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<<<<<Kitsch (CONTINUED)

6.The John Barry Seven-

"Monkey Feathers" 1963

The John Barry Seven are to Brit instrumental/kitsch acts what Alexis Corners R’n’b Incorporated was to r’n’b when it came to being a finishing school for aspiring musicians. The band was home to ace guitarist Vic Flick( a session legend before Jimmy Page was playing professionally) as well as a springboard for such luminaries as pianist Les Reed (later an instro/kitsch star in his own right), trumpeter Alan Bown ( who went on to form r’n’b/soul legends The Alan Bown Set) and session drummer extraordinaire Bobby Graham. Barry had already made a name for himself with work on the soundtracks for "Beat Girl" and James Bond films (best known for Vic Flick’s stunning riff work on "James Bond Theme" , a number Barry composed but still has never received proper financial compensation for) and then the epic "Zulu". Barry was able to do full production orchestral/big band numbers as "The John Barry Orchestra" as snappy Ventures/Shadows styled instrumentals as "the John Barry Seven". Having scored the film "Zulu", Barry then set about recording some Ventures/Shadows styled instrumentals of the films orchestral pieces. "Monkey Feathers" was an adaptation of the films title theme accented by Flick’s tremolo guitar riffs and a cacophony of flutes, muted horns, and strange backing vocals. It was found on the flipside of "Zulu Stamp" which sounded like The Shadows being punctuated by some shrill flute notes and kettledrums. Both numbers were thrown in (with two other J.B. 7 "Zulu" instro tracks) as bonus cuts on the "Zulu" CD soundtrack that was part of a 4 CD John Barry bootleg CD retrospective.

7.James Clarke-

"Wild Elephants" 1973

This funky organ/primitive synth groover gained notice when it was unearthed to be used as a GAP "a go-go" commercial last year (which I missed, there are merits to not watching television). The number had been spun at the legendary London mod/Brit Pop night "Blow Up" and has since been retitled as "Blow Up A Go-Go" and can be found in it’s catchy glory on two CD comps "Blow Up" and "Blow Up Presents:Exclusive Blend Vol.2" which features a multitude of other period instrumental groovers.

8. Alan Hawkshaw (with Keith Mansfield)-

"Piccadilly Night Ride" 1967

One could not write an article of this nature without mentioning the genius of Alan Hawkshaw who wrote, arranged and produced more numbers in this area than anyone combined .His work ran the gamut of the kinky, camp and kitsch styles that define this genre. Among his work was a now collectible studio only soul instrumental concoction called The Mohawks (long erroneously touted to be a skinhead band or Jamaican by ill informed record collectors) and numbers of this nature that sounded light and perfect for commercials or game show intermission muzak. He could also be wild and has numerous uptempo groovers with solid fuzz guitar and wailing organs. If Mike Myers REALLY wanted an air of authenticity for his "austin Powers" films he’d have done well to plumb the archives for go-go groovers like this found on the CD comp "Music For T.V. Dinners:The 60’s".

9.Barry Grey-

"U.F.O Theme" 1970

Best known for his work on the director Gerry Anderson’s animated puppet shows like "The Thunderbirds", "Captain Scarlet", "Joe 90", "Stingray" etc, "U.F.O." was Grey’s first work for a live action t.v. show (incidentally it was Anderson’s first live action t.v. show). Easily absorbed the "U.F.O." theme is catchy infectious and thrilling. Grey and Anderson continued their work together on "Space 1999". Available on "This is Cult Fiction Vol.2".

10.The Les Reed Orchestra-

"Girl on A Motorcycle" 1967

John Barry Seven veteran pianist Les Reed’s career pinnacle is surely the amazing score for the Marrianne Faithful/Alain Delon leather, flesh and bikes flick "Girl On A Motorcycle’. Already experience having scored tracks for Tom Jones, Paul and Barry Ryan etc this was Reed’s first big shot. The tile tracks full of strings, funky organ, brass blasts, flute, bike engine revs with a jazz tinged undertone can be found on RPM’s CD/lp soundtrack reissue.

Bill Luther is as respected authority on all (musical) things British as you're likely to find. He published his own zine 'Smashed Blocked' for many years and has written for just about every zine I've ever done.

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Commander Straker


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