|Various Artists - Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father (1988)|
Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father was organised by the New Musical Express and put out on their own record label in order to raise money for the charity Childline, founded two years before. The NME managed to persuade a variety of artists to record covers of songs from this most beloved Fabs album, and it resulted in quite the mixed bag.
Low points are Hue & Cry's irritating jazz-funk Fixing A Hole, the two renditions of the title track by UK hip hop act The Three Wize Men, and UK no.1 single by Wet Wet Wet With A Little Help From My Friends. I've just learned that the latter was in fact a double a-side with Billy Bragg's She's Leaving Home, which as far as I remember got none of the TV or radio plays, which is a shame as it's pretty good, especially in comparison with the inescapable Pellow smugfest on the flip.
Highlights include Sonic Youth's feedback-laden Within You Without You, Michelle Shocked's rather lovely Lovely Rita, and Frank Sidebottom's bonkers cover of Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite. Top prize goes to The Fall, however, for an excellent effort on closer A Day In The Life, complete with runout groove gobbledegook. All in all a good quid's worth and an odd little sort of time capsule from when the original Pepper was just 21 years old.
Also costing £1 was B.W. Goes C&W by Bobby Womack.
|Bobby Womack - BW Goes C&W (1976)|
United Artists weren't happy about soul singer Womack's desire to make an album of country covers, particularly in '76 when a move into disco would have been the obvious career move. But when Bobby told them he wanted to call it "Step Aside Charley Pride, Give Another Nigger A Try", they let him go ahead with the project under the condition the title was changed to something more, er... commercial. It sold poorly anyway, so I knew nothing about it until I spied it on a blanket on the ground at a chilly car boot sale in February. As a lover of country soul I wasn't going to leave it there in the pile of Jim Reeves and Don Williams, especially with the wonderful front cover image, plus Bobby looking cool-as-heck on the back:
|Photo from rear cover. A cropped version of this image was also used|
on the country soul compilation Dirty Laundry: The Soul Of Black Country.
With Bobby's soulful takes on Charlie Rich's Behind Closed Doors (from the charity shop classic album of the same name), Eddy Arnold's Bouquet Of Roses, and an absolutely charming duet with his father Friendly Womack Sr. on Tarnished Rings, BW Goes C&W is something of a hidden gem, and a must-listen for country soul fans. Only Big Bayou jars a little, but that's due more to the comparative tone than its execution.
You can hear three tracks from the album on the latest installment of Car Boot Vinyl Diaries, since it was this episode's Featured Album.
|Various Artists - Surprise Partie - Tous Les Jeunes (1973)|
"Putting young people in the spotlight", according to translation of the sleeve notes.
|Promotional sticker by Hennessy.|
The term 'surprise partie' in France once meant much the same as it did elsewhere, but from around the 1950s it came to mean any impromptu get-together by young people, paticularly teenagers, with the "surprise" part no longer relevant. Of course the record industry made the most of this trend, in particular Disque Vogue who really embraced the concept, putting out loads of albums on this theme in the 1960s:
|A small selection of 'surprise partie' themed LPs from Disque Vogue.|
I've no idea what the Guinea pig and penguin logos represent.
Surprise Partie - Tous Les Jeunes, which cost me a pound, plunders Disques Vogue's '60s vaults for recordings by a variety of pop singers and instrumental groups. François Hardy and Petula Clark are well represented with three songs each, including a wonderful vocal version of The Shadows' Foot Tapper by Pet, called Mon Bonheur Danse ('My Dancing Happiness', according to Google translate) and of course François' hardy perennial Tous Les Garçons Et Les Filles.
Others artists include guitar-wielding duo Les "Faux" Frères, who sound like they modelled themselves on the Everly Brothers; rock 'n' roll / surf 4-piece The "Octopus"; and a handful of solo artists, such as Stella, a teen pop singer whose songs have been described as "parodies of the Yé-yé style" and "engagingly sarcastic". (These days she's a vocalist with French proggers and Steve Davis favourites Magma, after wedding drummer and founder Christian Vander.)
You can hear the Petula Clark track mentioned above on the latest Car Boot Vinyl Diaries, alongside those from Bobby Womack, plus lots more car boot and charity shop vinyl. But first, here are The "Octopus" with their track Hurricane, played from the original EP on a tasty looking Dansette.