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  • The EP Collection
  • I Hear A New World
  • It's Hard To Believe It
  • Freakbeat
  • Portrait Of A Genius


    Joe Meek
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  • The Tornados,
  • Joe Meek Biography,
  • Glenda Collins








  • Adrian's Album Reviews |

    Joe Meek

    i hear a new world joe meek ep collection it's hard to believe it... freakbeat portrait of a genius

    The EP Collection ( 2007 )

    Introduction

    The best purchase I made last year ( 2007 ) was undoubtedly Joe Meek's EP Collection. Yes, they could have placed these 60 songs on two CDs, but where would the romance be in that? No, instead the songs were placed on twelve CDs in mini vinyl replica sleeves. Many of these EPs have been hard to locate for years and years, so to have them like this, complete with informative booklet is a delight to an ageing record collector nut like me. Well, i'm thirty four next year. I wasn't even alive when Joe Meek ended his own life. Still, that's not important right now. The music contained on these CDs encapsulates the early to mid-sixties pop scene here in the UK. It's both a history lesson and superb entertainment. The songs range from weird to camp to cheesy to brilliant to awful and then back again. So, here we go.....

    Mike Berry - Tribute To Buddy Holly ****

    1. Tribute To Buddy Holly
    2. It's Just A Matter Of Time
    3. My Little Baby
    4. You'll Do It, You'll Fall In Love

    Various Mike Berry singles released in 1961 through 1963. 'Tribute To Buddy Holly' became a big top ten hit for Joe and Mike, apparently a seance confirmed Buddy's own thumbs up for the recording. In more recent years, Mike Berry's Hollyisms have seen him record various tributes to Buddy Holly and his material, even managing to record with Buddy's backing group, The Crickets. This EP was one of the last times Meek and Berry would work together and peaked at number 17 on the EP charts. Mike had described then current top 40 hit 'My Little Baby' as 'dreadful'. Hmmm. In any case, with Meek being such a huge Buddy Holly fan himself, it was only natural he should work with Mike Berry. The lead cut on this EP would remain Mike's best known recording, a well put together Geoff Goddard composition with backing by one of Joe's instrumental groups, The Outlaws. Of the tracks rounding out the EP, 'It's Just A Matter Of Time' is less obviously Holly inspired, quite naturally, I suppose. 'You'll Do It You'll Fall In Love' is a rather trying two minutes, let down by a turgid arrangement. Far better in fact was the excellent 'My Little Baby', a Meek-Goddard composition with a 'proper' Meek echo-filled production, strong percussively. Strings and a memorable worldless chorus are other memorable facets of the recording.

    Don Charles ***

    1. Walk With Me My Angel
    2. The Hermit Of Misty Mountain
    3. It's My Way Of Loving You
    4. Hearts Ice Cold

    Cabaret singer Don Charles never quite managed to find the song that would have propelled him to stardom. This EP contains four of the five Meek produced Charles a-sides released at a time when Don Charles had switched labels. The nearest Don Charles came to a genuine hit was with the dramatic title track, a song penned by Meek under the surname 'Duke'. Better though for my money was Don Charles version of Ben E King's 'Hermit Of Misty Mountain', a good showcase for his vocal talents and a great Meek production. Really, this should have been the hit song, it fits in well with other Meek hits such as 'Johnny Remember Me'. Rounding out the EP then we find a soppy, unadventurous string drenched watery old-fashioned ballad, 'It'm My Way Of Loving You' and the bouncy, mid-tempo 'Heart's Ice Cold', a tune benfitting from snazzy harmonica and guitar lines.

    Heinz - Live It Up ***

    1. Live It Up
    2. Don't You Understand
    3. Dreams Do Come True
    4. When Your Loving Goes Wrong

    This was one of many Heinz releases put out following his infectious top five hit, 'Just Like Eddy'. The songs are taken from films Heinz had made bit-part appearences in thanks to his Joe Meek connections. Heinz success ultimately wasn't to last very long and Meek, who we suspect 'had a thing' for the blonde, former Tornados bass-man, Heinz, seemed a little lacking in judgement when it came round to discussing the quality of the numerous Heinz singles Meek was to oversee. Not blessed with the finest singing voice known to man, Meek keeps the backing relatively simple for these four Heinz songs. We've a good mix of material here actually, 'Live It Up' itself is a good follow-up to 'Just Like Eddy', 'Don't You Understand' a great Meek production rather than great material, 'Dreams Do Come True' has that galloping Meek percussion we so loved when it appeared on 'Telstar' among others leaving 'When Your Loving Goes Wrong' to round out the EP, a ballad where Heinz struggles to provide a strong, distinctive vocal. For all the EPs hits and misses however, it sold very well, peaking at number twelve and spending nine weeks on the charts. We may only remember Heinz musically for 'Just Like Eddy', but this EP at least proves there was more to him than that.

