the Galaxy (and elsewhere on the North Sea) this week:
During his customary 11.00am Dutch-language message to the crew's families and friends in Holland, Captain Buninga sadly informed them about the imminent closure of Radio London.
Tony Brandon presented his final show on Big L, in the three-till-six slot. He went ashore the following day.
Three of the staff from the Curzon Street office took a last opportunity of visiting the ship.
The second station aboard the Olga Patricia, Radio 355, closed down.
At Big L's Curzon Street offices, Ringo Starr recorded his farewell message to be transmitted in the station's final hour on August 14th.
|I Want To Go Back There Again||Truly Smith /New Formula||Chuck Blair|
|Thank The Lord For The Night Time||Neil Diamond||Tony Brandon|
|Itchycoo Park||Small Faces||Ian Damon|
|The Great Banana Hoax||Electric Prunes||Pete Drummond|
|Lonesome Road||Wonder Who||Paul Kaye|
|You Don't Care||Techniques||Mike Lennox|
|Omaha||Moby Grape||John Peel|
|The Idol||Fortunes||Mark Roman|
|Climb Ev'ry Mountain||Madeline Bell||Ed Stewart|
|Let The Good Times Roll||Bunny Sigler||Tommy Vance|
|Portobello Road||Spectrum||Willy Walker|
|I Want To Go Back There Again||Truly Smith (Decca F12645)||New Formula (Piccadilly 7N 35401)|
Quite how the Big L DJs coped with two recordings of the same song being Chuck Blair's designated climber, is unclear, but the following week in the final Fab Forty, the above two versions of I Want To Go Back There Again were to enter the chart together, accompanied by a third version by Bill Kenwright and the Runaways, which apparently arrived too late for inclusion in this week's climber list.
Tommy Vance dealt with the problem during the last-ever chart show, by playing half of Truly Smith's version segued with half of New Formula's. He remarked that he thought Truly Smith's was the one destined to be the big hit. (With such an overcrowded swansong chart, it would have made Tommy's job so much easier if just the one version had been picked.) Unfortunately, like countless other releases at the time, it suffered the fate of DBMOB Death By Marine Offences Bill. With the demise of Big L and so many other stations, there was insufficient airplay to prompt any of the recordings into becoming best-sellers.I Want To Go Back There Again was written by Motown owner Berry Gordy and Chris Clark, (pictured, right, in 2009) who was one of the few white Motown artistes at the time. She issued her own recording of the song in 1968. (Tamla Motown TMG 638)
|You Don't Care||Techniques||Treasure Isle TI 7001|
Not connected to US boys Jay and the Techniques, the single appears to have been a studio jam-session of Jamaican musicans, as it is actually credited to 'Techniques with Tommy McCook and Supersonics Band'. The Techniques' name apparently does not appear on the single's B-side, Down on Bond Street.
I cannot do better than to quote from an obituary for Tommy McCook, who died in 1998: "He will be remembered for his Ska music played on the tenor saxophone and flute with the Skatalites and the Supersonics, who were the Duke Reid session band at Treasure Isle recording studios. Tommy led the band and was also the musical arranger; he helped to develop Rock Steady and Reggae."Marc Griffiths, who has a specialist collection of Jamaican music, has kindly sent the following information:
I do believe I have the original UK 7" pressing of "You Don't Care" on Treasure Isle (although I'm not always sure of what I actually have!) I know I definitely have it on a Trojan compilation of Duke Reid (the producer involved) material entitled "Duke Reid's Golden Hits". The Techniques had a rather frequently-changing personnel, so I can't recall who was with them at any given time. On this track however, the lead vocalist was Pat Kelly who almost hit with "How Long Will It Take?" a couple of years later.
"You Don't Care" is heavily based around a Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions' song called "You'll Want Me Back". The flip side is a purely instrumental outing by Tommy and the Supersonics. At that time, Treasure Isle was administered by Chris Blackwell's Island label.
It's good to see that RL were playing this what great taste they had! To my mind, the brief Rock Steady era was the best ever for West Indian music. Sadly, a decent copy of "You Don't Care" could easily go for £20-30 were it to turn up, even though it was one of Treasure Isle's biggest sellers. I imagine you'd have more joy tracking down "Love Years Coming" or "Craise Finton Kirk"!
|Portobello Road||Spectrum||RCA 1619|
Spectrum has already received a feature on the Fab for 7th May 1967. Nothing to do with the Cat Stevens song of the same title (the B-side of I Love My Dog) Portobello Road is another track that can be added to the lengthy casualty list of DBMOB.
