The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Thursday, June 19, 2008

"Rare Tracks"


6-19-08 Rare Tracks

I have always been fond of ‘various artist’ albums. Sometimes, they are merely a marketing tool of record labels to promote new records they are releasing. Other times, they are a bit more interesting…

In 1975, Polydor England began to open it’s vaults up to the re-issue market with a curious collection called simply “Rare Tracks” (Polydor Special 2482 274):

Side One

THE SOFT MACHINE – Love Makes Sweet Music

CREAM – Anyone For Tennis (The ‘Savage Seven’ Theme)

KEVIN GODLEY – To Fly Away (10cc)

FAIRPORT CONVENTION – If I Had A Ribbon Bow

LINDA LEWIS – You Turned My Bitter Into Sweet

JETHRO TOE (aka JETHRO TULL) – Sunshine Day

NICKI HOPKINS & THE WHISTLING PIANO – Mister Pleasant

THE HIGH NUMBERS (aka THE WHO) – Zoot Suit

JACK BRUCE – I’m Getting’ Tired (Of Drinkin’ And Gamblin’ Etc.) (CREAM)

Side Two

JACK BRUCE – Rootin’ Tootin’ (CREAM)

STU BROWN & BLUESOLOGY (feat. ELTON JOHN) – Just A Little Bit

JETHRO TOE (aka JETHRO TULL) – Aeroplane

JOHN’S CHILDREN (feat. MARC BOLAN) – Desdemona

SLY & THE FAMILY STONE – Take My Advice

JIMI HENDRIX – Dolly Dagger (Live, Isle of Wight)

ALEX HARVEY & HIS SOUL BAND – Ain’t That Just Too Bad

THE SOFT MACHINE – Feelin’ Reelin’ Squealin’

I got this LP because of the Soft Machine cuts. I could never find their rare original 45, so this was a great way to get those songs. I was also aware that the Jethro Toe cuts were rare – but by ’75, I was sort of ‘finished’ with J. Tull. And I’d never even heard of the Jack Bruce solo 45! In 2008, my favorite cut is doubtlessly the Nicky Hopkins cut – wonderful UK EZ piano kitsch! I think this Kevin Godley cut turned up on either a 10cc LP or maybe the Hotlegs LP. Also, must remember to check out which cuts are stereo. Only real oddball on this volume is the helium-voiced Linda Lewis – simply not my style.

And the following year, Polydor England released “Medium Rare” (Polydor Special 2482 381):

Side One

FOCUS – Crackers

VAN DYKE PARKS – Come To The Sunshine

LEE DORSEY – When Can I Come Home?

GALLAGHER – LYLE – Trees

THUNDERCLAP NEWMAN – The Reason (single vers.)

BIRDS BIRDS – Daddy Daddy (Ron Wood)

GINGER BAKER’S AIRFORCE – Man Of Constant Sorrow (Denny Laine)

BOBBY THOMPSON – Foxfire

Side Two

LEE DORSEY – On Your way Down

FOCUS – O Avondrood

VAN DYKE PARKS – Number Nine

JOHN’S CHILDREN (feat. MARC BOLAN) – Sarah Crazy Child

GALLAGHER – LYLE – In The Crowd

MAINHORSE (feat. PATRICK MORAZ) – More Tea Vicar

LEE DORSEY – Freedom For The Stallion

BOBBY THOMPSON – Devil Dance (Banjo player of Area Code 615)

I didn’t get this volume until years later. The first volume just had such good stuff! Well, in 2008 – I am OK with this volume, too. Swank to have nice non-LP Focus cuts (“O Avondrood” is on a Dutch language sampler LP, “Zing Je Moers Taal”). And I think this is a different Birds cut than I have on those ‘See For Miles’ collections – were they really called Birds Birds or just ‘The Birds’? But, really!? The banjo player for Area Code 615???). Isn’t Lee Dorsey the guy famous for “Ya Ya” (that John Lennon so famously covered?).

7 Comments:

Anonymous Jim Donato said...

Wow. John Lennon covered "Ya YA?" I've always loved Lee Dorsey's tune but had no idea that JL covered it. Can't really imagine it. Might as well have a "Lennon Sings Dr. John" album!

7:31 AM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...

I think Lennon's "Ya Ya" is on his "Rock & Roll" LP / CD. Dr. John is on a Ringo album or two...

6:27 PM  
Blogger chas_m said...

That first "Rare Tracks" LP -- what a collection!!

My own favourite "various" compilations include NO WAVE (A&M 78) -- to this day I buy every copy I see, and have found several variants over the years. Some records just CHANGE YOUR LIFE, and that was one of them. We played the HELL out of that record at WGAG.

There was also METHODS OF DANCE (vol. 1), again a life-changer; Volume 2 was awesome as well ...

PERMANENT WAVE (CBS 79) sticks in my mind prominently, but it's probably nowhere near as good as I remember it ... the same can be said for FROM BRUSSELS WITH LOVE (80?), which has some GREAT stuff on it but is about half crap. Geez, I could go on all day like this ... I remember a lot of compilations ...

12:39 AM  
Blogger chas_m said...

Forgot to mention -- Sly Stone (and what remains of his family, no doubt) is coming to Victoria. I'm more excited about the Skatellites, and later this year WEIRD AL.

12:41 AM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...

"No Wave" variants? Do tell...

6:43 AM  
Blogger B.Rem said...

I dig the high numbers! Check out 'Leaving Here' if you haven't already for some unbridled youth gone wild!

1:43 PM  
Anonymous JJ Gildersneeze said...

I don't think I've ever seen "Medium Rare," but I love "Rare Tracks."

The Fairport song is very twee, but still totally great to have. Any comp with Soft Machine, Fairport Convention and Mark Bolan on it is a must have, pretty much.

Here's a question about the Nicky Hopkins track: it's a Kinks cover, produced by Shel Talmy. In addition to Nicky's raggy piano part, there's a guitarist, a drummer and bassist, and a trombonist. Plus the whistler, of course.

I think the drums sound sloppy enough to be Mick Avory, and the players could easily be Dave Davies and Pete Quaife too. In fact, the lead guitar sounds like exactly the same guitar/tone/everything as the Kinks version of the same song.

Not to mention, of course, that Nicky Nopkins played the piano on the Kinks version, recorded in early 1967, and Nicky's track could well have been recorded by Talmy at the same session, or close to it.

So, do you think it's the Kinks?

JJ

12:15 PM  

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