Julian’s Column

Hello dears. I thought I would do something a little different in this issue and have a go at including a few other topics in my regular featurette. It doesn’t mean to say that I have deserted the little Bio, it’s just that the programme there for the next fortnight isn’t very exciting. The goodies that are showing I will mention at the end of my other review.

To begin with though I would like to say a few words about the Larry Grayson album that has been sent me. Then I’d like to describe some of the treats from the Royal Variety Performance that the BBC showed the other week.

Biograph Review

As I said earlier, not much on at the Bio over the next two weeks. But there are a few films worth recommending to you.

On Thursday 16th November, for three days, Borsalino is being shown. Alain Delon and Jean-Paul Belmondo get on very well together and make this super re-construction of an old time gangster movie well worth catching.

Best double bill of the fortnight comes on Thursday 23rd November for three days. The totally gripping Honeymoon Killers is showing with the really scary The House That Dripped Blood. That one, the last time I saw it, scared me so much it almost made my whatnots curdle. The former stars Shirley Stoler and Tony La Bianco, whilst the latter boasts the cream of the British horror brigade, Peter Cushing and Christopher ‘Shut That Church Door’ Lee.

A nice weepie for three days starts on Monday 27th November. Jean Simmons and dishy Leonard Whiting star in Say Hello to Yesterday. I’m sure you will all be interested to know that some of the new location scenes were shot next door to where I live. You could have blown me over with a whisper the morning I came out and found a bus stop had been erected overnight outside my front door, and parked alongside it was a double decker bus. It wasn’t much good to me though, it only went to Regents Park. Oh, I don’t know though. Primrose Hill can be very interesting at times. Anyway the man in the paper shop over the road put me right about what was going on, and saved me from rushing off to have a scream at someone at the local council offices about new bus routes lowering the tone of the neighbourhood.

Remember I was saying in the last issue to watch out for ‘Lily Law’ and her wandering at the Bio. Well, she seems to have got bored and is keeping herself busy somewhere else. Now you can get on with your relaxation without any interference, apart from that silly usherette man who still can’t keep his hands off his flasher. I hope that the batteries of his torch run out soon.

Take care of yourselves, you should have your woolly vests on by now. If you catch a cold now you’ll have it all winter. Bye all.

Everard and All

WHAT A GAY DAYLarry (Shut That Door) Grayson — York Records MYK 602

No doubt you all know about Larry Grayson and the considerable amount of success he has had this year. Firstly there’s that television series of his, and if you believe the television ratings, he’s doing very nicely. Secondly, he had a single record out called, you guessed it, Shut That Door. That too was very popular.

Now he’s brought out a 12” LP record called What A Gay Day. All the old favourites are included, such as Slack Alice, Apricot Lil, Everard, Candlewick Kate, Non-Stick Nell, and Once-A-Week Nora. I’ve met a few ‘slack alices’ in my time so I can sympathise, but Everard sounds devine! There is always room for you at my place, Ev, if that Larry gets on at you too much.

Compared to Mark Fleming, Larry is a little tame. And his album certainly is not going to shock anyone, but if you like his type of humour, this is sure to please.

The Marrow is a bit naughty, although what he’s getting at is fairly obvious. That Larry is a greedy boy.

He also sings a couple of standards – Second Hand Rose and Only A Glass Of Champagne – in his own inimitable way. Stories about all his ills and pains also appear, as well as descriptions of little adventures he’s had. Shut That Door turns up here and there, as well as him doing the original song version.

With Christmas coming up a lot of people will be buying this for their parties and festivities. Larry never goes too far, so Mums, Dads, Aunt Flo’s and the rest are not going to be outraged too much.

Have a listen, you will get a few laughs if you are in the right mood. You wait until I make my record. I’ll show that ‘Gay Day’ Larry a thing or two.

Queens at the Palladium

Well loves, did you see it? Wasn’t it a gorgeous gay event? All the stars were there, and there wasn’t just one queen there either. Apart from HM Queen Elizabeth and The Queen Mother, lovely ladies both of them, there were those pianist lads – Liberace and Elton John – and Danny La Rue looking more fetching than ever. Such stunning gowns he wears!

Liberace’s wardrobe was as fabulous as ever and he was changing his creations every two minutes. Someone forgot to light his candles though. He had a little competition from Elton, who seemed bent on showing from where he gets his fashion inspirations.

Danny was up to his usual standard and he did some sexy numbers with the chorus boys.

