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The Sprague Brothers - Best Of The Sprague Brothers

The Sprague Brothers - Best Of The Sprague Brothers The Sprague Brothers - Best Of The Sprague Brothers

Hailing from Wichita Falls, Texas, siblings Frank and Chris Sprague are a two-man roots music powerhouse, playing classic rock & roll, rockabilly, and hillbilly bop with an old-school sound and a fresh energy and enthusiasm. Guitarist Frank and drummer Chris were the sons of a musician who spent years playing the trumpet, and both boys picked up their respective instruments at the age of five. Inspired by the guitar and songwriting skills of fellow Texan Buddy Holly and the ethereal harmonies of the Everly Brothers, Frank and Chris began making music together, and in 1990 they booked time at Nesman Recording Studio (a local facility where Holly recorded some of his earliest material) and self-released their debut EP Real Gone Rock ‘n' Roll. The duo's first album, Live at Frank's Place, was issued in 1992, and a number of other self-distributed LPs and singles followed as the Sprague Brothers frequently toured the Southwest. After relocating to California, Frank became a member of Deke Dickerson's band, and the Sprague Brothers struck a deal with Hightone Records, the noted roots music label that had also released several albums on Dickerson; 1999's Let the Chicks Fall Where They May was their first album for their new label. The Spragues continued to tour extensively, crossing the country as well as visiting Europe and Japan, and they even made an appearance on CBS' breakfast-hour program The Early Show. Following a second album for Hightone, 2000's Forever and a Day, the brothers became disenchanted with Hightone, and their next LP, Three, found them back on their own EssBee label. the Sprague Brothers recorded at a prolific pace for EssBee (later changing the label's handle to Wichita Falls Records), and their 2006 album Changing the World, 1 Chick at a Time included guest appearances by Randy Fuller (of the Bobby Fuller Four) and Edan Everly (son of Don Everly). When not busy writing and recording rock & roll, Frank Sprague also plays violin and has written and recorded several contemporary classical pieces.

The Sprague Brothers - Best Of The Sprague Brothers

Five Man Electrical Band - Absolutely Right :The Best of Five Man Electrical Band - (1970-1973)

Five Man Electrical Band Also known as : ex-The Staccatos 

Les Emmerson : Vocals, Guitar   
Rick Smithers : Bass   
Michael Belanger : Vocals, Drums     session musician
Steve Hollingworth : Vocals, Drums   
Brian Sim : Guitar     session musician
Ted Gerow : Keyboard        
Rick Belanger : Drums
Brian Rading : Bass


Initially (LP - 1966)              
A Wild Pair (Split - 1967)              
Five Man Electrical Band (LP - 1969)    mp3         
Good-byes And Butterflies (LP - 1970)              
Coming Of Age (LP - 1972)              
Sweet Paradise (LP - 1973)              
The Power Of The Five Man Electrical Band (Compilation - 1975)              
Absolutely Right: The Best Of Five Man Electrical Band (Compilation - 1995)

Best-known for their 1971 anti-establishment hit "Signs," Ottawa, Canada's Five Man Electrical Band featured guitarist/vocalist Les Emmerson, bassist Brian Rading, keyboardist Ted Gerow, and drummers Rick "Bell" Belanger and Mike "Bell" Belanger. Originally known as the Staccatos, the group formed in the mid-'60s and earned their first big break with the 1967 hit "Half Past Midnight"; their first attempt at stateside success came that year when they recorded A Wild Pair with the Guess Who. The album sold well and "Half Past Midnight" was released as a single in the U.S., but the group was dismissed as sounding too much like the Beach Boys. the Staccatos released their second album, Five Man Electrical Band, in 1968, and renamed themselves after it the following year. They continued to record for Capitol Records, traveling to L.A. to record singles such as "It Never Rains on Maple Lane." After switching to MGM and relocating permanently to L.A., the group released several other singles that received very little chart action. One of those singles, "Hello Melinda Goodbye," featured "Signs" as its B-side, which was inspired by the proliferation of billboards on America's freeways; though it garnered some airplay in L.A., it failed to do much when it was reissued on its own. By 1971, the group was close to splitting when their new label, Jimmy Webb and Dallas Smith's Lion Records, reissued "Signs" as a teaser for the Five Man Electrical Band's full-length debut, Goodbyes & Butterflies. This time, "Signs" reached number three in the U.S., number four in Canada, and sold more than two million copies internationally. The follow-up single, "Absolutely Right," also did well, reaching number three in Canada and the Top 20 in the U.S. However, their later albums didn't receive much attention, and in 1973 after so many ups and downs, the original Five Man Electrical Band finally packed it in; Emmerson recorded using the group's name for another two years. Subsequently, he tried his hand at running a label, Perfect Records, played with the Cooper Brothers, and began a solo career upon his return to Ottawa. The original lineup re-formed in 1986 for a benefit concert and for occasional tours of eastern Canada. Emmerson bought the rights to the group's material and released the best-of, Absolutely Right, in 1996.

