Spectropop Group Discussion Archives: #0202 - 29 Dec 1998
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Spectropop V#0202

  • From: The Spectropop Group
  • Date: 12/29/98

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       Volume #0202                       December 29, 1998   
             The original hits by the original artists         
    Subject:     Re: Billy Nicholls "Would You Believe"
    Sent:        12/29/98 2:46 am
    Received:    12/29/98 10:14 am
    From:        Alec Palao, pXXXXXXXXs.com
    To:          Spectropop List, spectrXXXXXXXXties.com
    >David Bash wrote:
    >I just got a wonderful reissue of a 1967 album that a lot of you
    >would love, "Would You Believe" by Billy Nicholls, on the Japanese
    >label Teichiku Records. This album was original released, in
    >extremely small quanities, in the UK on Immediate Records and was
    >supposedly producer Andrew Loog Oldham's attempt to do a British
    >version of Pet Sounds. Well, it doesn't really sound like Pet
    >Sounds but it is excellent soft pop, with lots of harpsichord and
    >soaring vocals. Nicholls' melodies are great, and the high, almost
    >eerie vocals are a great complement to the arrangements. Fans of
    >Curt Boettcher related material, The Twice As Much, "Odessey and
    >Oracle " and yes, "Pet Sounds", should gobble this one up!
    >Yes, I picked this up and also recommend it. I think fans of
    >Between the Buttons/Flowers era Stones will like this very much.
    >The title cut Would You Believe is produced by Steve Marriott and
    >Ronnie Lane, featuring Small Faces on backing tracks and BG vox by
    >Marriott. Oldham's strings on this are wonderful!
    Can't recommend "Would You Believe" highly enough, it's one of 
    the best British albums of the late '60s, hands down and it was a
    terrible shame it never got out there. Fabulous songs and a 
    definitely one of Oldham's best production moments. "London 
    Social Degree" and "Portobello Road" are but two of it's many 
    highlights. My understanding is that Sequel in the UK are doing a
    full-blown legitimate issue in the near future, adding some of 
    Nicholl's demos as bonus cuts.
    Speaking of Oldham, I've always been a sucker for his 1966-68 era
    Immediate Records production/arrangement collaborations with Glyn 
    Johns, such as on Twice As Much's "Step Out Of Line" and Chris 
    Farlowe's "Handbags & Gladrags", to name but two classics from 
    this period. He was moving away from his Spector fetish but still
    kept some great bombastic touches. The (originally) unissued 
    Oldham-produced 1967 Del Shannon sessions like "Cut & Come Again"
    and "Led Along" are also top faves from this period.
    Note: UK femme-fans might note that Dana Gillespie's (she of 
    Donovan/Bowie connections) 1968 London LP "Foolish Seasons" 
    includes her readings of a couple of cuts from the Nicholls LP 
    including "London Social Degree" and though not produced by 
    Oldham (rather, Wayne Bickerton) is solidly in the Immediate 
    Archivally yours
    Archived by Spectropop
    Subject:     Girls Can Tell/Touch The Wall Of Sound
    Sent:        12/27/98 9:58 pm
    Received:    12/28/98 8:48 am
    From:        Billy G. Spradlin, bgspraXXXXXXXXlink.net
    To:          Spectropop List, spectrXXXXXXXXties.com
    Dear Ian:
    Did the Ronettes version use the same backing track as the 
    Crystals version (or vice-versa)? Just wondering. I rememeber 
    hearing another girl group cover the song (I think it was the 
    Jelly Beans) but thier simple version pales when compared to 
    Spectors. I would love to hear the Ronettes version.
    Also I have been listening to several tracks on the "Touch The 
    Wall Of Sound" 2-CD Set. Could someone on the list give me Label,
    producer and year information on the following songs?
    April Young-Gonna Make Him My Baby
    Beverly Warren-Let Me Make Love To You
    Weird thing about "Let Me Make Love to you"... I first heard this
    song covered by Alex Chilton on his "High Priest" album in 1987.
    Billy G.
