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1960s 45 rpm 7" Pop R&B Soul Soundtracks

Better than the house red

I have always found the term “house band” vaguely disparaging, as if a recording studio has a house band in the same way an Italian bistro offers the “house red”: unlabelled and, at best, unremarkable. Sometimes, undrinkable. There may well be the odd house band out there that is like that – a bunch of […]

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12" 1970s 33 rpm Gospel LP

Whistling up spring

Whistling precisely is hard. Try whistling the same tune with someone else – you will wobble out of key with each other, for sure. There are, however, some people who can whistle with great precision. A few have made a career out of it, and had novelty hits with whistled versions of popular tunes. Such a […]

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12" 1930s 33 rpm Exotica LP

Torching the organ

Back in the day, there were things called Cinema Organs. They were behemoths, monsters, with rows and rows of keys. They could make all manner of sounds besides a pipe note. You know the expression “all the bells and whistles”? That came from these organs: the biggest and most expensive models had extra pipes which, […]

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12" 1960s 1980s 33 rpm LP Pop Rock

Straight into overdrive

There are not many gears in the musical sub-genre of Surf Guitar. It is straight into overdrive, every time. There are no Surf Guitar tracks called “Moonlight Gently Touches Lapping Waters”.  But it is a musical form which has no pretence, and at its best it is fun, exciting music. I have never learned to […]

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1960s 45 rpm 7" Pop

Girl from Tiger Bay

No one planned Tiger Bay. It just happened. In the 19th century, the Welsh port of Cardiff started trading with the world, and some of the world decided to stay. And some of these stayers were not white people. They coalesced into a dockside slum, Tiger Bay. It was a poor community, but also a […]

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12" 1940s 1970s 33 rpm LP Soundtracks

We need to tell the story again

The World at War was, when it was made in the early 1970s, the most expensive documentary series ever produced. Mixing archival footage and survivor interviews, in 26 episodes it told the story of the Second World War, skillfully shifting the focus between grand strategy and colossal battles, and the individual lives and experiences of […]

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1960s 45 rpm 7" EP Pop Soul

Rascals in knickerbockers

Four young men, looking moody and  wearing knickerbockers and short ties. The cover picture on this EP is strange. What is this? Little Lord Fauntleroy Does Motown? I had not heard of the Young Rascals, the gents in the strange gear. But they were genuine stars in the late 1960s, with five US number 1 […]

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1960s 45 rpm 7" Classical

HAL on Earth

Good afternoon, Gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992. My instructor was Mr. Langley and he taught me to sing a song. If you’d like to hear it, I can sing it for you. Sci-fi fans will recognise the […]

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1960s 45 rpm 7" Pop R&B

Give Peace a chance

On the fringes of the R&B and soul scene of the 1950s were hundreds, maybe thousands, of talented singers and musicians who inhabited the land of Neverquite. It is often hard to chart their careers. They would shift from group to group, perform under different names, a minor hit here, an under-appreciated release there. Such […]

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1960s 45 rpm 7" Country Gospel Pop

Cross-over Man

Cross-over. It was a buzz term in music marketing, back in the 80s. Like many things from that decade it was applied cynically. Industry executives were worried that Micheal Jackson would not make them quite enough money because, well, he was black, n’ all.  So they hired Eddie van Halen, with impeccable redneck street-cred, to […]