Help Yourself – Reaffirmation: An Anthology 1971-1973

Tuesday, 5 August 2014, 20:17 | Category : Reviews
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Esoteric Recordings

Review by Jason Barnard

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)
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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’.

Imaginations: Psychedelic Sounds from the Young Blood, Beacon and Mother Labels

Saturday, 2 August 2014, 14:12 | Category : Reviews
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Review by Jason Barnard

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.

Imaginations: Psychedelic Sounds from the Young Blood, Beacon & Mother Labels 1969-1974

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)
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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
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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.

The Wicked Whispers – Chronological Astronaut

Thursday, 31 July 2014, 19:55 | Category : Reviews
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By Jason Barnard

If the brand new single from The Wicked Whispers, ‘Chronological Astronaut’, is anything to go by, we should be in for a treat debut album, ‘Maps of the Mystic’.

The Wicked Whispers - Chronological Astronaut
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Blending classic mod soul grooves with LA Love it’s a hypnotic mix.


Great stuff. Check out the band here: 

Steampunk – Back to the Future with the New Victorians

Wednesday, 30 July 2014, 20:25 | Category : Reviews
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Review by Jason Barnard

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:

Led Zeppelin

Sunday, 27 July 2014, 18:18 | Category : Led Zeppelin
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To celebrate the latest batch of Led Zeppelin reissues The Strange Brew Podcast takes an alternative look at Led Zep.

Led Zeppelin

  1. Band of Joy – For What It’s Worth (demo) (Robert Plant – Sixty Six to Timbuktu, Mercury, 2003 rec 1968)
  2. The Yardbirds – White Summer (Live Yardbirds: Featuring Jimmy Page, Epic, 1971 rec 1968)
  3. Jake Holmes – Dazed and Confused (“The Above Ground Sound” of Jake Holmes, Tower (US), 1967)
  4. PJ Proby – Jim’s Blues (Three Week Hero, Liberty, 1969 rec 1968)
  5. Led Zeppelin – The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair (BBC Sessions, Atlantic, 1997 rec 1969)
  6. Sandie Shaw – Your Time Is Gonna Come (Reviewing the Situation, Pye, 1969)
  7. Led Zeppelin – La La (Led Zeppelin II (reissue), Atlantic, 2014 rec 1969)
  8. Led Zeppelin – Hey Hey What Can I Do – (Single B-side to Immigrant Song, Atlantic (US), 1970) 
  9. Collective Consciousness Society – Black Dog (CCS, RAK, 1972)
  10. Patricia Paay ‎– Stairway to Heaven (Beam Of Light, EMI – Netherlands, 1975)
  11. The Jason Bonham Band – Since I’ve Been Loving You (In the Name of My Father: The Zepset Live from Electric Ladyland, Epic, 1997)
  12. Jimmy Page and Robert Plant – Most High (Walking into Clarksdale, Atlantic, 1998)
  13. Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes – Nobody’s Fault But Mine (Live at the Greek, TVT, 2000)
  14. Sandi Thom – Rain Song (The Covers Collection, Guardian Angels Music, 2013)
  15. Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters – Rainbow (Lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar, Nonesuch, 2014)

From their roots, rare tracks, side projects and covers; listen to a new collection related to the former New Yardbirds.

Trolley – Things That Shine And Glow

Saturday, 26 July 2014, 13:55 | Category : Reviews
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Review by Jason Barnard

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.

Things That Shine And Glow

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!

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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: