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Old Melodies ...

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The Crickets - Well... All Right (The Crickets Collection) 1992-3

The Crickets -  Well... All Right (The Crickets Collection) 1992-3

The Crickets were a group with two careers, one that lasted less than a year-and-a-half, and another that continued for decades. Originally formed by singer and guitarist Buddy Holly, drummer Jerry Allison, and bassist Joe B. Mauldin, the Crickets went from being Holly's backing musicians to a self-contained band when they re-recorded a song that Holly had already cut under his own name to avoid violating an earlier contract. The Crickets went on to a successful run of hits with Holly -- including "Maybe Baby," "Not Fade Away," and "That'll Be the Day" -- until his death in 1959. After that, the Crickets, joined by guitarist Sonny Curtis, went on to a long run recording on their own as well as backing other artists, most notably Bobby Vee and the Everly Brothers. Their first post-Holly album, In Style with the Crickets, included the original version of Curtis' song "I Fought the Law," but by the mid-'70s, they had walked away from recording and primarily performed live, especially after the 1978 film The Buddy Holly Story revived interest in their former frontman. The Crickets came back in 1988 with T Shirt, which was produced in part by longtime fan Paul McCartney, and 2004's The Crickets & Their Buddies found them covering their classics with help from Eric Clapton, Waylon Jennings, John Prine, Graham Nash, and many more.
The "Crickets" started out as a ruse. In 1956, Buddy Holly signed a contract with Decca Records, but after two sessions in Nashville, no one was happy with the results, and Holly and Decca parted ways. After finding a more sympathetic producer in Norman Petty, Holly, Jerry Allison, and Joe B. Mauldin decamped to Petty's studio in Clovis, New Mexico, and, among other things, cut a new version of one of Holly's Decca efforts, "That'll Be the Day." Coral Records was interested in Holly's Clovis recordings, but the terms of the Decca contract meant he couldn't re-record "That'll Be the Day" under his own name, so the new version was credited to the Crickets. The Crickets' "That'll Be the Day" became a Number One hit in 1957, and for the next 15 months, there were records by the Crickets and records by Buddy Holly -- which were virtually interchangeable -- and on-stage they were billed as Buddy Holly & the Crickets. By the end of 1958, however, the references to "Buddy Holly & the Crickets" were becoming valid in the worst possible way. Holly's shifting and expanding musical interests, coupled with his move to New York and marriage to Maria Elena Santiago, and the differing relationships that the three had with Petty, who was now their manager, led to a split between Holly and his bandmates in the months immediately prior to Holly's death in a plane crash on February 3, 1959.

The result of their split was a separate existence for the Crickets. Jerry Allison became the de facto leader of the group, and they were soon a quartet, with Sonny Curtis on guitar and Earl Sinks as lead singer. In 1959, still managed and produced by Norman Petty, they recorded "Love's Made a Fool of You" backed with "Someone, Someone," which failed to chart. Their next serious assault on the charts -- a version of Curtis' "I Fought the Law" cut for Coral Records -- vanished without a trace in 1959, and their rendition of "More Than I Can Say" also failed to find an audience for them, though it did wonders for Bobby Vee (and, by extension, for Curtis as its composer). They recorded a handful of singles for Coral Records, and later signed to Liberty Records with Jerry Naylor in the lead singer spot (sometimes switching off with Curtis), in addition to recording with Buddy Holly soundalike Bobby Vee.

The group recorded for Liberty for four years, from 1961 through 1965, even doing their versions of several Beatles songs, but apart from a pair of minor hits, "My Little Girl" and "Please Don't Ever Change," were unable to generate any enthusiasm. One of Naylor's successors, David Box, died in a plane crash in 1964. They did find some lingering success in England, where they headlined shows as well as serving as a backing band for the Everly Brothers, and the group even managed to appear in two jukebox movies on either side of the Atlantic, Just for Fun (1963) in England (doing "My Little Girl" and "Teardrops Feel Like Rain") and The Girls on the Beach (1965) in America (doing "La Bamba"). By the end of the '60s, Mauldin had left music while Allison was singing lead; he and Curtis were also working as session musicians, and Curtis scored a huge success at the dawn of the '70s as the composer of "Love Is All Around," the theme song for The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Too Much Monday MorningAllison and Curtis were the core of the group in the early '70s, mostly working as a touring act rather than a recording outfit, though new records did appear on various labels, including Mercury and MCA. In the wake of the revival of interest in Holly's music at the end of the '70s, thanks in part to the 1978 movie The Buddy Holly Story, the Crickets re-formed on a steady basis, with Joe B. Mauldin returning to the lineup after more than a decade out of music. In 1986, Curtis left the fold to re-establish himself as a solo performer, and was replaced by Gordon Payne on vocals. In 1988, they recorded the single "T-Shirt," produced by noted fan Paul McCartney, which became a minor hit and led to the release of an LP of the same name from Epic Records. The British label Carlton Records issued Too Much Monday Morning in 1996, which included guest vocals from Texas country-folk artist Nanci Griffith. In 2004, the Crickets released The Crickets & their Buddies, in which they re-recorded a number of their Holly-era hits with notable guest stars, among them Eric Clapton, John Prine, Rodney Crowell, Graham Nash, Bobby Vee, and Waylon Jennings (whose contribution was recorded shortly before his death). After the death of Joe B. Mauldin in 2015 and the advancing age of the other Crickets, the band faded away from both recording and live work, but a steady flow of archival reissues and the group's induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 kept their music and memory alive. In 2018, the British Not Now label issued The Crickets Story, which collected the group's complete recordings from 1957 to 1962