    Billy G. Spradlin
    29 Rim Road
    Kilgore, Texas 75662
    Email: bgspraXXXXXXXXlink.net or maybe biXXXXXXXXre.net
    Homepage: http://home.earthlink.net/~bgspradlin/
    Archived by Spectropop
    Subject:     "Girls Can Tell" x 2
    Sent:        12/28/98 12:21 am
    Received:    12/28/98 8:48 am
    From:        James Cassidy, casswrXXXXXXXXlink.net
    To:          Spectropop List, spectrXXXXXXXXties.com
    Re:  The Ronette's version of "Girls Can Tell," Ian Chapman writes:
    >Try and find it if you can - it rates as one of the Ronettes 
    >finest-ever cuts, similar to "I Wonder" - only better!!
    I concur wholeheartedly, Ian. Listening to the two versions of 
    "Girls Can Tell" is an interesting study in the contrasting vocal 
    styles of Ronnie and Lala. To my ears, Lala's more forceful, 
    right-on-the-beat delivery is better suited to straight-ahead 
    rockers like "Da Doo Ron Ron." Ronnie's relaxed phrasing and 
    delivery on "Girls Can Tell" give the Ronettes' version a warmer,
    more romantic feel.
    I'd make the same comment about the Crystals' "Little Boy" vs. 
    the Mink Deville version ("Little Girl").
    Jim Cassidy
    Archived by Spectropop
    Subject:     Re: Girls Can Tell
    Sent:        12/28/98 12:07 am
    Received:    12/29/98 10:14 am
    From:        Jamie LePage, le_pageXXXXXXXXties.com
    To:          Spectropop List, spectrXXXXXXXXties.com
    Ian wrote: 
    >For those of you who may not know - the Ronettes version [of 
    >Girls Can Tell] was issued on the UK PSI set "Rare Masters Vol. 1"
    >back in the late 70s - but it was incorrectly credited to the 
    >Crystals on the album label and sleeve. It has never appeared on 
    >any legit reissues since, because I believe UK Polydor, the 
    >licensees at the time, lost the tape!!
    Wow, I hadn't realized this recording had once again become a 
    "rare master." The other two rather obscure Ronettes sides; Lovers
    and I Can Hear Music (the latter which was on Vol. 4 of the same 
    PSI series) are both on Marginal's Ultimate Collection (boot) CD 
    by Ronettes, but you're right, Ian, no Girls Can Tell. The Rare 
    Masters LPs have been been favorite Spector listening since I 
    first got my hands on them, conversely I haven't paid much 
    attention to the CD issues. The ABKCO hodgepodge releases make 
    certain rare tracks common (Ronnies's You Came You Saw..., 
    Darlene's Chapel of Love) and others (like Ronnie's Girls Can 
    Tell) hard to find. Bizarre.
    Was Girls Can Tell missing from the Ronettes #2 LP that was part 
    of the 9 disc WoS box (the album that first had Lovers on it)?
    >[Girls Can Tell] was issued on a bootleg 45-there was a set of 
    >boot Philles singles, some on coloured wax, doing the rounds in 
    >the early 80s.
    The track is also on a 1991 boot PHLP-5000X Phil Spector-Rare 
    Masters; basically a poorly remastered PSWoS Vol. 5 & 6 on one 
    CD with a few tracks omitted. On the CD, Girls Can Tell is 
    correctly credited to the Ronettes.
    >Try and find it if you can - it rates as one of the Ronettes 
    >finest-ever cuts, similar to "I Wonder" - only better!!
    A great Phil, Jeff and Ellie song over a gorgeous Spector track! 
    The strings are fantastic. Both Crystals and Ronettes use the 
    same track, so it is really just a matter of vocal style that 
    makes each version distinctive. Funny though, for a long time I 
    thought Phil intentionally used Ronnie on the Rare Masters 
    "Crystals" version of Girls Can Tell. After all, it wouldn't have 
    been the first time Ronnie sang under the name Crystals! Hot 
    Pastrami anyone?
    Archived by Spectropop
    Subject:     Oh, Carol!
    Sent:        12/28/98 12:21 am
    Received:    12/28/98 8:48 am
    From:        James Cassidy, casswrXXXXXXXXlink.net
    To:          Spectropop List, spectrXXXXXXXXties.com
    The always wonderfully informative Carol Kaye wrote:
    >Well, this is probably more than you wanted to know, got
    >carried away here.
