Thursday, 10 March 2016

"Time Hasn’t Changed Us: The Complete CBS Recordings 1967-1971" by THE LOVE AFFAIR and STEVE ELLIS (2015 RPM Records 3CD Mini Box Set) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"...Good Times..." 

This 3CD Mini Box Set contains the album "New Day" released in 1970

Wow - what an incredible haul! You get two albums, the A&B-sides of at least seven non-album 7" singles, three Previously Unreleased BBC Sessions, 16 recently discovered outtakes from the Steve Ellis Solo period (Disc 3), the title track from Acetate (Disc 2) and even two uber-rare Italian language 45s. 67-tracks across 3CDs. There’s a mountain of good musical stuff to get through here – so let me get to the Modtastic details right away...

UK released June 2015 (July 2015 in the USA) – "Time Hasn't Changed Us: The Complete CBS Recordings 1967-1971" by THE LOVE AFFAIR and STEVE ELLIS on RPM Records RPMBXM 526 (Barcode 5013929552609) is a 3CD Mini Box Set that breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 – THE LOVE AFFAIR (77:09 minutes):
1. Everlasting Love – December 1967 UK 7" single on CBS Records 3125, A
2. Gone Are The Songs Of Yesterday - December 1967 UK 7" single on CBS Records 3125, B
3. Rainbow Valley – April 1968 UK 7" single on CBS Records 3366, A
4. Someone Like Me - April 1968 UK 7" single on CBS Records 3366, B
5. A Day Without Love – August 1968 UK 7" single on CBS Records 3674, A
6. I'm Happy - August 1968 UK 7" single on CBS Records 3674, B
7. Hush
8. 60 Minutes (Of Your Love)
9. Could I Be Dreaming
10. First Cut Is The Deepest
11. So Sorry
12. Once Upon A Season
13. Tobacco Road
14. The Tree
15. Handbags And Gladrags
16. Build On Love
17. Please Stay
18. Tale Of Two Bitters
19. One Road – February 1968 UK 7" single on CBS Records 3994, A
20. Let Me Know – February 1968 UK 7" single on CBS Records 3994, B
21. Bringing On Back The Good Times – July 1969 UK 7" single on CBS Records 4300, A
22. Another Day - July 1969 UK 7" single on CBS Records 4300, B
23. Io Senza Te (Rainbow Valley) - Italian 7" single

The first of their two albums - "The Everlasting Love Affair" was released in December 1968 in the UK on CBS Records 63416 (Mono) and S 63416 (Stereo). The 15-track Stereo LP can be sequenced from CD1 using the following tracks.

Side 1:
1. Everlasting Love [1]
2. Hush [7]
3. 60 Minutes (Of Your Love) [8]
4. Could I Be Dreaming [9]
5. First Cut Is The Deepest [10]
6. So Sorry [11]
7. Once Upon A Season [12]
8. Rainbow Valley [3]
Side 2:
1. A Day Without Love [5]
2. Tobacco Road [13]
3. The Tree [14]
4. Handbags And Gladrags [15]
5. Build On Love [16]
6. Please Stay [17]
7. Tale Of Two Bitters [18]

Disc 2 – THE LOVE AFFAIR (79:41 minutes):
1. Baby I Know – October 1969 UK 7" single on CBS Records 4631, A
2. Accept Me For What I Am - October 1969 UK 7" single on CBS Records 4631, B
3. Time Hasn't Changed Us
4. Un Giorno Senza Amore (A Day Without Love) – 1969 Italian 7" Single on CBS Records 4007, A [English Language Version on the B]
5. All Along The Watchtower (BBC's "Colour Me Pop" Show, 2 August 1969) – PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
6. A Day In The Life (BBC's "Colour Me Pop" Show, 2 August 1969) - PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
7. Walk On Gilded Splinters (BBC Session, Dave Lee Travis Show 10 Nov 1969) - PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
8. Lincoln County – February 1970 UK 7" single on CBS 4780, A
9. Sea Of Tranquillity - February 1970 UK 7" single on CBS 4780, B
10. Speak Of Peace, Sing Of Joy – May 1970 UK 7” single on CBS Records 5017, A
11. Bring My Whole World Tumbling Down - May 1970 UK 7" single on CBS Records 5017, B

12. New Day
13. Walking Down The Road
14. Gee's Whizz
15. Gypsy
16. Goodbye Brother, Farewell Friend
17. Hurt By Love
18. Bad Girl
19. Nine To Five
20. Thank You Bean

