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Not Friday on my Mind 56: There’s a Kind of Hush – RIP Les Reed

Songwriter (well, tune writer: he collaborated with lyricists to complete his songs) Les Reed died last week.

Writing for the likes of Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck, Reed was never the most credible with the rock crowd but he helped create a formidable catalogue of notable songs of the 1960s.

It’s Not Unusual, The Last Waltz, I’m Coming Home, Delilah and I Pretend all made No 1 or 2, not a bad achievement for anybody – even if these were mostly bought by Mums and Dads.

Then there’s this song from 1967 (lyric by Geoff Stephens,) and later recorded by The Carpenters.

Herman’s Hermits: There’s a Kind of Hush

Leslie David (Les) Reed: 24/7/1935 – 15/4/2019. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 178: Jackie

One of the most distinctive and influential songers of the 1960s and 70s (and beyond) left us this week. Scott Walker.

In the Guardian there were no less than three pieces about Walker and his legacy in the Monday issue (25/3/2019).

Had he only been a member of The Walker Brothers his memory would have been secure via that string of huge hits they had in the mid-60s. Then there was their monumental cover of Tom Rush’s No Regrets in their “comeback” in the 1970s to which his phrasing made such a difference.

The clarity of his voice can be heard in his solo recording of Joanna, a Jackie Trent and Tony Hatch song to which he contributed some of the lyric and which managed to reach no 7 in the UK charts.

His dissatisfaction with simple balladeering though led him to wider and wider experimentation and a uniqur place in pop history.

Among his many signature moments was his version of the Jacques Brel song Jacky in a translation by Mort Shuman.

Scott Walker: Jackie

Noel Scott Engel (Scott Walker): 9/1/1943 – 22/3/2019. So it goes.

Not Friday on my Mind 55: These Boots Were Made for Walkin’

This is another record on which Hal Blaine (see last week’s post) played drums, the song one of the fruits of Sinatra’s working relationship with Lee Hazlewood.

This video is something else. OK, I get the fact that the performers’ boots were being emphasised, but the skirts didn’t need to be so short for that did they?

Nancy Sinatra: These Boots Were Made for Walkin’

Friday on my Mind 177: Be My Baby – RIP Hal Blaine

The list of hits on which Hal Blaine played drums is enormous. His obituary in the Guardian mentions only a few. A fuller (though possibly partial) list is here. Looking at that it could almost be said that he was the sound of the sixties.

He was certainly a major component of the “wall of sound” on those Phil Spector productions he played on. No more so than on Be My Baby.

The Ronettes: Be My Baby

Harold Simon Belsky (Hal Blaine): 5/2/1929 – 11/3/2019. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 176: Ciao Baby

A piece of typical mid-60s pop. Never a hit (though apparently it still sold 10,000 copies in the UK) but one that nevertheless stuck in the memory.

The Montanas: Ciao Baby

The version below I’d never heard until I researched this post. It was a hit for Lynne Randell in Australia. I think I prefer its faster pace.

Lynne Randell: Ciao Baby

Friday on my Mind 175: That’s the Way – RIP Honey Lantree

I had planned at some time to post The Honeycombs’ biggest hit Have I the Right? but since the passing of their drummer Honey Lantree* recently, this one, on which she sings as well as drums, seemed more appropriate.

The fact that she was the group’s drummer – and she could actually drum, and did not need, like many sixties acts, to rely on session musicians – was a selling point, a factor in the group’s success, and a focus of some bemusement among the unenlightened of the time.

The Honeycombs: That’s the Way

Ann Margot (Honey) Lantree; 28/8/1943 – 23/12/2018

Not Friday on my Mind 53: I See the Rain. RIP Dean Ford

I was sad to hear the news of the death of Dean Ford, lead singer of (The) Marmalade (once known as Dean Ford and the Gaylords,) the first Scottish group to have a no 1 in the UK. To make it, of course, they had to leave Scotland and move to London where their initial efforts under their original name didn’t meet with much joy. Calling themselves The Marmalade also didn’t bring instant success. It was only when they adopted a more pop profile – and with songs written by others – that they achieved a measure of success, peaking with that no. 1, a cover of The Beatles’ Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.

Ford was no mean song writer though. Along with fellow band member Junior Campbell he wrote Reflections of My Life, Rainbow, and My Little One, hits between 1969 and 1971.

Plus this pre-success psychedelia-tinged song, said to be Jimi Hendrix’s favourite of 1967.

The Marmalade: I See the Rain

Thomas McAleese (Dean Ford): 5/9/1946 – 31/12/2018. So it goes.

Not Friday on my Mind 52: Magic Carpet Ride

Steppenwolf’s other well known track. Never a hit in the UK. Then again, Born To Be Wild only reached no 30.

This seems to be a live performance of the album version with additional film inserts. There’s a touch more psychedelia than I’d remembered.

Steppenwolf: Magic Carpet Ride

Not Friday on my Mind 51: Ride My Seesaw

Previously all my Moody Blues posts have been of Justin Hayward songs. Neither he nor the writer of this, John Lodge, were original members of the band when it had its number one hit Go Now but replaced Denny Laine and Clint Warwick after a subsequent lack of chart success led to that pair leaving the band.

It was the arrival of Lodge and Hayward though which coincided with a change of direction – to which they made a significant contribution.

This video is a clip from the BBC2 late night programme Colour Me Pop partly introduced to showcase the then new colour TV broadcasts. Note the psychedelic effects. The Moody Blues’ appearance on the show was on 14th September 1968. I either watched it at the time of its first broadcast or on a reasonably quick repeat. Despite doing nothing but singing (or miming) on the clip Ray Thomas still manages to give an extravagant performance.

Though this track was written by Lodge it is Hayward’s guitar solo and the group’s signature vocal sound which stand out. The song quickly became a staple of the group’s live shows, more or less the band’s signature tune.

The Moody Blues: Ride My Seesaw

Friday on my Mind 174: Born To Be Wild

One of those sixties songs that speak of their time, mainly due to the fact it was used in the film Easy Rider, from which the video here is an extract.

Steppenwolf: Born To Be Wild

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