The Crickets -  Well... All Right (The Crickets Collection) 1992-3

Bobby Vee & The Crickets - Bobby Vee Meets The Crickets (1962)

Bobby Vee & The Crickets - Bobby Vee Meets The Crickets (1962)

Launching his career as a fill-in for the recently deceased Buddy Holly, Bobby Vee scored several pop hits during the early '60s, that notorious period of popular music sandwiched between the birth of rock & roll and the rise of the British Invasion. Though a few of his singles -- "Rubber Ball," for one -- were as innocuous as anything else from the era, Vee had a knack for infectious Brill Building pop, thanks to his ebullient voice as well as the cadre of songwriters standing behind him.

Born in Fargo, North Dakota in 1943, Robert Thomas Velline was still in his teens when he formed his first combo, the Shadows, with his brother Bill and their friend Bob Korum. The trio were playing around the area when their big break came, at the expense of one of Bobby's musical idols; the Winter Dance Party package tour, with Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper were on their way to Fargo when their plane went down in Iowa, killing all three. The Shadows were scheduled to play the date instead of Holly, and several months later, producer Tommy "Snuff" Garrett supervised their first recording session and the release of the single "Suzie Baby" on Soma Records. Liberty/RCA picked up the single later in the year, and though it just barely scraped the pop charts, the label kept plugging with Vee as a solo act, recording him on Adam Faith's "What Do You Want?," which also failed to move.

With the collective might of the Brill Building behind him, though, Vee was guaranteed to make it; his third single, "Devil or Angel," hit the Top Ten in mid-1960, followed by "Rubber Ball" later that year. One year later, Vee's biggest hit, "Take Good Care of My Baby," spent three weeks at number one, followed by the number two "Run to Him." His fame appeared to wane after the 1962 Top Ten single "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes," due in large part to the success of the Beatles and other English acts. Vee appeared in several movies (Just for Fun, Play It Cool) and briefly tried to cash in on the British phenomenon -- with the disappointing Bobby Vee Sings the New Sound from England! -- but also recorded songs by his early influences, including Buddy Holly and the Crickets. Vee continued to chart throughout the '60s, and even hit the Top Ten again in 1967 with "Come Back When You Grow Up," but after a brief attempt at more serious recordings, he hit the rock & roll oldies circuit. He died in 2016 at the age of 73.

Bobby Vee Meets The Crickets is a cross-over rock and roll album that brings singer Bobby Vee together with the Crickets. It was Vee's 6th album and The Crickets' second release following the departure and subsequent death of their front man, Buddy Holly. The album contains new versions of three songs written by or recorded by Holly—Peggy Sue, Bo Diddley, and Well...All Right—and a host of cover versions of 1950s rock'n'roll songs by artists like Little Richard and Chuck Berry. Originally released as an LP record on July 14, 1962, the album was re-released on CD in 1991, with bonus tracks not featured on the original album.

Bobby Vee & The Crickets - Bobby Vee Meets The Crickets (1991)

Bobby Vee & The Crickets - Bobby Vee Meets The Crickets (1962)

The reissue of this enjoyable album includes ten bonus tracks, including alternate takes, unreleased songs

