It’s well known in music circles that Help Yourself, affectionately known as ‘The Helps’, are one of the finest bands of the 70s. However despite their prodigious talents they never quite captured the full attention of the mainstream.
Formed in London in 1970 to support singer songwriter Malcolm Morley the group embarked on an incredible prolific period on United Artists from 1971-73. Esoteric Recordings have just released ‘Reaffirmation’, a lavish anthology of those years, newly re-mastered from the original master tapes.
Help Yourself - Deborah (1971)
This double CD draws from their albums and sought after single rarities to collect the best tracks of the West Coast inspired music. My personal favourites sound clearer than ever here: the stunning piano ballad ‘Deborah’, the bar room blues of ‘Strange Affair’ and the back to Beatles sounding ‘Candy Cane’.
Guerssen dig deep further into the vaults to highlight some innovative gems on Miki Dallon’s Young Blood stable. This new compilation encompasses a range of styles from 1969 – 74; from psych, r’n’b to glam with eclectic results.
So here’s the run down:
In 1969, Wolverhampton’s Revolver released pop hit that never was – ‘Imaginations’, an extremely catchy melody with lysergic undertones. The Dammed are represented with two tracks, Moog cult curio ‘Theta’ destined to appear on a future Tarantino soundtrack and album closer, cult classic ‘Morning Bird’.
Revolver - Imagination (1969)
The Dammed are not the punk legends but Brian James’ first outputs were with Taiconderoga, who are also here. Taiconderoga’s ‘Whichi’ fits in perfectly, a strident version of Harper Bizzare’s US hit, plus b-side ‘Speakin My Mind’ keeping the tribal beats with heavy rock guitar to great effect.
There’s a trio of Shakane’s 1972 tracks; West Coast sounding ‘I’m Coming Home’ and irresistible rocker ‘You Go Your Own Way’. Their ‘Dance of The Head’ is surely their peak, a ghoulish delight. Israeli Uzi & The Styles keep on running with ‘Morning Train’. Then there’s Boots glamtastic rocker ‘You Better Run’. Information’s ‘Oh Strange Man’ is another pean to the odd loner.
Derek Paul’s lone single is a doomy ballad warning the ‘Drugtaker’. It’s an excellent track but couldn’t find a market due its subject matter. Rubber Band’s ‘Moonwalker’ is the best of the glam era material, written by hit makers Alan David and Lionel Martin. With its Slade-Mott feel, it’s another single deserving of a much wider audience .
RUBBER BAND "Moonwalker" GLAM ROCK 1973
Jelly’s ‘Chicago Calling’ is a throwback to the r’n’b of 64 whilst Paul Nicholas’ Funky Bottom Congregation create ‘Things About Yourself’. ‘Things About Yourself’ is a superb psychedelic number, that only Brits could do with some fab gear drug analogies.
To conclude, Imaginations is a great snapshot of the times. With some truly exciting gems it’s a recommended purchase for collectors seeking out more long lost gems.
Steampunk – Back to the Future with the New Victorians is a new tome on Steampunk by Paul Roland. As a key force in shaping what is now known the Steampunk music scene, Paul is the perfect person to trace the history of the whole movement.
He aptly depicts that the influence of Steampunk permeates culture much wider than the growing band of the dedicated. Along the way he debunks some myths such as its tenuous links with HG Wells and Jules Verne. In its place he undertakes revealing interviews with key artists such as Cherie Priest, Chaz Kemp and Mark Hodder.
Overall it provides an essential guide to all key elements of Steampunk. It is a must read for those who want to delve deeper into this cult phenomenon:http://www.oldcastlebooks.co.uk
Hailing from Milwaukee USA, Trolley have a long history however they have surely produced their masterpiece in the album ‘Things That Shine And Glow’. I can hear strains of classic powerpop tied with The Zombies, Kinks, Beatles put through the transatlantic filter. However whilst many more illustrious acts have incorporated influences into their music, they rarely do so in a way that is more than the sum of its parts.
Trolley are the exception, they really know their way around a fantastic hook. In fact their sound also has a modern indie edge in places indicated by ‘Summer Long’, if only Jarvis Cocker could belt out a track like that now. ‘In The End’ is a little Matthew Sweetish too. But ultimately with tracks so strong as ‘Til I’m Gone’, ‘Vanity’s Song’ and ‘That Made Me Wanting You’ who cares. Comparisons are irrelevant especially with the title track, just listen and enjoy!
TROLLEY - "LOVE THE WAY YOU LOOK" from the album "THINGS THAT SHINE AND GLOW"
A special mention goes to country-esque ballad closer ‘Love The Way You Look’, beautiful harmonies and a band at their peak. Deserves to be massive.
Out now extremely limited vinyl on Sugarbush Records: