Things even out over time, I suppose. This has been a great year for scarfing up good, cheap records on spec. In fact, I started believing that I was developing a knack for picking out winners that I hadn't heard before. So, when I arrived at the local flea market the other day and found that my main record connection had all of his 45's marked down to a dollar each, I dug in. I was quite optimistic when I walked away with a nice pile of stuff. Then, I also found a few more from a guy over in the next aisle. Unfortunately, (insert Let's Make A Deal zonk music here) the results weren't as stellar this time. Nothing like getting knocked down to size. Still, here are a few items interesting enough, good or bad, to yap about.
The BBC - Upside Down (Mega) Here's a record from 1972 and I believe that Mega was a Memphis label. I don't know a thing about The BBC but this instro makes for excellent guitar boogie, with some wailin' sax and a generous helping of organ tossed in for good measure. The percussion is also first rate. It almost conjures up images of a car chase in some old b-movie. Highly recommended.
Billy Williams - Red Hot Love (Coral) Let me start by saying that my copy of this is really beat up. But I'm glad that I grabbed it anyway. Up to now, I'd picked up a couple of Billy Williams 45's without much luck. His style is usually a bit on the tame side but here we have an up-tempo, 1950's r&b winner. Williams' vocals are all perked up and there's a nice sax break too boot. More than worthwhile, I hope to find a better playing copy now.
Teddy Redell - Judy (Vaden) My sources show that this record books for a few bucks but, after hearing it, I'm not exactly sure why. It's not too bad but it must be terribly rare if anyone is willing to plunk down more than a couple of dollars for it. It's a mid-tempo rocker, with a piano bridge and is probably worth hanging on to but doesn't overly impress me. Perhaps I'll warm up to it down the road.
Ronnie Hawkins and The Hawks - One of These Days/Forty Days (Roulette) I haven't had much luck finding Ronnie Hawkins singles, especially ones as good as this. "One of These Days", an original composition, is a nice, mid-tempo mover, with a good guitar and piano combo break. "Forty Days" is the Chuck Berry song and clips along at breakneck speed. The guitar is fantastic. Only some questionable backing vocals drag things down a bit. Overall, a two-sided winner.
Tobin Mathews - Leatherjacket Cowboy (Chief) This is from an MGM picture called Key Witness. It's from 1960, though my copy looks like it might be a reissue from a few years later. What we have here is cool, jazzy swing, with a lot of sax, a touch of guitar and good percussion. It moves really well as such things go and is over in a flash, so there's no time to grow tired of it. Worth a couple of bucks, if you spy a copy.
Hollywood Flames - A Little Bird (Ebb) As a big fan of "Buzz Buzz Buzz", I'm always interested to hear other things from The Hollywood Flames. And this one is short and sweet, a nice, up-tempo r&b rocker. Like the aforementioned hit, it has horns-a-plenty and similar vocals. I guess it's not essential but I'm sure enjoying it right now.
Ludwig & The Klassics - I Forgot (Imperial) This represents truth in advertising, I suppose. Given the mid-sixties label design and band moniker, I was hoping for something garagey here. Instead, "I Forgot" is an instrumental, tinged with classical piano. The guitar isn't too bad and even gets a bit revved up during the break. All in all, not exceptional and a bit of a letdown but at least as good as those B. Bumble and The Stingers discs.
Jimmy Hughes - Hi-Heel Sneakers (Fame) Up to now, the only Jimmy Hughes in my collection has been the excellent "When It Comes To Dancing". Here, from a few years later we get a version of the oft' remade classic, "Hi-Heel Sneakers". And he does a pretty decent job with it. There are lots of horns and a bit of organ to go with a good vocal. Not overly compelling but worth picking up, if you see it for cheap.
The Establishment - House of Jack (King) I almost tossed this one aside immediately but it is starting to grow on me. I think the vocals that stray a bit into David Clayton-Thomas territory turned me off at first but there's nary a horn to be heard. In fact, this is more of a boogie record, featuring some good, heavy guitar and a groovy organ. Not bad at all.
Arthur and Mary - Is That You (Modern) Judging from the label design, this record is from the 1960's. And it's a pretty strong r&b duet, with good, shouted vocals. It moves along at mid-tempo and even has some good guitar playing. I have no idea who Arthur and Mary are but I don't hesitate to recommend this one.