VA - Making Time: A Shel Talmy Production

VA - Making Time: A Shel Talmy Production

" The name Shel Talmy needs no introduction to any student of 1960s rock. In the roll-call of top producers of the era, he is foremost, an American ex-pat who almost single-handedly changed the sound of British rock'n'roll. Based upon his supervision of the early Kinks and Who alone, Talmy upped the ante and in the process forged a sonic template that would have worldwide reverberations. This is the first significant overview of this maverick's 1960s career. Talmy trained as an engineer in Hollywood, but when on holiday in the UK in 1962, boldly marched into Decca Records and announced his availability as producer. Early hits with the Bachelors and the Fortunes led to a reputation for handling the new wave of beat and mod outfits that erupted in the wake of the Beatles. He enjoyed his greatest success with the Kinks, Who and Easybeats, but could create a hit for just about anyone, from the breezy style of Chad & Jeremy or the soulful pop of Manfred Mann and Amen Corner to the acoustic-based Pentangle. Talmy s prolific schedule meant a proportion of his productions fell by the wayside, but many have subsequently become cherished items. As heard here, they range from future stars David Bowie and Lemmy (with the Rockin' Vickers) to cult faves the Untamed, Oliver Norman, First Gear and Mickey Finn, along with the acts on Talmy's own Planet Records, including pop-art avatars the Creation. Shel's girls are represented by the collectable Perpetual Langley and Goldie and the Gingerbreads, while his work with Lee Hazlewood and Roy Harper demonstrates the breadth of his abilities. Finally, along with the freakbeat classic Bald Headed Woman. Trini Lopez's witty Sinner Not A Saint (the only non-Talmy production here) is included as an example of his songwriting prowess. Making Time A Shel Talmy Production also benefits from unprecedented access to Talmy s personal vaults, which yielded master tapes for many obscurities as well as several ear-popping unissued tracks. Extensively researched and copiously illustrated, this anthology will be a significant entry in Ace's acclaimed Producer series. "

VA - Making Time: A Shel Talmy Production (2017)

VA - Making Time: A Shel Talmy Production

Mike Berry - Sounds of The Sixties

Mike Berry - Sounds of The Sixties

Mike Berry -- not to be confused with his contemporary Dave Berry -- was a pop/rock singer who gained his initial fame as part of the stable of artists produced by the legendary Joe Meek. His best known record, "Tribute to Buddy Holly" is one of the most fondly remembered singles of the pre-Beatles era in England, as well as a touching memorial to its subject, with a bravura performance by Berry. Born Michael Bourne in Northampton, England, in 1942, he was raised in London and originally started singing as a member of his church choir during the early '50s. When the skiffle boom came along in the middle of the decade, he took up playing the washboard and joined a local group christened "the Rebels". He eventually moved on to doing straight American-style rock & roll and, at the start of the '60s, was singing in a dance band called Kenny Lord & the Statesmen -- their repertory included the music of Buddy Holly and Gene Vincent, among others, whose "Peggy Sue Got Married" and "Be-Bop-A-Lula," respectively, were on a four-song demo cut by the group.
That record found its way into the hands of Joe Meek, who was struck by how closely the singer matched the tone and nuances of Holly's singing. He made contact with the group, and tried to keep singer and band together, but the other members soon fell by the wayside. In their stead, Meek recruited a London-based band called the Stormers, whose ranks included Chas Hodges on bass, Bobby Graham on the drums, and Billy Kuy and Reg Hawkins on lead and rhythm guitar, respectively -- Michael Bourne/Kenny Lord became Mike Berry and the Stormers were given the name the Outlaws, and they set about performing and recording as Mike Berry & the Outlaws, cutting a version of a song that Meek chose, called "Set Me Free." The song was duly recorded and Meek set about trying to get it released, only to have it rejected by Decca Records A&R chief Dick Rowe -- who, nonetheless, liked the singer.
Rowe prevailed upon Meek to get Berry and his band to deliver a cover version of the new Shirelles single "Will You Love Me Tomorrow." Unfortunately, Decca issued that record at the start of 1961, just as the American original finally got released in England, and Berry's version was completely swamped. It wasn't until the summer of 1961 that Berry finally had a chance to show what he could really do with a song, when he was given "Tribute to Buddy Holly," authored by Geoff Goddard. With the Outlaws emulating the sound of Holly's band the Crickets, and Berry sounding so much like Buddy Holly that the whole listening experience was downright eerie, the record was a huge hit right out of the box, and with good reason -- it was a superb record, and it had a more-than-willing public; the Texas-born Holly was revered in England far more than he was in his own country, and British teens loved the single. It made the Top 20, and sold steadily for months. It never did reach its full potential, however, owing to the interference of the BBC, which refused to play the song, citing its morbid subject matter (there were a lot of "death" songs on the radio at the time).

