The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Friday, September 14, 2007

Billy Nicholls

Billy Nicholls

I recently found the Japanese-pressed CD in a little paper album cover for Billy Nicholls’ “Would You Believe” (Victor VICP-63561, 2000; K2 HD Coding) album on the Immediate label – an incredibly rare original UK 1968 LP. I had never heard it before. I can see on the cover that he has some help from The Small Faces. It’s a pretty good album of British psychedelic pop, circa ’68. Was this it? Did he ever make any other albums?

I’ve seen his name on the Pete Townshend “Meher Baba” albums – and more recently in the credits of a fairly recent release by The Who.

I’ve never seen an original UK LP of this. Was it even released at the time? I am certainly glad I only paid $10 – $15 for a nice Japanese CD of this, instead of having to plunk down big bucks for an original LP. I understand it has been counterfeited, even!

I do not remember if Andrew Loog Oldham mentioned this album in either of the two books of his that I’ve read (“Stoned” and “2 Stoned”), but that it was originally on Immediate meant Oldham had something to do with it. According to the cover, arrangements are by both Arthur Greenslade and John Paul Jones. Well, the cut “Girl from New York” certainly sounds like the work of Mr. Jones over that of Mr. Greenslade! Can that be The Small Faces playing that, er, heavily?

The CD has two bonus tracks – the singles versions of both “Would You Believe” and the song “Daytime Girl”. I think my favorite track here is cut 7, “London Social Degree”.

I can’t read the Japanese liner notes in the CD booklet, but – I can make out a few things – apparently, Mr. Nicholls was on the Immediate label sampler, “Happy To Be Part of the Industry of Human Happiness” (a fine sampler LP, this saying is also what is on the 45 sleeves of some of the Immediate label UK 45’s I’ve found) – it looks like “Would You Believe” was first re-issued on an album called “Snapshot” on the Southwest label in England. The Japanese liner notes also mention the album by The Nice called “The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack” and The Small Faces “Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake” – both on the Immediate label. Is it possible that Mr. Nicholls had another album called “Love Songs” on the GM label in England? That looks to also be re-issued by Southwest Records in England (as a CD).

And, yes – looks like Mr. Nicholls has a website:


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