    Houston Wells - Just For You ****

    1. This Song Is Just For You
    2. Paradise
    3. Shutters And Boards
    4. North Wind

    The mountain sized yodel of Houston Wells and his Marksmen was clearly suited to a full-on dramatic Meek production. 'North Wind' was said production, a full 'Telstar' type kitchen-sink Meek effort. Sadly, buried away as the b-side to 'Shutters And Boards', 'North Wind' failed to make an impact at the time. When this EP coupling together the first two Houston Wells singles was released, he was on a package tour with The Beatles and had just enjoyed a top thirty hit with a song titled 'Only The Heartaches'. The EP failed to chart however and Meek and Wells would then go onto part company. It's a strong collection of songs, actually. A strange thing to find an American sounding, British country singer in 1962, but he sounds genuine. Meek's love of echo lends the otherwise authentic guitar lines of 'This Song Is Just For You' a taste of the milky way, whilst 'Paradise', penned by the groups guitarist is an accomplished slice of country music writing. 'Shutters And Boards' is entertaining, although the Meek compression doesn't quite bring out the best in Houston Wells here. No, the real find on the EP is the stunning 'North Wind', one of Meek's all time greatest moments as a Producer-arranger. It's effectively 'Telstar' meets country music yodelling meets god knows what. Words aren't enough, so I suggest you just track it down and give it a listen.

    The Blue Men - I Hear A New World Part 1 ****

    1. Entry Of The Globbots
    2. Valley Of Sarooes
    3. Orbit Around The Moon
    4. Magnetic Field

    I wanted to create a picture in sound of what could be up there in outer space, said Joe. Meek released this EP in 1960 to show off stereo sound effects but also had to reign in his further-most experimental excesses, admitting it would have very little entertainment value so I kept the music down to earth. Well, that's a matter of opinion! What nobody does know to this day is quite how Joe managed to create such accomplished stereo recording on such limited, 1960's equipment, it's a mystery that baffles sound engineers to this day. Effective stereo it is, 'Entry Of The Globbots' a show-case for many of these effects. 'Valley Of Sarooes' is more of a composition, a haunting, memorable melody played on a weird sounding instrument that likely was a treated hawain guitar. 'Orbit Around The Moon' remains impressive to this day. A strong, simple melody sends this one into, erm, orbit whilst the stereo flicks back and forth across your speakers far more effectively that a lot of stereo these days manages to do. People take stereo for granted of course, but I'm not sure many producers/engineers actually explore it's possibilites. Meek did explore the possibilites, also influencing techno/dance acts such as Autechre, Orbital and Aphex twin into the bargain.

    The Blue Men - I Hear A New World Part 2 *****

    1. Globb Waterfall
    2. Dribcots Space Race
    3. Love Dance Of The Sarooes
    4. The Bub Light

    The first EP failed to sell, this 2nd EP failed to even emerge, making this replica mini-cd sized edition all the more cherishable. The sleevenotes on the back are almost worth the price of admission on their own, by the way. The Dribcots space boat for example, 'Floats about 100 yards from the surface of the ground and glides along at about 20mph.' We also find the Sarooes 'in a sad mood' as they twist and turn 'in this almost eastern dance'. Glad we got that sorted. So, although the first EP is the one always discussed, along with the eventually compiled and completed LP, I marginally prefer this 2nd EP for sheer accessible melodic strands whilst maintaining the experimentation. Tracks three and four are the ones, absolutely haunting and great. So, there!

    John Leyton ****

    1. Wild Wind
    2. You Took My Love For Granted
    3. Johnny Remember Me
    4. There Must Be

    A successful actor, John Leyton turned singer by chance, Meek recognizing an opportunity when he saw one, in conjunction with the singers agent, Robert Stigwood. John or Johnny Leyton as he was known would become one of the best known male vocalists on the Meek roster. 'Johnny Remember Me' spent six weeks at number one, 'Wild Wind' was another smash and both records spent a fortnight together inside the top ten, to give you an indication of how quickly record companies exploited their artists back in the day. The other two songs on this EP containing a number one and then a number two hit then are the respective b-sides. 'You Took My Love For Granted' however to my mind was strong enough to have been a hit. 'Johnny Remember Me' is the main star of the show, a galloping Meek rhythm set to haunting backing and gothic lyrics. 'There Must Be' was recorded as a possible Meek produced a-side, eventually seeing light of day as the Meek produced, Leyton sang b-side to the excellent 'Johnny Remember Me'. 'Wild Wind' hit number two and is a song full of drama. All in all then, the John Leyton EP is a wonderful release and spent eleven weeks in the charts in its own right.

    The Tornados - Telstar *****

  • Telstar
  • Popeye Twist
  • Love And Fury
  • Jungle Fever

    The original Tornados lineup looked like they were gonna topple the success of The Shadows for awhile back their as premier instrumental group in the land. 'Telstar' itself needs little introduction. Whatever your thoughts on the apparent lack of 'coolness' the tune posesses, it's a wonderful melody with a brilliant arrangement that Meek fine-tuned and re-recorded and added to, the song eventually becoming a transatlantic smash at a time very very few British acts got anywhere at all in the USA. It's important to remember that bass-player Heinz aparent, The Tornados were already a talented bunch before Joe Meek got hold of them. George Bellamy would later play a part in britpop, even if only by being Muse's Matt Bellamy's dad. Drummer Clem Cattini would later go onto become a much in demand session drummer and the entire group started out backing Billy Fury. B-side to 'Telstar' then was a hastily put together Geoff Goddard composition which we may find more familiar as the theme tune to 'Blue Peter'. Having said that, with a memorable lead guitar line, this could have also been a hit had it been held back for a-side release. 'Love And Fury' was the groups debut single, a strong song that didn't become a hit but contains plenty of melody and atmosphere. Rounding out this excellent EP is the wonderfully entertaining Meek production effects of 'Jungle Fever'. The EP predictably sold like hot-cakes following the number one smash release of 'Telstar' itself and The Tornados would certainly enjoy the first couple of years of the nineteen sixties.