Five Man Electrical Band, one of the more creative Canadian groups of the early '70s, edged toward the American "big-time" without ever really receiving its due. Springing from the accomplished harmonies of all five bandmembers and leader Les Emerson's socially-attuned penmanship, the band was equally at home firing off catchy pop hits ("Signs," "Absolutely Right") as it was with more ambitious, roots-rock-grounded album material ("Coming of Age," "Country Girl Suite"). Fifteen-track collection Absolutely Right does justice to both sides, and how these merged to culminate in the environmental polemic sweep of "I'm a Stranger Here" and decidedly odd chart-fodder "Werewolf."

Billy Strange - Billy Strange plays The Hits (1965)

One of the most successful session musicians of the 1960s, Billy Strange was a member of "The Wrecking Crew," the team of elite players who dominated the Los Angeles recording studios and worked on many of the biggest hits of the '60s and '70s. Strange co-wrote hits for Elvis Presley and Chubby Checker and arranged Nancy Sinatra's biggest hits in addition to lending his talents to recordings by the Beach Boys, Phil Spector, the Everly Brothers, and many more. Billy Strange was born in Long Beach, California on September 29, 1930. His parents, George and Billie Strange, were county & western musicians, and young Billy followed in their footsteps, performing with his folks on the radio and winning a yodeling contest at the age of 5. Strange took up the guitar when he was 14, and two years later he was playing with a local honky tonk band that set out for Texas in search of adventure and paying gigs. When Strange returned to California, he was a seasoned professional and was soon working with some of the biggest names on the West Coast C&W scene of the '50s, including Tennessee Ernie Ford, Roy Rogers, Spade Cooley, and Cliffie Stone. Strange also signed on as a guitarist and singer with CBS Radio in Hollywood, which led to more jobs in pop music as well as introducing him to the lucrative world of studio work. As a gifted guitarist who was as comfortable with pop and rock styles as country, Strange rose to the upper ranks of Los Angeles session players, working with many of the leading artists and producers of the day, and in addition to working on other people's recordings, he cut a series of instrumental albums for GNP Crescendo Records. In 1962, an instrumental number Strange wrote for the group the Champs was married to a lyric by Kal Mann and recorded by Chubby Checker, who scored a massive hit with "Limbo Rock." This kick-started Strange's career as a songwriter, and he was also recruited to work with Elvis Presley, playing guitar on many of his sessions, co-writing a few tunes for the King (including "A Little Less Conversation" and "Memories") and contributing to the soundtracks of several of his films. As the '60s wore on, Strange remained in demand as a session guitarist (he appeared on the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and Love's Forever Changes), but he branched out as an arranger and bandleader, arranging the lion's share of Nancy Sinatra's hits (including "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'," "Bang Bang [He Shot Me Down]," and her duet with her father Frank, "Somethin' Stupid") and fronting her backing band for live performances. Strange also served as arranger for the early recordings by the TV-spawned group the Partridge Family, but in the early '70s he relocated to Nashville, Tennessee, where he helped run a publishing company for Nancy Sinatra and continued to write songs and record periodically. In the '80s, Strange briefly dipped his toes into acting, playing the great steel guitarist Speedy West (who Strange had worked with in his early days) in the movie Coal Miner's Daughter. By the time a remix of Presley's "A Little Less Conversation" took the song back to the charts in 2002, Strange was retired in Nashville, supporting himself through songwriting and performance royalties. After a brief illness, Strange died on February 22, 2012. 

