Regal Zonophone 2
Ive been meaning to write a bit about the duo Mick Jones and Tommy Brown,who played with The Blackburds,and went under the monikers of The State Of Micky and Tommy,Nimrod and The J.& B.,but unfortunately with me,never got round to it,but i've been spurred on ,so while i'm in the right frame of mind,i'm going to give it a shot now.Apologies if this rambles on,or there are any mistakes or inaccuracies,as i'm attempting to do this mainly from what i know.
I'm sure most off the regulars on here will know the songs and the quality of their material that was recorded as The BLACKBURDS(more of later)THE J.& B.with the marvellous There She Goes,THE STATE OF MICKY AND TOMMY with songs like Juian Waites,With Love From 1 to 5,Frisco Bay,Nobody Knows Where You've Been,Alice and others,NIMROD with the fantastic 69 single The Bird and the fantastic Dont Let It Get The Best Of You,they also recorded for movie soundtracks too,like If I Could Be Sure from the movie "Tumuc Humac"and Then You Got Everything from the movie"L'ours Et La Poupee".
As you've probably guessed or already knew they spent a lot of time in France,from the mid to late 60s,and this is for one main reason,their group The Blackburds was hired by French superstar Johnny Hallyday as his supporting band,which ultimately led to Mick Jones and Tommy Brown being heavily involved in making,writing,recording,playing and producing for and with Johnny Hallyday.THAT is the main thing i want to cover in this,i want to touch on the songs that Jones and Brown composed for Johnny Hallyday,that features on his albums and single sides.Of course i'm sure there will be gaps,omissions and mistakes due to a lack of knowledge.
Jones and Brown played in a group called Nero and the Gladiators,and in 1963 and 1964 they come across Sylvie Vartan while performing at the same venues,in which eventually it led to them eventually backed her,Sylvie herself was a big star in France,and she started a romance with Johnny Hallyday,which eventually ended up in marriage in 1965.
Unfortunately at this time,Johnny Hallydays career was in the slumps and he was looking for a new inspiration and a new sound,and he hijacked some of Vartans backing group,and called them The Blackburds,the main characters being Mick Jones and Tommy Brown,but the group was a strong one on their own,and so it was The Blackburds started supporting Hallyday in concert and the recording studio.
LA GENERATION PERDUE(nov 66)
He adapted a more soulful and R&B vibe and approach to his songs,with the very good backing of The Blackburds,they start to record a new album to be titled " La Generation Perdue"which was recorded in London and France,recording took place between May and October 1966,and it was eventually released later in 66,with involvement and production by Giorgio Gomelsky and it features one Brian Auger as a guest player.
This album featured 2 Jones/Brown compositions,they are:
We Will Love Again
Don't Need Nobody
WE WILL LOVE AGAIN,is a fantastically arranged number with trumpets,and brass galore,it really is a fab piece of immaculately produced high galutin,some would day overblown orchestral like pop,but not in a weepy way,but in a melodramatic swinging vibe of that time,pop getting adventurous and more expensive to make.
DON'T NEED NOBODY,wow!!This is top notch swinging and groovy UK RnB,amidst the upcoming swinging london vibe,this would sound great in a club,again a massive sound with fabulous drumming,hammond organ,brass and some fuzzed up guitar all in the mix,There is also a instrumental version of this by The Blackburds that is oozing with class.
This Johnny Hallyday album,sees him embracing the new groovy pop sounds of the time,featuring some covers like Black is Black and Got To get you Into My life,of course he does a couple of slower numbers ,but all with majestic orchestral arrangements.
ALSO around this time there was 3 Jones and Brown compositions issued on singles,they are:
Il Te Faut Grandir Encore
Absolument Hyde Park
Promenade Dans La Foret Du Brabant.
IL TE FAUT GRANDIR ENCORE-is another fabulously arranged nuumber,again replete with much intrumentation including those trumpets and brass blowing hard,majestic!
ABSOLUMENT HYDE PARK-The Blackburds give it some laldy,this is a grooving,sweating piece of mod inspired instrumental,with brass,sax,organ and some glorious fabulous snatches of fuzzed guitar.
