Friday, 17 April 2015

Paul Collins Beat & RSD15

Paul Collins Beat & the impending RSD15 or Every Day Is Record Store Day


Last Saturday the Galileo 7 supported the fantastic Paul Collins Beat at the Dirty Water Club in London. 

Paul is currently doing a European Tour and I would urge all to catch Paul before he returns to the US. He played a great set list, covering all the classic Nerves & Beat songs. There was a pre-show record fair which was a really nice touch that got people along early. I picked myself up a Paul Collins album I’ve never heard before. Ribbon of Gold is a more recent release (2008) but has some great Pop tunes (with a capital P) on it. State Records also had some high quality fare on sale, along with the new super- hot 45 from Thee Jezebels(available now from )I picked up the excellent Higher State LP, Freakout At The Gallery. 

Even though I say myself, I felt The Galileo 7 set was one of the best we’ve played, the new line up seems to get tighter and more manic with each show. I would encourage you to come along to the Half Moon show on the 8th of May but that is already sold out. Stub Hub anybody?

To find out more about Paul Collins Beat please visit

Which brings us to the impending Record Store Day 2015.

Love or resent it, it certainly has raised the profile of records and record stores over the years. For sure it’s not cool that those exclusives are out of stock before you get in the queue 4 hours before opening and that independent labels get pushed down the pecking order at pressing plants, but in my view the good weighs out the bad. 

For more details about RSD15 visit


Thursday, 9 April 2015

Look Who's Arrived 3 - The Who Sell Out

Look Who’s Arrived 3 – The Who Sell Out


The Who Sell Out, originally released in 1967 was a record of extreme contrast, brilliant ideas lazily executed, macabre & silly, deep and superficial. Adverts for Heinz Baked Beans sit beside tales of masturbation and spiritual fulfilment. 

At the Time this LP was viewed as a homage to Pirate Radio that had carried pop on its illegal waves throughout the sixties and had an estimated daily listenership of 10 to 15 million. By 67 though the BBC brought in Radio 1, whilst the Government closed the international waters loophole, the golden days of the pirates were over. 

Today this LP sounds like a warning of doom – cooperate sponsors of music, concerts & festivals, unthinkable & unhip in the sixties & seventies are a post millennium reality – hohum…

This is the one Who LP that has two distinct mixes (three if you count the first batch of CD remasters, but that’s another story for another day) the Mono & the Stereo. I was expecting this to be the stereo mix, however looking at the label when I took the record out of the inner sleeve I was surprised to be confronted by this.


The M on the right hand side stands for Mono, however, getting the LP on the turntable it was clearly the stereo mix. 


Quite why the label didn’t look like this original stereo label I’m not sure.  Schoolboy error whoever was in charge of design sit at the front with the dunce hat on, think yourself lucky you included the original poster or you’d be visiting the headmaster for six of the best.


I’ve always preferred the sound of the double pack / seventies re-issue of this album (the other album is A Quick One) which I always thought sounded less “boxey” than the original 67 stereo first press. Getting the new 2015 re-issue on the turntable I’m pleased to hear more bottom end and clearer, less distorted highs than either of the aforementioned versions. Pressed at GZ on super-quiet vinyl, this is another superb re-issue.

An essential Who purchase that unfortunately doesn’t come with its sister mono mix on a second LP, the silly slip up on the label is made up for by the  “Track Records” 78 style vocal riff rightfully returned to the runout groove.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Look Who's Arrived Too - Who Hits 50 & Brunswick Box Set

Look Who’s Arrived too – The Who Hits 50 & Brunswick Singles Box Set

Each lustrum seems to bring with it a new compilation of Who hits, compendiums or as noted in the inner sleeve of Hits 50, a taster. Originally scheduled for last year to coincide with the digital release, the double LP has finally arrived and to my surprise sounds pretty good. It’s been half speed mastered at Abbey Road and most of the tracks sound better than they have for years. The track listing follows the standard digital editions (there are expanded CD & download versions available) 