Berry would seem to have been on his way, but such was not the case. His next two singles never charted, and a year later it almost seemed as though he was back at square one. Even more to the point, as 1962 wore into 1963, a new sound started emerged in England, coming out of Liverpool. After two missed, Berry charted a second hit, "Don't You Think It's Time," in late 1962, which made the British Top Ten at what later proved to the tail-end of the pre-Beatles era in British pop music. He followed this up with another Top 40 appearance in the spring of 1963, with the song "My Little Baby." During this same period, he was booked onto a package tour with the Beatles, and proved he could share a bill with the prime practitioners of the new Merseybeat sound. He also became one of the earliest performers to be managed by Robert Stigwood, who was working for Meek, and took over his bookings and, for a time, his recording sessions. This proved to be fortuitous, as Meek always had too much on his tray, and never had enough good songs to supply to the artists he was managing, or enough time to devote to each of their recordings and careers. But the changes in music, and the growing dominance of groups over solo singers ultimately overpowered Stigwood's best efforts on his behalf, or the varied sides that Berry tried to put before the British public from 1963 onward. By that time, the Outlaws -- whose ranks had come to include a promising young guitarist named Ritchie Blackmore -- had moved on to other activities, the members folded into other Meek-managed bands (including the Tornados) or doing session work. By the middle of the decade, Berry was consigned to ever-smaller gigs and recordings. He turned to acting in the '70s, though he never entirely gave up music, and by the end of the decade had found something of a niche as a nostalgia/oldies performer, still doing basic rock & roll. He returned to the U.K. Top Ten in 1980 with the single "The Sunshine of Your Smile," and got a second crack at the charts with "If I Could Only Make You Care" and "Memories." His renewed commercial success even led Berry to re-record "Tribute to Buddy Holly" in a more personalized rendition two decades after the fact. Since the '80s, he has divided his time between acting (including the series Are You Being Served in its last four seasons) and music. In 2006, he released About Time Too, an album cut with the surviving members of the Crickets in Nashville.

Mike Berry - Sounds of The Sixties

Sharon - Loves You Know Who

Sharon  - Loves You Know Who

Sharon Finkelstein aka ... Sharon Tandy.

Sharon  - Loves You Know Who

If there was any justice in the world, Johannesburg-born Sharon Tandy (born Sharon Finkelstein) would have been up there with Dionne Warwick and Dusty Springfield in the 60s.
Unquestionably, she had the voice for it, and her choice of songs was pretty much impeccable. Her South African debut LP, Sharon - Loves You-Know-Who, showcased her strong, intuitive delivery on Cliff Richard and Elvis Presley covers.
Sharon honed her vocals on the South African club circuit before hooking up with lover (later husband) Frank Fenter of Atlantic Records and playing a couple of dates with his proteges, UK beat band The Couriers.
She moved to London in 1964 to seek fame and fortune.
Between 1964 and 1969 Sharon flirted with melodramatic, Sandie Shaw-like Brit pop, freakbeat and psychedelic rock with Southampton pop art beat combo Les Fleur de Lys, recording superb numbers such as Stay With Me and You’ve Gotta Believe It.
sharontandy_lpShe appeared on Thank Your Lucky Stars, Beat Club and Top Of The Pops, and her fiery version of Hold On (1967) became her signature tune – with her breathless rasp going head-to-head with searing Yardbirds-like guitars.
Signed to Stax in 1966 she cut earthy Southern soul with Booker T & The MGs and Isaac Hayes, becoming the first European-based artist to record in East McLemore Studios. She also appeared as an opening act on the 1967 Stax/Volt Tour of Europe.
On her return to England she teamed with Les Fleur de Lys again, but by 1970 she was back in South Africa.
  She recorded a single for Polydor in 1967 credited to "Debrah Aire" featuring more pop styled tracks, but this also flopped. However, the combination of lack of commercial success and the breakdown of her relationship with Fenter led to her return to South Africa in 1970.

Sharon - Loves You Know Who (With The Astronauts)
 Rare first album ...

David Garrick - The Pye Anthology (2002)

David Garrick - The Pye Anthology (2002)

Of all the aspiring pop stars to come out of England in the 1960s, David Garrick had the most unlikely background. Unlike the members of the Beatles, Gerry & the Pacemakers, et. al, who were all fans of rock & roll as kids, Garrick grew up in an environment steeped in classical music. Born Philip Darryl Core (some sources list his birth name as Darrell Philip Corré) on September 12, 1945 in Liverpool, he came from a home in which Mozart and Beethoven were vital musical figures, and occupied the center of his attention to music -- rather than Bill Haley, Chuck Berry, or Elvis Presley, Mario Lanza loomed large on his boyhood radar screen. From an early age he was also singing in church choirs. He took formal voice training starting at age 14, and was singing with the Birkenhead Opera Company by 16. And from there it was off to La Scala on a grant to study with Lanza's one-time teacher. This was in the early '60s, and still not out of his teens, he had worn himself ragged between the voice training and the work to pay his expenses, and so he headed back to Liverpool.

It was then, while trying to figure out his next move -- whether to keep at the classical training or pursue something else -- that he began spending time at the Cavern Club. It was with the encouragement of DJ (and future author) Bob Wooller that he began making contact with various rock & roll bands who, by the mid-'60s, were working around the city. One night, he was persuaded to stand up at the Cavern and give an impromptu performance of an aria from Pagliacci, and was amazed to hear the applause that followed -- and amused to be dubbed "The Opera Singer" by the youthful patrons. Even so, he didn't consider seriously pursuing a singing career until he was approached at another club by a man who turned out to be Robert Wace, the manager of the Kinks. An audition was arranged before John Schoeder, the head of A&R for Pye Records' Piccadilly imprint, and within a week he was in London cutting his first record, and a recording contract -- which had to be signed by his parents, because of his age -- was forthcoming. A change of name seemed appropriate as well, and it was reportedly Wace's chance sighting of the sign for the Garrick Theatre that led them to the last name, whilst "David" scanned better than either Philip or Darryl.