Of the rest of the stars Jack Jones and comedienne Carol Channing were superb, and Carol’s little piece with Liberace was very amusing. The Jackson Five were delightful. I couldn’t keep my eyes off that boy Michael Jackson. Knows his showbiz that kid. Particularly of note was Roy Hull and his Emu, who kept me in stitches throughout his act.

A very enjoyable show and such a regal evening.

Between The Grooves

SUNDOWN LADY – Lani Hall – A&M AMLS64359

One of the most pleasing records I have heard recently has been Sundown Lady by Lani Hall. It is this lady’s first solo outing, but you may find her voice familiar as she was lead singer with Sergio Mendes and Brazil ’66 for a number of years. (At present she is a ‘close friend’ of Herb Alpert.)

Now that she is starting a solo career, she manages to exhibit far more tenderness and maturity than was evident in the past. The choice of songs for this initial venture (an important matter for a first effort and also difficult if the majority of material being used is from other writers) is superb. Her capabilities, which are by no means limited, are especially suited to what she has chosen to sing here.

The album opens with Lesley Duncan’s Love Song. A very good beginning. Then follows Tiny Dancer by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. If you are not converted by these first two tracks, then one of Cat Stevens’ better songs, How Can I Tell You is next. And how beautifully she performs it. Also included are Don McLean’s Vincent, and an unaccompanied version of Paul Simon’s very lovely Wherever I May Find Her. Particularly of note too is Sun Down from which the album gets its title. This is written by Willis Alan Ramsey, a little-known but superb songwriter and musician. The rest of the material is as strong as that already mentioned.

Lani has a gentle, smokey, expressive voice. Completely relaxing and undemanding of the listener. Perfect for the quiet hours.

I highly recommend Lani Hall to you. The moods created, the sensitive singing and the sympathetic arrangements all combine to form a great addition to quality, intelligent but popular, music and entertainment.

DIANA ROSS GREATEST HITS – Tamla Motown STMA 8006

A must for Diana Ross addicts is her newly issued Greatest Hits compilation. It contains all of her hit singles, plus some of the best tracks from past albums. The twelve tracks selected make for very good value, and the inclusion of the full six minute version of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough is an added bonus.

There isn’t much to say about Diana Ross that hasn’t been said before. The freedom of now being a solo artist has meant the range of her talents has been vastly extended.And always the fully orches trated backings and faultless production are in perfect harmony with the songs and Diana’s singing.

This is a great collection by a great artist. It’s handy to replace those worn out singles and Remember Me and I’m Still Waiting will stand out as two of the best pop songs in recent years.

GRASS ROOTS — Dillard and Clarke – The Flying Burrito Brothers — A&M AMLB 51038

Grass Roots is a very interesting collection of material by two of the finest country/rock bands that have been around in recent years. They are the Flying Burrito Brothers and Dillard and Clarke. Both groups have now sadly gone their separate ways, but this record comes as an excellent reminder of their strength and achievements. And at the low price of 99p it is remarkably good value.

Each band has taken one side of the record. The material included is a selection of some of the better tracks from their past albums. Of note are Dillard and Clarke’s Don’t Come Rollin and their version of the Everly Brothers hit, So Sad, whilst the Flying Burrito’s are at their best on Dark End Of The Street and Cody Cody. All told there are eleven tracks, all of them perfect examples of what happened when rock musicians returned to their country roots.

An important reissue, this, and an essential buy for those who have an interest in the development of rock and roll.

IN SEARCH OF AMELIA EARHART – Plainsong – Elektra K42120

Plainsong are very much a neo-folk band, who occasionally stray into country music. And the sound they end up with is a very agreeable mixture that is both easy listening and relaxingly rewarding. In Search of Amelia Earhart is their initial album release, and is, for a first outing, both entertaining and competent, if not a particularly exciting effort.

The title of the record comes from the famous woman aviator who was believed lost whilst attempting a flight around the world in 1937. Recent newspaper stories, which are repeated on a printed insert that comes with the record, offer other ‘possibilities/probabilities’ of what happened to Amelia Earhart and her navigator. Two tracks refer to this heroine of the air and her disappearance. Of the other songs, those written by Ian Matthews, are handled extremely well, whilst the rest are never less than pleasant

Plainsong will sell well to folk enthusiasts and are good enough to attract other ears.

LOOKIN’ THROUGH THE WINDOWS – The Jackson Five – Tamla Motown STML 11214

Coming fairly quickly after their recently released Greatest Hits collection, is a new Jackson Five album.

Apart from the tracks which have already been single hits, there is a very good cross-section of other songs.The inclusion of Jackson Browne’s Doctor My Eyes is a particularly good choice, and their performance of this beautiful song is excellent. Also a version of Roy (Professor Longhair) Byrd’s classic Little Bitty Pretty One is a great success.