    Not as far as I'm concerned, Ms. Kaye! Your perspective is 
    Carol also referred to the "Motown Scam." I learned about this a 
    while back from either Carol's website or one of her postings on 
    the "Cabinessence" board. This was a particularly amazing 
    revelation to me as a bass player. For years, I idolized James 
    Jamerson, assuming that he played those fabulous bass parts on 
    "Bernadette" and "I Was Made to Love Her." Now, I don't admire 
    Jamerson any less -- he was great -- but I certainly think Carol 
    deserves greater recognition for "out-Jamerson'ing Jamerson" on 
    those classic tracks. In both cases (and indeed many others), the
    bass "makes" the song.
    But let me ask you this, Carol -- *why* did Motown engage in this
    deception? Was it to save a few dollars? I can't imagine that it 
    was done to provide more royalties to the Detroit studio 
    musicians, since Motown apparently never cared much about them or
    gave them the credit or recognition they deserved, either.
    Jim Cassidy
    P.S. Nice to hear you extolling Earl Palmer -- another legendary 
    musician who practically invented rock drumming! I look forward 
    to reading his book.
    Archived by Spectropop
    Subject:     More about 60s dates
    Sent:        12/27/98 3:25 pm
    Received:    12/27/98 5:36 pm
    From:        Carol Kaye, carolXXXXXXXXlink.net
    To:          Spectropop List, spectrXXXXXXXXties.com
    Mark - thanks, haha. Well, I'm no prude that's for sure. But back
    in the 60s, Frank Zappa's lyrics did shake me up a little, I was 
    just a "mom" then. I had the utmost respect for Frank and tried 
    to write him about herbs and things when he was very ill. I don't
    know if he ever got the letter.
    He was a wonderful person, a great talent, very straight-arrow. 
    His music was great - everyone looked forward to reading his 
    music. George Duke, a wonderful guy and fine jazz pianist, had 
    nothing but praise for Frank when he was on the road with him 
    (George and I recorded together on the last Gene Ammons album at 
    Fantasy about 1974).
    David, thanks - Earl Palmer's autobiography will be out March 1st
    '99. He's excited about it now that it's done. He had some help 
    with the writing. The book is named "Backbeat - The Earl Palmer 
    Story" (Smithsonian Press), and Earl is on the cover of their 
    bookstore new flyer. He's very excited. He tells about his early 
    life in New Orleans (he started out as a dancer, still dancing at
    almost 75, well, on his drums of course).
    Earl is a special person, a great jazz drummer who chose studio 
    work early on(he had a lot of kids, is a great papa and good 
    friend to us all too). Earl brought the swamp beat to LA in 1957 
    and started the funky double-time stuff here. Full of mischief 
    and fun, he played on many a big hit - his drumming has a lot of 
    paradiddles on the fade, very distinctive, an exciting drummer. 
    I've known him so long I feel like I'm his sister, (or married to
    him!). :-), truly a wonderful man.
    I'm so happy about his book coming out; he speaks about things 
    the way they really are: the music business, his life...he 
    started from poor beginnings in the French Quarter and rose to 
    the highest #1 call in the LA studios you can reach. He was a 
    Union officer, and he is now on the Boards for the LA Jazz Awards, 
    R&B Awards and Blues Awards (he won a few himself). He deserves
    so much for all he's done.
    Thanks Claudia -- yes, I played on those, I am sure - I'll have 
    to listen to them again. I don't ordinarily listen to the oldies,
    I only have a few of the records -- I am playing jazz these days 
    (outside of an occasional studio call, not much happening these 
    days) so I usually listen to jazz and some classical. It knocks 
    me out when I do hear our old records, the power that is there --
    We all had kids to support, but it was more than that -- we all 
    liked each other, we could groove together and banter back and 
    forth -- the jokes, the inside humor got on the records, plus the
    music was very new then. We found that we liked to "groove" on 
    this new music, and it was all pretty friendly, though' sometimes
    a little wild -- especially on the Phil Spector dates.
