Its been a popular song since 1956 although many of the Music Bar members have less than positive memories of Shakin Stevens miming very badly on top of the Pops in 1981 to his slightly nauseating version of the song . It is of course Green Door.A song that has been performed by the like of Frankie Vaughan, Bill Haley and the Comets, country singer Crystal Gayle. Even the Cramps recorded it on their Psychedelic Jungle album
But it is this instrumental version by Wynder K Frog, that has the Music Bar regulars grooving on the dance floor. It was a northern soul dance favourite and appears as No 390 in Kev Roberts Northern Soul Top 500 (pub 2000) book. However in the Definitive Edition of the book ( 2012) it is not only ousted from its position but in fact doesn't chart in the top 500. Regardless, it is a real dancer and as the track hits its stride 29 secs in, its all pulsating horns and Hammond organ.
But who was Wyndner K. Frog? They were a band headed by a Mick Weaver a white musician who played keyboards and Hammond organ. The band he formed was fluid and saw members come and go. They were popular on the student circuit in the 60s and even supported Traffic , a band whom Weaver joined for a brief period when Stevie Winwood left.
Wydner K Frog, made three albums 2 albums of instrumental covers and a an album of original material in the 'frog style 'of a blues, jazz funk fusion.
What's behind the Green Door? One theory is its about London's first lesbian nightclub which was situated in Bramerton Street Chelsea from 1930-1985.It was easily recognisable by its green door!
Poor ol Shaky. Although his version hit No 1 in the UK , the Music Bar regs chuckle at the thought of him trying to get in and being turned away from a gay bar.
Originally posted on You Tube by Bricomalingo.
One of the joys of delving into the musical past is finding some unexpected gem, What makes this find even a little more interesting is that it was recorded by Toni Basil of 'Mikey' fame, Recorded in 1966 Breakaway was also the title track of a film of the same name directed by Bruce Connor. In those days Toni Basil ran with the likes of Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson and appeared in Easy Rider and Five easy Pieces.
Breakaway was a hit on the Northern Soul circuit in the 70s. It was written and produced by Ed Cobb, who also wrote Tainted Love which was recorded in 1964 by Gloria Jones. Likewise Tainted Love also went on to be a big hit on the Northern Soul scene. In 1981 Tainted Love was re recorded by Soft Cell and became a UK Number one.
If you have an original copy of Breakaway it could fetch up to $300
The Music Bar has been in reminiscent mood all week ,listening to a lot of Northern Soul, Stax and Motown records.
One character remembered was MB, who sauntered into the Music Bar over 30 years ago. He was a first generation Jamican immigrant into the UK. Always immaculately dressed in a sharp grey suit , shirt, tie and pointed black shoes: he loved soul and ska. A recently purchased Eddie Floyd album was playing and soon MB was clicking his fingers and sliding across the floor. For an older guy he had a style and a cool that seems forever lost. Sadly no longer with us, this ones for you MB!
The Music Bar is bringing you some articles on Northern Soul:but in the meantime check out the video. Its sure to get you smiling and get those feet itching for dancing!
After hearing the Strypes 'You Cant Judge a Book by the Cover' I decided to check out what I thought would be some grizzled R n B band .Instead, staring back at me from various beatle/stones/who- esque black and white photos were four sharp suited young ....errr.....boys! It seemed incredulous that this group of mid teens....under the legal drinking age...would be hammering out some fine original RnB as well as covers of Bo Diddley, Howlin Wolf and T Bone Walker.
The Strypes hail from Cavan Ireland and as mates used to hang out at drummer Evan Walsh's house listening to his dad Nialls' collection of Stones, Dr Feelgood, Chuck Berry and Yardbird records. Forming in 2008 the band played local gigs before stretching out further afield to play pubs and clubs around Ireland. Championed by the likes of Dave Grohl, Paul Weller and Noel Gallagher The Strypes are destined for great things. Earlier this year they appeared on Later with Jools Holland and more recently have played the John Peel tent at Glastonbury. There is also news that they have been invited to support the Artic Monkeys on their forthcoming UK/European tour. Check out their EP Blue Collar Jane on iTunes or Spotify.
Enjoy the clip below.
It must have been last weeks talk of Skinheads and Suedeheads and remembering those Ska days that had the Music Bar checking out The Selecter's latest album String Theory. (released Feb 2013)
In the Ska revival days of the late 70s/early 80s,The Selector perhaps never got the coverage afforded to others from the 2 tone stable. However on their debut album Too Much Pressure (1980) not only were they making social comment but also great dance tunes such as Three minute Hero , Out on the Streets and Too Much Pressure. The band had also released On My Radio as a single in Oct 1979.
