Though not too untypical for a Georgie Fame release, Shorty Featuring Georgie Fame has an odd place in the Fame discography. First, it was billed to a group, Shorty, with the words “Featuring Georgie Fame” printed in very small type beneath “Shorty” on the cover, with no picture of Fame (or, for that matter, Shorty) to be found anywhere in the artwork. Second, it was only released in the U.S., although Fame’s commercial profile, even at the time of its 1970 appearance, was considerably bigger in his native U.K. It was also recorded live (in a fairly small club judging by the sound of the applause), though no mention of this is made anywhere on the packaging, and in fact even the author of the Rev-Ola CD reissue’s fine liner notes remains unaware of the location. For all that, it’s not that unlike Fame’s other records from the era, and does prominently feature him as singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist, even if he seemed almost to be hiding behind a group persona (à la David Bowie with Tin Machine many years later). If there’s anything to distinguish it from other Fame albums, it’s that the guitar sometimes has a more prominent role, and the songs sometimes stretch out in the manner that was fashionable in the psychedelic/hard rock era. That’s especially noticeable on the nearly six-minute opener, “Oliver’s Gone”; you don’t hear many Fame cuts with long blues-rock solos. Yet Fame’s customary attributes — assured jazz/R&B vocals and glowing organ — remain in place, and some tracks, like “Bluesology” and “Seventh Son,” are pretty much of a piece with his more straightforward mid-’60s work (though here Mose Allison’s “Parchman Farm,” which he’d recorded in September 1963 on his first live LP, is extended to seven minutes). Georgie gets more personal and introspective than usual, to good effect, on “Saskatchewan Sunrise” and “Inside Story,” while the 12-minute “Fully Booked” is especially epic by Fame standards. This isn’t the best or most representative Fame album, but one that should be heard by his fans, even if it doesn’t include his most outstanding material. (by Richie Unterberger)
Harvey Burns (drums)
Georgie Fame (vocals, keyboards)
Colin Green (guitar)
Brian Odgers (bass)
Alan Skidmore (saxophone)
01. Oliver’s Gone (Fame) 5.47
02. Bluesology (Jackson) 4.30
03. Saskatchewan Sunrise (Ryan/Jones) 3.19
04. Parchman Farm (Allison) 7.09
05. Is It Really The Same (Garrett/O’Neill) 5.48
06. Seventh Son (Dixon) 5.48
07. Somebody Stole My Thunder (Lacey/Ryan) 4.03
08. Inside Story (Fame/Ryan) 4.27
09. Fully Booked (Fame/Ryan) 12.50
Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames funktioned as the house band of the now legendary Flamingo club in London from about 1963 to 1966, were they served an audience of mainly American GIs mixed with a handful of brave British boys. In a time when you rarely heard American soul hits on British radio (or any other European radio), Fame covered material from Stax, Atlantic etc. According to Fame, the first time he heard “Green Onions” was in fact not on the radio but when a GI brought the 7inch to the Flamingo. An experience that immediately triggered him to change from piano to organ.
What makes these cover versions vital even today – and in that they are similar to the Stones’ early recordings of blues songs – is the enthusiasm and adoration the group has for it’s source material. This exuberance is combined with a tightness and professionalism developed in many long nights at the Flamingo, which becomes especially clear on the album’s b-side.
A wild and driving version of “See Saw” already announces what to expect of the album’s second half and as soon as the needle drops on “Music Talk” and you hear the often-sampled opening drum-break, you know this is gonna be a party. There’s not a dull moment following with the jubilating “Whole World Shakin’ “, the jazzy “El Bandido”, the irresistible “World Is Round” and raving covers of “The In Crowd” and “Last Night”.
This is the American issue of what appeared on the British market as the group’s third album, called “Sweet Things”. Only “My Girl” and “Dr. Kitch” were replaced by “Get Away”, Fame’s big hit of the time, and “El Bandido”.
In other words: This is a fucking good album by the great Georgie Fame !
Speedy Acquaye (percussion)
Cliff Barton (bass)
Peter Coe (saxophone)
Georgie Fame (organ, vocals)
Colin Green (guitar)
Glen Hughes (saxophone)
John “Mitch” Mitchell (drums)
Eddie “Tan Tan” Thorton (trumpet)
01. Get Away (Powell) 2.32
02. Sweet Thing (Hunter/Stevenson) 2.30
03. Ride Your Pony (Neville) 2.38
04. Funny How Time Slips Away (Nelson) 3.10
05. Sitting In The Park (Stewart) 3.25
06. See Saw (Covay/Cropper) 2.44
07. Music Talk (Paul/Judkins/Hull) 3.19
08. Last Night (Laine) 5.06
09. It’s Got The Whole World Shakin’ (Cooke) 3.10
10. El Bandido (Powell) 3.08
11. The World Is Round (Thomas) 2.38
12. The “In” Crowd (Page) 2.55