    Actually, on the middle of "Lovin' Feelin'," I had an eerie 
    feeling while recording it, that it was going to be a monster hit, 
    but really I was just trying to keep the beat from sagging in 
    this quiet part -- it was kind of hard to do when while just 
    playing acoustic guitar. Ray Pohlman and Earl did take care of 
    Doc -- I feel sure I'm on both of those (the Russ Wapensky book 
    will list all the important dates and studio musicians like that,
    but I was called on practically all of Phil's dates at that time).
    Guitar for sure on the Paris Sisters' things, bass on the Jan & 
    Dean one. Vanilli? We all laughed heartily at that; yes, ironic.
    Tommy Tedesco even talked about it in his son's film (has quite a
    few of us, including Cher, Nancy Sinatra, Plas Johnson (Pink 
    Panther sax), Lew McCreary - who is in the hospital at this time 
    fighting cancer, he's holding his own; Julius Wechter, leader of 
    the Baja Marimba Band - also not too well, but sounding good on 
    the phone, Hal Blaine of course, Tommy, myself, Don Randi, a few 
    more in that film.
    Tommy mentioned that Vanilli was the "tip of the iceberg" and we 
    all laughed about that - totally agree. The world has yet to find
    out all we did in the 60s. Slowly the word is getting out though. 
    People don't attack me anymore when I say we recorded their 
    favorite surf-rock group; it's sinking in more and more.
    Brian Wilson, bless him (he's a good guy too, doing very well now) 
    was the first to acknowledge us in his special new Pet Sounds 
    Jamie, the Danelectro is a 6-string bass guitar (the "real" bass 
    guitar, the elec. bass was called the Fender bass, until I sort 
    of renamed it "Electric Bass" with my 1st book, "How To Play The 
    Electric Bass" 1969, and the Unions followed suit.).
    It's a kind of cheap, clicky instrument, it's not too well-made 
    but it has a unique sound. I changed the pickups and bridges on 
    mine to make it more playable and also so it would sound better -- 
    Glen Campbell borrowed mine to play his famous bass guitar solo
    on "Wichita Lineman" which we cut at Capitol, and he used it on a 
    couple of other tracks too.
    Bill Pitman was the first one to really make it popular, he did a
    ton of dates on it. Then I got one, and every guitarist got one 
    (early 60s). That's Barney Kessel on Daneletrco mainly on the 
    Sonny & Cher hits (while I'm playing elec. 12-string guitar fills
    and runs - rhythmic stuff).
    The Danelectro is an interesting instrument as it's kind of 
    slapped together, but it gets a very unique sound; it feels easy 
    to play, especially if you change the pickups and bridges. I'm 
    playing Dano on the Beach Boys' "I Get Around," that's the sound 
    of it.
    I just recorded one thing with the Wondermints, fine group, a lot
    of talent in that band. They said it would be the #1 record, so 
    glad to see it out. Chris Carter called me to invite me to that 
    thing, but I wasn't feeling too well. I must call him, thanks for
    reminding me. I;m glad it was a success, they deserve it all.
    On the Motown issue, most of the Supremes things were cut out 
    here in LA as engineer Armin Steiner reported in an 80s MIX 
    Magazine interview -- he was the only engineer they used (and he 
    helped them rebuild their Detroit board too).
    Armin won an Academy Award for a film a few years ago (he is now 
    out at Fox), but we talked on the phone just before that, and he 
    expressed unhappiness at not being recognized for all the great 
    hits he did for Motown (including "I Can't Help Myself," I'm 
    playing bass on that, but of course the Detroit crew claims that 
    track; they get the royalties = it was our fault to do cash dates
    for them out here).
    Armin talked at great length about doing that particular one from
    the very start to the very finish of Levi's overdub on his vocal 
    at TTG).
    So yes, we did a lot of the 4 Tops, most of the Supremes, and 
    some various other artists. Stevie Wonder does tell his band that
    I played the bass part on his hit of "I Was Made To Love Her" (in 
    most of these, the bass parts were sort of indicated in the 1st 
    bar, and on some breaks, but the rest was improvised).
    I'm hesitant to talk about this until Earl's book gets out; he 
    discusses our Motown dates as do many films with our interviews 
    on them. I'm also hesitant out of respect for the late James 
    Jamerson who did start the Motown bass sound, he did a lot of 
    very fine hits for the Detroit hit-making factory.
