Gene Pitney – Let The Music Play
This is the first real occasion where Spoke Records have ventured into the murky territory of archaeological restoration. But when the artefact in question is a previously unknown 1967 blue-eyed soul stomper from Gene Pitney, we felt the time was right to immerse ourselves fully into sonic renovation.
What we had in our mitts was a battered-to-buggery Emidisc acetate of barely audible brilliance. We had to go the extra mile and reconstruct the recording using state-of-the-art technology (namely SADiE Prism Sound) and now with the blessing of Gene’s widow, Lynne, and songwriter/performer Mike d’Abo, we present to you a ‘She’s A Heartbreaker’ era Gene Pitney track backed by d’Abo and the core of Manfred Mann.
What remains a mystery is why this recording has had to wait until its 50th anniversary before receiving a deserved release. No.1 Pitney collector Del Baggott assumes chart success gained from the likes of ‘Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart’ and ‘(In The) Cold Light Of Day’ would have persuaded Gene’s management to stick with a winning recipe.
Late ’67 saw Gary Hamilton release a Tony Meehan produced pop-sike variation on the Decca label.
As an extra bonus, the front sleeve photo is a previously unpublished shot from a 1967 studio session. For those interested, a soundclip of the acetate in its original state can be heard on our website: www spokerecords.co.uk
“Gene Pitney was not only a fine singer and artist, but he was also an incredibly talented songwriter – Ricky Nelson’s ‘Hello Mary Lou’ being just one of many hits he had as a writer. To me, Gene Pitney’s finest record was the first record I ever heard him sing on the radio. That was ‘Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa’, a Bacharach & David song. I was totally captivated by, and not a little envious of, the little croak in his voice he used from time to time during the song. It was a towering vocal performance.
I also adored his recording of ‘Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart’, a Cook & Greenaway song which showed off his voice to amazing affect. This man is sorely missed and stands tall amongst the truly original Pioneers Of Pop from the greatest era… The Swinging Sixties!”
Mike d’Abo January, 2017. With thanks to Lynne Pitney, Mike d’Abo and Del Baggott.
Jacki Bond – Reviewing The Situation
Before focusing on the recording, let’s look briefly at the song ‘Reviewing The Situation’. It’s engrained in the brains of several generations as one of many classic Lionel Bart compositions threaded throughout the 1968 box-office smash Oliver! Fagin, played by Ron Moody, performed a darkly comic interpretation which is hard to forget.
The year before Oliver! was released (and no doubt with a view to cashing in on the film…), Sandie Shaw recorded an up-tempo version. Great things were expected as the song title was also assigned to the album title. The scheduled tie-in single was cancelled, leaving a handful of picture-sleeved demos in circulation. These 45s are highly sought after today. However, the Sandie Shaw recording owes EVERYTHING to Jacki Bond…
Jacki was a secretary working for Miki Dallon at Strike Records but her true yearning was to be a recording artist in her own right. She did indeed have a single out via the Columbia label in late 1965 and a brace on Strike in 1966. Despite these being decent girl-pop offerings, all failed to make the charts (though a couple have found retrospective favour on the Northern Soul/6Ts Club scenes, namely ‘Why Can’t I Love Him’ and ‘Don’t You Worry’).
Early 1967 saw Jacki back in the studio recording thee genre-defying version of ‘Reviewing The Situation’; mod, jazz, beat, soul, it has it all, delivered in a dancefloor-friendly manner and boasting a massive production. It is easy to see why Sandie Shaw’s management felt this adaption would suit their client.
Alas, Jacki’s recording was shelved due to the financial collapse of Strike Records. Jacki jumped ship to Larry Page’s Page One Records and with a name change to Judi Scott, released a version of the much covered bubblegum beat track ‘Billy Sunshine’. Jacki is also believed to be the vocalist on the George Best tribute single ‘I Love George Best’ by The Devoted.
So, on its 50th anniversary, Spoke Records are proud to release Jacki Bond’s ‘Reviewing The Situation’ on 7″ vinyl for the very first time.