It was then that matters got more complicated, as his debut single, "Go," didn't chart, despite some good reviews in the music papers. A second single, "One Little Smile," was pegged as a hit on Juke Box Jury but also failed to sell in sufficient numbers to chart. After much deliberation about the potentially make-or-break third single, Garrick and his managers agreed upon "Lady Jane," a new, Elizabethan-flavored song from Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. with an arrangement by Alan Tew, it was very much of its time, an ornate pop/rock record that reached number 20. Garrick was still generating lots of attention, more than a singer with one moderately successful single might have, mostly thanks to his classic good looks and the image that he cultivated. With Wace's encouragement, and help from costume designer Kay Ambrose, with whom he was living in London at the time, he took on the look of an 18th century dandy, something akin to Patrick MacNee's "John Steed" look from the Avengers' color episodes (or John Pertwee's image from his Dr. Who episodes) of the period.

Garrick was also prevailed upon to tour, and the prospect of performing live as a pop singer terrified him, as he still had little confidence in his ability in this area. He jumped into the deep end, a music showcase at the Marquee Club in London, on a bill that included David Bowie (working as David Jones), with Pye Records star Long John Baldry as host -- and "Lady Jane" went over like a storm in front of the audience. He was then sent on tour, booked with Gene Pitney and the Troggs, and backed by the Creation and the Iveys (later better known as Badfinger), both bands whose members he had known in Liverpool. Meanwhile, a fourth single, "Dear Mrs. Applebee," made it to number 22 on the U.K. charts and topped the sales listings in Germany and Holland.

Although Garrick's popularity in continental Europe remained strong throughout the remainder of the '60s, in England his sales began to drop in 1967. His contract with Pye ended in 1969, three years after it began, and he was subsequently signed to Columbia Records and released a further half-dozen singles, and by the start of the '70s, he was working on the cabaret circuit. This kind of move was usually a last resort for fading rock acts, but in Garrick's case it was preferable to some aspects of his earlier career. As a cabaret artist, he had the freedom to add operatic and art-song repertory that audiences in rock & roll venues would not have stood for -- as a result, he became more the David Garrick that he wanted to be. During the mid-'70s, he finally took a temporary break from performing that ended up lasting 15 years, until the end of the '80s, when he cut his first new album since the start of the '70s. A spate of CD reissues saw his four singles -- especially "Lady Jane" -- re-compiled many times over the ensuing decades, as well as the release of a double-CD anthology from Castle Records. Garrick's absence from music, coupled with his startling good looks and unusual repertory, has turned him into one of the more enigmatic figures to emerge from British pop music in the mid-'60s, somewhat akin to Scott Walker, if not as celebrated.

David Garrick - The Pye Anthology (2002)

1. (MF) *****
2.(GD) *****

Witness Inc-The Singles

Members:Allen Ayers,Bob Ego, Craig Kaleal, Dave Tupper, Dennis Tremeer, Ed Clynton,Kenny Shields, Les Bateman

The Witness Inc. came out of Saskatoon in the central Canadian province of Saskatchewan and immediately became a touring sensation in the western provinces. They released a series of 45s which became increasingly pop after the second. The band finally caught on in Ontario after several years and many personnel changes.The original band consisted of Kenny Shields vocals, Ed Clynton guitar, Dennis Tremeer bass, Les Bateman organ and piano, and Craig Kaleal on drums. I was surprised to learn that the band traveled to New Mexico to record their first 45, probably at Norman Petty’s studio in Clovis.
“I’ll Forget Her Tomorrow”, is a fine pop song, backed with “Girl Before You Go”, an original by Dennis Tremeer (listed as Doug Tremeer in the BMI database). The picture sleeve features a different band lineup than the group on the recording, with new members Dave Tupper on drums and Allen Ayers on bass.The Witness Inc. (Witnesses) and the Guess Who at the ManhattanThe A-side of their second record, “Jezebel”, is a cover of the old Frankie Laine standard. As good as the Teddy Boys version, it was probably their biggest hit, reaching #1 on CKXL in Calgary in February, 1968.Younger fans like myself generally prefer the flip side, “Not You Girl”, an original by Ed Clynton and Les Bateman, which speeds by in a hasty 1:46 with a great scream from Shields and an nifty organ solo by Bateman.The January 13, 1969 issue of RPM Weekly announces that the band had dropped the ‘Inc.’ from their name for their fifth single, “So Come With Me”, recorded at Sound Canada studios in Toronto. Surprisingly the article says this was their first Canadian session!