    The Fabulous Flee-Rekkers *****

    1. Isle Of Capri
    2. Brer Robert
    3. Hangover
    4. PFB

    All I really know about this instrumental group is what the booklet in this EP Collection tells me. They never had any hits, released all instrumental, sax led music and to my ears, made absolutely stupendous sounding music. Meek was always looking for distinctive instrumental acts and The Flee-Rekkers were just that. This EP release shows a couple of sides to the group. The first two songs are rough and ready, murky yet live sounding with much Meek compression causing said murkiness. The latter two tracks see groovy bass-lines, great drumming and more excellent lead-sax. This is music quite unlike any i've heard before. They ain't a surf group, even though they had a typical surf-music line-up. The songs are all catchy as hell and it's a huge shame this group never had the success I feel they deserve. I love this EP to bits, basically. There is a flee-rekkers compilation out there somewhere, which i've heard doesn't match the consistency or quality of this release, unfortunately. No matter, the boom, boom bass melodies of 'PFB' to the up-tempo walking bass lines of 'Hangover', complete with scorching sax work through to the surfing in a swamp non surf sound of the first two excellent tunes. Delve in the mud and uncover a diamond is my advice to you all, essentially. Any fabulous flee-rekkers reading this? Get in touch!

    The Packabeats ****

    1. Packabeat
    2. Dream Lover
    3. The Traitors
    4. Evening In Paris

    The debut Packabeats release was a George Martin produced single, fact-fans. The group were relatively short-lived but 'Evening In Paris' bw 'The Traitors' enjoys a great reputation among instro music circles. Now, although this ( at the time ) French only EP isn't as distinctive sounding as The Flee-Rekkers, this is high class instrumental beat music all the same. Now, as a slight annoyance, my CD switches round the titles 'Dream Lover' and what I presume is 'The Traitors'. I know what 'Dream Lover' sounds like, the melody, so it seems possible they've been listed the wrong way round. No matter, 'The Traitor' ( i think! ) is a wonderfully atmospheric and catchy piece, 'Dream Lover' is a straight ( albeit Meek produced, so not exactly straight ) instrumental version of the Bobby Darin song. 'Packabeat' is a great Meek arrangement and production rivalling his best work for The Tornados. 'Evening In Paris' is the gem of the four, though. Great drum work opens up the tune before a very evocative sound lead melody line played on god knows what under which we get some wicked guitar parts. Good job to all involved, says I.

    John Leyton - The John Leyton Hit Parade ****

    1. Lone Rider
    2. Son, This Is She
    3. Lonely City
    4. It Would Be Easy

    Four more strong songs from John Leyton, although by now his chart status was on the decline. Having said that, 'Lonely City' made the top twenty although that wasn't enough to stop John spending more of his time back on his acting shortly following this EP release collecting together some of his stray hit and miss singles of the era. For the record, the songs here really are no worse than the ones that had sent him into the top ten a year or so earlier, such is the fickle nature of fame. Great string arrangements, his dramatic soaring, deep and booming vocals. 'Lonely City' in particular has great string parts. The first three tunes here are in fact all upto scratch with only the beat-group-esque 'It Would Be Easy' failing to hit the mark, sounding more like the sort of thing Heinz would get to sing.

    The Tornados - The Sounds Of The Tornados ****

    1. Ridin' The Wind
    2. Dreamin' On A Cloud
    3. Red Roses And A Sky Of Blue
    4. Earthy

    This follows an album with a similar title containing all four of these tracks. The first number up here is a George Bellamy composition ( all but one of the four songs here were self-composed by the band ) that, whilst not rivalling 'Telstar' would prove to be a great song and a worthy release all the same. 'Dreaming On A Cloud' apparently penned by the apparently musically inept Heinz is the second tune here and a nice one it is too. 'Red Roses And A Sky Of Blue' contains yet another memorable and distinctive Tornados lead melody line whilst the closing 'Earthy' seems to present some kind of swinging Jetsons inspired space music, even though The Jetsons cartoon may not actually have been invented at the time. As testament to the groups popularity at the time, the EP reached number two and spent six months on the EP chart listings.

    Summary

    The open-minded and also fans of obscure BBC early sixties TV show 'Adam Adamant' will adore this collection. Some may find these, nearly fifty year old recordings, somwhat less than essential, but with the forthcoming Meek bio-pic, it's hoped many more will discover the magical, wonderful world of Joe Meek in the future. His legacy will live on as long as new listeners keep discovering his music. The end.