Billy Strange - Billy Strange plays The Hits


The Spotnicks - Vocal Tracks

The Spotnicks - Vocal Tracks

If remembered at all today, it is probably thanks to their silly astronaut costumes, but in the '60s the Spotnicks were one of the most successful instrumental rock groups, alongside the Shadows and the Ventures. Their very specific sound had more in common with the Shadows, being clean and intentionally gentle. It originated from their first primitive demo recordings, but the record company liked it and, being plastic and twangy, it was promoted as a space sound. Already in the late '60s it was outdated, but that didn't stop the group from having big successes throughout the decade. In the '70s the sound was definitely antiquated, but like the Ventures, the Spotnicks found reliable audiences in Japan and Germany, as well as a cult and nostalgia following around the world. the Spotnicks have sold over 20 million albums, making them among the most successful Swedish groups ever, surpassed perhaps only by ABBA and Roxette. By the late '90s they had released 39 studio albums, recorded roughly 700 songs, and had more than 100 members in the different constellations of the band.

the Spotnicks were formed in Göteborg, Sweden, in 1957, by guitarist and undisputed bandleader Bo Winberg. The other members were guitarist and singer Bob Lander, drummer Ove Johansson, and bassist Björn Thelin, several of whom had already played together in local rock & roll bands like the Blue Caps, Rock Teddy, and the Rebels. The first year they performed under the name the Frazers, but soon changed it to the Spotnicks. In 1961 they were signed by Karusell and released their first singles containing mostly instrumental covers of famous songs. The selection of songs was as varied as the performances were homogenous, including titles like "Hava Nagila" and "Johnny Guitar." Later the same year, the Spotnicks toured Germany, France, and Spain, and in 1962 they released their debut album, The Spotnicks in London, recorded on their first trip to England. Featured on this tour were the space suits that the band would wear on-stage until 1969.
"Hava Nagila" became a hit in England in 1963, and the same year Johansson left and was replaced by Derek Skinner. The rest of the '60s led to increasing success in Europe, the U.S., and Japan, and the band even managed to compete with itself on the Japanese charts when the Spotnicks' song "Karelia" took the first position from the Feenades' "Ajomies." The song was the same, just recorded under different titles. The Feenades were a Finland-based side project to the Spotnicks, built upon Winberg and Peter Winsnes, who had joined the Spotnicks in 1965. Winberg also released less successful recordings under the name the Shy Ones. Compared to the following decades, the '60s were a relative stable period for the Spotnicks in terms of the group's lineup. Some new members were recruited, though, like drummer Jimmy Nicol, bassist Magnus Hellsberg, and drummer Tommy Tausis, who had earlier played with Tages
In 1969 the Spotnicks disbanded, but Winberg continued to record using the name until the group reunited in 1972 upon the request of a Japanese record company. The same year, "If You Could Read My Mind" from the album Something Like Country became a big hit in Germany. the Spotnicks would retain their popularity there for a long time, even as it faded elsewhere. Only the Japanese audience proved more faithful and, accordingly, the Spotnicks devoted most of their touring during the '70s to these two countries. After the release of 1972's Something Like Country (the Spotnicks' best album according to many fans), they had practically ended being a band, consisting mainly of Winberg and various session musicians.
If the Spotnicks had started out as rock & roll, in the '70s they turned more toward easy listening, or even exotica, although perhaps not by changing their own sound as much as by stubbornly keeping it while trends changed. By the '80s they had essentially become a curiosity at home, but kept up their popularity in Germany and Japan. During the '90s Winberg still toured using the name the Spotnicks, but to little attention. And even in their hometown of Göteborg, the Spotnicks were mainly forgotten, except for an occasional article in the local paper reminding readers of some guys with silly helmets who were once international stars.