The second of their two albums – "New Day" (credited to just L.A.) was released in 1970 in the UK on CBS Records S 64109 (Stereo only) and can be sequenced from CD 2 using the following tracks:

Side 1:
1. New Day [12]
2. Walking Down The Road [13]
3. Gee's Whizz [14]
4. Gypsy [15]
5. Goodbye Brother, Farewell Friend [16]
Side 2:
1. Hurt By Love [17]
2. Bad Girl [18]
3. Nine To Five [19]
4. Thank You Bean [20]
5. Speak Of Peace, Sing Of Joy [10]

Disc 3 – STEVE ELLIS (77:11 minutes):
1. Loot – May 1970 UK 7" single on CBS Records 4992, A
2. More More More - May 1970 UK 7" single on CBS Records 4992, B
3. Evie – September 1970 UK 7" single on CBS Records S 5199, A
4. Fat Crow - September 1970 UK 7" single on CBS Records S 5199, B
5. Take Your Love – March 1971 UK 7" single on CBS 7037, A
6. Jingle Jangle Jasmine - March 1971 UK 7" single on CBS 7037, B
7. Have You Seen My Baby – August 1971 UK 7” single on CBS S 7411, A
8. Goody Goody Dancing Shoes - August 1971 UK 7" single on CBS S 7411, B
9. Good Time Livin'
10. Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart
11. It's A Man's Man's Man's World
12. Bread And Wine
13. Lean On Me
14. Rainy Night In Georgia
15. Holly Holy
16. Charley Patton Rides The Delta
17. I Don't Know Why
18. Gimme Shelter
19. Pisces Apple Lady
20. Way Up On A Hill
21. I Got A Feelin'
22. Can't Stop Worrying, Can't Stop Lovin'
23. Take Me To The Pilot
24. Sympathy

Tracks 1 and 2 also featured on the Keith Mansfield Original Soundtrack LP "Loot" released 1970 in the UK on CBS Records 70073 on which Keith Ellis sang. Tracks 9 to 24 first appeared in 2003 on the CD "Rolling With The '69 Crew: Steve Ellis The Lost Masters" on Talking Elephant.

It comes in a card slipcase rather like a smaller version of the "Original Album Series" 5CD sets on WEA with 3 card sleeve inserts and a nice 16-page booklet. JOHN REED does the liner notes and his expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm for all things Mod comes shining through. It details the early incarnation of the band as The Soul Survivors, then becoming teenage heartthrobs as The Love Affair, Steve Ellis' involvement in the "Loot" Soundtrack of 1970 – on to the formation of Ellis in the early seventies with Zoot Money (I’ve reviewed both "Riding On The Crest Of A Slump" and "Why Not?") and beyond. You get a rare poster for The Small Faces in the Royal Albert Hall in December 1967 with Cat Stevens and The Soul Survivors as some of the support acts. There are memorabilia photos, UK demos of CBS singles, sheet music and Steve Ellis solo stuff. Their debut single "Everlasting Love" famously hit the Number 1 spot on the UK charts (after a little helpful hype by their publicity agent) in February 1968 having grown steadily in popularity since its release in December 1967.

The first thing that clobbers you as you play the six singles that open Disc 1 is the amazing audio. Remastered by SIMON MURPHY at Another Planet Music – the sonic kick in the goolies this CD packs is truly fantastic. You then notice the quality of the tunes – Soulful Mod outings one moment followed by Small Faces grunge the next. Phillip Goodhand-Tate wrote "Gone Are The Songs Of Yesterday" and the brilliant "A Day Without Love" (which The Sex Pistols rehearsed in 1976 – The Love Affair's attitude to the press was dismissive – that rebel attitude may have drawn the Punk Rockers to the tune).