With each album the Jackson’s release they become more proficient, which in turn means more enjoyable, quality pop entertainment for us. These kids are really going to be something by the time they all reach their twenties, if they are still working together.

THERE IT IS — James Brown — Polydor 2391033

One of the most powerful and successful black men in America has just unleashed another album to keep ‘frenetic soulsters’ and discotheque people up and moving on their feet. For the ‘king of soul’, James Brown, has a new release, full of his tight, uptown brand of funk. There’s no stopping this guy, he keeps on bringing out hit after hit and in quantities to make any record company executive leap with joy. In the States he’s never out of the charts, although in this country he doesn’t receive the same amount of attention, and certainly does not get the fanatical adoration his North American fans lay upon him. But his records sell consistently well here and each new cut released is a must for every club and disco.

The basic format of a Brown album is the latest batch of single smashes he’s had. For instance, There It Is and Greedy Man are both included. Then there’s a few new tracks to fill the record out. Of these Talkin’ Loud and Sayin’ Nothing and I Need Help are the most outstanding and contain all the vibrating magic that Brown can instil into them. King Heroin and Public Enemy No 1 are both heavily anti-hard drugs and are the type of ‘message to society’ songs Brown is fond of experimenting with now and again. Hopefully they will reach the ears of those involved in that form of chemical self-destruction.

There It Is isn’t really meant to be analysed. It’s for dancing and grooving to, and on that level the album’s achievements are admirable.

ON STAGE – Richie Havens — Polydor 2659015 (2 record set)

Richie Havens has been around now for a number of years, and despite being a confirmed favourite at festivals and the like (also one of the ‘heroes’ of Woodstock) has never managed to catch the imagination of the majority of the record buying public. A slightly puzzling situation considering his talents, but one that also applies to many other excellent, original artists who find great difficulty in breaking through to a mass audience.

This new release, a double album, is made up of recordings from three ‘live’ concerts and contains many of the numbers Havens is well-known for. Plus there are a few new songs that haven’t appeared on his previous waxings. These include Van Morrison’s Tupelo Honey and Bob Seeger’s immortal Where Have All The Flowers Gone? Amongst the old favourites are Freedom, Just Like A Woman, and Rocky Racoon.

On Stage captures the essence of Havens’ performances very well, but I’m afraid that its appeal will mostly be to the already converted, and stands little chance of reaching many new ears. But if you feel like taking the trouble to discover a most satisfying entertainer, this could well be a perfect introduction to a lot of rewarding musical experiences.

PLIGHT OF THE REDMAN – Xit – Rare Earth SREA 4002

Plight of the Redman is an explicitly biting album from a new Red Indian rock band called Xit. It is divided into two ‘phases’, each of which takes up one side of the record.

‘Phase 1’ describes Indian life before the coming of the white man, in what was then a vast, sprawling, unspoilt continent. ‘Phase 2’ is more intense and is concerned with the rape of the Indian people through countless atrocities, committed by the ‘invaders’. The last track is spoken condemnation of the ‘immigrants’ who destroyed the redman’s tribes, stole their lands, and humiliated them almost out of existence. The words are direct and simple and are filled with anger and frustration. At times they sound very pretentious, but, for me, the sincerity and truthfulness of the statements compensates adequately.

Musically the band are extremely proficient. Side two, which comprises exciting, extended pieces, and reaches two thrilling, rhythmic climaxes, is the most rewarding. The production and arrangements are also of a high standard.

Xit have produced a fine first album, and promise better things to cnme with subsequent releases. More experience should remove the limitations they saddle themselves with, in the form of repetitiveness and over stagey lyrics.

TWO WEEKS LAST SUMMER – Dave Cousins – A&M AMLS68118

Dave Cousins is lead singer and songwriter with the Strawbs, who with their last album, Grave New World, managed to achieve the success and popularity they had sought for some time. Two Weeks Last Summer is Cousins’ first venture solo, and to Stawbs fans it will come as a very welcome release.

Cousins has a soft, folky voice, and whilst never losing sight of his folk roots, is not afraid to experiment and to make use of all a modern 16-track studio has to offer. Thus we have an album that attempts to go further than The Strawbs have gone with their recordings, through the occasional use of electronic effects and the often bizarre songs. All the compositions incidentally, are written by Cousins. Also there are some very tasteful lead guitar breaks amidst the songs.

It all works very well, and as I said earlier, is sure to delight Strawbs devotees. Two Weeks Last Summer is also different and inspired enough to attract a lot more attention from people previously unreceptive to that group’s work.