PROMENADE DANS LA FORET DU BRABANT-The Blackburds are hitting the button again,with this hammond and brass laden mod dancer,absolutely buzzing,again with some awesome guitar.
JOHNNY 67(oct 67)
The majority off this album recorded between june and october 67,unfortunately is filled
with covers,you have the likes of Sweet Soul music,love me tender,hang on to a dream but you also have the Small Faces"My Way Of Giving",there are 2 Jones and Brown compositions on this album,they are:
STRANGE SHADOWS-I like this rather showbizzy song,which could be from a movie,a sprightly pop number,with a French pop influence,i could imagine a yeh yegh girl singer doing this.
JULIAN WAITES-Jones and Brown where operating and releasing material under the moniker The State of Micky and Tommy at this time,and this song,was released by them,their version is better than this,this version is more chart friendly and dare i say it showbizzy,not as frantic,more laid back,but still very catchy,replete with orchestration and brass.
JEUNE HOMME(june 68)
This as a whole is a fabulous album,his sound is getting more psychedelic,a bit heavier,and only 3 covers,more guitar being used,a definite more trippy and hazy vibe permeates this album.This was recorded in London and Paris,between september 67 to May 68,and features Jimmy Page,Peter Framptom and Big Jim Sullivan as guests on 2 tracks.This album is a total winner.Jones and Brown have 5 compositions on this album,they are:
Country of The Blind
A Tout Casser(with G.Aber & Johnny Halliday)
Cheval d'acier(with G.Aber & Johnny Halliday)
Le Mauvais Reve(with G.Aber)
Hit Parade(with G.Aber)
COUNTRY OF THE BLIND-This is a fantastic piece of tough pop,with a definite psychedelic bent,with marvellous snatches of orchestration,and swirling strings,again great drumming by TommyJones,and a fantastic and full arrangement with some understated guitar.
A TOUT CASSER-Marvellous psychedelia veering on the heavy,this is loaded with guitar and effects pedals,this is top notch psychedelia in anyones language,it just happens to be French.
CHEVAL D'ACIER-This has a strong "got to get you into my life" Beatles vibe and sound,replete with brass,in fact i'd go as far and say this is plaigarism,naughty boys!!!tut tut.
LE MAUVAIS REVE-Another hazy piece of acid pop,replete with Penny Lane like bugle,but also a floaty organ,leslied guitar and echoed vocals and screaming,the boys are surely helping themselves to sugar cubes!!
HIT PARADE-This is as catchy and commercial as you can get,rather chart driven pop,but still with a 60s vibe,but in a more novelty manner maybe.A piece of fluff,but not annoying fluff that gets between the toes,just the brain!!!
Just before the release of this album in late 67,they had recorded some decent material,that did not feature on any long player,a decent cover of San Francisco,Mon Fils,a fabulous number arranged by Art Greenslade,but there were 2 Jones and Brown compositions,they were:
Fleur D'amour Et D'amitie
FLEUR D'AMOUR ET D'AMATIE-Sprightly,summerry and jaunty piece of pop,again with copious arrangements,with woodwind and strumming acoustic guitar.Nothing extraordinary,but pleasant.
PSYCHEDELIC-WOWSER!!!It is what it says,very psychedelic,featuriung Jimmy Page,Jim Sullivan and Peter Frampton,if this was not sung in French,this would be a top notch piece of UK heavy psychedelia,fuzzed up and scuzzed up guitar galore,heavy bass pounding,and a definite Cream and Hendrix Experience influence.Magic stufff!! At this time Mick and Tommy were releasing their own material,certainly not as heavy as this,but definitely as good.