The debut album "The Everlasting Love Affair" has a very 'Small Faces' feel to it – like a transition album between their Decca Pop and heavier Immediate Label period. It helps of course that Ellis sounds a tad like Steve Marriott and on occasion goes all Humble Pie wild when he rocks out on his axe. Sessionmen Herbie Flowers played Bass, Clem Cattini hit the Drums and Keith Mansfield did the band's trademark arrangements. They tackle Deep Purple's hooky yet heavy "Hush" (wicked guitar), do a Soulful brassy take on Cat Stevens' masterpiece "The First Cut Is The Deepest" (P.P. Arnold made it a hit on Immediate Records) and offer up a radically re-worked "Tobacco Road" (originally by The Nashville Teens) where they sound almost like an embryonic Sabbath. Mike d'Abo's gorgeous "Handbags And Gladrags" gets a very Small Faces madrigal arrangement complete with clavinet. DJM Records artist Phillip Goodhand-Tate supplied two - the bouncy "Build On Love" and one of the record's lighter highlights - "One Road" which feels like The Hollies on a roll. Soul is not very far beneath the Mod surface – Isaac Hayes and David Porter's "60 Minutes Of Your Time" was originally a Homer Banks B-side in 1966 on Minit Records – but The Love Affair's version here is more akin to the revved up Mod interpretation Simon Dupree & The Big Sound did in 1967 on Parlophone. Amidst the flurry of covers - Steve Ellis and Keyboardist Morgan Fisher put up several superb originals – the Monkees/Association feel to "Could I Be Dreaming", a rocking winner in "The Tree" and a Mother Brown knees-up alcohol bar song "Tale Of Two Bitters" where they sound dangerously close to cod Small Faces but in a bad way and definitely without their genuine and effortless charm.

The second LP "New Day" (simply credited to L.A.) is almost three years away from the debut and with Ellis gone towards a Solo career – it's a Progressive Rock album from 1970 and not a Pop/Mod-Soul effort of the Sixties. Not that the period's singles reflected this. There seemed to be two bands at this point battling for musical supremacy. The opening single on CD 2 is "Baby I Know" - a genuine Pop blast with that earlier brassy sound of theirs – but again the B-side is an entirely different band and beast – coming on like Hard Rock is their real crave. The audio takes a dip for the title track which you suspect is dubbed off a rare Acetate while the 'Colour Me Pop' BBC tracks consist of an awful version of "All Along The Watchtower" and a Procol Harum sounding organ instrumental of the Sgt. Peppers closer "A Day In The Life" (can't make my mind up if this is genius or a curio). "...Now all you Top Of The Pops groovers around the world – here's another set of good sounds from Love Affair..." is announced before the band launch into a rather cool version of Dr. John's moocher "Walk On Gilded Splinters" – definitely the best of three Unreleased BBC Sessions.

It's back to Pop/Soul business with "Lincoln County" where Gus Eadon (ex The Elastic Band) takes over the Lead Vocals. The B-side – "Sea Of Tranquillity" feels like early Argent. We even get a little deep with the lengthy "Speak Of Peace, Sing of Joy" where the band tries to say something of substance (it's actually a strong track which they mimed on an early Top Of The Pops appearance). I like Eadon's guttural growl – pleasingly similar to John Baldry on his two Warner Brothers albums "It Ain't Easy" (1971, reissued by Rhino on CD - see review) and "Everything Stops For Tea" (1972). "Gee's Whizz" is a brilliant and interesting instrumental – the flute makes it feel Jethro Tull – the keyboards like ELP on a Rock 'n' Roll tip – while the superb drum solo is John Bonham on Zeppelin II's "Moby Dick".

Disc 3 is dedicated to Steve Ellis - 8 single sides and 16 tracks from the aborted solo album (all 16 are from the 20-track stash discovered in 2013 and issued as the 2CD compilation "Rolling With The '69 Crew: Steve Ellis The Lost Masters" on Talking Elephant). It's the Steve Ellis solo material that never surfaced after he left Love Affair (Gus Eadon took over Lead Vocals and songwriting too). Highlights include the beautifully recorded "Good Time Livin'" where it sounds like Steve Marriott doing a Soul Album instead of hammering down on riffage. He does a tasty take on the James Brown classic "It's A Man's Man's Man's World" with cool Mansfield strings and brass arrangements. Philip Goodhand-Tate provides "Lean On Me" while Ellis trumps up with his own New Orleans blaster "Charley Patton Rides The Delta". I can't resist a cover of "Gimme Shelter" – that Rolling Stones 1969 masterpiece that lends itself to just about everyone. Here Ellis gives it a Merry Clayton Funk-Rock vibe and is surely one of the highlights on CD3. And his cover of Dave Mason's "Can't Stop Worryin' Can't Stop Lovin'" is superbly musical too - like good Terry Reid (and that's the best compliment)...

It’s not all genius for sure and you can literally feel the missed chances as the singles try desperately to ape that first Motownesque magic of "Everlasting Love" – but what came next when they found their musical feet is brilliant in places. And that unreleased Solo stuff is a revelation and finally links the two LPs and their wildly differing styles.

A fantastic reissue and well done to all at RPM (and John Reed) for their hutzpah in getting "Time Hasn't Changed Us" out there in such style. As the singer’s just a kiss away...and I like that...

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