    Armin would put a little compression on my bass sound (I asked 
    him why -- he said to "match the Detroit sound" which made sense 
    to me then). I never used any compression or EQ at all, and my 
    bass was usually miked (like on Pet Sounds, the other BB hits I 
    played on) until the end of the 60s, when sometimes they took me 
    1/2 direct and 1/2 miked.
    The movie and TV film studios ALWAYS miked me (Mission Impossible, 
    Ironside, MASH, Hawaii 5-O, Brady Bunch, Cannon, Streets Of San
    Francisco, Kojak, Addams Family, etc.). I always played with a 
    hard pick but on many things (like Andy Williams, Mathis, many 
    dates, and movies like "Across 110ths St., etc.) you'd swear it 
    was fingers.
    You can check out my various sounds on my sound-byte page which 
    does have Bernadette -- one fellow recently compared that to the 
    bass on the actual recording and wrote me a nice email message 
    saying he was "doubtful" at first but was excited in saying "it 
    is you" - my soundbyte with my pick-attack which sounds like 
    fingers, but has that unmistakable slight initial attach of the 
    pick (which Leo Fender measured one day, it knocked his 
    oscilloscope right off, he said never saw an attack like that).
    I usually played a lot of 16ths; boogaloo patterns I'd make up 
    (mostly conga and/or timbale-based Latin-soul lines - I wasn't 
    influenced by anything outside of the past years of playing - a 
    lot of jazz, some Latin, etc.), and that always worked, like what
    I played on Bill Cosby's Hikky Burr (his 1st theme song about 1970, 
    "Bill Cosby Show", it was also a hit recording -- plus the 
    Feelin' Alright hit w/Joe Cocker I played on, those styles).
    On many Motown things I just played simple. I played guitar for 
    Motown at first, but then they wanted me on bass as others did 
    too from about 1964 on. I purposely stopped working for Motown in
    1969, for personal reasons. Others followed suit.
    I don't think I'm playing bass on "You Can't Hurry Love," I am 
    pretty sure that's Arthur Wright, another fine bassist who was 
    also a fine studio guitarist (and arranger too), but I am on that
    date on guitar. Yes, I played elec. bass on Boots (lots of click 
    on that, that's what they wanted) -- Chuck Berghofer did the 
    descending string bass line on that one, we only did about 2 
    takes on that.
    Chuck is the bassist on the Barney Miller theme. People all think
    that's me, as it's my style but no, that's Chuck, who did a lot of
    string bass work doubling with me for some artists, like Nancy 
    Sinatra (wonderful lady), Jody Miller, and a few others like that. 
    Wonderful guy, he's a new father now, his picture is on my 
    website with his adorable little baby girl, Charly Elizabeth. He 
    played some fine jazz string bass on albums w/Pete Jolly and was 
    overdubbed on many cuts of the movie "Bird" too.
    I doubt if we'll ever get our credits on that Motown stuff as the
    Detroit people really do not want to back down and say we did a 
    lot out here (they're getting all the royalties for our work).
    We were wrong not to insist on the dates being "Union", but 
    really thought we were helping them out with "demos." It went on 
    too long (3 years) before someone snitched to the Union and we 
    all got 1,000s in "back-pay." Motown borrowed contractor Ben 
    Barrett's recording license -- funny thing is that Earl always 
    thought I snitched and I thought it was him until we did a film 
    together about 1 year ago -- we finally figured out who snitched 
    back in the 60s.
    Earl and I both remember talking on the phone "Carol listen to 
    Bernadette and Love Child", and I got back to him "Damn, those 
    are OUR tracks", and Armin also told me the many times he flew 
    our masters back to Detroit to finish them back there, lots of 
    other stuff will come out.
    It's a shame there is not enough documentation of this, but I do 
    have 113 record dates in my log for Motown 1963-1969 and Lester 
    Sill wrote a blanket statement on Jobete stationery (he was pres.
    of Jobete for many years) saying "Carol Kaye played bass on many 
    Motown original 60s hits....." etc.
    It was Tommy Tedesco who insisted that we get $35.00 (instead of 
    $25.00) per 2 tunes (we could cut 2 tunes in 1 hour, no problem, 
    great hit tracks), about 1964-65. It wasn't unusual for us to cut
    a hit album in 6 hours for anyone back in the 60s -- the coffee 
    was needed though.