REVE ET AMOUR(oct 68)
The artwork on this album is beautiful,very fitting with the times.This album was produced by Mick Jones and Tommy Brown.This album is a bit of a strange beast,a it covers so much ground,and all types of sounds and genres,and in truth,really shouldn't work,but to my ears it does,in fact the more i hear it,the more my appreciation grows,it touches on baroque pop,majestic orchestrated pop,straight pop music,and more strange areas.It's certainly in the ballpark of something like Barry Ryan and the album"Barry Ryan Sings Paul Ryan".There are 4 Jones/Brown compositions on this album,they are:
The Flight of the Kittyhawk
Walking Away From Mamma
Smoke Covers My Eyes
I Love You You Know It
THE FLIGHT OF THE KITTYHAWK-This was arranged by Jean Claude Vannier,and is a beauty,with spectacular orchestration and wailing horns,with sweeping string parts,to me this is a masterpiece of late 60s high brow ,extravagant pop music,would fit in with something like Barry Ryans recordings at that time,in fact this whole album i'd certainly put in that Barry Ryan Sings Paul Ryan album vibe.
WALKING AWAY FROM MAMMA-Another arrangement by Jean Claude Vannier,again another exquisite song,with sumptious arrangements of orchestration,and everything but the kitchen sink.
SMOKE COVERS MY EYES-Lovely extravagant and expertly arranged orchestrated pop,just bloody beautiful.
I LOVE YOU YOU KNOW IT- Not a favourite of mine,this is like some weird mix of a cowboy vibe with a trotting horse,as thats the noise and vision you get that the percussion gives,with some high pitched guitar snatches..a bit different,but im not sure what to call it,buyt i'm glad its on the end of the album,as it certainly wouldnt fit in anhywhere else.
JOHNNY HALLYDAY(May 69)
This album is sometimes referred to as "Riviere .Ouvre Ton Lit"due to the 1st song which was also released as a single!
This album is a total contrast to his last orchestrated heavy album,as this album is a heavy rocking dude,and very much in the heavy psych territory,and a definite UK rock sound to it,for me this is arguably my favourite Johnny Hallyday album.Seemingly he hated it,saying in a later interview,he coudn't stand it.This album is heavily influenced by Mike Jones and Tommy Brown,as they have 6 compositions on it,plus they arranged it too.......but sadly their partnership with Johnny Hallyday came to an end after this album!This is a bad ass guitar loaded assault on the senses!!This album is also known as the last works of The Small Faces,in particular Ronnie Lane and Steve Marriott,who contribute 3 songs to this album,"Amen" is a heavy psych piece but actually dates back to 66,when it was titled"That Man","Reclamation" and"What You Wil"but also the only time alegedly Peter Frampton played with the group,as shortly after,Steve Marriott went onto form Humble Pie with Peter Frampton,but also took 2 songs included on this album to his new band Humble Pie.Anyway,here are the 6 compositioms by Jones/Brown:
Riviere Ouvre Ton Lit
Voyage Au Pays Des Vivants
Je Te Veux
Je N'Ai Besoin De Personne
Je Suis Ne Dans La Rue.
RIVIERE OUVRE TON LIT(written with G.Thibaut)-Wailing guitar,straight from the off,followed by organ,vocals and drums,and melting into a heavy stew of vocals organ,bass,guitar and pounding drums and cymbals,what a rocker to start off the album,a taste for the whole album really.
VOYAGE AU PAYS DES VIVANTS(written with L.Chris)-Another scorcher of a rocker,not so psychedelic,but a definite british sounding late 60s heavy rocrer,with that heavy organ and guitar mix,a precursor to many other groups who would adopt this sound.
VIENS-This song was released by Mick and Tommy as NIMROD titled "Dont Let it Get The best Of You",their version again is better,but this one is no slouch,its a lot tougher,heavier and dense in sound and feel,but to my ears its a good heavy psych piece.
JE TE VEUX(with L.Chris)-This is quite punky and pre glam glam,with Hallydays vocals being treated with some effect,its a heavy bass and drum pounding piece of guitar driven late psychedelia with a punky glam edge.One of my favourite songs on the album!!
JE N'AI BESOIN DE PERSONNE-(with L.Chris)-Top class song,lively rocker,again with marvellous drumming by Tommy Jones,and this includes some wonderful guitar effects like a slight wah wah,again i feel this is a heavy psych rocker. Wow ,this is wonderful.
