The Byrds – Mr. Tambourine Man (1965)

LPFrontCover1Mr. Tambourine Man is the debut album by the American folk rock band the Byrds and was released in June 1965 on Columbia Records (see 1965 in music). The album, along with the single of the same name, established the band as an internationally successful rock act and was also influential in originating the musical style known as folk rock. The term “folk rock” was, in fact, first coined by the U.S. music press to describe the band’s sound in mid-1965, at around the same time that the “Mr. Tambourine Man” single reached the top of the Billboard chart The single and album also represented the first effective American challenge to the dominance of The Beatles and the British Invasion during the mid-1960s.

The album peaked at number 6 on the Billboard Top LPs chart and reached number 7 in the United Kingdom. The Bob Dylan penned “Mr. Tambourine Man” single was released ahead of the album in April 1965, reaching number 1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart.[6][7] A second single from the album, “All I Really Want to Do”, also a Dylan cover, was moderately successful in the U.S., but fared better in the United Kingdom, where it reached the Top 10.

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Prior to forming the Byrds in 1964, most of the members of the band had come from a folk and roots music background, rather than a rock and roll one. Lead guitarist Jim McGuinn had been a solo folk singer and sideman with various professional folk groups, as had singer and songwriter Gene Clark. Clark and McGuinn first met in early 1964 at The Troubadour folk club in Los Angeles and, after discovering a mutual love of the Beatles, formed a Peter and Gordon-style duo, playing Beatles’ covers, Beatlesque renditions of traditional folk songs, and some self-penned material. The duo soon added another folk singer, David Crosby, to the line-up and named themselves the Jet Set. Over the coming months, bass player Chris Hillman, whose musical background was more oriented towards bluegrass music than folk, and drummer Michael Clarke were both added to the group. The Jet Set were signed to Columbia Records on November 10, 1964 and changed their name to the Byrds over Thanksgiving that year.

On January 20, 1965, the band, along with a group of L.A. session musicians later known as the Wrecking Crew, entered Columbia Recording Studios in Hollywood to record the Bob Dylan song “Mr. Tambourine Man” as their debut single. Released in April 1965, with the Clark-penned song “I Knew I’d Want You” on its B-side, the single was an immediate hit, reaching number 1 on both the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and the UK Singles Chart. In addition, the electric rock band treatment that the Byrds and producer Terry Melcher had given “Mr. Tambourine Man” effectively created the template for the musical subgenre of folk rock.

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For the most part, Mr. Tambourine Man consisted of two types of songs: band originals, primarily penned by Clark, who was the group’s main songwriter during its first eighteen months of existence, and covers of modern folk songs, composed primarily by Dylan. The album opens with its Dylan-penned title track, which had been a big international hit for the group, prior to the album’s release. Band biographer Johnny Rogan has noted that the two most distinctive features of the Byrds’ rendition of “Mr. Tambourine Man” are the vocal harmonies of Clark, McGuinn and Crosby, and McGuinn’s jangling twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar playing (which complemented the phrase “jingle jangle morning” found in the song’s lyric). This combination of 12-string guitar work and complex harmony singing became the band’s signature sound during their early period.[4] Music critic Richie Unterberger has also noted that the success of the Byrds version of “Mr. Tambourine Man” saw an explosion of Byrds imitators and emulators having hits on the American and British charts during 1965 and 1966.

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Another Dylan cover, “All I Really Want to Do”, was the first song to be recorded for the album, following the “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “I Knew I’d Want You” session. Melcher felt confident that the band’s then-unissued debut single would be, at the very least, a regional hit and so he brought the Byrds back into the studio on March 8, 1965 to record a follow-up.[18] This March 8 recording session yielded the version of “All I Really Want to Do” that appears on the album, but the song was re-recorded on April 14, and it was this later take that graced the A-side of the band’s second Columbia single release.

The abundance of Dylan material on the album—with three songs taken from the Another Side of Bob Dylan album alone—led to accusations of the band being too reliant on his material.[20] However, the Dylan covers, including “Chimes of Freedom”, “All I Really Want to Do”, and “Spanish Harlem Incident”, in addition to the title track, remain among the Byrds’ best-known recordings.