VA - The Upside Down World Of John Pantry (2009)

VA - The Upside Down World Of John Pantry  (2009)

Prior to his conversion to Christianity in 1972, singer/songwriter and studio whiz-kid John Pantry had been the brains behind numerous late 1960s UK psych-pop masterpieces, writing and recording under such aliases as the Factory ('Try A Little Sunshine', 'Red Chalk Hill'), the Bunch ('Spare A Shilling') and Norman Conquest ('Upside Down') as well as leading his own groups, Sounds Around and Peter & the Wolves. This astonishing 53-track 2CD set - a heavily expanded version of Tenth Planet's acclaimed 1999 vinyl-only release - assembles every Pantry recording that survives from 1966-71, including those aforementioned seven-inch marvels as well as a plethora of demos, many of which have been taken from a hitherto-unknown-to-exist 1968 demo album. The Upside Down World of John Pantry is not only the definitive early career anthology of this fascinating figure (now a vicar in Kent), but a Holy Grail item for anyone who loves intelligent, melodic, Bee Gees-inspired late 60s British pop.

"Can there conceivably be a better name for a British '60s pop/psych icon than John Pantry? The warm, homespun, busy and frankly tasty connotations of the word "pantry" seem entirely apposite for this inexplicably overlooked one-man cottage industry of the genre. Tellingly, Vivian Stanshall nailed the essential difference between agit-prop American and quaint English psych archetypes with the memorable declaration "KICK OUT THE JAMS, MOTHER… and they had marmalade and kicked the pantry out into the street, and lived happily ever after." Prior to this, my knowledge of Pantry's work was pretty much limited to my prized demo copy of the 'Little Girl Lost And Found' single by Peter & the Wolves - one of a great many ensembles and artistes whose work bore the John Pantry imprimatur somewhere along the line. Now, however, I am fully up to speed thanks to this vastly expanded double-CD version of '99's limited edition vinyl-only compilation, and its characteristically fascinating and painstakingly thorough sleeve notes from David Wells. The first thing that strikes you is Pantry's bulletproof quality control when it came to songwriting. This pop polymath, who alternated hats as an IBC Studios engineer and the keyboardist/vocalist with hard-working Essex hopefuls Sounds Around, rapidly developed an all-too-rare ear for an unusual, heart-tugging melodic motif and a picturesque lyric. Between '66 and '71, Pantry simply haemorrhaged the good stuff, and The Upside Down World… collects together his entire output - near as dammit - from the period in question. Included among the 53(!) tracks are reams of Pantry's own demos - generally banged out with immense conviction on piano and sung in his appealingly unadorned high tenor - and it is these which provide concrete proof of the innate quality of his songs from the ground up, whether it be the Bee Gees-style soft focus intensity of 'Marigold', the soulful, Todd Rundgren-prefiguring verticality of the title track or the tumbling Gilbert O'Sullivan phrasing of 'Smokey Wood Air'. Elsewhere, you'll find good-natured proto-glam ('Birthday' by the Bunch), swooning superpop perfection ('Jewel' by Wolfe), fiercely compressed airborne psych ('Try A Little Sunshine' by the Factory) and, best of all, the sweetly affecting and suitably lambent 'Lantern Light' by Peter & the Wolves; one of the great lost singles of '68." (Shindig!)

"Steeped in the sounds of the psychedelic '60s, engineer John Pantry lent his touch to cuts by everyone from the Beatles to the Bee Gees. He also used the BBC's famous IBC studio to record sunshine-laden tunes from his own songbook. Released earlier this year, Wooden Hill's 2CD set The Upside Down World of John Pantry digitises his entire 1966-71 personal discography. This nugget isn't just for nerds. While many of these songs were released under one-off names like Peter & the Wolves and Sounds Around, about half of Pantry's output never emerged. "Overlooked classics" may primarily appeal to deep diggers, but Pantry's tunes are A-grade all the way. The spectre of golden-era McCartney is everywhere. Both as a singer and a songwriter, Pantry pays spot-on homage to one of pop's biggest princes. It's almost like discovering a compilation of unearthed Beatles b-sides. It stands up next to other impressive influences. Songs like 'Red Chalk Hill' and 'Two People' are doppelgängers for Revolver-era Beatles; 'Spare A Shilling' rivals the Zombies; and 'Birthday' toes the line between the Small Faces, the Turtles and the Monkees." (Flavorpill)