Besides climbers that were played at the time of the broadcast of the Sunday Fab Forty, Alan kept a note of others he heard later in the week and incorporated them into his list.
|Get The Message||Brian Hyland|
|On Love||Skip Bifferty|
|Whatever Happened To The Seven Day Week||Bella & Me|
|Flowers In Your Hair||John Williams|
|Sloopy||Byron Lee & the Dragonaires|
|I'll Stay By Your Side||Shiralee (*)|
|Heroes And Villains||Beach Boys|
|Disc of the Week:|
|A Girl Like You||Young Rascals|
|Album of the Week:|
|Up Up And Away||Fifth Dimension|
(*) We have this record as a final Fab Forty climber on August 6th. It wasn't listed for 30th July by Brian Long or Alan Field, but Wolfgang Buchholz has a note of hearing it.
Brian Long lists Up Up And Away as Album of the Week. Wolfgang Buchholz also notes hearing the Fifth Dimension's new release announced as Album of the Week, but has the title down as 'Go Where You Wanna Go'. The album is listed as Up Up And Away, but it's easy to see how any DJ looking at the cover might easily have thought the album title was the one in white.
|The Playground||Kay Kennedy|
|Sweet Maria||Kenny Damon|
|Nothing Today||Barry Fantoni|
|The Windows Of The World||Dionne Warwick|
|When The World Is Ready||Vince Hill|
|It Must Be Him #||Vikki Carr|
(#) This addition was noted by Alan Field, on a recording of the mid-afternoon Tony Brandon show from Sunday 30th July 1967 and confirms that It Must Be Him was in the Big L Ballad Box for most of month of July. (BB details for July 23rd are incomplete, but the single does appear in every other BB this month). Vikki Carr's follow-up There I Go, was then awarded Disc of the Week in the final Fab Forty countdown.
Fantoni was the longest-standing presenter of the Beeb's
hip fashion and music TV programme, A Whole Scene Going, which
saw him voted Television Personality of the Year, 1966.
In 2007 the National Portrait Gallery acquired and displayed
a group of caricatures by Fantoni:
|Tramp||Otis Redding & Carla Thomas|
|You Keep Me Hanging On||Vanilla Fudge|
|Take Me (Just As I Am)||Solomon Burke|
|A Little Bit Of Something||Little Richard|
Shake first appeared in The Soul Set for the week commencing June 11th and Tramp joined it shortly afterwards. The tracks may never have achieved formal Fab Forty placings, but they remained on the Big L playlist for longer than most of the actual chart entries. This week's SS newcomers are Vanilla Fudge and Little Richard.
|You Keep Me Hanging On||Vanilla Fudge||Atlantic 584 123|
An unusual choice for inclusion in the Soul Set, You Keep Me Hanging On bears no resemblance to the Supremes' version, which had enhanced the Fab Forty late in 1966 and holds the record for the longest-standing Big L climber. The Vanilla Fudge release was probably placed in the Soul Set because it was on the Atlantic label and because it was so different that it really didn't fall into a musical category.
Ged Peck played on the same bill as Vanilla Fudge on an ill-fated occasion later that year.
I played the Finsbury Park Astoria only once, on Wednesday, October 4th 1967. It was the first gig of a package tour backing the touring version of the Flowerpot Men. Me on guitar, Nick Simper on bass, Carlo Little on drums, and I can’t remember the organist*. The other acts included Tomorrow, Traffic and the American outfit Vanilla Fudge. The interesting part about it was that during Fudge’s performance, the Finsbury Park management were trying to get them to turn it down to the point where there was a near mini-riot going on side-stage. Carlo physically stopped some guy from pulling Carmine Appice off his drum stool. The Fudge were thrown off the tour that night after just one gig… although they were very good! The whole thing was really scary.
At the Astoria there were hundreds of fans at the back door to the point where you simply couldn’t get out. The same occurred at the Liverpool Empire later in the tour. How some of the fans (and us) didn’t get killed from the dangerous things that they did inside and outside the venue I don't know.
(* internet sources name the organist as Jon Lord – Mary)
Journalist Penny Valentine reviewed the Astoria concert, which was fraught with sound and lighting problems exacerbated by malfunctioning curtains ascending in the middle of performances. She found Keith West's band's performance somewhat lacklustre, describing Tomorrow as "skinny and bored as can be", while the Flowerpot Men's harmonies sounded 'a bit shaky'. The journalist clearly loved both Traffic and Vanilla Fudge, but the latter was beset by the worst of the on-stage malfunctions. From Ged's account, it seems these 'technical problems' were in fact management attempts to get the band off stage. There is no mention of the Mindbenders in the Penny Valentine review, but as their name is on the tour list, it seems likely they were brought in after October 4th to replace the luckless Vanilla Fudge.
Unlike the Astoria Management, Deep Purple were big fans and Ritchie Blackmore is quoted on the official Vanilla Fudge website, where, in a 1991 interview, he claims that rather than Jimi Hendrix, the band was the 'talk of the town' in London in the late-Sixties.The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame reports that Radio England's Bruce Wayne (Dave Bennett) worked on a Vanilla Fudge tour, although Dave does not give the tour date.
Tune in next week for another Field's Fab Forty