The Spotnicks - Vocal Tracks

The Stillroven - Too Many Spaces (1968)

The Stillroven - Too Many Spaces (1968)

The band known as the Stillroven began in the Minneapolis suburb of Robbinsdale, MN. It was 1965, and their original name was "the Syndicate," a name they thought should be changed when original guitarist Mark Moorhead left the band in 1966. The original lineup also consisted of bassist Rock Peterson, guitarist John Howarth, keyboardist Dave Dean, and drummer Phil Berdahl. When Moorhead left, they recruited Dan Kane to take his spot and changed their name, eventually recording "She's My Woman"/"(I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone" for Falcoln that year. There were only 50 copies printed for radio stations, but their next single was the first one that the public had access to. "Hey Joe"/"Sunny Day" was a hit in their hometown, but that was not enough for Peterson and Kane, who departed the same year. The band found a new bassist and guitarist in Dave Berget and Jim Larkin respectively, and soon was recording their next singles. "Little Picture Playhouse"/"Cast Thy Burden Upon the Stone" was hailed as a hallucinogenic masterpiece by garage rock enthusiasts, but the average music fan did not catch on to the regional popularity they enjoyed in Minneapolis. Their manager moved to Tucson, AZ, where he continued to guide their career from a distance. Larkin and Berget left the band as quickly as they came, being replaced by bassist Mike Flaherty and guitarist Mike O'Gara. They recorded a fourth single under this lineup, "Come in the Morning"/"Necessary Person," but after the first 100 copies printed there was enough internal dissension to have "Come in the Morning" pulled from the single and replaced with a cover of the Small Faces' "Tell Me Have You Ever Seen Me." This would be the last release from the band, as they quietly broke up toward the end of 1968. A career retrospective, Cast Thy Burden Upon the Stillroven, was released in 1996 to appease garage band enthusiasts who had been waiting for more material from the group. The album included many unreleased songs, as well as a few tracks that were originally on compilations. Rumor has it that the band has an entire album recorded from 1968 that has never seen the light of day, and Sundazed Records has even promised a release of the album.

The Stillroven - Too Many Spaces
Label: Sundazed Music ‎– SC 6041 2003

The Stillroven: 
Dave Rivkin, Mike O'Gara (vocals, guitar);
Dave Berget (vocals, bass); 
Dave Dean (keyboards); 
Phil Berdahl (drums).
Recorded at Universal Audio, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 1968, A&M Studios, Los Angeles, California, between October and November 1968, and Norman Petty Studios, Clovis, New Mexico, April 1969.

The Stillroven - Too Many Spaces (1968)

Pieced together from September 1968 demos in Minneapolis, auditions for A&M recorded in Los Angeles in October and November 1968 (including re-recordings of three of the four Minneapolis demos), and (just one song from) an April 1969 session at Norman Petty Studios in New Mexico, this amounts to an unreleased Stillroven album. Though the sound is very professional, it's only average late-'60s psychedelic rock, influenced by the day's heavy blues-rock, California acid sound, and a little bit of soul. Funky backbeats, wah-wah guitars, drifting melancholy melodies (particularly "Girl in Blonde," which could pass for an unknown 1968 San Francisco rock recording), good-time get-in-the-groove urges ("Can You Dig It?"), relatively light good-time sounds ("Happiness Is"), and son-of-Youngbloods country-influenced happy rock ("Country Tune") -- they all surface at various points. The result is a versatile set and certainly performed with competent tightness, but lacking in character. You can't fault the documentation, though, which has thorough liner notes and track-by-track commentary from the group's Dave Dean and Phil Berdahl. 

