(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay – Otis Redding (1968)

When I started to write this blog it was with the intent on covering my vinyl singles and albums I had bought during the 70’s and 80’s. I have many CD’s and downloads but lately with a revival of vinyl I’ve been to the odd Record Fair and shops that specialise in selling used vinyl.

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Stax Records 601031

I took a trip down to London in early 2015 and ventured into a store called Flashback Records at 50 Essex Road, N1. A collectors dream, floor to ceiling vinyl with every genre you could image of used records. I came across this for £1 and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to buy.

Otis Redding was born Dawson, Georgia in 1941, and died in a plane crash aged only 26 just around the time his music had just began being appreciated not just by record buyers but by fellow artists, writers and producers. His style of soul and blues began to have a crossover pop audience, and this single was recorded November/December  1967 just days before his death. (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay  was released in January 1968 and became a posthumous #1 hit on both the US Billboard Rhythm and Blues Chart and the Hot 100 pop Chart. It peaked at #3 in the UK staying on the top 50 for 15 weeks. Although Otis released many singles in the UK this was his only solo top ten entry. He did have a couple of top 40 hits with Carla Thomas.

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B-Side My Sweet Lorene

On the dock is often said to be about Otis himself where the lyrics talk about moving from his home base of Georgia to the Californian coast at San Francisco and his experience of writing. Producer Steve Cropper collaborated on the lyrics just on a few lines that Otis gave him. It was certified in the US with a Gold disc for sales over 1 million. The song also hit the top twenty is some european countries such as The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Norway where it reached #2.

The B-side track My Sweet Lorene is pure Blues/Soul written with Isaac Hayes and Alvertis Isbell, the story of a plea for Lorene to come home and the longing for the lost past relationship.

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Breakin’ Down The Walls Of Heartache – The Bandwagon (1968)

Pentax Digital Camera
Direction Records 58-3670
 “Breakin’ Down The Walls of Heartache” is now seen as a Northern Soul classic, standing the test of time. It was written and produced by Denny Randell and Sandy Linzer. Both had a track record of writing hit songs together and independently during the 1960’s and 70’s. They were responsible for amongst others, “Native New Yorker” by Odyssey and Get Dancin’ by Disco Tex and the Sex-O-Letts both in my record collection.
Formed in the US during 1967 Artie Fullilove, Billy Bradley, Terry Lewis and lead singer Johnny Johnson were billed as The Bandwagon. After a short career at Direction Records the group disbanded in 1969, however, Johnny Johnson was given star billing as he carried on using the group name with a variety of vocalists thus becoming known as Johnny Johnson and The Bandwagon. In the UK he had two top ten hits in the early 1970’s when moving to Bell Records. Success was found mainly in the UK.
When released this single reached the top ten in the UK peaking at #4 in a run of 15 weeks on the chart and over the years has been covered by several artists. It’s become a favourite with soul clubs and featured on a variety of Northern Soul compilation CD/Albums.
This particular single was found in Birmingham’s best used vinyl record store “The Diskery”. The copy is well-worn and scratchy in places but very playable. It was bought just before I went to a Northern Soul night in November 2014. The B side “Dancin’ Master” is very easy on the ear.
 Johnny Johnson has retired from the music business after suffering from ill-health for several years.

Long Live Love – Sandie Shaw (1965)

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Pye Records 7N 15841
Sandie Shaw was a British vocalist born Dagenham, Essex in 1947. Her rise to prominence was mainly due to the song writing talents of Chris Andrews, who had a major hit record of his own – Yesterday Man
Sandie was the first British female vocalist to have three number one singles. “Long Live Love” (produced by Andrews) was her second UK single to reach the top for three weeks within a 14 week run on the chart. This was a massive hit all over Europe. It also charted in Australia and was top ten in Canada. It reached #1 in Ireland and New Zealand. It was released in the US where the peak position was #97.
There is very small element of “It’s Not Unusual” by Tom Jones to parts of the brass backing track, a song it is said that Sandie turned down in order to record this track as she liked it so much. As the title suggests its story of a young girl telling the world about her new found love.
“We meet everynight at eight, and I don’t get home till late, I say to myself each day, oh baby, long long live love”.
This was a massive hit all over Europe. It also charted in Australia and was top ten in Canada. It reached #1 in Ireland and New Zealand. This single was also released in the US where it peaked at  #97

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Original generic Pye Records paper sleeve
This is a recent purchase in October 2014. Whilst having a rummage at Birmingham’s longest running independent record store, The Diskery, I came across this. I also purchased another couple of her records at the same time. For this I paid £2 and its condition is very good. The B side “I Heard About Him” is another Chris Andrews track.
Sandie retired from singing in 2013.
 

Yesterday Man – Chris Andrews (1965)

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Decca Records F12236
Chris Andrews is a British singer/songwriter born Romford, Essex in 1942. He had limited success singing but had a huge hit with Yesterday Man in 1965. At the same time he was responsible for writing a large proportion of hits for 60’s vocalist Sandie Shaw including her number one song Long Live Love. The sound can be described as a a fusion of pop and reggae.
The single charted in Europe reaching #1 in Ireland, Austria and Germany whilst in The Netherlands and Belgium it made #2. It is said that a million copies were sold. In the UK the single peaked at #3 and spent a total of 15 weeks on the chart.
Over the years this has been a favorite of mine and this is actually a very recent purchase. Whilst having a rummage at Birmingham’s longest running independent record store, The Diskery, I came across this. Although well played, its in great condition. Paid £2 which to me was well worth it. The B side Too Bad You Don’t Want Me could just as easily been an “A” side. As of 2015 Chris Andrews is still an active singer/songwriter.