String Theory opens with a nod to the past . On their debut the band covered the James Bond theme in ska style, and here now 33 years they pay homage with The Avengers Theme. Its an energetic dancing start with a Hammond organ riff that takes this listener back to a world of sta prest trousers , Crombies and Ben Sherman shirts.
On the reggae infused Prince among Men, name checks are given to Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King and Bob Marley: whilst Nelson Mandelas' name isn't toasted, the song takes on a poignancy as Mandella today lies critically unwell in a south African hospital: surely a prince amongst men.
Political comment can be found on London Burning which tackles the UK riots of 2011 as well as on one the best tracks on the album, 667 (the Neighbour of the Beast)
On Post Modern the band explore Ska/psychedelic with a nod towards The Specials 'Stereotype'
The song Secret Love is a 60s style ska that keeps up the tempo and High Hair deals with a housewife's suburban disillusionment against a backdrop of advertising and consumerism.
This is a great album for old and new fans. One of the joys of The Selecter is that they continue to make music that makes you dance, makes you think and then makes you dance some more.
Enjoy the clip below of The Selecter playing 'Londons Burning' at Livepool O2 3/3/2013
Most of these covers would be familiar to any one who was a teenager in the early 70s. Passed around the schoolyard they were the pulp literature of the time. It was thought that they were the work of someone who was close to the skinhead movement but in fact were written by a Canadian born author in his 50s! The name Richard Allen was a pseudonym:the authors real name was Jim Moffat, and he wrote prodigiously throughout his life and published much of his work under different names. The New English Library published the books working on the idea that they could capture the youth culture market. They also went on to publish the English Hells Angel 'Chopper' series. by Peter Cave.
The collected works of Moffat were repackaged in a six volume set by ST publishing in the 1990s. The BBC aired a program about entitled Skinhead Farewell about Richard Allen and the New English Library. The full programme is available on You Tube
Ten years after the first Skinhead book was published the Ska revival was in full flight. Enjoy the following clip of The Specials on The Old grey Whsitle Test, performing Too Much Too YOung
First there was Uncle Tupelo formed by friends Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrer in 1987 . Uncle Tupelo created an alternative country music sound that signalled the re emergence of a roots rock sensibility at a time when it was more fashionable to be following the grunge rock of Pearl Jam and Nirvana. After the band split in 1994, Tweedy formed Wilco and saw critical and commercial success. Farrar formed Son Volt and their first album Trace was well received but arguably Farrar didn't capitalise or develop in a way that would replicate the success of his former friend and bandmate. This year has seen the release of their seventh album Honky Tonk. Inspired by the Bakersfield sound the album has 11 tracks of ballads and two step waltzes. Gorgeous arrangements of pedal steel and violin compliment Farrer's low drawl as he sings about heartache and heartbreak.
The up tempo tracks such as Hearts and Minds, Brick walls, and Bakersfield get the toes tapping and stay closer to the spirit of Buck Owens and Merle Haggard who epitomised the Bakersfield sound in the 1950s. The slower tracks such as Down the Highway, are for those late nights when you find the Music Bar empty and the ice cubes melting in your whiskey glass as you nurse your thoughts and aching heart.
Taking the reader on his own journey from an out of work musician to one of the founding members of The Pogues, Fearnley details their rise to international success and the eventual sacking of Shane McGowan in Japan 1991.
Fearnley doesn’t pull any punches, and is brutally honest in his appraisals of members of the band (including himself). Indeed with the exception of Jem Finer they come across as a startling band of drunken fighting(and in the beginning none to musical) misfits. Indeed it would have to take such a band of brothers (including Cait O’Riordin) to make such rousing energetic punk/celtic music However despite the brutal exposure and the bouts of hatefulness there is an underlying affection for his band mates especially MacGowen whom he so once revered.
We are treated to insights into the musical/recording and performing life of the band as well as cameo vignettes from the likes of Elvis Costello, Joe Strummer, the Dubliners and Kirsty McCall and Steve Lilywhite
Ironically Fearnley’s girlfriend Debsey from the girl group the Dolly Mixtures performs as a backup singer on Captain Sensible’s Happy Talk. On Top of the Pops Happy Talk is performed against a backdrop of brightness and tropical delight, a sharp contrast to the world that The Pogues inhabit as they wander through the wastelands, loneliness and ennui of touring. This is not the high glamour end of rock n roll. The Pogues live in a crumbling world of weariness and hangovers.
However as any fan will attest that is the appeal. They are the outsiders, the wild rovers, ‘going any which way the wind may be blowing’. They live the life they sing about. A Pogues concert is a wild chaotic celebration of life, music and drinking.
This is a wild ride, sometimes depressing , sometimes humorous but always interesting. A great insight into what life is like in a band. A must read for Pogues and music fans alike