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    I Hear A New World( 1960 ) more best albums...
    I Hear A New World / Orbit Around The Moon / Entry Of The Globbots / The Bublight / March Of The Bridcots / Love Dance Of The Saroos / Glob Waterfall / Magnetic Field / Valley Of The Saroos / Dribcots Space Boat / Disc Dance Of The Globbots / Valley Of No Return

    It's been said that when Joe released what was designed simply to be a sampler EP of four of this albums tracks, that only 99 copies were ever produced. It seems more likely however, that only 99 copies were ever actually sold. Various problems Joe had with his distributors and finances ensured that the full length 'I Hear A New World' LP was permanently shelved. Well, until years after Joe's death, of course. The years passed, and 'I Hear A New World' acquired something of a lengendary status, particularly amongst techno/electronica artists. Indeed, 'I Hear A New World' comes across as a particularly exotic and out of this world electronica LP. Albeit one produced and recorded in 1960. And that's where Joe Meek comes into the equation, of course. This was a project very dear to his heart, recordings designed to show the world the full range of his production, composing and recording techniques. Joe's obsession with all things outer-space lended the album its concept, even if his backing band at the time weren't particularly fond of being christened 'the blue men' and being asked to go on stage wearing costumes and asked to have their faces, etc - painted entirely blue! Needless to say, Rod Freeman and The Blue Men, as Joe had indeed christened them for this release, weren't too happy! Anyway, to get the outer space sounds of the moon and beyond that Joe desired, he used a mixture of Hawaiian guitar, bass, drums, a deliberately out of tune piano. He used combs, running water, treated electronics and a wide variety of other percussive and pioneering mixing effects.

    That little potted history out of the way, what do we make of this album, exactly? How does it come across listened to in the early part of the 21st century? Well, dated in places, of course. That's only to be expected. There is a timeless appeal to the record overall, though. Some of the actual melodies that Joe composed are absolutely beautiful in their haunting simplicity. Joe Meek was tone deaf, by the way. His hummed demos are reputedly absolutely astonishing!! Still, Joe had these sounds in his head, and utilized his studio and musicians brilliantly to bring his imagined sounds into reality. Listening to 'I Hear A New World', i'd say he did a pretty good job! The title track, for example. Treated backing vocals, both the lead vocal and the backing track deliberately out of tune in places. The guitar sound ringing after each "haunting me....." vocal refrain. The sounds produced are unlike sounds you will hear anywhere else. Utterly distinctive and original sounds are all over this LP. There is a reason it is revered. 'Orbit Around The Moon' is actually more typical Meek instrumental fare, a little shuffling thing that sounds less 'outer space' than much of the LP. Well, it sounds like a delicious mix of Country And Western, provided said Country And Western musical combo were actually from Mars and Pluto. Enough said!!

    'Magnetic Field' is eerie sound effects, then eerie actual melodies and undescribable sounds. 'Love Dance Of The Saroos' is a particular favourite of mine, the melody utterly delectable. The way the sound is painted around the melody, the way the echo and percussion has been used. It's hard to believe, but it's true that 'Love Dance Of The Saroos' sounds like the kind of material Brian Wilson was producing in 1967 and 1968. Instrumentals that forgoe any kind of basic rock form in favour of reaching truly for the heavens and reaching truly for sounds and places that can only be imagined. So, ambitious? Well, yes. Ambitious, at other times astonishing, at other times scary and other times beautiful and beautifully funny. That's Joe Meeks 'I Hear A New World'. I like it a lot. I'd heard about this record. Until I actually heard it though... well. All I can say is, it's truly unlike anything else i've heard in my entire life. That's a good thing, obviously.

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    Readers Comments

    Mike Harras michael@ctu.edu.vn
    Great to see this review, as stated earlier, Joe Meek was certainly ahead of his time. A crazy, charming album



    It's Hard To Believe It... 9 ( 1995 )
    Telstar - The Tornadoes / Johnny Remember Me - John Leyton / Tribute To Buddy Holly - Mike Berry & The Outlaws / Chick A 'Roo - Ricky Wayne & The Flee-Rakkers / Night Of The Vampire - The Moontrekkers / Paradise Garden - Peter Jay / My Friend Bobby - Pamela Blue / Swingin' Low - The Outlaws / Valley Of The Saroos - The Blue Men / The Bublight - The Blue Men / Til The Following Night - Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages / Just Like Eddie - Heinz / North Wind - Houston Wells & The Marksmen / Huskie Team - The Saints / Have I The Right - The Honeycombs / My Baby Doll - Mike Berry & The Outlaws / Something I've Got To Tell You - Glenda Collins / I Take It That We're Through - The Riot Squad / Lost Planet - The Thunderbolts / It's Hard To Believe It - Glenda Collins

    Joe Meek was a highly influential producer in the early sixties. But, not just that. He was also quite possibly the first ever independent producer ( at least in his native UK ) separate from the rest of the music business. He had his own record label, recording studio. He built his own mixing desk, recording equipment. He was self taught and built everything himself. He recorded in his own flat, using floorboards for percussion and the bathroom for a vocal booth. And, with all of that, he pioneered a number of new production techniques, did a whole album of songs that sound like early electronica and is still highly thought of today.

    This compilation is a great introduction to his music. 'Telstar' is the song you hear in adverts, Margaret Thatcher’s favourite song. That's not good pedigree, I hear you cry! But! It was a huge hit everywhere. It still sounds wonderful today if listened to without thinking of it's associations. The melody is so strong and familiar it is easy to overlook this, which would be a shame. It provided a template for many other songs Joe would be involved with. There are a whole load of different Joe Meek songs here though. A very good representation of his career.