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Another cover which stressed the band’s folk music roots was Idris Davies and Pete Seeger’s “The Bells of Rhymney”. The song, which told the sorrowful tale of a coal mining disaster in Wales, was a relative newcomer to the band’s repertoire at the time of recording, having only been worked up in March 1965, during the Byrds’ residency at Ciro’s nightclub on the Sunset Strip. Although the song had a somewhat sombre theme, it became one of the band’s most popular numbers during their residency at Ciro’s. The band’s cover of “The Bells of Rhymney” was also influential on the Beatles, particularly George Harrison, who co-opted McGuinn’s guitar riff and incorporated it into his composition “If I Needed Someone” from the Rubber Soul album.
The album’s distinctive front cover fisheye lens photograph of the band was taken by Barry Feinstein and has, according to author Christopher Hjort, become an acknowledged classic since its release. The back cover featured liner notes, written in the form of an open letter to a friend, by Columbia Records’ publicist Billy James. In addition, the back cover also featured a black and white photograph, taken by the Byrds’ manager Jim Dickson, of the band on stage with Bob Dylan at Ciro’s nightclub in L.A. (by wikipedia)

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One of the greatest debuts in the history of rock, Mr. Tambourine Man was nothing less than a significant step in the evolution of rock & roll itself, demonstrating that intelligent lyrical content could be wedded to compelling electric guitar riffs and a solid backbeat. It was also the album that was most responsible for establishing folk-rock as a popular phenomenon, its most alluring traits being Roger McGuinn’s immediately distinctive 12-string Rickenbacker jangle and the band’s beautiful harmonies. The material was uniformly strong, whether they were interpreting Bob Dylan (on the title cut and three other songs, including the hit single “All I Really Want to Do”), Pete Seeger (“The Bells of Rhymney”), or Jackie DeShannon (“Don’t Doubt Yourself, Babe”). The originals were lyrically less challenging, but equally powerful musically, especially Gene Clark’s “I Knew I’d Want You,” “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better,” and “Here Without You”; “It’s No Use” showed a tougher, harder-rocking side and a guitar solo with hints of psychedelia. (by Richie Unterberger)

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Personnel:
Gene Clark (guitar, tambourine, vocals)
Michael Clarke (drums)
David Crosby (guitar, vocals)
Chris Hillman (bass)
Jim McGuinn (lead guitar, vocals)
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on “Mr. Tambourine Man” + “I Knew I’d Want You “:
Jerry Cole (guitar)
Larry Knechtel (bass)
Leon Russell (piano)
Hal Blaine (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Mr. Tambourine Man (Dylan) 2.34
02. I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better” (Gene Clark) 2.36
03. Spanish Harlem Incident (Dylan) 2.01
04. You Won’t Have To Cry (Clark/McGuinn) 2.12
05. Here Without You (Clark) 2.40
06. The Bells Of Rhymney (Davies/Seeger) 3.35
07. All I Really Want To Do (Dylan) 2.08
08. I Knew I’d Want You (Clark) 2.18
09. It’s No Use (Clark/McGuinn) 2.29
10. Don’t Doubt Yourself, Babe (DeShannon) 2.59
11. Chimes Of Freedom (Dylan) 3.55
12. We’ll Meet Again (Parker/Charles) 2.19
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13. She Has A Way (Clark) 2.29
14. I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better (alternate version) (Clark) 2.32
15. It’s No Use (alternate version) (Clark/McGuinn) 2.24
16. You Won’t Have To Cry” (alternate version) (Clark/McGuinn) 2.07
17. All I Really Want To Do (Single version) (Dylan) 2.02
18. You And Me (Instrumental) (Crosby/Clark/McGuinn) 2.11

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The Beatles – Live In Paris 1965 (1988)

FrontCover1This bootleg features the integrity of the 2 concerts performed during their second (and last) visit in Paris (they had performed during 3 weeks at the Olympia the previous year). This day, The Beatles played two shows (afternoon & evening) with the same songs, only shifting the order of the songs. It’s quite funny to hear Paul trying to speak french in between songs.As always with “Swingin Pig”, the packaging is excellent as well as the sound quality. (by rateyourmusic.com)

Some comments on bootlegzone.com:

This is an excellent live boot. The sound quality is great, and so are the Beatles’ performances. It is interesting to compare the crowd reactions during these performances with the crowd reactions that are heard on the tapes of their January, 1964 appearances. It looks as though the French caught up to the rest of the world, in terms of screaming, by this time.

