Archive for October, 2008

Lost Little Willie John album released

by Modculture 30 October, 2008

David Axelrod has described it as ‘one of the best albums that I ever did’. Circumstance may have prevented it from being released back in the day, but now we can all appreciate Little Willie John’s lost Capitol recordings.

The fine people at Kent Records have seen fit to release Nineteen Sixty Six, featuring John’s complete Capitol sessions. The twelve selections move forward his sound from the tough R&B sides he recorded at King, towards a more contemporary mid-60s soulful groove. On arrangement duties is HB Barnum, making Lou Rawls an obvious sonic comparison, with some James Brown balladry thrown in the mix for good measure. Those West Coast session men were worked hard and, as this album proves, it certainly paid off. The sad tale is that the album could never be released in 1967, for John returned to prison for an earlier crime he had committed. The album was consigned to stay in the can in 1968 when John died in Wall Walla Prison in Washington State from pneumonia. However the master tapes survived and have been remastered for us to hear.

Nineteen Sixty Six is out now on Kent and available from Amazon here.

Skatalites UK tour this December

by Modculture 30 October, 2008

Ska legends The Skatalites are to tour the UK and Ireland this winter.

The original Jamaican nine-piece band released 27 albums and countless hit singles, and frequently played on records by Prince Buster, Desmond Dekker, Delroy Wilson, The Wailers, and Lee Perry. The current line-up features Doreen Shaffer, Lloyd Brevett, Lester Sterling, Cedric Brooks, Vin Gordon, Devon James, Ken Stewart, and Kevin Bachelor.

The tour dates are:

London The Albany (5th December)
Cambridge The Junction (7th)
Bath Komedia (8th)
Leeds University (9th)
Edinburgh Liquid Room (11th)
Aberdeen The Lemon Tree (12th)
Glasgow The Arches (13th)
Dublin The Pod (15th)
Belfast The Black Box (16th)
Cork Pavillion (17th)

Contact the individual venues for tickets. The official Skatalites website can be found here.

Island Records 50th year celebrations

by Modculture 30 October, 2008

2009 is the 50th anniversary of the founding of Island Records, and label founder Chris Blackwell is to arrange the Island 50 Festival.

Blackwell founded Island in Kingston, Jamaica in 1959. Relocating to London in 1962, Blackwell built a diverse and substantial back catalogue of artists and it became the biggest independent record label in history. From the early Jamaican roots in ska and the cutting edge of rock and pop in the late 60s, Island has been responsible for the careers of Bob Marley, Traffic, Toots & The Maytals, Marianne Faithful, and even Paul Weller (among many more). They also licensed the music of mod label favourite Sue Records to be released in the UK under the guidance of Guy Stevens.

Blackwell has agreed to oversee a festival planned for May 2009 of live music, cinema, photography and memorabilia involving Island artists past and present. Of the various events that will happen throughout the year expect to see Island 50 Live (a week-long festival of live shows by Island artists past and present at The Shepherds Bush Empire), a TV/Radio documentary by the BBC, an Island 50 book, an exhibition of photos, artwork, and memorabilia, the Island 50 Film Festival (screenings of The Harder They Come, Bob Marley Live At The Lyceum, Rockers, Countryman), as well as album re-issues and new compilations.

New band: Pony Taylor

by Modculture 28 October, 2008

If you remember the 60s-inspired French band Strawberry Smell, you might be interested to know that ex-members of the group have regrouped under the name Pony Taylor.

A new band and a new sound, described as a mix of pop and northern soul, but perhaps you need to check them out to appreciate what really means. And you can check them out via the band’s MySpace site. Not sure about a song title of Married To Wigan though…

Pony Taylor MySpace site

Charity mod night at Filthys, London

by Modculture 28 October, 2008

If you have a liking for mod revival sounds – or just want to do your bit for charity, you might want to get down to Filthy MacNasty’s for a night of live music in aid of the Thyroid Eye Disease Charitable Trust.

Bands on the bill include Pope, RT3, Long Tall Shorty and Ian Page, Dave Cairns and Bryn Barklam of Secret Affair (playing Small Faces tunes). DJing is courtesy of Eddie Piller and Dave Edwards.

It takes place on Saturday 15th November – see the flyer above for full details, with entry a £5 donation.

John Smedley Factory Sale

by Modculture 27 October, 2008

If the drop in temperature has got you thinking about classic knitwear, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s an upcoming John Smedley Factory Sale.

As ever, you’ll be able to pick up end-of-range, surplus and slight imperfects for seriously knockdown prices – just as long as you don’t mind getting up early and battling with the crowds for the best pieces and prices.

It takes place from Friday November 14th through to Sunday 16th November, 10am until 4pm on each each day. If you’ve never visited the John Smedley factory, you’ll find it at John Smedley Ltd, Lea Mills, Lea Bridge (near Matlock), Derbyshire, DE4 5AG. Check out the current range via the link below.

John Smedley online

Weller and The Coral play O2 Arena

by Modculture 21 October, 2008

Paul Weller has announced a large show at London’s O2 Arena, with support coming from psychedelic scousers The Coral.

The date is set for Saturday 21st March 2009. Weller’s every UK show of 2008 has sold out, a reflection of the well-received June album 22 Dreams. Tickets for the O2 Arena are on general sale this Friday the 24th (from 0870 735 5000 or online at, but there is a special pre-sale available from Wednesday the 22nd via Tickets are priced at £37.50, plus booking fee.

In other Modfather news, Weller at the BBC is a 74-track, 4-CD hard-back book set of BBC sessions and live concert tracks covering 1990 to 2008. It includes a 64-page booklet with extensive sleevenotes, brand new interviews with Paul, Noel Gallagher, Bobby Gillespie, Tim Burgess, Steve White and others, plus numerous unseen photos from the archives. The release is also available in a ‘highlights’ version on double CD and 3LP vinyl, as well as a digital box set to download. The sets are out on November 3rd from all the usual stockists

The Move anthology

by Modculture 21 October, 2008

The Move were perhaps, after The Beatles, our most consistently great purveyors of late-60s pop. However the Black Country barnstormers are still overlooked and unfairly dismissed by many, but hopefully the release next week (27th October) of The Move Anthology 1966-1972 will help resolve the situation.

The 4CD boxset contains 62 tracks and over 3 hours of music, overflowing with the hits, outtakes, demos and alternative versions you would expect. It also features an entire 1968 Marquee show. The full-colour 72-page booklet contains rare photos and memorabilia, and an extensive 10,000-word Move history essay featuring band interviews and complete track-by-track info. In addition the first 5,000 copies sold come with a special double-sided poster and five reproduction postcards featuring each of the original members.

Anthology 1966-1972 is out Monday and available from Amazon here.

Margaret Howell herringbone jacket

by Modculture 21 October, 2008

The fashion pages are currently telling us that tweed can look great, but we of course already knew that. Still, British designer Margaret Howell has created this lovely grey wool herringbone jacket with a short lapel and slimmed waist. Could be just what the doctor ordered to keep you stylishly warm in the next couple of months.

The only downside is the retail price – a rather hefty £395. Visit the Margaret Howell website here for more information, or for stockists phone 020 7009 9009.

Tom Jones returns to musical roots

by Modculture 21 October, 2008

A reason to celebrate in these times of economic crisis – old working-class mod hero Tom Jones has produced a soulful and sensational new single to make us forget our troubles.

Not since 1967 has Mr Jones sounded as good as he does on his new single, the shimmering If He Should Ever Leave You, out November 10th in the UK. Below is a Youtube post that plays the song. We here at Modculture can imagine you all sashaying and spinning around your front room as we type…