    'Johnny Remember Me' is an early Meek production, as is 'Tribute To Buddy Holly'. Neither of these are essential and lack many of the sounds that made Joe special. 'Night Of The Vampire' is lacking in melody but does show off some of his production techniques. Screams, noises galore and the whole thing sounds like a movie watched in outer space. 'My Friend Bobby' is a welcome example of Joe producing a female singer. 'Swingin Low' is noisy and features good guitar. 'Til The Following Night' performed by Screaming Lord Sutch is dreadful and for once the production gets in the way as any melody is hard to find at all. 'Just Like Eddie' is stupendous, however. 'Heinz' may have been regarded as something of a sixties one hit novelty but this really is good. The 'drums' includes loads of people stomping on Joes floorboards, on the stairs, etc. Thing is, all it sounds like is the best damn drum sound you've ever heard! It sounds as good as the drums from Nirvana's 'In Utero' album, for example! It really does! Steve Albini ( Nirvana producer ) should listen to this! Plus! The guitar is very catchy rock n roll and the singing is effective. A wonderful moment. 'Have I The Right' was one of Joe's biggest sellers since 'Telstar' and again features the stomping floorboards effect. It sounds wonderful and again good guitar. A good song all round, actually. Very commercial and a highlight of the early sixties pop charts. 'North Wind' is performed here by a singer best known for Country music. He sings this with a country twang, too. Thing is, Joe Meek gives the musical track the full all out. The full 'Telstar' outer-space production. The two styles collide head on and provide a highlight here. Some lesser songs are mixed in. 'My Baby Doll' is another Buddy Holly tribute. 'Huskie Team' is dreadful. Still! We have the two Glenda Collins tracks.....

    Glenda Collins is unknown today. She released a few records in the sixties that didn't sell at all. Listen to 'It's Hard To Believe It' and especially 'Something I've Got To Tell You'. A whole load of female singers ( Petula Clark, Dusty Springfield, Sandy Shaw etc etc ) released classic songs in the sixties that were huge sellers. Joe's productions of Glenda sold next to nothing. They are easily as good as the aforementioned though. 'Something I've Got To Tell You' should be covered by someone and made a huge hit. It is SUCH a good song, yearning vocals, wonderful singing, actually. Good lyrics and a Phil Spector type production. 'It's Hard To Believe It' isn't quite so strong melodically but lyrically! These lyrics written by Joe himself speculate on nuclear weapons, the state of the world...It works very very well. A wonderful thing.

    As long as releases such as these are put out Joe will not be forgotten. He's an influence today even on such dance artists as Orbital. Why? Well, listen to the two songs here credited to 'The Blue Men' ( Joe Meek, actually ) and be amazed that they sound like The Aphex Twin! Or, hear traces of Orbital, Autechre, etc. Several of these artists have admitted a love of Joe Meeks instrumental space music. It's hard to believe it but it's true. And, this compilation is a wonderful exotic selection of songs that you will not regret getting yourself into.

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    Readers Comments

    Keith Ninesling ninesling.keith@dorseylaw.com
    Of course, I became aware of Meek's work when "Telstar" was released, and remember "Have I The Right" as being a pretty popular song back then. The guitar sound on the latter was remarkable, very advanced for its time, and the techno feel of the former presaged an entire genre that would be developed about 30 years later. A recording that might sound dated today, but extremely prescient. However, at that time, I had no idea who Meek was and less understanding of his influence and impact on these recordings: it wasn't until I ran across his name in my reading during the early 1980s that I was able to connect the man with the music. Although a good deal of Meek's work is overcooked and poorly realized, remarkably compromised by second-rate writing, third-rate performers and production that gets in the way, he did make about a dozen sides that are classics. I guess a dozen classics out of the roughly 250 sides he produced is a pretty good track record, especially when you ! consider that Meek's label charted about 40 songs on the U.K. lists and only two entries on the American Top 40. Noteworthy tracks: Glenda Collins, "I Lost My Heart" and "Something I've Got to Tell You," especially the latter, as it's better than anything P. Clark ever released and as good as the best of D. Springfield; the aforementioned "Telstar" and "Have I The Right"; the hokey, but somehow appealing "Johnny Remember Me"; and the equally hokey and appealing "Just Like Eddie." What would have rounded out the compilation you're citing would be The Tornado's "Riding the Wind," which is that band's second-best recording after "Telstar," and The Blue Rondos' "Little Baby," which is a very, very fine song and perhaps Meek's most timeless and enduring-sounding production. If Meek had been a better businessman, or hadn't been spread so thinly, it is very likely that more of his records would have charted in the U.S. He was a tragic figure, though, unstable and bellicose, fina!ncially tenuous, sexually frustrated and amped up on Black Beauties. Too bad. But, I'm glad to see that he still has fans out there...

