The world lost one of the giants of 20th. Century Rock and Pop music early this year. My own first memory of David Bowie was during the summer of 1972 when the brand new Ziggy Stardust album landed on a turntable during the zenith of a basement "rec room" party in Aylmer Quebec. Of course it was being played at maximum volume. "Glam rock" was upon us yes ... but Bowie had already seen several of his earlier efforts receive a waxing in Canada.
This brief post pays tribute to those early and quirky Canadian Bowie releases. Sorry but I am skipping the early RCA releases because they were pretty much the same as those issued in the USA. These early releases to me are far more interesting and are often overlooked. Let's try and correct that!
Dig Anything You Say / Can't Help Thinking About Me (1966, Allied, cancelled ?)
To date I cannot confirm the Canadian Pye release above but the US release on Warner Brothers (WB 5815, May 1966) suggest that it was also considered for issue in Canada by Pye (Allied). The Kinks' Klassik Dead End Street / Big Black Smoke was issued as Pye 813. And if anyone has a copy of Pye 812, please step forward!
Rubber Band / There Is A Happy Land (June 1967)
Love You Till Tuesday / Did You Ever Have A Dream (September 1967)
(over the years I have been able to find copies of such obscure releases as both 45s by Eyes of Blue - DM.85001 and DM.85003 - so it is possible that the two Bowie Deram 45s were given a release in Canada but I have never seen either one)
David Bowie - Space Oddity / Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud (July 1969)
Just as man was landing on the moon, David Bowie was "out" in record shops in Canada with this release.
Pye 7N 8002 *
David Bowie And The Lower Third - Can't Help Thinking About Me / David Bowie - Dig Anything You Say (1971, Phonodisc, blue label)
(*note the previous release on Pye was Pye 7N 8001 - The Kinks - Gods Children / The Way Love Used To Be)
London L 20079
David Bowie - The Laughing Gnome / Gospel According To Tony Day (November 1973)
(this reissue from 1973 consisted of two tracks from the Images Lp that was issued by London Records of Canada).
David Bowie (May 1967)
I have an original Compo-pressed 1967 stereo copy (punch hole) but I have never seen a mono copy although it is possible one was issued. His very first album of all. an original Canadian copy is very rare in any condition. Most copies were deleted quickly.
This album has all warm sound and nice arrangements of the two great contemporary Cat Stevens albums on Deram. In my opinion, Bowie was interesting after his Deram days but these tracks are his very best in my opinion ... but a lot of Bowie fans would disagree with me ! If you like The Kinks in their poorest selling days - think Dead End Street, Big Black Smoke, Wonderboy and Pretty Polly - then you will love this Bowie album. If not, then you won't!
David Bowie - Man Of Words Man Of Music (January 1970).
Well, although the album was pressed in Canada by London Record of Canada in early 1970, the disc was sold in an imported US gatefold jacket.
The Canadian Compo pressings of the disc feature a black label with silver print and are next to impossible to track down. The label does not list the actual title of the album - weird. Good luck finding a copy!
David Bowie - The Man Who Sold The World (November 1970)
I have yet to see an original Canadian release of this album. All of the copies that I have seen in Canada were imports from the USA and have a punch hole. If anyone has seen a Canadian Mercury pressing of this album, please get in touch!
London BP-628, BP-629
Images 1966-1967 (1973).
This double album set is the one to get, as it contains all of his Deram material... the 1967 album plus lots of obscure A and B sides. Early discs are Compo pressings.
London Promo 6
London Records Presents (1973)
This promotional LP includes the track "There Is A Happy Land" from the double London LP Images.
Deram DPA 3009, DPA 3010
Hard Up Heroes (1974)
One of the best compilation albums of all time, compiled by Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray of the NME. Disc 2 contains one track by Bowie, "The London Boys" but inclusion of the Bowie track in the lineup was essential for perfect context. By the time this album was issued in Canada, the vinyl shortage was upon us and Compo had moved their pressing plant. These London pressings were physically lighter and slightly less warm sounding. A good point to end our Bowie tribute.
Next month (April 2016) we will try and catch up on the backlog of interesting discographical updates!
The Creation were arguably one of the most impressive of the new British Power Pop groups to arrive in 1966. As they rightly claimed, "our music is red with purple flashes". They, perhaps like The Velvet Underground, created the genre of Art Rock. They painted canvasses on stage to accompany their hit Painter Man. They incorporated all of the rock guitar elements of The Who, the edgy satire of The Kinks, and the Mod sensibilities of The Small Faces. The group shared a producer with The Kinks and The Who, that being Shel Talmy, the expatriate American who produced some amazing discs after he arrived in the UK. Some examples included You Really Got Me by The Kinks and My Generation by The Who.
