Car Boot Vinyl Diaries

Car Boot Vinyl Diaries

Friday, 3 February 2017


As I've mentioned before, I don't always have the patience to look through boxes of 7" singles, but when albums are thin on the ground I sometimes have a rummage, and somehow over the past 12 months I've amassed quite a few.  Here's a somewhat random selection.

Bought for 50p at a car boot sale last August was this well-known record from British vocal trio The Avons.

The Avons - Seven Little Girls Sitting In The Back Seat b/w Alone At Eight (1959)

After an inauspicious start, sister-in-law duo The Avon Sisters (stepsisters Valerie and Elaine Murtagh) dropped the "Sister" part of their name and teamed up with singer Ray Adams.  Seven Little Girls Sitting In The Back Seat was their debut single and their biggest hit, topping out at no.3 in the UK.  The song was first recorded earlier that year by US singer Paul Evans, who took it to no.9 in his home country.

I'm very fond of this cheeky but wholesome pop song about a frustrated motorist (driving what must be a fair sized vehicle considering the passenger load) and his polyamorous pal, especially the pleasing "de-doody-doom-doom" backing vox.

From the same seller and also costing 50p was another old favourite on Columbia, this time from Bobby Vinton.

Bobby Vinton - Blue Velvet b/w Is There A Place (Where I Can Go) (1963)

Blue Velvet was a top 20 hit for Tony Bennett in 1951, then The Clovers in 1955 and The Statues in '59.  Vinton had the most success with it, his piningly nostalgic rendition bagging two weeks at the top spot in the US in 1963.  Although it didn't dent the UK chart, it eventually achieved a no.2 placing in 1990 when it was re-released, four years after it had been heavily featured in David Lynch's noir of the same name inspired by the song.  The most recent version was Lana Del Ray's brooding interpretation, used in a TV ad for H&M in 2012.

Car boot season isn't up and running in my part of the world just yet, so I've been relying on the local charity shops for second hand music fixes.  This has meant mostly CDs, but a couple of weeks ago I bought the first lot of chazza vinyl of 2017; a handful of 50p singles including this on Disques Vogue from Pet Clark.

Petula Clark - Il Faut Revenir (You'd Better Come Home) b/w Un Jeun Home Bien (1965)

Founded in 1947, Disques Vogue began by releasing jazz by American and French artists, expanding into pop towards the end of the '50s.  Petula Clark signed with the label in 1957 and started having French-language hits in Europe as well as continuing to chart at home in the UK on Pye Records with songs sung in English.  She also recorded material in Italian, Spanish and German, and her worldwide smash Downtown was released in four different languages.

Il Faut Revenir (You'd Better Come Home) came out in 1965, and the b-side is a very tasty French-language cover of A Well Respected Man by label-mates the Kinks.  This cover was also released as an a-side the same year on the Vogue Productions imprint, with a song called Las Vegas on the flip.

Also on Disques Vogue is this by François Hardy, bought at a boot sale last summer (another 50p-er).

François Hardy - Si C'est Ca b/w Je Serai La Pour Toi (1966)

Parisienne swoon-inducing pop singer Hardy joined Vogue in 1961, and like Clark sings in Italian and German as well as French and English.  This single (the titles translate as If This Is It and I'll Be There For You) was a British release, made in England and distributed by Pye.  Both sides are lovely; Si C'est Ca features just minimal guitar behind Hardy's enchanting vocal, but the slightly more produced b-side Je Serai La Pour Toi just edges it for me.

Pye's association with Disques Vogue meant that they put out this next single on both imprints.  I bought a copy in a local E.A.C.H. (East Anglian Children's Hospice) shop at the very end of December last year for a pound.  (Sadly mine is the UK Pye version, not the rather sought-after French release.)

The Honeycombs - Have I The Right? b/w Please Don't Pretend Again (1964)

The Honeycombs were a squareish sixties London beat group, and were unusual for their time in having a female drummer; Ann 'Honey' Lantree, an ex-salon assistant to founding member and former hairdresser Martin Murray (rhythm guitar).  Have I The Right? was written by Ken Howard and Alan Blaikely, who'd later go on to write for many other artists, including Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky Mick & Tich, Pet Clark, Lulu and, er, Rolf Harris.  Produced by Joe Meek, the thumping beat of HITR? was bolstered by band members stomping on the stairs to the studio, to which Meek had attached a series of microphones using bicycle clips.  This beefy stomp plus the novelty of a big-haired girl drummer helped propel the single to the top of the charts in the UK plus three other countries, with worldwide sales estimated at a million.  Pye's canny practise of putting out multi-lingual releases was employed, with the German-language version reaching the same place in the German chart a month after the English original, and the label's penchant for artistic cross-pollination resulted in the band's fourth single being a cover of a Kinks song.  It was called Something Better Beginning, and it flopped.  Here they are with their smash hit to see us out.

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