JE SUIS NE DANS LA RUE(with L.Chris)-This reminds me off the Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends album,certainly in the same ballpark,and i personally think that album is better than people make it out to be,i really do,but this song is more of a heavy blues rocker with a psych influence and southern vibes.
Well that brings this to an end,i hope you enjoyed reading it,and i hope i didn't go on too long,but i so wish Mick Jones and Tommy Brown recorded and released an album off their own,and in English,as almost everything i've mentioned is in French.There's no doubt they were talented Brits abroad,fantastic compositions,fantastic playing,during a fantastic time for music and creativity,they just happened to be in a partnership with a very famous Frenchman,and helped rescue his waning career.
Both men eventually ended up in Spooky Tooth,when Gary Wright reconvened the band,butb Mivck Jones was part of Gary Wrights Wonderwheel who recorded an album in 1972 titled"Ring Of Changes"which did not get a release at the time,but fortunately got issued on cd i 2016.
ALL albums i've covered are available on cd,including the State of Micky and Tommy and other monikers they went by,are all included on a cd issued by French label Magic Records.
Lots to read and investigate there, Stu! Very nice! I can only add that if you’re a fan of their French stuff the Francoise Hardy album sometimes entitled “Love Songs” but I think also just self-titled (the cover is red and has a picture of her face) has Micky and Tommy material. I think they helped her make most of the album, and they wrote two of the songs, including the first song on the album “If You Listen”…
There were more from Françoise: the cited Strange Shadows and other two Micky/Tommy songs were include in her third English sung LP
Bowm, Bowm, Bowm here (in French) https://www.45worlds.com/vinyl/album/hy30903
and as already suggested before, If You Listen and Bown, Bown, Bown here
Thank you very much guys,yes i do have a Francoise Hardy cd titled"Midnight Blues-Paris,London/1968-72.A collection of her English language songs,released by Ace Records in 2013.
This does feature 5 compositions by Brown/Jones,tracks 1-3 from the marvellous album,one -nine-seven-zero(69) and tracks 4 -5 from Francoise Hardy(72)
1.Song of Winter
4.If You Listen
5.Bown Bown Bown
All are rather exquisite i must say,obviously the vocals of Francoise Hardy certainly give them another aspect,she really has the most soothing of voices,i could quite easily slip into a trance listening to her voice.The arrangements on them are rather tasty too.
Another thing which has me intrigued is the name Pierre Tubbs,who is credited on 4 songs on one-nine-seven-zero,he from the psych studio outfit Pierres Plastic Dream who recorded such psych wonders as "Encapsulated Marigold,Someone Turned The Light Out,A Little Bit Shangrila and the orchestrated wonder of The Owl with "Shades of Blue and Greenwater Flies"and"Run To The Sun",so very interesting listening to this Francoise Hardy cd.So thank you to you both for mentioning Francoise Hardy.
Now to search out the Sylvie Vartan cds i have,as i'm sure she must have recorded Mick Jones and Tommy Brown compositions.
As a follow on to this thread started a over a year ago,i made NO mention of the album by Thomas F. Browne,"Wednesdays Child"released on Vertigo with the swirl,in 1971,as this features BOTH Micky and Tommy,and is an album i have NOT heard.
I have read less than complimentary reviews on it,including one by Richie Unterberger,who seems a hard man to please with any genre of music,in particular much psychedelia from the 60s,for a man who seems to cover psychedelia a fair bit,he doesn't seem to rate much of it.
Anyway,he IS just one man,and like any other critic,it's only their view,but it seems their view does carry some traction like any "professional"critic or commentator!!I prefer to hear something myself,and make my own mind up.
For some reason,i've NOT got round to hearing the Thomas F Browne album,i dont even know if it's ever been reissued on vinyl or cd since 1971,but i will have a wee search tonight.
I AM interested in hearing the views from the good people on here who HAVE heard this album,or maybe even have it,so could YOU be so kind as to leave ANY feedback on "Wednesdays Child"by Thomas F Browne,as i am interested in its sound and vibe,and if it is available as a cd reissue,i WILL purchase if its a decent price.
Thank you folks!!
I own a US copy of TFB LP, anyway I see it on Soulseek, let me know if you don't find or can't download