Funny to hear Paul struggle with his then awful French. Great sound.

Of all the live boots available, I like this one best. As was stated by the previous post, Paul trying to speak french is priceless (he really sucks at it).

In other words: A real funny abum from the early days of British Beat … and, of course, The Beatles … long time ago …

Recorded live at Palais Des Sports, Paris, 20 June 1965
(and not 1 Aug 1965 as stated)

And … on the 20th June 1965, I celebrate my 10th birthday !

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Personnel:
George Harrison (guitar, vocals)
Paul McCartney (bass, vocals)
John Lennon (guitar, vocals, harmonica)
Ringo Starr (drums)

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Tracklist:

Palais Des Sports – 20th June 1965 – Afternoon Show:
01. Twist And Shout (Russell/Medley) 1.41
02. She’s A Woman (Lennon/McCartney) 2.43
03. Can’t Buy Me Love (Lennon/McCartney) 2.29
04. I’m A Loser (Lennon/McCartney) 3.25
05. I Wanna Be Your Man (Lennon/McCartney) 2.25
06. A Hard Day’s Night (Lennon/McCartney) 2.47
07. Baby’s In Black (Lennon/McCartney) 2.40
08. Rock And Roll Music (Berry) 2.15
09. Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby (Perkins) 2.30
10. I Feel Fine (Lennon/McCartney) 2.29
11. Ticket To Ride (Lennon/McCartney) 3.56
12. Long Tall Sally (Johnson/Penniman/Blackwell) 2.38

Palais Des Sports – 20th June 1965 – Evening Show:
13. Twist And Shout (Russell/Medley) 1.29
14. She’s A Woman (Lennon/McCartney) 3.03
15. I’m A Loser (Lennon/McCartney) 3.10
16. Can’t Buy Me Love (Lennon/McCartney) 2.33
17. Baby’s In Black (Lennon/McCartney) 2.45
18. I Wanna Be Your Man (Lennon/McCartney) 2.26
19. A Hard Day’s Night (Lennon/McCartney) 2.53
20. Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby (Perkins) 2.44
21. Rock And Roll Music (Berry) 2.17
22. I Feel Fine (Lennon/McCartney) 2.38
23. Ticket To Ride (Lennon/McCartney) 3.03
24. Long Tall Sally (Johnson/Penniman/Blackwell) 2.25

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The Easybeats – Easy (1965)

FrontCover1Easy is the debut studio album by the Australian rock band the Easybeats, released on 23 September 1965.

Most of the album was recorded at EMI Studios in Sydney in two consecutive all-night sessions. It was produced by Albert Productions founder, Ted Albert. It also features their hit single “She’s So Fine”, which was recorded at Armstrong Studios in Melbourne with further overdubs in Sydney.

It was released by Albert Productions on the Parlophone label in Australia on 23 September 1965. The front cover’s artwork features a photograph by Australian photographer Ian Morgan of the group miming on the Seven Network music television series Sing, Sing, Sing. It was only released in mono; no stereo mix was made. It was reissued by Albert Productions (this time on their own label) in the 1980s on LP and compact disc. Originally released in Australia only, it would not be available internationally until the 1990s when reissue label Repertoire Records later released the album in 1992 with eight bonus tracks.