Interestingly this album kicks off with the High Numbers (The Who’s previous incarnation) Zoot Suit, before moving onto the mono single versions of I Can’t Explain, Anyway Anyhow Anywhere, My Generation  Substitute and I’m A Boy. Happy Jack is the US stereo mix, followed by the mono Pictures Of Lily. All sound tight and clear and without the claustrophobic compression that has tarnished all of the compilations over the past 20 years. Sadly the version of I Can See For Miles is the stereo LP version rather than the superior single mono mix, curiously Magic Bus is a mono mix of the Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy extended version. After Pinball Wizard & The Seeker is the single edit version of Won’t Get Fooled Again. Personally I’d rather have that on here as the full version is available on Who’s Next, but in terms of what would be best for a “taster” for the Who I’m not sure it’s the right choice. So having Baba O’Reily & Bargain, both album tracks up next is a bit of a shame, I’d prefer Let’s See Action & Relay here. Join Together follows and is the first track on the LP that sounds thin – I’m pretty sure I’ve heard fuller and better versions of this. 5:15, Squeeze Box & Who Are You follow, the first and last of these being the single mixes. Looking at the track listing, I was surprised that You Better You Bet was left out instead of a radio edit of Real Good Looking Boy, however listening to this song is a real revelation over digital versions I have of this. It sounds so dynamic and really “breathes”, hopefully the full version & Old Red Wine will get a vinyl release. 

The Who Hits 50 is a great place to start your Who Collection or if you wanted to own one Who vinyl record this is as good a place to begin as anywhere. It’s not perfect but it is I guess a taster. 

Another arrival has been The Who Brunswick Singles box,these cover the first six singles released on the Brunswick Label along with an unreleased single and a bonus Fontana label 45 of The High Numbers “Zoot Suit”. The Brunswick label in the sixties was owned by American Decca and usually used for American Decca releases in the UK. Like the Who Hits 50, these were half speed mastered at Abbey Road. Opening up the box reveals a small booklet with some great pictures, some of which I’ve never seen along with the 8 singles in excellent replica sleeves. First on the turntable, “I Can’t Explain”, of all the singles in this set, this one blows me away, I’ve never heard it sound so good. Back to back with an original Brunswick 7” version this has so much more “balls” and bottom end. Often the bass end was removed on singles of this period to stop cheap record players from jumping, this re-issue has more bottom end and overall clarity. A/B’d with other versions (Meaty Beaty/ Who Hits 50 included) and this still is the best I’ve ever heard any early Who sound. There isn’t such as big a difference on the other singles, Anyway Anyhow Anywhere, My Generation, A Legal Matter & TheKids Are Alright but I think they still sound superior to their originally pressed counterparts. La-La-La Lies (the last Who Brunswick single) packs a punch that is missing from the LP version and Instant Party has all the “horn” overdubs that have sometimes been missing on compilations re-releases. Again The Kids Are Alright is the full version as per the original UK single release. The unreleased single “Circles” is included here, this is exactly the same song as “Instant Party” and features exactly the same mix. The story behind this will be detailed in an appendix, however it is a nice addition to the set. On the B-side is a song called “Instant Party Mixture” that was first released on the My Generation Deluxe version CD. The great news is that this mono remix that features the complete song (the cd version faded out). 

Given the rarity of The High Numbers “Zoot Suit / I’m The Face” (only 1000 were ever pressed) this is a welcome addition to this set. Both songs sound better than I’ve ever heard them elsewhere on a myriad of compilations, sadly I don’t have an original pressing but I suspect like the Brunswick singles, modern cutting techniques have improved the finished product.  

I’m very impressed by this box set and is a must have for any Who fan. I’m genuinely excited for the next three scheduled single box sets. 


Whoppendix 1 - Circles/Instant Party 

The Who - Substitute / B side Circles 
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.
The Who at the beginning of 1966 were signed to Shel Talmy & US Decca. Like most bands early in their record contract, they soon found that they were earning a pittance for their record sales and along with The Who's management team "Kit Lambert & Chris Stamp" they wanted out of it. So after recording a song called "Circles" which was earmarked to be the next single, The Who jumped ship to Robert Stigwood's Reaction Label and recorded "Substitute" and re-recorded "Circles" and released on 4th March 1966.

The Who - Substitute / B side Instant Party
Whilst this looks like a different song on the B side it's actually the same track, which continues to fool ebayers today, in actual fact it's more common than the "Circles" named B side. It would seem that after the original gung ho approach of the original pressing, this alternatively named single was pressed up before the release date.