"Southend-on-Sea's one-man psych-pop treasure trove... What a thrill it must have been for the crate-diggers at Tenth Planet to first get wind of the far-flung joys of bands such as Peter & the Wolves, Sounds Around, Wolfe, the Bunch, Norman Conquest and the Factory - then to string together the clues and the astonishing truth that they were all vehicles for the eccentric pop talent of one inimitably English, quintessentially 60s talent. His name is Pantry - John Pantry. Now a vicar in Kent. Before his 1972 conversion to Christianity, however, he was the Bee Gees' recording engineer, a major label songwriter and recording artiste, and DIY demo-maker. The Gibbs aren't a bad compass point on Pantry's tinkling singer-songwriterdom. This is innocent, dreamy, summery pop without the constant fear of flinching buttocks. Think Tony Hazzard, Graham Gouldman, Ray Davies. In terms of impact, this extended double-CD set adds little to the dense Pantry best of, first issued on vinyl in 1999. What's best? The driving psych of the Factory's 'Try A Little Sunshine', the insanely catchy B-side 'Birthday', the Lennon-ish 'Red Chalk Hill'…and 50 more." (Record Collector)

“Upon gaining employment at IBC Studios in 1965, John Pantry worked under producers like Shel Talmy and Glyn Johns, and over the next few years engineered, among other notable recordings, the Bee Gees’ first three UK albums. In addition to providing an invaluable education, the job also afforded Pantry free studio time here and there, of which he and his group Sounds Around took full advantage. Sounds Around cut two singles for Piccadilly that failed to ignite, but independent producer Eddie Tre-Vett sensed their potential, and in the years ’67-’69, the group would become something of Tre-Vett’s house band, with the gifted singer/songwriter John Pantry a virtual one-man Denmark Street. Under various guises, including Peter & the Wolves, this studio aggregation would record a number of well-played, lyrically clever and exquisitely melodic pop singles for MGM and CBS (it’s a complicated story, but David Wells does a commendable job of sorting it all out in the liners). Pantry would abandon secular pop in 1972 (now a vicar in Essex, he’s been active on the Christian music scene for decades), but left behind an extraordinary body of work from the previous five years, much of which never made it beyond demo form. In 1999 Tenth Planet issued its vinyl-only Pantry retrospective. This expanded CD edition is bolstered by Pantry demos from a recently-discovered thirteen-track acetate, and should be of genuine interest to anyone with a fondness for late ‘60s English pop craft. Pantry’s songs are seldom predictable; they almost always go in interesting and unexpected directions. Even more bubblegummy numbers, like Sounds Around’s ‘Red White And You’ or the Peter & the Wolves flipside ‘Birthday’, which nicks freely from the Move’s bag of tricks, are twisty-turny rollercoaster rides. Among the more musically ambitious sides Pantry & co. released in this period are the Peter & the Wolves A-side ‘Lantern Light’, one of the best period specimens of Brit-pop this reviewer has heard in ages, and ‘Woman On My Mind’, which sounds for all the world like the great lost Merry-Go-Round single. Also well worthy of mention is the Factory’s land of a thousand psych-guitars extravaganza ‘Try A Little Sunshine’. The pleasures to be found among the demo recordings here are too numerous to mention, but certainly include the evocative numbers ‘Red Chalk Hill’, ‘Glasshouse Green, Splinter Red’ and ‘Pitsea Pub’. There are also the quite magnificent, perhaps Smiley Smile-inspired ‘ Mississippi Paddle Boat’ and ‘Salt’. Later recordings display a more ‘70s songwriter approach, while tracks like ‘Wash Myself Away’ point to the spiritual crossroads at which Pantry was soon to arrive.” (Ugly Things)

 The Upside Down World Of John Pantry - John Pantry Featuring Peter & The Wolves,The Bunch , Norman Conquest and The Factory 

VA - The Upside Down World Of John Pantry  (2009)
LP back cover 199 album

VA - The Upside Down World Of John Pantry  (2009)

VA - The Upside Down World Of John Pantry  (2009)

Liners from  1999 LP

"An essential release for fans of '60s UK psychedelia. Contains all the great works by the songwriting genius John Pantry - plus a horde of wonderful demos. The double CD version has even more tracks. John Pantry had a sophisticated writing style that elevated him above his peers.... from the super-charged thrust of Try a Little Sunshine and Spare A Shilling... to the brittle and melodic acid ballads like Red Chalk Hill and Smokey Wood Air. 
A song like Upside Down has a hymnal style to it. Listen to the chord changes... almost funereal. Pantry eventually rejected the rock n roll lifestyle and is now a vicar in Essex. You can hear him on Premier Christian Radio... but that's another life and another story. I had some cassettes of his recent hymns (he's still composing) - but 99.9% of all trace of psych has, unsurprisingly, been washed away. Funnily enough though - even though i found his hymns uninspiring... there was a tiny lingering vestige of his former sound..."

VA - The Upside Down World Of John Pantry  (2009)

The Factory ‎– Path Through The Forest (2008) + 11 tracks from Comlete Story !

The Factory  ‎– Path Through The Forest (2008)  + 11 tracks from Comlete Story !