    Tom Hammond spiralling@dsl.pipex.com
    Keith Ninesling article on Joe Does not do Joe Justice Joe did not overcook an awful term at the best of times-Joe Meeks Music is that Joe Meeks Music there are more than 40 tracks recorded engineered by Joe Meek Magic Wheel-Every Little Once In A While- so so many are just brillianr Naturally everyones tatse is different what has Joe Back is not him being a poor business man is the stigma of the suicide and murder yet many other people in the nusines of music or Film Have gone on to great heights No in the final analysis it is envy that Joe has had to fight-I have researched worked with many ex Joe Meek artists seen what went on then at that time and I am not Surprided Joe Lost it-anyway the New Play should help I hope he sinned but forgiveness is the only course open to us all

    Marcus mlemon@fordzephyr.fsnet.co.uk
    Obviously the whole Meek thing is compelling, extremely intriguing, according to the info we have about JM. There was this technician, working in a post rock & roll pre Beatles vacuum, with intriguing technology. Ie period stuff. In a front room. This is something some of us relate to, especially those of us trying to create a great sound in a lo-fi environment. Actually, I have only ever heard Telstar, Have I The Right, Just Like Eddie, and the follow up to HITR, and Telstars b- side. I just really dug this b- side, its got those weird graveyard cats on it by the sound of it! Was this track called something Fever? Jungle Fever? It is a great sounding record though I do know that,and I am almost pruriently fascinated to know how that sound was achieved. Does ayone know? I was offered a deal. I went to a studio where Meeks equaliser was. I touched it. Rather like fondling the crown jewels or something like that. A friend of mine did a fabulous sounding album using tha! t equaliser, but he died and I don't know how much the equaliser had to do with the end sound of that record. I'd like to know, what is the rating for this Meek reissue equipment?

    David Peters dppeters1@tiscali.co.uk
    the mesages left about Joe Meek, make interesting reading, having known Joe, and managed a group that recorded with him, I do have an insight into the man and his music, his techniques were many years ahead of his time, be built equipment to recreate the sound in his head, he couldn't sing or play an instrument, neither could he read music, and was deaf, yet his interpertation of sounds that he heard is out of this world, he made many great records (Glenda Collins is a good example) which should have been massive sellers, but lack of promotion from the record companies meant the just died.

    David Dee Daviddstrum@aol.com
    WE were the last band to sign a deal with joe ,,,we signed the record contract a week befor he died i had to go and choose the A side but instead of going alone our manager came with me he was most upset i remember ; we were all about 16 and the band was called The Avavlons ,,,a week later he was dead ,,,,,,,

    Ken Cooper London
    The Millionaires, you missed us out!. We were the last band to record with meek.


    Freakbeat 9 ( 2007 )
    You're Holding Me Down - Buzz / Come On Back - Paul & Ritchie-Cryin' Shames / Baby I Go For You - Blue Rondos / Crawdaddy Simone - Syndicats / She Comforts My Sorrow - Bystanders / Love Gone Again - Birds Of Prey / Little Baby - Blue Rondos / I Love To See You Strut - John, David & The Mood / What'cha Gonna Do Baby - Eddie, Jason & The Centremen / It Ain't Right - Saxons / Let Me In - Cryin' Shames / I Take It That We're Through - Riot Squad / Diggin' For Gold - John, David & The Mood / Summer Without Sun - Kingsley, Charles Creation / Walking On Ice - Riot Squad / Big Fat Spider - Heinz & The Wild Boys / Come On Baby - Eddie, Jason & The Centremen / What's News Pussycat - Crying Shames / What Can I Do - Blue Rondos / City Lights - Birds Of Prey / No More You And Me - Tornados / Too Far Out - Impac / Shake With Me - Puppets / Leave My Kitten Alone - Syndicats / Bluebirds Over The Mountain - Joey, Shade & The Night Owls / Bring It To Jerome - John, David & The Mood / I Gotta Buzz - Buzz / I Don't Love Her No More - Hotrods / I'm Not A Bad Guy - Heinz & The Wild Boys / Singing The Blues - Eddie, Jason & The Centremen

    Record collecting can be a marvellous thing. Imagine for a moment you're a fan of progressive rock group Yes. You might branch out once you've collected all of the official Yes albums to live bootlegs and solo material. You'll want to collect all King Crimson albums that Bill Bruford played on, the Jon and Vangellis material, Steve Howe and Chris Squire material. Etc and so forth. Suddenly a love of one act has spread to more than half a dozen and each one of those acts could potentially branch out into another half a dozen each. Well, it all depends on how crazily obsessed you are. Let's imagine you adore the guitar playing of Steve Howe in particular. Suddenly you find yourself hearing about The Syndicats, an early Steve Howe group. You track down a Syndicats compilation CD and you're blown away by 'Crawdaddy Simone' but rather confused, as Steve Howe had left the band by then. So, how did they create such an awesome, amazing sound? You look at the credits and notice the production was by Joe Meek. Now you're really in trouble as collecting a comprehensive set of Joe Meek recordings is actually quite impossible. He was prolific to say the least and many recordings of his remain unearthed, the notorious 'Tea Chest' recordings, for example. Now, Joe Meek is a big tree with many branches. The one in particular this compilation set covers is the 'freakbeat' years. Mod and rhythm and blues acts recording in Joe's home studio circa 1965/1966, proving once and for all that whilst Joe may have become increasingly unstable, that he still had an ear to what was going on. Many of the recordings here are nothing short of relevatory.