These included b-sides, their debut single “For My Woman”/”Say That You’re Mine”, outtakes, alternate mixes from the Good Friday album and a live recording of “She’s So Fine” from 1966. (by wikipedia)

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Their first album, not available outside Australia until the 1990s. The Vanda/Young songwriting partnership had yet to dominate the band in their early days, and most of the (entirely original) material here comes from the pens of George Young and singer Stevie Wright. It’s more Merseybeatish and less oriented toward power-pop and staccato guitar attacks than their subsequent releases, which isn’t really detrimental; it doesn’t scale the peaks the band would shortly climb, but neither does it have the overdone good-time mania that made some of their efforts hard to take in more than limited doses. A fairly consistent, if not incredibly remarkable, relic from the Beat era, with some very Beatlesque tracks, including “It’s So Easy,” “I Wonder” (on which Harry Vanda sounds a lot like a young George Harrison circa “Do You Want to Know a Secret”), and cuts that could pass for the Searchers (“I’m Gonna Tell Everybody”), Gerry & the Pacemakers (“Hey Girl,” “A Letter”), the Merseybeats (“Cry Cry Cry”), the Kinks (“You’ll Come Back Again”), and Peter & Gordon (“Girl on My Mind”). Stuck in the middle of all of those delightfully derivative treasures is the most defiantly original track off the album, and (not coincidentally) their first big Australian hit, “She’s So Fine,” which doesn’t sound like anything else here, pulsing with energy, a hot pumping bass part, and a ferocious guitar break. The Repertoire Records CD reissue enhances the original album significantly with the addition of eight bonus tracks, including five jewels from the Vanda/Young songwriting team.  (by Richie Unterberger)

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Personnel:
Dick Diamonde (bass, vocals)
Snowy Fleet (drums, vocals)
Stevie Wright (percussion, vocals)
Harry Vanda (lead guitar, vocals)
George Young (guitar, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. It’s So Easy (Wright/Young) 2:11
02. I’m A Madman  (Wright/Young) 2.52
03. I Wonder (Vanda) 1.50
04. “She Said Alright” Young 2:15
05. I’m Gonna Tell Everybody (Vanda/Fleet) 2.04
06. Hey Girl  (Wright/Young) 2.10
07. She’s So Fine  (Wright/Young) 2.08
08. You Got It Off Me  (Wright/Young) 2.28
09. Cry Cry Cry (Young) 2.02
10. A Letter (Vanda) 1.39
11. Easy Beat (Vanda) 2.39
12. You’ll Come Back Again (Young) 2.39
13. Girl On My Mind  (Wright/Young) 3.04
14. Ya Can’t Do That  (Wright/Young) 2.28
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15. For My Woman  (Wright/Young) 3.08
16. Say That You’re Mine (Vanda/Young) 2.45
17. The Old Oak Tree (Wright/Young/Vanda/Fleet&Diamonde) 3.08
18. Friday On My Mind (alternate remix) (Vanda/Young) 2.56
19. Lisa (alternate remix) (Vanda/Young) 3.17
20. Find My Way Back Home (unused recording for Sing Sing Sing) (Lambert/Pegues) 2.46
21. No One Knows (outtake) (Wright/Young) 2.58
22. She’s So Fine (live from the First Australian National Record Awards, Melbourne. 14 March 1966)  (Wright/Young) 2.22

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AC/DC producer and The Easybeats’ star George Young has died at the age of 70.

AC/DC said in a statement the band would not exist without Young’s “help and guidance”.
George Young passes away

A pioneering musician, producer and AC/DC mentor, George Young has died aged 70.

“As a musician, songwriter, producer, advisor and much, much more, you could not ask for a more dedicated and professional man,” the statement read.

“You could not ask for a finer brother. We will always remember him with gratitude and hold him close to our hearts.”

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George was the eldest brother of Australian rock legends Malcolm and Angus Young. He was born in Scotland in 1946 but emigrated to Australia with his family when he was still a child.

He shot to fame in the ’60s as a guitarist for the Sydney-based rock band The Easybeats. While the band broke up in 1970, he and lead guitarist Harry Vanda were later inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. (by smh.com.au)

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Malcolm, George and Angus Young in 2012

Aretha Franklin – Yeah!!! (1965)