The Who - Substitute / B side Waltz For A Pig 
Within days of the original release Shel Talmy had an injunction, forcing Reaction to stop issuing a song that was the "property" of Talmy and US Decca (the song Circles). So with the usual wit and charm of The Who, The Graham Bond Orchestra under the moniker of The Who Orchestra, supplied the B- Side politely entitled "Waltz For A Pig"

The Who - A Legal Matter / B side Instant Party
In many ways, Shel Talmy had the last laugh, not through this feeble attempt at humour on the A side or the renamed version 1 of "Circles" on the b-side, but in court. Shel Talmy earned a healthy royalty on all future Who recordings, through Tommy, Live At Leeds & Who's Next. The Who however, got their wish to remain witReaction

The Who - Ready Steady Who EP
The song Circles rears it's head again on this EP, originally released on 11th November 1966. Although this EP infers that its recorded live on the pop program "Ready Steady Go", it was recorded in the studio and Circles is the version 2 that was originally the Substitute B side.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Take Me Out To The Record Shop

Take Me Out To The Record Shop


It’s a sunny day in Bolton Lancashire in the early seventies as Jim calls into one of the many record shops that compete for a slice of the huge sales of LP’s.  The racks are burdened by pop, rock and easy listening, scattered with Jazz & soundtracks whilst over in the corner, tucked behind the comedy records are a section marked “Other”. Along with volumes of Sound Effects & Children Stories, an imported LP lies in waiting, ready to illuminate the strange path that interconnects lives in ways we cannot begin to fathom. 

Jim’s sense of humour is legendary, indeed long after his passing family members still regale the tales of dry showers and magic tricks whenever the clans gather. Thumbing through the “Other” section he finds an album that makes him chuckle out loud. So taken with it, he purchases it there and then and takes it home to show his wife Jean. “Look what I bought today, who on earth would be interested in an album like this in Bolton, or England for that matter.” Jim & Jean laugh at it together, before carefully filling it away. 

It’s a sunny day in Bolton Lancashire in 2012, and Jean looks at me and says, I’ve got an album you might be interested in. She goes over to the records and pulls out “Great Moments in Cubs Baseball” and hands it over telling me the above story of how it made it into the collection. It’s hard to say just whether Jim’s magical prowess had the ability to foretell that his niece would marry a vinyl record / baseball nut, or that the immutable cogs of the universe sometimes turn in ways we have yet to understand. Either way, despite being a devoted Yankees fan, I know that the journey will be complete one day when I stand in Wrigley Field (home of the Cubs) with this album under my arm. 

If only second hand records could talk, what stories they could tell.

Yet another Baseball season is upon us, I’ve already caught a Spring Training game in Florida and I’ll be at Yankee Stadium this summer for my fix of “the show”. I can’t wait – “Play Ball!”

Friday, 3 April 2015

Look Who's Arrived 1 - My Generation & A Quick One While He's Away

After some time away in the heat of Florida with nothing to show but some Wilco & Spoon lps, it’s time to get back to it.

As a follow on from my extensive (possibly over extensive) diatribe on the Who releases, I’ve listened to the first two reissues – My Generation & A Quick One While He’s Away.

As with all they latest Who LP reissues, these have been pressed at GZ and look great, although lack some of the originals craftsmanship. The sleeves look good, albeit with the tell-tale barcodes & the labels are authentic although missing the textured labels. 

My Generation is in mono and A/B’ed with an original first pressing sounds identical with no evidence of digital jiggery-pokery. In my view, both of these versions aren’t quite as “sweet” as the Virgin reissue from 1980, which has some extra bottom end and clarity, the drums in particular sound “meatier”. Still this re-issue is on superquiet vinyl and sounds as it did when it was first re-leased. We’re off to a flying start.

A Quick One While He’s Away is also in mono, in a back to back shootout with an original pressing I prefer this re-issue. From this point to pre Who’s Next, musical fidelity was never foremost on the minds of the band or producers Lambert & Stamp, this re-issue seems to have more bass clarity than the original. Although I still prefer the stereo (yes I know!) version on the Phases boxset, this is another triumph, again on superquiet vinyl.


I think that's a green light for other Who re-issues. Watch this space!