    'Crawdaddy Simone' is one of the most impressive tracks of all, a truly demented garage sound with electronic effects, ear splitting distortion, a crazy guitar solo and a stupendous drum sound. Joe always paid careful attention to the drum sound on many of his recordings, earning respect of musicians whilst he was at it. They figured if he paid so much attention just to getting the right sound from the drumkit, that he must be a decent guy to record their tunes. Anyway, 'Crawdaddy Simone' is furiously exciting and remains so to this day. Remarkably ( or confusingly ) it was released originally as a b-side. Other tracks here include several 'Louie Louie' styled organ vamps, dreamy psychedelic before the event excursions and also more straightforward rhythm and blues tracks, although nothing was ever quite straightforward with Joe. Let's take 'I Love To Strut', what an exciting tune! Joe was seemingly adept at getting the band playing well, as if they were on an absolute roll in a live setting, then place the compression and echo on there. So, you had in effect an enhanced live sound, better than reality. Especially with entire songs or segments of songs sped up slightly, sometimes this would raise the pitch so much the bands then found it impossible to actually perform! As I said, better than reality, yet retaining integrity. A good sound is important to everyone. 'Freakbeat' contains songs by many artists, not all of them good musicians it's fair to say. Yet, mixed masterfully and creatively, these songs often come across as far better than the musicians could ever have hoped to acheive unaided. There's a lot of Meek compilations out there - trust me when I say this is one of the better ones. Essential stuff, indeed.

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    Portrait Of A Genius 8 ( ? )
    1. Joe Remembers - Part One 2. Gary Miller - The Yellow Rose Of Texas 3. Bett Miller - The Next Train Out Of Town 4. Big Bill Broonzy - It Feels So Good 5. Joe Meek - Robin Hood 6. Humphery Lyttleton - No Other Love 7. Kenny Graham & His Satellites - Lullabye 8. Anne Shelton - Lay Down Your Arms 9. Ottilie Patterson With Chris Barber's Jazz Band - Jailhouse Blues 10. Frankie Vaughan - Green Door 11. Chris Barber's Jazz Band Featuring Monty Sunshine - Petite Dleur 12. Lonnie Donegan & His Skiffle Group - Don't You Rock Me Daddy-O 13. Frankie Vaughan - Garden Of Eden 14. Eric Delaney Band - Rock & Roll King Cole 15. Lonnie Donegan & His Skiffle Group - Puttin' On The Style 16. Johnny Duncan & His Blue Grass Boys - Last Train To San Fransisco 17. Jimmy Miller & The Barbecues - Sizzling Hot 18. Peggy Segger With Isla Cameron & Guy Carawan - Sail Away Lady 19. Acker Blik - Travelling Blues 20. Mike Preston - A House, A Car And A Wedding Ring 21. George Melly With Mick Mulligans Jazz Band - There'll Be Some Change Made 22. Terry White & The Terriers - Rock Around The Mailbag 23. Terry White & The Terriers - Blackout 24. Marty Wilde - Sea Of Love 25. Mike Preston - Mr Blue 26. Emile Ford & The Checkmates - What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For Disc: 2 1. Joe Remembers - Part Two 2. The Blue Men - I Hear A New Word (Excerpts: Entry Of The Globbots/Valley Of The Saroo's/Magnetic Field) 3. Peter Jay & The Blue Men - Just Too Late 4. It's A Triumph - Radio Luxembourg Jingle 5. George Chakiris - Heart Of A Teenage Girl 6. Micheal Cox - Angela Jones 7. Chick Lewis - North Wind 8. Mike Berry & The Outlaws - My Baby Doll 9. Danny Rivers & The Alexander Combo - Once Upon A Time 10. Danny Rivers & The Alexander Combo - My Baby's Gone Away 11. Cliff Bennet & The Rousers - Try Once More 12. Ricky Wayne - Why Pretend 13. John Leyton - Johnny Remember Me 14. Micheal Cox - Sweet Little Sixteen 15. Billy Dean - Ridin' The Rails 16. Chris Williams & His Monsters - Kickin' Around 17. The Outlaws - The Outlaws 18. The Blue Men - Orbit Around The Moon 19. The Outlaws - Husky Team 20. The Blue Men - Entry Of The Globbotts 21. John Leyton - Tune For Short Cowboys 22. Don Charles - Crazy, Man, Crazy 23. Lee Starr & The Astrals - Walkin' With My Angel 24. The Moontrekkers - Dance Legless Russian 25. Joy & Dave - Chahawki 26. The Athenians - Bouzoukis 27. John Leyton - Looking For Someone (Whoe Wants Johnny?) Disc: 3 1. Joe Remembers - Part Three 2. Joe Meek - Telstar 1st Stage Demo 3. Dave Adams - Telstar 2nd Stage Demo 4. The Tornados - Telstar 5. Billie Davies - Don't You Knock On My Door 6. Pete & The Boulevards - Love Return 7. Lee Starr & The Astrals - Come Back To Me 8. Pete & The Boulevards - You're My Girl 9. Kenny Hollywood - Magic Star 10. Joe Meek - Globetrotter Demo 11. The Tornados - Globetrotter 12. Wes Sands - There's Alot More Where This Came From 13. Wes Sands - Three Cups 14. The Checkmates - Interpol 15. Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages - I Ain't Mad At You 16. Chad Carson - A Fool In Love 17. Burr Bailey & The Six Shooters - San Fransisco Bay 18. The Thunderbolts - March Of The Spacemen 19. The Thunderbolts - Lost Planet 20. Heinz - Just Like Eddie 21. The Cameos - Powercut 22. The Ambassadors - Surfin' John Brown 23. The Ambassadors - Big Breaker 24. Geoff Goddard - Sky Men 25. Billy Dean - Live It Up 26. Gene Vincent - Temptation Bay 27. Jenny Moss - Please Let It Happen To Me 28. The Dowlands - Lucky Johnny 29. The Joe Meek Orchestra - The Kennedy March Disc: 4 1. Deke Arlon & The Offbeats - I'm Just A Boy 2. Deke Arlon & The Offbeats - Can't Make Up My Mind 3. Paul Kane - My Fair Baby's Coming For Me 4. The Sabres - Don't Go Away 5. The Cameos - My Baby's Coming Home 6. Benny Parker & The Dynamics - I Taught Her How 7. The Puppets - Three Boys Lookin' For Love 8. The Honeycombes - Have I The Right 9. The Honeycombes - Hab' Ich Das Rech 10. The Saxons - It Ain't Right* 11. Houston Wells & The Masters - Little One 12. Cliff Bennet & The Rebel Rousers - I'm In Love With You 13. Tony Dangerfield & The Thrills - She's Too Way Out 14. The Strangers - My Suzanne 15. The Blue Rondos - Little Baby 16. The Strangers - Shirley 17. Heinz & The Wild Boys - Don't Think Twice It's Alright 18. David John & The Mood - It's All Right 19. Peter Lodon - I'm Lovin' Man 20. Joe Meek - Not Sleeping Too Well Lately (Demo) 21. The Cryin' Shames - What's New, Pussycat? 22. The Bystanders - She Comforts My Sorrow 23. Heinz - Movin' In 24. The Cryin' Shames - Nobody Waved Goodbye 25. The Birds Of Prey - City Lights 26. The Cryin' Shames - Let Me In 27. The Impac - Rat-Tat-Ta-Tat 28. The Cryin' Shames - Feels Like Loving 29. The Riot Squad - Gotta Be A First Time 30. The Honeycombs - I Can Tell (Something's Up)