The Swingin Medallions - Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love) Anthology

The Swingin Medallions - Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love) Anthology

The Swingin' Medallions have been based out of the Greenwood South Carolina area, since the early 1960's. Their musical roots came from listening to the early rhythm and blues acts. The music most often associated with the band is beach music, frat rock, R&B, or shaggin' music. After a few years of touring colleges from the Carolinas to the Louisiana Bayou, John McElrath took the group to Arthur Smith's Studio in Charlotte North Carolina, to record "Double Shot (of My Baby's Love)". The song became a million seller in 1966, and has been a party classic for college students for decades. "She Drives Me Out Of My Mind" and "Hey, Hey, Baby" were top 40 hits in 1966 and 1967, but "Double Shot" remains the signature song of the Swingin' Medallions.
The members of the Swingin' Medallions have changed over the past thirty years, with John McElrath being the leader and only member to be performing today. The personnel of the band has always included around eight members with at least a four piece horn section. The high energy party style stage performance of the first Medallions has been passed down to the band that performs today. The present Medallions stage show has coined them the name "The Party Band of the South."
Many of the Medallions attended and graduated from Lander University in Greenwood, SC while performing in the south east. The University of Georgia was also the home of some of the band members.
Lewis Grizzard wrote in a 1993 article that, "Even today, when I hear the Swingin' Medallions sing "Double Shot of My Baby's Love, " it makes me want to stand outside in the hot sun with a milkshake cup full of beer in one hand and a slightly-drenched nineteen-year-old coed in the other."


(back row left to right) *Charlie Webber-trumpet, vocals *Steve Caldwell-saxophone, vocals *Jimmy Perkins-saxophone, bass guitar, vocals *John McElrath-keyboards, vocals *Carroll Bledsoe-trumpet,vocals *Jim Doares-guitar, vocals (front row) *Brent Fortson-saxophone, flute, vocals *Joe Morris-drums, vocals

1. Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love)
2. She Drives Me Out Of My Mind  
3. Hey Hey Baby
4. I Want To Be Your Guy
5. Lonely Drifter
6. Come Back Girl  
7. You Gotta Have Faith  
8. Night Owl
9. M.T.Y.L.T.T.
10. What Kind Of Fool (Do You Think I Am)
11. Hang On Sloopy  
12. Louie Louie  
13. Wooly Bully  
14. I'm Gonna Make Her Mine  
15. Barefootin'
16. Willie Don't Play That Saxophone  
17. Shaggin' In The Moonlight
18. The Boys Are Back In Town

The Swingin Medallions - Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love) Anthology

Original Back cover 

Spencer Davis Group - Taking Out Time (1967 - 1969)

Spencer Davis Group - Taking Out Time  (1967 - 1969)

With the loss of Stevie Winwood, the Spencer Davis Group were just another rock band. But that didn't keep them from marching onwards until the end of the decade, with a few more personnel changes. This compilation of 20 previously unreleased tracks is taken from radio/TV broadcasts and studio outtakes, as well as their near-complete unreleased 1969 album, Letters From Edith. The 1967-1968 cuts are middling pop-flavored psychedelia that's heavy on the organ-guitar combination, with the odd slice of above-average material ("With Their New Face On") and strange stylistic detour (a couple of Jimmy Webb songs). Guitarist Ray Fenwick comes to the fore as songwriter on the Letters From Edith sessions. This finds them groping for a style -- some country-rock here, a bit of jazzy funk there, and some lowest-common-denominator psych-prog as well -- without much success, though the jazz-soul instrumental organ showcase "Firefly" isn't bad. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi

Spencer Davis Group - Taking Out Time  (1967 - 1969)


Formed in Birmingham, England, in 1962 as the Rhythm And Blues Quartet, the band featured Spencer Davis (Born 17 July 1941, Swansea, South Wales; guitar/vocals), Steve Winwood (Born 12 May 1948, Birmingham, England; guitar/organ/vocals), Muff Winwood (Born Mervyn Winwood, 15 June 1943, Birmingham, England; bass) and Pete York (Born 15 August 1942, Middlesbrough, Cleveland, England; drums). School teacher Davis, the elder Winwood brother and drummer York were already experienced performers with backgrounds in modern and traditional jazz, blues, and skiffle. The band were gradually dwarfed by the younger Winwood's immense natural musical talent. While they were much in demand on the fast-growing club scene as performers, their bluesy/pop records failed to sell, until they made a breakthrough in 1965 with "Keep On Running", which reached number 1 in the UK. This was followed in quick succession by another chart-topper, "Somebody Help Me", and three more notable hits, "When I Come Home", "Gimme Some Lovin'", and "I'm A Man".