FrontCover1Yeah!!! (or Aretha Franklin In Person With Her Quartet) is the eighth studio album by American singer Aretha Franklin, Released on May 17, 1965 by Columbia Records. Contrary to the overdubbed sounds of audience murmurs, the album was not a live album, but instead was recorded live at New York’s Columbia Studios and produced by Clyde Otis. This would be Franklin’s last collection of jazz recordings until the release of 1969’s Soul ’69, released during her landmark tenure at Atlantic Records. An expanded version of the album that also contains the original session tracks without audience overdubs has been released on CD in the Columbia Box Set Take A Look: Aretha Franklin Complete On Columbia. (by wikipedia)

This ‘live’ nightclub date with a jazz trio, revealed to be a faked on the Columbia compilations that have since come out, is nonetheless a great LP, maybe the best single Columbia LP from Aretha. John Hammond discovered her and just wanted great music, but the label couldn’t decide if she was a show tune singer, jazz or r&b and never figured out she was all of the above and deserved her own category. This is the most jazzy Aretha ever and if she’d wanted to concentrate on this one area of her talent, she would still be ruling it. Hopefully Columbia will issue the undoctored recordings complete some day soon. The clicking silverware and audience murmurs as if they were ignoring her are actually distracting on a couple of songs, which given that it was dubbed in are overkill besides being ridiculous. To this day, Columbia is mishandling her legacy there … Even faked, a great LP (John Ellison)

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Personnel:
Kenny Burrell (guitar)
Hindel Butts (drums)
Aretha Franklin (vocals, piano)
Teddy Harris (piano)
James Richardson (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. This Could Be tThe Start Of Something (Allen) 1.31
02. Once In A Lifetime (Newley/Bricusse) 3.22
03. Misty (Garner/Burke) 3.37
04. More (Oliviero/Ortolani/Newell) 1.50
05. There Is No Greater Love (Jones/Symes) 4.41
06. Muddy Water (Richman/Trent/De Rose) 2.27
07. If I Had A Hammer (Hays/Seeger) 2.35
08. Impossible (Allen) 3.23
09. Today I Love Ev’rybody (Arlen/Fields) 3.26
10. Without The One You Love (Franklin) 3.34
11. Trouble In Mind (Jones) 2.54
12. Love For Sale (Porter) 2.39

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The Kinks – The Kink Kontroversy (1965)

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The Kink Kontroversy is the third studio album by English rock band The Kinks, released on 26 November 1965. It is a transitional work, with elements of both the earlier Kinks’ styles (heavily blues-influenced songs such as “Milk Cow Blues”, and variations on the band’s hits from 1964-65 such as “Till the End of the Day”) and early indications of the future direction of Ray Davies’ songwriting styles (“The World Keeps Going Round” and “I’m On an Island”).The Kink Kontroversy is the third studio album by English rock band The Kinks, released on 26 November 1965. It is a transitional work, with elements of both the earlier Kinks’ styles (heavily blues-influenced songs such as “Milk Cow Blues”, and variations on the band’s hits from 1964-65 such as “Till the End of the Day”) and early indications of the future direction of Ray Davies’ songwriting styles (“The World Keeps Going Round” and “I’m On an Island”).

The album’s title is a mocking reference to the notorious reputation the band had developed over the previous year, including onstage fights and concert riots in Europe, which led to a ban on the group’s concerts in the US.

American singer Bobby Rydell covered “When I See That Girl of Mine”, which was released as a single in the US a full month before the Kinks’ version was made public.

The single “Till the End of the Day” was a major hit, reaching #8 in the UK and #50 in the US, spending eight weeks or more in each chart. (by wikipedia)

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The Kinks came into their own as album artists — and Ray Davies fully matured as a songwriter — with The Kink Kontroversy, which bridged their raw early British Invasion sound with more sophisticated lyrics and thoughtful production. There are still powerful ravers like the hit “Til the End of the Day” (utilizing yet another “You Really Got Me”-type riff) and the abrasive, Dave Davies-sung cover of “Milk Cow Blues,” but tracks like the calypso pastiche “I’m on an Island,” where Ray sings of isolation with a forlorn yet merry bite, were far more indicative of their future direction. Other great songs on this underrated album include the uneasy nostalgia of “Where Have All the Good Times Gone?,” the plaintive, almost fatalistic ballads “Ring the Bells” and “The World Keeps Going Round,” and the Dave Davies-sung declaration of independence “I Am Free.” (by Richie Unterberger)

In other words: Won´t you tell me … where have all the good times gone …

The Kinks … one of the finest groups from the classic beat period in the Sixites !

