Friday, 19 July 2013
Retro Vinyl: Hits 67 (Music For Pleasure, 1967)
I remembered seeing this particular release promoted in the inner sleeve of a vintage MFP album as a child and thinking what a great track-list it possessed The Beatles' Penny Lane, The Monkees A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You and Englebert Humperdinck's Release Me.
One slight problem here Andy - it's not the original artists singing!
Hmmm but the sleeve of the album does have the question "Can you tell the difference between these and the original sounds?" So maybe these could be quite interesting!
The album kicks off with Edelweiss, that wonderful ballad from The Sound of Music taken to Number 2 by Vince Hill in 1967. The instrumentation on this version is pretty close to the original, while the vocalist doesn't do a bad version of the song. There are a few moments towards the end of the number where singer and music don't quite tally up.
Simon Smith and His Amazing Dancing Bear does much better at attempting to emulate Alan Price's original imitating Price's piano skills and a pretty good vocal too.
Next up is A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You. This again sounds little like The Monkees original (or I'm sorry, David Bowie!), it is a good cover though and of the calibre I would expect to hear from a 60s inspired garage band.
Peek-A-Boo seems to play faithful to the style of The New Vaudeville Band as similarly does Memories Are Made of This to Val Doonican (complete with female vocal backing).
A version of Whistling Jack Smith's I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman sounds like it was fun to make, while possibly the best anonymous cover here is Charles Chaplin's composition This Is My Song modeled on the Pet Clark version. The girl singer here even sounds like Pet Clark which must have been quite a scoop for the makers of this album. I wonder who she was?
There's a decent interpretation of I've Been A Bad, Bad Boy popularised by Manfred Mann's Paul Jones and the album closes on a high emulating the Georgie Fame sound with a version of Sittin' In The Park.
This was the first of many anonymous cover albums released by MFP (more famous are their Hot Hits series of the 70s) and was released in mono format only during 1967. It was produced by Bill Wellings who masterminded several anonymous cover version releases for MFP and other record labels.
An interesting point of this album is that MFP made a huge effort to promote the release's budget nature by putting the price of 12'6 on the album cover. This was later upgraded to 13'11 causing the cover to be reprinted (or in some cases stickered). I actually found a sticker within my album that appears to have come away from the inner sleeve promoting the price change.
Anyway back to the albums original question. Can You Tell The Difference Between These And The Original Sounds?
My answer - yes! Definetely so on Edelweiss, Penny Lane and A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You for the reasons I list above although I might have been fooled on This Is My Song!
Not a bad covers album on the whole though and very 60s in feel!
Read more on this and many other MFP covers albums at The Hot Hits LP Tribute Site. Also an earlier Bill Wellings produced album that features tracks from this LP Bill Wellings life before MFP