In keeping with 60s pop tradition they also appeared in a low-budget UK film, The Ghost Goes Gear. Throughout their career they were managed by Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records. Amid press reports and months of speculation, Steve Winwood finally left to form Traffic in 1967. A soundtrack album, Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush, released that year, ironically had both Traffic and the Spencer Davis Group sharing the billing. Muff Winwood also left, joining Island as head of A&R. Davis soldiered on with the addition of Phil Sawyer, who was later replaced by guitarist Ray Fenwick from After Tea and Eddie Hardin (keyboards). The latter had an uncannily similar voice to Steve Winwood. They were unable to maintain their previous success but had two further minor hits, "Mr Second Class" and the richly psychedelia-phased "Time Seller". After a number of line-up changes including Dee Murray and Nigel Olsson, Hardin And York departed to form their own band, and enjoyed some success mainly on the continent during the progressive boom of 1969-70. Davis eventually went to live in America where he became involved in the business side of music, working in A&R for various major record companies.

The Davis/York/Hardin/Fenwick team re-formed briefly in 1973 with the addition of Charlie McCracken (ex-Taste) on bass and made a further two albums. The infectious single "Catch Me On The Rebop' almost become a belated hit. Today, York can still be found playing in various jazz style bands; his acknowledged talent as a drummer being regularly in demand. Spencer Davis is still making the occasional album from his base on the west coast of America. Muff Winwood went on to become head of Artist Development at CBS Records, with signings including Shakin" Stevens, Bros, Paul Young and Terence Trent D'Arby. Steve Winwood, after progressing through Blind Faith and Airforce, became a highly successful solo artist. In 1997, Davis was touting a new version of the band, which included the original drummer York together with ex-Keef Hartley Band vocalist/guitarist Miller Anderson.

The First Album (Fontana 1965)***, The Second Album (Fontana 1966)***, Autumn '66 (Fontana 1966)****, Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush film soundtrack (United Artists 1967)***, Gimme Some Lovin' (United Artists 1967)***, I'm A Man (United Artists 1967)****, With Their New Face On (United Artists 1968)**, Heavies (United Artists 1969)**, Funky recorded 1969 (Columbia 1971)**, Gluggo (Vertigo 1973)***, Living In The Back Street (Vertigo 1974)**, Catch You On The Rebop: Live In Europe (RPM 1995)****, Funky (Angel Air 2002)**, Live In Europe (Purple 2002)***.

The Best Of The Spencer Davis Group (Island 1968)****, The Best Of Spencer Davis Group (EMI America 1987)***, Keep On Running (Royal Collection 1991)***, Taking Out Time 1967-69 (RPM 1994)**, Spotlight On Spencer Davis (Javelin 1994)**, Live Together 1988 recordings (In Akustik 1995)*, 24 Hours Live In Germany 1988 recordings (In Akustik 1995)*, Eight Gigs A Week: The Steve Winwood Years (Island/Chronicles 1996)****, Mulberry Bush (RPM 1999)***, Mojo Rhythms & Midnight Blues Vol. 1: Sessions 1965-1968 (RPM 2000)****, Mojo Rhythms & Midnight Blues Vol. 2: Shows 1965-1968 (RPM 2000)****, Live Anthology 1965-68 (VarSse Sarabande 2001)****, Keep On Running 40th Anniversary (Cherry Red 2004)***.

Keep On Running: The Steve Winwood Story, Chris Welch. Back In The High Life: A Biography Of Steve Winwood, Alan Clayson.

The Sprague Brothers - Best Of The Sprague Brothers Five Man Electrical Band  -  Absolutely Right :The Best of Five Man Electrical Band -  (1970-1973)Billy Strange - Billy Strange plays The Hits (1965)The Spotnicks - Vocal TracksThe Stillroven - Too Many Spaces (1968)The Swingin Medallions - Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love) AnthologyThe Spencer Davis Group ‎– Gimme Some Lovin'Spencer Davis Group - Taking Out Time  (1967 - 1969)The Searchers - The Searchers File (Pye File Series)Cliff Richard and The Shadows – Do you Want To Dance With Cliff

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