crossfires, later known as The Turtles.
The Crossfires were a surf-rock group active between in 1963 and 1965. The group was formed in Los Angeles, California by Westchester High students Howard Kaplan (changed in 1965 to Kaylan, because that's how he always wrote his name), Al Nichol and Chuck Portz. Originally called 'The Nightriders'; the group Mark Volman, Don Murray from Inglewood High and Dale Walton (later replaced by Tom Stanton, who in turn, was later replaced by Jim Tucker) to the group in 1963, changed the band name to 'The Crossfires' and began performing guitar-driven surf instrumentals in concert across the Westchester area.
The effects of being in a band had their social consequences. The naive group were exposed to wild bacchanals, strangely devastating drinks like "Red Death," and all manner of mayhem. To rise to the occasion, and to keep the frat boys happy to insure the band of even more $200-a-night jobs, the Crossfires adapted their own, original versions of standards like "Money" and "What'd I Say" that were laced with the well chosen obscenities that the UCLA party boys loved so much. An ill-timed rendition of those very same ditties at the Westchester Women's Club effectively banned the Crossfires from Westchester, for good.
They set their sights on the adjacent South Bay area (Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Torrance) and quickly found themselves winners of several Battle of the Bands competitions that resulted in a residency at Reb Foster's (a local DJ) Revelaire Club. The group also had a fan club of sorts, "the Chunky Club," whose members made obscene genital gestures with the help of spoons during band appearances. (For more insight into this period, refer to the Crossfires album, Out of Control) It was here that demands were made upon them to learn the various hit recordings of stars like the Coasters, Sonny and Cher, the Righteous Brothers and others for whom they would occasionally become the backup band.
In 1964, the Beatles and the whole English Invasion took effect. Mark and Howard put down their saxes, took up the vocals more ardently (Howard did most of the leads, Mark backups and tambourine) and the Crossfires dropped their entire repertoire of surf instrumentals and grew their hair long.
Despite this response, and their following at the Revelaire, frustration set in. The members weren't in high school anymore, two were married, and the band wasn't earning enough money. In 1965, on the night they were submitting their resignation from the Revelaire and about to break up, they were approached by Ted Feigin and Lee Lasseff who signed them to a brand new, nameless record label, later to be called White Whale. It was time for a name change as well. The group liked "The Half Dozen," or "Six Pack," but opted for Reb Foster's suggestion, The Turtles
Jim Tucker - rhythm guitar ("One Potato Two Potato", "Stay Around", "Livin' Doll")
Tom Stanton - rhythm guitar ("That'll Be The Day", "Revelaire", "Silver Bullet")
Terry Hand - drums ("Livin' Doll", "Stay Around")
When the band changed their name from The Crossfires to The Turtles, lead singer Howard Kaplan changed his last name to Kaylan.
Out of Control - Pre-The Turtles.
Label: Sundazed Music – SC 6062 1995
This is the earliest songs from the turtles when they were the surf group the crossfires. It has some great songs on it like 'one potatoe, two potatoe" ( a california hit regional single) , and 'silver bullet' and some average tracks too. The sound quality varies on these tracks but overall they are worth owning. In fact the whole turtles catalog is worth owning. The boys were just beginning at this point and they would explode into action in 1965 with their first turtles album. This one was of course a complilation of early preturtles tracks, and you do get excellent guitar playing, and a few harmonies but not like what was to follow
Caterina Caselli - I Singoli A's & B's (1964-1969)
Published: March 01,
2015 | 19:35
Caterina Caselli was the most successful of Italy’s female beat singers. She found fame in the 1966 San Remo song contest with Nessuno mi puo giudicare and went on to become a big star in 1960s Italy.
She was born on 10 April 1946 in Sassuolo, near Modena. She quit school at 13 and got a job in the accounts department of a local firm.
However, music was her main love. She took singing lessons and at the age of 14, she joined the group Gli Amici as both singer and, more unusually, bassist. Together they performed in local dance halls and nightclubs, earning a name for themselves in the area.
After taking part in the Castrocaro song contest, the young brunette was offered a recording contract with the Milan-based MRC label. However, despite TV promotion, her debut single, Ti telefono tutte le sere, issued in 1964, didn’t sell. (She might have done better to flip the record, to make Sciocca, a take on Lesley Gore’s She’s a fool, the A-side.)
Italian singers were proving popular in Spain with translated versions of their domestic hits, and despite her lack of success, Caterina re-cut her single for an EP issued in Spain. Perhaps realising the earlier mistake, the Lesley Gore song – retitled No esta bien – became the lead track on the release.
