In my search for rare vinyl - in record shops, boot sales and charity shops - I come across the good, the bad and the ugly. These days I tend to buy anything that looks interesting, as long as the price is right, which means I sometimes land up with crap, but sometimes hit pay dirt (like Ronnie Self's Bop-a-lena which I featured a few weeks ago). From time to time I intend to feature some of these finds in Vinyl Obscurities, the first of which comprises five records which definitely range from the sublime to the ridiculous. I start with the sublime, and gradually work down...
Maurice & Mac: Why don't you try me/Lean on me Chess CRS 8081. Maurice (McAlister) and Mac (McLauren Green) emerged from the Radiants, whose Voice Your Choice is one of my all time favourite soul records. The duo had just two 45s released in the UK (the first was You left the water running) and this, their second, is an absolute cracker.
Dale Ward: Letter from Sherry/Oh Julie London HLD 9835. Dale Ward was (is) apparently the brother of Robin Ward, who had a hit in 1963 with Wonderful Summer. Dale was a one hit wonder but this is quite a decent slow ballad, with a spoken part (possibly by Robin). The B side was a revival of a song which was a US hit for both the Crescendos and Sammy Salvo (both of which I have), and is not at all bad.
Paramounts: I'm the one who loves you/ It won't be long Parlophone R 5155. The Paramounts were a fairly run of the mill British beat group from Southend on Sea whose first hit, a cover of Poison Ivy, was a minor hit. This, their third hit featured a second rate cover of the Impressions song on the A side, but is probably more notable for its B side (pictured) which was the first recorded song for band members Robin Trower and Gary Brooker, later the mainstays of Procul Harum.
Janie Jones: Tickle me tootsie wootsies/High and dry Columbia DB 8173. This is a really shit record, but Janie Jones was infamous in her day and her fame lives on. Her first record Witches brew was a minor hit in 1965, but her claim to fame came a few years later when Janie, the 'vice queen', was sentenced to seven years in prison in 1973 for 'controlling prostitutes'. Four years later The Clash recorded 'Janie Jones' on their first album, a song which was revived by Babyshambles in 2006.
Bill Kenwright: Giving up/Love's black and white MGM 1430. Bill Kenwright is best known today as a West End theatre producer and as chairman of Everton Football Club. But he made his name playing the role of Gordon Clegg in Coronation Street. Less well known was his attempt at a pop career and this dreadful single, Giving up, was something that he wisely did, so far as his music career was concerned, not long after.