Brian McFadden’s Bizarre Tales of the British Invasion – Part One
When I retrieved two weeks of mail from the Post Office I was delighted to find my copy of Brian’s “Rock Rarities for a Song – Budget That Saved The Roots of Rock ‘n’ Roll” (Kohner, Madison & Danforth – copyright 2015). But delight isn’t a strong enough word for what I am now experiencing after opening up the nicely packaged softback. This is one very entertaining and informative – extremely well researched piece of vinyl history.
Now I have to admit, I was at first a bit skeptical regarding the “…That Saved the Roots of Rock ‘n’ Roll” part of the title – but after diving into the first chapter I quickly revised my opinion. Little did I know how intricate the stories were behind the budget labels, how they came to be, how they located very obscure material by artists who in many instances would later go onto fame, and I will report on that aspect of this work in another future Post.
Brian takes an in-depth look at the major budget record companies such as Pickwick International, Synthetic Plastics Company and Premier Albums just to name a few.
Being addicted to the entire era of the British Invasion, I just had to jump ahead to the sections which reported on several of those very strange LP releases from the very early period of the Invasion. Now I have to make an admission, and that is I purchased many of those wacky LP’s but way after the era in which they were released, only to round out my British Invasion collection. Brian, on the other hand, made his living in the music industry as a broadcast journalist and entertainment editor starting way back in the 1960’s. And as an avid early enthusiast Brian often purchased these budget releases, and not only researched them but unlike me, actually listened to them!
Brian lists this “From Britain with a Beat” LP on Modern Sounds as possibly being “…one of the all-time worst covers for an imitation British Invasion album ever.” I have to agree but I do love the cover. By the way, Modern Sound was part of the huge catalog which include the huge output from Nashville based “Hit Records” record label.
By doing so he unearthed some real gems which he now shares with all of us.
So back to the British Invasion, first up is an LP released on the Synthetic Plastics label “Diplomat”. Hey collectors, how many times have we pushed a “Diplomat” LP quickly aside at a record show, a garage sale or a junk shop? This first LP is titled “Ringo’s Theme (This Boy) and I Love Her” by Al Goodman and His Orchestra. Nothing too mysterious here but as Brian reports “Seemingly devoted to music from the film ‘A Hard Day’s Night'”…..we learn that the LP contains only two songs from the film and is then rounded out with “filler” instrumentals which resided in the public domain and were “retitled to sound like it had something to do with the Beatles”.
The next one, also released on Diplomat “Beatle Buddies” is one I purchased about a year ago because, well, because I just had to own that “Meet the Beatles” like cover. We don’t learn who the “Beatle Buddies” are, but we can only imagine which Roller Derby team posed for this picture!
Now that brings us to “Beatlerama Volume 3” by the Manchesters released on SPC’s “Guest Star” label. Brian reports that the Manchesters are in fact a real rock group from the 60’s, but not from the U.K. but are The Chartbusters from Washington D.C. who had actually experienced some chart success with a song called “She’s the One” on the Mutual label.
I have heard rumors that David Gates was a member of this group but that is predicated on a Vee Jay Records 45 release shown below where Gates is the composer of both sides. Brian reports to us: “There are rumors that a pre-McCoys Rick Derringer appeared on some of the Manchesters’ other tracks.” Great Stuff!
Next Post Up – Part 2: The fabulous “Buggs” on the Coronet Label
(Visit Brian McFadden’s Amazon Store here to purchase “Rock Rarities” and more.) and to read a nice bio on McFadden.