At home, a switch of record label in 1965, to CGD, and hair colour, to blond, saw her release Sono qui con voi, a version of Baby please don’t go, a hit for Northern Irish group Them. Thanks to her participation in the Cantagiro contest, the song attracted radio attention, but failed to provide a breakthrough hit.
However, it prompted the label to enter the singer in the 1966 San Remo song festival, the Italian competition that had served as inspiration for the Europe-wide Eurovision song contest. When established star Adriano Celentano turned down the energetic Nessuno mi puo giudicare, Caterina was offered it instead. The practice at the time was to have two singers perform each entry and both Caterina and US star Gene Pitney came to sing the song at the final.
It didn’t win, but no matter – it went to number one in the Italian charts in February 1966 and remained on the top spot for nine weeks, outselling Pitney’s version and also the winning song from the contest, Domenico Modugno/Gigliola Cinquetti’s Dio come ti amo.
The song established Caterina as a star and for the remainder of the year she could do little wrong. She won the Festivalbar contest in the summer with Perdono, which reached number five in the charts in July 1966 and was backed with the equally popular L’uomo d’oro, which Caterina had performed at the Un disco per l’estate contest, finishing fourth.
She also re-recorded her San Remo song for release in France (as La verite je la vois dans tes yeux) and in Spain (as Ninguno me puede juzgar).
Meanwhile, in Italy, she was teamed up with American group We Five for her first album, the imaginatively entitled Caterina meets the We Five. In reality, the artists didn’t perform together – the album was little more than an attempt to satisfy demand while recognising that Caterina didn’t have enough material in the can for a whole LP. Instead, her CGD singles and B-sides were merely compiled along with some of We Five’s best tracks. Although collectors are now happy to shell out generous sums for it, the album offered fans poor value at the time.
Further hits followed, in the form of the emotionally charged Cento giorni and even its B-side, Tutto nero, a version of the Rolling Stones’ Paint it black.
Caterina’s first proper LP, Casco d’oro (a humorous reference to her helmet of blond hair), rounded off the year. In addition to the singles, highlights of the album included E la pioggia che va (originally Bob Lind’s Remember the rain), Puoi farmi piangere (the Alan Price Set’s I put a spell on you) and the Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil-penned Kicks.
The choice of Il cammino di ogni speranza for the 1967 San Remo contest proved disappointing. The song wasn’t as strong as Caterina’s previous entry and was eliminated before the final. However, it gave her another top 20 hit all the same. (Fans often prefer to flip the record for its B-side, the stonking Le biciclette bianche, an ode to a Dutch bike-sharing scheme.)
Sono bugiarda, a cover of The Monkees’ I'm a believer, proved a return to form. Issued that spring, the song reached number six in the charts and remains one of her best-known hits.
A further single, Sole spento, made number 12 that autumn.
A second LP, Diamoci del tu, named after a TV show she fronted, also hit the shops. It included versions of The Four Tops’ Standing in the shadows of love, L’ombra di nessuno (see our Motown males tribute special), and Donovan’s Mellow yellow, Cielo giallo.
Seeking to demonstrate her versatility, Caterina also appeared in a couple of musical films, Io non protesto, io amo and Quando dico che ti amo.
In 1968, the newly brunette singer enjoyed huge hits with Il volto della vita, a cover of David McWilliams’ Days of Pearly Spencer, and the beautiful Italian original Insieme a te non ci sto piu, both of which made the top five. An appearance in the Canzonissima song contest with Il carnevale stopped just short of giving the singer a second chart topper, while a further film appearance, this time in Enzo Battaglia’s Non ti scordar di me, consolidated her success.
Although still at the top of her game in Italy, Caterina’s occasional forays into foreign markets had failed to translate into significant sales so far. However, it was decided that she should have a stab at the lucrative German market too. Il carnevale was translated into German as Wie all’ die Ander’n, but surprisingly, the song was consigned to the B-side of the distinctly less remarkable Si si signorina. It wasn’t a hit and only one further German-language single was issued, 1970’s Schlager-styled Und wenn die Welt vom Himmel fallt.
Back at home, a return to the San Remo contest in 1969, performing Il gioco dell’amore, provided her with a further top 20 hit. The singles Tutto da rifare and Emanuel rounded off the decade, but neither was as big a hit as hoped for. Similarly, a further entry to the San Remo contest in 1970, with Re di cuori, proved less successful than her earlier attempts.