No album was ever issued in Canada by The Creation which is a pity, but four very terrific and rare singles were pressed in Canada. And they were always really a singles band anyway. My first "heavy" experience with the group was in the mid-1970s when Brian Hogg covered The Creation and their discography in his excellent magazine "Bam Balam No.4" and that issue is essential reading for anyone remotely interested in 1960s Art Rock. He noted that the mixes of some of the North American singles were different to the mixes issued in the UK and Europe.
The classic lineup for The Creation in 1966 and 1967 featured Eddie Phillips (guitar, sometime with bow), Bob Garner (bass), Kenny Pickett (vocals), Jack Jones (drums). Kim Gardner joined in 1967. Ronnie Wood joined in 1968.
The group was hugely popular in Germany but they disbanded in June 1968.
(July 1966) Barry B-3434X - The Creation - Making Time / Try And Stop Me (issued in the USA as Planet 45-116)
(November 1966) Barry B-3453X - The Creation - Painter Man / Biff Bang Pow (issued in the USA as Planet 45-119)
(July 1967) Decca 32155 - The Creation - If I Stay Too Long / Nightmares (issued in the USA as Decca 32155)
The fourth Creation 45 was not issued until September 1967. Some years ago I purchased a box of old 1960s record dealer catalogues from the Pembroke Record Centre (Pembroke, Ontario). The Decca catalogue for 1968 listed both Decca Creation 45s as being issued here in Canada. Here is a segment of page 254:
Recently, regular contributor Frank Manley alarted us to the Canadian Decca copy of Nightmares. Although I have the two Barry singles, I had not seen a Canadian pressing of this disc before.
During August 1967, just a few weeks before Decca issued The Who's great disc "I Can See For Miles", Compo finally adopted the newer Decca colour-band label format for its 45 releases. So by the time Compo issued their second Creation 45, the colour bands labels were being used.
(November 1967) Decca 32227 - How Does It Feel To Feel / Life Is Just Beginning (issued in the USA as Decca
I don't think I have ever seen any original Canadian radio station chart entries for The Creation 45s issued in Canada in 1966 and 1967. And I never heard them played on radio during that time. Not getting radio airplay in Canada usually meant that the discs were not going to get a chart place of any kind.
In the early 1970s, I recall seeing a a few copies of a British import album on the Charisma label (Creation 66-67) that pulled together many of their singles and their B sides. Well worth picking up that LP as well. The imported album was sold only at the specialist import shops.
To date we have obtained original label images for the first 3 of the 4 Creation discs issued in Canada. If there is anyone out there who has a Canadian pressing of the second Decca 45, please get in touch. Many thanks again to Brian Hogg, Frank Manley and to our friends at the global 45s web site www.45cat.com.
Stay in touch (through the coldest season of the year) and see you next month!
The CBC TV show Take Thirty travelled to London in the late summer of 1966 and one of the great interviews they did from London was with Paul Jones who had left the “serious” pop group Manfred Mann in July 1966 to embark on a solo career. Paul was interviewed by the CBC in the courtyard of an English pub and has clearly already had “one or two". Standing with a pint mug of beer, he talked about leaving a successful Pop group to go solo. His solo career that would ultimately include music, film, and stage works. He had already recorded “away from Manfred Mann” with The Powerhouse in the spring of 1966. By autumn 1966, he was busy working on the Peter Watkins’ film Privilege which was released in late February 1967 to critical acclaim.
In June 1967, Paul Jones and Jean Shrimpton appeared on the front cover of the British magazine “Film And Filming” in a photo from a scene from the film “Privilege”. Paul Jones later starred in an independent B&W British film from 1968 titled “The Committee” that featured soundtrack music by The Pink Floyd and Arthur Brown. Jones also appeared in the London West End presentation of “Conduct Unbecoming” in July 1969. With so many competing “Thespian” interests after 1966, it can be easily concluded that making hit records was no longer his number one priority. But oddly, his records were always good after 1967.
Fortunately, I interviewed Paul Jones at the El Mocambo on September 17th, 1981. He was in Toronto to play concerts with The Blues Band. Along with PauI, I also interviewed ex-Bluesbreaker drummer Hughie Flint. Both were great fun to meet with. When I asked Paul about his great Manfred Mann B-sides he was puzzled. When I mentioned that the B-side of Pretty Flamingo, You’re Standing By, was one of my favourite Manfred Mann tracks he just laughed and rolled his eyes because he didn’t think I was serious. But he did tell me that he very much liked that period of his musical career.