    So, my obsession with Joe Meek continues with this box-set. Web-reviewer Scott Floman, nice guy that he is, made a slight mistake however in his Phil Spector review saying that was the only box-set devoted to a producer. Well, there's this one and i'm sure there's others although i'm not aware of any myself. The opening disc is devoted to Joe Meek the engineer rather than producer. So, we don't get Joe's vision, although he did seem to be adept at recording both vocals and getting odd sound effects in here and there. Joe would have been great working in radio or for the BBC. His introduction telling how he got into the business is actually one of the most rewarding tracks on the first disc. Well, listening to these mostly corny pop of the day songs doesn't thrill me personally. He had little control those days and did what he was told, although still got into trouble now and then with the recording levels, etc. My pick of disc one? Lonnie Donnergan 'Puttin On The Style' because it's always great to hear prime Lonnie Donnergan tracks whomever the producer. 'Sizzling Hot' sounds very Joe Meek though, check out the bass sound and the shuffling percussion. Disc two announces itself proper with 'I Hear A New World' and selections thereof. Of the early songs on disc two, Danny Rivers & The Alexander Combo - My Baby's Gone Away is a highlight, noise everywhere amid a doo-wop sounding track that threatens to burst your speakers open.

    Disc 3 opens with several versions of Telstar, the most interesting of which is the demo version upon which Joe hums and 'da de das' so tunelessly it's amazing the track ever got made. Joe couldn't play, was tone deaf and couldn't notate. He would rely on trusted musicians to get his music onto tape. Listening to Joe hum 'Telstar' over a completely different backing track and tune to the one that was eventually used is interesting listening to say the least! Even I can hum more in tune, but remarkably, the tune is here. The very beginnings of 'Telstar'. Top five follow-up for The Tornados is 'Globetrotter'. It's not a patch on 'Telstar' and a stronger follow-up would have done the longeivity of The Tornados career no end of good. Still, next highlight arrives with The Thunderbolts 'Lost Planet', a much stronger 'Telstar' type tune and almost as good, too. The stompingly good floorboards bass sound of big hit 'Just Like Eddie' follows and Joe was racking up a lot of hits round about this time. Moving on through to Disc 4, The Honeycombs 'Have I The Right' was a big transatlantic hit and beefed up the Meek coffers at a time they needed to be beefed up. The version of Dylan's 'Dont Think Twice' proves Meek could do his own take on Folk/Rock. The german version of 'Have I The Right' is very pointless. No Glenda Collins tunes possibly due to licensing. Ultimately, this is a flawed yet essential box-set. Better Meek box-sets can be done, especially once the infamous tea-chest tapes are fully uncovered. Joe Meek producing one of my most loathed artists Tom Jones? You better believe it! Well, it's hard to believe it, but it's true.

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    this page last updated 23/8/09


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