However, by this time, her mind was elsewhere. She had married the head of the Sugar record label and her recording career began to take a back seat to her new interests. Although she continued to record, by the mid-1970s she was all too ready to swap her place in front of the microphone for one behind the production controls. Indeed, she is credited with discovering Andrea Bocelli in 1992.
She released a few further singles in the 1980s and returned to San Remo for a one-off appearance in 1990.
She continues to work as a manager and record producer.
Howie Casey is a Liverpool legend and his bands preceded the Beatles on a number of fronts. Under their original name of Derry & the Seniors they were the first Liverpool group to go to Hamburg and as Howie Casey & the Seniors the first Mersey band to make a record in their own right.
Born July 12 1937, Howie started playing saxophone because he liked jazz. "I'd heard stuff by people like Gerry Mulligan and Stan Getz and Stan Kenton. My cousin John introduced me to them and so I loved the saxophone players with the big bands and the solo guys. So that's what attracted me to the saxophone particularly."
At the time Howie was deferred from National Service because he was serving his time at English Electic in Kirby, but: "After I'd been playing sax for about a year I decided I didn't like the idea of a trade, being an engineer. I'd nothing against engineers, but it didn't suit me, so I decided to pack it in, much to my family's dismay. Having done that, my deferment was finished, so I had to go in the army. "I went down to the recruitment office in Liverpool and signed with the King's Regiment and applied to be in the band.
"Some Sergeant or whatever conned me. He said, 'Of course, son, they're all regulars in the band. You can't go in National Service in the band; you have to sign for a minimum of three years with the colours.' "So naive me, I said 'Yeah, okay, that sounds good.' So I signed on for three years. Of course, when I joined the regiment I found there was a good smattering of National Service guys there in the band anyway.
"But it was good grounding for me, I was in the military band, but there were all little offshoots of jazz groups and dance bands and then, of course, rock and roll," he told me.
"That was 1955, so rock and roll was hitting big by that time and I was very keen obviously on listening to the sax players who played with the likes of Little Richard, Fats Domino and Lloyd Price.
"This was the introduction to R&B really, although it was called rock and roll, and I liked what I heard. I thought I could get closer to that than jazz because the jazz thing, for me, was pretty technical stuff at that time. So I found out I could do some of the rock licks, so we formed a rock group in the army."
Howie came out of the army in 1958. As Howie's father was a TV and radio engineer who repaired speakers and tannoy systems for Charlie McBain, Liverpool's pioneer promoter, Howie met up with him, or one of his sons, when they came to pick up some speakers. His father mentioned that Howie played sax.
"Charlie Mac ran a few dances round Liverpool and one of them was Wilson Hall," says Howie, "and I was invited to come and play at the hall - no mention of money, of course -and sat in with the band.
"It wasn't the first band I'd ever played with in Liverpool but it was certainly the best of the bands I'd played with so far. It was a band called the Rhythm Rockers and it was led by a great drummer called Frank Wibberley and he had a line-up of two tenor saxes and of course drums, bass, keyboards, guitar and also I think there was a male and female singer. I played baritone with that band and I really enjoyed it. Some of it was reading, some of it was busking, and they played a mixture of rock and roll and Top 20 stuff. "So from that point on I played with them for quite a while. Usually Saturday nights and that type of thing. I was working in the day, of course."
Howie then joined a band called the Hy-Tones, its name taken from Huyton, the area where they all lived. There was Billy Hughes on guitar and Stan Foster on piano."
The next step for Howie was to form his own band. "I got together with a drummer who lived in the road where I lived and a guy called Jeff Wallington. We teamed up and he knew a guitar player called Brian Griffiths. Billy Hughes and Stan Foster also joined us and I met up with Paul Whitehead, a bass player, again. I'd known him from a youth club ages ago, but he was doing an Elvis then."
It was while they were appearing at Holyoake Hall, near Penny Lane, that compere Bob Wooler asked if a black youth could get on stage to sing some songs with them. his name was Derry Wilkie.
"Derry came up and he was doing Little Richard, which was right up my street because prior to that we didn't have a singer who could get down to that sort of stuff. That was great, so we asked Derry to join the band."
Like most members of Liverpool bands, Howie dismisses the myth of 'Cunard Yanks,' who were alleged to bring in rare records from America for the local groups. "We got our repertoire from the records we bought in the shops," he says. "Records that people had, like Derry had quite a good collection of Ray Charles and Little Richard and so on."
As Derry & the Seniors they began to play at most of the local venues for promoters such as McBain, Wally Hill and Brian Kelly. Wally Hill ran promotions at Holyoake and Blair Hall, which Howie describes as being 'quite violent.' "I vaguely remember the bouncers who wore black leather sort of gloves and white shirts, black trousers, black leather - and they had truncheons, or whatever. They used to circle the hall while the people danced and there was always a fight and they'd jump in and people would get kicked downstairs and there was blood and stuff everywhere. A few things like that went on.