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Personnel:
Mick Avory (drums on 01., 02. + 09., percussion)
Dave Davies (guitar, vocals on 01., 05., 11., 12.)
Ray Davies (vocals, guitar, harmonica)
Pete Quaife (bass, background vocals)
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Clem Cattini (drums, 03. + 08., 10. – 12.)
Rasa Davies (background vocals)
Nicky Hopkins (keyboards)
Shel Talmy (guitar on 10.)

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Tracklist:
01. Milk Cow Blues (Estes) 3.45
02. Ring The Bells (R.Davies) 2.22
03. Gotta Get the First Plane Home (R.Davies) 1.50
04. When I See That Girl Of Mine (R.Davies) 2.13
05. I Am Free (D.Davies) 2.32
06. Till The End Of The Day (R.Davies) 2.22
07. The World Keeps Going Round (R.Davies) 2.37
08. I’m On An Island (R.Davies) 2.19
09. Where Have All The Good Times Gone (R.Davies) 2.54
10. It’s Too Late (R.Davies) 2.37
11. What’s In Store For Me (R.Davies) 2.07
12. You Can’t Win (R.Davies) 2.43
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13. Dedicated Follower Of Fashion (R.Davies) 3.05
14. Sittin’ On My Sofa (R.Davies) 3.08
15. When I See That Girl Of Mine (demo version) (R.Davies) 2.02
16. Dedicated Follower Of Fashion (alternate stereo take) 3.01 (R.Davies) 3:01

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Quincy Jones – Plays (Songs) For Pussycats (1965)

FrontCover1An impresario in the broadest and most creative sense of the word, Quincy Jones’ career has encompassed the roles of composer, record producer, artist, film producer, arranger, conductor, instrumentalist, TV producer, record company executive, magazine founder, multi-media entrepreneur and humanitarian. As a master inventor of musical hybrids, he has shuffled pop, soul, hip-hop, jazz, classical, African and Brazilian music into many dazzling fusions, traversing virtually every medium, including records, live performance, movies and television.

Released in 1965, Quincy Plays for Pussycats is a bright, cheeky big-band album done in a more commercial pop style than previous Quincy Jones albums. Nonetheless, there’s plenty to enjoy here. From the hipster reworking of the Tom Jones hit “What’s New Pussycat?” to the buoyant lounge music version of “The Hucklebuck,” this is swinging ’60s jazz for the martini set. (by Matt Collar)

What a line-up: Kenny Burrell  – Gary Burton  – Jim Hall – Thad Jones – Roland Kirk – Lalo Schifrin – Zoot Sims – Toots Thielemans !!!

Alternate frontcover:

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Personnel:
Patti Brown (piano)
Kenny Burrell (guitar)
Gary Burton (vibraphone)
Billy Byers (trombone)
Jimmy Cleveland (trombone)
Curtis Fuller (trombone)
Urbie Green (trombone)
Jim Hall (guitar)
Milt Hinton (bass)
Thad Jones (trumpet)
Roland Kirk (saxophone)
Melba Liston (trombone)
Oliver Nelson (saxophone)
Joe Newman (trumpet)
Jerome Richardson (saxophone, flute)
Ernie Royal (trumpet)
Lalo Schifrin (piano)
Zoot Sims (saxophone)
Toots Thielemans (harmonica)
Julius Watkins (flugelhorn)
Chris White (drums)
Kai Winding (trombone)
Phil Woods (saxophone)
Snooky Young (trumpet)

Arranged and conducted by Quincy Jones

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Tracklist:
01. What’s New Pussycat? (Bacharach/David) 2.45
02. A Taste Of Honey (Scott/Marlow) 2.37
03. Sermonette (Adderley) 2.51
04. A Walk In The Black Forest (Jankowski) 2.53
05. Mack The Knife (Weil) 2.34
06. Moon River (Mancini/Mercer) 2.34
07. Take Five (Desmond) 3.31
08. Gravy Waltz (Brown/Allen) 2.44
09. I Hear A Symphony (B.Holland/Dozier/E.Holland) 3.08
10. Mr. Lucky (Mancini/Livingston/Evans) 2.27
11. Cast Your Fate To The Wind (Guaraldi) 2.47