But lets go back to the fall of 1966. Capitol of Canada knew something was up with Paul Jones and Manfred Mann as they pushed out a Greatest Hits album … featuring Paul Jones. But Capitol knew a good vocalist when they heard one and signed Jones up for his solo releases.
45 Capitol 5745
Baby Tomorrow / I Can’t Hold On Much Longer
45 Capitol 5800
High Time / It Is Coming Closer
45 Capitol 5857
I’ve Been A Bad, Bad Boy / Sonny Boy Williamson
45 Capitol 5970
Privilege / Free Me
Two more songs from the film Privilege issued in the wake of The Beatles opus Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Oddly none of these four great solo Capitol of Canada 45s generated much chart action in Canada. They were consigned to the bargain bins. The easiest of these singles to find now is Bad, Bad Boy. My personal favourite is High Time which should have been a hit in Canada. At this same time, Manfred Mann (with Mike D’Abo on vocals) issued more great discs in Canada with the terrific soundtrack LP Up The Junction, the single Mighty Quinn, the single My Name is Jack, and finally the single Fox On The Run. Perhaps few cared that Paul Jones had left Manfred Mann.. or even knew that he had been replaced. As they say, the hits just kept on coming!
Elektra EKL-4002 (mono) EKS-74002 (stereo) – “What’s Shakin’” – includes 3 tracks by Eric Clapton & The Powerhouse (released June 1966)
Paul Jones (vocal, harmonica)
Steve Winwood (vocal, guitar, keyboards)
Pete York (drums)
Eric Clapton (vocal, guitar)
Ben Palmer (piano)
Jack Bruce (bass)
I Want To Know (written by Sheila MacLeod, wife of Paul Jones)
Steppin’ Out (Memphis Slim)
Crossroads (Robert Johnson)
Certainly, these are among the very best tracks on the album and this is an essential blues and pop compilation album from the 1960s. Crossroads would become a staple for The Cream.
Capitol (S)T-2795 – “Paul Jones Sings Songs From The Film Privilege And Others” (mono and stereo) (both are pressed by Compo, released August 1967)
Privilege I’ve Been A Bad, Bad Boy I Can’t Hold On Much Longer Baby Tomorrow My Way Lady Godiva
Free Me (My Poor Heart Is Surely) Breaking Very Very Funny When My Little Girl Is Smiling I Can’t Break The News To Myself
UNI 3005 (mono) and 73006 (stereo) – “Original Soundtrack Album, Privilege” (mono and stereo, March 1967)
Privilege Stephen Vanessa Free Me It’s (Over) Otherness Time Free Me (Reprise)
I’ve Been A Bad, Bad Boy Onward Christian Soldiers I’m Alright Jackboot Alvin Jerusalem Birmingham, Oh Birmingham
Nothing was issued in Canada album–wise after the Privilege LPs in Canada until the early 1970s. Jones issued two albums in England in the 1966-1967 period. These were My Way (HMV, 1966) and Privilege (EMI, 1967). In 1968 and 1969, Paul Jones issued two more great solo albums in England; Love Me Love My Friends on HMV, and Come Into My Music Box on Columbia. Both of these albums were adventurous pop and are well worth seeking out. During the 1968 and 1969 period, Jones was popular in places like Sweden where his solo 45s were popular… and numerous (with really nice picture sleeves).
One 45 was issued in the USA in 1969 on the Bell label, but no Canadian 45 release has been verified yet.
Bell B-805 Paul Jones It’s Getting Better / Not Before Time (June 1969)
(The A side features the same song as the Mama Cass hit … but better ! The B side is a “beyond excellent” harmonica blues riff instrumental.)
London records released discs that Jones had issued in the UK on the progressive label Vertigo, a label now famous for its spiraling label design that makes you dizzy when you watch it spinning on your turntable.
45 London L.168 Paul Jones The Mighty Ship / Who Are The Masters (December 1971)
45 London L.178 Paul Jones The Pod That Came Back / Construction Worker’s Song (April 1972)
LP London XPS 605 Crucifix In a Horseshoe (April 1972, non gatefold)
A starring role in Evita, then a return to the Blues!
Following this progressive departure, Paul Jones made a stage name for himself in Evita and continued to release good singles in the UK on the Philips, RCA and Private Stock labels.
By the late 1970s, Jones returned to his blues roots by forming The Blues Band and that is where we leave our story for now.