    "New contracts" have surfaced on new paper since the onset of 
    re-uses of Motown hits on TV shows, movies etc., as there were 
    very few actual record contracts at the Union for Motown before 
    that (they made them up back in Detroit I assume).
    One Detroit songwriter even tried to get into our Pension Fund 
    with "blank contracts" so it was pretty rampant I think the sham 
    of it all. Well, I'm probably saying more than you want to know. 
    Anyway, a lot of involvement of LA musicians on those dates, 
    especially Supremes, 04 Tops, a few of various ones like the 
    Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye/Tami Terrell, etc. (Tami 
    was the greatest singer I think I've ever heard with Motown but 
    Brenda was no slouch either).
    1st Motown LA drummer I worked with was Jesse Sailes, then Earl, 
    then Paul Humphrey, Ed Greene, even Hal Blaine has in his log a 
    few Supremes dates. Bass players have included Arthur Wright, 
    Rene Hall (Rene and Arthur also played guitar on Motown dates), 
    and later, Wilton Felder, even James Bond played upright bass 
    along w/me on a fast triplet Supremes recording. Guitarists 
    included Rene, Arthur, Bud Coleman, Johnny Guitar Watson, Tommy 
    Tedesco, Don Peake, Al Casey, many, many more.
    And percussionists with Motown LA included Gary Coleman (his 
    daughter Lisa Coleman w/Wendy Melvoin in back of Prince, now out 
    on their own, my daughter used to babysit Lisa), Laudir, Gene 
    Estes, Jerry Steinholtz, and King Errison, horns included Ollie 
    Mitchell, Roy Caton, Paul Hubonen, Bill Peterson (our Union 
    president), and trombonist Lew McCreay and others. Plas Johnson, 
    Bill Green, and Jackie Kelson on saxes plus Jim Horn or Bill 
    Green on bari saxes.
    Pianists were either Ray Johnson, Larry Muhoberac (lives now in 
    Australia), Gene Page (arranged for Motown, now deceased), Don 
    Abney, Gene Garf, Joe Sample and Jerry Long. Don Randi did a few 
    a little later on, but I don't think he knows the involvement of 
    us all from the git-go.
    I have many of these same studio musicians on my multi-guitar 
    commercial album (reissued now as "Calif. Creamin'" at Tower 
    Records; the record co. is Hot Wire in Germany), and the Motown 
    sound is unmistakable, cut in 1965.
    Don't know why we're such a big secret, we sure weren't a big 
    secret back in the 60s -- I have some hunches as I researched a 
    lot of books though. One big thing was the marketing, but there 
    again, a white bass player by the name of Bob Babbitt also did 
    some fine Motown Detroit hits back east. We were definitely 
    integrated out here in LA.
    Anyway, hope this answers your questions. Happy New Year to you 
    all; you're a nice group of people
    Best, Carol Kaye 
    Archived by Spectropop
    Subject:     neat site
    Sent:        12/29/98 2:53 am
    Received:    12/29/98 10:14 am
    From:        john rausch, XXXXXXXXnet
    To:          Spectropop List, spectrXXXXXXXXties.com
    Just thought I`d share an interesting site with everyone.
    This site should be interesting to some on this list as there are
    really great picture sleeves from our era of collecting, all 
    genres including some neat girl group sleeves that are rarely 
    Phil Spector`s Wall of SoXXXXXXXX://members.tripod.com/~rauschj/
    Archived by Spectropop
    Subject:     Coke Jingles
    Sent:        12/28/98 3:48 am
    Received:    12/28/98 8:48 am
    From:        Doc Rock, docrXXXXXXXXcom
    To:          Spectropop List, spectrXXXXXXXXties.com
    I made a point to tape the Jan & Dean Coke commercials off the 
    radio in 1964, never guessing that so many years later I'd have 
    nearly a dozen different Coke cuts by J&D, or that Dean was not 
    even on them!
    I also recall that the Supremes' Coke commercial actually made 
    the Top 40. KAAY in Little Rock played the Top 3 requests each 
    night around 7, and the Supremes' Coke Jingle made the list so 
    often that it hit the Top 40!
    Archived by Spectropop

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