Clothilde - Queen of the French Swinging Mademoiselle 1967
Published: April 09,
2014 | 22:44
Clothilde, Queen of the S.M. (Swingin’ Mademoiselles)… Why Clothilde? Why not that more star-worthy, international acclaimed Françoise Hardy, or the more akin to the sub-genre, France Gall? Because she’s the most characteristic, archtypical French mademoiselle, that’s why! Christine Pilzer, even Jacqueline Taïeb before her, both may’ve been rediscovered first in this style unique to French Sixties Pop, and Stella also may’ve been the most out and out “anti-Yeye” with her slightly anti-establishment and derisive lyrics countering the Pop system and establishment but, Cleo’s all about text, not that much as a whole production. As such, we feel Clothilde takes the crown. Not only has Clothilde the most natural (albeit unknowingly) disposition as a chanteuse, singing such subversive lyrics with as much second degree and detachment but, the music itself is highly original : inventive arrangemen including French horn, musical saw, church bells, barrel organ, marimba, brass fiddle, woodwinds and busy fuzz guitar amidst all that slapstick comedy-like audio bric-à-brac.. Almost avant-garde in concept, it was imagined and produced by Clothilde’s impresario, manager and indeed creator, legendary Disques Vogue A.D. Germinal Tenas. … This could’ve only come out of France!
Clothilde - Queen Of The French Swinging Mademoiselle 1967 - Import - After whetting our whistles with recent reissues by Francoise Hardy and the newest volume of the Swingin' Mademoiselles compilation (you grab that? HOT DAMN), this compilation of sides by Ye-Ye chanteuse Clothilde, compiled by our mainline to the French underground - Born Bad Records! Ecouté!:
"Comes with a four-page insert. Clothilde, queen of the ""Swingin' Mademoiselles."" Why Clothilde? Why not that more star-worthy, internationally-acclaimed Françoise Hardy, or the more akin to the sub-genre, France Gall? Because she's the most characteristic, archtypical French mademoiselle, that's why! Christine Pilzer, even Jacqueline Taïeb before her, both may have been rediscovered first in this style unique to French '60s pop, and Stella also may have been the most out and out ""anti-ye-ye"" with her slightly anti-establishment and derisive lyrics countering the pop system and establishment, but Cleo's all about text, not that much as a whole production. As such, Clothilde takes the crown. Not only has Clothilde the most natural (albeit unknowingly) disposition as a chanteuse, singing such subversive lyrics with as much second degree detachment as possible but also, the music itself is highly original: inventive arrangements including French horn, musical saw, church bells, barrel organ, marimba, brass fiddle, woodwinds, and busy fuzz guitar amidst all that slapstick comedy-like audio bric-à-brac. Almost avant-garde in concept, it was imagined and produced by Clothilde's impresario, manager and indeed creator, legendary Disques Vogue A.D. Germinal Tenas. This could've only come out of France. "
First off - if you dig Ye-Ye in any capacity, you're bound to love this, BUT just as the icing on the cake, let us testify to the greatness in these grooves! Clothilde operates within the general framework of all the Ye-Ye princesses, but the beauty of these tracks is the KILLER arrangements by famed producer Germinal Tenas that weave in downright weird sounds like fuzz guitar, sitar, harpsichord and french horn in such an interesting way that we were hooked from track #1! Clothilde's got one-up on her contemporaries - this stuff frickin' ROCKS with raging guitars and HEAVY pounding drums (not unlike a Dutronc tune) and we feel like that alone will keep us coming back again and again!
One of the many girl group-type solo singers who had a hard time making it in Britain in the early and mid-'60s, let alone the United States, Collins released 11 singles -- all flops -- between 1960 and 1966. Any interest she's been able to attract from collectors is due to her association with legendary British producer Joe Meek, who was at the helm of eight of the 45s. There's no question that Meek did his level best for his protégée, writing most of the singles himself and investing many of them with his immediately identifiable eccentric production values -- tons of echo, manic speeded-up tapes, weedy organs, and over-the-top orchestras. The stinging session guitar of Ritchie Blackmore graces a few of these singles, some of which were recorded with British instrumental groups the Tornados (of "Telstar" fame) and the Outlaws. Collins herself had a fairly good, belting voice, though she didn't show a particularly deep feeling for rock & roll. Collins never recorded again after Meek's death in early 1967.