The Factory was a very young British psychedelic band that put out a couple of singles in the late 60s that never took off. Their guitarist was 17 and their drummer only 16. This is a compilation of their recordings, which has a great combination of heavy psych, psych-pop, psych-folk and some very lo-fi recordings. "Path Thru the Forest" was their first single that came out on MGM in 1968. It's excellent heavy psychedelia with great lead guitar, feedback, and distorted vocals. There are two versions of this song included, one with a weird intro of monkeys howling and additional psychedelic effects that are well integrated. Their second single was "Try a Little Sunshine" which was written by John Pantry, a friend of IBC engineer Brian Carrol who helped get the Factory started with his colleague Damon Lyon Shaw. This is also an excellent song with great lead guitar and vocal harmonies. The compilation has two covers, including Fairport Convention's "Mr. Lacey" and Family's "Second Generation Woman," neither of which I've heard the original version. Overall, it's a great compilation despite annoying inconsistencies in volume between tracks.


JACK BRAND vcls, bs A 
BILL MacLEOD drms A 
IAN OATES ld gtr A 

1 Path Through A Forest/Gone (MGM MGM 1444) 1968 
2 Try A Little Sunshine/Red Chalk Hill (CBS 4540) 1969 

Originally known as The Souvenir Badge Factory, this band's two 45s are classic slices of British psychedelia. They scored a deal, when studio engineer Brian Carroll met 17 year old Ian Oates at a party. Path Through A Forest, their first recording, started life as an acoustic folk demo, by an unknown writer and is unusual for its distorted vocals and great guitar. In fact, the band had intended to include a barrage of weird sound effects on the single, in a similar manner to Pink Floyd, but the 'suits' at the time said no. 

On their second 45, Try A Little Sunshine the vocals are more poppy and it again features some great guitar work, but with it's suggestive lyrics ('Sunshine' was slang for L.S.D.) resulted in a BBC ban, and like it's predecesor it failed to happen commercially. Both 45s are now very sought-after by collectors of psychedelia and you can expect to pay in excess of £100 for either. Gone, the flip to their first 45, was a cover of a track from a Paul Revere and The Raiders album. Both sides of their second 45 were written by studio engineer John Pantry. 

Try A Little Sunshine can also be heard on Perfumed Garden, Vol. 1 (LP & CD) and Electric Sugar Cube Flashbacks, Vol. 4 (LP) compilations and Path Through A Forest has resurfaced on Chocolate Soup For Diabetics, Vol. 3 (LP), Chocolate Soup (CD), Beat It (3-CD) and Artefacts From The Psychedelic Dungeon (CD). There's also a demo version of Red Chalk Hill on the CD compilation Circus Days, Vol. 6, although according to Brian Carroll, this was written and perfromed by John Pantry without the involvement of the band. Other compilation appearances have included:- Try A Little Sunshine and Red Chalk Hill on The Upside Down World Of John Pantry (LP); Path Through The Forest (two versions), Gone, Mr. Lacey, Try A Little Sunshine, Red Chalk Hill, Second Generation Woman on Hard Up Heroes, Vol. 6 (CD). 

The Factory  ‎– Path Through The Forest (2008)  + 11 tracks from Comlete Story !

The Factory's only other single, "Try a Little Sunshine," was written for them by John Pantry (a songwriting friend of Carroll), and issued by CBS in late 1969. It sounded a little like a mating of the Who and the Moody Blues (in the best sense of that combination), with its crunching guitar chords and catchy, wistful vocal harmonies. Like its predecessor, it was heard by few, and the group disbanded shortly afterward. That was too bad, as they had considerable promise considering their youth and the quality of their two 45s. Both sides of their two singles, as well as a couple of unreleased demos, were assembled for the Path Through the Forest mini-CD in 1995. 

The Factory  ‎– Path Through The Forest (2008)  + 11 tracks from Comlete Story !

Both sides of their two singles, plus demo covers of Fairport Convention's "Mr. Lacey" and Family's "Second Generation Woman" (the latter of which is in very rough fidelity), comprise this six-song mini-CD. "Try a Little Sunshine" and (to a lesser degree) "Path Through the Forest" are among the better nuggets of obscure late-'60s British psychedelia, and have appeared on several collector-geared anthologies. Also very good, though, is the B-side to "Try a Little Sunshine," "Red Chalk Hill," an affecting psych-folk ballad that, like "Try a Little Sunshine," was written by John Pantry. A mini-LP on the Heads Together label has identical contents to this CD, with the addition of an alternate, more psychedelic mix of "Try a Little Sunshine."


08 Little Girl                                              
09 Lantern Light-Break Up Break Down                        
10 Woman On My Mind                                         
11 The Old And The New                                      
12 Julie                                                    
13 Birthday                                                 
14 Two People                                               
15 Upside Down                                              
16 Spare a Shilling                                         
17 Looking Glass Alice                                      
18 Spare a Shilling         

The Factory  ‎– Path Through The Forest (2008)  + 11 tracks from Comlete Story !
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