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Quincy Jones, 1965

The Pretty Things – Same (1965)

FrontCover1The Pretty Things is the self-titled 1965 release by The Pretty Things, which features mostly R&B and rock and roll cover versions.
The liner notes were written by Jimmy Duncan and Bryan Morrison.
The Pretty Things’ debut LP was a legendary exercise in anarchy — 30 minutes into the two days’ worth of sessions, their original producer, Jack Baverstock (the head of the label, no less), walked out, and was eventually replaced by a slightly more sympathetic personality in the hopes of salvaging something from the efforts of the band, who, whatever their shortcomings in decorum or sobriety, were on their third successive charting single. The resulting album, made under the coordination (if not control) of drummer-turned-producer Bobby Graham, made the early work of the Rolling Stones — rivals and one-time bandmates to the Pretty Things’ Dick Taylor — sound more like the work of the Beatles: very calculated, lightweight, and…genteel. The Pretty Things is recorded with practically every song and instrument pushing the needle into the red (i.e., overload). Normally, that would be a problem, except for the fact that a third of the repertory was written by Bo Diddley and most of the other two-thirds was inspired by him (even their version of Chuck Berry’s “Oh Baby Doll” sounds like it was lifted from the Two Great Guitars sessions where the two legends crossed swords) — and Bo spent most of his career with his amplifiers set on “11” in a world where ten was the max.

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“Roadrunner” is about as raw and loud as British rock & roll ever got up to that time, and it’s just the beginning — “Judgement Day” has a lead guitar buried somewhere in there, beneath rhythm instruments that sound like metal being ground up, and “13 Chester Street” is, strangely enough, an homage to the house the band once shared with the Stones’ Brian Jones; appropriately enough, it mixes the band’s crunchy rhythm guitar-centered sound with a Slim Harpo-style lead (all of the stuff that Jones was identified with musically), in a group “composition” that shimmers and pulses around Phil May’s dissolute vocals. “Big City” takes them back to Chess Records territory, from which they never stray — “Mama, Keep Your Big Mouth Shut” even sounds like a Chess outtake, what Leonard Chess would’ve said needed one more pass to get right (and he’d have been wrong). And just to show that there is some justice in the world,
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The Pretty Things did reach number ten on the U.K. charts, bewildering all of the more “professional” hands at Fontana Records by grabbing the ears of that harder, more intense part of the Stones’ larger audience and throwing them the sonic equivalent of raw meat to chew on. Phil May reveals himself as a fairly powerful singer, though lacking some of the charisma that Mick Jagger projected, but the group’s own raw power made for quirky appeal all of its own that would carry them for many years beyond this roaring start. And in the meantime, records like this would point the way not only toward the work of such American garage band icons as the MC5, but blast a path through the wilderness that the likes of Billy Childish and his band the Milkshakes and their successors would traverse. (by Bruce Eder)
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Personnel:
Phil May (vocals)
Brian Pendleton (guitar)
Viv Prince (drums)
Dick Taylor (guitar)
John Stax (bass)
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Bobby Graham (drums)
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Tracklist:
01. Road Runner(McDaniel) 3.12
02. Judgement Day (Morrison) 2.47
03. 13 Chester Street (May/Taylor/Pendleton/Stax/Prince) 2.22
04. Big City (Duncan/Klein) 2.02
05. Unknown Blues (May/Taylor/Pendleton/Stax/Prince) 3.48
06. Mama, Keep Your Big Mouth Shut (McDaniel) 3.04
07. Honey, I Need (Taylor/Warburton/Smith/Stirling) 2.00
08. Oh, Baby Doll (Berry) 3.01
09. She’s Fine, She’s Mine (McDaniel) 4.24
10. Don’t Lie To Me (Red) 3.53
11. The Moon Is Rising (Reed) 2.33
12. Pretty Thing (Dixon) 1.39
LabelA1